They grow up so fast don’t they? Twin Sails which started as quaint suburban spot for continental ales and Lagers, has become one of the most innovative spots in BC. This Saturday, mere weeks from winning seven BC beer awards Twin (As its known on The Row) Celebrates year 2. Twin will be having a party on Friday night, and a big release Saturday morning.
What to expect on the Friday:
If you are planning on going… GET THERE EARLY. Last year there were lines, this year there will be more.
Incredible Beers… There is no less than 8 releases on Saturday and I would expect most if not all on draught Friday.
What to expect on Saturday:
More LINES… people will line up, things could sell out, be ready for people to mule beer, and get there early if you have to have something.
– Space Armadillo – Double IPA
– Boysen The Hood – Boysenberry Double Milkshake IPA
– Bière de Crabe – Saison w/ Crab, lemon peel & sea salt (Dunham Collaboration)
– Farmhouse Saison – Aged 1yr in red wine barrels on Cherries & Blackberries
– Dry Hopped Sour IPA – Fermented on lacto in Chardonnay barrels for 3 months, then blended and dry hopped before bottle conditioning (Field House Collaboration)- Home Ec – Tiramisu Imperial Stout (SOV collaboration)
– 1yr Bourbon barrel aged Imperial Stout
– 1yr Rum barrel aged Imperial Con Leche
I usually give an annotated list of winners from each BC Beer Awards but I’m not this time, because I was actually pretty impressed with the winners. This year’s winners were much more in line with my personal thoughts, and lets face it, when preaching to the choir you are unlikely to criticize them in the next breathe.
…but… Mount Arrowsmith somehow won brewery of the year… How? Well let me just say I didn’t like that they won. They won on the backs of their BLONDE Ale and a Saison… not exactly inspiring. But you should all know that story by now. You see it was a point based system. 5 points for gold 3 for silver 1 for bronze (or something to that effect).
Surely you are asking: “Shouldn’t Dageraad have won in that case?” Not quite, you see each breweries points were averaged by how many beers they submitted in total. No doubt an attempt to give small breweries a chance against the big boys like Phillips.
So for example if you submit 4 beers, and win 1 gold and 1 bronze you would receive 6 point (5 and 1). Your points would then be divided by 4 so you would be left with a weighted score of 1.5. This was done for all breweries who won an award and evidently had the highest weighted score… sorry Dageraad… I’ll drink an Anno in your honour.
So no annotated list but perhaps something better instead…
It lists each brewery that won a beer medal.. no industry awards like Brewery of the year
How many total won, and breakdowns of Gold, Silver and Bronze
It also pools winners in to regions and subregions* So a medal can be counted in a region and subregion, BUT NOT IN TWO REGIONS OR SUBREGIONS… A brewery maybe listed in a region but not a sub region.
Conclusions and Thoughts as a result of the spreadsheet:
What the heck happened to Steamworks? Flagship IPA became extremely popular after winning beer of the year in 2016, so much so I have heard through the grapevine they had to change the recipe to keep up with demand. Could this be the reason it didn’t appear anywhere and Steamworks won only one medal?
For that matter what happened to other past winners like Central city, Storm, Foamers’ Folly, 33 acres, 4 winds (do they even compete even more)?
The wave of Cool new Vancouver Breweries who open between 3-5 years ago seems to have crested. Suburban breweries won nearly as many medals as Vancouver Breweries and seem to be winning the more interesting categories… Twin Sails, Yellow Dog, Steal and Oak, and Dageraad are clearly leading the way.
That doesn’t mean Vancouver doesn’t have something to be proud of. New Schoolers Superflux and Boombox both grab medals for very progressive beers.
Vancouver Island and Victoria seem to be losing ground to the mainland… then again Swans just won beer of the year… and it was great!
Brewers Row tied Yeast Van for most medals… but Twin Sails also won an industry award so even math agrees… Brewers row is the best place in BC to grab a pint!
Once Again a very impressive and fun night of beers an recognition, hats off to the volunteers, brewers and organizers who are a credit to the industry!
