beer column

here are my notes from yesterday's craft beer column on cbc radio one's on the coast with gloria macarenko:

The Beer News:

If you’re heading to the PNE, don’t forget to stop by the VCBW craft beer fest while you’re there.  Open every day of the fair from 2:00 to 8:00 p.m., they’re serving up taster sizes of beers from various breweries.  Entry is $10 and tasters are $2 each.  Or catch them for happy hour between 2:00 and 3:00 for half-price entry.  Entry is also just $5 if you return with your tasting mug.  There are in and out privileges, so never fear, you can pop out for that second round of mini donuts, no problem!

One of the breweries pouring at the craft beer fest right now is Highway 97.  They’re not even open yet, so take advantage of this opportunity for an advance tasting of the Penticton brewery’s beer, and save yourself the long drive as well!  To see all the beers that are pouring, check out @vcbw on twitter.

Have you been to Darby’s Gastown yet?  Located on Hastings Street at Carrall Street, they have 28 taps of local and imported craft beers and ciders – and a wall of fame.  If you drink 50 different pints and get your Hall of Foam log book stamped, your name will be up there.  You won’t be the first name on the wall, that honour has already been won, but you could be one of the first several!  Think of the bragging rights!  Think how proud your mother will be!  To see what’s pouring, check their website.

A fun piece of international news:  You can now legally get a beer with your haircut in California.  Legislation was just passed that will allow salons and barbershops to serve a complimentary glass of beer or wine with a haircut.  Apparently many salons have been doing this for years, and now it will be legal.  I think it would be great if BC followed suit!  Maybe the idea will catch on and expand and one day you’ll be able to sip a beer while you get your eyes checked, or enjoy a glass of wine in the bank line-up... it could make running errands a whole lot more fun!

Congratulations to Bridge Brewing for winning the best in show at the CAMRA Vancouver cask festival last weekend.  Their delicious summer ale cask impressed the palates of the judges at the session beer festival.  Fuggles and Warlock wowed the regular folks to win the people’s choice for their cask of gin and lime pilsner.  Luppolo Brewing, who hope to open late September or early October on Venables Street in East Van, had a great showing with their English mild with roasted flaked coconut in the cask.  They came 3rd in the people’s choice and were a runner-up with the judges.  I was also really impressed with Steamworks Brewing’s entry – it was just under 2% alcohol, but so full of flavour you’d never be able to tell!

If you’re planning any travel in BC, and want to incorporate beer into your travels, the Thirsty Writer, Joe Wiebe has you covered.  The BC Ale Trail is a joint effort between several tourism destination marketing organizations, the BC Craft Brewers Guild and Joe.  Their promotional video is out now, and the full program kicks in October, just in time for BC Craft Beer Month. 

The ale trail is a mapped out path you can follow to discover beers and breweries.  Because this ale trail project is in conjunction with several tourism organizations, you can also discover many other attractions across BC.  When it launches, the BC Ale Trail will be an online guide you can use as a resource to sightsee and drink your way through the Comox Valley, the Kootenays, Nanaimo, Port Moody, the Sunshine Coast, Victoria and Whistler.  ‘Arrive Thirsty, Leave Inspired’ is their tag-line.

Happy first anniversary to Raven’s Brewing in Abbotsford.  They’re celebrating on September 3rd from 11 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the brewery.

And lastly, get your tickets now for the Great CanadianBeer Festival in Victoria on September 9 and 10, and the Whistler beer fest on September 17 and 18 before they sell out!  Both festivals are a lot of fun, and a great way to keep holding on to summer.

Beer Tasting:

Speaking of summer, I brought in a couple of my favourite summer beers to taste.  I love the fruitiness of these beers – they really feel like summer in a glass to me.  And that’s why I wanted to showcase them one more time before they’re gone for the season – I’m trying to hold on to these summer days as long as I can.  Fresh hopped beers and pumpkin ales are right around the corner.  But for these last days of summer, I’m going to keep on enjoying super refreshing fruity beers!

Stanley Park Sunsetter is an unfiltered peach wheat summer ale.  While not technically a craft beer as the brewery is part of the AB-Inbev megacorporation, this one is locally made, and it’s delicious!  At 4.8% it’s not going to knock you over either.  It is very, very peachy on the nose, due in part to being dry-hopped with citra hops which impart peachy and citrus notes on top of the peach flavour.  It doesn’t taste quite as peachy as it smells, but it is still oh so very peachy.  The wheat and high carbonation give it a very light feel in your mouth.

Bomber Brewing Park Life passionfruit ale.  Brewed with 7% passionfruit juice, this is a fruit beer, not a radler, although it certainly drinks as easily as a radler.  A sessionable 4.5% alcohol, this is a tart little beer that is perfect for hot weather.  Very tropical fruity on the nose, and the tongue.
Both beers come in cans, which are perfect for hiking, biking, camping and other summer activities.

Beer Picks:

Get them while you can!  These are the last few of these beers left, until next summer.

Stanley Park SunSetter summer ale – this unfiltered peach wheat ale is dry-hopped with citra to give it even more peach and citrus aroma.  4.8%, available in six-packs of bottles and 9 packs of cans.  The bottles are currently on sale for $1.00 off at BC Liquor stores.

Bomber Brewing Park Life passionfruit ale – a blonde ale base with added passionfruit juice makes for a tart little number!  Very drinkable and refreshing, with lots of tropical fruit flavours and aromas.  Available in six packs of cans at the brewery.

Fernie Brewing What the Huck huckleberry wheat ale – just a little bit of pucker from those huckleberries before you get to the sweetness.  This wheat ale is thirst-quenching and as tasty as the summer day is long.  I strongly suggest you pour this into a glass so you can fully appreciate the beautiful pink hue of the beer. 5%, 650ml bottles at BC liquor stores.


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