Thursday, October 30, 2014


if, for any reason, you'll be in the burlington, ontario area on november 7th
you should go to this:

we will rock you!
the music of queen
concert & craft beer tasting

a live symphony orchestra playing queen songs
craft beer tasting beforehand
omg, sounds like a reeeaaallly great night!
and only $38

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

beer column

here are my notes from yesterday's beer column on cbc radio's on the coast with stephen quinn:

The BC Beer Awards on Saturday were a huge success as usual! 
465 beers were entered by 63 breweries and judged, and 51 of those were declared winners – 3 in each of the 17 categories, plus 3 homebrews, a best in show and a challenge cask winner.

No one brewery ran away with the awards.  In fact, of the 51 awards given out, 33 different breweries were represented in the winner’s circle.  And the fact that the best in show winner was a smoked porter from a brand new brewery says wonderful things about the state of beer in British Columbia.  Breweries big and small, new and established are all making really great beer.  This brings joy to my beer-loving heart!  And shows why BC won a whole third of the medals handed out at the Canadian Brewing Awards back in June – there is incredible depth in this Province of brewers brewing beer in all styles.  And they’re brewing good beer.

Leaders of the pack at the BC Beer Awards were Moon Under Water from Victoria and Parallel 49 of Vancouver with 4 awards each.  Steamworks, Central City and Brassneck each took home 3 awards (all of which were gold for Steamworks); Phillips, Persephone, Driftwood, Four Winds, Howe Sound and Dead Frog each took 2 home.

And from Yellow Dog brewing in Port Moody – some of the newest kids on the beer block - Shake a Paw Smoked Porter won in the Porter/Brown Ale category (out of 30 entries) and was judged the Best in Show.  That’s a huge accomplishment for a brewery that opened in July.  Major kudos to them!

Repeat winners include Tree Brewing’s Captivator Doppelbock which won bronze last year and Gold this year in the Special Lager category; Persephone won the stout category last year with their Stout-off Stout and this year with their dry irish stout; Central City took gold last year in the Imperial IPA category, and silver this year; and in the Strong Beer category Townsite got bronze last year and silver this year with their Biere d’Hiver.

For the full list of winners, visit the website.

Another award handed out on Saturday was the Dan Small Homebrew award, in honour of Dan Small who introduced many lower mainlanders to the joys of homebrewing through his shop, Dan’s Homebrew Shop.  Dan passed away in August of last year. 

This year’s first place trophy went to the Anderson Family for their “Anderson Estate IPA”.

The Anderson Estate IPA is a fresh-hopped india pale ale made from nugget, centennial and mount hood hops grown at the home of Rod and Lynell Anderson.  Rod and Lynell harvested their hops and took them to their son Matt’s house where, with help from Lynell’s sister Janine, they all brewed the beer together. 

The Anderson family are long-time CAMRA members, Matt is an award-winning homebrewer and previous CAMRA board-member.  Matt and his sister Mel are board-members of the VanBrewers homebrew club.  They’re definitely a craft beer family!

And finally, the challenge cask award. 

Brewers were challenged by the BC Beer Awards folks to brew a cask of purl.  Purl is an old beer style that uses wormwood as its bittering agent.  Several brewers took up the challenge and brought their casks to the tasting festival.  The casks were sampled and people voted on their favourite one.  Bridge Brewing took away the honours for brewing the most drinkable purl.

Wormwood is best known for being the illicit ingredient in absinthe.  Wormwood is a very bitter plant and a little of it goes a loooong way.  Purl beers also have spices and fruits in them.  I don’t see this style catching on though, it is just too bitter for most people to enjoy.  James at Storm has been experimenting with wormwood as well in his weekly “Brainstorm” beers.  Great fun to brew I am sure, but not so marketable!  Then again, this city is always looking for new cocktails... purl cocktails could be the next big thing.  You heard it here first!

Beer Picks:

Gold medal winning Steamworks Pilsner – available in six packs at gov’t and specialty beer stores, and on tap at the brewpub and brewery

Gold medal winning Main Street Session IPA – available in bottles and at the brewery for tasting and growler fills

Gold medal winning Driftwood Farmhouse Wit beer – available in 650 ml bombers at gov’t and specialty beer stores as well as on tap around town

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

happy birthday

a very happy birthday today to my offspring!
i loved you even before i met you
and would want to know you even if we weren't related
how lucky am i to be able to say that?!

and just to make this post beer related:
i love you more than beer!
happy birthday!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Sunday, October 26, 2014

new releases

this one is a fundraiser too!

