beer column

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

As we head into Fall, the crunching you hear won't just be the leaves under your feet - it may well be the liver of a craft beer lover cracking under the pressure of keeping up with all the fabulous craft beer events in September and October!  And this is by no means an exhaustive listing - there are always so many great beer events on the go, it's hard to keep track of them - and don't even try to get to them all - you'd need to be Hermione Granger to succeed.

Start with this past weekend's Great Canadian Beer Festival in Victoria, and end with the BC Beer Awards on October 24th, filling in events every single weekend in between, and you've got a recipe for a sprained liver.  And a really great two months!

Both Stephen and I had the pleasure of attending the Great Canadian Beer Festival this year.  This festival is always a well-organized two days of beer tasting.  And for me it’s often my only opportunity to try beers from newer breweries from far-flung corners of the Province, like Wheelhouse Brewing in Prince Rupert, Sherwood Mountain Brewhouse from Terrace, Category 12 from Saanich, and Cumberland Brewing.  

A couple of stand-outs for me were the spruce tip IPA from Wheelhouse, and their collaboration white IPA with Yellow Dog. Wheelhouse Brewing is fairly new and can barely keep up with local demand, so they’re not currently shipping any product to Vancouver.  However... I know that 12 Kings is working on hosting a tap takeover.  So my fingers are crossed that I’ll be able to drink more of their beers soon. 

This coming weekend is the Whistler Village BeerFestival, which has expanded to a second day of beer tasting in addition to the 3 prior days of craft beer inspired dinners and lectures.  I will be heading up for Saturday’s festivities and look forward to trying even more beers from newer breweries in the Province – there will be over 200 beers from 80 breweries, so I’m not at all worried about hitting that goal!

September 26th is “Hopped”, an ipa challenge cask festival at Yaletown Brewpub.  All the entries are casks made with any or all of five Australian hop varietals provided by the lovely folks at HopsConnect.  The hops are Ella, Topaz, Summer, Vic Secret and Galaxy.  So each brewer decided whether to us some or all or even just one of those hops in their cask.  If you love hops, you’ll love this event!  Doors open at 11:30, you buy a passport for $20 when you get there, and you try all 11 casks.  Easy, peasy!

September 27th is Forbidden Vancouver's 1920s murder mystery extravaganza.  Tour the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood learning about its history and tie to craft brewing.  All while trying to figure out a murder mystery.  Go dressed in period clothing to add to the fun.  Tix are $49.

And then we’re already into October - BC Craft Beer Month! 

October 1st is a tap takeover at Central City Pub (the former Dix) called "BC First".  Enjoy a variety of seasonal and specialty beers from across BC.  Tickets are $20.

October 3rd is the BC Brewers Guild’s inaugural BC Hop Fest in Abbotsford, featuring fresh hopped beer tastings, hop farm tours, food trucks and entertainment.

October 2 and 3, Craft Beer Market's Oktoberfest party.  Details available on their website.    
Piketoberfest in Seattle is on October 4th from 4-8 p.m. at the Pike Brewing facility next to the Pike Place market.  $40US tickets include all the meat, sauerkraut and cheese you can eat, plus 10 beer and wine tasters.

In Vancouver, HarvestHaus will be setting up at the Queen Elizabeth plaza October 1st to 11th.  It’s a Bavarian beer and food festival. Eat pretzels and schnitzel while you drink European beers and listen to traditional Oktoberfest music.  There's even a traditional Bavarian Brunch on October 11th - aka wheat beer breakfast.  Partial proceeds will be donated to Sole Food.

The 4th Annual Harrison Beer Festival runs October 16 and 17th.  Friday night is the cask competition, Saturday is the tasting fest and Oktoberfest party.  All events take place at the St. Alice Hall is Harrison Hot Springs.  You can buy single event tickets, or combined tickets. 

At the end of October the beer fun continues with Beerlesque V at the Roundhouse Community Centre on the 17th.  You know this one!  $49 gets you all the beer you can be served rightly, plus entertainment.  A fundraiser for the Roundhouse Community Programs and part of BC Craft Beer Month.  Prize for best costume - and a photobooth to prove you looked ah-mazing!  Tix available via ticketzone.

October 22nd is "Craft Year Craft Beer" at the Van Dusen Gardens.  This is a celebration of the handmade and the artisanal.  Alongside beer tastings and food, there will also be a silent auction of hand-crafted beer related items in support of the Craft Council of BC and VanDusen Botanical Garden.  Tickets are $35, which includes 2 beer samples, appetizers and a tasting glass.
And finally, there’s the BC Beer Awards on October 24th, which Stephen will be hosting again this year. 

The BC Beer Awards is more than an awards ceremony.  There’s a beer tasting festival and a brewer’s challenge, as well as the beer awards and the homebrew award.  New this year there will also be ciders available to taste – and an official after party.

The Brewer’s Challenge this year is to brew a sour cask – which of course I am very much looking forward to!  Come out to taste the best BC has to offer beer-wise. 

Beer Tasting:

I may be talking about harvest themed events, but I’m still pushing the idea of summer, so I brought in a summer seasonal for us to taste.

The Big Rock Rhubarb Wit is a classic witbier aged with rhubarb to lend a hint of tartness to subtle notes of orange peel and spice (coriander).  Unfiltered and delicate.  Made right here in Vancouver, and only available in BC, in 650 ml bombers or at the brewery. 5% alcohol, 12 ibus.

The initial taste is mostly witbier, but wait for it... the rhubarb will come on the finish.  Tart and refeshing.  It's not overwhelmingly rhubarb, or sour, so should please most palates. Everyone at CBC liked this one!


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