Thursday, May 30, 2013

link love

an extra link love this week as there's just so much i love right now!

student of beer waxes poetic about bridge brewing

a couple of great articles in the westender about vcbw:  vcbw one, vcbw two and joe wiebe's book launch at vcbw (by none other than vcbw organizer chris bjerrisgaard)

8 of the best looking craft beer brands, including one of my faves, 21st amendment
 
 

lastly, don't forget, craft beer week begins tomorrow night
and there are still tix left for several events
plus the non-ticketed walk-up events

 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

beer column

my notes from yesterday's beer column on cbc radio's on the coast with stephen quinn:

CBC Radio Three's Grant Lawrence set the twitterverse on fire when he challenged listeners to use puns of Canadian bands to name fictious beers. Under the hashtag #CDNBandbeer his listeners responded. So much so that four breweries took up the challenge and have produced beer homages to local bands.  
 
Grant Lawrence of CBC Music came up with the idea last Fall, tweeted it, got a great response and it grew from there. A CBC designer took eight of the suggested beer names and made mock-up labels for them, which were posted on the CBC website. Then Jeremy Sibley of Old Yale Brewing decided he wanted to brew the beers. He recruited three other breweries and the Canadian Band Beer series was created.

Old Yale (Chilliwack) has brewed a brown ale called "D.O.Ale", an homage to the legendary Vancouver punk band D.O.A. - This medium-bodied, classic brown ale balances its hop and malt flavours with subtle hints of chocolate. The slightly malty, lightly hopped finish has a touch of bitterness from the smooth Goldings hops. At 5 per cent ABV, it makes for a great session beer.
 
R&B Brewing (Vancouver) brewed a rye ipa called "You Say Barley! We Say Rye!", a nod to You Say Party - This delicious IPA offers a hearty, complex flavour and aroma that is both aggressive and well balanced, reminiscent of rye or pumpernickel bread. Brewed with a generous amount of specialty malts, including U.K. pale malt and malted rye, and rounded out with a lavish quantity of hops.
 
"Said the Ale" from Townsite Brewing (Powell River) named after Said the Whale, is a belgian pale ale - This Belgian-style pale ale is brewed on the Sunshine Coast along the shores of the Salish Sea. At 5.8 per cent ABV, it’s an easy spring sipper. The low hop aroma and slightly bitter finish complement a complex background loaded with the fruity flavours of pear and orange.
 
Cannery Brewing (Penticton) made a german lager called Pink Mountainhops, named for Pink Mountainhops - This strong, dry-hopped maibock is a full-bodied, German-style lager. Created with classic German malts and noble hops, it is a malt-forward beer with a surprising hop complexity.

All four beers come in bombers (650ml) and were delivered right from the breweries to the government warehouse.  Government stores get first dibs on them and then private liquor stores.  A very limited quantity of these band beers were brewed, so call your local store to make sure they carry it!
 
The D.O.Ale was released on May 17th, the You Say Barley on May 24th, Said the Ale comes out this Friday, which also coincides with the beginning of Vancouver Craft Beer Week, and the fourth beer, Pink Mountainhops will be released on June 7th.  But you can get a sneak peek at the Pink Mountainhops at St. Augustine's where this amazingly tasty maibock is on tap.  But hurry, I may just drink it all up!
 
These are not the first beers to be named after a band or a song.  There are several beers on the market named for songs, like 21st Amendment's Back in Black and Brewdog's How to Disappear Completely. And beers named after musicians, like Dogfish Head's Johnny Cask and NorthCoast's Brother Thelonious. And there are bands who have come out with their own beers - like the Hanson Bros. with mmmmmhop, Iron Maiden's Trooper, Pearl Jam's Faithfull Ale, and for some Canadian flavour, the BareNakedLadies announced their upcoming beer last Fall - which I understand is what started Grant Lawrence on this game turned project in the first place. The Imperial Chocolate Stout was brewed by Flying Monkeys brewery for a limited run of 750 ml bottles, and got quite good reviews upon its release. The band was also involved in the brewing process and designed the artwork.
 
This is not the first series of musically inspired beers either. Every month in 2012, California's Lost Abbey debuted a different beer inspired by a rock anthem. For example, Track 3 was a pale, oak-aged sour ale based on AC/DC's "Hell's Bells," while Iron Maiden's "Number of the Beast" was the muse for the potent, bourbon barrel-aged Track 8, which was spiced with cinnamon sticks and dried chiles. At year's end, every track was collected in a limited-edition box set. And from across the pond, several British music marketers partnered with a brewer to found Signature Brew, which collaborates with musicians to create a craft beer tailored to their tastes. To date, releases have included Mammoth IPA from English folk-rockers Dry the River; the citrusy Clear Heart from the Hold Steady's Craig Finn; and a refreshing witbier from folk-punk artist Frank Artist.

