Good Buddy Beer to Grace PoCo at Tin House Brewing

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Good Buddy Beer will be brewing out of PoCo in the coming months. Good Buddy beer had been brewing out of Callister in Yeast Van but will make the switch to PoCo when Tin House Brewing, The brick and mortar Brewery they will be sharing space with, opens.

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Good Buddy made a name for themselves with creative flavours in their beers such as Orange Creamsicle IPA, a Maple Syrup and Bacon Imperial Stout and a PB & J stout.

Not only will be Good Buddy Beer be available at Tin House Brewing (In Fremont Village In PoCo, Near North Paw), but of course Tin House beer too. The brands will share a brewer for the moment.

Of course the creates a new walkable area to enjoy Beer and Spirits in Port Coquitlam’s Freemont Village. According to google Maps it should only take you 4 minutes to travel from Northpaw, To Provincial Spirits, to Tin House brewing, where of course you can also enjoy some Good Buddy Brewing.

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VCBW is Upon Us and It’s Time To Take Stock.

I am a big fan of Vancouver Craft Beer Week. It’s fun and it brings the whole community together.

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With nearly all the Lower Mainland Region breweries in one place it is  a really great opportunity to consider the Craft Beer trends moving forward. Of course this can’t really be done in advance of VCBW. Even so it is fun to project or guess what the trends will be, and I’ve always thought that the VCBW beer gives us a hint of what is to come.

Two years ago Brewers brought us a Hazy Pale ale which to me announced to the community that Hazy beer was a major part of the industry and here to stay. Secondarily it might have also signalled the success of the suburban and regional Craft beer communities.

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Last year, we had the Sea to Sky breweries affirm the rising prominence of regional craft beer communities, and perhaps surprisingly they made a Lager. To me this signalled that our craft beer industry was ready to move past the anti-establishment roots and include all beer drinkers.

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This year, the 10th anniversary of VCBW we have Four Winds, in collaboration with Powell Beer and Dageraad brewing brewing a dry-hopped table saison.

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I typed that beer style in lower case, because to my mind it is an understated style in the often violently reactionary world of craft beer.

What I take from this, and what I would predict as a major trend in the Vancouver and wider region is a push for higher quality.

It is no secret that I have been fairly vocal about beers that don’t mean my expectations but after the proliferation of craft breweries throughout the lower mainland comes a more competitive period where brewers are selling to an inclusive mature consumer base who are able to tell the difference between OK and great craft.

I believe the choice of three of the Lower Mainland’s 3 most respected breweries in Four Winds, Dageraad, and Powell beer and their choice of a simple yet dynamic style signals to the community at large that things are about to get more competitive. If you are a brewery who wants to stick around you better commit to quality.

With more breweries comes more competition, and since the backbone has of craft has always been its improved quality over macro the competition amongst Craft Brewers will hopefully yield ever high plateaus of quality.

We might also look at the expansion of high quality production in the region to consider the arms race in quality.

-Twin Sails sour program intentionally does not include Kettle Sours. committing to higher labour and cost methods of souring.

-Whole breweries committed to specific styles like Bakery, House of Funk, and Temporal.

-The commitment to high quality Lagers including Foudre and barrel aged versions like those created by Four Winds and Strange Fellows.

We might also consider the results of mistakes

-Riot Brewing on the brink of closing as sales don’t add up

Clearly all of this is guess work and conjecture bused on anecdotal evidence, but if i was forced to hazard a guess… I’d expect your average beer to rise in quality this year.

 

I Was Offered Free Beer, I said “Yes”

A while ago I wrote an article explaining why I had said no to a brewery’s offer of free beer.

It came off as high and mighty, it wasn’t my intention but it did. Well, since then I have been offered beer a few more times and said no thank you a few more times.

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How I felt publishing that article

Recently, I said yes.  So how did I fall off my high horse? Well its simple really. I don’t have as much beer as I once did.
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Whereas, before my main reason for saying “no” was that I simply had too much beer and there was no point in taking beer that I might not be completely interested while other beer rots in my fridge. Its just not cool.

