#VCBW IP HAZY, IS BC HAZY BEER UP TO SNUFF?!

Thanks to the awesome team at Vancouver Craft Beer Week I was recently able to attend #IP HAZY at the Lamp Lighter which was:

“Their first ever Whole Hog Cookout + Crawfish Boil. They’ll be spinning a full pig on the patio while they boil up a massive pot of spicy & seasoned crawfish & veg. While you feast you can sample the Haziest selection of IPAs available”

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Cred- @brewersrow give your head a shake if you don’t follow this page. click the photo for a link…

I came with one question: IS BC HAZY BEER UP TO SNUFF?!

The event featured Hazy beer from A number of BC craft breweries including Hearthstone, Moody Ales, Twin Sails, R and B Brewing, Howe Sound, and Aslan and Brewers Row Collab.

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Photo Cred to @beerthirst please check out their page!

Please keep in mind i’ve scoured the US of A for the best HAZY offerings and had the white whales of Tree House, Trillium, Mumford, Monkish, Pure Project et al. I feel pretty confident in giving you guys an honest opinion of how our shit stacks up.

So does it stack up? YES!… and no….

There is some top notch stuff being produced right now in BC hazy beer, stuff so good its easily as good as the stuff sourced from the states these beers include:

the Superflux Colour and Shape, Twin Sails High Socks (not even the best hazy from twin) , The Moody Ales Huge Citra Pale Ale, R & B Shake your Frooty and the VCBW Brewers Row Collab. Others not at this event but great hazy examples include The rest of TS and Superflux Hazy offerings, Boombox and I’m sure some more by now.

Unfortunately, there are some less than great examples of the style here too and i would recommend not spending your cash on these ones:

Phillips Flamango Milkshake IPA and Howe Sound Hazy Daze NE IPA.

So what did I learn? Well even though its a brand new style to our region we have some world class NE  Hazy style IPAs in BC. But with anything new there are some growing pains and stuff to stay away from.

Final Thoughts: Kudos to VCBW for a great event! I think the future of the event is in these focused events like the IP HAZY.

http://vancouvercraftbeerweek.com

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A Guide to the #BeerTrade

So, you want your fridge to look like mine:Screen Shot 2017-04-25 at 2.51.25 PM.png=

Chock full of the latest releases from the USA, Hazy IPAs Barrel aged Stouts et al.

The thing is you don’t want to mess with high shipping cost and fear of breaking cross border shipping laws, well here is the solution if you live in the Lower Mainland…

  1. First of all you need an instagram page… like mine:

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2. Start following some cool breweries, Like Monkish, Trillium and Treehouse and decide what you are looking for.

3. Also follow local breweries especially the photos of new releases.Screen Shot 2017-04-25 at 3.06.03 PM.png

4. THIS IS KEY, scour the comments sections for three important letters “ISO”. ISO stands for “in search of” and indicates someone is looking for your local beers.

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5. Next take a look through this person’s profile and see if they have access to beers you are interested in. If so contact them politely and see if they are willing to trade.

NOTE: There are several different ways to trade, most often I trade can for can, but its not unheard of to trade dollar for dollar or to trade many beers for one beer etc. IT IS ILLEGAL TO SELL BEER. FINALLY throw is a can or two of your favourites, everyone does this and its great to try unknowns too!

6. Once you have decided on a trade pack a box there is an art and respect aspect to this so try this link http://homebrewacademy.com/how-to-ship-beer/

7. This is where the magic happens. After you have boxed your beer DO NOT SEAL THE BOX. You will drive the box over to the border and tell the Border guard what you are doing if it is your primary reason for going over the border. It is legal to bring the beer over the border and it is legal to ship beer with UPS, FEDEX etc. but NOT USPS. They may ask some questions don’t lie and be ready to answer truthfully.

8. Once you are across head to a shipping store like UPS in Blaine or Bellingham. Go ahead and ship the box, if they ask what it is I say salsa just because it keeps the process moving faster. You will pay significantly less shipping from the states.

9. to receive your beer set up an account with a service that receives packages just over the border like Pic It Up in Sumas. http://picitupinsumas.com

They have a flat 3 buck Canadian fee to pick up a package and good hours. When you head back over the border declare the beer you are bringing back. I have it on good authority that it is not worth the time of the guard to charge duty on anything less than 12 beers after a short stay in the US. Therefore do not bring back more than 12 beers.