Some of the names that were suggested by Grant Lawrence's listeners, but haven't yet made it into bottles are:  Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Pilsner, The Weakercans, the Beer Good Tanyas, Nickelbock...
It seems like there are enough to do a series every year.


For more details and to see all of the labels, visit the Canadian Band Beer page on CBC Music.


Because the CBC Band Beers are my beer picks this week, I'll close out with some of the Vancouver Craft Beer Week events that still have tickets for sale:


THE SCIENCE OF BREWING MEETS THE ART OF THE COCKTAIL

6:00pm–9:00pm $80 Saturday June 1st
We would like to explore the relationship between beer and spirits and invite you to join us for a night of beer mixology and creativity. Exclusively for VCBW we’ll feature a Deschutes Mirror Pond and Hendricks Gin cocktail as well as a Chimay Rouge cocktail that brings a twist to the ordinary Americano. Savour one of the two craft beer cocktails and enjoy a tasting plate consisting of exceptional charcuterie and artisan cheeses. Since mixology is all about creativity and because we believe there is no better place than Raw Canvas to live it up, we’ll provide you with a ‘raw canvas’ that night as well. Convey your vision and creativity, exude emotion and passion, and take home your piece of art.

CANADIAN COMFORTS

7:00pm–11:00pm $69 Sunday June 2nd
Edible Canada is proud to feature a collection of Vancouver Island’s tastiest breweries Phillips, Spinnakers, Hoyne, Driftwood, and Vancouver Island Brewing to celebrate VCBW! An evening of high comfort foods, unique craft beers, live music by Casa Rosa, brewmasters and pure Canadian indulgence. Your ticket includes an array of delectable fare including duck fat donuts, fresh spot prawns, Fiore Farms pork and more, for an evening that will have your taste buds dancing!


BIERCRAFT BELGIAN SHOWCASE

6:30pm-11:00pm $75 Monday June 3rd
We’re pouring over 50 Belgian and Belgian-style beers for you to sample to your heart’s content. Along with such legends as Rochefort, St. Bernardus, and Delirium Tremens you can also sample some of the best examples of Belgian styles created by both local and US craft breweries such as Commons, Logsdon and Driftwood. There will be glassware and prize giveaways, poutine, frikandel and croquettes. One lucky winner will go home with a Westvleteren XII gift pack! This event is ALL INCLUSIVE! (Some of the food offered will be vegetarian friendly)
 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

on the coast

i'll be on cbc's on the coast with stephen quinn today at 5:50
talking about (and sampling) the cbc band beers

hopoxia

i've got my ticket, do you??

HOPoxia is Heaven for Hops Lovers
May 28th, 2013: It's back!! The 3rd annual BC Celebration of Hops is going down in our back lot on July 6th from 3pm-7pm. It's a beer tasting festival that proudly lends its weight to the hoppier side of the scale. This year is sure to be bitter and better than ever with the following 22 brewers descending on our back lot armed with their favourite hop-infused brews:
  • Canoe Club Brewpub
  • Central City Brewing Co.
  • Deep Cove Brewers & Distillers - first-time attendee!
  • Driftwood Brewing Co.
  • Four Winds Brewing Co. - first-time attendee!
  • Granville Island Brewing Co.
  • Howe Sounds Brewing Co.
  • Hoyne Brewing Co.
  • Lighthouse Brewing Co.
  • Longwood Brewing Co.
  • Moon Under Water
  • Parallel 49 Brewing Co.
  • Phillips Brewing Co.
  • Powell St. Brewing Co. - first-time attendee!
  • Russell Brewing Co.
  • Salt Spring Island Ales
  • Spinnakers Brewpub
  • Tree Brewing Co.
  • Tofino Brewing Co.
  • Townsite Brewing Co.
  • Vancouver Island Brewing Co.
  • Whistler Brewing Co.
Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at Phillips Brewery (2010 Government St. in Victoria), or online at http://phillipsbeer.us4.list-manage2.com/track/click?u=1107d2cf2255310f9c2397996&id=4a86cf9385&e=aa3c1422ae (NO service fees).

