Thursday, August 27, 2015

bc beer awards

The BC Beer Awards & Festival October 24, 2015
Early Bird Tickets On Sale August 26

Suggested Tweet:
Raise a glass and pucker up! @BCBeerAwards return Oct 24. Early Bird tickets on sale Aug 26 #BCBA2015 #YearoftheSour
Event Hashtags: #BCBA2015 #YearoftheSour

In Short:

Vancouver, BC (August 25, 2015): Tickets for the much-anticipated 6th Annual BC Beer Awards & Festival are on sale tomorrow - Wednesday August 26 at 10am - for only $30 (+ tax) exclusively via Ticket Zone BCBeerAwards.

The Vancouver-based festival, takes place on Saturday October 24, 2014 from 4 - 9pm at the Croatian Cultural Centre (3250 Commercial Drive). The signature consumer tasting event of BC Craft Beer Month, this festival celebrates the very best in craft brewing from across the province. A one-day only event, it features both the BC Beer Awards ceremony hosted by CBC’s Stephen Quinn and a craft beer festival with over 50 breweries (and cideries). Also returning will be our community booths, and our Brewers Challenge! 2015 has been dubbed by the craft beer community to be the “Year of the Sour Beer” and we have challenged BC’s Brewers to create something that will dazzle your taste buds!

NEW this year is the Richards Buell Sutton LLP Rookie of The Year Award for BC’s top new brewery! We’ve also invited a handful of BC’s cideries to join in on the festival for your tasting enjoyment, there will be crafts provided by artists associated with The Craft Council of BC and an official BC Beer Awards After Party.
Early Bird tickets are $30 (plus tax and fees) for the BC Beer Awards & Festival. They are available August 26 until September 30, 2015 and include your tasting glass and 4 drink tokens. Regular priced tickets are $35 (plus tax and fees) as of October 1, 2015. Last year we sold out before the regular priced tickets were released so don’t wait!

(linked or attached)

For more information on our event please visit or follow the conversation on Facebook,  Twitter and Instagram.  

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

beer column

my notes from yesterday's beer column on cbc radio one's on the coast
with guest host, the lovely and talented gloria macarenko:

For the beer news today, I’m going to start with a couple of events you should probably get tickets for:

BC Beer Awards early bird tickets go on sale August 26th.  For $30 you can enjoy some of the finest craft beer BC has to offer, as you rub elbows with the brewers and CBC’s own Stephen Quinn who will be back to MC the event. Saturday, October 24, 2014 from 4 - 9pm at the Croatian Cultural Centre (3250 Commercial Drive).  This is one of the most fun evenings of the year, and I strongly suggest you join us to enjoy it!  Tickets available on the website.

August 22, 2015 - September 7, 2015 2-9:30 pm
Tickets are $10.00 and admission includes a 4oz sampling cup and 2 drink tokens - it’ll cost ya $1.50 for each additional token.
The Craft Beer Fest will feature upwards of 20 different local craft brewers each week, with brewery participants changing from the first week of The Fair to the second, so make sure to come twice to see them all! Check the website for a listing of participating breweries. 
If you purchase an advance ticket online you will receive an additional drink token and access to a pre-purchased ticketholder line.

Inaugural Craft Beer Cruise – this is not your regular 3 hour booze cruise, this one is a five day trip on an 80 foot tugboat through the gulf islands October 25 – 30.  With beer history and local colour provided by historian Greg Evans and intimate hanging out with a who’s who of BC brewing, this is a beer cruise like no other.  There will be beer and food pairings at sea and on land.  This cruise is limited to 12 lucky folks, so if you’re interested in sailing the high seas and drinking some lovely beers, you should contact Maple Leaf Adventures now to book your berth.

And now for the rest of the news:

Remember that new liquor law that came into effect July 28?  The one that allows BC breweries and distilleries to sell each others’ products?  Well, the first brewery and distillery in Vancouver have jumped on board - we are soon going to be able to ‘spike the trike’ at Parallel 49’s tasting room.  Any day now, they will have Odd Society’s vodka in house to pour a shot into their Tricycle Radler. 

I got all scared with the current drought in the Pacific Northwest that perhaps the hop harvest this year would be adversely affected.