In celebration of BC Craft Beer Month and National Fire Prevention Week, we created Steamworks Heroica Red Ale.
For the month of October, every Steamworks brew sold will benefit the BC Firefighters Charities and the BC Burn Fund.
It's your last 8 days to support your local heroes through Steamworks Heroica!
Find Heroica in 650mL bottles, on-tap and in growlers at Steamworks Brewpub or Steamworks Brewery & Taproom in Burnaby while quantities last.
"A tribute to the every day local heroes in our communities and lives."

Spend the night with the Steamworks brew crew and local heroes in support of the BC Burn Fund and Fire Prevention Week.
On Thursday, November 27th, 2014 we'll feed you and three friends delicious locally made chilli from the Burnaby Firefighters to pair with our Steamworks Heroica Red Ale and other steam-powered brews.
By the end of the night you'll know your way around our new Burnaby brewery, learn about the great work of heroes in our community, and leave with great memories (and a full but happy belly).

Steamworks Brewery | Vancouver, BC
Ph: 604.620.7250

Saturday, October 25, 2014

new releases

if you missed out on pre-ordering the international beer advent calendar, don't feel too badly
there are other options available!

parallel 49 and central city brewing have teamed up to bring you a local beer advent calendar
more info on that to come after i attend the launch at craft beer market next week

and phillips brings back their snowcase:

Phillips Logo

The Snowcase Calendar
Count Down to Christmas with 24 different Phillips Beers
October 24th, 2014: The Snowcase Calendar is back!! 24 different Phillips beers in one case designed to help you count down to Christmas the best way possible: with beer!!

Our elves have been hard at work and we're thrilled to be pairing this year's Snowcase with its very own website! has full details of the project and will be your daily destination to learn the backstories, read the tasting notes, and share in the conversations of the beer for that day.

To get your Santa claws on one please head to  This page is updated regularly and gives up-to-date listings of where you can grab one broken down by area.
Good luck on the hunt, and don't forget to head over to the website to follow along starting December 1st!

Friday, October 24, 2014

new releases

from dead frog, the weeping reaper blood orange helles bock
which they so nicely provided me a sample of
and it's good!  i really enjoyed this alternative to pumpkin beers, not just as an alternate but for it's own malty orange self!

With the death of summer comes the celebration of autumn and the harvest, a traditional time to gather resources for the dormant winter months. It's also when the spirit world becomes more active. On All Hallows' Eve, ghosts disguised as beggars may come knocking at your door asking for food or money. Turn them away and you risk being cursed or haunted. A jack-o'-lantern placed at your door or in a window will ward off evil spirits. If you dress up as a ghoul, you may trick the Grim Reaper into thinking you are not of the living and avoid his harvesting your soul. 

Our Weeping Reaper Blood Orange Helles Bock is a strong ale designed for the transition from summer to winter—stronger for the cooler nights, yet lighter bodied and more carbonated than a hefty winter warmer. A clean-tasting, malt-forward lager with orange notes, the Weeping Reaper is a fresh seasonal alternative for those not enamoured with the orange autumn gourd.


A warm golden lager with a splash of citrus and slight caress of fruity hop flavour and aroma. Premium European malts and hops result in a brew that's light in colour but not in body, with a perfectly balanced finish.

Steve's Inspiration

Rather than create yet another pumpkin beer, I wanted to develop a brew that was appropriate for the fall but with wider appeal. In Germany, Bockbier is a popular strong lager brewed for cooler times of the year. These can range from light-coloured Maibocks to dark, very strong Doppelbocks and Eisbocks. Since the weather here is not yet that cold, I thought a lighter-coloured Helles Bock would be more suitable, even though it is traditionally released in May. These are not widely brewed in Canada or the US, so I decided to brew up a North American version. And to have a little fun with it, being close to Halloween, I added some blood orange which is in season during fall/winter.

