beer column

my notes from yesterday's beer column on cbc radio one's on the coast
with guest host, the lovely and talented gloria macarenko:

For the beer news today, I’m going to start with a couple of events you should probably get tickets for:

BC Beer Awards early bird tickets go on sale August 26th.  For $30 you can enjoy some of the finest craft beer BC has to offer, as you rub elbows with the brewers and CBC’s own Stephen Quinn who will be back to MC the event. Saturday, October 24, 2014 from 4 - 9pm at the Croatian Cultural Centre (3250 Commercial Drive).  This is one of the most fun evenings of the year, and I strongly suggest you join us to enjoy it!  Tickets available on the website.

August 22, 2015 - September 7, 2015 2-9:30 pm
Tickets are $10.00 and admission includes a 4oz sampling cup and 2 drink tokens - it’ll cost ya $1.50 for each additional token.
The Craft Beer Fest will feature upwards of 20 different local craft brewers each week, with brewery participants changing from the first week of The Fair to the second, so make sure to come twice to see them all! Check the website for a listing of participating breweries. 
If you purchase an advance ticket online you will receive an additional drink token and access to a pre-purchased ticketholder line.

Inaugural Craft Beer Cruise – this is not your regular 3 hour booze cruise, this one is a five day trip on an 80 foot tugboat through the gulf islands October 25 – 30.  With beer history and local colour provided by historian Greg Evans and intimate hanging out with a who’s who of BC brewing, this is a beer cruise like no other.  There will be beer and food pairings at sea and on land.  This cruise is limited to 12 lucky folks, so if you’re interested in sailing the high seas and drinking some lovely beers, you should contact Maple Leaf Adventures now to book your berth.

And now for the rest of the news:

Remember that new liquor law that came into effect July 28?  The one that allows BC breweries and distilleries to sell each others’ products?  Well, the first brewery and distillery in Vancouver have jumped on board - we are soon going to be able to ‘spike the trike’ at Parallel 49’s tasting room.  Any day now, they will have Odd Society’s vodka in house to pour a shot into their Tricycle Radler. 

I got all scared with the current drought in the Pacific Northwest that perhaps the hop harvest this year would be adversely affected.

It seems I panicked for no reason.  The hops growers I spoke to, both commercial and non-commercial growers, said that their yields are looking good, maybe even better than usual!.  Some expect to be harvesting a little early this year, in the next week or so, on some varietals, and into September for the rest.  It is possible that if it remains dry right into harvesting season that this year’s crop will have a lower moisture content, which would be expected to increase the alpha acid percent of the hops - which would mean that a bit fewer would need to be used per batch -  which would mean that brewers can stretch their hops further this year.  So, all in all, it is looking very good this year for hops, which makes me a very happy hop lover!

I’m not sure exactly when the fresh-hopped beers will be brewed and available for us to drink, but you know that as soon as I know, I’ll pass that along to the hop lovers out there.  Because fresh hopped beers are fabulously tasty beers!

And finally, a beer for tasting:

Dead Frog One-Eyed Jack Imperial Pilsner.

Pilsners are part of the lager family, and they’re the hoppier side of the family.  Imperial means that it is pretty much double everything a regular pilsner would be – twice the malts, twice the hops and twice the alcohol.  At 8% this is one we need to share around!  Pilsner malts and Sterling hops lend the flavour to this brew, but at 30 international bittering units, you are not going to be overwhelmed by hops.  As a hop-lover though, pilsners are definitely a lager that I enjoy.

Beer Picks:

Because I am me, I have 2 sour beers and an ipa for my beer picks this week..  Tart slash hoppy and refreshing for these last few weeks of summer:

Powell StreetGrisette – 4% - brewed with wheat and pilsner malts and czech saaz hops, it is light, fruity and tart.

StrangeFellows sour pale ale – 4% - this soured pale ale was the table favourite last time I was at Strange Fellows.  Deliciously drinkable.

And somewhat higher test, Driftwood Brewing’s new “Raised by Wolves” wild yeast fermented IPA.  It tastes like the Fat Tug gone wild.  7%. And 80ish ibus. Using Equinox hops, only limited amounts of this beer will be available in the Lower Mainland.  Currently you can find it on tap at the Lamplighter.  There will also be the one and only cask of Raised by Wolves at the Lamplighter on August 31st – tapping at 3:00.


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