They say when you have emphasima you wish you had cancer because cancer kills you faster. My father died 17 years ago today and I don’t know what he did in his previous life to die a long slow death, but I can tell you that in this life, as my father, he was a good man. He was a good man who, like many of his generation, worked too hard, got home too tired, opened a beer, turned on the tube then fell asleep to Jeopardy.
When I think back to his death-bed apology, I remember his words “I wish I had spent more time with you –been around more”. Well, I hope he knew that as I held his hand and kissed him on the forehead, and told him he’d done a good job, I meant it. He died 3 days later. Quite frankly, my sisters got the best part of him, he was younger and healthier. By the time I came around, his disease had wiped the smile off his face and the little bit of energy he had left made him bitter and left him feeling useless.
In a shoebox I keep tucked away at the bottom of my closet (I really do have a shoebox…), I found a book of crossword puzzles that he had started yet never finished. Every page unveils a puzzle marked by a deteriorating handwriting. To this day, the last 20 puzzles remain untouched. I’m not the one who will finish them –I don’t know who, but it won’t be me. There is something strange in coming upon the handwriting of a deceased loved one, no matter what they leave behind for you; the cufflinks, a ring, a tie, a pulp fiction watch… nothing makes you feel closer than touching the very pages on which his handwriting was set on. I closed the book and put it away, then, a couple of days later, went to the store and bought me a Labatt 50; my father’s beer of choice.
Labatt 50 got its name from the brewery celebrating 50 years. That’s pretty much it. I always thought it was the 50th recipe or something like it… no, just a celebration beer. This is the first beer I ever had. Long before my 18th birthday and long before my clandestine drinking days with my buddies at the local drive-in. When dad asked that I get him a cold one, I would take a little sip before handing it to him. He he!
“You took a sip?” he would ask, as if I had never done it before.
“Yeah” I’d reply, shyly.
“Okay, but don’t make a habit out of it”.
With a wink and a smile, he’d go on listening to the Expos while painting the fence… in his Speedo. Sorry dad, with all due respect, I have to “out” you on that one 😉
LOOK: Labatt 50 pours a bubbly golden yellow with a nice white head that slowly goes away after several minutes.
SMELL: Its positively bitter smell is also complemented by a citrusy fruit and floral hops.
TASTE: The taste is crisp, light and refreshing. The right amount of bitter and the right amount of hops are well balanced and manage to maintain a consistency throughout the session. Light malts and corn are also detected.
FINISH: The 50 ends with descent astringency and a mix of floral hops and a small amount of bitterness.
FEEL: Light body with a carbonation that maintains itself fairly well.
CONTEXT: Going back to the taste of hops, it’s surprisingly high, given that this was and continues to be the product of a macro brewery and I must say that when validating my tasting with other beer blog, this is one of few macro beers to score average –most get poor scores. That being said, at a time when micro breweries and imports were not so popular and Labatt 50, along with Molson Ex, were the only beers around, dad had good taste.
Pairing: Good old Paté Chinois, Québec food, cheeses.
Price: 2.35$ (1x 475ml)
Beer type: Pale Ale
Brewery: Labatt Brewery Canada
Country / Region: Toronto, Ontario
So there you go folks, February 4th is a strange one, it marks 3 anniversaries; the death anniversary of my father, the birthday of my wife’s friend Leigh who died of Cancer at age 34 and on a happier note, my brother-in-law Alain’s birthday. Bonne Fete le beau frère!