#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

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

Vancouver is Awesome, but Vancouver is Awesome is not so Awesome, nor is it’s beer.

Vancouver is Awesome is a blog. In some ways its a really interesting blog with articles on happenings and going ons, topical subjects and even some interesting cool stuff on city planning. In some ways it kinda sucks. One of the ways it totally sucks is the way it comes off as a mouth piece for developers, such as the piece regarding the coming river district. Maybe its the little marxist inside me or maybe its just the jaded wisdom of knowing things are almost never absolutely good and subjects that are brought forth as such are usually not trustworthy.

Little Marx smokes a cigar and has a badass moustache.

More thematically relevant to this blog is how Vancouver is Awesome presents beer. Poorly, no not “pourly”. I get pourly on weekends when I drink beer. But Vancouver is awesome in my opinion does a bad job at beer. Take a look at this article where they consider beer’s on stumps, i prefer beer in a glass or bottle but i digress. In any case has anyone else noticed that “PACKAGING/BRANDING/STORY” is worth half the fucking score? I mean honestly HALF? I could serve this guy fermented grey water and as long as the bottle is pretty and i explain that it was inspired by the idea of recycling but in a human scale it could still get a passing score? What a joke! I like to argue the Neo-Liberalism is really entrenched in our society and here is an awesome example of how. In this case we have a writer getting all meta about marketing and critically looking at how well the beer’s packaging tricked him into liking the beer. Think about it, Packaging branding and story is what is specifically intended to make you buy the beer outside of the beer itself, it is the anti-thesis of the craft ideal. Despite that we have this knob suggesting it is somehow important.

But who am I if not someone who endeavours to consider how others might feel? So now that VIA has launched their own beer I’ll review it on “PACKAGING/BRANDING/STORY” alone. I won’t link to the picture cause I for some reason feel like that could get me in trouble (in spite of everything else i’ve written that some people may allege is slanderous), but rest assured if one googles “Vancouver is awesome beer” you’ll find it.

So deep red square label with Vancouver coat of arms off centre, beneath it in VIA font “AWESOME SESSION ALE”. Seriously that’s it? You trumpet awesomeness and then come up with something an 8 year old could slap together in 15 minutes on kid Pix?

YOU REMEMBER!

Well Awesome Session ale you get a 1/10 which is really too bad because i honestly believe Craig Noble could make a great North West session ale… guess I’ll just have to write another article where i actually rate beer on you know… its merit.

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.

Big Rock Urban Brewery

The Very Good:

A very nice place both in location and atmosphere. On Alberta and West 4th is where you will find this brew pub, near enough to both the Beereas of Brewery Creek and the Olympic Village cluster of Craft Beer Market and Steal Toad Brew Pub. Inside is even better than the location. Through the front doors you immediately see the growler station and bottle shop and to your right is a restaurant-ish pub. On the near side is the 3 side bar which divides the room, facing the bar is a performance stage. On the far side of the bar is what could be described as a true bar setting where one can view the giant brewing area. The brewery itself brews Special Big Rock beers that to my knowledge are currently only available at the brewery but clearly there is much room for expansion!

The Good:

The Food. I order a Pulled Pork Sandwich which was presented well (honestly I am not a food critique so i will say it tasted “good”). The real star were the fries (I would say chips but my friend Dan would just say “You’re not English!”). These things tasted like mcdonalds fries before they switched to the vegetable oil. No joke, i will go back just for the fries.

The Mediocre

The Beer… in every way imaginable. By my count they had about 9 taps, nothing worth writing home about. 2 were albertan stable stalwarts such as grasshopper (a decent beer but not a destination beer). The house beers were a roggenbier which is made with lots of rye. It was fine, with some decent rye flavours and well balanced if not slightly underpowered,this was the best of the bunch. Next was a mosaic lager that although did a great job of showcasing mosaic hops was not as session able as one would hope for a lager. The red ale was a harsh west coast style red that might do better slightly older. Finally there was an utterly forgettable chocolate malt stout which i can’t remember a damn thing about. Also interesting was there choice to have a invitational tap, not strange in itself but strange they went with P49 old something we have probably all had before.

The Bad

The service. There were all of ten people there but it took the staff longer than i would have liked to check on us and see if we were ready for another round. This is petty as things go and i expect it to improve, but its still not a good first impression.

Also of note, Decent beer prices:

$6 for 500ml
$4 for 12oz
$8 for four, 6 oz tasters (24oz!)

Brews Brothers P49 & Yellow Dog Hound Dog Belgian IPA

The first brew of the Brews Brothers pack comes straight from my local… Yellow Dog. If Yellow Dog is proof of anything its that cool people often make cool beer, and its not surprising considering their Brew Master Liam (before he was winning best in show at the BC beer awards) was working with fellow cool person Greame With (i know spelled that wrong) Brew Master at Parallel 49. Multiply these cool people as Cool Person x Cool Person + Brewing Equipment = Hound Dog Belgian IPA

How is it? I find this beer maybe mores than other Belgian IPA’s plays with subtleties much like Yellow Dog’s delicious IPA. Much like the time i first had their IPA i though “oh hmm”. But then i gave it another go and found a lot of delicious flavours working in concert. The first thing i notice after initially taking the beer into my mouth is a sweet bitterness, what i mean by this is the bitterness flows, its part of the beer but not the focus, it leads into more when given the time to consider it. The bitterness is quite tropical in fact and works with that classic belgian funk so notable in belgian beers, again this is subtle and could be missed. Finally i get a crisp fleeting spiciness sometimes associated with Belgians. Together these flavours work together so nonchalantly that a novice might miss them (or me 6 beers deep), but when someone takes the time to really taste the efforts of the brewers really come through. In the end its not mind blowing but rather is exceedingly well executed.

Brews Brothers P49 & Yellow Dog Hound Dog Belgian IPA- 4/5

P.S. Im linking this series to the Mystery Gift tab so you can follow there

Dieu du Ciel Aphrodisiaque

Well back from an all too brief tour of Europe and the Portland I finally have another domestic beer review, unlike all the cool kids (bloggers) with their American Beer Thirst Swag (Mike, Beer Rater). Just kidding I’m entirely jealous of their swag and big fans of their respective blogs. That said lets get National within a Nation with some delicious Quebecois Beer.

Aphrodisiaque is a beer with a very difficult name to spell, its more beer-ish characteristics include a 6.5% ABV, an extremely opaque black colour that is some how more opaque than usual (like a blackhole, nothing gets through… except Matthew Mcconaughey in interstellar), and chocolate mouse coloured head. Smelling the beer I find a clear cocoa scent that is more reminiscent of fine swiss chocolate than walmart brand… but thats not surprising. Finally when first sipping I was greeted with full rich roasted malt flavour that fades just slightly before revealing a cocoa flavour which itself fades just slightly revealing a vanilla flavour (the beer is brewed with Cocoa and Vanilla) before the both recede and a delicious burnt malt and dark cocoa flavour lingers… simply sublime This is a top of the heap cocoa stout and as such it should go without saying…

Dieu du Ciel Aphrodisiaque- 5/5

Kostritzer Schwarzbier

Schwarzbier despite having a really rad sound name is kind of a let down. Don’t get me wrong, i know what a schwarzbier is bet every time i have one i expect to be blown away.

“This isn’t great, and i based all my expectation on the name.”

In any case its a german style and i though maybe, just maybe in Germany it would be the best thing ever… it wasn’t. It did have a round flavour with clean although not dry finish. Only after swallowing did the hints of roasted malts and chocolate flavours come through. But what did I expect? Its a bottom fermented beer, probably exactly the same to what we often call dark lagers, so despite my expectation it was to style… but still…hopefully the next swarzbier comes up Millhouse…