*They include your first 2 tasters with additional tasters available for purchase at $1.50/each.
**Space is limited so be sure and grab yours quick! NO MINORS

Saturday, May 25, 2013

deep cove (2)

i had the pleasure of visiting the deep cove brewers and distillers' in-progress site on thursday
they held a bit of an open house for media folks

its not the easiest place to get to via transit, but i persevered
and, once you get out there, you can visit bridge brewing as well, pretty much across the street
(in this case the streets are dollarton highway and forester in north vancouver)
beer is always worth the effort of travel!

she's in a rough state right now, but the brewery has got good bones!
the brewery section is coming along well, with most of the equipment in place
and they should be able to begin brewing in the next week or so
but the boiler room is empty, there are barrels stacked around equipment
and the custom bar (which is gorgeous) is on a pallet
that's today though
the owners expect to be serving you in their tasting room and on the patio by the end of june
the tasting room and patio will not be large, but that's okay, there are plenty of other beer venues to visit if you're looking for large
deep cove will be local
and if parallel 49 is anything to judge by, people love a tasting room in their neighbourhood

i'm looking forward to the official launch
when i can go back to see the effect of black ceiling and tiled floors
brightened up by the shining copper and chrome of the stills and bar
(and drink beer on tap!)

there will be a barrel room too, for aging spirits and beers
they have sourced some used barrels from various wineries
and also picked up some new ones to experiment with
the deep cove crew are young, they're creative, and they want to make original products
like maybe a canadian bourbon

you can expect to be drinking deep cove vodka and gin by the summer
and if you missed trying their scotch ale at camra's spring sessional, you'll have another chance at several vcbw events including the opener, hoppapalooza and the closing

i didn't take any photos at the brewery
but beer me bc did!  check out their post
and while you're at it, why not the north shore outlook article too?

Friday, May 24, 2013

dieu du ciel

i love montreal!
not just because it has awesome old brick walls like this:


but also because of the beer
no really, i love beer!
and they have some really good beer in montreal
especially at dieu du ciel on rue laurier (at st laurent)
physically it may be small, but the beer choices are not
when i was there on april 28th this was the beer list;


about 80% of the 130 recipe rotation offered at this location are brewed on premises
(the other 20% come from the big production brewery that also bottles the beers that you can drink across canada)
the list changes by approximately 2 beers per day

what did i drink while i was there?
i had the mosaika and the etc
the mosaika was a mosaic hopped pale ale that really showcased the mosaic hop
beautiful beer!
the etc had 13 malts and 14 hops
the malts outweighed the hops, but still a very nice beer

the mosaika

Thursday, May 23, 2013

legacy liquor

fabulous beers now available at legacy liquor store in vancouver:

Stillwater Artisinal - Beer Table Table Beer - $12.95An East Coast American Craft Beer you can really quaff. Brewed to meet all the imbibing desires of brewer Brian Strumke, this Belgian pale ale has a little bit of everything. Light and golden in colour with spice, pineapple, citrus and brett owning the bouquet, with malts and a touch of citrus rounding out the palate. A beer worth checking out.

Tasted by Chris Bonnallie - Beer Supervisor at Legacy Liquor Store

Parallel 49 - Hopnotist - $8.25
Happy Birthday, Parallel 49! Their gift to us is their Hopnotist single hop (Mosaic to be specific) Imperial IPA, appearing hazy amber in the glass with notes of tropical fruit and grapefruit to envelop the senses. On the palate more tropical fruits and citrus can be found, balanced with sweetness. The bottle is also 3D, which is amazing.

Tasted by Evan Doan - Beer Team

Phillips - Electric Unicorn - $7.45
You can thank the folks at Phillips for this perfect sunny day brew, a white IPA pouring hazy pale yellow with a bouquet of coriander, spice and orange zest. On the palate more coriander and orange are found, accompanied by floral hops and wheat, making for a quaffable and delicious beer.

Tasted by Conor Marshall - Beer Team

Parallel 49 – Humphrey Biere de Garde - $6.95This style of beer calls the Nord-Pas-De-Calais region of Northern France its home. Rosewater is used in the actual brew itself, a crystal clear amber that smells of flowers, cereal and biscuit, while in the mouth more floral presence and biscuit notes are found. A unique and tasty brew from East Vancouver.

Tasted by Evan Doan - Beer Team at Legacy Liquor Store

Stiegl Radler - $3.50
A tasty Austrian beer that is enjoyed by cyclists to refresh and replenish necessary electrolytes (believe it), it’s 50% beer, 50% grapefruit juice and 100% awesome. Hazy straw in colour with intense notes of grapefruit on the nose and more grapefruit pulling through on the palate paired with a light crisp finish. Yum!

Tasted by Aaron Morten - Office Liaison at Legacy Liquor Store

Lagunitas - Undercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale (6-Pack) - $20.25
This California brewery swings for the fences with all its beers and they connect every time. Hazy amber in colour with hard floral notes, sugar and spice on the nose followed by abundant malt, citrus (grapefruit in particular) and hop on the palate to ensure a thirst-quenching finish.

Tasted by Conor Marshall - Beer Team at Legacy Liquor Store

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

deep cove

deep cove brewing is almost open!