NOTE: Make sure you have beer to trade that people actually want. Unfortunatley Canadian beer is really not a big deal in the States. They know little and want little of what we have. What they seem to like at the moment is Twin Sails Hazy beer program. outside of that they seem to care little. We can change this slowly by including other brewery’s beer as a “throw in” to expose them to more beers. I often throw in hazy beers from Yellow Dog, and Superflux. START BUILDING A TRADING INVENTORY:

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Hit/Miss Guide to BC New England/Vermont/East Coast IPA

See your way out kettle sours, there is a new style in town, whose name is hard to pin down and who likes things opaque… the New England/Vermont/East Coast IPA. This new style is pushing the scene forward and i have been searching them out as fast as I can to get the freshest “JUICE”. If you want to get in on it, take a look of my hits and misses.

Ok, what typifies this style? Well it depends what circles you run in but relative a west coast IPA the New England/Vermont/East Coast IPA is:

often more diverse in grain bill, and therefore could result in a more balanced beer.

very often very opaque, often more so than a wheat beer, this occurs for many reasons. It could be due to different grains leaving more micro-sediments in the beer, it could be the yeast by the brewer, it could be fruit particles, in most cases its due to the large amount of dry hopping or lupulin powder.

often fruit is added to accentuate flavour, and occasionally lactose is added (milkshake IPA) to play with the sweetness further.

Often they taste much less bitter than your west coast IPA.

So, they are supposed to look like this:

 

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Photo Credit @BrewsBabesBanny

Don’t Forget this beers are best fresh and can often sell out so here are the ones worth searching out and here are… some others

MUST DRINKS!

Super Flux Shape and Colour– OK, I must admit this is the only one one on the list i haven’t got my hands on… but thats because its gone nearly as quickly as its released. Even so, its had near universal acclaim from those lucky enough to get some. So, if you get some let me know.

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credit-@superfluxbeer

Boombox Brewing- A spiritual successor to Machine/Superflux (at least in my head), brewing out of Callister is Boombox. Boombox doesn’t only do Juice Bomb East Coast ETC IPAs, but they usually have one on tap. I’ve had enough to know that when I see “Boombox” and “NE” near each other its a definite Pint. Releases happen on wednesday… get there.

 

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credit- @boomboxbrewing

Twin Sails Brewing pretty much all their tall can releases- A BREWard Inlet staple that totally reinvented itself Twin Sails has released a plethora of Hazy Juice bombs since summer time with no signs of stopping. In fact words a new line of beers will start to be released tasting room only, making the beers even rarer. Personal Favourites include Space Armadillo, Slam Dank, and newly released in collaboration with Boombox Brewing Tone Def.

 

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credit- @carnellsitka

Steamworks Flagship IPA- This BC beer of the year is the only juice bomb sold as a 6 pack and perhaps is the best suited to be sessioned. This Hazey IPA is in my opinion a better bridge from the west coast style than the others mentioned here, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t pack a juice punch. Its also likely the most widley available so if you are new to Juice, start here.

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credit-@steamworksbeer

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Yellow Dog High 5 Hazy IPA- I’m not sure if this one is still around, but if it is its worth having. I personally feel the first batch was better than the second but both are great beers. This one, when it is around, is also available in cans.

Bridge East Coast IPA- All I remember about this one is i liked it. Wish i could be more specific.

misses…

I hate to do this, but at this point early in the Hazy game i’d stay away from these guys… or convince your buddy to buy it for the bottle share… anyways…

R and B – Milk Shake IPA

Field House –  East Coast IPA

Bridge – The Fuzz

Mangia at Luppolo

If there is one word that describes American-Italian culture best its “Mangia”, for that reason I was surprised to see it present at Luppolo. Luppolo (Italian for Hop), is far more authentic than the sort of place that usually screams “Mangia”, and if they continue maybe they can steal the word back from the cultural equivalent of a pizza.

 

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Tomatos-check, Stereotypical Italian name-check, MANGIA!

Luppolo is located just off the brewery beaten track between Strange Fellows and Off the Rails on Vanables west of both. We walked it from Clark station in the snow and rain and it wasn’t totally intolerable but perhaps we would have benefited from umbrella.

The brewery itself has none of the Italian-American Schtick you might expect and is warm and open. Its a nice place to sit and enjoy a beer.

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Given that the Luppolo is still in its early stages, its initial offerings are quite impressive, . You can view the list we chose from in the picture below.

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The best of the beers I tried was the Robust Porter which was roasty and light as a decent porter should be – 4/5

The Double IPA was enjoyable as well with some juicy notes – 3/5

The West Coast Farm House ale was ambitious and all the pieces of a great beer were there, unfortunately in the wrong proportions. I’m sure this recipe will improve with subsequent batches, but for now it was a miss – 1.5/5

We did discover the although triangles are great shapes for building bridges they leave something to be desired when carrying flights, the aesthetic killed though.

