Monday, September 30, 2013

link love
what an ontario master cicerone has to say

did you know that craft beer is catching on in bc?
of course you did
still, its a nice write up of bridge and deep cove

you probably know this too:
just one sip of beer can release happy brain chemicals
(for me, just a sniff of hoppy aroma is enough to get the rush - which if you read the whole article is slightly worrying from an alcoholism perspective, but whatever)

growler bill proposed in california

beer vs wine infographic

five sins of craft beer service from

if you missed last night's town hall twitter about alcohol laws, check it out here

Friday, September 27, 2013

friday frivolity

i stole this from beer connoisseur magazine
no idea if its theirs or if they too stole it

Thursday, September 26, 2013

legacy liquor store

new and exciting beers at legacy liquor store in vancouver:

Elysian Brewing Nightowl - $7.85

Straight from Seattle comes one of the finest pumpkin beers available on the market today. Hazy and tawny in colour when poured into a glass, accompanied by a myriad of spices associated with the season (allspice, ginger, clove, etc.), its caramel, starchy malt and of course pumpkin flavours all come together to produce a medium-bodied beer that is not only amazingly approachable, but also extremely quaffable. Don’t miss out on this fantastic beer.

Evan Doan | Beer Team | Legacy Liquor Store

Moon Under Water Year One - $12.55

Happy Anniversary, Moon Under Water! After one year under new ownership and a revitalization that has been truly remarkable, a single-batch Red Wheat Wine ale has been produced to mark the occasion. Hopped throughout with Citra, and fermented dry with three yeasts on yellow birch to create an outstanding beer to be enjoyed with friends, this one-of-a-kind offering is worth grabbing before it’s gone, because year two isn’t coming for another 364 days. Big fan of this up and coming brewery!

Ryan Hooper | Assistant Manager | Legacy Liquor Store

Red Racer Pumpkin Ale - $6.15

’Tis the season for pumpkin, spice and everything nice, and Red Racer certainly isn’t going to let us down in that regard. This autumnal brew pours the same colour as the autumn leaves – copper and orange. Sweet pumpkin flesh, citrus and highlights of spice fill out the nose, while pumpkin, cloves and cinnamon balance one another to produce a tasty beer for these chilly days.

Joel Wilson | Beer Team | Legacy Liquor Store

i absolutely loved the moon anniversary cask at gcbf
i strongly suggest picking up a bottle of the red wheat wine while you can!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

sartori harvest 2013

so, did you get your driftwood brewing sartori harvest ipa yet?
if not, you're probably outta luck finding a bottle in vancouver
the brewery in victoria is offering growler fills
and there will be more casks about town (vancouver, victoria, chilliwack)

i got my bottles at viti (vancouver)
i tried to be greedy and get some more at liberty on the drive, but they were out of their 15 cases already

i have tried two casks so far:
monday night at st. augustine's
(that was not very good)

and tuesday night at the railway club
(that was down-right ambrosia)

i have only had a wee sample from the bottle - and it was so delicious i am on a quest to find more bottles!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

on the coast

if you missed me talking about fresh-hopped beers with stephen quinn last week on cbc radio's on the coast, fear not!  you can still have a listen
follow the link, and if you just want to listen to me, fast-forward to the 2:17 mark

and if you missed getting your driftwood sartori harvest ipa yesterday, get out there right now, there may still be some left, but it won't last for long!

Monday, September 23, 2013

link love

get your say in now about bc liquor laws
its time to get what you want, and the best way to do that is to speak up about it
support your local brewers and breweries

jan zeschky's updated new bc breweries of 2013 piece
read up - there are so many new breweries opening up around the province!

whistler beer festival was a success!

8 simple steps not to be a beer snob douchebag

china joins in on the pandering to the idea that the way to woo women to beer is through low alcohol fruity beers with hello kitty beer.  yes, hello kitty beer
i would be outraged, but frankly its just par for the course and i have bigger things to get worked up about (like the article equating using hello kitty to woo drinkers with the timbers army having its own beer)

auto-brewery syndrome - making your own beer... in your gut
sure, i buy this
ever felt far too yeasty in your guts after a cask festival?  not a stretch from there!

lynne, aka bg canary's latest article for the bc craft beer news
bc beers are flying south

"TBG ensures that the beer lines and equipment in your favourite craft beer establishment The Beer Guy are clean. We service some of your favourite craft beer bars including Biercraft, and Alibi Room. That's why we have established the:
Restaurant (CLEAR) sticker program. This sticker gives you the peace of mind knowing that the craft draught that you are enjoying is served the way its intended - dispensed through a clean draught system. For more information check out our website."