Vancouver’s craft beer revolution expands to the North Shore 

VANCOUVER, May 8, 2013 - From the wilderness of North Vancouver have emerged two young engineers who share a passion for fermented beverages and a dream to start up their own brewery and distillery. Former Steamworks Brewer Shae De Jaray and civil engineer Shawn Bethune are steps away from making that dream a reality with Deep Cove Distilling and Brewing set to open the doors of its North Shore location in early June. Deep Cove will feature an intimate 10-person tasting lounge in its brand new warehouse-style facility along with a 8,000 hectolitre brewery and distillery. 

Owners Shae and Shawn are joined by former Coal Harbour Brewmaster Kevin Emms who will bring his extensive brewing and distilling experience to this brand new operation. Kevin and Shae struck up a friendship while studying Brewing and Distilling at Herriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. The passionate young Deep Cove team (they are all under 30) is completed with former Central City Brewing sales guru Trish Garratt, heading up their marketing and sales.

Shae and Shawn have been working round the clock to get Deep Cove ship shape for the summer, putting their engineering skills to use to install custom sloping floors and the new fermenters, and building a bottling line completely from scratch.

THE BEERS
For Deep Cove, the emphasis is on the highest quality of tradition and craftsmanship - the beer speaks for itself - but the passion behind it is clear: Celebrate. Everyday. 
Imbued with the hard-working and fun-loving spirit of its owners, the brewery’s three main beers each will have their own unique personality - like your closest friends they can always be relied on for good times, sharing stories and laughter. Meet the Loud Mouth Pale Ale, Wise Crack West Coast Lager and the Quick Wit Belgian-style Wheat Ale.

THE SPIRITS
This newest addition to Vancouver’s craft beer awakening will not only be crafting its own micro brews, but also distilling small batches of its own artisan spirits, including brandy, vodka and gin with a twist. Distilling was always part of the plan for Deep Cove, but recent changes to BC liquor legislation have made it easier for distilleries sourcing local ingredients to sell spirits in their tasting room sans prohibitive mark-ups. 

Deep Cove is among the first of a raft of distilling and brewing operations opening up in Vancouver this year - Central City Brewing, Coal Harbour Brewing and Yaletown Brewing will all be adding distilling to their setup.

You’ll be able to sample Deep Cove’s new beers during Vancouver Craft Beer Week and from June at their tasting room (date TBC).

www.deepcovecraft.com  |   Facebook/Deepcove  | @DeepCoveCraft

UPCOMING EVENTS
Look for Deep Cove at the following events this summer:

-VCBW Opening Night Gala, May 31st
-VCBW Hoppapolozza IV, June 2nd 
-VCBW Portside Pub Riverboat Throwdown “Cask-Off” on June 6th 
-VCBW Beer Festival River Rock Casino, June 7th and 8th
-SURREY Central City Cask Festival, June 29th 
-LANGLEY Tip and Taste, July 5th 
-VICTORIA - HOPoxia at Phillips Brewing, July 6th

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

EAT vancouver

caveat:  i have received a media pass from eat vancouver
but hey, why not?  i have paid to get in for years and blogged about it, so this year they're gonna let me in for free
go me!
so i may be influenced to give them a bit more presence on my blog
but i'm not going to be swayed in my opinions - okay?!

here's their latest press release
me, i'm going saturday the 25th, you know, in case you wanted to have a beer and a nibble with me


The 11th annual EAT! Vancouver Food + Cooking Festival: May 24-26 at BC Place Stadium.

Global BC & ET Canada's Erin Cebula hosts the 2nd Celebrity Chef Throwdown, where Chef Rob FeenieAnna Olson, and Top Chef Canada Season Two finalist Trevor Bird will compete to make a seasonal entree in 20 minutes, using a secret ingredient. Check out the competition action at 7:00pm PT on Friday, May 24 on the Food Network Celebrity Stage.

Recent news releases: 
Top 10 Things to Taste at EAT! Vancouver: http://bit.ly/10H8lVQ
Foodies Can Go Gluten-Free at EAT! Vancouver: http://bit.ly/12NqZAr
All-Star Canadian Lineup at 11th EAT! Vancouver: http://bit.ly/14WjUkB

You may also want to check the updated list of Wine, Beer & Spirits Pavilion exhibitors.

We look forward to EAT!ing and drinking with you at the show.

Twitter @EAT_Vancouver, #eatbuzz
Instagram: eatvancouver

Monday, May 20, 2013

late to the party

also known as link love,
here are some links to things i should have found out about earlier!

beer me bc's musical ode to bc beers

check out craft beer magazine on itunes for free

and check out the beer show

biercraft announces all servers are cicerone server certified:

BierCraft Restaurants Introduce Certified Cicerone Beer Servers

VANCOUVER, CANADA

BierCraft owners Dean Mallel and Don Farion are proud to announce every member of the service and bar staff has completed the Certified Cicerone Beer Server certificate program through the internationally recognized Craft Beer Institute.

