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  #21  
Old Posted Nov 25, 2019, 5:00 PM
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As a prairie resident, I can tell you VIA is pretty much irrelevant here.

When I was a student 15 years ago, I used to occasionally take VIA to go between Winnipeg and Edmonton. In those days, I would board at night, sleep on the train, and arrive the next morning. It was very leisurely and comfortable. I can't remember the exact travel time but it was about 13 or 14 hours or so... roughly on par with driving in terms of speed.

Today the same trip takes 24 hours, 20 minutes. And it is not uncommon for the train to be a couple of hours late on top of that.

Someone could literally drive an entire round trip between Winnipeg and Edmonton in the time it takes for the train to make it just one way.

Who in their right mind would put up with that when they could fly for one or two hundred bucks and be there in under three hours?

At that point you have to ask why even bother with it.
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  #22  
Old Posted Nov 25, 2019, 5:10 PM
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  #23  
Old Posted Nov 25, 2019, 5:11 PM
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Originally Posted by GoTrans View Post
Your idea of starting a new Crown corporation would not do a thing.

What is required is investment in the rail system like we invest in roads.

Via needs to have its trains given legal priority over freight trains and the host railways need to compensate Via for delays.

Passenger rail service need to be re-introduced to repair the damage caused by years of cancellations, particularly in Western Canada.

Passenger trains should be routed to serve the larger population centres so that cost recovery is improved.

Transcontinental train service should be changed to regional service so trains can have more convenient schedules, depart from their origin on time, have less distance to travel and have a greater likelihood of arriving at their final destination on time. This also would have the benefit of increasing ridership and make multiple frequencies more possible.

Via needs it's own right of way in parts of the country where numbers warrant. This would allow for faster and more frequent service. While the HFR proposal is an option there are other ways to have similar results and still use the more populated Lakeshore route in Ontario.

The host railways need infrastructure improvements including increased capacity, increased speeds and electrification which will require massive government and corporate funding over a long period of time.

Infrastructure that was abandoned and or downgraded needs to be replaced either at the expense of the government for allowing the railways to take the action in the first place or by the government forcing the railroads to rebuild certain sections of track. There are still sections of track on the CN line between Edmonton and the BC border where double track on one of Canada's busiest mainlines that was removed by CN and is still not been returned to service.

Stations need be located in the centre of cities where possible not out in the bush like in Sudbury or in the middle of a rail yard on the outskirts like in Saskatoon.

The list goes on and on including such things as building grade separations, construction to reduce curves, implementing positive train control on main lines and more new equipment to name a few. This all takes $$$$$ and commitment.
I agree with a more regionalized approach. I would be in favour of eliminating The Canadian, and replacing it with a series of regional trains:

- Toronto to Sudbury
- Sudbury to Winnipeg (stop in Thunder Bay)
- Winnipeg to Saskatoon
- Winnipeg to Regina (stop in Brandon)
- Calgary to Regina (stops in Medicine Hat, Swift Current, Moose Jaw)
- Calgary to Vancouver (stops in Banff, Lake Louise, Kamloops, Chilliwack, Abbotsford)
- Edmonton to Saskatoon
- Edmonton to Vancouver (stops in Jasper, Kamloops)
- Calgary to Edmonton (stop in Red Deer)
- Saskatoon to Regina

If demand warranted, additional service could be added between Kamloops and Vancouver.

This would provide flexibility for different train frequencies for different routes based on demand, and more importantly reduce delays. Currently on The Canadian, delays between Toronto and Winnipeg can cascade and cause delays for passengers departing from Edmonton to go to Jasper or Vancouver, but by making the various city pairs have trains running independently of each other, they aren't dependent on events elsewhere in the network.

This would also allow for more convenient departure and arrival times; as it stands now some stations have trains coming in the middle of the night.
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  #24  
Old Posted Nov 25, 2019, 5:12 PM
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Originally Posted by niwell View Post
I travel with VIA between Toronto and Ottawa fairly often and it's a mixed bag. Generally I find that the schedules are off by 5-10 minutes, however once one delay occurs they begin cascading.

If they do manage to improve service speeds and timeline reliability at the current price point I would always stick with the train.
If you check on Via's arrivals and departures most trains have been running on time since the rail strike at CN, including even the Canadian. It shows you how little capacity there is for passenger trains on the host railways.
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  #25  
Old Posted Nov 25, 2019, 5:18 PM
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VIA is a lost cause and should be dismantled.

