Thursday, April 29, 2010

quote of the day

"Prohibition makes you want to cry into your beer and denies you the beer to cry into."
-Don Marquis

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Pivo Public House

pivo public house is not located in the fancy part of town.  in fact its pretty close to the middle of the least desirable part of town.  and good on them for bringing good beer to the people!

pivo is located at 526 abbott street in vancouver.  but don't let the address scare you off - this place is definitely worth a visit.  featuring a beer list that takes up one whole side of the bar menu, and $3.50 draught, this is some kind of beer heaven!

currently the beer on tap is bowen island (two styles) and the seasonal bottled feature is black tusk ale.

on the bottled beer list are:  black cat lager, alpine honey lager, molson canadian, coors light, heineken, corona, pilsner urquell, harp, red stripe, kronenbourg, czech mate, asahi, black tusk ale, killer bee dark honey, anarchist amber ale, naramata nut brown ale, blue buck ale, dos equis XX amber, morimoto soba, innis & gunn, cutthroat pale ale, newcastle brown ale, traditional ACME pale ale, hop head IPA, original IPA, ACME IPA, slipstream cream ale, peaches and cream, guinness, chocolate cherry porter, coffee porter, wit beer and grasshopper wheat.

the menu divides the beers by style (lager & pilsner, ale, india pale ale, cream ale, stout & porter, witbeir) and offers a food pairing from their food menu for each style.  they also offer a modest list of cider, martinis, red and white wine and scotch.  i've tried quite a few of the food offerings and must say that while the menu is not long on contents, it is long on quality and flavour.  i particularly salivate over the blackened whitefish sandwich (pairs best with a lager or a pilsner).

have i mentioned yet that the bar is beautiful inside?  oh, it is a fine looking place.  who doesn't like an upscale looking joint with reasonable prices, interesting beer and large screen televisions?  heaven i tell you, heaven!   and who'd have thought anyone could make an orange colour scheme tasteful and inviting?  heck, there's even brunch on the weekend!

but perhaps the best part about pivo is the unisex washroom!  yes, you heard correctly, unisex.  why does this make me happy?  well, let me tell you, i hate the usual line up for the women's washroom, which is handily avoided by having four stalls in one washroom - two dedicated women's stalls, one dedicated men's stall and an either/or stall; and secondly, when they have to share a washroom with the fairer sex, men are far more likely to wash their hands afterward.  that is definitely a win situation in my book!  oh, and the washroom is also very nicely decked out and a joy to have to visit (including eco-friendly half flush toilets) which makes a nice change from a lot of public houses!

the draught menu may be only two beers big, and its seating capacity not vast, but if you're out to enjoy some interesting beer, good food, positive atmosphere and perhaps the game on tv, pivo is a damned fine place to be.

p.s.  pivo is czech for beer, in case you were wondering

located next door is the crosstown liquor store.  what they lack in a website they more than make up for in shelves stocked with interesting local and imported beers.  you know, in case you didn't get enough to drink while you were at pivo.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

quote of the day

"We old folks have to find our cushions and pillows in our tankards. Strong beer is the milk of the old."
-Martin Luther

Monday, April 26, 2010

Driftwood Brewery's Naughty Hildegard

Driftwood Brewery's Naughty Hildegard is an extra special bitter.  as such it has a more than healthy dose of hops and therefore fits very nicely into my hops obsession.

immense head on the pour, with a lovely hoppy aroma, nicely balanced with the malt.  fabulously naughty label featuring a radiant nun in fishnets and red heels!  but wait, who is this naughty hildegard?  why does she deserve such a fabulously hoppy beer named after her?

the bottle says:  "Brewed to honour Hildegard Von Bingen, a 12th century Benedictine nun who allegedly was the first to record the use of hops as an ingredient in beer.  While this is open to debate, we like Hildegard's style and we can't imagine beer without hops.  This Extra Special Bitter has lots of hops - Hildegard would be proud.  We are!  Cheers Hildy!

weighing in at 650 ml of 6.5%, this lives up to both its naughty moniker, and the "strong beer" claim on the label.  craft brewed in lovely victoria british columbia, i would like to personally thank this bottle for making the trek across the strait and my helpful beer consultant at firefly for suggesting it be included in my ipa tasting odyssey.

hildegard isn't a regular feature of driftwood's beer stable, but they did have this to say about it on their website:  "This Extra Special Bitter (ESB) marries a pallet of floor malted Golden Promise malt with about 55 pounds of Northwest hops. The result: a hop head’s delight. Get it while you can…"

must run, not walk, back to firefly and see if there are any more bottles there to be had.  i'm a fan!  cheers hildy indeed!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

quote of the day

"I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts, and beer."
-Abraham Lincoln

Friday, April 23, 2010

quote of the day

"Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut."
-Ernest Hemmingway

"An intelligent man is sometimes forced to be drunk to spend time with his fools."
-For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ernest Hemmingway

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day!

today is earth day
yesterday was administrative professionals day
two damned fine reasons to celebrate with a beer or six!

conserve water - drink beer!

while that sentiment might not actually be environmentally sound, you can be green about your beer (in ways other than literally drinking green beer on st. paddy's day).  the easiest way?  drink locally - walk or bike to your neighbourhood pub and drink the craft-brewed draught that only had to travel across town to get to your glass.  and have a couple while you're there supporting your local community, to reward yourself for such p.c. behaviour!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

quote of the day

"The easiest way to spot a wanker in a pub is to look around and find who's drinking a Corona with a slice of lemon in the neck."
-Warwick Franks

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


say it isn't so!
don't tell me that canadians are turning away from beer!

the terrible news

i for one am going to do my part to keep beer at #1 - how about you?

Monday, April 19, 2010

quote of the day

"A woman drove me to drink and I didn't even have the decency to thank her."
-W.C. Fields

"Everybody has to believe in something.....I believe I'll have another drink."
-W.C. Fields

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Southern Tier's hoppe

for my drinking pleasure this evening i'm going with an imperial pale ale rather than an ipa.  no good reason why, just happened to love Southern Tier's unearthly ipa and thought i'd give their Hoppe a try.

Southern Tier reports:  "2XIPA in the Bottle - April 15, 2010 is the first day for bottling our newest beer, 2XIPA. Phin DeMink has declared it the best beer we've ever brewed! 2XIPA also has the distinction of being the first beer to be distributed in our newly designed packaging. Cheers!"

if only my local purveyor of beer had had some in stock, that's what i would have chosen to imbibe this evening.  but no use crying over unavailable beer - let me turn my attention to the clear, honey coloured beauty in front of me!
speaking of beauty, let me extol the virtues of the cascading beer bubbles at the pour!  what a head!  i wanna pour some more just to see the wonder of it again.  and i did!  and it was a thing of beauty and a joy to behold.  

plenty of hops in the aroma, and in the sipping.  i'm not a fan of wheat, and this beer is made from malted white wheat, but so far i'm okay with it.  the hops are balancing it very nicely.

the bottle says:  "The simplicity of Hoppe tests the skill and ability of the brewer to create something truly majestic.  We craft this much like a sculptor who uses only a hammer and chisel to shape stone into a masterpiece.  Hoppe is spawned of these few essentials:  barley, wheat, hops, yeast and water.  This limited palatte is an exercise in minimalism, with refined elements which are deliberately selected.  This simple combination creates a golden shimmering brew infused with delicate aromas.  The artful nature of this beer is exposed with the first taste.  As the malt and hops create a composition of flavours, an elegant finish leaves an impression that your tastes will not soon forget.  Don’t be deceived by the innocence of Hoppe.  Please enjoy in moderation."

they suggest serving it in a fluted glass at 42F
the specs: 19 degrees plato, 4.0 degrees L, 2-row pale malt, kettle hops: columbus, aroma hops: amarillo, dry hop: amarillo and columbus

would i have another?  well, since it comes in a 650 mL bottle, yes sir, i will have some more.  however, the wheat is showing its ugly head to me and i gotta say that i probably won't buy this particular beer again.  its not the beer though, its me, really.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

great article from treehugger about wasting beer... the tragedy... and handy tips on how to be green about beer.

"We're talking about beer here, people! If you saw a couple pallets-worth of beer just sitting there waiting to be destroyed, wouldn't you rescue a few bottles?"  you betcha i would!

quote of the day

"If you ever reach total enlightenment while drinking beer, I bet it makes beer shoot out your nose."
-Deep Thought, Jack Handy

"Sometimes when I reflect back on all the beer I drink I feel ashamed - Then I look into the glass and think about the workers in the brewery and all of their hopes and dreams. If I didn't drink this beer, they might be out of work and their dreams would be shattered. Then I say to myself, 'It is better that I drink this beer and let their dreams come true than be selfish and worry about my liver.'"
-Deep Thought, Jack Handy

Friday, April 16, 2010


and tonight its North Coast Brewing Co's ACME IPA on the menu.

acme pours a lovely pale golden colour with a robust head that lasts for a good amount of time before it dissipates into a nice lace on the glass.  hoppy and a little fruity, it doesn't disappoint in the hops department.  and since i'm such a label whore, i gotta say that i love the label!!  i admit to ordering it just because it was the only ipa on the menu i hadn't yet tried, but boy was i happy when it arrived and i saw the label!

its vera ellen fresh from white christmas hanging from a thread with beer in hand...

6.5% allowed me to have three before i cut myself off to make it home in one piece, but i would have gladly had at least another if i'd been at home.

the website says: 
"Acme IPA is profoundly hoppy, finished with over a pound of fresh whole hops per barrel. The result of this generous hopping is a beer that is deliciously dry, and eminently drinkable in spite of its apparent strength.
Vital Statistics
Style: India Pale Ale
Color: Pale Amber
ABV: 6.5%
Bitterness: 55 IBU's
88 Points. Rated "Highly Recommended" Beverage Testing Institute, Chicago"

this beer scored a silver at the world beer championships in chicago every year from 2000 to 2006 - not too shabby!  eminently drinkable, i can see why its a winner.  i'm just not sure why i hadn't heard of it until today.  i mean they've been around since 1861 fer crying out loud!

the website is fabulous - i like the lay-out, the look of it, and the places it can take you... visit it whydontcha:

Thursday, April 15, 2010

this just in...

Breaking IPA news!!

Hardcore IPA claimed a Gold Medal in the Imperial India Pale Ale category at the 2010 World Beer Cup in Chicago on Saturday.  Woohoo!

quote of the day

"Always remember that I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me."
-Winston Churchill

"Make sure that the beer - four pints a week - goes to the troops under fire before any of the parties in the rear get a drop."
-Winston Churchill to his Secretary of War, 1944

"Sir, if you were my husband, I would poison your drink."
-Lady Astor to Winston Churchill
"Madam, if you were my wife, I would drink it."
-His reply

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

quote of the day

"The problem with the world is that everyone is a few drinks behind."
-Humphrey Bogart

Monday, April 12, 2010

Tree Brewing Company's Hop Head IPA

"signature ipa.  loaded with hops."  its Tree Brewing Company's Hop Head IPA!

hoppy aroma, clear caramel colour, good head on the pour that disappears within moments and a lovely crisp hoppy taste.  definitely on the bitter side.  delicious.  5.6%

the bottle says:  "tree brewing company takes craft brewing seriously.  we brew in small batches using only water, malt, hops and yeast to produce the highest quality, award winning beer.  try our selection of all natural unpasteurized beers, sure to satisfy some of the most discriminating craft beer drinkers & judges.  drop by the brewery located in beautiful kelowna, british columbia, and we'll show you firsthand how we make great beer.  until then... cheers!"

would i have more than one?  sure, and i often do.
is it in my top 10 ipas?  nope, doesn't crack the top ten.  it is quite enjoyable though.

i like the new branding of tree - the stylized mighty pine is oh so canadian, and oh so tree.

the website says:  "Available in 6 packs.  Signature IPA. Full-bodied and loaded with hops, delivering a very distinctive taste and aroma. SILVER medalist - 2008 Canadian Brewing Awards, BRONZE medalist - 2007 Canadian Brewing Awards"

they also have a limited edition double ipa that i simply must try.

the website says:  "Hophead DOUBLE IPA - NEW RELEASE January 13, 2010, 650 ml Limited Edition Brew,  8.0% Alcohol.  At TREE Brewing Company, we take craft brewing seriously.  So much in fact that we got a little carried away and brewed this occasional rarity, Hop Head Double IPA.  Loaded with five different hop varieties, this bold IPA is not for the faint of heart.  Gold Medalist - 2009 Candian [sic] Brewing Awards"

visit them at:  www.treebeer .com
and check out their recipes at:

Sunday, April 11, 2010

quote of the day

for this lovely sunday, two dave barry quotes:

"Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is beer. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza."

"Not all chemicals are bad. Without chemicals such as hydrogen and oxygen, for example, there would be no way to make water, a vital ingredient in beer."

Friday, April 9, 2010

Half Pints humulus ludicrous

i love the wax over the cap on Half Pints Brewing Company's humulus ludicrous.  it makes me feel like i just got transported back to medieval times and someone's going to challenge me to a duel at any moment... and i keep hoping a buxom bar wench will sidle up to me...
currently i'm pairing it with nachos.  and the historical anachronism to medieval times "please sir, can i have some more" comes to mind.  just go with it, i am.

its got quite the head on it, and a fabulous hoppy aroma.  oh yeah, and it tastes fabulously hoppy too.  Lots of lace left on the glass as i drain it, but the initial haze is not wearing off.  lovely dark golden colour.

the bottle says:  our most ridiculously hoppy beer.

i would like more on their label.  more about the brewery, more about the beer, just more personality.  but all i get is "craft brewed in winnipeg mb canada" and that its 8% apv and 100 IBUs.  delightful.  i'm a fan.  but i still want more on the label dammit!

as for the website, not much more there.  i can't even find ludicrous listed as one of their beers.

their blog says:  "One outta 1001 ain't bad.  I picked up a copy yesterday of "1001 Beers You Must Taste Before You Die" and thanks go out to Stephen Beaumont and the publishers who felt inclined to recognize our Humulus Ludicrous as one of those 1001.  This is the third time in less than a year that Half Pints has ended up in print as part of the national history of beer by being included in the conversation about what makes real craft beer in Canada so damn good. You can see that where a national identity with regards to craft beer had been lacking due in part by the majors sucking so hard at brewing anything worth drinking - case in point. While the big guys continue to grasp at straws like an 18 year old at a 80's dance party, craft brewers continue to hone their skills and stick it to them.  Congratulations therefore are offered to all the Canadian breweries mentioned in the book, but especially:
The Bushwakker for their Palliser Porter - my old Alma mater has brewed this dark porter regularly since day one. It's from an old homebrew recipe that Bev had won a national award for. Just like Mozart never goes out of style, so it is with the Palliser Porter.
Wild Rose for their Cherry Porter - Brewmaster Dave Neilly has some really good brews up his sleeve so we should keep our eyes out for whatever comes next.
King Brewing - my favourite Pilsner - alright Summit does a wicked one, too - but this is my favourite Canadian Pils."

still, its about the beer, and that's award winningly yummy.  so i will continue to drink it, and check back to their blog from time to time to see what else is new.

visit them at:
visit their blog at:
and for recipes, go to:

ipa food pairings

some potentially dynamic food pairings for your ipa:

thai chicken kebabs with baby greens

rich, creamy blue or gorgonzola cheese

sashimi, shrimp, crab and other light fish

roasted pork or suckling pig

beef dishes

buffalo wings or blackened chicken

tip:  hops contrast nicely with rich dishes, with strong spicy food and with bold, sweet desserts

tip:  if you're cooking with beer, any beer, don't reduce it first as the bitterness may become too much for the dish.  ipas are generally too bitter for cooking with, but if you want to experiment you could try to balance the bitterness with a touch of sweetness, salt or acidity.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

quote of the day

"From the most formal judging to the simple joy of a fresh, delicious brew in a sun-dappled beer garden, the range of tasting experiences varies almost as much as beer itself.  Once the beer is in the glass, it's up to you to decide what your relationship to it will be:  advocate or critic, stranger or best buddy.  Like any worthy pursuit, the beer-tasting experience is only as good as you make it.  Summon all your senses and experience and dive into it wholeheartedly.  You'll find the experience that unfolds between you and your beer to be truly enlightening."

