Thursday, January 31, 2013

the end is near

not the end of the world, that has been and gone a dozen times already!
no, i'm talking about the end of my cleanse
and related dry month of january

tomorrow i drink!

but here's the dilemma...
what shall i drink?
what will my first beer be?
ipa, natch
but which one?

it will most likely be central city's red racer ipa
since that's what's in the fridge at work
and that's where i'll be headed at 4 tomorrow

what will i follow it with?
will i down them like water after my drought?
will i be smart and ration myself?
what will it taste like?
will it be the best thing i ever tasted?
or will it be too strong for my poor purified taste buds?
i'll get back to you...

legacy liquor store

friday afternoon (4:00 - 7:00) at legacy liquor store in vancouver, a free tasting of american brewing's breakaway ipa and blonde beers - i'll be there!

new and exciting beers available at legacy:

Moon Under Water Potts Pils Unfiltered - $6.95
New owners, new brewmaster, new beer, new brewery. First on the docket, Potts Pils, an unfiltered hop-conscious beer brewed in the style of a northern German pilsner. Grab it while it lasts.
Epic Hop Zombie - $10.35
Coming all the way from Auckland, New Zealand, Hop Zombie is a Double IPA with punch. Zesty citrus and tropical fruits on the nose and more of the same with a touch of malt on the palate. Pick up a bottle and put a little Kiwi in you.
Epic Epicurean Coffee & Fig - $22.55
Another brew from the boys at Epic inspired by all the creatives out there: dark chocolate, molasses and fig account for the nose, with black liquorice, coffee, fig, vanilla and so much more making up the palate. These guys know what they're doing.
Tofino Brewing Company Tuff Session Ale - $7.05
Afraid to brave that mountain pass? Don't worry, we'll bring Tofino to you. This Tuff Session Ale is copper in colour, with notes of caramel and nuts on the nose. A malty flavour with subdued bitterness creates a truly sessional ale.
Oude Gueze Tilquin a l'Ancienne - $18.85
Created by blending together one, two and three-year-old oak-aged lambics, this gueze boasts barnyard funk, citrus and green apple on the nose with a sour, dry finish.
Powell Street Hopdemonium IPA - $8.85
A new brewery on the scene and a new beer to enjoy. Heavy pine and floral notes backed up with some citrus on the nose, with bitter and earthy hops to taste. An absolute jewel of an IPA.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

hops chart

my birthday is a mere three months away
plenty of time for you to order me a hopschart and have it delivered before the big day!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

on the coast

in case you missed me last tuesday on cbc radio one's on the coast talking with stephen quinn about the perfect pour and craft beer options for dine out vancouver, you can still catch the show by clicking here and choosing january 22nd

the beer segment is right at the end - fast forward to the 2:18 mark if you don't happen to have 2 and a half hours to spare

i was quite giggly last week, don't miss it!

Thursday, January 24, 2013


i wish i had seen this fabulous response to a lawyer with respect to a beer name trademark when the whole cascadia mess got messy

oh, and gotta love craft brewers!
i will definitely find myself some freetail beers next time i'm in san antonio, texas
(which i have been to, but not in the most recent decade, so its high time to go back)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

on the coast

my notes from last night's on the coast beer column:

the perfect pour:
there really is a right way to pour beer!
first of all, the basics.
drink out of a glass, not a bottle or a can
and make sure the glass is clean - hand-washing and air drying are recommended (hand-washing to avoid soap or food residue from the dishwasher - also keeps any branding on the glass fresh longer - and air drying so you don't get lint or grease from a dishtowel in the glass)
the quick answer to why drinking out of a glass is better than a bottle or a can is that you get to appreciate the appearance of the beer as well as the flavour and aromas.
also handy is the ability to control the amount of settled yeast sediment from a bottle-conditioned beer that ends up in your mouth - some styles of beer are all about including the yeast (like a hefeweisen), if you pour from the bottle into the glass you'll mix the yeast in nicely. if you don't like yeast, or are drinking a style that is better off leaving the yeast in the bottle, you can leave the bottom half inch or so of beer in the bottle as that's where the yeast tends to hang out.
there are also a few myths about how to serve beer
pop quiz:
frosty mugs, good or evil?
a pour that causes lots of head, good or evil?
answers: frosty mugs are evil, pours that cause a thicker head are good
if you aren't drinking at a craft beer establishment, those might be the exact opposite of what you're being served
so why are frosty mugs evil? isn't it nice to have cold beer?
cold being a relative term, yes it is nice to have a beer that is chilled. but not too cold! beer should be served cool, not cold. generally lagers at about 5-7C and ales at 10-12C, stouts and strong ales at 14-16C (see below for's comprehensive list of all styles by suggested serving temperature).
a frosted glass makes the beer too cold to taste. when a beer is too cold all the flavours skip right past your taste buds instead of dancing on them! the aroma is kept down as well, meaning you can't even rely on your nose to tell your taste buds what they're missing. if you're drinking good beer, you don't want to lose out on any of the flavour and aroma.
also, who wants to have their beer watered down? that can happen with a frosty mug. so just say no to frosty mugs!
why would you want head on your beer? why not pour it gently out of the bottle so that there's no head between you and that tasty beer?
again, its about flavours and aromas. if you pour your beer more vigorously you introduce oxygen into the beer and unleash the aromas. you also get rid of some of the carbon dioxide, which if it doesn't leave the glass before you drink it, will end up in your belly and have to make its escape from there!
an ideal head is half an inch to an inch high
to get the right amount of head, begin pouring with the glass at a 45 degree angle. when the glass is just over half way full, tilt it to 90 degrees and continue filling. this second half of the pour should produce the head. if the beer you are pouring is a very carbonated one (like a hefeweisen) and you see a head form right away, keep the glass at 45 degrees and pour the rest of the beer gently into the glass. if you are pouring a lambic or other style with very little carbonation you should very quickly pour it into a glass at 90 degrees to get what little head you can out of it. its not rocket science, but it might take a few pours before you get the feel for when to move from the 45 degrees to the 90. so practice, practice, practice! pour lots of beer!
the guinness pour:
brewmaster fergal murray says its a ritual, its theatre, and should be done with reverance
there are six steps: one, use a dry, clean 20oz tulip shaped pint glass. two, hold glass at a 45 degree angle under the tap - but not touching the tap. three fill the glass up to the 3/4 mark. four, let it settle, the bubbles will form a creamy head. five fill up the glass and top it off. six, drink with your eyes, then your mouth.
alas, there isn't time to get into which style of glassware fits with which style of beer, but if you're dying to know, has quite a comprehensive list!

and for this week's picks i give you dine out suggestions:
dine out vancouver runs until february 3rd

the donnelly group pubs are all offering an $18 three course dine out menu
(the bimini, the calling, cinema, hooker's green, the new oxford, the butcher & bullock, the lamplighter and library square)
bitter tasting room also has a $18 three course menu
abigail's party in kitsilano and tap & barrel at olympic village both have a $28 three course menu
both rogues, waterfront station and broadway, and steamworks have a $28 menu
the yaletown brewpub also weighs in with a $28 menu, and includes a beer pretzel on the appy course
on january 30th for $59 you can have dinner at rogue waterfront at 6 and go to the PUSH festival show 'winners and losers' at goldcorp centre for the arts at 8
tonight in kits and tomorrow night on main street at rocky mountain flatbread company you can attend a beer and pizza making night for $25. stanley park brewing is providing the beers. these events are fundraisers for tennyson elementary school.

Very cold (0-4C/32-39F): Any beer you don’t actually want to taste. Pale Lager, Malt Liquor, Canadian-style Golden Ale and Cream Ale, Low Alcohol, Canadian, American or Scandinavian-style Cider.
Cold (4-7C/39-45F): Hefeweizen, Kristalweizen, Kölsch, Premium Lager, Pilsner, Classic German Pilsner, Fruit Beer, brewpub-style Golden Ale, European Strong Lager, Berliner Weisse, Belgian White, American Dark Lager, sweetened Fruit Lambics and Gueuzes, Duvel-types
Cool (8-12C/45-54F): American Pale Ale, Amber Ale, California Common, Dunkelweizen, Sweet Stout, Stout, Dry Stout, Porter, English-style Golden Ale, unsweetened Fruit Lambics and Gueuzes, Faro, Belgian Ale, Bohemian Pilsner, Dunkel, Dortmunder/Helles, Vienna, Schwarzbier, Smoked, Altbier, Tripel, Irish Ale, French or Spanish-style Cider
Cellar (12-14C/54-57F): Bitter, Premium Bitter, Brown Ale, India Pale Ale, English Pale Ale, English Strong Ale, Old Ale, Saison, Unblended Lambic, Flemish Sour Ale, Bière de Garde, Baltic Porter, Abbey Dubbel, Belgian Strong Ale, Weizen Bock, Bock, Foreign Stout, Zwickel/Keller/Landbier, Scottish Ale, Scotch Ale, American Strong Ale, Mild, English-style Cider 
Warm (14-16C/57-61F): Barley Wine, Abt/Quadrupel, Imperial Stout, Imperial/Double IPA, Doppelbock, Eisbock, Mead

