Sunday, March 31, 2013

new hops

so many new hop varietals, so little time...
first i've heard of el dorado hops was from the brewdog website about their new 'ipa is dead' single hop series:

James' Tasting Notes:
El Dorado
The Pacific North West of America is home to the brand spanking new El Dorado Hop. America is not just about cheer-leaders, a silly version of football, elastic top jeans and cheeseburgers. They grow remarkable hops and El Dorado is a killer example of this, embodying all that is good about American hops and then some. A new hop on the block, it may even seduce you into thinking the American Dream is not just a catch phrase to sell movies and elect Presidents. Fearfully hard to resist, this beer is loaded with tropical fruits, pear, watermelon, candy floss and stone fruit. Devilishly moreish.

apparently flying dog, new belgium and firestone walker have been brewing with them...
flying dog's single hopped ipa got a 90 on

i must try these hops!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

legacy liquor store

blergh, i've been a bit under the weather
not a great start to a long weekend
but fortunately the amazing vancouver weather has healing qualities
(or maybe it was the beer)
and i'm on the mend - with a tan!

new beers at legacy liquor store in vancouver:

Southern Tier – Imperial Mokah - $13.15
Exclusively at Legacy, this east coast beer packs a serious punch. Jamaican coffee beans and Belgian chocolate are the stars of this dark and powerful brew, with serious malt and a touch of bitterness making it a beer best enjoyed with dessert.
Alameda – Rose City Red - $7.45
Named after the Rose City, this beer pours red amber in colour and has hoppy floral notes on the nose. Malt, brown sugar and caramel balance well with the Nugget hops used in the brewing process. The laidback lifestyle of Portland, Oregon is complimented by this easy drinking red.
Hofbrau – Schwarze Weisse - $5.15
Straight from the heart of Germany, this Schwarze Weisse is chestnut in colour and has a nose of roasted malt, caramel and spicy cloves. Bread, wheat and banana represent the palate of this quaffable brew from Munich, the perfect example of German beer craft.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

on the coast

in case you missed me last tuesday on cbc radio one's on the coast talking with matthew (sitting in for stephen quinn) about why i don't have a favourite beer, you can still catch the show by clicking here and choosing march 19th.

the beer segment is right at the end - fast forward to about 7 minutes before the end if you just want to listen to me!

Monday, March 25, 2013

link love

link love time again
it must be monday!

paste magazine's march madness of ipas

help brewdog decide what to brew - #mashtag beer

randy shore's vancouver taproom revolution

from camra bc:
It's not every day that something like this comes up so listen up folks! Nigel from Alibi Room has this to share:
5pm, downstairs MONDAY. We'll be tapping the Sierra Nevada x Celebrator Beer News 25th Anniversary Ale. (It's a 9.5% Hopped up Double)
We'll be putting it on for $5.00/Sleeve as a little treat for CAMRA members. John Rowling will be hanging out downstairs if anybody wants to chat. (He's a great supporter of the local craft beer scene, has been through many years of the craft beer evolution & he had a hand in making the beer! He's also just a straight up excellent man!!)
See you there!

this collaboration beer sounds amazing:
Logan of Beavertown Brewery (London) and JF of Dieu Du Ciel (Montreal) at the Dogfish Head Rehoboth pub. This is our first international three-way. It's both erotic and exotic. A 7% abv Pale India Ale spiced with Tamarind, Cumin, fresh crushed black pepper and Jaggery (traditional Indian Pale Sugar). We are looking for a name suggestion before noon (EST) today. Something that suggests our four current/former UK related countries that inspired this brew: US, UK, Canada, and India. Inspire us...

Friday, March 22, 2013

legacy liquor store

Refreshing BeersWhistler Brewing – Lost Lake Unfiltered IPA - $5.35
This refreshing unfiltered IPA has some real kick ringing in at 75 IBU’s (International Bitter Units). With notes of grapefruit and passion fruit in the nose, this complex, full-bodied beer keeps us coming back for more.