The fact is I’m getting married this summer and although I have wonder family helping my income is being stretched and I cannot afford to consume as much beer as I have in the past.

Craft Breweries are trying to make a living and offering beer to bloggers and the like is one of the great ways they can keep the beer-intelligensia writing.

So I have swallowed my pride, said “yes, thank you”, and you can probably expect to see it on my instagram.

That said you can also expect to see my honest opinion too.

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Believing the Hype is OK… Usually, well sometimes… Definitely Not Never

The Growler recently published a great article by Dageraad Brewer/Owner/Professional Cool Guy – Ben Coli, where Ben makes a great argument for Mainstays being better than the flavour of the week.

While I appreciate the article and agree in large part I noticed many friends and colleagues applying the argument against Hazy beers en masse. Well as avowed Hazy apologist I have yet another article no one asked for.

Concern 1

Dead on Arrival

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Ben makes a great point to start, many one off beers are ill-conceived. He’s right. There are quite a few beers that should have been aborted long before the ever reach your local’s shelves.

That said a lot of main stays make it to shelves when they shouldn’t. Many breweries including some of your favourites have let main stay beer hit the shelves that has been clearly flawed. So, while main stays have had time to be perfected, they don’t always hit the shelves in their perfect state.

Concern 2

No time to test batch

Here’s the thing… You think Sierra Nevada Pale ale or for that matter Even Steamworks Flagship’s recipe hasn’t changed since its initial sale? Beer recipes often change incrementally, its experimenting in the search of improvement. This happens with Hazy beer too…

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Most breweries have a few go-to basic Hazy recipes, and they tweak for each release. A hop variety here, a different grain there, and an extra hopping addition every so often. It’s not unlike how people incrementally changed their pale ales back in the day, the major difference is whereas in the past the label would never change, these days each release is a new piece of art from a graphic designer whose work spaced is littered with succulents.

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Why? Well the craft market is super crowded and craft brewers don’t have the money to advertise to you and me like the bug guys. Where they can punch above their weight is on the shelf where brewers can quickly pivot their branding to catch the latest craft punter (you)>

I gotta ask, what is the harm in that? More work for artists, more excitement for you and I, and more competition for macro-beer.

Concern 3

If it was any good you’d keep making it.

Early into Twin Sail’s pivot to their White Can Series (following their all german beginnings) they released Space Armadillo. This beer sent shock waves through the community and for some reason it wasn’t released again for nearly a year.

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Don’t you think Twin Sail’s would have loved to follow that rich sales vein? The fact is new breweries can struggle to get consistent supplies for brewing and are often forced into the spot markets. Whereas more established brewers can sign contracts with producers to ensure steady shipments of special hops or adjuncts, new brewers must use spot markets for one time sales.

The fact is Twin couldn’t secure the supplies they needed to make Space Armadillo a core beer.

 

So while by and large I agree in the merit of breweries main stay beers, I think we can agree that one offs serve a purpose and can be great.

Tiering the Breweries of Vancouver and Sea to Sky

I am going to get shit on for this…

But that’s OK, I write to start conversations and lists and rankings start conversations. So here we go.

A little about the rankings… This is about QUALITY of beer… nothing more nothing less. A bad beer diminishes overall quality in my eyes. That said this is my Monolithic view of the quality of beer coming from a brewery… no math.

Breweries within tiers are equal in my eyes.