Randy Mosher

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

ipa glassware

an ipa is shown off to its best advantage in either of these types of glassware:

stemmed tulip - the inward taper holds aroma, the outward flare supports the head and fits the lips, the stem keeps the beer from warming up too quickly

dimpled pint - comfortable, the lens design makes for great light play on the contents, and they're sturdy enough for repeated cheersing
pint glass - easy to drink out of, the bump makes it easier to hold
snifter glass - deep incurved rim and small stature make it perfect for serving strong ales (like imperial or double ipas) and capturing aromas
wine glass - yes you read that correctly, a large wine glass's size allows for headspace, while the open bowl creates an amazing nose (and you might just have a great conversation starter with a wine drinker)

to find glassware, visit amazon

for more on glassware, visit beeradvocate

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

quote of the day

"Beer is a great mirror of history.  It always amazes me how much of a story every beer has to tell.  When I hold up the glass and think about it, every aspect of this malty, hoppy, foamy brew is a consequence of a remarkable chain of events that began some 10,000 years ago.  That's a deep drink."

Randy Mosher

Monday, April 5, 2010

BrewDog's Hardcore IPA

i'm currently swilling BrewDog's Hardcore IPA. at 9% i think i might have a lot of fun at the grocery store in half an hour. better write a list...  oops too late, better to have written that list earlier.

label didn't grab me quite as much as the punk ipa, not enough contrast is hard for these old eyes to read - love the general brewdog label theme though, and not ashamed to admit label grab is a large part of my beer purchasing checklist

called an explicit imperial ale, i'd argue its an imperious ale. definite toffee notes after the first sip, lovely aroma, still hazy after half an hour (again, what do you expect from a beer with no preservatives and no additives - a little haze ain't such a bad thing!), has me licking my chops and slavering for more.

what the label says: "This imperial Indian Pale Ale Rocks... Hardcore! But don’t feel obliged to take our word for it, this little bottle has a grandiloquent story to tell. 2,204 malted Maris Otter grains gave all they had to offer the world to provide the robustly delicate toffee malt canvas for the ensuing epic. 4 Hop Cones willingly sacrificed themselves in fiery cauldron that is our brew kettle to ensure your mouth is left feeling punished and puckering for more. 9,900,000,000 yeast cells frantically fermented their little hearts out as the sugars were magically turned into alcohol in the dark depths of our fermentation tanks. 2 humans and 1 canine companion are relatively happy with the results." Overall winners at the Grampian Food Forum Innovation Awards 2007
BrewDog: Beer with Bite... grrr!


ABV: 9%
OG: 1085
IBU’s: 150
Malts: Marris Otter Extra Pale Malt
Hops: Simcoe, Chinook, Amarillo, Warrior
This explicit ale has more hops and bitterness than any other beer brewed in the UK.  This is an extreme beer rollercoaster for freaks, gypsies and international chess superstars.

tasting beer

Tasting Beer - an insider's guide to the world's greatest drink.  by Randy Mosher

the how-to guide for properly tasting and intelligently talking about beer.  a must read if you love beer but don't know where to start finding the language to adequately express your love of beer to others.  with chapters devoted to the history of beer, the vocabulary of beer flavour, presenting beer and each of the beer styles, this text book will have you confidently throwing around terms like IBUs, attenuation and mouthfeel in no time.  and trying beer varieties you may not have heard of in mainstream advertising.