Renaissance Brewing – Stonecutter Scotch Ale - $9.85
This brew comes to us from across the globe, New Zealand to be precise. Balanced and hearty, this Scotch Ale is a blend of nine malts that provide layers of toffee, liquorice and caramel. Balance these flavours with tart fruit, raisins and a dry finish and you’ve got a real winner.

Eviltwin Brewing – Ryan and the Beaster Bunny - $11.75
A Danish gem without a doubt, this saison is amber in colour with a nose of bananas and cloves, sweet malt and that saison funk. Belgian yeast, floral hops and more banana and clove rule the palate of this northern European beer.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

east side beer festival

i attended the inaugural east side beer festival at the wise hall last night
hosted by liberty wine merchants it featured many local beers
and an opportunity to donate in several ways to the vancouver food bank
best of all - it was really fun times!!

camra was in da house
driftwood was in da house
all of east van was in da house!
i managed to sample my way through the following:

brooklyn ipa
lagunitas sumpin' sumpin'
deschutes inversion ipa
green flash double stout
8wired hopwired ipa
8wired superconductor double ipa
8wired tall poppy red ale
epic brewing mash up
renaissance brewing ipa
brew dog punk ipa
betty stog's bitter
ninkasi spring reign
central city red racer pilsner
driftwood fat tug ipa
howe sound super jupiter grapefruit ipa
howe sound 4way fruit ale
mort subite kriek
phillips bottle rocket india session ale
r&b brewing east side bitter

uprising bread
santa barbara cheese plate

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

beer column

in case you missed me on cbc radio yesterday, here are my notes:

Beer geeks love talking about beer. That's a given. And they like answering your questions about beer. However, this innocuous sounding question strikes dread into the heart of on the coast's beer expert.
The question? "What is your favourite beer?"
Really? What's so scary about that?
Its scary because I don't actually have one.
I know the question is well-intentioned, so I don't want to be glib and reply "The one in my hand", even though that's very often a truthful response.
Because I am a beer geek I cannot in good conscience just arbitrarily pick a beer in order to give a quick and concise response.
Because I am a beer geek I feel compelled to answer in full, and that's where the dread comes in. How can I pick just one beer? And if I give you too long an answer will I bore you? Will I turn you off from ever asking me a beer question again? I love beer, I want to talk about it! But I just can't give a short answer to that question!
If asked about my favourite beer style, that I could answer easily. Or if asked about my favourite new beer, that too is a fairly easy answer. If you can narrow it down for me, you're more likely to get a shorter answer. I apologize to all who have asked this question in the past, and all who will ask it in the future, but when you ask me what my favourite beer is, you're going to get a long-winded answer.
What is the long-winded answer?
I can't pick just one beer as my favourite. I have different moods and crave different beers with each of them. It can depend on the season, the day, the hour, what I'm pairing it with, what I've just had to drink, who I'm with, where I'm drinking it... the list is really quite a long one. Do you want to know about my old stand-by? The beer that is readily available and always satisfying? Because I probably drink that one the most often. But would I qualify it as my favourite? If I had to. But I'd much rather tell you about several beers that have rocked my world lately. And wax poetic about one off beers that are never to be brewed again, or hard to find imports, or seasonals I look forward to every year. Then you can tell me about the beers that are rocking your world right now and we can talk beer and order a taster paddle at the bar and try each other's beer picks to contrast and compare...
I want to have a whole conversation about beer, not a quick exchange of unheartfelt information. And that's also a large part of why I can't give you a short answer.
Okay, but really, why don't you have a favourite beer? Don't most people?
I'm sure plenty of people have one. Other beer geeks have one. Some beer geeks have ten. I used to try to track mine in what I dubbed my "evolving revolving top ten" list. But even that caused me grief - it was just too hard for me to keep track of. I could much more easily choose my ten books or ten dvds to take to that desert island than I could ten beers. Having a favourite beer might make my life easier, and I'm not going to say I'll never have one. Currently, there just isn't one beer out there that I would choose above all others. I have had favourites in the past, the ones that made me want to wear the tshirt, get the tattoo and the brewer's autograph, but they only lasted for so long as the undisputed champion of my tastebuds. The more beers I try the more I want to try. I want to try them all - and not just once each!
I have my favourite beer style, ipas; I have my old faithfuls like driftwood's fat tug and central city's ipa that are readily available around town; I have the seasonals I look forward to trying every year like Hopworks Abominable and Lagunitas Sucks Winter Ales; I have imports that make me giddy when I find them, like Brooklyn's Sorachi Ace; my nostalgic picks like Guinness on St. Patricks day; and I could go on into all the beer styles. So many outstanding delicious beers out there. And there will probably be several different ones on each of those lists in two years time. And, I hope that there will be a few more beers on my old faithfuls list too.