Thursday, September 19, 2013

legacy liquor store

new and exciting beers at legacy liquor store in vancouver:

Samuel Adams Octoberfest - $16.35
Straight from the east coast, Massachusetts to be exact, comes a distinct and delicious Octoberfest seasonal brew. Rich in colour, with accents of amber and caramel, this beer packs a punch with notes of malt, spice, caramel and maple on the nose. Meanwhile, sugar, spice and everything nice, in addition to excellent malt characteristic, embody autumn on the palate. Simply fantastic.

Evan Doan | Beer Team | Legacy Liquor Store

Sierra Nevada Narhwhal Imperial Stout- $16.85

Brewed in honour of the majestic Narwhal Whale, this imperial stout pours as black as the depths of the Arctic Ocean accompanied with aromas of dark fruit, prune, baker’s chocolate and espresso. All about chocolate accented with coffee, the palate of this robust and perfectly balanced brew has a mile-long finish. Bravo!

Chris Bonnallie | Beer Supervisor | Legacy Liquor Store

Phillips Brewing Crookeder Tooth - $7.25

Crooked Tooth’s older brother is here to show us what barrel-aged pumpkin beer ought to be. This brew is amber in colour, with huge notes of vanilla and bourbon on the nose. Meanwhile, on the palate, bourbon and vanilla are once again the primary characters, with pumpkin and autumn spices backing them up. Drinking this beer is like being wrapped in a warm blanket.

Joel Wilson | Beer Team | Legacy Liquor Store

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

beer column

my notes from last evening's beer column with stephen quinn on the coast:

It's the most wonderful time of the year for hop-heads! It's hop harvest time, and to beer geeks that can mean only one thing: fresh-hopped beers. 
Fresh-hopping, also referred to as wet-hopping, is the process of using fresh hops to bitter the beer. Hops are ready for harvest at the end of August or the beginning of September in this part of the world. Growers know they are ready when the cone is plump and the lupulin is at a maximum. If you look at a hop flower, the lupulin is the yellow stuff between the green bits. This is where the oils come from that impart the bitterness and flavour to beer. Despite looking hardy, hops are actually quite delicate. They don't survive long after being cut. To preserve the oils and resins they need to be dried right away.. Most of the hops harvested are dried right after picking and then frozen, or ground into pellets. These are then sold to brewers and used all year long. Fresh hops follow a different process. They are harvested and then immediately scooped up by brewers and put into a brew within hours of being picked. Hence the namesfresh-hop.