Don Farion himself is a Certified Cicerone and was one of the first to achieve the certification in Canada.   Don and Dean have always taken great pride in the extensive training and development their staff receives and discerns having the certification gives the staff that next level of professionalism and pride in their work.  Through the Cicerone Certification guests can be assured that each beer was given proper storage and served in the proper way so their beer will taste exactly the way it should, every time. The Certified Beer Server not only includes storage and service but a modest knowledge base of beer styles and culture as well as the brewing process and ingredients.  Anyone can call themselves an expert on beer, but when consumers want great beer they need a server who really knows beer service, flavors, and styles; that server or bartender works with BierCraft.

BierCraft Restaurants have at both location over 20 craft beers on tap, over 100 beers in bottles and  was recently voted "Best Restaurant - Imported Beer Selection" by The Georgia Straight Golden Plates.

With over 50 years of restaurant experience between them, Dean Mallel and Don Farion decided to share their love and passion for Belgian and craft beer by opening the first BierCraft location on Commercial Drive in June of 2005 – BierCraft Tap and Tapas. They quickly built a reputation as the place to find a great meal whilst enjoying beers from around the world, served with the care and attention they deserve.   BierCraft Bistro was opened on Cambie Street in May of 2009. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

craft beer revolution

join the revolution!!
as mentioned by me, on cbc radio's on the coast...

from joe wiebe:


Celebrate with me at Yaletown Brewing (1111 Mainland, Vancouver) on Monday, June 3 at 7:00pm as I launch my new book, Craft Beer Revolution: The Insider's Guide to B.C. Breweries. The book will be available for sale for $19.95 (includes one beer ticket) and I will be available to autograph/personalize copies (Father's Day is right around the corner-HINT). 

In addition to YBC's exceptional regular line-up of beers, there will also be 3 special “revolutionary” casks, prepared exclusively for this event by three Vancouver craft breweries. This event is part of Vancouver Craft Beer Week.

The event is open to anyone -- no reservations/tickets required.
 
Or if you're not on Facebook, please reply to let me know if you'll be attending.

Book Description

Canada’s microbrewing movement began in B.C. with the founding of Horseshoe Bay Brewing in 1982. Three decades later, the province is home to more than 50 breweries with new ones opening at an unprecedented rate. 

Craft Beer Revolution is a fascinating tour of British Columbia’s flourishing craft beer industry, written by one of Canada’s best-known beer writers, Joe Wiebe. It contains an entertaining history of the craft beer scene in the province and profiles of 50 breweries, along with maps, recommendations for tasting tours and interviews with key members of the industry. Special features such as a section on women in the craft beer scene, tasting notes on more than 100 beers, and key details about each brewery will make the beer geek salivate and lend insight into how craft brewers produce their exceptional beers.

Craft Beer Revolution is the perfect book for both the craft beer novice and the seasoned hophead; it initiates people who don’t know much about craft beer into a community of beer lovers and brewers, and it offers lots of new information for the well-versed beer geek too—little-known historical facts, personal anecdotes from brewers and new beers to try.

On sale: May 24.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

beer column

and here are my notes from yesterday's beer column on cbc radio's on the coast with stephen quinn:


Bridge Brewing, of North Vancouver, hosted a 10k run on Saturday morning – the first of what will hopefully become an annual event.  50 runners met at the brewery at 9:00 and went for a 10k run.  Nothing too exciting about that.  Proceeds went to the Harvest Project – a worthy cause to support for sure, but what made this run worth telling you all about is the growlers.  Of the 50 people registered for the run, a full half of them ran with two full growlers.  That’s about 10 extra pounds these folks lugged up hill and down for 10 kilometres.  I myself did not carry the growlers, but the people who did have my respect – it was not easy!  People carried them on their shoulders, laid them on their forearms and dangled them from their thumbs – and for their troubles?  Bridge Brewing is filling those growlers for them, two fills per week, for a month.  Oh, and they get bragging rights!  I do have to add though, that the growlers were full of water during the run, which a couple of runners poured over each other at the finish line!

Changing topics, do you really convert non-beer drinkers into beer geeks?  Will they all start running races with growlers?

“Convert” maybe isn’t the right word to use, that does make it sound like beer geeks are a cult, but the phenomenon is quite similar.  I love beer, we all know that, and I talk about it a lot.  Often I’ll mention beer to someone and they’ll tell me they don’t really like beer.  I ask them what kinds they have tried and what they don’t like about it.  Most of the time they’ve only had yellow fizzy beer.  Some don’t like how full the carbonation makes them feel, some cite the flavour as what they don’t like.  If they seem open to the idea, I suggest that I can help them find a beer more to their liking – that there is a whole world of other beers out there that perhaps they might like.  So far, everyone who has let me introduce them to that wide world of beers has found at least one style they like.  In fact, some of them got so much enjoyment out of finding a beer that they like that they went on their own beer journey and found others. 