Beer pick:
Just one for you this week because I really want you to go out and try it!
Central City has brewed an Imperial IPA. This beer is delicious - all that a northwest imperial ipa should be. But that's not the reason its my sole pick for this week. This beer was brewed for a good cause.
you can find the Imperial IPA in bottles at specialty liquor stores, and on tap at several venues around town, like the Railway Club.
And if you want to try it cask conditioned, hurry up, they tapped a cask of it at Tap & Barrell at 5:00!
"Central City Brewers + Distillers (CCBD) announce their inaugural program dedicated to raise $75,000 for autism. Funds go directly to Canucks Autism Network (CAN) and Autism Spectrum Disorders Canadian-American Research Consortium (ASD-CARC).
The program includes a limited release of CCBD’s award-winning Imperial IPA, in which $5 per bottle goes to ASD-CARC. Sales from limited edition glassware, from Central City’s retail operations, and from the inaugural Auction & Dinner will go to CAN.
The Auction and Dinner will be held April 13th at Central City Brewpub + restaurant. Auction items include Canucks tickets, team jerseys, bikes, and many other great items."

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

on the coast

its one of those tuesdays!
i'll be on cbc radio one's on the coast at 5:50 today
with matthew in place of stephen today
talking about the beer question i most dread being asked

88.1 fm
690 am

Friday, March 15, 2013

more portland

and the few faux-toes i took in portland...

awww crap, full sunlight makes me look old...
at least my friends are totally cute!
friday afternoon at the lucky labrador barleywine tastival
two of the three glassware choices at the lucky labrador tastival
my breakfast beer
experimental ipa at deschutes brewery
beer and cheese soup at deschutes
hair of the dog blue spot ipa
(also brought a bomber of this back with me)
gigantic ipa
pretty pink bubbles at gigantic brewing
vancouver loves gigantic brewing!
a bevy of beautiful sours at cascade brewing
apricot, raspberry, cherry, blueberry
(i brought a bottle of the blueberry home with me)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

legacy liquor store

"Exciting things are happening around Legacy, including an exclusive deal with Vancouver’s first micro-distiller, Long Table Distillery. You’ll be able to pick up a bottle of their vodka or gin exclusively at Legacy Liquor Store for the next six months, so get down here and see where the craft distillery market will take you.

St. Patrick’s Day is this weekend and you know what that means – beer and lots of it – and we’ll be in high spirits running a gauntlet of beer tastings both West Coast craft and classic Irish. What more could you ask for? Well maybe some sun, but that’s up to Mother Nature.

March 15th Diamond Knot & Lazy Boy Beer Tasting, 4pm-7pm

March 16th Whistler Beer Tasting & Snowbus giveaway, 2pm-6pm

March 17th St. Patrick’s Day Beer Tasting, 2pm-6pm"

new and exciting beers at legacy liquor store in vancouver:

Townsite Brewing – Perfect Storm Oatmeal Stout - $6.15Our friends from Powell River have come out with a beer to celebrate the cohesive team that is Townsite Brewing. It’s also a real gem. Brewed with flaked oats and toasted barley, this rich, round, oatmeal stout is a must!

