Tuesday, February 6, 2018

My Rockwell

DW calls it my version of a Norman Rockwell painting.

It's how the young woman was captured. Walking with purpose, preoccupied. Burdened but not overly encumbered. The oversized, gold purse, hanging off one arm without a care: the oversized, pink duffel bag, too large to be a gym bag, filled but not stuffed, slung over the shoulder.

The reddish-brown hair, tied up in an elaborate bun, so as to not get in her face and, perhaps, distract her from reading the display on her white smartphone. White background, so most likely an article. Clearly, not a photo. The device rests gingerly held in her hand, could easily be knocked free, though she carries it with confidence.

An experienced New Yorker, walking the empty platform of the 23rd Street Station, in Manhattan's Chelsea district. Two blocks west of the Flatiron Building and along 7th Avenue.

Her black coat, open, reveals a black skirt cut above the knee, but the coat itself drops lower. Her multi-coloured scarf is as subdued as the colours of the tiled platform and wall. Gold sandals: one, in mid-step, shows that the heel is strapless, comes away from the foot with each stride. She'll kick these off, carelessly, when she reaches home.

She's gone, in a second, never knowing that a camera was trained on her as she walked past the elaborate station sign.

It's a simple shot, one that I almost didn't take. I had only had my camera for two months, was still learning its capabilities. I was adjusting the ISO, trying to get it at the best level for a hand-held shot, practicing against a deserted platform, six track widths away. At ISO 1100, I could shoot at 1/125 of a second with the aperture all the way open, at f/2.8. My 24-70mm lens was at maximum magnification.

The train on my side was fast-approaching, so I knew I had to take my final shots now, before my view would be blocked and I would have to board the train. As I focused, I saw a person approaching from the right-hand side. I was going to wait until she passed by, but in a second I realized that she had to be in the shot to make it interesting. As she approached the centre of my frame, I shot.

DW calls it my version of a Norman Rockwell painting. It certainly captures a moment in time. A young woman, either oblivious to what's happening around her or without a care, caught up in her own affairs, on the screen in her hand, as she makes her way through the city.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Winter Scenes

When you live in the National Capital Region, it doesn't matter what Wiarton Willy says, or any of the other rodents that have been made arbitrary symbols of the state of the season. Six more weeks of winter would still be an early thaw.

We may as well get out there and enjoy it.

Happy Monday!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Beer O'Clock: Sunsplit IPA

I don't know why I haven't reviewed Dominion City Brewing Company before now.

I visited their brewery, more than years ago, after they first opened their doors. Their shop was much smaller than it is today. I tried several of their first offerings: their Earnscliffe Brown Ale has great malted flavours and is an easy-drinking ale; the Earl Grey Marmalade Saison, uniquely sublime.

It wasn't until I visited the east-end brewery, last month, on a Brew Donkey tour, that it dawned on me that a review was way overdue.

On that tour, I tried four samples: a Winding Down the Bines Wet Hop Ale, a Belgian-style winter ale, Julebryg, and their deliciously decadent stout, Gomatose Ice Cream Stout. They were all very good—in fact, I brought home some of the stout—but one IPA stood head and shoulders above them all.

I haven't yet figured out the difference between West-Coast, East-Coast, or New-England when it comes to a style of IPA that, for me, seems to have the same characteristics: citrus-infused hops, tropical and citrus flavours, and a full-bodied finish. Some day, I'm going to have to sit down with an expert, and one of each style, and go through their distinctive subtleties.

Whatever their characteristics, there is one thing I know: I love this style of IPA.

So how does Dominion City's New England-styled IPA hold up? Let's take a look.
Sunsplit IPA (6.5% ABV)
Dominion City Brewing Company
Ottawa ON
Appearance: an unfiltered, cloudy, pale orange, almost like grapefruit juice but with more saturated colour. The head is a creamy off-white that settles to a firm cap.

Nose: lush, citrussy hops that revealed more grapefruit and tangerine. Hints of pineapple.

Palate: bitter grapefruit rind and peppery flint. There are solid citrus flavours that subdue any tropical notes. The flavours wash solidly over your mouth and bring a long-lasting finish.

Overall impression: as I said before, I don't know the true difference between New England IPA and a West Coast IPA, and this offering from Dominion City doesn't help me clarify those differences. But what this ale does is please my palate, my nose, and warms me on a cold winter's day. This is a flavourful IPA with lots of driving hops and a citrus powerhouse. I could drink this IPA all day long.

Beer O'Clock rating: 4.5

I wish that this brewery was more centrally located in Ottawa. It's Beacon Hill industrial park remoteness is far of my beaten path, and I can only hope that my local LCBO stores stock this and other Dominion City brews. But when I do find the time to make the easterly trip, I know that it's worth it.

It may have taken me more than three years to review this brewery but it won't be the last time.