It seems I panicked for no reason.  The hops growers I spoke to, both commercial and non-commercial growers, said that their yields are looking good, maybe even better than usual!.  Some expect to be harvesting a little early this year, in the next week or so, on some varietals, and into September for the rest.  It is possible that if it remains dry right into harvesting season that this year’s crop will have a lower moisture content, which would be expected to increase the alpha acid percent of the hops - which would mean that a bit fewer would need to be used per batch -  which would mean that brewers can stretch their hops further this year.  So, all in all, it is looking very good this year for hops, which makes me a very happy hop lover!

I’m not sure exactly when the fresh-hopped beers will be brewed and available for us to drink, but you know that as soon as I know, I’ll pass that along to the hop lovers out there.  Because fresh hopped beers are fabulously tasty beers!

And finally, a beer for tasting:

Dead Frog One-Eyed Jack Imperial Pilsner.

Pilsners are part of the lager family, and they’re the hoppier side of the family.  Imperial means that it is pretty much double everything a regular pilsner would be – twice the malts, twice the hops and twice the alcohol.  At 8% this is one we need to share around!  Pilsner malts and Sterling hops lend the flavour to this brew, but at 30 international bittering units, you are not going to be overwhelmed by hops.  As a hop-lover though, pilsners are definitely a lager that I enjoy.

Beer Picks:

Because I am me, I have 2 sour beers and an ipa for my beer picks this week..  Tart slash hoppy and refreshing for these last few weeks of summer:

Powell StreetGrisette – 4% - brewed with wheat and pilsner malts and czech saaz hops, it is light, fruity and tart.

StrangeFellows sour pale ale – 4% - this soured pale ale was the table favourite last time I was at Strange Fellows.  Deliciously drinkable.

And somewhat higher test, Driftwood Brewing’s new “Raised by Wolves” wild yeast fermented IPA.  It tastes like the Fat Tug gone wild.  7%. And 80ish ibus. Using Equinox hops, only limited amounts of this beer will be available in the Lower Mainland.  Currently you can find it on tap at the Lamplighter.  There will also be the one and only cask of Raised by Wolves at the Lamplighter on August 31st – tapping at 3:00.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

new release

Super Cooper Anniversary Ale

August 17th, 2015: It's our birthday, and we're celebrating with a very special gorilla-sized barrel aged brew! Super Cooper was aged in freshly emptied bourbon barrels for a full year before dry-hopping. Soft malt sweetness and warm oak character from the barrel is paired with the bright kick of American hops.  It's our first Anniversary Ale with an anniversary of its own!

Bottles are limited and available at private craft-focused liquor stores for a short time only.

We would also like to invite you to celebrate with us at a couple of Super Cooper tasting events:

IN VICTORIA: Enjoy a taster and say cheers to another year of beer along with us at the brewery on Wednesday August 19th from 4-6.  Our friends at Meat and Bread will be on-hand serving up Porchetta sandwiches with a citra hop verde sauce!

IN VANCOUVER: We'll be at Bitter Tasting Room on Thursday August 20th to celebrate with our Vancouver friends! A special keg of Super Cooper will be tapped at 6 and Matt Phillips will also be on-hand to celebrate.  There will be a Phillips prize package up for grabs and also cake! Who doesn't love cake?!


Monday, August 17, 2015

link love

craft beer tshirts - on sale!

craft beer scene in vancouver

win a trip to belgium from craft beer market!
  • August 25 - Belgian Brewmaster's Dinner - a chance to win a trip to Belgium valued at $15,000. Tickets available here!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

craft beer cruise

this one ain't a three-hour tour!
it's a five day tour!!

Design a Beer, Be Part of History, and Explore BC’s Islands On Tugboat Swell: Inaugural Coastal Craft Beer Cruise

The 5-night coastal craft beer cruise aboard the classic tugboat Swell, with a who's-who of BC brewing experts, and plenty of beautiful scenery and wildlife, too.
Victoria, BC, August 11, 2015 – Be part of beer history and explore the nature and culture of BC’s remoter Gulf Islands on the Coastal Craft Beer Cruise Oct 25-30.  It’s been a popular trip for a decade, but this is its first year aboard the roomy tugboat Swell. To celebrate, Maple Leaf Adventures is inviting this October’s guests exclusively to be involved in the design of a craft beer that the company will serve on all of its award-winning trips on Swell. As creators, this year’s guests will get their name on every future bottle.
The Coastal Craft Beer Cruise is a 5-day culinary trip that explores the nature, culture and history of the British Columbia coast, seen through the lens of its exceptionally rich craft beer industry.