Central City Brewing – Imperial IPA - $10.00
Brewers of fine beer and owners of finer hearts, proceeds from Central City’s Imperial IPA go towards supporting Autism Research. Rich in flavour and full in body, the play of grapefruit and hops makes this beer a real treat.

Phillips Brewing – Cabin Fever Imperial Black IPA - $6.95
The folks at Phillips have been churning out great beers for some time now, but they just keep raising the bar. Inky black in colour with piney hops, caramel and malt make Cabin Fever an outstanding edition to the Black IPA genre.

prison break

i want to try some of the new prison break pilsner from double trouble brewing
can someone from onterrible send me some please?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


i went to portland last weekend
i love portland!

these are all from other peoples' cameras
i neglected to take many pics at all...
can i blame the fabulous beer?

this is us, just across the border, stopping at a gas station to get some cheap beer!
(it was about 9:30 a.m. in case anyone is keeping track...)
friday afternoon at the lucky labrador's barleywine and strong beer tastival
breaking out the bubbles on a sunny saturday afternoon at gigantic brewing
the canadians enjoying sitting outside, even after the sun left us
saturday afternoon at gigantic brewing

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

on the coast

in case you missed me last tuesday on cbc radio one's on the coast talking with stephen quinn about the upcoming growler tax and camra vancouver's "save the growler" campaign, you can still catch the show by clicking here and choosing march 5th.

the beer segment is right at the end - fast forward to about 7 minutes before the end if you just want to listen to me!

Monday, March 11, 2013

central city

Central City Brewers + Distillers steps up for Autism

Central City Brewers + Distillers (CCBD) announce their inaugural program dedicated to raise $75,000 for autism. Funds go directly to Canucks Autism Network (CAN) and Autism Spectrum Disorders Canadian-American Research Consortium (ASD-CARC).

The program includes a limited release of CCBD’s award-winning Imperial IPA, in which $5 per bottle goes to ASD-CARC. Sales from limited edition glassware, from Central City’s retail operations, and from the inaugural Auction & Dinner will go to CAN.

The Auction and Dinner will be held April 13th at Central City Brewpub + restaurant. Auction items include Canucks tickets, team jerseys, bikes, and many other great items.

“When we learned my son Callum had autism, we discovered how little is known about it and how much support is needed for a child on the spectrum. Research is critical to finding a cure, as are accessible programs for children and families living with autism that cannot afford the amount of care needed for a child with autism”, says Darryll Frost, President.

A web page dedicated to the program summarizes program details. The page will be found at

More Info:
Please contact Tim Barnes for questions; Phone 778.875.2302.

About Central City Brewers + Distillers:
Central City Brewers & Distillers Ltd. started brewing in Surrey, British Columbia. After receiving great response to its beers, Central City began packaging its beer for sale to retailers in 2005. Central City is now building a new 65,000 square foot state-of-the-art brewery in Surrey, B.C.

About Canucks Autism Network
Canucks Autism Network (CAN) is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing year round, innovative, high quality sports, recreational, social and vocational programs for individuals and families living with autism while building awareness and capacity through community networks across British Columbia.

The Autism Spectrum Disorders - Canadian-American Research Consortium (ASD-CARC: is a leading Canadian autism research collaborative partnering international efforts for studying genes and environmental factors that contribute to autism. We aim to advance early, effective and personalized diagnostic, treatment and support services to improve the quality of life for those living with autism.

link love

craft beer's response to anheuser busch inbev's watergate

the new york times shows its wine snobbery in article about larger beer bottles becoming the norm

randy shore extols the virtues of vancouver taprooms in the vancouver sun

Friday, March 8, 2013


Cabin Fever Imperial Black IPA
March 4th, 2013: Poised between the ominous darkness of winter and the new life-giving brightness of spring, stands this Imperial Black IPA. Brewed to celebrate the changing season, Cabin Fever is loaded with midnight roasted malt, pouring a deep black colour and paying homage to those dark days behind, while buckets of big floral hops infuse a mind-warping hop kick big enough to boot you out the door from your self-imposed exile. Hibernation is over. Celebrate with this balanced beer for the unbalanced mind.

