So I don’t really do beer reviews anymore. Mostly because there is a lot of people who do it better than me… The Beer Rater,West Coast Beer Geek, and Mike’s Craft beer to name a few. However, if you give me free beer i will review it, and that’s exactly what happened here.
As you know what i enjoy often more than the beer itself is the analysis that can come with it so here we go. Big Rock is a larger regional brewer from Alberta. Among the first wave of craft brewers in Canada they have been surpassed in quality but the newest wave of small batch craft brewers. Likely seeing potential for growth in the Vancouver market but hamstrung by a lack of credibility as a regional brewer from Alberta, ala’ Granville Island in Vancouver, they seemingly decided to open a branch plant facility in Vancouver.
Thus we can expect the Vancouver produced beer to be a step above the Alberta produced beer in quality to grab the more dynamic Vancouverite beer drinker’s attention. Is this the case with Citradelic?
Citradelic to my knowledge is a single hopped beer; hopped with, you guessed it, citra hops. These hops are known for their smooth citrus flavour. So how did it taste? The Malt is really quiet on this beer but that is to be expected. If you are trying to showcase the hop flavour you wouldn’t want to crowd the beer with complex malts. The hop flavour arrives with the nose of the beer in a long smooth slug of citrus flavour which is quite delicious before slowly fading as you set the glass down. An entirely pleasant experience.
I’m giving this beer a 3.5/5 not because there is anything wrong with it. There isn’t. But simply because this is a simple beer. Its the sort of beer that one can enjoy quite easily but certainly pales in comparison to to a well crafted barley wine. Why have i rated it so you might ask? Well i might direct you to Mill’s conception of higher and lower pleasures. In simple terms consider this:
“One pleasure is of higher quality than another if and only if most people who have experienced both pleasures always prefer the first to the second regardless of their respective quantities.”
Thus when i consider this beer next to truly amazing ones like say 4 winds nectarous and cast away notions of quantity Citradelic stands no choice… despite being an altogether wonderful beer.
If you think this whole article is useless you are probably right but J.S. Mill spits hot fire and you will probably sound way smarter if you off handedly mention J.S. Mill at the next Cocktail party you go to, or Commercial Drive share house mixer… same diff.
Fuck you late 1980’s early 1990’s hypothetical adversarial Jerry Seindfield, I’ll tell you the deal. I’ve considered this thoroughly and i’ve come to a conclusion I am willing to share. The appeal, or deal, of craft beer is 3 fold. Actually its more fold but I am going to focus on 3, although you could argue that these are all aspects of a single fold, alas enough about folds. As I mentioned craft beer is part of a punk rock diy counter culture, it represents a tangible way to reject corporatism, and it is a tangible affordable way to consume art and culture. So sit back and accept some learning.
I don’t intend to spend much time on the first part of this essay as I believe my last post really beat down the Craft Beer is Punk Rock theme I push on this blog.
In brief Craft Beer is the result of people looking at what they were drinking and saying “this shit is shit, i can do better”. This of course couldn’t be done with out people trying out home brewing and figuring out how to make things aside from pale fizzy lagers. But consider in the late 70’s and the early 80’s when the first craft breweries were started there were no existing business plans for a small scale brewery. After American prohibition ended the North American brewing Industry was an effective Oligarchy. No one had opened a new brewery in 50+ years; could it even be done. In BC we see the effect of this lack of knowledge where our first craft breweries failed before they were appreciated (like Socrates… HISTORY, that right horseshoe bay brewing is the Socrates of Craft Beer in BC). These guys who started these breweries were doing it DIY. I honestly bet at least one brewery was held together by close pins. This is apparent even today, ever see Powell St Brewing’s first brew house? it was a large home-brew set up! So if was grading this paper i’d say: “Great you have shown to some degree that punk rock is similar to craft beer, how does that add to the appeal?” I’d reply pedantically: “Craft beer was and remains a niche’, in the earliest days one had to seek out and purposely opt out of the macro beer society much like punk rockers attempted to opt of society at large. Today Craft Beer remains a niche’ but a larger one, We are seeing the rise of Pop Punk with crafty beers like Shock Top and Rickards, along side true greats Four Winds, or Steal and Oak. So the deal with Craft Beer is that by drinking it we are not simply consuming a beverage but affirming a critical view of our society at large arguing that their are things that are messed up in our world and given the opportunity we will use our beverage choice to sustain our critical analysis.
You know whats sort of fucked up? Corporations. Look I’m not gonna sit here and pander the politic in a beer blog. I’m honestly surprised at how pompously i ended the last paragraph but i believe it is as close to fact as once can be to say we in the western world are becoming more fed up with the corporations.
