Thursday, March 31, 2011

south by southwest

my friend went to austin texas and all i got was...
amazing beer!

the doggie style, i know i love
the stash, i am looking forward to falling in love with!
thank you thank you thank you giselle for actually falling for the "bring me back some beer okay?"

rogue central city dinner

talk about a blast from the past
here's what i can remember from the rogue kitchen & wetbar beer pairing dinner with central city brewery
way, way, way back on january 18th

 when going to a central city dinner, you gotta warm up the taste buds with the red racer ipa!

course one:
tai snapper crudo with pickled kumquat, red chili, orange oil and crispy yam
paired with red racer wheat ale

tai snapper crudo

look ma!  magnetic cutlery!

red racer wheat ale
course two:
hot smoked trout with assorted beets, almonds, arugula, raspberry
paired with red racer extra special bitter

red racer extra special bitter

hot smoked trout
course three:
duo of duck with seared breast, confit leg, barley risotto, baby fennel, citrus
paired with red racer india pale ale

red racer india pale ale

the pescatarian salmon option

the duo of duck, up close and personal-like
course four:
spiced honey tart with gorgonzola, poached pear, chantilly cream
paired with thor's hammer barley wine

how bridget feels about the thor's hammer

spiced honey tart

cheers gary!
thanks for the great beers!
unfortunately most of my notes from this dinner have gone awol
what i do have is that the esb is a big beer that goes well with beef

the hops in the ipa act as an aperitif to get the stomach juices going, which is why an ipa pairs so well with the heavy duck
gary is all about hopping as an art
he adds the hops in the last 30 minutes of the boil for flavour and aroma
he uses hops out of yakima washington

the thor's hammer is made once a year
this year's came out in february so it was still very young when we drank it in january
it is bottle conditioned and as such can age up to ten years
it is a 10.5% beer, making it a great dessert beer
stressy yeast produces esters which give the flavours like fig and walnut to the beer

at central city they care about beer so they brew what they want to drink

what i remember about the food is that i loved all the fish dishes!
having a mouthful of the smoked trout with beet, almond, arugula and raspberry all together was particularly good for the soul
and even though i found out later the barley risotto had a chicken stock base and therefore should not have been fed to the pescatarian, it was delicious - i highly recommend substituting barley for rice next time you whip up a risotto
my friends who had the duck suggested that it was actually not a good pairing for the ipa
too rich and heavy
they thought beef would have paired better
overall though, as usual, the chef cory chapman did himself proud!


for the latest newsletter from seattle's elysian brewing, click here

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

top 10 ipas

tasting vancouver wants to know what your favourite local(ish) ipa is!

so far their list is:
Red Racer IPA (getting lots of love)

Driftwood Fat Tug IPA
Russell IP’EH
Dogfish Head IPA 60
Double Daddy Imperial
Driftwood Sartori Harvest IPA
Elysian Jasmine IPA
Tree Brewing Hop Head
Dead Frog Citra IPA
Stone IPA
Ninkansi Total Domination
Howe Sound’s Devil’s Elbow
West Coast Green Flash
Deschutes Inversion DF 90min IPA
Elysian Immortal
Bridgeport’s Hop Czar
Hale’s Ales Moosehead

and i'm happy to say i've had almost all of the above
but there's the total eclipse of the hops? the hop circle? the hop henge? the unearthly?

tasting notes

march 16, 2011
st. augustine's

i put together another sampler for stacy:
elysian brewing bete blanche belgian tripel
rogue marimoto soba ale
red truck big black bock
rogue brutal bitter

i especially enjoy putting together a sampler for someone who likes belgians
i don't myself, and feel kind of guilty about it
so it pleases me when i can assuage that guilt a little by putting belgians in a sampler for someone else!

for my sampler i chose:
rogue morimoto soba ale
st a's says:  6.5%  part of rogue's signature series, designed with iron chef masaharu morimoto.  soba, also known as buckwheat, is not a type of wheat but a member of the rhubarb family and has been a longtime staple of japanese cuisine because of its nutritional value
i say:  not soo sure what to make of this one, i think i will have to spend some time with a larger serving to make up my mind

red truck ltd. series big black bock
st a's says: 7.2% a strong black lager interpreted from two classic german styles of beer; schwartzbier (black lager) and dopplebock (very strong lager)
i say:  its a dark and malty entity, as a lager is not as thick and creamy as a stout, but its got all the same rich maltiness, delicious!