Each province should run passenger rail; in some places they actually have teeth. Metrolinx has been buying up lines and making more improvements to the rail network around the GTA than VIA ever could. They’re starting to horn into VIA’s turf now with service to KW and Niagara Falls. Let them take over all Ontario services. Let the Quebec government take over the Quebec City-Montreal service. I’m sure they could get the CDPQi to invest in the project and actually make it decent. The Canadian and Atlantic can become private tourist trains. The Churchill, White River and Seneterre trains can be run by their respective provinces or the Ministry of Northern Affairs.

VIA just can’t run a railroad. I know that they’re subordinate to the interests of the private freight companies that own the tracks, but other organizations that were former pariahs have found the leadership and the strategy to stop being such punching bags.

Canada is a decentralized federation of highly independent provinces, and the provinces already have complete control over the highway networks, so I think control over passenger rail should be a natural fit.

Other bonus: now Albertans can decide if they want to run their own Edmonton-Calgary service and New Brunswick and Nova Scotia can decide if they want to run a Halifax-Moncton service without feeling alienated by a Federal agency that essentially only “serves” Ontario and Quebec.
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  #26  
Old Posted Nov 25, 2019, 5:21 PM
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Originally Posted by niwell View Post

. Wish they had better drink offerings as the only craft beer last time was Beau's, but according to some friends in the industry that has to do with bilingual labeling requirements. .
That sounds very surprising.

Interprovincial trade regulations require a bare minimum of bilingual labelling if a product is to be sold in more than one province. What it generally means is you need to have what it is (BEER - BIÈRE) and maybe some info on ingredients and especially allergens. So pretty much anyone who produces anything beyond an extremely local market is going to have at least some bilingual wording on their products. Since VIA buys its stuff in the "corridor" most any even moderately-sized craft beer op in Ontario and Quebec is going to want to have the opportunity (even if theoretical in some cases) to sell their stuff in the province right next door. So there is zero chance that Beau's is the only craft beer that meets this requirement.

So there are literally dozens of craft beers that would fit the bill, as almost all of them probably already have bilingual labels.

And even so, I don't know what particular rule VIA might have, but on Air Canada if you're on a plane that might have made an international fight during the day, it's not uncommon to be served products like yogourt, Coke or snacks, that are only labelled in English, or only in French, or only in Dutch, or only in Spanish, as they often stock up in the cities where they're stopped for a while.
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  #27  
Old Posted Nov 25, 2019, 5:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hipster duck View Post
VIA is a lost cause and should be dismantled.

Each province should run passenger rail; in some places they actually have teeth. Metrolinx has been buying up lines and making more improvements to the rail network around the GTA than VIA ever could. They’re starting to horn into VIA’s turf now with service to KW and Niagara Falls. Let them take over all Ontario services. Let the Quebec government take over the Quebec City-Montreal service. I’m sure they could get the CDPQi to invest in the project and actually make it decent. The Canadian and Atlantic can become private tourist trains. The Churchill, White River and Seneterre trains can be run by their respective provinces or the Ministry of Northern Affairs.

VIA just can’t run a railroad. I know that they’re subordinate to the interests of the private freight companies that own the tracks, but other organizations that were former pariahs have found the leadership and the strategy to stop being such punching bags.

Canada is a decentralized federation of highly independent provinces, and the provinces already have complete control over the highway networks, so I think control over passenger rail should be a natural fit.

Other bonus: now Albertans can decide if they want to run their own Edmonton-Calgary service and New Brunswick and Nova Scotia can decide if they want to run a Halifax-Moncton service without feeling alienated by a Federal agency that essentially only “serves” Ontario and Quebec.
I'm not sure that decentralizing it will fix things as it is lack of proper infrastructure that is really the problem here. As long as the lines are choked with mile long freight trains lumbering along at 90 km/h, I don't know how you can really hope to correct the situation.
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  #28  
Old Posted Nov 25, 2019, 5:46 PM
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Yeah I don't think it is fair to blame VIA, they're given a task with impossible expectations - running all sorts of government mandated services, some of which make economic sense, some don't. And doing so on someone else's railway, with barely the funds to do just that, let alone purchase the infrastructure required to actually make something good.
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  #29  
Old Posted Nov 25, 2019, 6:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hipster duck View Post
VIA is a lost cause and should be dismantled.

Each province should run passenger rail; in some places they actually have teeth. Metrolinx has been buying up lines and making more improvements to the rail network around the GTA than VIA ever could. They’re starting to horn into VIA’s turf now with service to KW and Niagara Falls. Let them take over all Ontario services. Let the Quebec government take over the Quebec City-Montreal service. I’m sure they could get the CDPQi to invest in the project and actually make it decent. The Canadian and Atlantic can become private tourist trains. The Churchill, White River and Seneterre trains can be run by their respective provinces or the Ministry of Northern Affairs.

VIA just can’t run a railroad. I know that they’re subordinate to the interests of the private freight companies that own the tracks, but other organizations that were former pariahs have found the leadership and the strategy to stop being such punching bags.

Canada is a decentralized federation of highly independent provinces, and the provinces already have complete control over the highway networks, so I think control over passenger rail should be a natural fit.

Other bonus: now Albertans can decide if they want to run their own Edmonton-Calgary service and New Brunswick and Nova Scotia can decide if they want to run a Halifax-Moncton service without feeling alienated by a Federal agency that essentially only “serves” Ontario and Quebec.
Mm yes great, just what Canada needs, even more decentralization

I suppose that replicating the administrative side of VIA several times over would also help? Look at Australia - their suburban rail is excellent and generations ahead of Canada's. Their state-run intercity rail services, not so much.
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  #30  
Old Posted Nov 25, 2019, 6:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Acajack View Post
That sounds very surprising.

Interprovincial trade regulations require a bare minimum of bilingual labelling if a product is to be sold in more than one province. What it generally means is you need to have what it is (BEER - BIÈRE) and maybe some info on ingredients and especially allergens. So pretty much anyone who produces anything beyond an extremely local market is going to have at least some bilingual wording on their products. Since VIA buys its stuff in the "corridor" most any even moderately-sized craft beer op in Ontario and Quebec is going to want to have the opportunity (even if theoretical in some cases) to sell their stuff in the province right next door. So there is zero chance that Beau's is the only craft beer that meets this requirement.

So there are literally dozens of craft beers that would fit the bill, as almost all of them probably already have bilingual labels.

And even so, I don't know what particular rule VIA might have, but on Air Canada if you're on a plane that might have made an international fight during the day, it's not uncommon to be served products like yogourt, Coke or snacks, that are only labelled in English, or only in French, or only in Dutch, or only in Spanish, as they often stock up in the cities where they're stopped for a while.
You would think so, but if you've been into an LCBO in Toronto lately, you'd notice that it seems on-trend for the local craft brewers to have English-only labels on beer. Because I'm a nerd about this stuff, I usually buy the craft beer brands with French on the label. There are plenty of Franco-Ontarians, 100% of Canadians start becoming bilingual by reading the side of their cereal boxes, and it just seems déclassé of these local breweries to exclude French from their beer. Keeping French in the "ROC" also takes separatist wind out of the sails of incels like Yves-François Blanchet
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  #31  
Old Posted Nov 25, 2019, 6:39 PM
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Originally Posted by gunnar777 View Post
You would think so, but if you've been into an LCBO in Toronto lately, you'd notice that it seems on-trend for the local craft brewers to have English-only labels on beer. Because I'm a nerd about this stuff, I usually buy the craft beer brands with French on the label. There are plenty of Franco-Ontarians, 100% of Canadians start becoming bilingual by reading the side of their cereal boxes, and it just seems déclassé of these local breweries to exclude French from their beer. Keeping French in the "ROC" also takes separatist wind out of the sails of incels like Yves-François Blanchet
Not sure about "déclassé". If their marketting research showed that bilingual labelling would take their image upmarket, as compared to English-only labelling, one assumes they'd have bilingual labelling.
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  #32  
Old Posted Nov 25, 2019, 6:43 PM
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Do local Quebec Breweries also do French and English labels? I would think in Ontario French and English by law need to be on the cans. I'm going to look into this next time I get something from one off the breweries in my hood.
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  #33  
Old Posted Nov 25, 2019, 6:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Acajack View Post
So there are literally dozens of craft beers that would fit the bill, as almost all of them probably already have bilingual labels.