You can only get fresh-hopped beers at harvest time, so they're rare commodities. You also get a slightly different hop flavour in a fresh-hopped beer. A little green or herbal perhaps. The base notes are the same, floral, bitter, tangy, but there's less intensity - instead they are delicate, bright and vibrant. Its hard to describe really, so you should definitely try a fresh-hopped beer this season! Keep in mind, these are beers that will not cellar, the oils break down over time and the flavour changes. You have to drink a fresh-hopped beer right away. And that is a large part of the hype around fresh-hopped beers. They represent a moment in time in your local terroir.
Let's look at how Driftwood brews its Sartori Harvest IPA - probably the most well-known fresh-hopped beer in BC. It is comparable to a pilgrimage to make this beer. The brewers travel from Victoria to the Sartori Cedar Ranch in Chilliwack, load their truck with fresh hops and then drive back to Victoria the same day. The batch gets brewed first thing the next morning, with additions of fresh Centennial hops at multiple points during the brewing process to highlight the bittering and the flavouring elements of the hops, and then the final product goes out to stores a few weeks later. That's when the fun for the consumer starts - this is a very sought after beer, so if you don't get your hands on some the day it is released, you may be out of luck to try it at all. People use social media to announce where they got theirs - and to beg others to share the wealth.
The good news is that Driftwood Brewing finally has enough tank space to brew a double batch of the Sartori this year - which should make it a little easier to come by than past years. But if you get a bottle, make sure to drink it right away. No storing a fresh-hopped beer, not even for a month! It really does need to be drunk right away. Driftwood Sartori Harvest IPA will be in stores next Monday - that's September 23rd.
For this list of fresh-hopped beers in BC I need to give a shout-out to Joe Wiebe who wrote an article for the current edition of the BC Craft Beer News all about fresh-hopping and which beers to be on the look-out for.
Vern Lambourne of Granville Island Brewing is making a fresh-hopped ESB (extra special bitter). This year's concoction will be called Mad Dash, and will also use hops from the Sartori ranch.
Tin Whistle Brewing in Penticton will have a fresh-hopped Harvest Honey Pale Ale made from fresh hops from a farm in Grand Forks and honey from Cawston. This will weigh in at around 30 ibus and use mostly Cascade hops.
Salt Spring Island Ales has a hop farm located quite close to the brewery, which will make it quite easy for them to brew a fresh-hop version of one of their regular styles. From bine to boil is so much easier when the hops are local.
Hoyne Brewing plans to crowd-source hops from backyard growers in the Victoria area for its fresh-hopped brew.
Lighthouse Brewing is brewing its first fresh-hopped batch this year. Their brewer, Dean McLeod says it is an American brown ale with Chinook and Zeus hops from a farm in Cedar on Vancouver Island. The brewery shut down for a day, the staff all travelled to Cedar to pick the hops.
Townsite Brewing will have their Time Warp Pale Ale with hops from Powell River and Texada Island.
Parallel 49 is brewing a Bohemian Pilsner with Sartori hops.
I suggest you follow social media and the CAMRA website for announcements of when these beers have hit store shelves, and also for cask nights featuring fresh-hopped beers.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Monday, September 16, 2013

link love

i have mentioned this a few times before
i would love to have the work ability to just drink beer for a whole month
in the meantime, here's a guy in france who is doing just that
replacing all water with brewdog's nanny state beer

joe wiebe (thirsty writer) on victoria's beer mile
how many of these stops have you made it to?
me, i've made it to all of them, but not on the same day

speaking of moon under water (which we were if you clicked the link above)
here's a review of their overhaul from the times colonist
their pots pils continues to make me very happy every time i quaff it!

fourteen best and worst gluten-free beers
greens comes out on top, new grist on the bottom

another view of gcbf
and it makes me feel better that other bloggers have trouble getting out their posts about beer festivals!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

great canadian beer festival - part 2

oh gcbf!
oh the good times!
oh the good beers!
oh thank dog there were no cameras at certain after-parties!

first of all, let me extole the virtues of flying from vancouver to victoria
so quick, so easy, so fun!
(caveat:  i would not want to be on that tiny plane if there was ANY turbulence though - that would be very, very, very frightening)
i left from my office at 5:45 on friday evening
and i was in victoria by 7:00 for the start of the copper & theory tap takeover at the guild
so civilized!

watching the pre-flight safety film on an ipad
the guild was a fun venue
although, as nigel from the alibi room ironically pointed out, it was a hard place to socialize properly as you had to be seated to be served - darned restaurant licenses!
i had hoped to have some beer & cheddar soup or welsh rarebit, but alas they don't do either of them vegetarian
instead i ate other people's curry & chips
as for beer, i stuck with the gigantic ipa because gosh darnit, that's what i was in the mood for
i did sample all the uprights that passed by me though
for quality assurance purposes of course

saturday dawned rainy and coolish
after an enormous breakfast at spoons we hit the park
it brightened up as we drank our way through remaining casks and never-tried-befores
for the run-down on those though, you'll have to wait, cuz i'm outta time right now

Thursday, September 12, 2013

whistler beer fest

i am not going to whistler beer fest this weekend
but i think it will be good times, so you should go

instead i will be basking in the summer weather in deception pass
camping for the first time this summer
i have been to plenty of beer fests, this weekend i need to go camping!
(and bring back more lovely american beers)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

great canadian beer festival - part 1

today, you just get some photos
another day you'll get the whole play-by-play

some friends find a pineapple man
camra vancouver represents
my arm is long enough to fit five people in a selfie
truer words...