r&b brewing east side bitter
st a's says: 5.5%  r&b uses a combination of english and local malts to create the beer's subtle, malty canvas.  northwest hops are added to the kettle as well as a ridiculous amount added post-fermentation
i say:  yes! yes! yes!  such hoppy goodness!

central city nitro oatmeal stout
st a's says: 4.5% this irish-style stout is deep, dark, smooth and creamy.  the use of oatmeal adds a silkiness to the texture and body of this ale
i say:  i'm not a fan.  its pretty anemic.  cloudy in a weird way, not rich, not creamy.  bummer.  its just there.  its not interesting or exciting or memorable.

after my sampler i moved in pints

howe sound rockfish red
st a's says:  5.2% a red malty ale with a pleasant citrus note
i say:  i find it quite delightful - just the right balance of malt and hops and body

hopworks urban brewery ipa
st a's says:  6.6% ruch and resinous flavours of citrus fruit and pine.  the finest organic pilsner malts and then bring balance to your new fave beer
i say:  i love how they know its one of my fave beers!  i bought a bottle of it at firefly the other day, but couldn't resist having a pint of it at the bar

amanda finds that the pike brewing monk's uncle tripel ale has "big mouthy feel"
and the howe sound pothole filler is "dark delicious meal of chocolate & coffee - great breakfast beer"

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

beer geekery

quotes from march 23rd's beernesday:

bridget:  "i'll have one more before i go.... if i have to."

me i think:  "any friend of tasha's is a friend of beer"

tasting notes

march 23, 2011
st. augustine's

bit of a short beer menu this week...
but short at st. a's is insanely long for most other places!

began my evening with a sampler

northcoast brewing scrimshaw pilsner
st a's says: 4.4%  has a subtle hop character, a crisp, clean palate, and a dry finish
i say:  pretty good.  not going to be a favourite, or even something i have a full pint of...

elysian brewing co. men's room red
st a's says:  5.6%  amber in color with a light hop aroma and toasty malt finish
i say:  i like it.  red and hoppy!  its not an amber, its not an ipa, but it sure it their love child!

taylor's crossing mad scow stout
st a's says: 4.2% a dark irish ale having a rich, roasted coffee bitterness and a smooth creamy finish
i say:  yes there's coffee bitterness, yes, its smooth and creamy but it feels kinda thin to me (gwen agrees)

vista d'oro homestead estate cider
st a's says: 7% an exceptionally dry and tart normandy-style cider made from apples of 50 year old apple trees on the winery's estate
i say:  is this a lambic?  cuz good lord its sour!  can't say i recommend it and i'm damned glad they only gave me a shot glass of the stuff

after my sampler was imbibed
i had another couple of pints of the men's room red
i was going to go with the driftwood fat tug
but that seems to be in regular rotation and i thought i'd best get me as much of the men's room while its available!
and you know what, i liked the men's room down to the last drop
i hope its on the menu again this week!

Monday, March 28, 2011

brewdog news

lots of recent posts on the brewdog blog

for the new beers in their shop, click here

for the new brewdog edinburgh, click here 

for how an increased beer duty is a boon to craft beer, click here

for how the interns exploded the brew, click here

for some potential new brewdog ingredients, click here

tasting notes

march 2, 2011
st. augustine's

i have been having fun making up samplers for some of my friends
they say "what should i have?" and i get to play dictator!
it works for me, and so far they say i haven't yet steered them wrong
so it appears to be making everyone happy!

for stacy i put together:
howe sound rockfish red ale
lost coast raspberry brown ale
driftwood farmhand ale
lighthouse rip tide pale ale

she said it was so good jackie decided to have it too
and i put a second sampler together for stacy:
howe sound high tide hemp and honey ale
howe sound rockfish red ale (she insisted on having this again!)
upright brewing seven
lost coast great white
and she liked all of those as well
woot - i rock!

my sampler was:
tree brewing double hop head ipa
st a's says: 8% loaded with five different hop varieties, this bold imperial ipa is not for the faint of heart
i say: i really like it

deschutes mirror pond pale ale
st a's says:  5% the quintessential american pale ale, mirror pond elegantly blends the sweetness of malted barley with the bit of hops
i say:  lovely as usual!  less hoppy than the others in my sampler (duh, its a pale ale not an ipa) but it sure can hold its own

crannog ales insurrection ipa
st a's says: 5.4%  100% organic.  pale amber malt body emphasizes, with enough sweeness to hold up the rather large volumes of fresh hops
i say:  pretty good, how good oscillates wildly depending on what i drink before it

howe sound pothole filler imperial stout
st a's says:  9%  this beer is a strong, inky dark ale, brewed with 6 malts and blackstrap molasses.  it is a thick beer, with an intense roasted barley flavour, with notes of chocolate and licorice
i say:  i think i got the wrong beer - my sheet said it was the right one, but there's no way the light brown beer is the pothole filler.  i wish i knew which beer i got instead though, cuz its lovely!

