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.

BEER I Bought for Thanksgiving.

I bought some beer for thanksgiving because i like a beer and its holiday. Here are the beers and here is why:

Enterprise D

Parallel 49- 187 Oh Ah

Basically I’m curious, 187 IBU’s? I mean c’mon. Although I am pretty sure our palates top out somewhere around 90 IBU’s I I’m not gonna pass up a chance to sample more than double that. Additionally the craft beer drinkers i’ll see tonight are all “TOTALLY IPA LOVERS” and I’m curious of their reaction.

Powell Street- 2015 Fresh Hop IPA- Thanksgiving is about a lot of stuff depending on who you talk to. Most can agree though that it has some passing connection to the harvest. With this ridiculous unneeded connection in mind i bought a fresh hopped beer… because we just had the hop harvest, get it? never mind. In any case i want to see if this is better than Sartori. I think it will be because well, Sartori was kind of average and slightly flawed in my opinion.

Anyways happy Settler Holiday, just a note mine is taking place on unceded tsleil waututh territory.

Sartori Harvest… doesn’t meet the hype

The good folks at Driftwood make some fine lagers and ales. In fact they have such a grand reputation for making fine lagers and ales they have built up a bit of a cult. Among their cult worthy beers like Birds of Prey and the almighty Fat Tug is the King of cult beer thing (i’m out of metaphors and buzzed, ok): Sartori Harvest. I’ve been looking for this beer for years and finally got my hands on some. I couldn’t wait to drink it so i made a video instead:

So, whilst being a decent IPA its not a euphoric state inducing, epiphany causing IPA. The hop flavour is great but the construction is a bit of a mess, poor balance, pour mouthfeel, maybe even some off flavour. Is it worth trying? Yea but one is enough.

DRIFTWOOD Sartori Harvest- 3.25/5

Pauwel Kwak at The District Brasserie

It was recently made known to me that The District Brasserie on Lower Lonsdale had gotten a supply of Pauwel Kwak, and rare beer is not something i often say no to…

The Beer:

Kwak is known for it interestingly shaped glass which was really quite interesting to use. Unfortunately i couldn’t get much aroma off the beer and if i had to guess I would say it had to do with the glass shape. Unfortunately aside from the bulb at the bottom there is no where to trap gasses for aroma. Poorly designed glass aside the glass is so interesting to some (not me) its been known to go missing so the Brasserie has an interesting system whereby you trade your shoe for the glass. Your shoe is put in a basket and hoisted to the ceiling and you are allowed your shoe once you have returned the glass. Despite the lack of aroma the colour really was beautiful, almost a burnt copper look. The beer itself like most great belgians was very nuanced  with different flavour lurking around every corner. I noticed prominently plum and raisin flavours as well as some brandy-esque-ness (gotta love dashes).The beer is quite alcoholic at around 8% but it wasn’t overly boozy either. I often criticize beers for being underpowered but Kwak did well to really fill the mouth. All in all a very strong beer within the belgian tradition.

Pauwel Kwak-4/5

The Spot:

The district brasserie is quite near the Quay on lonsdale street. Entering it you are treated to a modern restaurant with lots of wood, post and beam-ish. the first thing i noticed was their beer list which has quite a few belgian staples in addition to Kwak. enough one might consider it a Bier Craft Light, which a great option on the North Shore. The next thing you notice in the menu and the food coming out of the small open kitchen. Belgian classics and modern (hot) takes come out of the kitchen quickly and although i can’t remember what mine was called it was damn good (remember i’m not a food critique)! Additionally District takes special care with their fries and it really shows in the taste. The slight spice of the fry played nicely with the sublet belgian yeast spice. In sum this is a great North Shore option for Belgian food and drink, not a simple imitation of brasserie it is a modern take on the shore.