Well after months of keeping it under my hat it’s finally time to let the cat out of the bag (two cliches, one sentence…) Coalesce Beer has its first release on Saturday. Coalesce has a very cool focus, and I wont try to speak for them so here is how the family run brewery describe themselves:
“family brewing company specializing in mixed fermentation and wood aged beer”
“Seasonality means a lot to us, and for us brewing seasonally is not about brewing a beer for the season, but rather using local produce and ingredients that inspire us and are at their best in that season. Today we brewed a beer with a variety of heirloom squash from @sapobravoorganics which we charred over wood coals. This beer will ferment and rest in barrels until maturity, whenever that may be, and may be very “unseasonal” upon release, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.”
These guys have a clear philosophy that will no doubt be reflected in the beer. I expect see most if not all beers from Coalesce spend some time in barrels and again most if not all be bottle fermented.
Where to find
Coalesce Beers share space with Twin Sails Brewing and will undoubtedly release on weekends that Twin Sails brewing does not. It seems they will have a keg on draught to try with this release but I doubt that will always be the case. The First release “Foreward” a “mixed fermentation ale inspired by the historical saison style. Foreword was brewed with oats, spelt malt and raw wheat and hopped judiciously with Hallertau Hersbrucker and Saaz. The beer was fermented dry with a mixed culture of Sacchromyces, Brettanomyces and Lactobacillus in freshly emptied BC Chardonnay barrels, where it rested for 3 months until mature. It was then refermented and conditioned naturally in the bottle for an additional 3 months.”
Release 12pm 500mL, 6.2% abv, and 21 IBU. 45 cases for sale, 10$ per bottle and a 6 bottle per person limit.
I expect line ups and a sell out.
Brewers Row, the best place to grab a Pint in Canada, just got even more Dynamic.
So not too long ago I took a hard stance on beer awards in the article“Beer Awards are Dumb and You Should Stop Caring About Them” . Surprisingly people cared what i said for once and agreed and disagreed to varying levels. One person said i was writing the article for views… which was true, I’ve never heard of writer not wanting people to read their work. The crux of the article was that Beer Awards don’t act as many people might imagine. Beer awards are not a critics favourite beer but rather the beer that is closest to a pre-described style as laid out in the Beer Judge Certification Program style guide lines.
So, here comes the 2017 BC Beer Awards (sold out by the way) and I attempt to get media Accreditation. Can you guess what happened? If you guessed they told me to take a hike, you are surprisingly wrong. No the people behind the BC Beer Awards are actually very open minded kind people and they invited me to check out the judging process at the Direct Tap Headquarters.
I was able to view the incredible process that is the judging for the BC Craft Beer awards. Kudos to the Volunteers and Organizers who really put in some labour and do it for the love of beer. The best part of the experience was to pick the Brain of one of the long time judges, and all around Vancouver Craft beer great Chester Carey.
I paraphrasing here but I did take notes during our conversation, and Chester was able to answer or speak to many of my concerns regarding Beer awards generally in relation to the BC Craft Beer Awards specifically.
Any Beer brewed in BC can compete. This is really a non-issue but its interesting to know that brands like Cariboo are in the thick of things with crafty beers like Stanley Park and Granville Island, and ultra craft orientated like Strange Fellows.
The brewery picks which category their beer will be judged in. To me this is a positive and a negative. A positive in that breweries can decide where their brews should be, but I was also told the story of a beer that was under consideration for winning a category but lost out because it used a wild yeast which was considered an off flavour for the style.
BJCP is a starting point and baseline… not an overarching framework. BJCP guidelines are a way of objectifying when the need arises. An example given was when two beers are fighting it out for top spot. The most enjoyable beer in a Category is still going to win according to Chester – that I can get behind.
Yes there are more categories for Lager and basic Ale than there are for IPA despite the later driving the craft market…
….But the system is imperfect… I can buy that, its impossible to totally objectify a thing such as beer so we do our best and realize the limitations… that’s fair, if not unfortunate.
They aren’t concerned about driving the market. Winning beer awards is big business for small breweries andean lead to great success (see Powell Brewery winning Canadian Beer of the Year a few years back). Even so, Judges and organizers try not to be aware. I see this as a Catch 22 impartiality is a lofty goal, but I would like to see awards push for creativity and innovation.
So as I revisit beer awards knowing what I know now of specifically the BC Craft Beer Awards I am more forgiving. Is it a perfect system? No, personally i would love to see the awards become fully subjective, a simple “which beer do I enjoy most”. That said, I am confident that despite loose adherence to the BJCP guidelines that 99 times out of 100 the beer that wins is subjectively the most enjoyable, furthermore I laud the organization of BC Craft Beer Awards for having some pretty even keeled thinking in the world of beer awards. More to that point the BC Beer awards is introducing awards based simply on what people think are the best, including BEST BREWERY. I really enjoy these sorts of things and this will be a personal highlight for me on the evening.
