Wednesday, January 7, 2015

beer column

my notes from yesterday's beer column on cbc radio's on the coast with stephen quinn
(and the link to the audio):

2014 was an incredible year for craft beer in BC.  So many new breweries opened (21) and none have gone under yet.  I’m not sure 2015 can match that kind of growth, but I do know that three breweries are poised to open in Vancouver in the first three months of 2015. Dogwood Brewing with Claire Wilson at the helm should be opening in the next two weeks at 8284 Sherbrook Street.  Off the Rail Brewing on Adanac Street right across from Bomber Brewing is hoping to open their doors at the beginning of February and Red Truck Brewing’s long awaited tasting room at 295 East 1st Avenue should be opening March 15th.

Dogwood Brewing is an organic brewery and will be offering IPA, Honey Ale and Stout when it opens near SE Marine and Knight Streets.  Follow them on Facebook (Dogwood Brewing) and Twitter (@DogwoodBrew) for word of the official opening.

Off the Rail Brewing is owned by Steve Forsyth, former owner of the Railway Club, who will also be the brewmaster.  Forsyth has spent the past five years growing hops.  They will open with five beers, a lager, a pilsner, a pale ale, a red ale and an ipa in bottles and in the tasting room, with additional seasonal beers available in the tasting room.  Follow them on Facebook and Twitter (@OffTheRailBeer) for updates.

If you are a growler fan, there’s a new website, growlerfill.ca, that lists all the breweries in the Province and provides contact information, hours of operation and eventually will be an up-to-date source for which beers they have available for growler fills and in the tasting room.  Right now if you want to know about growler fills you have to follow all of the breweries on Facebook and Twitter.  Growlerfill.ca aims to give you one site to check for all of the listings.  This will be a very useful tool if you are looking for a specific beer style as you will be able to sort by style, as well as open status and cost of fill.

(If you live in Victoria, you've been able to do this for awhile via VictoriaGrowlers.com)

I think that 2015 is going to be the year of the sour in BC.  Storm has been brewing sours for many years and Driftwood for several.  Townsite, Parallel 49 and Moon Under Water put out sours in 2014.  StrangeFellows will be brewing sours (soon I hope!) and I think we’re going to see more breweries throwing their hats into that ring as well.  I aim to get Stephen as addicted to sours as I am, so be prepared for some sour tastings!

One of the things I hope to see more of in 2015 are the tied-house tasting rooms.  2014 saw Vancouver get two of these, Prohibition and Devil’s Elbow.  I would like to see more of them!  A tied-house tasting room is an off-site tasting room or pub that serves primarily the beer of a particular brewery.  By having one in a different city than the brewery itself, a brewery can expand its market without having to worry about getting tap space at someone else’s bar or pub.  So, for example, Howe Sound Brewing in Squamish can have a tasting room in Vancouver where they can serve their whole line-up of beers.  I have heard that there will be another of these opening up in the Lower Mainland in 2015, but as I have no confirmation, I’m not going to name any names!

Beer Picks:

StrangeFellows Talisman Pale Ale – mosaic hops and only 3.8% make this the most drinkable beer out there!  Available at the brewery for tasters and growler fills.

Four Winds Oat Porter – a light bodied malty ale with notes of chocolate and coffee.  Available in 4-packs of 330ml bottles and at the tasting room.

Driftwood New Growth Pale Ale – local ingredients shine in this hoppy pale ale.  Available in 650ml bottles.

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