Depending on what they say they do like, I try to find a beer that would be a good fit.  So for someone who drinks ciders or fruity cocktails, I usually suggest a fruit beer.  For someone who thinks beers are too heavy, I suggest a refreshing wheat ale or a crisp pilsner.  A coffee lover might find a coffee porter to be their gateway beer.  Its a challenge, but I really enjoy trying to think of a beer that would be similar enough to things they like to give them a positive experience of beer.

I have been very successful in introducing a few non-beer drinkers to beer.  In that I’m at 100%.  In introducing craft beer to a main-stream beer drinkers though, while I have been very successful there too, I’m not at 100% - there’s still one hold-out!  A friend who just won’t stray from her mainsteam lagers.  But you know what, she tried some craft beers and found that she prefers her beers.  And that’s okay.  It takes all kinds!  But in my experience she is the exception to the rule.  Everyone else I have introduced to craft beer has embraced it.  Sure, some of them still drink mainstream lagers, but not all the time!  And I love when they text me or call me to tell me about some new craft beer they tried and loved.  Or that they are turning into a hop head.  Several of my friends who started their craft beer journey with fruit beers are now drinking ipas and sours and barrel-aged brews and loving them.  And buying bottles to cellar.  They join CAMRA and have started to convert their friends to craft beer as well.  Which makes it sound like a cult again, but its not!  Its not about stats, for me its about sharing something I love with other people.  I can’t believe how many people profess to like beer and yet never try anything except a fizzy yellow lager – I just want to show them there are other things out there.  And for those who have only ever tried the fizzy yellow lager and not liked it, I want to make sure they know that not all beers are created equal and if they look a little further afield, they won’t have to miss out on the sociability of beer drinking.

Is there one “gateway” beer that converts people to craft beer in large numbers?  There is, and it is a surprising one because it is an ipa.  Normally a very hoppy beer is not one that you would give to someone you are trying to turn into a beer drinker because hop bitterness seems to be an acquired taste rather than an inherent one.  But Fat Tug by Driftwood Brewing in Victoria is an ipa that most people love – even though it is 80 ibus and 7% alcohol by volume.  There’s just something about its citrusy goodness, those notes of grapefruit, mango, melon and passionfruit that has turned all my friends who were not hop fans into hopheads.  I wouldn’t give it to someone who didn’t already like beer though – its not a gateway to beer, its a gateway to craft beer!

Beer Picks:
In honour of election day, I have four beer picks – a green one, a blue one, an orange one and a red one!
Green:  Nickelbrook Organic Lager
Blue:  Phillips Blue Buck
Orange:  Elysian Superfuzz Blood Orange Pale Ale
Red:  Elysian Men’s Room Red

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

on the coast

its one of the tuesdays that i will be on the air with stephen quinn
on cbc radio's on the coast, the #1 rated afternoon show!

i'll be on at 5:50 p.m. talking about the north shore growler 10k and converting non beer drinkers into beer geeks!

Monday, May 13, 2013

link love

canadian brewing awards run down by jan zeschky

and the whole list of winners is up on the canadian brewing awards website, but i can't seem to get on there today - maybe too many visitors crashed their site - hopefully the link works soon

congratulations to powell street brewing for winning best in show!

speaking of winners...
saturday marked the inaugural north shore growler 10k hosted by bridge brewing
50 people ran 10k from the brewery, up up up and around and back to the brewery
i was one of them
(so were the lovely monica and jill)



i was rewarded with a beer and a glass
the harvest project was rewarded with all of our entry fees as donations

25 people ran with growlers
yes, that's correct, with growlers
2 each... full ones...
24 of them finished with them
and for their efforts they were rewarded with 2 free growler fills a week for a month
not incentive enough for me to carry an extra, awkward 10 lbs
but i sure do have a whole lot of respect for those who did!

check out beer me bc for a write up of the event, and photos
and the bridge brewing facebook page for photos (like this lovely one of me)


Friday, May 3, 2013

the week in beer

what a week in beer!

monday night cask at st. augustine's - red truck's esb
tuesday night cask at railway club - parallel 49 dry-hopped gypsy tears
wednesday night sour beer pairing dinner at biercraft cambie
thursday night cask at yaletown brewpub - pale ale with thyme

all of the above were damned tasty and much fun
so, what should i drink tonight???

legacy and camra sessional

new beers at legacy liquor store in vancouver:

Moon Under Water Shatterbier Golden Ale - $12.55This collaboration between reinvigorated Moon Under Water Brewery and Shatterbox Coffee is one that should not be missed. Pouring a hazy golden colour with candied fruit, citrus and coffee found in the aromatics, this brew has marzipan and roasted coffee on the palate and a dry finish to round it out.

