Beer Review – PUMPKING

Mini Beer Review: The Southern Tier Brewing Company is based out of New York and is responsible for many multi-layered beers. The PUMPKING seasonal offering has been on my radar for a few years and I just finally had an opportunity to sit down and indulge. Who says October needs to pass us by so quickly? 

Appearance: The rich copper colour is quite appealing and traditionally expected from the majority of pumpkin ales. 

Scent: Pumpkin pie, nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla and butter. It’s certainly easy on the nose. 

Taste: Smoothy and creamy. The taste of pumpkin is initially very prominent, but then slowly starts to reveal other flavours such as a pie crust, vanilla bean and candy corn. 

Overall: This was one of my final new pumpkin ales of the season and I was not at all disappointed. The 8.6 ABV is hidden rather nicely, but still manages to appear when appropriate. While this particular beer might be considered too sweet for some, I would still highly recommend picking up a bottle or two. 





Beer Review – Dogfish Head Pumpkin Ale

Mini Beer Review: If you’re a true beer enthusiast, you are likely well aware of the reputation Dogfish Head Brewery has rightfully earned. In fact, this particular pumpkin ale is often regarded as one of the best in the North America. So does it live up to the hype? Let’s take a closer look! 

Appearance: At first glance, the colour is truly stunning. The medium amber hue embodies a true pumpkin ale. 

Scent: Initially, brown sugar and nutmeg jumped out at me, but I also eventually caught some pumpkin on a second attempt. 

Taste: During my first sip, the pumpkin flavour was quite subtle, but eventually settles in nicely along with the additional spices. 

Overall: Add this to the endless pile of overwhelming positive reviews. It easily ranks among the Top 3 pumpkin ales I have ever consumed. I was shocked that a beer with a higher percentage of alcohol could be so drinkable. A winner on virtually every level imaginable. 



Beer Review – Great Lakes Pumpkin Ale

Mini Beer Review: This seasonal brew is courtesy of the Toronto, Ontario based Great Lakes Brewery. Putting aside my obvious love of pumpkin ales, I was instantly attracted to their effective use of branding. At 650ml per bottle, it’s just enough for a few pints worth of fall. 

Appearance: Most pumpkin brews possess a natural amber colour, but this was closer to a darker golden shade. 

Scent: The nutmeg immediately jumped out followed closely by malty sweetness. 

Taste: The first mouthful went hand and hand with the scent mentioned above. It starts off fairly spicy and finishes with a sharpness that leads to a slightly bitter aftertaste.   

Overall: Great Lakes Pumpkin Ale is both drinkable and well balanced. While it lacks that definitive pumpkin taste of my all time favourites, this is still arguably one of the better seasonal offerings available in Canada. 





Beer Review: Great Lakes Nosferatu

Often hailed as one of the finest breweries in America, Great Lakes only release this Nosferatu Red Ale during the fall season. The Internet community has met Great Lakes Nosferatu with critical acclaim and I was eagerly awaiting my first pint.

Appearance: It’s advertised as a rich deep blood red colour, but it’s slightly lighter than
that. Never the less, it’s truly stunning and easy on the eyes.

Scent: It’s fairly sweet with a prominent mix of caramel.

Taste: The first couple of sips were quite bitter, but eventually the sweetness settles in with hints of fruit and citrus. The aftertaste is extremely hoppy with a hint of smokiness.

Overall: Is Great Lakes Nosferatu worthy of the wide spread praise it has been receiving? Absolutely! Everything about this particular brew is unique and the flavour combinations were outstanding. Once you get past the first couple of sips, you are in for quite the treat. 



Beer Review – Haunted Pumpkin Ale

Mini Beer Review: Lucky Girl Brewing “Haunted Pumpkin Ale”

On my recent trip to Frankenmuth, Michigan, I picked up this beer along with many others that cannot be located in Canada. I’m always anxious to consume new brews and cracked this open during a delicious lasanga dinner.

Appearance – A clear amber colour with a fair bit of carbonation 

Scent – Sweet and citrusy with some brown sugar

Taste – I picked up on hints of bread, malt and nutmeg, but tasted very little pumpkin.

Overall – While this beer is extremely drinkable, I found it rather difficult to classify it as a ”pumpkin ale” since it contained very little pumpkin flavour. That being said, I would certainly be willing to pick up this beer again.

