Wednesday, February 15, 2017

beer column

What better way to celebrate Valentine’s day than to wax poetic about my love for the craft beer community?  

It’s very true, I do love beer and the beer community, and I enjoy getting to share that love with everyone!   I speak often about how the beer community rallies around its members – such as brewers sharing ingredients when one brewery runs out, or when established breweries collaborate with newer breweries to help them jumpstart their entry into the marketplace.  With the many charity initiatives the industry undertakes, plus the economic and social benefits of having a strong craft brewing presence, it’s very easy to be a craft beer cheerleader!

Today I want to really shine a light on just how much the beer community is a community, and how that benefits the community at large.  Wow, I just said the word community a lot in that sentence!  But I think in these interesting times in which we find ourselves, it is more important than ever to point out the positives, and spare some focus for what brings us together, and the simple things we can do for each other.

Recently Dageraad Brewing in Burnaby suffered a large loss of beer.  There was a malfunction in their new bottle-conditioning room.  Quite a few pallets of bottled beer were affected and had to be destroyed.  The loss was not covered by insurance.  This was a big financial blow to a small brewery like Dageraad.

So what did the beer community do?  Over social media they encouraged everyone to support Dageraad by buying their beer.  Local craft breweries offered assistance – and remember, these are Dageraad’s “competitors”.  Their distributor also called to ask how they could help.  Bars and restaurants offered Dageraad taps to help with cash flow; retail stores are ordering extra beer and making special displays to feature their beers; Chilliwack Hop Farm offered free hops to re-brew the lost beers; and their label printer offered a discount.  Now that is a community pulling together!

When the story broke that Persephone Brewing in Gibsons is facing closure because they aren’t in strict compliance with the Agricultural Land Reserve regulations, the beer community rallied around them.  Social media was full of people offering information on who to contact to support Persephone, including sharing an open letter to Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick from Persephone, and blogger Barley Mowat offering a form letter to make it easier to voice support for Persephone.  

The Agricultural Land Reserve regulations require that at least 50% of the ingredients used by a brewery, distillery or meadery on ALR lands are grown on site.  Wineries and cideries do not have such a restrictive regulation.  The beer community is hoping that with enough support, the regulation for breweries will be changed to mirror that for wineries and Persephone will be allowed to remain on their farm.


The beer community is known for its unique approach to competition – which is much more like collaboration than competition.

I don’t know where it started, but it seems to have hit all the brewing communities in all the lands simultaneously.  Rather than trying to be the best at the expense of the rest, craft brewers work together to elevate the whole industry.  Maybe it began with being united against macro-brewing and bland beer, but however it started, just like the explosion of craft breweries, it shows no signs of slowing down.  It is gratifying to watch craft beer grow and evolve, but not change its commitment to quality, cooperation and community.

I feel like this resonates with a lot of people.  That craft beer is about more than really tasty beer.  It feels good to be a part of a community that cares.  I like knowing the people who make my beer.  I like knowing that they support each other, and local initiatives and charities.

The beer industry is setting a great example for the rest of us.  And that’s why my valentine today goes out to all the craft breweries and their supporters.

Beer Picks:
It’s all Dageraad!
From the Dageraad website, the words of brewer, Ben Coli:  "There are two parts of this equation, mine and yours. For my part, I’ve changed careers, gone to brewing school, found a space, secured permits and licenses from four levels of government, and spent a ton of borrowed money setting up a brewery so I can brew the beer I love.
Your part is simpler: drink the beer and tell your friends about it."

You can find Dageraad beers at the brewery in Burnaby, for tasters and for growler fills.  There are bottles for sale at the brewery and at select liquor stores.

You can also find Dageraad beers (Amber and Burnabarian) on tap around town, including 12 Kings, Darby's Gastown, and The Alibi Room.  

Let’s start with a year-round offering, which has won a couple of Gold medals:
 
Dageraad Blonde – Made with pilsner malts and noble hops, this blonde ale has a fruity spicy, citrusy aroma.  European hops and spices marry with the Dageraad house-yeast for depth and complexity.  The Blonde pairs nicely with salads, charcuterie and desserts, making it a perfect dinner beer.

And then here are a couple of highly anticipated seasonals:

Brune is a Belgian style abbey ale.   Made with mission figs and Belgian yeasts, this unfiltered beer is a religious experience.  You’ve got the Franciscan missionaries who planted the originating figs in the San Diego area, and the Trappist monks who brewed in Belgium making this a true North American take on a Belgian beer.

Sri Lanka will be available again shortly.  This is a cultural mash-up of a Belgian-style dubbel made with tamarind and Sri Lankan treacle.  The sweet treacle is a nice counterpoint to the tart tamarind.  Add in the spicy and fruity notes from the yeast and the hops and you’ve got yourself a great pairing for South Asian cuisine.

All three are available in 650ml bottles, which are perfect for sharing, and all are 7.5%.  These are bottle-conditioned beers – meaning that they undergo a second fermentation in the bottle, which produces the carbonation in the beer, and an extra layer of complexity as the beer continues to develop as long as it is in the bottle.  Expect there to be yeast in the bottles – it is suggested that you let the bottle settle before pouring, and that you stop pouring before the end of the bottle in order to leave the yeasty sediment in the bottle instead of in your glass.

For a full list, see their website 

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