St. Feuillien Saison - $10.45
Described as a beer of terroir, this Belgian Saison is a traditional farmhouse from St. Feuillien pouring pale amber with aromas of candied citrus and melon. In the mouth, orange, black pepper and yeast make this a Saison worth drinking.

Tofino Brewing Dawn Patrol Coffee Porter - $7.15
A new coffee porter from the west coast of Vancouver Island that pours a velvety dark brown similar to a black cup of coffee. Rich coffee aromas own the bouquet of this beer, while espresso beans and light malt are found on the palate. A tasty coffee porter from Tofino Brewing.

camra vancouver's spring sessional at the portside pub is sold out!
me, i'll be pouring the nectar of the gods on the late shift
so if you're there and its after 3:00, come by and say hi!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

new beers coming to town

there are so many great beers coming to town!

beerthirst is bringing us beers from the bruery!

"From their wide landscape of experimental ales that are brewed in the Belgian tradition, the Rue family has made quite the name for themselves in a very short time. Their ratings speak for themselves on websites such as Ratebeer.com, where 90% of their beers score from 93 to 100. These unique, barrel-aged, bottle conditioned beers are so good that, the craft beer aficionados in BC have been known to drive out to Bellingham and even Seattle, in order to get their hands on these wonderful creations. Well, that is about to change very soon because The Bruery is coming to BC!
The wait is over folks. The Bruery has finally agreed to send their beers up north. We've been fans of this brewery for quite some time and we're absolutely thrilled to import these fine ales for the good people of British Columbia!
The Bruery is a small craft brewery located in Orange County, California. The name is a fusion of 'brewery' with their family name, Rue. They use a proprietary Belgian yeast strain for the majority of their creations, but they are also known for using Brettanomyces and bacteria such as Pediococcus and Lactobacillus. The Bruery is also notable for their use of bourbon and wine barrels for the fermentation and aging of their beers. Particularly, they have become well known for their strong bourbon aged ales that can range between 13% and 19.5% ABV.
The first shipment is expected to ship out of their warehouse in the end of May. We'll keep you posted on what beers to expect."
 
and elysian's space dust ipa that i enjoyed so much last summer when i was in seattle:
 
"This year, the second release in Elysian's "Manic IPA" series is going to be something that's completely out of this world! Space Dust IPA will come drifting out of the cosmos to beautiful British Columbia soon!
Space Dust is an (asteroid) belt of Chinook, Citra and Amarillo hops streaking across a fairly open space grist of Northwest pale and touches of C-15 and Dextri-Pils malts. 70 IBU will deliver a good (VanAllen) belt of bitterness and 7.2% alcohol by volume keeps thrust a medium burn.
Space Dust will be available in 59L kegs and 650ml bottles mid May, with a cute little extra-terrestrial hop feller on the label."
 
and double trouble's pilsner that i am dying to try:
 
Prison Break Pilsner's unconfined flavour demonstrates just how good a lager can taste. Full of aromatic and balanced hopping for maximum security. This Breatkout Pilsner will surely set your palate free of uninspiring lagers. Brewed in BC! 5% ABV.
and hop valley brewing co.
 
"Up in the Willamette Valley of Oregon State, are thousands and thousands of acres, dedicated to growing the beautiful flower that we can't seem to get enough of: hops! Being that Oregon is also home to countless craft breweries, we're always on the hunt to see who's producing the best showcase of their fresh, local hops. Well, after searching high and low, we finally came across Hop Valley Brewing.
We are very excited to announce that Hop Valley Brewing will soon be available in BC! This amazing brewery definitely lives up to their name with their bold and hoppy beers, and they take pride in brewing all their beers with ingredients grown in Oregon and the Northwest.
When we first got in contact with the good folks of Hop Valley, they were operating a small brewpub in Springfield, Oregon. Luckily, they were also in the middle of expanding and building a new production facility. We recently had the chance to visit their new production brewery (still under construction) in Eugene, and we were blown away! We took one step into the facility and we realized we took their "expansion" very lightly.
Hop Valley's new production brewery is located in the Whiteaker district in Euguene, and it's a 30,000-square-foot building. Once it's complete, it will have quite the tasting room, as well as a beer garden outside. The new brewery is going to triple their brewing and storage capacity from 3,500 barrels a year to more than 12,000 barrels! On top of all that, they are also starting a barrel-aging program as well. We can't wait to see what the finish product is going to look like.
As far as the beers from Hop Valley go, they are absolute hoppy goodness. The Alpha Centauri Binary IPA and Alphadelic IPA receive 94 and 93 on RateBeer. Their Natty Red is a great, hopped up Imperial Red Ale, and they also have a nice Vanilla Porter (93 on Ratebeer). They specialize in hoppy beers but we feel that they have a lot to offer."