Not all Breweries are listed, but rest assured I would never say no to a brewery that is listed, as for the others…

These are my personal opinions, they won’t match yours, feel free to be angry anyways

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Tier 4 (Solid Lagers & Ales)

Doan’s Craft Brewing

The Beer Farmers

Strathcona Brewing

Coast Mountain Brewing

Howe Sound Brewing

Trading Post Brewing

Central City Brewing

Ravens Brewing

Storm Brewing

R and B Brewing

Hearthstone Brewing

Coal Harbour Brewing

Brewhall

Main Street Brewing

33 Acres Brewing

Britannia Brewing

Bomber Brewing

Bridge Brewing

Callister Brewing

Tier 3 (Breweries who I can count on to crush it often)

Parallel 49

The Parkside Brewing

Steamworks Brewing

Taylight Brewing

Northpaw Brewing

Field house Brewing

Silver Valley Brewing

Demi-God Tier (breweries I’ll always make a point of visiting)

Dageraad

Beere Brewing

Strange Fellows

Steel and Oak

Brassneck Brewing

Yellow Dog Brewing

Luppolo Brewing

God Tier (Breweries I get stoked to go to)

Twin Sails Brewing

Boombox Brewing

Superflux

Backcountry Brewing

Temporal Brewing

Four Winds

 

 

More News on the Third PoCo Brewery

I’m going to let the Tri-City news take this one away, the article does a great job of breaking down the whole business plan. Their Plan has some really cool parts and some I’m concerned about and will break down at a later date… Until then the Tri-City News Presents:

PATINA BREWING

The PoMo Brew Scene Grows Again

Hot off the heels of the 5th Brewers Row Brewery (Moody Ales side Project Bakery Brewing) and former Callister Brew Team Light Heart Brewing setting up shop in Moody Ales we have another Brick and Mortar starting up.

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Fraser Mills Fermentation, the brain child of many of the group behind the successful Tri-Cities Cask Festival has selected a spot on St. John street in Port Moody.

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The Location is just two doors down from the current Beyond the Grape Location in the former Yamaha Marine building.

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If you aren’t from Port Moody that is a 15 minute walk from the Twin Sails/Yellow Dog hub and 3 minute walk from the skytrain station.

The Brewery will be as eclectic as any brewery in the city, housing not only a 10 hl brewhouse with eleven 10 hl fermentors, 5 brites (where the beer is carbed) and Thirteen 5 hl serving tanks, but a home brew business too. You willbe able to have a beer and then buy the supplies to try and replicate it at home.

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Did I mention that beer isn’t the only thing on the menu? Cider, mead and wine may also be produced on site.

Although exciting, this brewery isn’t quite a sure thing, Michael Druce, current Beyond the Grape and Fraser Mills owner pointed out:

“…we will be going before the Port Moody council sometime in March for approval of a temporary use permit to allow us to do liquor manufacturing in a commercial zoning.”

“…we will need public support for a Temporary Use Permit for the location…”

Public support may come in the form of letters to Port Moody Council or Vocal support at a public hearing. If you would like to show Port Moody Public Council your support for another business in Port Moody please send an e-mail to council@portmoody.ca

 

2018 Breward Inlet Awards

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A crack team of influencers got together to give you the goods on the Tri-city beer scene… heres how things shook out!

Beer of the Year – Tri-Cities (PoCo, Port Moody, Coquitlam)

This category had a great Variety of responses but usually lead back to one brewery – Twin Sails.
Heavy Weight Champ is the Champ here!

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Best Tasting Room

The Parkside repeats as the best place to craft beer and chill..

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Best Branding

Another repeat but can you argue with this branding Kaleidoscope?

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Coolest Personality in brewing (Brewer, Blogger, Beer-tender, instagrammer… etc)

Man, Myth and Legend Sea to Sky Beer Guy isn’t even of this region… But he sure has made an impact on it!

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Best New Brewery

There were a few new kids on the block (and more to come), but PoCo Brewers North Paw take the “W” here.

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Brewery of the Year

There can be only one…

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Thanks to these fine people:
@beerpunkbc
@hopperazi
@ls_karl
@lifeisabeerexpedition
@thebeerdshow
@crafttourist
@theflyingbeergirl
@thirstyexplorersclub
@pacificbeerchat
@thebeerrater
@brewsbabeabanny
@Vancity_beergirl
@seatoskybeerguy
@RedArmyNic

BRB Brewing- The Rise of Craft beer in Vancouver

Be right back, no actually this is writing so it doesn’t matter.