Now lets see who wins on Oct 21.
-Special Thanks to Monica Frost who set everything up!
So as I have alluded to in the past Mariner Brewing is a new Brewery in Coquitlam B.C Near Evergreen Line and therefore near to Brewers Row, I am happy to push them into the BREWard Inlet fold and have a dedicated page coming there way soon! Mariner Brewing is pushing to have packaged product ahead of legged product and have a large presence in small area… so get ready Coquitlam.
-Coquitlam’s second craft brewery following a short lived brew pub that operated in Henderson Mall.
-4 core beers beginning with Cream Ale, Sour Weisse, Amber Ale and North East IPA.
-Coquitlam’s only current brewery.
-Greater food options than Brewers Row with hot dogs and pretzels on the menu.
I haven’t had a try yet (i’m head over in mere hours) but try their untappd for a first look
Mariner Brewing is also exceptionally accessible being located a mere 12 minute walk from Coquitlam Central Station…
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”
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.
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.
There was a time when I would excitedly wait for the results of beer awards, reading the pages and assigning power rankings in my head to beer and breweries alike. It was a fun way to bring beer into the world of sport… but it was stupid.
See, I learned early on that beers and Breweries were not awarded for the subjective best beer in each category but rather for closest to style guidelines… Some of you are probably saying “what the hell does that mean?” Well in most beer competitions beers are rated on their ability to meet style guidelines like this:
Who came up with this guidelines? Beer dorks many years go (not to say I’m not a beer dork myself, but when they came up with this stuff I was a Power Rangers Dork). So, to continue on my sports analogy that would be like awarding the Stanley Cup not to the team who won in subjective circumstances (the playoffs) but to the team that best resembled a hockey team according to Toe Blake. That’s stupid…
Moreover ,it also means that innovation is rendered insignificant until some beer dork decides it is worth create a new box around the new style (Style Guide).
Of course some will say the brewers are not beholden to these style guide lines and can brew what they want. Sure, but winning an award such as brewery of the year or best in show or for some stupid reason European Style Amber to Dark Lager (actual stupid category at the Canadian Beer awards) often means sales to the breweries. This means there is an incentive for breweries to brew boring similar beers. This is the same logic that got us to MACRO LAGERS. Furthermore, the depth of awards for different lame versions of German lagers and English ales and the contrasting dearth of awards for sours and new styles of IPAs (y’know the shit people actually drink) again incentivizes brewing boring beer.
Now, I’ll pause for a moment because I’m sure you might recognize many flaws in my argument, foremost that no one is forced to brew anything. But i’ll stop you there because my argument is simple – “Brewing boring beer is lame, and beer awards that incentivize boring beer are lame.”
I reject all your objections to this opinion because my opinion is not objective, its subjective just like tasting beer is. It is imperfect and impossible to replicate, and to do so would be foolhardy (dumb). So if you are going to award a beer do it because you like it not because it totally hits those SRM guidelines (SRM is the colour of the beer… THE COLOUR).
My Case Study- Mount Begbie Brewing out of Invermere. A small brewery who’s stuff I’ve had I’ve generally liked, good beer. Mount Begbie won awards for:
German Style Kölsch
Gold: Mt. Begbie Brewing Company, High Country Kolsch
Bronze: Mt. Begbie Brewing Company, Brave Liver Scotch Ale
Gold: Mt. Begbie Brewing Company, Begbie Cream Ale
Brewery of the Year
Hold Up! you won brewery of the year hot on the heals for Gold medals for your Kolsch and Cream Ale!? Can you imagine bringing those beers to a bottle share down in Bellingham? or New Westminster even? You’d get laughed out of town. Kolsch, Scotch Ale, and Cream Ale are figuratively the old white guys of craft beer they literally are consumer examples of fucking colonialism – but hey Canada, this is the best god damn beer we make! Don’t be bothered by a Hill Farmstead beer or a hazy Monkish IPA, oh no, you come take a seat on the beach in your pantaloons and sip on a fucking scotch ale, like fuck, when did you turn 124?…