Here is the thing, craft breweries are most often (i can’t think of any) not large soulless corporations such as Molson Coors or inBev. By buying craft we are making a simple easy decision not to give our money to a business based in the United States, Europe or Japan but to the guys and girls who live down street. You know that your 15 dollar six pack doesn’t help to buy some exec a new mansion whilst the guy at the bottling plant struggles to pay rent, but rather might go into a savings account to help the brewmaster’s daughter to go to university in the future. In short craft beer is one of the few industries where the consumer can easily reject large corporations all together whereas in other industries like toilet paper we are slaves to large corporate industries. Lets take solace in that small win.
Beer is art, Fuck you it is. Why did I get so testy there? When I mention it even to my craft beer drinking buddies I still get the eyebrow raise with a facial expressions that reads:
Here’s the thing it is the God Damn MONA LISA. Beer like paintings is an expression of culture in physical form. It lends context to our immediate society, and tells us about ourselves. Really? YES REALLY! Think about an English IPA, what does it tell us? It tell us about colonialism, it is a tangible example of british power relative to Indian. When faced with the problem of british service men serving in India without their precious ale, A hoppier ale was created to last the long journey into India. So? Well this tells us that British servicemen were not being assimilated into Indian Culture, It tells us the Empire was wealthy and strong enough that they could afford to ship creature comforts around the world and it shows us the importance of commerce in British Colonies. this is very much similar to what the Gleaners tells us about French Soceity in the 1800’s:
Here’s the important difference between high art and Beer, Beer is cheap, it does the same thing but an expensive bottle is $25, have you priced out the Mona Lisa lately? I’ll stick with beer thanks!
So what’s the deal with craft beer? Its a form of art that allows to consume culture whilst simultaneously rejecting certain part our society, it also tastes good.
Man is it cool that the Vancouver Beer community has gotten to a point where we can support a style brewer like Dageraad? The best part is we are rewarded with for it with great belgian beers, and Anno 2014 a Belgian Golden Ale is another great seasonal. From the pour into the glass you are treated to a beautiful looking beer with a golden translucent hue. Champagney aroma abounds from the high carbonation, while the beer drinks sweetly with a crisp fruit finish with the Keremeos pear apparent yet not overbearing. Be careful when pouring as this beer does bottle ferment, while also being careful not to let the 8.3% ABV sneak up on you! Get one soon this could be Dageraad’s best yet!
So remember when I alluded to there being potential for another Beerea I poorly dubbed “CHUGa Choo Choo”? Well two minutes on google maps and I realize it’s a reality (or rather maybe very soon). Off the Rail Brewing is setting up shop just off Clarke at 1351 Adanac St Vancouver, BC V5L 2C3. If you are good at geography you will notice that it is a short walk to both Bomber and Strange Fellows brewery! Awesome a new Beerea (an area in which 3 or more breweries are in walking distance). So lets consider this from a transit hub point of view:
So what do we know about Off The Rail? Well i scoured their website, which is in fact really good for a brewery that hasn’t opened. First of all the owner, and perhaps brewer, is a current, or former, owner of the Railway Club; hence the name. Without having spoken to the brewer it looks like there will be an emphasis on traditional styles with an eye to english beer specifically. I mean a pale ale that emphasizes golding hops? Whats old is new again. Of note though is the mention of two row rather than maris otter which makes it more North American. “English” peppers the seasonal list too, so as someone who got into beer through traditional english ales this is quite exciting. Here’s the bad news, Silence from Off the Rail since December despite claiming to be open in late fall. I hope all goes well and we are tasting their beer soon. In any case this area will make for exciting Sunday Adventures.
Here’s a nasty confession, I originally wasn’t crazy for Yellow Dog’s IPA. What you say? That beer is critically acclaimed by the likes of Barley Mowat! Yes, yes it is, but despite that i was underwhelmed. Regardless, whenever I went to a local pub and heard it was on tap I ordered it. Whenever I went to the tasting room i ordered it too, strange. But then came winter and i like to drink seasonally so i was on to darker beers. The other day I was coming home from work and decided to stop by the brewery for a fill. I’d been drinking the Smoked Porter a lot lately so I thought a change might be in the cards and lo and behold i picked the IPA despite being a self-described Pale Ale lover. I got it home and WOW! Why was i all of a sudden so impressed by this beer? Because it’s so god damn well done it just sneaks up on you! Here’s a better explanation. With the craft beer revolution (JOE WIEBE!) came an explosion of IPA’s it’s the beer of the revolution, that’s fine its just not my favourite style. It seemed with every new brewery opening came a NEW SUPER HOPPY-BITTER BREW. These beers are usually packed with flavour and most of the time are pretty good but alas they are not my cup of tea. This is what i was expecting from Yellow Dog and their IPA, but what i got was just an extremely well-balanced and palatable beer.
It pours a beautiful copper tone with a white head. A Tropical fruit scent emanates from the glass before flowing into a quiet sweet maltiness before Piney-Citrus flavour takes over. The big take away here for me though is despite its holiness and bitterness the beer does not shatter my palate with bitterness and rather invites another taste. I’m actually stoked to have had this beer again and it is currently my new favourite IPA.
Well its Xmas and if your Xmas is anything like mine you are attempting to make sure your cat doesn’t OD on Cat Nip.