Cabin Fever is available at finer craft-focused cold beer and wine stores for a limited time only. If you find yourself in Victoria on Thursday March 7th, join us at the brewery from 4-6 for a special draught tasting of this special seasonal celebration beer.

vancouver island brewing

Vancouver Island Brewery
MARCH 5th, 2013
Media Release!

Are you afraid of the dark?

Local brewery dives into Absolute Darkness to launch new beer!
Vancouver Island Brewery is set to release a new beer, Absolute Darkness India Dark Ale, in its Vancouver Island Series of 650ml bomber bottles. The Victoria based brewery has teamed up with Horne Lake Caves to create a beer that captures the essence of caving; dark, mysterious and exhilarating.
To be safe, the Absolute Darkness beer label has a safety feature built right in. Should the lights go out, or you find yourself in a dimly lit room the beer label glows in the dark. No need for headlamps while enjoying this beer!
"Vancouver Island has the highest density of caves in Canada and some of the longest and deepest caves in the country. We have always had a strong connection with our Island environment and it tends to influence our brewers and our beers." Said Rob Ringma, General Manager at Vancouver Island Brewery. "We love brewing unique, flavourful beers and this India Dark Ale is a fine example of combining the best of both malt and hops to create a truly distinctive taste. Regardless of whether you are willing to enter a cave or not, this beer is sure to give you a great reason to not be afraid of the dark."
The brewery is hosting an open house cask-tasting event for Absolute Darkness India Dark Ale on Saturday, March 9th from 12pm - 6pm. This is a great opportunity for beer enthusiasts to come down for a sample of Absolute Darkness India Dark Ale and go on a free craft brewery tour. They will also have fresh Absolute Darkness India Dark Ale draught available in unique 1.9L glass Growlers at the brewery. To top it all off representatives from Horne Lake Caves will be on-site to answer any questions during the open house and Vancouver Island Brewery will be offering an opportunity for the public to enter to win an extreme caving adventure with Horne Lakes Caves. Crafted in small batches there is a limited supply of bottles available at fine local beer stores and at Vancouver Island Brewery's on-site beer store.
About Vancouver Island Brewery
In 1984 Vancouver Island Brewery started with the mission of crafting local, all natural craft beers for Islanders to enjoy. Beginning with the careful selection of the finest quality ingredients, we use skill and patience to handcraft our family of ales and lagers in small batches. Our goal is to bring our passion for craft beer to the brewery each day and brew unique, flavourful beer for you to enjoy.
Thanks for your time! I hope you enjoyed the update and can make it down to the brewery on Saturday, March 9th for a tasting of Absolute Darkness India Dark Ale.
Adam Ball
2330 Government Street
Victoria, BC V8T 5G5
Vancouver Island Brewery

Thursday, March 7, 2013

dine out for life

just a reminder that today is dine out for life in vancouver
head to your favourite craft beer serving restaurant for dinner and give to charity
its just that easy!

me, i'll be at the yaletown as usual
having me some cask and delicious food

and then...
tomorrow i'm off to portland for the weekend

legacy liquor store

new and exciting beers at legacy liquor store in vancouver:

Brasserie Ellezelloise - Hercule Stout - $5.35
Hercules! Hercules! Hercules! This deep dark Belgian stout pours a dark mahogany while nuts, raisins and toffee play on the nose. Dark malt, chocolate and coffee make this Belgian stout a true contender for the title of Herculean.
Elysian Brewing - Savant IPA - $8.95
Part of Elysian Brewing's Manic IPA series, this beer is the definition of a fabulous India Pale Ale. Pouring almost bronze in colour, with orange and pine on the nose, Savant is a true west coast IPA in both flavour and style.
Omission Brewing - Gluten-Free Pale Ale - $17.90
Celiacs rejoice! From the heartland of beer - Portland, Oregon - comes a gluten free American Pale Ale that fits the bill when it comes to quenching thirst. Amber in colour with notes of citrus and malt, with more of the same dancing on the palate, it's a great start to brewing a better gluten-free beer.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