"Beer really is the world's best beverage.  It may be quenching or nourishing, cooling or warming, simple or worthy of deep meditation.  It is a drink of a thousand aromas, a rainbow of color, and a range of character as diverse ad the people who brew and enjoy it.  It has ten thousand years of history, with gods, goddesses, heroes, and songs to celebrate its glories.  It brings us together.  Beer makes us happy."  Randy Mosher

not a book to finish in one sitting, this is a reference guide to be absorbed in small batches.  to be referred back to.  consulted for that all important second opinion.  

randy mosher covers everything from the preferred glassware for each style of beer, through suggested food pairings, to how to properly taste beer.  for anyone who thinks beer is the poor relation of wine, this book might just convince them that beer is actually more diverse and complementary to food.  then again, maybe the beer appreciators don't want just anyone in our club!

honest reviews of mainstream breweries, craft breweries, camra, home brewing and festivals.  a great resource and inspiration to go on a pub crawl! 

"Beer, in many times and places, was not a casual consumer choice, but something much more meaningful.  The ancient Middle Eastern peoples had gods and goddesses dedicated to the stuff, and they wove the creation of beer into their own epic tales.  In Egyptian legend, it saved the world.  Through the millennia, beer has been accorded the highest possible status in culture after culture.  We owe it to beer to understand it, to nurture it, to respect it.  Like all human art forms, it survives only at our pleasure. We get out of it what we put into it."  Randy Mosher

should you buy this book rather than borrowing it from the library?  unless you have a photographic memory - yes!  you will need to take your time from cover to cover and you will want it on your bookshelf to refer back to.  i suggest placing it between your dictionary and your atlas.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

BrewDog's Punk IPA

i am currently sipping and enjoying BrewDog's Punk IPA, a post modern classic pale ale.  purchased from my local specialty liquor store, i picked up this tasty little number because i liked the label.  i am not ashamed that aesthetics and a cool name can sway my purchasing decision.

the punk pours with a lovely head that all but disappears rather quickly, it cascaded very prettily after the pour, but it remains hazy after half an hour (not so surprising in a beer with no additives or preservatives).  at 6% you could drink several of them and still string a sentence together, and you will want to have several.  that hoppy crispness just begs for another.

what the label says:  "this is not a lowest common denominator beer.  this is an aggressive beer.  we don't care if you don't like it.  we do not merely aspire to the proclaimed heady heights of conformity through neutrality and blandness.  it is quite doubtful that you have the taste or sophistication to appreciate the depth, character and quality of this premium craft brewed beer.  you probably don't even care that this rebellious little beer contains no preservatives or additives and uses only the finest fresh natural ingredients.  just go back to drinking your mass marketed, bland, cheaply made watered down lager, and close the door behind you."

"the brewdog promise:  1) to always make amazing beer and never to compromise on any level. 2) to put no preservatives, additives or any other junk in your beer.  3)to use only the finest fresh natural ingredients."

brew dog is a smallish craft brewery in the uk (scotland to be precise), producing 5000 bottle batches of its currently 9 flavours of beer.  they've been in business since 2007 and are scotland's largest independent brewery.
and the specs:

BV:  6%
OG:  1052
IBU’s: 65
Malts: Marris Otter Extra Pale Malt
Hops: Chinook, Ahtanum, Nelson Sauvin
Twist: Hopped with bucket loads of our favourite hops
This 6% trans-atlantic fusion IPA is light golden in colour with tropical fruits and light caramel on the nose. The palate soon becomes assertive and resinous with the New Zealand hops balanced by the biscuit malt. The finish is aggressive and dry with the hops emerging over the warming alcohol. This fresh, full flavour natural beer is our tribute to the classic IPAs of yester-year. The post modern twist is the addition of amazing fruity hops giving an explosion of tropical fruit flavours and a sharp bitter finish.
check out their blog at:
check out their website at:


it may be easter, but the hops i'm most interested in are not those being performed by bunnies. i am currently obsessed by the myriad of hops options in beer. beer, nectar of the gods. proof that god loves us. improver of all social situations.

now, don't get me wrong, i love beer, pretty much all beers. but currently i have an overwhelming desire to consume hops by the kettle-full. i just can't get enough of the bitter little buggers.

more detail to follow, but my current favourite examples of hoppy goodness are the following:

Phillips Brewing Company's Amnesiac Double IPA
Southern Tier Brewing Company's Unearthly Imperial IPA
Granville Island Brewery's Brockton Oval IPA
Howe Sound Brewery's Bailout Bitter