after my sampler i moved along to the howe sound total eclipse of the hops and the dead frog citra ipa

Sunday, March 27, 2011


oh happiness is drinking a fabulous beer!
with a fabulous friend!

in honour of tasha's birthday we cracked not one, but two big ole bottles of dogfish head's squall ipa
this is not just any bottle of beer you know
its a premium bottle that costs more than the dinner we went out for afterwards
and according to dogfish head themselves, its hard to find
but its worth every penny and an immense joy when it can be found!

pours up rather clear for a bottle conditioned beer, with a lovely head
its a 90 minute ipa that is also dry-hopped after the boil
dogfish head is out of delaware, so i wasn't expecting northwestern hops
(even though there are cascades in there)
but it still always takes me a little aback when they're not there!

"unfiltered, unfettered, unprecedented"
true dat!

"An unfiltered, 100% bottle-conditioned, super-pungent imperial I.P.A. clocking in at 9% ABV and dry-hopped with Palisade, Amarillo, Simcoe, Cascade, CTZ, and Willamette hops."

agressively hopped but still pretty darned balanced
definitely very drinkable and at 9% that might just get me in a little trouble if i'm not careful!
the price tag will keep me from drinking too much of it too often though
not sure how much you can find it for elsewhere, but in the vancouver specialty shops its $23 a bottle

Friday, March 25, 2011

bon jovi

i'm off to spend some quality time with bon jovi tonight
just me and a few thousand of their fans...

what that means though is stadium beer
blech, i hate stadium beer
and paying an outrageous sum for the displeasure

good thing we'll be starting out at the railway and i can get my hop on with the hop circle first!


from the camra newsletter:

At last year's Vancouver Home Brewing Awards Matt Anderson and Danny Seeton took the Best in Show award for their 'Rocket to Russia' bourbon oak-aged Imperial Stout, and as part of their award they've brewed a full 14000 litre batch of this beer with Yaletown Brewing brewmaster Iain Hill. After spending over a month and a half conditioning, Rocket to Russia will go on tap this Thursday at Yaletown Brewing. Matt, Danny, and Iain describe this 10.5% abv Imperial Stout as being very smooth with a distinctive American oak flavour reminiscent of new world red wines. Matt, Danny, and Iain will be on hand for the launch at this Thursday's cask event.

i hear that the launch went really well
and that you can still try the rocket to russia - so get on over there and try some!!
way to go guys!

link love

the loop:

brewer's association newsletter

rogue wire service

flying dog newsletter

Thursday, March 24, 2011


tuesday's beer and food pairing dinner at rogue kitchen and wet bar was another fabulous evening of good food, good beer, bons mots from owner and brewmaster and good times!

the evening got off to a bit of a late start - first tasters of beer arriving at 7:30ish and first dish at 7:40
but that just ensured that we were all drooling a little when it did arrive

the menu
we began with the king heffy imperial hefeweizen, a 7.7% behemoth of german yeasty goodness - bananas and cloves galore
45% wheat and 55% barley mash
it won 2 gold medals last une at the american beer awards

the king heffy

the king heffy taster wedged between the double decker ipa
from vancouver island brewing and crannog's back hand of god
paired with braised pork belly, which we were told is its traditional food pairing
seeing as i had fish instead of pork belly
and don't actually enjoy the wheat beers
i couldn't tell you if it actually did pair well

first course - carnivorous

first course - pescatarian
what i can tell you is that i want to marry the goat cheese fritter!
the vanilla citrus glaze was to die for, the celery root puree was delish (who'd a thunk?) and mahi mahi instead of pork belly was such a happy happy substitution!
i was in heaven and believe i probably made quite a few happy moaning noises as i ate
i wonder if the goat cheese fritter would have been too strong a flavour for a regular wheat beer
good thing the king heffy is a heavy-hitting imperial

the devil's elbow ipa
next up was the devil's elbow ipa
one of my all-time favourites
its my go-to beer at the government store
not too hoppy to share with non-hop-head friends
only $7 for a litre so it doesn't break the bank
and conveniently dispensed from pot-stopper bottles
that also make sharing it a joy

course number two

look ma!  its a whole crab!
i guess i've never properly paid attention when i've eaten soft-shell crab before
either that or no one has ever fed me the whole darned crab before!
boy, the shell really is soft
especially after being breaded and deep-fried
so yummy!
i had far too much fun eating it - i think maybe i should get out more...