The tugboat MV Swell, at anchor in the Gulf Islands, BC. Photo by Kevin Smith.
Guests will sample 50+ of BC’s best beers, paired with food. Aboard the 80-foot tugboat and at select locations ashore, guests will enjoy special meals and conversation with a who’s-who of the BC brewing scene, not available to the general public. Entertaining social history by renowned brewing historian and raconteur Greg Evans provides added depth, and frequent shore excursions in the protected island archipelago add the sense of discovery found on Maple Leaf trips. It’s rounded out by the guidance of Maple Leaf Adventures crew and guides who take travellers to explore the beauty of special places and wildlife havens in the Gulf Islands and southern Vancouver Island area.
The tasting trip – which Maple Leaf Adventures carefully bills as not a booze cruise – is limited to a maximum of 12 guests. A personalized experience, cruising through stunning scenery and optional dips in the ship’s hot tub are other highlights.
This year’s beer creation is a once-only opportunity. To welcome the trip aboard the tugboat Swell, this year’s guests will also receive commemorative gifts, including a special edition t-shirt.
Details: Oct 25-30, 2015, 5 days / 4 nights from Cdn $3275 (approx USD $2450) all inclusive. Depart and return: Victoria, BC.

Paul Hadfield, the "father of modern craft beer brewing in BC" hosts a private tasting aboard with guests, including some special things from his private cellar. Photo by Greg Shea.
You can view a slide show from a previous trip on the schooner Maple Leaf (different ship) here:

Saturday, August 15, 2015


another beer-related kickstarter campaign is on its way
i'll have the link once it's live
but in the meantime, here's the low-down
(and, of course, i would never suggest anyone break any laws):

Lolo lids is the new way to hide your drink while keeping it cool from the sun.  Simply snap your beer or can of choice into the bottom of the lid and pop it into your coffee cup.  Lolo lids fits almost all to go cups including Starbucks, 7-eleven or Van Huet to name a few.  The can inside is suspended from the lid so it forms an air barrier that keeps your drink colder longer than a traditional beer cozy.  Lolo also features an ergonomically designed lid thats nicer to drink out than a can and the extra breather hole keeps it flowing smooth.

The perfect thing about a Lolo lid is when you’re done with it, simply recycle your can and cup, and throw the lid in your pocket for next time. I love when I’m travelling and I can drink on the streets, parks, and on the beach. However, until local laws catch up with the rest of the world, Lolo’s my solution.

Friday, August 14, 2015

stupid summer cold

ugh, i got felled by that horrible summer cold that's going around
a whole week i've been stumbling around like a zombie
it's just not fair!

anyway, i'm mostly human again
and very much looking forward to drinking some beer!

in the meantime, dead frog has a new beer out:

Dead Frog Brewery Releases One-Eyed Jack Imperial Pilsner

Aldergrove, BC — Dead Frog Brewery is pleased to announce the release of its new One-Eyed Jack Imperial Pilsner. Unlike regular Pilsners, One-Eyed Jack ups the ante with rich maltiness, soft bitterness, citrus, and spiciness. Crisp, complex, and well-rounded, you'll want to go all in with this action card.

Steve Black, Dead Frog's head brewer, said, "With the popularity of imperial beers, I liked the idea of coming up with a Pilsner version. Given how people usually drink Pilsners, there's an irony in that you'll only have one or two and then you're satisfied."

This 8% ABV, 30 IBU lager is brewed exclusively with Pilsner malt and Sterling hops using a German Pilsner yeast. The result is a unique hybrid of an herbal, spicy Bohemian lager and a citrusy American pale ale, brewed to the strength of a Bockbier.