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

beer column

and finally, my notes from last week's on the coast beer column
topic:  extreme beers

Why do brewers keep trying to push the international bittering units (ibus) higher and higher?
Beer is like any other segment of the world, it experiences its fads and its trends and people pushing envelopes. The hops wars were just another expression of that. Craft beer had taken off and people were falling in love with india pale ales and all the bitter hoppiness that they offer, and brewers wanted to get creative and see how far they could push the bitterness envelope before they brewed a beer that was just undrinkably bitter.
Fortunately, unlike other wars there were no casualties and I don't think anyone spent their gross national product on the war, so really, everyone won. Well, except for all of the fried taste buds. And it wasn't a war so much as friendly competition.
Hops are added during the making of beer at several points in the process. Hops added in the beginning of the boil are added for the bitterness they add to the beer, which balances the sweetness of the malts. Hops added nearer the end of the boil are added for their subtle flavours and aromas. Hops added after the boil (including dry-hopping) also add flavour and aroma. In order to amp up the hoppiness of a beer you really need to add more hops at all three stages, otherwise you will get an unbalanced product.
The human palate can only taste up to somewhere between 80 and 120 ibus, but that hasn't stopped brewers from pushing their bitterness levels higher than that. The current winner in the extreme hops category is Flying Monkeys out of Barrie Ontario. Their Alpha-Fornication was a whopping 13.3% abv and they claim it had 2500 ibus. It was brewed specially for Ontario Craft Beer Week in 2011. Second place goes to Arbour from the UK for their 2012 Double Black IPA at 2012 ibus and Mikkeller from Denmark for their Hop Juice 2007, with 2007 ibus.
Why brew a beer that goes so far beyond what a human can taste? Hopefully along the way you make some great discoveries on other aspects of brewing. In trying to make the hoppiest, some of the experimentation is bound to lead to new techniques, new ways to pull flavour out of the hops and new hop combinations. Do I want to drink a 2500 ibu beer? Not really. Will I try it for fun? Of course I will! And then I will sit back and wait for the beer that follows - the one that all that research and experimentation has given birth to. Competitions like these are fun to watch, but also provide a showcase for the versatility and complexity of beer.
Also worth noting is that ibu measurements are not always accurate. Bittering units are measured through the use of a spectrophotometer or can be calculated by a mathematical formula based on the recipe and hops being used. The latter may not be an accurate representation of ibus. The bitterness comes from the alpha acids in the hops, but how bitter a beer tastes is more than just an ibu measurement. If there are fewers malts to balance the hops, then the beer will taste more bitter. If there is a lot of malt sweetness then you can add more hops without the resulting beer tasting too bitter. So there is a bit of an arbitrary nature to ibus and beer bitterness.
Here's a list of a few extreme hopped beers that you can usually find in Vancouver:
Southern Tier Unearthly Imperial IPA - 153 ibus
BrewDog Hardcore IPA - 150 ibus
Lagunitas Hop Stoopid - 102 ibus
Green Flash Palate Wrecker - 100 ibus
Hopworks Organic Ace of Spades - 100 ibus
Ninkasi Tricerahops - 100 ibus
Driftwood's Fat Tug - 80 ibus
Central City's Red Racer IPA - 80 ibus
If you are travelling and manage to find these extremely hoppy beers, pick one up for yourself and get one for me too, okay?
Dogfish head's 120 minute IPA - 120 ibus
Russian River Pliny the Elder - who knows? but it is hoppy!
There was also an alcohol by volume war between BrewDog Brewery out of Scotland and German brewery, Kleinbrauerei Schorschbrau. Once upon a time (1980) the strongest beer in the world was 14%. Jump ahead to mostly modern times and Sam Adams held the title for a while with its "Utopias", at 27% and a hefty price tag of upwards of $200 for a 750 ml bottle. Jump again to 2008 and Schorschbrau brews a 31% beer, but doesn't rule the roost for long. In 2009 BrewDog's Tactical Nuclear Penguin debuted at 32%. I had the great fortune to try this beer, which retailed in Canada at $100 per bottle, at a beer tasting. If you can picture beer flavoured sherry, that pretty much summed up what it tasted like. It was definitely beer, definitely boozey, and if you swilled it around in a snifter, it stuck to the sides like a sherry would.
You brew high alcohol beers by freezing the water out of them and then re-fermentating so that the alcohol percentages get higher as the volume gets smaller.
Schorschbrau, saw BrewDog's 32% and raised them 40% with their Schorschbock. Brewdog retaliated with Sink the Bismarck at 41%, which was an IPA. Schorschbock came back with a 44% beer. BrewDog jumped ahead again with a belgian blonde ale, The End of History at 55% (which beer had only 12 bottles commercially available, presented in a taxidermied rodent - who said brewers have no sense of humour? - and retailed for 700 British pounds, and sold out in 30 minutes). Schorschbock came back in October 2011 with their Finis Coronat Opus at 57.7%, and finally Brewmeister (also out of Scotland) who in October 2012 entered their Armageddon into the fray at 65%. The press that followed the war gave craft brewing a great opportunity to showcase the fun of craft brewing, the personalities of the brewers and the craftmanship involved in going where no one had gone before even if there was no profit in it.