Recently i was invited to the relaunch of the Brewery formerly known as Big River Brewing now known as Be Right Back Brewing or BRB brewing. It was a really nice event where i was treated to some very nice beers and some delicious food. What was more interesting to this blogger however was what the change represented as a whole. If you are a beer snob, geek, Brewery Creek devotee or Yeast Van lifer its totally possible you’d never heard of Big River Brewing (or BRB). Thats because this brewpub is located in Richmond. Not city centre Richmond either, Poorly planned suburban entertainment district Richmond (Vancouver City planners would walk the area bawling about place v. space and pseudo-space). BRB shares a building with a bowling alley and a Old Spaghetti Factory (despite an oddly specific name its not actually a factory), behind a massive megaplex theatre across the way from a pool called water-mania and a trampoline park. This isn’t Gastown this is sort of like a failed hyper-capitalist 6th rate Diznee Land where every area of the park requires another entry pass and although its divey its not divey enough to be ironic. So why the heck was this place of failed suburban-capitalist-city-planning home to one of the early micro-breweries in Metro-Vancouver (back then we called it the GVRD)? My guess? Cost benefit and limited schtick.

Who feels old?

Does this make sense yet? Probably not. Lets go back to 1997 then. The internet is a thing but still pretty lame and the Canucks are mired in a period mediocrity (wait isn’t that now?).

SAVE US MESS!

Richmond is chilling relaxing maxing all cool (Fresh Prince reference) but is concerned that no one is there to see it.

They decide find the most extreme teenagers with attitude and ask them to brainstorm, no wait extreme brainstorm, the coolest tourist attracting area no where near major or future transit hubs… because hydrogen cars, we’ll all drive those. They sat in a mall boardroom drinking mountain dew chucking out ideas:

“Giant Movie theatre!” “YEA!”

“Great downtown Vancouver restaurant?” “Yea spaghetti factory?” “Totally rad dude!”

“Ice Rink?” “YUP!”

“Definitely Bowling Alley!”

“Casual Dining?” “SUBWAY!”

“Swimming pool…” “WITH WATER SLIDES!”

*Then an adult walks in and says “What about beers?” and the teenagers say “oh yea a bar too, but how do we make it more extreme? what if they made the beer there? Meh i dunno lets come up with something later.”

But they never did, making beer in site was the best gimmick they could come up with and when they realized they could likely increase profits by making their own beer investors swooned.

By the way i’d just like to point out that what i have just explained is absolutely historically accurate and in no way a chance for me to make fun of the 90’s and Richmond.

Fast forward to like 1999 and the people going to Big River Brewing are exhausted soccer mums and dads having recently dropped off their kids at birthday parties at one or more spots around the parking lot. in a state of pre-collapse they, with the only other parent whose face they don’t hate for no reason at all spill into Big River Brewing. Of course they want alcohol but they don’t want IPA they want beer comparable to their Canadian-weiser. That was Big River Brewing’s market.

So in what took just less than 600 words have explained why beer geeks may have never heard of Big River Brewing. Because they made beer to appeal to adjunct-lovers. With the craft beer revolution (aptly-named by Joe Weibe) shit changed for Big River. People darted coming in likely more than just Kokanee and expecting flavourful beers which Big River was low on. For Big River to survive in a time where the suburbs had some of the best breweries in Vancouver like: Yellow Dog, 4 Winds, and Central City, they had to change. Thus we see the evolution of Big River into BRB brewing.

So how’s the beer?

Stout- Brewed to style and something i quite enjoy- 3.5/5

Pale Ale- West coast style and sessionable- 3.5/5

Mild- Not as good as Vancouver best mild (Real Cask)- But a good example of style 3/5

These beers are worth getting a growler of and despite being located in a suburban hell hole BRB is definitely the crown jewel of the area.

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!)