Ingredients: water, malted barley, hops, yeast
Malts: Pilsner
Hops: Sterling
ABV: 8%
IBU: 30

Suggested serving temperature: 8-12°C
Recommended glass: Pilsner glass, Pokal
Suggested food pairing: aged Gouda, soft pretzel, Bratwurst, chicken andouille gumbo with corn bread, Thai green curry

Dead Frog's unpasteurized and preservative-free, limited release One-Eyed Jack Imperial Pilsner is available in GLSs and LRSs in 650ml bottles with a suggested retail price of $5.69. It can be ordered from the LDB using SKU #683490. It is exclusively available on draught at Central City Brewing's new pub in downtown Vancouver at 871 Beatty Street. Follow us on Twitter @DeadFrogBrewery for any further announcements.

About Dead Frog Brewery
Dead Frog is an independent, award-winning craft brewery in Aldergrove, British Columbia. In January 2006, Derrick and Donna Smith launched Dead Frog with the goal of producing premium quality beer marketed with fun and innovative branding. Today, Dead Frog produces six core brews including the Classic Nut Brown Ale, Seasonal Citrus Wit, and Fearless IPA, along with one limited release beer monthly.

Thursday, August 6, 2015


can no one just provide a straight-forward, simple answer to a direct question any more?
look how frustrated i am, i'm talking in huge generalities!

i have been trying for the past couple of days to find out if vancouver breweries and distilleries can just up and start selling each others' products with no further ado.
do you suppose the city or the province could tell me?

my tweet to @CityofVancouver August 3rd:

"Do local breweries & distilleries need to do anything before they start selling each others' drinks under the new BC law?"

tweet from @CityofVancouver August 4th:

"Morning! I would suggest contacting the LCLB in regards to the Liquor Control and Licensing Act [link to Liquor Control and Licensing Branch page at website]"

my tweet to @CityofVancouver August 4th:

"Thanks but I need to know if the City will allow breweries to sell hard liquor, and distilleries to sell beer, wine & cider"

tweet from @CityofVancouver August 5th:

"Haven't heard anything from city end but these decisions are taken at the provincial level. Check with @BCGovNews"

tweet from @BCGovNews August 5th:

"Distilleries, wineries, cideries & breweries can now sell liquor they don't produce [link to July 28, 2015 BC News page titled "B.C. serves up new options for liquor producers"]"

my tweet to @CityofVancouver and @BCGovNews August 5, 2015:

"So no red tape, additional licenses or permits? Just go ahead and sell it?"

tweet from @BCGovNews August 6, 2015:

"For answers to your #BCLiquor Q's call the LCLB helpline 1-866-209-2111 or read the policy [link to the Policy Directive No. 15-07]"

in part the policy reads : "No application is required but LCLB recommends that licensees check with their local government, to ensure there are no restrictions (such as through zoning) on the types of liquor that may be served."

which is what i'm trying to do here!

i get that the province makes big broad decisions without notice, that the municipalities then have to scramble to work into their by-laws and policies
but c'mon people, someone has to have an answer!

so of course, i felt compelled to tweet them both again...

"Thanks. Policy says to check with local government, which is what I'm trying to do here!"

i'm @beernesday if anyone would like to jump into the fray
or better yet, offer me an actual answer!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

beer column

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

The Beer News:

I hope everyone got to celebrate Vancouver’s “Patio Day” yesterday.  The Mayor and council made it possible for restaurants to place temporary patios on the sidewalk or business parking stalls.  19 businesses took advantage, including 12 Kings Pub.

Tap & Barrel has a new location in North Vancouver.  Called Tap & Barrel Shipyards, it is Western Canada’s largest restaurant at 14,000 square feet.  It is located in a 100 year old building, using reclaimed and regional materials in keeping with Tap & Barrel’s commitment to sustainability and keeping it local.  It also has a lending library, so feel free to drop of a book or two, and to borrow one while you’re there.  Good news for patio lovers, the custom designed aluminum trays that hold tasting glasses are chilled so that you beer will stay cold longer in the hot weather.  Located at 8 Lonsdale Avenue in North Vancouver, near Lonsdale Quay.

The Donnelly Pubs are celebrating 30 days of IPA again this year.  There will be a different keg or cask of IPA tapped each day in August at the various Donnelly Pubs.  You can find a calendar on their website ( or wallet-sized versions at the participating venues – the Bimini, Library Square, Cinema, the Blackbird, the Butcher and Bullock, the Lamplighter, the New Oxford, and the Three Brits.  Tonight’s IPA is Four Winds Juxtapose Brett IPA at Cinema on Granville Street.

