BC Beer Awards… Afterthoughts and Analysis…

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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).

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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.

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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…

A BIG OL’ SPREADSHEET

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  • 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. 

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Conclusions and Thoughts as a result of the spreadsheet:

  1. 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?
  2. 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)?
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!
  6. 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!

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Judgin’ Don’t Stop!

 

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BC Beer Awards… What I Learned

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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.

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Direct Tap is super cool, this is all craft beer

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.

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Gotta be organized to drink beer!

     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.

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THE ACTION… HAPPENING

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.

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Now lets see who wins on Oct 21.
-Special Thanks to Monica Frost who set everything up!

Beer Awards are Dumb and You Should Stop Caring About Them

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:

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Really oozes cool doesn’t it

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

Scotch Ale

Bronze: Mt. Begbie Brewing Company, Brave Liver Scotch Ale

Cream 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?…

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“Go Fetch me a cream ale and that article about how trickle down economics help the poor”

https://www.bjcp.org

https://www.canadianbrewingawards.com/

Best Places to Drink In Port Moody… and maybe eat too.

There are many options get a drink in Port Moody these days, and I really do hate it when people choose a crappy one… So, I might as well tell you where to go!

(This list is made of places where beer is served at least as near equal to wine, so you won’t find food forward restaurants on my list)

  1. Brewers Row:

    C’mon, where else could it be? Brewers Row is arguably the best place in Canada to get a beer with Twin Sails and Yellow Dog making world class stuff and Moody and Parkside making sure there is quite literally something for everyone, not to mention beautiful views and places to hang out AND delicious food trucks. This is easily THE place to have a beer.Screen Shot 2017-05-11 at 5.29.38 PM.png

  2.  St. James’s Well:

Questionable spelling aside this is as close as you will get to a British/Irish pub (those words should never be so close) in Port Moody. Great Pub Food, Solid taps, The bar staff and manager will know you by the third time you walk in. They also have a simply rad Tuesday night trivia going on at the moment, and if its sunny maybe even try the patio.

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3. Browns Social House

Ok a shocker, heres the thing, good ambience, great patio, great food (better than many of the pubs) and a tiny but decent enough draft list… Ok there isn’t many great places to drink in Port Moody, but if you are into mediocre we got’chu.

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4. Brew Street

They claim 100 beers on tap (in my experience that hasn’t been the case) and even though most of them are simply core beers from local breweries that is still a massive list to find something you like. The food is good too but often its the crowd that kills this place… A bunch of guys named Brett drinking Corona in jeans with flaps on the back of the pockets… nothing wrong with that of course… just not my scene.

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5. The Burrard

Not much to say here, some odd posh decorating married to a perfectly normal functioning pub, decent smaller taps (20 ish taps) decent well priced food, odd chairs and faux fireplaces… its all here.

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6. The Rocky Point Tap House

This is a dive that doesn’t realize its a dive… and it could be so good, if only it realized it was a dive! Every city needs a dive and that is what the Point needs to be. We have a “Craft beer bar”, a “upscale bar” an “Irish bar”. We need a place with cheap local taps and wings every night. To be fair there are great food specials here and a decent selection of local if not boring brewers rows taps, it would totally shoot up the list if they would stop sweeping up the peanut skins I keep throwing on the ground.

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7. Romer’s Burger Bar

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did you notice all the spaces? That’s because Romer’s simply sucks. Bad service and terrible food can’t make up for a boring local tap list, just don’t go.

Don’t believe me try yelp https://www.yelp.ca/biz/romers-port-moody

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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

Beer and Breweries of the Year

The Brewers Row Beers and Brewery of the year. There were 50 responses to the poll and despite some surprising results I am happy with the sample size. Honourable mentions were given when the first runner up was within one vote of the winner…

Every Brewery on the Row won or was an honourable mention which shows the quality of this place!

Without further Adieu…

Best Brewers Row Core Beer

-YELLOW DOG PLAY DEAD IPA

It wasn’t even close, this is without a doubt THE BEER of Brewers Row

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Best Limited Brewers Row Beer release (the choices given are the respective top rated beers from each brewery according to untapped)

-TWIN SAILS SPACE ARMADILLO DOUBLE IPA

The first of a few wins for Twin Sails… Props to Moody Ales Bourbon Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout, which also did well.

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Best Branding

-TWIN SAILS

This win surely comes on the back of the tall can releases

Yellow dog followed a little behind

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Best Tasting Room

Finally some intrigue, I was sure PARKSIDE would win this category but alas the came just short and win the Honourable Mention

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Surprise, Surprise the winner is:

TWIN SAILS

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Best Customer Service

Another close one but MOODY ALES grabs an Honourable Mention nod congrats!

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But once again TWIN SAILS wins by one vote!

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IPA is King in BC which was the best of the year on Brewers Row? (top rated IPA on untappd with more than 150 ratings is listed for each brewery)

Its not even close TWIN SAILS SPACE ARMADILLO IS KING! hopefully it comes back soon!

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The Annotated BC beer awards

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Another year another set of BC beer awards. Now I’ll admit I like awards they are fun a serve as a guide line to picking beers…BUT… These beers are not what a group of people subjectively decide taste the best these beers are the beers that people think closest to the guidelines as created  by the BJCP.

This means if you hate Stout don’t bother having the top awarded stout because it is not the best tasting stout according to a group of people but the stout that tastes most like the style guidelines here:

Aroma: Coffee-like roasted barley and roasted malt aromas are prominent; may have slight chocolate, cocoa and/or grainy secondary notes. Esters medium-low to none. No diacetyl. Hop aroma low to none.
Appearance: Jet black to deep brown with garnet highlights in color. Can be opaque (if not, it should be clear). A thick, creamy, long-lasting, tan- to brown-colored head is characteristic.
Flavor: Moderate roasted, grainy sharpness, optionally with light to moderate acidic/sourness, and medium to high hop bitterness. Dry, coffee-like finish from roasted grains. May have a bittersweet or unsweetened chocolate character in the palate, lasting into the finish. Balancing factors may include some creaminess, medium-low to no fruitiness, and medium to no hop flavor. No diacetyl.
Mouthfeel: Medium-light to medium-full body, with a creamy character. Low to moderate carbonation. For the high hop bitterness and significant proportion of dark grains present, this beer is remarkably smooth. The perception of body can be affected by the overall gravity with smaller beers being lighter in body. May have a light astringency from the roasted grains, although harshness is undesirable.
Overall Impression: A very dark, roasty, bitter, creamy ale.

-http://www.bjcp.org/styles04/Category13.php

So with that understood here is my annotated list of winners where I tell you what I think about the winners in terms of my own subjective taste. In other words do i like the beer or not. My thoughts in Italics

BEST IN SHOW

Flagship IPA

Steamworks Brewing Company

This is the 3rd time Steamworks has won BIS and Brewer Julia Hanlon is the first female brewer to win!

Solid beer no complaints, and I like that it is a year round beer to boot

DAN SMALL HOMEBREW AWARD

Sho Ogawa & Novia Chen (2nd year in a row!)

I know Sho and Novia and they make great beer!

RICHARDS BUELL SUTTON LLP – ROOKIE OF THE YEAR AWARD

Field House Brewing Co.

I think this is a brand based award personally, I didn’t have a lot of beers i’ve loved from them, But I can’t think of anyone more deserving… so

CBC PEOPLE’S CHOICE  AWARD

Pablo Esco Gnar IPA – Boombox Brewing Company in collaboration with Machine Ales

I’m kicking myself for missing out on this one. 

TIMBER BREWER’S CHALLENGE

Old Money Mild – Brassneck Brewery

Acceptable win!

INTERNATIONAL LAGER – 32 ENTRIES

1: 33 Acres of Darkness –  33 Acres Brewing Company

2: Vienna Lager –  Moody Ales

3: Red Racer Pils –  Central City Brewers + Distillers

I’m not necessarily upset by what I see here, but personally I’d grab a Twin Sails or a Steamworks pilsner over all but Moody’s offering.

GERMAN PALE LAGER – 22 ENTRIES

1: Red Racer Old School Lager –  Central City Brewers + Distillers

2: Keller Pilsner –  Persephone Brewing Company

3: Steamworks Pilsner  –   Steamworks Brewing Company

Oh wait here’s steamworks… it should have won in terms of taste, Twin Sails in the mix too.

KOLSCH – 19 ENTRIES

1: Steamworks Kolsch –  Steamworks Brewing Company

2: High Country Kolsch –  Mt. Begbie Brewing Co.

3: Arctic Kolsch –  Swan’s Brewery

Kolsch can be fairly boring so I barely even care, but it is a shame that a dry hopped kolsch wouldn’t have a chance in this category.

GERMAN AMBER BEER – 21 ENTRIES

1: Gladstone Altbier –  Gladstone Brewing Co.

2:  Vienna Lager  –  R&B Brewing Co.

3: Potts Pils –   Moon Under Water

Vienna is in Austria, Lager is blonde but a Vienna Lager wins silver the German Amber Beer category… Yellow dog makes a good Alt, and Doans.

EUROPEAN DARK BEER – 15 ENTRIES

1: Dark Lager  –  Steel & Oak Brewing Co.

2: Baltic Porter  –  Cannery Brewing Company

3: Red Racer Dopplebock  –  Central City Brewers + Distillers

HM:  Brewmaster’s Black Lager  –  Okanagan Spring Brewery

Fine beers but how can 33 acres of darkness not be in this category and win in another? ugh who cares.

GERMAN WHEAT BEER – 14 ENTRIES

1: Demimondaine Dunkelweizen – Barkerville Brewing Co.

2: THIS IS HEFEWEIZEN –  Moon Under Water

3: Weizenbock –  Steel & Oak Brewing Co.

By far one of the weakest categories, Steal & Oak can take my money but the other offering, despite being good examples of the style are boring.

BRITISH BITTER – 20 ENTRIES

1: English Bitter  –  Foamers’ Folly Brewing Co.

2: Red Devil Ale  –  R&B Brewing Co.

3: Beacon ESB  –  Lighthouse Brewing Company

As someone who cut their teeth on english ale I’m completely lost. I’d argue that none of these are stylistically good examples of the style, and that the winner is arguably the worst bitter i’ve ever had! How Real Cask did not win this blows my mind.

BRITISH PALE ALE – 17 ENTRIES

1: Clover IPA –  Big Ridge Brewing Co.

2: Paddywhack Organic IPA  –  Nelson Brewing Company

3: English IPA –  Strathcona Beer Company

My only complaint here is the English IPA from Strathcona, i thought it was wretchid when i had it. I guess i will have to try again. 

BRITISH BROWN ALE – 30 ENTRIES

1: After Dark Ale  –  Nelson Brewing Company

2: Tall Timber Ale  –  Mt. Begbie Brewing Co.

3: Aethelred the Mild  –  Foamers’ Folly Brewing Co.

Needs more Moody Ales.

SCOTTISH AND IRISH ALES – 12 ENTRIES

1: Classic Scotch  –  Steamworks Brewpub Gastown

2: Irish Stout  –  Raven’s Brewing Company

3: 1880 Export Stout –  Moody Ales

No issues here

BRITISH STOUT – 10 ENTRIES

1: 52 Foot Stout  –   Barkerville Brewing Co.

2: Perfect Storm  –  Townsite Brewing Inc

3: 710 Oaked Stout  –  Faculty Brewing Co.

Can’t speak to these unfortunately.

STRONG ALE – 17 ENTRIES

1: Thor’s Hammer  –   Central City Brewers + Distillers

2: Wee Heavy   –   Persephone Brewing Company

3: Wobbly Bob  –  Red Collar Brewing Company

I’d drop the most recent Wooly Buggar from Howe sound into second spot and drop the Red Collar offering straight out.

FRUIT BEER – 50 ENTRIES

1: Pinot Noir Raspberry Blonde  –   Tin Whistle Brewing Company

2: Red Truck Raspberry Ale  –   Red Truck Beer Company

3: Tropic Vice   –   Dead Frog Brewery

Tropic Vice I find very artificial tasting, My personal Favourite is Berried Alive from Longwood Brewery.

SPICED BEER – 35 ENTRIES

1: Jackline Rhubarb Grissette  –   Lighthouse Brewing Company

2: Spruce Tree Ale  –  Tofino Brewing Company

3: Hibiscus Wit  –  Brassneck Brewery

I hate the category altogether

SMOKE AND WOOD AGED BEER – 22 ENTRIES

1: Entropy Series No. 1  –   Dageraad Brewing

2: Inertia II  –  Brassneck Brewery

3: Thor’s Hammer Bourbon Barrel Aged  –  Central City Brewers + Distillers

No complaints when i see Brassneck and Dageraad winning.

SPECIALTY BEER – 28 ENTRIES

1: Roggen Weizen  –  Steel & Oak Brewing Co.

2: Londen  –  Dageraad Brewing

3: Sour Wheat Gose  –  Field House Brewing Co.

As someone who has had Gose from Leipzig I can’t believe Field house’s offering won anything-its simply a sour wheat beer.

NORTH AMERICAN LIGHT BEER – 19 ENTRIES

1: Hooligan Organic Pilsner  –  Nelson Brewing Company

2: Jerkface 9000 –  Parallel 49 Brewing Co.

3: Cypress Honey Lager  –  Granville Island Brewing

Hey personally i’d take a Cariboo over the GIB but that’s just me.

NORTH AMERICAN BLONDE ALE – 17 ENTRIES

1: Organic Wild Honey Ale  –  Nelson Brewing Company

2: Postmark Blonde  –  Postmark Brewing

3: Dutch Pale Ale  –  Field House Brewing Co.

Nope, Dutch Pale Ale is an affront.

NORTH AMERICAN PALE ALE – 45 ENTRIES

1: Chase My Tail Pale Ale  –  Yellow Dog Brewing Co.

2: One Hop Mind  –  Callister Brewing Company

3: East Side Bitter  –  R&B Brewing Co.

Yellow dog is deserving, but how a beer called a bitter (as in english bitter) wins a north american pale ale category (hoppy pale ale) I’m fucking lost. There are so many great pale ales out there quick suggestion? Central City’s Pale Ale.

NORTH AMERICAN AMBER ALE – 23 ENTRIES

1: 33 Acres of Life  –  33 Acres Brewing Company

2: Troller Bay Ale  –  Howe Sound Brewing

3: Thirsty Beaver Amber Ale  –  Tree Brewing Co.

All cool except the beaver, its mildly offensive.

NORTH AMERICAN BROWN ALE – 13 ENTRIES

1: Bandit Brown  –  Foamers’ Folly Brewing Co.

2: Slipstream  –  Phillips Brewing & Malting Co.

3: Kim-Ach-Touch Ale  –  Tree Brewing Co.

Bandit Brown is more than passible but I’m not sure how it wins the category.

NORTH AMERICAN PORTER & STOUT – 21 ENTRIES

1: Commander Imperial Stout  –  Dead Frog Brewery

2: Stag and Pheasant Imperial Stout  –  Main Street Brewing Company

3: Russian Imperial Stout  –   Moody Ales

They may have nailed this category.

NORTH AMERICAN IPA – 58 ENTRIES

1: Flagship IPA   –   Steamworks Brewing Company

2: Play Dead IPA  –  Yellow Dog Brewing Co.

3: The Ultra Deluxe   –  Boombox Brewing

Haze rules the day!

SPECIALTY IPA – 41 ENTRIES

1: Blonde IPA  –  Dageraad Brewing

2: White ISA  –  Red Truck Beer Company

3: YVR ISA  –   Steamworks Brewing Company

YVR ISA i feel is lacking, i might insert bottle rocket from phillips.

IMPERIAL IPA – 10 ENTRIES

1: 187 On An Undercover Hop  –  Parallel 49 Brewing Co.

2: Cosmic Wave Double IPA  –  Tofino Brewing Company

3: Second Anniversary Double IPA  –  Main Street Brewing Company

Bit of a boring bunch but i can’t think of anything that blew me away until the hazy IPA train started taking off- perhaps a beer like Space Armadillo takes this next year, or a double version of High five from yellow dog or a double version of Flagship from steamworks.

BELGIAN ALE – 16 ENTRIES

1: Jongleur Wit  –  Strange Fellows Brewing Company

2: Bier de Garde  –  Old Abbey Ales

3: White Gold Witbier  –  Barkerville Brewing Co.

Yes.

BELGIAN STRONG ALE – 31 ENTRIES

1: Dageraad Blonde  –   Dageraad Brewing

2: Saison #7  –  Main Street Brewing Company

3: Old Barn Saison  –  Fernie Brewing Company

Yes.

TRAPPIST ALE – 15 ENTRIES

1: 33 Acres of Euphoria  –  33 Acres Brewing Company

2: Central City Belgian Strong  –  Central City Brewers + Distillers

3: 10 Degrees  –  Dageraad Brewing

HM: 8 Degrees  –  Dageraad Brewing

NOPE,  neither silver or gold are better than pretty much anything Dageraad has put out.

EUROPEAN SOUR ALE – 16 ENTRIES

1: Raynard  –  Strange Fellows Brewing Company

2: Cantus Fermus  –  Main Street Brewing Company

3: Bizarro  –  Phillips Brewing & Malting Co.

I missed out on Raynard but Bizarro was simply a bad beer like most of phillips kettle sours.

NORTH AMERICAN WILD ALE – 60 ENTRIES

1: Bodhisattva  –   Parallel 49 Brewing Co.

2: Sour Raspberry  –   Old Abbey Ales

3: Little Red One  –  Strange Fellows Brewing Company

No complaints

As I complete another year of complaining about beer awards the theme coming through  is although I don’t like the choices i can’t think of many better options. I can’t help but think although beer has been improving for years in BC its not progressing as the same rate it has. Sours were a great breakthrough but now we have a  glut of mediocre kettle sours mixed in with a few superb ones. Even so, I’m confident that things will improve as more and more American beers enter the mix and push the bar ever higher!

NEW YEARS, NEW BEERS OF THE YEAR!

Just like last year these beers of the year are recollected from memory and supplemented from my untappd reviews (This is why you will see a lot of Port Moody Brewery representation, i drink their wares the most), They are the best beers I HAVE HAD this year:

Some will include a first second and third others will not. Beers available in BC are listed those not available will be given Honourable mentions.

Ale (pale, amber, brown etc):

  1. Howe Sound- Sky Pilot
  2. Old Yale Blonde
  3. Strange Fellow- Talisman

IPA:

  1. Yellow Dog IPA-still take the cake for me.
  2. Old Abbey Brett IPA-This is of the Tony Dewald Brewmaster Era
  3. Breakside IPA- Much better in Portland than it is here, great none-the-less

Stout (all kinds):

  1. Moody Ales- Bourbon Russian Imperial Stout
  2. Old Yale-Sasquatch Stout
  3. Hearthstone Brewing Chocolate Milk Stout

Lager/Pilsner:

  1. Twin Sails-Pilsner
  2. Steamworks- Pilsner

Sour:

  1. Four Winds-Nectarous
  2. P49- Lil Red’emption
  3. Powell Street-Amarillo Sour

HM-The Breakside La Tormenta

Belgian:

  1. Dageraad Anno 2015
  2. Dageraad 8 Degree

Everything Else (including one-offs):

  1. Fuggles and Warlock & Moody Collab-Pears in White Satin
  2. Yellow Dog- Fresh Hopped Play Dead IPA

 

Beer of The Year:

Storm-Glacial Mammoth Extinction- What a process, what an experience.

BC Beer Award Analysis

The BC beer awards happened last night. This is BJCP event meaning Beers are judged on, among other things, their ability to remain close to BJCP style guides. This means that if a Brewery brews a beer that is insanely good but doesn’t fit well into any style guide well it could easily go home with nothing. That aside lets get going!

Richards Buell Sutton Rookie of the Year Award:

I’ve only visited Doan’s once before the more venerated beers like the Rye Stout appeared, they were all delicious and I’m happy to see them take this!

Best of Show:  for One Trick Pony.

Brassneck doesn’t often make bad beer, nor do they ever have few beers. I’ve had a lot of their beers, so many I can’t remember if I’ve had this one, but also enough to be confident that they are deserving of winning.

Sours/Wild Ale:

3. Dageraad De Witte

2. Strange Fellows Roxanne

  1. Four Winds Juxtapose IPA

Hard to argue here, I’m sure someone could point out some really awesome sours not on this list but we could do that with most categories.

Imperial IPA

3. Parallel 49 Hopnotist

2. Parallel 49 187 on a undercover Hop

1.Brassneck One Trick Pony

Although i’m happy Brassneck won I’m really not impressed with the other beers in this category, on the whole i think its reflective of the stagnating state of IPA in BC.

Belgian Abbey Ale

3. Belgian Quad

2.T Trappist Artist Belgian Dubbel

  1. Dageraade Blonde

Dageraad is a deserving winner.

Strong Ale

3. Swans Scotch Ale

2. Auld Nick Winter Ale

  1. Legacy Ale

Not a style I follow but nice to see R & B on the upswing.

Belgian/French Farmhouse:

3.  Farmers Ale

2. Randonneur Saison

1. Multigrain Saison

Again not a style I follow terribly hard, but again happy to see Dageraad with more awards for their effort. I also tried Raven’s Farmers Ale following their win and really enjoyed it.

Speciality IPA

3.  Blood From A Stone Red Rye IPA

2.  Hip As Funk IPA

  1. Black Rye IPA

Upset not to see Yellow Dogs ISBA in that mix but once again we could play that game all day!

North American IPA

  1. Red Racer IPA

2.  Red Truck IPA

3.  Hearthstone IPA

Really surprised by this category. I think it goes to show that our IPA production is in dire straights. Sure Red Racer is a fine IPA but has no one produced an IPA better than it this past year? that leads me to believe quality is in fact getting worse! As for the Red Truck, i’ve found it to be a quite dumbed down IPA… but who knows at this point.

Wood/Barrel Aged:

3.  Barrel Aged Vow of Silence

2.  Pequeno Cabo Tequilla Barrel Aged Berliner Weisse

  1. Imperial White IPA

Sad to see no stouts on the list but can’t really complain about the beers on this list can you?

Stout/Porter:

3.  Fat Guy Oatmeal Stout

2. 52 Foot Stout

1. American Rye Stout

I guess i’m visiting Doan’s again soon!

Specialty:

3.  Steamworks Gose

2.  Wee Tipsy Peated Scotch Ale

  1. No Brainer Pre Prohibition Lager

A corn lager for the win? Amazing and definitely worth drinking!

Spice/Herb/Veg:

3. Kelp Stout

2.  Icebreaker

1. Spruce Tree Ale

Wow, no pumpkin. Tofino is a deserving winner in my mind here but I’m really surprised to see Turning Point here, i thought icebreaker was a mess.

Fruit:

3.  Framboise Noir

2.  Mellow Moon Pineapple Hefeweizen

  1. SunSetter

I’m going to be clear here Mellowmoon is bad, and SunSetter is bad.

German/Belgian Wheat:

3.  Hey Day Hefeweizen

2.  Dunkelwiezen

  1. White Gold

This has got to be the weakest category.

North American Amber/Brown Ale:

3. Brassneck Ale

2.  Cream Ale

  1. Hollow Tree

Another weak category in my opinion.

North American Pale Ale:

3.  Hop Therapy ISA

2.  Pale Ale

  1. Sky Pilot Northwest Pale Ale

Sky pilot has to be one of the most underated beers in BC right now, grab some.

UK Red/Brown Ale:

3.  Old Boy

2.  Race Rocks

  1. Whistler Black Tusk

Please breweries start making better UK beers, please! In fact try Ridge Brewing’s Brown.

Amber/Dark Lagers:

3.  Captivator Doppelbock

2. Oktoberfest

1. Dark Lager

Steel and Oak is deserving.

UK Pale Ale:

3.  Bomber ESB

2.  Forbidden Pale Ale

1. Big Ridge Clover Ale

Love Bomber ESB, would have expected to have seen something from Off The Rail here too but…

Light European Bier:

3.  Eastern Promises

2.  Mayor Kolsch

1. Craft Lager

I suppose you have to have this category but honestly who cares?

North American Light Beer:

3. Island Lager

2.  Lifty Lager

  1. Tofino Blonde Ale

Molson produced GIB won, thats a good discussion!

Dan Small HomeBrew Award: Sho Ogawa and Shin Shan Chan for their Kettle Sour Prune Plum Old Bruin.

Well done Sho, a BREWardInlet and Tri-City Brew Club-er!