Side note: As an avid fan of advertising, I must provide this company with the appropriate amount of praise for the creative and visually pleasing labelling. 


Beer Review – Nightmare on Mill Street

Mini Beer Review: Mill Street Brewery’s “Nightmare on Mill Street” Pumpkin Ale. 

Appearance – A beautiful copper colour with a sizeable amount of foam that quickly dissipates.

Scent- Nutmeg, cinnamon, all spice and pumpkin 

Taste – I instantly picked up on the hints of cinnamon, vanilla and pumpkin. It’s creamy with a light bitterness throughout and extremely drinkable. 

Overall – Over the past year, Mill Street has quickly become one of my favourite breweries. They have never disappointed me with their high quality efforts and attention to detailing from both a brewing and branding perspective. I highly recommend this beer and would easily call it one of the best and most complete pumpkin ales available. 

*Note: This is a seasonal beer and only available for a limited time*


Does Hard Work Pay Off?

Ever since I was a young child, it was distilled in me to believe that hard work will eventually pay off. We are constantly tested by this theory and at times it seems inaccurate, preposterous and unobtainable. Perhaps it’s merely impatience or the fact we witness others get ahead in life due to nothing other than luck, but we start to doubt the concept of hard work.

I was reminded of a vivid memory at a basketball camp when I was 13 years old. It was honestly the most gruelling two weeks of my life as despite my size and skill set, every other kid was more talented and more physically imposing. I instantly became the proverbial underdog and knew that hustle was my only key to survival in this land full of giants. I spent the majority of my tenure at basketball camp feeling beat up, exhausted and left behind.

As the camp wrapped up, the counsellors handed out awards to each player. Many of these awards included creative or humourous titles with an inspirational meaning behind them. Last but not least came my award. I frantically went through all of the possible outcomes in my head, but none of which seemed positive or significant. “Chris Toplack wins the Charlie Hustle Award for being the hardest working kid in the entire camp.” My award was met with applause and praise. I was shocked and amazed that these talented players were congratulating me and in full agreement that I worked harder than anyone else. Truth be told, I ended up with some pretty respectful statistics that summer.

Despite all of my professional accomplishments, this moment is among my most precious. Why? It’s a pure example that yes, hard work DOES pay off.


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Goodlife Fitness, Rogers, ABC Warehouse, Westervelt College, Time Well Scheduled, Mid County Ford, Fairwinds Lodge, Global Donuts and Deli, North End Appliance and Wal-Mart. 

Below is a link to some of my voice over samples. If you like what you hear, feel free to shoot me an email so we can get started together!


Harry’s Review

“Make the most of your shave with Harry’s”

To me, there are few things better than a good shave. It allows me to feel both refreshed and rejuvenated. I understand how strange that sounds as I drag 5 blades across my neck, but it’s true. I was displeased with the popular and highly reviewed Gillette Fusion Proglide, so I began seeking a suitable replacement. Tired of the overpriced razors found in local drugstores, I expanded my search to the Internet. While many individuals I know have chosen to go with Dollar Shave Club, I was immediately attracted to Harry’s and their simple yet effective advertising. I was never fortunate enough to experience the old school barber shops, but I was instantly reminded of them and drawn to the nostalgic aspect of their brand. I decided to take a chance and placed my very first order. 


The razor, blades and shaving cream all arrived in two separate boxes that were neatly packed and visually pleasing. As noted earlier, the overall presentation resembled that of an old school barber shop. It was simple, clean and professional. I placed my order on a Sunday and the items arrived in merely two days. This was well under the original timeframe for delivery. My wife and I have many items shipped to our home and this was undoubtedly the best service I have experienced in months.



I originally ordered the Winston set, which included the razor, 3 blades and one tube of shaving cream. I ultimately decided to include an additional tube of shaving cream and 12 blades. 

Total Cost: $53 plus shipping and tax = $66.67 (Great bargain!) 

In comparison to the Proglide, it would have cost me nearly double the amount if I stuck with Gillette products. 



The Winston razor was modern, chic and very easy to handle. There was very minimal pull and absolutely no razor burn. As an individual with sensitive skin, this was a major relief. The only real drawback was the shaving cream. While the scent is pleasant and the cream itself contains many calming ingredients, I found that it does not lather well at all. 


Click on the photo below for a link to their website.