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

beer column

here are my notes for yesterday's beer column on cbc radio one's on the coast with stephen quinn

Vancouver Craft Beer Week

This is the fourth annual VCBW, and runs this year from Friday, May 31st to Saturday June 8th. This year's theme is "All In", and when you see the line up of events, you are going to want to go all in!

VCBW is a jam-packed 9 day tour of all that is fabulous in the craft beer world here in Vancouver, including the craft beers we import from other places like the United States. Each day of the festival features a signature VCBW event. There are also 6 feature events and 6 walk up events.. The signature and feature events are ticketed, and you will need advance tickets to attend. Tickets are available through the website, vancouvercraftbeerweek.com and eventbrite.com. The walk-up events are just that, events that you show up to.

VCBW is like oktoberfest meets christmas meets cultural festival - there's beer, there's anticipation and there are events at venues all over town. It is my favourite week of the year, and I think most beer geeks feel the same way. People book off that week from work, clear their schedules and kiss the rest of their lives good-bye for those 9 glorious days. But the week is not just for the beer geek, it is for everyone who appreciates quality beer, delicious food, well-organized events and supporting their community.

The theme is a nod to all the new breweries opening up in the City - and how they're going all in despite the nay-sayers who tell them the City can't support another craft brewery, that the craft beer bubble is going to burst any day now. Sure, there will be a tipping point eventually, but the brewers don't believe it is here yet, and neither do the beer geeks and VCBW is just another way we show that the craft beer movement isn't slowing down any time soon.

Only a couple of the events are already sold out, but I would suggest getting your tickets to the remaining events soon! In particular I would suggest people get tickets to one of the festival days that close out VCBW, Friday June 7th and Saturday June 8th. The two day beer festival is being held outside Vancouver for the first time, but fear not, it will be easily accessible as it will be held in tents in the East parking lot of the River Rock Casino in Richmond - right on the Canada Line. What can you expect from this event? Lots of beer, of course, from more than 50 breweries from as near as East Van and as far as Belgium, and a dj spinning tunes to delight your ears and some of Vancouver’s best food carts on site to tempt your tastebuds. Events like these are a great introduction to craft beer as sample sizes are small, allowing for lots of tasting, and one-stop shopping with all the breweries together under one (tent) roof. (Friday 5- 10 p.m., or Saturday 2 - 7 p.m., tickets $35)

Also a great event for those of you not yet converted to craft beer is the 2nd annual Battle of the Bartender Beer Cocktail Competition at the Queen's Republic. At $25, this is the bargain of the festival! Bartenders create beer cocktails on the spot using a Driftwood Brewing limited release beer. You get to sample the cocktails, eat canapes, and down two driftwood pints - plus vote for your favourite cocktail. (Tuesday, June 4th from 6:00)

The other signature event I would suggest you get tickets to if you already know you are into craft beer and are a hop-head, is Brothers In Hop on Thursday, June 6th. Tickets are $75 which may sound a little steep, but let me tell you what you get for that $75: samples of beers from Ninkasi, Gigantic, Central City and Parallel 49; food to pair with those samples and a gift bag that includes giveaways from Dominion Barbers, which is valued at $75 - so there's no possible way for you to not get your money's worth. Additionally, the brewers from those four breweries will be on hand to talk about their hoppy brews. Since the other hoppy VCBW event, Hoppapalooza sells out in minutes every year, this is your chance to taste and discuss all things hoppy with other hop-heads. (at the Butcher & Bullock from 6-10 p.m.)

The Feature event I would recommend is the Portland Beer Week preview being held on Wednesday, June 5th at, appropriately enough, Portland Craft on Main Street. $49 gets you a taste of what Portland Beer Week has to offer, without having to travel to Portland. (5 - 10 p.m.)  As of yesterday, there were only 23 tickets left for this one, so get on it!

The walk-up event I would recommend is at the Yaletown Brewpub on Monday June 3rd from 7-9:30 p.m.. Called “Join the Revolution" it will feature the book launch of Joe Wiebe's "Craft Beer Revolution" about B.C.'s breweries, and revolution themed casks from brewmaster Iain Hill and friends. Joe's book will be available for purchase at the low price of $19.95, which price includes one beer ticket.

Besides checking out the website for a listing of all the events, there are two other things I'd like to mention. Firstly, there is a special collaboration brew every year to celebrate Craft Beer Week. This year it is based on an old recipe of James Walton of Storm Brewing - the Red Sky Alt. Brewed by all of the brewers in the province who were available to attend at Parallel 49 on brew day, it will launch at the opening of VCBW and be available around town during the 9 day festival, proceeds of which will be donated to A Better Life Foundation who will use the funds to support the Save On Meats Meal Token program.

And last, but not least, check out the 'Specials" section of the VCBW website for specials that are running throughout the festival at places such as Donnelly Group Pubs, Dockside Brewpub, Romer's Burgers and the Regal Beagle.