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

the perfect pour

i will be on cbc radio one's on the coast tonight at 5:50 talking with stephen quinn about the perfect pour and craft beer options for dine out vancouver

690 am in vancouver
88.1 fm

if you missed me last week, you can still catch the show by clicking here and choosing january 8th
the cooking with beer segment is right at the end - fast forward to about the 2:18 mark


they're all lost in the supermarket
good thing they can shop happily though,
they're there for ska's modus hoperandi
guaranteed personality!

(doctored photo by of the clash at the supermarket in 1979, buying beer that was not yet invented in 1979)

Monday, January 21, 2013


new releases from phillips:

Twisted Rocket Whale

3 New Releases to kick-start the New Year

January 21st, 2013 - No, a Twisted Rocket Whale it's not a monster dreamt up for an indie B-side horror film, it's a new monster triple release from Phillips Brewing Company. Today, a year-round hop rocket is launching in a can, a barreled Scotch Ale is coming up from the cellar to introduce a new Twisted Barrel beer series, and the whale-themed winner of the 2012 Benefit Brew is surfacing in cold beer and wine stores.

On Wednesday January 23rd from 4pm-6pm, we'll be hosting a very special tasting of all three, so pop on by for what will most likely be your only chance to try them on draft!

Here's a little breakdown of each brew:
Bottle Rocket ISA - 5% - 355mL Can

Pull the tab and getaway! Bottle Rocket is an India Session Ale packed with bright, hoppy bitterness sure to ignite your tastebuds. Unlike its bigger IPA cousins, this beer sits a bit lighter on the scale at 5%, but still packs a hop blast sure to satisfy even the most seasoned Hoprotechnician. Spark it up!

Available year-round at private liquor stores and Phillips' Mission Control.
Twisted Oak Scotch Ale - 6.8% - 650mL

Staright from the cellar comes our new Twisted Oak Stillage Series; a collection of seasonal releases brewed specifically to showcase the intricacy and complexity of barrel flavours.

As the flagship in this newly minted series, this robust Scotch Ale highlights the gentle peat notes and sweet vanilla flavours that were infused as the beer matured in freshly emptied whiskey barrels.

Available year-round at craft-friendly private liquor stores and Phillips HQ. For more info on this beer and the Twisted Oak Stillage Series, head over to
Leviathan Milk Stout - 5.5% - 650mL

The people have spoken, and, as the 2012 winner of the Benefit Brew Project, this Leviathan Milk Stout is a beer with a porpoise! Cetus Research & Conservation Society is dedicated to the presrvation of marine habitats, ensuring that life below the waves remains as vibrant as it is above. All the clams from the sale of this beer go to support their efforts.

This special 650mL brew is available at the Phillips' retail store as well as finer cold beer & wine stores on Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland for a limited time.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

i am totally a paragon of virtue
i am still on the wagon, but attending beer events as if i was drinking!
2 cask nights, a beernesday and the r&b '2013 is gonna be great' brewery party - all in one week
so i thought perhaps i'd take a moment to pat myself on the back
and list the pros of being dry from time to time

1.  the obvious - no hangovers
2.  leading from #1, more hours in the day to get stuff done and have fun
3.  my rings are never tight on my fingers - no retaining water!
4.  my liver gets a well-deserved little break
5.  my taste buds get a chance to recalibrate
6.  people are impressed by my will-power
7.  hopefully those same people will buy me a drink in february
8.  i'll lose a couple of pounds and fit back into my beer t-shirts
9.  if i had a car, i'd be able to drive it home every night!
and 10.  that first beer on february 1st is going to taste sooooooo good!

Friday, January 18, 2013

portland craft

whatcha doing on february 4th?
want a suggestion of what do do?
attend the ninkasi brewing launch and tap takeover at portland craft?
that's where i'll be!

TAP TAKEOVER ALERT! On Monday February 4th, 2013 up to 7 of our taps will be taken over by Ninkasi Brewing in honour of Ninkasi’s entrance into the BC market. That night we will be featuring:
1) Total Domination IPA – CONFIRMED!
2) Tricerahops Double IPA – CONFIRMED!
3) Believer Double Red Ale – CONFIRMED!
4) Oatis Oatmeal Stout – CONFIRMED!
With possibly three more to be announced in the coming weeks.
We will also have a some door prizes and other fun stuff going on thanks to their agency Copper & Theory. Not a bad way to shake off that Superbowl hangover!