I think the current trend in brewing has moved away from extreme beers.  Instead we have brewers looking outside the box for the "next big thing" and I think that will benefit craft beer immensely in the long run.
Brewers are taking old and rarer beer styles and brewing them anew - some with a modern twist, some just as the old recipe was written. This resurgence of styles benefits everyone as brewers get to try their magic on new to us all territory, use different yeasts and grains, and all of the consumers get to discover styles of beer that they love. One example of this is Parallel 49's biere de garde. Who had ever heard of a biere de garde before they brewed their very amusingly named Humphrey Biere de Garde? Talk about your crowd pleasing beers. I was using this one as a gateway beer when out with a group of people and asked for a recommendation of what to drink. Biere de Gardes are strong pale ales traditionally brewed in France. They were originally brewed in farmhouses during the winter and spring, much like a saison. They tend to be copper or golden in colour and are matured in a cellar for a period of time after bottling. Humphrey was an easy drinking, easy food pairing beer that pleased my beer geek and neophyte friends alike. Brown ales, sour ales, and steam ales are all making a come back.
Driftwood Brewing has just released their Gose-uh, which is in the Gose style that is rarely ever seen in these parts of the world. It is a traditional wheat beer brewed in Germany. It was first brewed in the early 16th century in the town of Goslar where the style gets it’s name. Gose became so popular in Leipzig, that local breweries started to make it themselves. Originally, Gose was spontaneously-fermented, however brewers worked out how to achieve the same effect by using a combination of top-fermenting yeast and lacto bacillus bacteria and when the beer was filled into the characteristic long-necked bottles (illustrated on Driftwood's label) the beer began a secondary fermentation where a plug of yeast would rise up the neck and naturally seal the bottle. Driftwood's version of Gose is brewed in a very traditional method (without the yeast plug) and presents as dry, tart, effervesent and citrusy. It is an amazing refresher on a hot summer’s day!

Also single-hopping a brew has become popular. In this way a brewer can showcase the flavour of one hop rather than blending them for more subtle flavours. Citra and mosaic are the hops belles of the ball these days and should be quite easy to find at a cask night or seasonal offering.

Monday, September 9, 2013

link love

the artwork of the amazing 21st amendment cans
(incidently, brew free or die was what i drank on the soccer field all labour day weekend - i love it when i can find it... and consume it!!)

go joe wiebe!
so much success coming to such a deserving beer writer!

five places to drink in vancouver
featuring my home away from home, yaletown brewpub
and the prettiest drinking hole in vancouver, 33 acres
(incidently, i reviewed yaletown brewpub in the upcoming bc craft beer news, and steamworks in the inaugural summer edition)

Thursday, September 5, 2013


there are not enough hours in the day for me to get to all the things i shoulda/coulda/woulda
so, beer column notes will be here eventually
but... probably not until after the great canadian beer festival

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

on the coast

i'll be on with stephen quinn at 5:50 today
talking extreme beers
and sipping on driftwood's gose-uh
690 am
88.1 fm

Monday, September 2, 2013

link love

happy labour day!

a nice little primer on hops

17 issues sober people have to deal with
(click on it, there are cats!!)

beer advocate's history of american beer

heineken can't compete with craft beer
(which probably comes as no surprise to beer geeks)

the top 10 craft beers in mexico
warning - this one's in spanish, so depending on your ability to hablar, you may just want to look at the photos in the slideshow!