You would think so, but that's not actually the case. I'm most familiar with the Ontario market, but the largest craft brewers outside of Quebec tend to have English only labels and have generally eschewed the Quebec market. The reason for this has more to do with inter-provincial trade regulations and SAQ tariffs on non-Quebec beer though - the monolingual labeling is the end result. Essentially you need to pay a premium or set up a production facility within Quebec to do so. Not worth it when most small brewers are focused on the local markets or focus on other jurisdictions.

For instance, Collective Arts skipped the Quebec market entirely and are focusing on the rest of Canada and the US (they just opened a production facility in NYC). Bellwoods is exporting their shelf stable beers to the US and other provinces as well. Others I can think of are actually experimenting with the Nova Scotia market, as it's not too difficult to get SKUs in the NSLC. IIRC Beau's actually has a production deal with Les Brasseurs du Nord which is why they can distribute in Quebec.

With respect to VIA, it's my understanding they are fairly strict on the labeling point, though it may have something to do with difference in how train and air travel sales are treated. Ace Hill is on Porter airlines for instance and they do not have bilingual labeling, unless there are special cans made specifically for those flights. Also VIA apparently is just difficult to deal with. Somewhat coincidentally I actually talked about this with a close friend who used to be head of retail sales for one of the larger craft breweries in Ontario and that's more or less what he had to say on the subject.

This is from an Ontario perspective of course, not sure what the situation is in other provinces. Aside from the occasional Dieu Du Ciel and Trou du Diable it's very difficult to find actual Quebec craft beer here, and Unibroue no longer counts. That being said, given VIA's abysmal service outside the two big provinces I can't see why any craft brewer from elsewhere in the country would even be interested in selling to them!
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  #34  
Old Posted Nov 25, 2019, 7:02 PM
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Do local Quebec Breweries also do French and English labels? I would think in Ontario French and English by law need to be on the cans. I'm going to look into this next time I get something from one off the breweries in my hood.
It is not actually law in Ontario though I couldn't tell you the exact reasons. From what I can tell the only requirement approaching bilingualism for a SKU in the LCBO is labeling of "Beer / Biere" at the bottom of the can, ingredients (which for beer is not exhaustive), alcohol percentage and the small text regarding return for refund - the rest can be entirely English. If you are selling from your own facility that isn't even necessary.

I can ask my friend for more details as he's intimately familiar with the tiniest of details on this matter.
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  #35  
Old Posted Nov 25, 2019, 7:05 PM
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It is not law in Ontario though I couldn't tell you the exact reasons. From what I can tell the only requirement approaching bilingualism for a SKU in the LCBO is labeling of "Beer / Biere" at the bottom of the can and the small text regarding return for refund - the rest can be entirely English. If you are selling from your own facility that isn't even necessary.

I can ask my friend for more details as he's intimately familiar with the tiniest of details on this matter.
And in fact, that single word "BIÈRE" might be enough (at least for interprovincial trade purpose) to meet the bilingual labelling requirement. (Not sure about VIA's own rules though.)
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  #36  
Old Posted Nov 25, 2019, 7:12 PM
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I think VIA should focus on connecting regional centres first rather than unrolling a huge country wide network... focus on getting good service on Vancouver Island, between Vancouver and larger BC communities, between the 5 large Prairie cities, the Quebec-Windsor corridor, etc...

people will still fly from Winnipeg to Toronto or Calgary to Toronto but it should be an attractive option to take the train from Winnipeg to Calgary or Kelowna to Vancouver, etc
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  #37  
Old Posted Nov 25, 2019, 7:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Acajack View Post
And in fact, that single word "BIÈRE" might be enough (at least for interprovincial trade purpose) to meet the bilingual labelling requirement. (Not sure about VIA's own rules though.)
I was just looking at a tin of beer from Dominion City Brewing here in Ottawa and, indeed, the word "BIÈRE" is the only French on the package. I don't know, however, whether they sell in Quebec.
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  #38  
Old Posted Nov 25, 2019, 7:18 PM
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I agree with a more regionalized approach. I would be in favour of eliminating The Canadian, and replacing it with a series of regional trains:

- Toronto to Sudbury
- Sudbury to Winnipeg (stop in Thunder Bay)
I would run the current Canadian on the current CN line 2 days a week from Toronto to either Winnipeg or Vancouver and run a Toronto -Sudbury-Thunder Bay-Winnipeg service 5 days a week.