and the chick-pea gallette - i could eat one of those every day and not get tired of it
not as spicy as i think it all could have been
but definitely hot enough to bring out the pairing with a 68 ibu ipa

ze rockfish red
the rockfish red is a lovely little red
a bit citrusy, and full-bodied
probably a good pairing with lamb
maybe a bit too heavy with the salmon

course three - carnivorous

course three - pescatarian
my salmon was kinda dry
which was too bad...
but the rest was great - loved my prawn
used my carrot puree to moisten the fish
and will have to add the crispy brussels sprouts to my wedding to the goat cheese fritter
why didn't mom make brussels sprouts like that??
the bread pudding was pretty heavy
me, i don't mind the heavy
especially with beer to wash it down
and probably it was just right with the lamb
last, but certainly not least, the rail ale nut brown
not what i would have considered a dessert beer before this pairing
now, i gotta tell you that next time i have toffee, i hope to have some rail ale to wash it down with!

decadent dessert
being on my stupid lent bent meant no brownie for me
thankfully the creme anglaise with granola bits and biscuit were yummy
and that toffee...
its been too long since i had sponge toffee!
using the rail ale to help me get the toffee out of my teeth before i lost a filling brought out the coffee notes in the beer and i had to stop drinking it
chocolate beer counts for lent i decided a while back
so once i realized there was some in there, i had to stop drinking it
stupid guilt
and i'm not even catholic - no fair!

yup, it was a gooooood dinner
paired with some delicious local beers
that's my idea of a perfect meal
so perfect that i'll be back again to rogue in a couple of weeks for the phillips dinner
and this time i'll be bringing my posse with me!

beernesday next

next week's beernesday marks a beeriversary!

Hopworks Urban Brewery

Mark your calendars... next Wednesday, March 30, HUB will celebrate our 3rd Anniversary... beer, food and merch specials all day. Keep checking in for more details.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

railway cask night

hahaha, so the r&b cask of smoky pineapple goodness that was supposed to be tapped at the railway last night apparently blew up!
mon dieu!

so r&b delivered up their esb instead.
and it was quite lovely, if a touch young...
and really, who likes pineapple anyway?

beer geekery


Tuesday, March 22, 2011


obviously i need to work less
either that or stop needing sleep

there just isn't enough time in the day after working too many hours to both go drinking and blog about it
and naturally i'm choosing to actually go drinking over blogging about it most of the time!

speaking of which, i'm off to rogue wetbar tonight to do some beer tasting and food pairing
yup, its a four course meal by the rogue chef
made to complement four lovely beers by howe sound
(and yes, i did just tour their brewery on saturday - apparently its just all about howe sound right now - oooooh, not to mention that they've got a sale on today and tomorrow and if you can get your ass to squamish, you could be the proud owner of cases of beer for 30 - 50% off - sadly i cannot get my ass to squamish to partake...)

i have also signed up to partake in rogue's phillips pairing dinner on april 12th
menu is not out yet, but i'm sure it will be delightful!

and maybe by next year i'll have actually blogged about it
(i note that my review of the previous central city pairing dinner has yet to happen - darned vacation got in the way, then too busy paying for the vacation... my kingdom for a couple of hours off!)

gosh, i hope there's swag tonight!

50 book challenge

my march additions to the 50 book challenge:

louise welsh - naming the bones
jack whyte - order in chaos

Monday, March 21, 2011

camra bus trip

i may have finally recovered from the camra spring trip to howe sound brewing in squamish and mark james group's high mountain brewhouse in whistler
the trip was saturday...
lord but those camra vancouver people know how to toss back the beer!

for now, a few of the less incriminating photos:

still sober aka just got on the bus

monty, the bus that broke down

sampler at howe sound

the bar at howe sound

brewery tour

hanging with the fermentors

the last ever cask of dix ipa
taking some of the last cask to go - because we love tasha

double fisting aka comparison between the ipas
(note the grip is to warm them to equal temperature,
not to make sure i don't drunkenly drop them!)

a few of the ne-er do wells

and there it was, the last cask of dix ipa gone forever

the cask is dead - long live the cask!