Thursday, January 17, 2013


oh, my, [insert diety of your choice here]
i went for a run this morning for the first time in (obviously) far too long
this clean livin' is gonna kill me!
that, after i sat through a beernesday at st. augustine's without drinking any of the fabulous beers on tap
my virtuousness is nauseating, i know
(day 17, 14 to go)

anyway, the new and exciting beers at legacy liquor store in vancouver:

Granville Island Brewing Barley Wine - $10.35
The folks down at GIB have decided to turn up the heat with this barley wine. Aged in bourbon barrels, this particular brew has caramel malt character, vanilla and oak flavours and a dose of Pacific Northwest hop.
Parallel 49 Russian Imperial Stout - $13.75
Brewed dark and strong just like they did it in the 18th century, this Russian Imperial Stout is whiskey barrel-aged with flavours of smoke, vanilla and dried fruits. Pick up a bottle and drink like a czar.
Phillips The Hammer Barrel Aged Imperial Stout - $7.85
The boys at Phillips know what they're doing when it comes to beer. Their Imperial Stout has been barrel-aged in bourbon-soaked American oak and boasts rich roasted caramel warmth.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

link love

a look forward to 2013 by vaneastbeerblog
aka the outgoing president of camra vancouver
who came top three in camra vancouver's best of awards

what qualifies as craft beer? according to usa today

the full list of camra vancouver award winners

brewed awakenings weighs in on the label for lighthouse's siren red ale

Monday, January 14, 2013


well, there's a week of my life gone
stupid sickness
hateful cold

i am back at the day job today
after taking most of last week off to sit around the house feeling lousy and very sorry for myself
i am a terrible patient
good thing the only person trying to nurse me back to health was me!

mixed feelings about my tenure as camra vancouver treasurer coming to an end
at the agm yesterday i handed over all the trappings of fiscal responsibility to the new treasurer
on the one hand, big sigh of relief
its a very time-consuming job being on the executive
even after handing over half of the job to a bookkeeper it was still a few hours a week of work
and the new guy is an accountant, i have left the books in very good hands
on the other hand, a little melancholy
i liked being able to give back to an organization i believe in
i liked being in the know
i liked hanging out with my fellow camra executive members

oh, i'll still volunteer at camra events
and i still know all the wonderful camra members and executive
it just won't be quite the same
change is good
but so is acknowledgment of things passed and what they meant to us

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

beer notes

these are my beer notes from last night's beer column on cbc radio's on the coast with stephen quinn:

Its dark and cold out these days - which means people are more likely to be sitting down to heartier fare like soups, stews and casseroles for dinner.  Beer makes a great addition to all of those.  Beer provides body and rich flavours to dishes.  You can make a very easy beer and cheese soup by just adding a bottle of beer to boiling stock, simmer it for an hour and then add some nice cheese just before you serve it.  For a stew or casserole, just substitute beer for some of the liquid and you've upped the flavour content.  If you're making pulled pork in the slow cooker, add beer!  Marinade your meat in beer.  Reduce the beer and use it in sauces and gravies.

If you want proper recipes of how to use beer in your cooking there are plenty floating around on the internet, including on beer websites such as  They have soups, main dishes, desserts, you could make a whole beer themed dinner party out of their recipes.  Or start your day with breakfast beer popovers...

My favourite beer recipes are the ones for beer brittle and beer caramels.  So divine!  I admit that I do not make the brittle and caramels, for that I have a friend who cooks and bakes.  I just eat them!  He often uses an ipa, because we are a hop-heads, but any beer style will do for those recipes.  The only rule of thumb is to think of the properties of the particular beer you are using and the desired end flavour of the dish.  If you think they'll match well, then go for it.  I wouldn't use a chocolate mint beer in a stew, but it would be great in beer brittle.

In fact, if you have a bottle of beer that is past its best before date, cook with it!  Just like cooking wine, you can use off-beer as cooking beer.  Someone gifted you with a beer you know you don't like?  Cook with it!  Bought a six pack and weren't overly thrilled with it?  Cook with it.  Or in my case, brew a beer that's not quite right, cook with it!

CAMRA Vancouver is having its annual general meeting on Sunday January 13 at noon at what was formerly Smiley's pub at 911 West Pender Street.  Now called the Butcher and Bullock they have some very nice craft beers on tap.  The meeting is open only to CAMRA members, but there will be a membership table there so I encourage all interested beer enthusiasts to show up and buy a $25 membership, and all members to show up to vote on next year's executive and the future direction of CAMRA.  It should be a very interesting year as rumour has it the Liberals are going to deregulate tied house and trade practice laws.  Its an election year, so anything can happen, and in the beer world, it looks like its about to.  Whether this will be a good thing for craft beer or not remains to be seen, but either way, its a great time to get involved in beer advocacy and CAMRA is a great way to do that.

I am currently doing a cleanse, so I have not been drinking beer.  I think these beers are worth looking for though, and I'm going to get some to await me in February when I'm back to my usual beer drinking ways:

Brooklyn Black Ops - $37.25 at Legacy Liquor Store - stout aged in bourbon bottles for 4 months, bottled flat and re-fermented in the bottle with champagne yeast. Chocolate, coffee and vanilla-oak notes.

Hopworks Abominable Winter Ale - $9.75 at Legacy Liquor Store - its a hoppy winter ale, brewed with cascade, centennial and chinook hops.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

on the coast

today is one of my radio days!
i'll be on cbc radio one's on the coast with stephen quinn at 5:50 today
i'll be talking about cooking with beer
and about the upcoming camra agm

690 am
88.1 fm
in vancouver

Monday, January 7, 2013

Sunday, January 6, 2013

link love

here are some other people's bons mots about beer:

time magazine on the craft vs. 'crafty' catfight

the difference between beer geeks and beer snobs

and the related article from kegworks:
10 signs you might be a beer snob

and my favourite, the national post on why beer is good for you: its in the hops
yup, people backing up my theory that hops are the best thing ever!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

master of the universe

if i didn't have a damned day job taking up all my time, i would totally try to make something like this happen locally:

Learn how to win friends, influence people, and have the best damn swagger on the block with Masters of the Universe.
This 12-class course will teach you how to:
  • Taste and appreciate beer
  • Win your office sports pool
  • Dominate your grill
  • Defend yourself (and others)
  • Workout at your desk
  • Master magic tricks and illusions
  • Make your own concert t-shirt
  • Deliver fool-proof pick-up lines
  • Conquer the art of shaving
  • Create the ultimate survival kit
  • Have a swagger like no other
Classes will be held on the third Tuesday of the month at Flying Dog Brewery from 6 to 8 pm. The first hour will include an educational presentation from a guest speaker and master of that month's domain. The last hour will be reserved for beer samples, conversation, and comradery with future CEOs, ESQs, MDs, PhDs, DDSs, and DILFs.
This year-long course is $100 per person, which includes admission to each class and 5 beer samples each time.
Tickets are on sale now. Only 50 spots are available for the year, so reserve yours today.

Friday, January 4, 2013

legacy liquor store

new and exciting beers at legacy liquor store in vancouver:

Brooklyn Black Ops - $37.25
A robust stout aged in bourbon barrels for four months, bottled flat, and re-fermented with champagne yeast. This beer has chocolate and coffee notes, with highlights of vanilla-like oak notes.
HUB Abominable Winter Ale - $9.75
Brewed with Cascade, Centennial and Chinook hops and six organic malts. This winter ale has a complex floral, spicy and citrus hoppiness backed by the right amount of sweetness from the malt.
Delirium Nocturnum - $4.45
A dark brown beer with an aroma consisting of caramel, mocha, coriander and liquorice. These aromas follow through in the flavour of the beer in addition to the traditional flavours you would find in a dark belgian beer.

Thursday, January 3, 2013


well hello there 2013!

new year, new direction
i will be doing away with some of the things i've been doing on this blog
those things that seem to just be taking up space, like the beer geekery posts i put up on weekends
they were fun, but i'm feeling like they cluttered up the blog - made it harder to scroll through to find actual content
so they have been discontinued, buh-bye, gone

i will probably be posting less frequently as well
but the plan is that when i post it will be ever so informative and brilliant
and you'll be riveted by my every word

in the meantime...
its january
that means i'm doing my annual cleanse
yup, a whole month without beer
(and many, many other tasty substances)
day three... i haven't yelled at or hit anyone yet, so there's hope for us all...
i even went out with people who were drinking really good beer last night and didn't buckle
i am ever so virtuous
aren't you impressed?

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

beer geekery

and the final beer geekery post
(not a feature i'm moving ahead with for 2013):