o       Ingredients: water, malted barley, hops, yeast, blood orange
o       Malts: Pilsner, Vienna, Munich
o       Hops: Northern Brewer, Hallertau
o       IBU: 26
o       ABV: 7%
o       Suggested serving temperature: 12-14°C
o       Recommended glass: Becher, dimpled mug, Pilsner glass
o       Suggested food pairing: Duck à l'orange, lechon, marmalade-glazed ham, caramel flan
Dead Frog's unpasteurized and preservative-free, limited release Weeping Reaper Blood Orange Helles Bock is available in GLSs and LRSs in 650ml bottles with a suggested retail price of $5.50. It can be ordered from the LDB using SKU #850370. It will also be available on draught in select pubs and restaurants. Follow us on Twitter @DeadFrogBrewery for details.

from bomber:

Bomber Brewing is very pleased to announce the re-release of our Absolute Horizon CDA which recently took first place in Sip Magazine's, 'Best of the Northwest 2014' CDA category.  Absolute Horizon is available now in 650ml bottles, kegs, and on tap in our tasting room. Quantities are limited.

ABSOLUTE HORIZON Cascadian Dark Ale:  In space, at the boundary of a black hole, lies
the absolute horizon. The stellar mass that lies within forms a dichotomous darkness of
Midnight wheat and chocolate malts punctuated by the presence of Galaxy, Apollo, Comet, & 
Horizon hops. This perfectly balanced CDA might just be a universal favourite. So say we all.
About Absolute Horizon:
Appearance: Blackish-brown with dark ruby highlights.
Flavour: The space-themed hop combination presents a citrusy/spicy hop flavour and bitterness,
with slight roastiness from Midnight wheat and chocolate malts.
Mouthfeel: Medium to full-bodied.
ABV = 6.5%
Original Gravity = 1.067
Bitterness = 72 IBU
Colour = 26 SRM

I, BRAINEATER Pumpkin Ale: What does Vancouver musician and artist Jim Cummins 
(a.k.a. I, Braineater) have in common with pumpkins? Answer: this beer. And we may seem 
late to the game, but the pumpkins we harvested from Abbotsford's Lepp Farm make this rich, 
flavourful ale well worth the wait. With distinct Tettnang hops, a touch of spice, and a label
featuring Jim's iconic, 'Devil Girl', we think this could just be your perfect Halloween beer.  
It's a no-brainer. 

About I, Braineater Pumpkin Ale:
Appearance: Earthy orange hue with creamy white head.
Aroma: Classic pumpkin pie aromas of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and clove. 
Flavour: Roasted pumpkin adds depth of flavour, with notes of biscuit and noble hops 
on the finish.
Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with medium-high carbonation.  A clean, dry finish.
ABV = 5.8%
Original Gravity = 1.056
Bitterness = 20 IBU
Colour = 11 SRM
   I, Braineater Pumpkin Ale is available now in kegs,
   650 ml bottles and on tap in the 
   Bomber Brewing tasting room. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

stone brewing

stone brewing is once again available in canada!

i attended the tap takeover launch at craft beer market on monday
and i will be attending the tap takeover at stateside craft on friday
unfortunately my life does have other things in it besides beer, so i am missing out on the collaboration brew day at bomber brewing (tuesday), the pairing dinner at blackbird (wednesday) and the biercraft beer dinner (thursday)

half of the beer menu at craft beer market
paddle and a 0.45l pour in pretty branded glass

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

more horn-tooting

i will be doing a special appearance on cbc's on the coast tomorrow afternoon at 5:40
to take your calls
and to help stephen quinn give away two tickets to the bc beer awards that include two of the beer classes as well as a guided tour of the tasting festival by none other than me, me, me!

so get your beer questions ready
and cross your fingers!

690 am
88.1 fm
in vancouver

and now, here's more from the cbc website that i didn't see at the time of publishing!

What is a session beer?

On the Coast's beer columnist Rebecca Whyman takes a closer look at the session beer

By On the Coast, CBC NewsPosted: May 02, 2014 9:38 AM PTLast Updated: May 02, 2014 9:52 AM PT
CAMRA's Spring Sessional Cask Festival will feature some of the best local breweries and their low-alcohol beers.
CAMRA's Spring Sessional Cask Festival will feature some of the best local breweries and their low-alcohol beers. (Central City Brewers and Distillers)

On The Coast
What is a sessional beer?
0:00 / 6:55     
On the Coast beer columnist and CAMRA member Rebecca Whyman spoke to host Stephen Quinn to talk about session beers and why we're seeing more of them in local breweries and pubs.

So what is a session beer?
A session beer is one that's lower in alcohol, but it doesn't mean it's lower in flavour. The idea is for you to be able to drink many beers in one session.

Where did they come from?
There are many theories about where session beers came from, most notably during the First World War, shell production workers in England were only allowed to drink beer in four-hour stints.
That theory makes sense: if you go back in history, European workers used to drink beer instead of water, and you would still need to go back to work after the drinking session, so you couldn't drink high alcohol beer.

Rebecca Whyman
Rebecca Whyman (CBC)
So why are we hearing more about sessional beers now?
The pendulum is now swinging from high alcohol beers to less potent beers. Brewers are always looking for a challenge, and it isn't easy to make a lower alcohol beer while keeping all the flavour.
Sessionals are also historical beers. They've been around for a long time, with many of the German and English beers coming in at around four per cent.

Can you make any beer a session beer?
Almost any beer is sessionable, except imperials. You can lower the alcohol without sacrificing the flavour, by putting grains that don't ferment into the beer, and by adding hops at key points in the process.

Where can I go to taste some good session beers?
Spring is a great time to try a sessional because it's light and refreshing and you can drink more of them.

The Spring Sessional Cask Festival is on May 10 at The Cobalt, 917 Main Street from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Home brewers and beer fans will be excited about the collaborative session ales that are one-offs at the event.

Rebecca's recommendations for sessionals:
  • Bomber's Bike Path Best Bitter
  • Central City India Session Ale
  • R&B Sun God Wheat Ale
  • Steigl Radler (grapefruit, lemon and raspberry)
And her picks for great restaurant patios to drink them:
  • Tap and Barrel (2 locations)
  • Steamworks (Gastown)
  • Biercraft (2 locations)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


here is the podcast of my beer column last week
talking and tasting pumpkin beers with stephen quinn

and one from back in the summer with michelle eliot
talking about crafty vs craft beers

and from the website:

Pumpkin beers flood the shelves for fall

On the Coast's beer columnist has four picks to ring in the season

By On The Coast, CBC NewsPosted: Oct 17, 2014 11:58 AM PTLast Updated: Oct 17, 2014 11:58 AM PT
Beer columnist Rebecca Whyman says there's a lot of variety amongst pumpkin beers.
Beer columnist Rebecca Whyman says there's a lot of variety amongst pumpkin beers. (CBC)
 Related Stories
In the same way that some retailers have jumped the gun on Christmas and are now stocking egg nog in their coolers, pumpkin beers have been on the shelves of your beer store since the end of August.
On The Coast's beer columnist Rebecca Whyman says a typical pumpkin beer is a mild ale, with little to no bitterness and a malty backbone, but she says there's a lot of variety among the beers themselves.

"Some brewers opt to actually add hand-cut pumpkins and drop them into the mash, while others use a puree or just pumpkin spices to evoke that flavour," said Whyman.
Whyman shared four of her picks from local breweries:
On The Coast beer columnist Rebecca Whyman brought a sampling of local pumpkin beers into studio. (Stephen Quinn/CBC)
Phillips Crooked Tooth Pumpkin Ale
This light ale is golden in colour, and combines fresh pumpkin with ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg.
"It is pretty light in the spices, they're not hitting you over the head with those," said Whyman.
Central City Red Racer Spiced Pumpkin Ale
This beer is slightly darker in colour than the Crooked Tooth. It uses Munich, Pale, Caravienne and CaraMunich malts. Using German pearl hops, it's also more bitter than the other beers on this list, at 40 International Bitterness Units, or IBUs. Like the Crooked Tooth, it uses real pumpkin with spices.

Steamworks Pumpkin Ale
This pumpkin ale is a bit stronger, at six per cent, and the nutmeg flavour is stronger than in the other beers. It's spiced with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves, and each batch uses 100 pounds of local pumpkin mash.
Granville Island Brewing The Pumpkining
The Pumpkining is 6.66 per cent alcohol. It's light in colour, and the spices are more subtle than other beers.
"I wouldn't recognize this as pumpkin beer, but it does have a little bit of a vegetable kind of flavour ... which would probably be the real pumpkin," commented On The Coast host Stephen Quinn when he tried a sip.