Actually that’s probably less likely. What we do likely have in common since you frequent a beer blog, is planning your grog for the night. So here’s what I’m drinking and why:
I’ll start by sharing the Gratzer seasonal beer from Moody Ales. This Is a light pale beer with a smokiness thats almost sweet on the pallet. This beer is good to start with as it isn’t overly complexed but has rewarding unfamiliar flavour to most. Remember the first lambic you had? This is a similar experience if not slightly more accessible.
Ill probably have the Imperial Porter from Central City following that. I got this one in my Mystery Gift Pack and i’m excited to enjoy it. The contrast between the paler cleaner tasting gratzer i feel will be welcome, and shit, it supposed to be cold so i deserve a warmer!
At this point it should be about dinner time. For that i have a bottle of Glassbender Farmhouse Saison from Craig Noble at Postmark brewing. This is Craig’s personal brand that is brewed out of Postmark yet remains separate. I had the pleasure of talking with Craig extensively as i actually labelled the whole first run of this beer (Yes, i got the mistake bottle). This beer is a product of Craig’s passion for beer and is a subject of his film “Craft” ( http://www.craftbeermovie.com ). This beer is unlike many Farmhouse beers i’ve had before in that its carbonation gives it an incredible bite. Drinking this beer is an experience! Craig would be able to tell you all the intended food pairings for this beer, unfortunately i don’t have that depth of experience. In any case i’ve been waiting for a while to enjoy this one.
Dessert time, I think at this point its time to enjoy Thor’s Hammer Barley Wine, Bourbon Barrel. There is not much i can say about this beer that hasn’t been said. Like its name sake Thor’s Hammer sits in the Pantheon of Godly BC beers, and should you have the chance, drink it.
By the end of the night hopefully all who remain are the family you actually like. This is the time of the night where you can let your hair down and stop being as pretentious about beer. For many this means cracking a GIB winter ale. Most nights i would too, but tonight I’m taking on Whistler’s Dunkel a beer I like despite beer gets occasional disdain for the brewery itself. This is the Terry’s chocolate orange of winter beers and that’s ok i like chocolate oranges, i also like fine swiss chocolate but its a free country and we can like what we want.
So this is the end of the effort to blog the mystery gift in full. Why because fuck you, this is my blog “I’ll do what I want!”
But actually the Beer got too damn good! Today i opened the day 22 beer and god damn it, it was Thor’s Hammer Bourbon Barrel.
Before that was the Imperial Porter also from Central City and to boot a god damn Ugly Sweater from Parallel 49. Look i work i have a life and doing this blog meant coming home as early as possible and wolfing down a beer for a review. Thats fine when we are talking pilsner and pale ales, but i am not going to do it with Imperial Porters and Thor’s Hammer. Furthermore whats the point? You all know (or at least you should) how good those beers are. Me telling you they are good won’t change much. So I will post something about these beers (probably) in the future, but it will be on my time. I am not a slave to anyone.
Parallel 49 once again gives us another seasonal is Salty Scot. A malt heavy beer a scent of caramel comes off the pour. Taking it in you are treated to a marly sweetness that quickly transitions to a satisfying saltiness that lingers on the tongue. Despite being a flavour that sounds out of place in a beer it forms a delicious malt forward beer.
Another seasonal from Parallel 49! This time its Sahti Claws, an old word recipe with old world ingredients like juniper berries but brewed modernly with hops. Basically this beer is a hybrid and a good one at that. You are first treated to a sweet maltiness which is complimented by a juniper berry flavour. To be honest although i am sure i’ve had juniper berries at some point i can’t remember what they taste like so its more like I’m assuming its juniper berries. The malts are balanced against Chinook and Simcoe hops which don’t steel the stage. This is a nice malty beer complimented with a berry flavour that works nicely with the malt. Its a damn decent beer perfect for winter.
Parallel 49 Sahti Claws- 3/5
So i just drank Sahti Claws whilst my room-mate and his girlfriend tickled each other on the couch, how inconsiderate right?. Anyways i’m slightly buzzed and read some of past posts and wow, a lot of errors. What i mean by that is I wasn’t making use of benign or little known grammatical tricks you were unaware of, i simply make a lot of mistakes, you should probably call me on it. OH Sahti Claws is 7.7% its all coming together now. With a buzz well on (you may not know but using “well” there was an allusion to british colloquialisms because I’m “well’ hard).
In any case, IMPERIAL IPA FROM CENTRAL CITY! Remember how i said Central City makes arguably the best IPA in BC? Well here is the steroid version! Thats what you’d think, but no. Opening the bottle lets loose a beautiful hoppy flavour, not fruity or citrus but of actual hops. Taking the beer in you taste fruit, and citrus in abundance which turns into a broad bitterness that lingers for a short time before finishing cleanly. Wow this beer is not just “HOPS!” but rather “hops” which are very apparent yet not pallet destroying. It is oh so drinkable and for that, it gets: