Showing posts from October, 2018

free the hops!

my growler article from last november: FREE THE HOPS! REBECCA WHYMAN •  NOVEMBER 24, 2017 iStock photo Of the four ingredients in beer, hops are the New World’s contribution. It seems rather fitting then, that North America has its economic paws  allll  over hops. Trademarks, patents, royalties – how are these business-y things having their way with our beloved hops? It must be big beer’s fault! I understand why you’d want to make hops proprietary – it takes time, effort and money to painstakingly develop a new hop, test it eight ways to Sunday, and devote acreage to propagating it. It can take 15-20 years before any money starts coming in, and then on only a fraction of your experiments. But do you really need 20 years of royalties to recoup that investment? Off the backs of your growers and the lovely brewers who exalt your wonder-hop? C’mon, only big beer would do such a greedy thing. Experimental breeding has brought us wonder-hops that can do it all: higher yields,

label of love

LABEL OF LOVE: THE CREATIVE WORLD OF MODERN BEER CAN ART REBECCA WHYMAN •  OCTOBER 15, 2018 Clockwise from top left: Electric Bicycle Brewing Co.; Mikkeller’s Hallo Ich Bin Berliner Weisee; the beer label artwork of Vancouver artist Patrick Wong; Superflux’s Superfluousness. Contributed/file photos You can’t help it, I can’t help it—we all judge beers by their labels, maybe as much as we judge the beer itself. Beer labels have been around for ages: 83 years on cans, and much longer than that on bottles. It appears we’ve been loving beer labels for that whole time—just check out all the vintage labels you can buy on eBay! Doesn’t it seem, though, that we’re loving beer labels extra hard right now? Maybe it’s that size matters. Beer cans, especially those tall boys, offer lots of real estate for labelling. Large-format bottles provide a sizeable canvas as well. Maybe it’s as simple as habituation. Humans aren’t that different from crows; we’re attracted to bright, shiny obje

a brewery by any other name

my growler article from April's edition: A BREWERY BY ANY OTHER NAME… REBECCA WHYMAN •  APRIL 2, 2018 Anyone who’s done it will tell you that opening a brewery isn’t easy. Choosing the name? Even harder. Despite all the time and effort involved, and having so much riding on choosing the right one, some of B.C.’s breweries have still managed to saddle themselves with confusingly similar names. Maybe this is only a big deal to beer geeks like me, who try to keep track of all the breweries and maniacally check off every beer on Untappd. I find I can’t keep track of who’s who any more because many of the names sound alike. My own discomfort aside, I worry that confusing consumers will turn them off craft beer. Regardless of how good a brewery’s beer is, or in how many venues it’s available, it is still down to the customer to choose to drink it. With 150ish breweries all brewing multiple year-round beers, plus seasonals, there’s a dizzying amount to keep track of. Conf