Monday, October 20, 2014

link love

off the rail is almost ready!

some westender love for the donnelly group

there's gonna be a new brewery in victoria town soon

beer bribery, pay to play, whatever you call it, it is considered a pretty evil practice by most craft beer loving folks
here are some wise words about the concept
from half pints in winnipeg
pretty things' twitter war
from westcoaster blog

this is hardly a new phenomenon, nor is is just happening in north america
check out this 2010 article about chicago
and this 2010 article about baltimore
and this one from the uk

does it happen in vancouver?
i have no concrete proof that it does, but c'mon, why else would so many bars tie themselves to so many taps of crappy beer?  loyalty and swill-drinking clientele can only account for part of the phenomenon.  and frankly, brewery reps for a few local breweries have mentioned to me that they've been asked what they can offer an establishment or two around town - nothing overt mind you, just the suggestion that the establishment would be open to incentives.

question for all y'all:  should breweries be allowed to give swag to bars to give away to patrons who drink their beer?  while not actually purchasing taps, they are offering incentives to the bar to keep them on tap and to consumers to choose their tap over the one next to it.

question 2 for all y'all:  do tap takeovers count as beer bribery?  don't get me wrong, i love me a tap takeover, but perhaps we should be wary of decrying pay to play so soundly that it precludes such "monopolies" being allowed.  it wouldn't be the first time that the gov't misunderstood us!

and to conclude my rant, tied house rules have been relaxed in b.c. and our stadiums sign enormous exclusive contracts with breweries, why is anyone surprised that breweries bribe bars to carry their beers?  it just makes those who do carry a range of beer all the more respectable, and the tasting room all the more important for independent breweries.  so drink local and vote with your dollars.

Friday, October 17, 2014

new releases

from cannery brewing

Cannery Brewing Company ART-isanal Series
Cannery has created a new line up of limited release beers; blending the enthusiasm of craft beer with the excitement of passionate artists and photographers. The beer in the bottle will be as unique and impressive as the art on the label. Read more about the brewery. 
Limited quantities, only available for Private Stores.
This "Abbey Style" Belgian Dark Strong Ale focuses on the unique flavours created by the teamwork of Belgian yeast and Candi sugar. A simple background of Pilsner, ESB, Special B, and Carfa malts bow to the shocking flavours of the yeast and sugar. 
Style: Belgian Dark Strong Ale
Alc./Vol: 9.0%
12 x 650ml
Price: $7.50 /bottle
SKU# 506865

The Okanagan Valley is typically warm and friendly but what people don't get to experience is that it can also be strong and dark. Throughout the summer months the valley is hit by severe thunderstorms that leave most people in awe. L'Orage Noir means black storm or black thunderstorm to be more correct. The picture on the label is of a lightening storm over Lake Okanagan at night. This strong dark ale is a dedication to Mother Nature and all her fury.

from odd society spirits



This Wallflower Reaches Mighty New Heights with Oak

Odd Society Spirits Releases Limited Edition Oaken Gin

DSC02167Vancouver B.C., October 16, 2014— Odd Society Spirits is set to launch a limited release of Wallflower Oaken Gin on Friday, October 17, 2014. Aged in American white oak rye casks for 5 months, this specialty spirit is sure to wet any gin aficionado's appetite. With just over 300 bottles available, Odd Society Spirits' Oaken Gin is guaranteed to sell out quickly.

The oak softens the floral notes of its Wallflower comrade while awakening bright citrus flavours with hints of caramel and offering a subtle woody undertone. An extremely versatile gin, it is recommended to be enjoyed straight, on the rocks, with tonic or incorporated into a classic cocktail like the Negroni. Oaken Gin is available in 375ml bottles and priced at $28 at the distillery (prices will vary at private liquor stores throughout Vancouver). 

In honour of the Wallflower Oaken Gin's debut, Odd Society Spirits will be celebrating at the distillery's cocktail lounge from 1PM - 9PM on Friday, October 17 with featured Oaken Gin cocktails, plus the Tacofino Food Truck will be joining the festivities at 5:30PM.