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Originally Posted by manny_santos View Post
- Saskatoon to Regina
- Edmonton to Saskatoon- Winnipeg to Saskatoon
- Winnipeg to Regina (stop in Brandon)
I would run Regina-Saskatoon-Lloydminster-Edmonton and Saskatoon-Regina-Brandon. The effect of this is to give Regina-Saskatoon 2 daily trips in each direction on a line that has little traffic so any improvements to the Regina Saskatoon section would primarily benefit the passenger service.

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Originally Posted by manny_santos View Post
- Calgary to Regina (stops in Medicine Hat, Swift Current, Moose Jaw)

- Calgary to Vancouver (stops in Banff, Lake Louise, Kamloops, Chilliwack, Abbotsford)
- Edmonton to Vancouver (stops in Jasper, Kamloops)
I would run Edmonton - Vancouver 3 days per week and Calgary - Vancouver 4 days a week in order to determine the demand for each segment. There might be problems with push back from Rocky Mountaineer relating to the Calgary to Vancouver service.

- Calgary to Edmonton (stop in Red Deer)[/QUOTE]

This should be a 3 or 4 daily round trip service with a 3 hour schedule as a place holder to determine latent demand. There have been numerous studies for higher speed rail on this route so it should not be difficult to determine if there is sufficient ridership to have higher speed service. Since the federal government is potentially paying for HFR it should also be expected to pay for the improvement to this service with Alberta paying their fair share of the grade separations that would be required. The lack of adequate grade separations was one of the factors that lead to the demise of the the RDC service previously offered by Via.

One trip could possibly be extended to Lethbridge.

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Originally Posted by manny_santos View Post
If demand warranted, additional service could be added between Kamloops and Vancouver.

This would provide flexibility for different train frequencies for different routes based on demand, and more importantly reduce delays.

This would also allow for more convenient departure and arrival times; as it stands now some stations have trains coming in the middle of the night.
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  #39  
Old Posted Nov 25, 2019, 7:27 PM
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I was just looking at a tin of beer from Dominion City Brewing here in Ottawa and, indeed, the word "BIÈRE" is the only French on the package. I don't know, however, whether they sell in Quebec.
They do not, as they don't currently have any ability to distribute in Quebec without incurring significant costs. Curious about which beer you have too, as I just went through my beer pictures (yes I take pictures of all the different beers I've had...) and the only bilingual examples I could find are Town and Country, and Sunsplit. The rest were fully in English, but were also all small batch one-offs though. I'm not sure if they've distributed through the LCBO, but even if not they may label their larger releases that way so it's easier if they decide to in the future.

As an aside I think they are one of the best breweries in Ontario right now! I always make a point of stopping by when I'm in Ottawa.


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Originally Posted by Acajack View Post
And in fact, that single word "BIÈRE" might be enough (at least for interprovincial trade purpose) to meet the bilingual labelling requirement. (Not sure about VIA's own rules though.)

From what I gathered it sounds like it's more of an internal VIA thing than any actual formal interpovincial trade regulations. Unless the in-province production requirements for Quebec distribution come into play somehow.

Not getting a straight answer from VIA on this does sound par for the course though, to get back to the main topic.
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  #40  
Old Posted Nov 25, 2019, 7:59 PM
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Do local Quebec Breweries also do French and English labels? I would think in Ontario French and English by law need to be on the cans. I'm going to look into this next time I get something from one off the breweries in my hood.
It seems that most microbrews in both Quebec and Ontario limit themselves to the absolute basics in terms of bilingualism (ie BEER / BIÈRE or BEER /BIÈRE). The cardboard box it comes in might also have a black and white nutrition facts box which is by default bilingual.

Generally speaking though the "story" of the beer on a bottle or a can is in one language only. There are some exceptions but not that many really. Space is fairly limited and for many Quebec at least, there is sometimes a somewhat long-winded story about what local legend or folk tale inspired the beer, or a bio of the person that the beer is named for.

I checked the two main microbreweries here in Gatineau and their labelling (aside from the requisite BIÈRE / BEER) is all only in French, and we are right next to Ottawa/Ontario. Even the type of beer is only in French, as in "Blonde de style belge". Though I suppose it's not that hard to figure out...
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