Luppolo also has some small fare for food which I did not get a chance to try but looked delicious. In short it should not be left off your East Van Crawl and defiantly is another formidable brewery worth visiting.

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Early Thoughts on Brews Bro’s Vol. 2

The second Brews Brothers pack is here, and its going to fill your mouth hole with so music-beer word play that… you’ll stop liking music-beer word play? Poor introductions aside here are more first four thoughts on the New Brews Brothers pack:

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Moody Ales Black Currant Sour- Miles away better than the last dark sour I had, Phillips Sax in the dark (sorry Phillips I don’t like to put down beer but your sours taste more like slightly tart sun-rype juice to me.) In fact this one was reallyy quite enjoyable, well done Breward Inlet brethren!

4.25/5

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I’m going to have to be ignorant for a second because I forgot who made the Wild-Imperial-Oaked-Pilsner. I was ready to hate this one because it sounded like someone put 20 craft beer buzz words in a hat pulled out 5 and brewed a beer but this one actually hit for me.

3.5/5

Now it gets bad…

Cannery Brewing Apple IPA- First of all its, 7% and I have to ask “why?” I think their should be intention behind a beer and I just can’t tell why this fairly light beer should be 7%. Next is… green apple to me will always be an off flavour, why someone decided to do a beer version I’m not sure but it turned out iffy anyways.

2/5

Crannog Gruit simply way too light for me.

2/5

My Old Faithful’s, Love Letter’s to Beer

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Some things aren’t amazing, some things are simply apt or good, and some thing are amazing at being apt. It’s the latter I’m interested in talking about here. With so many delicious beer options out there and so many of them wild yeasted, smoked, hybrids it’s hard to settle down with a simply delicious pint, but they do exist… trust me. So when it comes down to it what are the old faithfuls? the ones I know will kill it when I want a beer and not an experience? Read On:

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Moody Ales Hardy Brown-

I don’t think there is a better brown produced in the  city. Brown and bighty (Yes, i made up a word). This beer starts with a solid toffee, biscuit malt and finishes with a trademark bight (Thats right, a curved coast line!)

Guinness Stout-

This shit is the shit. Yes its made by a major corporation but I think it could exist on it own flavourful merit too. Creamy Nitro head, light roasty body and a certain amount of sharpness… mmmm.

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Twin Sails Pilsner-

I really like this beer, so much i’m afraid to say i love it, because then it becomes real… y’know? I don’t know, I’m just not ready to make the favourite beer commitment yet. But this beer makes me feel so, so special, like I’m the only one for it, and it for me.

It also tastes really good with a balanced malt body that finishes dryly making it the perfect beer for just about anything.

Solid City option- Main St. Pilsner and/or Steamworks Pilsner

See I’m not ready to commit just yet.

I Had Some Glacial Mammoth Extinction, It was Awesome!

So there is no other way to explain this aside from a story so hear it goes. I was doing a bottle share after hours in a brewery that will remain unnamed. We were pretty deep into about 20 odd bottles when someone came to the door. Thinking they were just another person who had missed the sign explaining why the brewery was closed I went to the door to explain this to the patron. When I opened the door the man yelled to the owner “I know your closed but can I just get a beer?” The owner looked at him in trepidation. The man tried again “I’ll trade you beer for beer?”. The owner relented and let the man in. He walked over with a growler in hand. We sat and watched in anticipation of what this man, off the street, could have possibly brought for trade… “I’ve got some Glacial Mammoth Extinction..” he said, “ever hear of it?”

How was it?

Great, It coats the mouth in a  really pleasant way hinting at its flanders  roots with its smooth mellow flavour. The sour tartness is simply a memory but i’d argue the beer is better for it. Easily one of the best beers of the year. 5/5

The Power of Pilsner

In these Halcyon days of Craft Beer in Metro Vancouver we are spoiled for weird, obscure, and delicious beers. Glacial Mammoth Extinction a Barrel Aged 25% beer from Storm Brewing went on sale today. We recently had about 30 sour kegs at the BC beer festival, A style that was near impossible to find locally 3 years ago, and breweries now regularly brew beers that they don’t intend to sell for years down the road. With all this choice my palate is getting tired, and I noticed a funny thing when I was getting my growler filled… I was getting it filled with Pilsner.

Pilsner is a pale lager, often made with a single malt-Pilsner malt and hopped sparingly with Noble Hops- often Saaz. This simple drink dominates much of the marker world wide but isn’t often considered a great example of craft here. Here in BC we seem obsessed with creating “ISA’s” light beers with big flavour… wait isn’t that a contradiction? While some have made some delicious beers in the ISA box the fact remains high flavour is the anti-thesis of sessionable. So why not give in and look back in time to the (you know like 10 years) to the Pilsner, because when its done right its amazing.