on the coast

my notes from last night's beer column on cbc radio one's on the coast:

and we're back with more liquor law news this week.
alas, this time it is not good news for beer lovers in the province

i talked about some new liquor laws last show. i was very excited about the loosening of the tied-house rule and cautiously optimistic about the opportunity for breweries to apply for tasting rooms and special event venues. it looked like the province was finally making some positive changes to archaic and overly restrictive liquor laws - most of which hadn't changed significantly since the repeal of prohibition.

alas, my joy was short-lived. i am still happy about the progress made, but we seem to be in a one step forward, two steps backwards situation.

Rich Coleman and the BC Liberals, through the BC Liquor Distribution Branch, have decided that they need to collect even more tax on craft beer by increasing the markup on Growler fills. There is still a lot of confusion around this change though. Paddy Treavor (beer blogger about town and past-President of CAMRA) has spent a whole lot of time and effort corresponding with the Liquor Distribution Branch to get the details of the taxation change. What he has found out has been news to many brewers , (see Rebecca of Crannog Ales' Facebook post yesterday) and it would appear that current rules have not been evenly applied. But first, an ode to the growler to ensure that we all understand what i'm talking about here, and what the big deal is.

i have spoken previously about growlers, those wonderous 2 litre vessels that you can take to a brewery or brewpub to get filled and then take them home, or to a party, to consume. currently you can purchase growlers and get them filled at four establishments in vancouver, steamworks, yaletown brewpub, parallel 49 and powell street brewery, plus central city in surrey and bridge brewing in north vancouver. opening in 2013 will be several other locations for growler fills.

what's so special about buying your own big glass bottle and taking it to be filled at a brewery? and how did growlers get their name?

Growlers are glass jugs which hold 1.89 litres (64 fl.oz) of beer, which is slightly under six bottles of beer.
  • Growlers are environmentally friendly as the bottle can be refilled again and again rather than being recycled
  • Growlers cut the mileage that your beer needs to be transported – reducing the carbon footprint
  • Growlers are filled with fresh beer
  • getting your growler filled enables you to engage with the people who have made your beer, sometimes even the brewer themself
  • access to seasonal and special releases that might not make it to liquor stores.
  • Growlers are a great size for sharing, especially for taking to parties
  • Often filling a growler is less expensive than buying bottles or cans at the liquor store
as for why they're called growlers, there is a myth that takes us back to the early 1900s, when beer was bought directly from the local brewery. Beer drinkers would bring their own buckets, fill them with beer, and seal the bucket with a lid. Then, when you went to drink the beer and removed the lid, the sound of the carbon dioxide escaping created a “growl”, and the buckets became known as “Growlers”. (source)

growler culture is on the rise in all over - i introduced my mother to the joys of growlers in the Fall when I was in Ontario and she is now addicted! With the increasing popularity of growlers and the new liquor laws that came into effect on friday which in theory allow for more breweries to offer growler fills, the government sure picked an opportune time to increase taxation.

So, what is this new taxation rule?

Paddy Treavor confirmed with the Liquor Distribution Branch that currently, when you make your first growler purchase, the brewery pays the LDB the packaged cost per-litre markup. Every fill thereafter is considered as draught and the brewery pays the LDB the lower draught rate. For most craft breweries in BC, who fall in the 15,000 Hectalitre and less category, the first growler fill, is currently marked up $1.04/L (packaged), which totals $1.87 per growler ($1.04/L x 1.8). Subsequent fills, are then marked up at $.72/L (draught) totaling $1.30 ($0.72/L x 1.8), $0.57 less than the original purchase. Under the new rules, which come into effect in April, all growler sales will be marked up at the higher, packaged price, no matter if it is the first sale or the 100th refill. That means smaller breweries, under 15,000HL, will be charged the extra $0.57 on refills, a 30% markup increase. With some breweries averaging close to 1,000 growler sales some months, this increase quickly begins to add up to big dollar amounts. But does the brewery eat that increase come April? Or will they risk upsetting their customers by passing along the increase to them?

CAMRA Vancouver has launched a campaign to "Save the Growler". The campaign features a petition to the provincial government "to remove the discriminatory new "Growler Tax" on craft beer". You can sign the petition on their website,, in its first 24 hours the petition attracted 200 signatures, and by the time you hear my voice, the number will be at 700 in only five days.

While a 57 cent difference doesn't sound like a lot, it is just another increase in the cost of fun in Vancouver. While I don't think this is on a scale with homelessness, clean water or pipelines, I do think it is important to take a stand against taxes that will affect small businesses in our community. Governments should be finding ways to build communities rather than finding new ways to tax us all. So I encourage you to sign CAMRA's petition.

Adam Chatburn, President of CAMRA BC – Vancouver Chapter said, “The fact that this tax targets smaller craft brewers who have invested heavily in growlers and growler filling equipment is particularly unfair. It’s hypocritical for a government purporting to support green initiatives to punish consumers and small businesses for pursuing environmentally responsible behaviour.”

Paddy Treavor, CAMRA Vancouver’s last President said in his beer blog: “I cannot see how some of the nano-breweries, who rely on growler sales as part of their business plan, would have any choice but to raise their retail prices eventually. This increased markup, which really only impacts craft breweries (how many growlers of Molson Canadian do you see out there), shows once again that the government is not being very supportive of the craft beer industry as they continue to make it difficult for these smaller breweries to operate, be profitable and grow. “

Beer Picks:

Driftwood Brewing's 20 Pounder double IPA is back. you can get it in 650ml bottles at specialty liquor stores, and on cask and tap at several beer joints around town, but hurry, its a limited release. 9%

Gigantic Brewing's The End of Reason - this is a belgian-style petit quad and its 8.3%, available on tap at St. Augustine's and in bottles at specialty liquor stores

both of those are big beers and limited releases, so get them quickly, but drink them slowly!

and for St. Patrick's day, how about Russell Brewing's Luck of the Irish - a red malt forward beverage perfect for celebrating all things Irish

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

on the coast

i will be on cbc radio one's on the coast with stephen quinn tonight at 5:50
i will be talking about camra's new campaign to "save the growler" and why it needs saving
88.1 fm

Monday, March 4, 2013

Sunday, March 3, 2013


this is my love letter to camra, the campaign for real ale in vancouver

caveat:  i was asked by monica, the communications director of camra vancouver and bc, to write a blog post that she could feature in the next newsletter.  but... she did not ask me to write about camra.  this is not a commissioned piece.  rather it is what i really think and feel, albeit prompted by being asked to write something worthy of being pointed to in a newsletter read by a whole schwack of people!

i can't actually remember when i first heard about camra
i do remember when i decided to become a member though
it was during the inaugural vancouver craft beer week, during the four beers and a funeral pub crawl
i had been falling in love with beer for a couple of years, but somehow had not become a part of the craft beer community
i saw ads for craft beer week in the media and instantly knew i had to be a part of the events
i roped a couple of friends into accompanying me and bought tickets to events not already sold out
the pub crawl in particular tickled my fancy - a pub crawl, accompanied by a band through the streets of vancouver, dressed in my louisiana best?  yes please!
i had little knowledge about the role dix had played in the beer community and just how deeply people were mourning its imminent demise, but i did know that i loved beer and wanted to be a part of that community now that i had discovered that they existed
and i was floored by how many of them there were
these were my people, and i'd had no idea where they had been
everyone was so friendly
everyone was talking about the beer, not just drinking it
i was in heaven
(and drunk on very good beer!)
people had their camra pins on
they talked about the advocacy camra was doing
and said i should join
i had heard of camra before that, but somehow i didn't equate it with being a group i should/could join
but if these were the people who were members
and they wanted me to be one too, well sure, i'd do it
i can't say that i went right home and joined, but i definitely did join very soon afterwards
and encouraged several of my friends to join too