Beer Tasting:

Granville Island Brewing “Van Dame” white india session ale, from their Brewmaster series.
Available at government and private stores in 650 ml bombers.
It's a Westcoast spin on a Belgin witbier.  Crisp, clean and slightly bitter, with notes of guava, citrus and coriander. 4.5% alcohol. It has a smooth texture from the wheat and a crisp finish.  Ella hops from Australia were used at the end of the boil (hop bursting) and for dry-hopping to keep all the hop flavour, but not impart as much bitterness.

Liquor Law Changes:

Last week the Liberals announced that wineries, cideries, breweries and distilleries can now sell each other’s products in their tasting rooms.  The government made the announcement last Tuesday that any establishments with an on-site tasting room or other licensed area are now allowed to serve any BC made alcoholic beverages they choose – up to 20% of their sales each quarter.  This also extends to holders of Special Occasion Licences – they’ll now only need one to serve all types of liquor at a licensed area.

But what does this actually mean for you, the consumer?  Nothing immediately.  Businesses will have to check with their various municipalities to ensure local by-laws are in line with the new provincial regulations; they will have to find partners interested in carrying their products and providing product to them; they will have to figure out how they will ensure that no more than 20% of sales come from outside product; and so on and so on.  

I think you’ll see wineries benefit first as many of them rent out their venues for events, such as weddings, and will be able to serve drinks other than wines now without having to apply for various Special Occasion Licences.

In talking to one brewery owner in town, they are non-plussed about the change.  For them to be able to serve beverages other than beer they’ll have to make changes to the tasting room serving area.  They’ll likely wait to see what others do, and how successfully, then weigh the costs vs. possible profits.

Beer nerds I have talked to see this as a sleight of hand trick.  Look at what this hand is doing – it is giving you things you asked for – don’t pay attention to that other hand, it’s busy raising prices.
An Ernst & Young report that cost tax payers $200,000 was solicited by the government for independent policy advice, and was just one of several reports used to make liquor policy changes.  With a very mixed bag of positive and negative law changes, people I have been talking to are feeling like the government wasted our money, and hasn’t listened to what consumers or the industry told the Liquor Policy Review panel.

That said, I think this change is a good one.  Cross-pollination can only be good for the profile of BC craft beverages as a whole.  Allowing manufacturers to feature each other’s products can be very beneficial to the manufacturers on both sides of the equation.  I look forward to having some beer cocktails at local distilleries in the near future.  But I’m afraid to get excited about it.  Who knows when it will actually happen and if it will be viable for most businesses.  I guess you could say I’m cautiously optimistic about it.

Also new in liquor laws is the Liberal cabinet shuffle that sees liquor taken out of the attorney general’s portfolio and moved to join small business and red-tape reduction.  Coralee Oakes takes over as Minister of the Liquor Distribution Branch.

It’s too early to say whether or not this move will benefit the consumer, but I am hopeful that the move is an indication that the Liberals have heard advocacy groups and industry spokespeople that we’re not in favour of price increases, both at the liquor store and via the higher minimum price per ounce at pubs and restaurants.  Combining liquor distribution with small business and red tape reduction will hopefully encourage more red tape reduction in the liquor laws and more support for the breweries, distilleries and cideries that are small businesses.

Oh how I look forward to being able to report good news to you soon!

Beer Picks:

I’m all about the Berliner weisses today.  So light and refreshing in the summer weather, they’re sour, but not overwhelmingly so - and absolutely perfect patio beverages:

Four Winds Pequeno Cabo tequila barrel aged berliner weisse – tequila and beer and only 4% alcohol!  Yes please!  750 ml bottles available at private liquor stores, if you can still find some.  If not, head to 12 Kings on August 7th for a Four Winds tap takeover that includes the pequeno cabo, plus six other delicious beers.

Steel Toad’s berliner weisse is available on tap at Steel Toad.  Tart and refreshing and 5%.

Machine Brewing’s Berliner weisse is available on tap at Callister brewing.  You can drink it straight up, or mix some grapefruit syrup into it.  It is also 5%.