 

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Done Wrong-Not Amazing.

So who is doing a good traditional Pilsner? Honestly they are nearly non-existent in Craft at the moment and that maybe a result of the relative cost to produce them. When you consider that ideally they should sit in takes for 6 weeks next to ales that often take as little as 3 you can see why brewers would shy away. In any case here are a few i know of and recommend:

Ridge Brewing Pilsner (Sources Aged for 3 Months!)

Twin Sails Pilsner (The #PoMoPilsner is the Flag Ship of Twin Sails)

Main Street Pilsner (The Original Vancouver Pilsner)

Steamworks Pilsner (Available in BC Place Stadium… Seriously)

These aren’t all the pilsner on the market, these are just the ones made year round I think are worth pointing you towards. Keep in mind Pilsner is a fickle beast the differences between them can often be paper thin, and the difference between a good and bad one only slightly thicker, so when you find one that suits your needs grab hold and don’t ever let go.

 

Phillips Thorny Horn Sour Raspberry Brown Ale

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Despite knowing very little about sours (what makes a good one, a bad one etc.) I in fact love sours. I have never actually met a sour I didn’t like; so when I came by Phillips Kettle Soured Thorny Horn Sour Raspberry brown for about $6 bucks I rejoiced! Reasonably priced sour beer, give me a case! thank god I didn’t do that though.

I like sours because they are complex and have depth. Sour as a flavour is nearly impossible to ignore so to craft anything sour as palatable is a feat in itself. Thats the problem with this sour, its not complexed at all. In fact its single noted to a fault. I don’t hate single note beers in fact i just brewed one myself (an IPA with only Galaxy Hops) but as I say sour beers are intriguing because of their complexity. Unfortunately this beer is not sour, its fairly tart but is almost entirely reminiscent of Sun Rype Raspberry juice carbonated just a little.

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Did you notice how I said carbonated just a little? Thats because the carbonation is close to nil on this thing. I’m going to be honest here and say I’m not a hundred percent sure what the carbing is supposed to be like on sours, and in the same breath say this carbonation level in my mouth tasted bad. Finally head retention was shit and I got little to no aroma off this.

In the end I’m tempted to say it was just a bad bottle, in fact I’m willing to drink it again, as long as someone buys me a bottle… because I won’t spend 6 bucks on this beer again.

Phillips Thorny Horn Sour Raspberry Brown Ale-1.75/5

Big Rock (Vancouver) Citradelic

So I don’t really do beer reviews anymore. Mostly because there is a lot of people who do it better than me… The Beer Rater, West Coast Beer Geek, and Mike’s Craft beer to name a few. However, if you give me free beer i will review it, and that’s exactly what happened here.

As you know what i enjoy often more than the beer itself is the analysis that can come with it so here we go. Big Rock is a larger regional brewer from Alberta. Among the first wave of craft brewers in Canada they have been surpassed in quality but the newest wave of small batch craft brewers. Likely seeing potential for growth in the Vancouver market but hamstrung by a lack of credibility as a regional brewer from Alberta, ala’ Granville Island in Vancouver, they seemingly decided to open a branch plant facility in Vancouver.

Thus we can expect the Vancouver produced beer to be a step above the Alberta produced beer in quality to grab the more dynamic Vancouverite beer drinker’s attention. Is this the case with Citradelic?

Citradelic to my knowledge is a single hopped beer; hopped with, you guessed it, citra hops. These hops are known for their smooth citrus flavour. So how did it taste? The Malt is really quiet on this beer but that is to be expected. If you are trying to showcase the hop flavour you wouldn’t want to crowd the beer with complex malts. The hop flavour arrives with the nose of the beer in a long smooth slug of citrus flavour which is quite delicious before slowly fading as you set the glass down. An entirely pleasant experience.

I’m giving this beer a 3.5/5 not because there is anything wrong with it. There isn’t. But simply because this is a simple beer. Its the sort of beer that one can enjoy quite easily but certainly pales in comparison to to a well crafted barley wine. Why have i rated it so you might ask? Well i might direct you to Mill’s conception of higher and lower pleasures. In simple terms consider this:

“One pleasure is of higher quality than another if and only if most people who have experienced both pleasures always prefer the first to the second regardless of their respective quantities.”

Thus when i consider this beer next to truly amazing ones like say 4 winds nectarous and cast away notions of quantity Citradelic stands no choice… despite being an altogether wonderful beer.

If you think this whole article is useless you are probably right but J.S. Mill spits hot fire and you will probably sound way smarter if you off handedly mention J.S. Mill at the next Cocktail party you go to, or Commercial Drive share house mixer… same diff.