did i join for the benefits like discounts around town?
honestly, there weren't as many of those then as there are now
but it was an incentive to join before the next camra event so that i got $5 off my ticket price
i mean, i was going to join anyway, might as well do it in time to get that benefit, right?
these days, i think its a shame if someone is only joining camra for the discounts membership offers
but i will admit to listing off all those discounts when suggesting someone buy a membership
you want to get them in the door, right?
then when they see how awesome a group of people camra is, they stay, they contribute and they in turn recruit more members
and that plan seems to be working, camra has trebled its membership in the few years since i first became a member

but back to my love letter
camra vancouver has given me so much
friends, education, people to beer geek out with - in a word, a community
introductions to beers, breweries, styles, events
indirectly it gave me this blog and my cbc radio gig
it has given me a forum for my love of beer
and a place to grow that love into a more fulfilling part of my life

camra is full of passionate people
passionate about their beer, their brewers, their pubs
passionate about advocating for everyone's beer rights
passionate about sharing their passion
its a very inspiring group of people
and the newsletter!
in some incarnations a weekly affair, currently a bi-weekly offering
this is where all sorts of beer news can be found
including links to bloggers and a list of all the beer events around town

camra has given me people to drink beer with
(this is not usually a hard thing to find, but what camra has given me is a group of people i don't need to make plans with to drink beer - i just go to a beer event and there they are, ready to hoist a pint with me)
people to talk beer with
(this cannot be over-rated!  i have bored so many of my friends with my constant desire to talk about, dissect and covet beer.  finding a group of people who want to talk beer above all else has been a godsend - all my friends thank camra as well)
the vocabulary to intelligently talk beer
(finding that one perfect word to use in lieu of twenty vague ones is a wonderful thing.  thank you for gently teaching me the right words.  and encouraging me to use them a lot - see above!)
the desire to learn more about beer
(okay, i already had that, but camra has helped me learn more about beer by giving me people who know more than i do who keep me curious and interested, by giving me amazing living resources to learn from and explore with, and by holding events that expand my repertoire and introduce me to new styles and brewers)
the desire to search out unique beers
(this also goes back to those people to talk beer with, because who else but beer geeks gets excited when you tell them you found and drank some rare beer?  or want to talk about what you're cellaring? and who else can keep you as rapt as a child listening to a fairy tale when they tell you about that beer they tried at some far-flung place and hope to have again some day soon, if only they can find it)
the confidence in my beer knowledge
(through people to talk beer with, and the all my beer learning, i feel confident about talking beer with anyone - neophyte or expert, and embrace being "that" beer person)
and that's not a remotely complete list!

what's so important about beer?
sure, on the surface it doesn't seem like the most important group to belong to
but if you dig a little deeper, beer brings a lot to the table:
beer brings people together
beer is an important industry - practically worldwide
pubs are important gathering places for the exchange of not just of drunken camaraderie, but of valuable information as well, not to mention community building
beer requires clean water for brewing
beer requires quality ingredients
i could keep going on, but i think you get the picture
(and my hands are getting a little tired with all this darned typing)
so frankly, beer is a great cause to get behind
it is also darned fun to drink
isn't it nice when your passion is so convivial?

what have i given to camra?
it hasn't been an egalitarian relationship
i have definitely gotten more from camra that i have given to it
i did spend 2012 as the treasurer and i often volunteer at camra events
of course even these contributions to camra give to me as well, but let's pretend they go part of the way to repaying camra for all it has given to me, okay?

who else is awesome?  vancouver craft beer week and vanbrewers
more education, more community, more beer geeks
my pint glass runneth over
we are a very lucky people in vancouver