Devil’s Elbow Ale & Smoke House Media Launch – November 19th, 2014


Unless you live under a rock (or don’t use social media) you know that Howe Sound Brewing in Squamish has opened up a brand new tied house called the Devil’s Elbow Ale & Smoke House.

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Located almost right beside the upper side of Stadium Station and only blocks from Rogers Arena and BC Place this place could not have a better location.  The Devil’s Elbow serves a huge selection of Howe Sound Brewing’s beer as well as some guest taps and a bunch of North American Whiskeys.

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The space is beautiful with all wood finishings on most walls and then one long original brick wall.  The layout is long and skinny and runs the full length of the building with a small room at the back that can be utilized for private functions.  There is a bunch of original artwork around the room as well done by local artists.  I was even able to talk to one of the artists by chance as I was talking about one of her pieces as she walked by.  Everything about this place exudes friendly from its staff to the design and customers.

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For the Media launch party many appies were served to give and idea what flavours was available on the menu.  I think most of the appies were created using what they serve on their regular menu to showcase ingredients although in different presentations.  On tap they had most of their favourites and some of the big seasonal releases as well (my favourites) such as Total Eclipse of the Hop Imperial IPA, Pumpkineater Imperial Pumpkin Ale,  megadestroyer and Wooly Bugger Barley Wine.  Don’t let that scare you off though as they have their standard favourites much like the Lager, Rail Ale Nut Brown and the Sky Pilot Northwest Pale Ale.

No event is complete without  the people involved.  From media members to Staff here are a few photos of all the great people at the event.

This place has very quickly become my first choice for pregame dinners as well as concerts and other events.  Its no surprise that something Howe Sound Brewing is involved with would be an instant success but it still surprises me just how big a hit it has been.  If you need a new favourite watering whole then check this place out as soon as possible.

Devil’s Elbow

http://www.devilselbowalehouse.com/

562 Beatty Street, VancouverCanada
604-559-0611
sandy@devilselbow-alehouse.com

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Soggy Otter Brown Ale – Fisher Peak Brewing Co


Inside The Heid Out Restaurant and Brewhouse located in Cranbrook BC you will find Fisher Peak Brewing Co.  This brewhouse inside a restaurant in the Kootenays created the “Soggy Otter Brown Ale”.   The beer pours a deep brown colour with a a tan head.  The aroma was of fruits and caramel.  The beer tasted of tropical fruit, caramel malts and an overall sweetness.  The alcohol content comes in at 5.6% with an IBU of 32.

Commercial Description:  A toned down variant of an extra-special bitter and a pale ale (ESB is darker in colour, higher in hops and alcohol).

the heidout restaurant soffy otter brown ale

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Full Sleeve Strong Stout – Bad Tattoo Brewing


From Penticton’s new Bad Tattoo Brewing comes their “Full Sleeve Strong Stout”.  The beer pours an opaque black colour with a brown head.  The aroma consists of roasted malts, chocolate and some mild coffee notes.  The flavour is of burnt malts, chocolate and some coffee notes.  The alcohol content comes in at 5%.  I would not call this stout a strong stout for BC but I guess traditionally it is.  I did quite enjoy it none the less and I will be having more the next time I make it to Penticton.

Commercial Description:  Rich and creamy with a little sweetness left in. A touch of extra ABV to add balance.

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Randonneur Saison – Dageraad Brewing


Seasonal Release

From Dageraad Brewing out of Burnaby BC comes their “Randonneur Saison”.  This is an unfiltered beer that is refermented in the bottle.  The beer pours a cloudy golden with a white head.  The aroma consists of Belgian yeast, sweet citrus some spices and floral notes.  The flavour is of fruity citrus, Belgian yeast, citrus rind, citrus, wheat and some spices.  The alcohol content comes in at 6.4%.  This was a very well crafted traditional saison.  I would drink this fairly often.

Commercial Description: The second release in Dageraad’s Single Batch Series, Randonneur Saison was created in the tradition of farmhouse ales brewed for farm labourers during harvest season in northern France and Wallonia. Peppery and hoppy, effervescent and bone-dry, Randonneur Saison refreshes after cycling through the autumnal countryside or harvesting produce in your own garden.  Randonneur is fermented with a French Saison yeast and bottle conditioned for natural carbonation, and an extra layer of complexity.

Food pairing as per the brewery:  Saison is a classic food pairing style suited to complement almost any meal. Randonneur Saison’s peppery and lemony notes make it a perfect companion for seafood or salads. Its palate-scrubbing effervescence allow it to hold its own against stinky cheeses and fried food.

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Vancouver Brewery Tours – Nov 14th, 2014


For a while now I have been pondering checking out one of the tour companies that offer tours to Metro Vancouver’s breweries.  Luckily things fell into place on November 14th, 2014 and I was able to finally take a tour with Vancouver Brewery Tours.

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The tour picks up the guests at Waterfront Station and they ask you to arrive 15 minutes before the tour begins.  When I arrived I got a great surprise as the tour guide was Rachel who used to work at Bridge Brewing Company.  It was great catching up with her as it has been quite some time since I have seen her.  I was the last of the three guests on this tour to arrive so we headed out right away to the bus and got on the road.

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Vancouver Brewery Tours takes its guests on a tour of three different breweries.  These breweries usually show the different scale of craft breweries and the different styles and cultures as well. The breweries on the tour will always be in flux so that no tour should be exactly the same.

Our first destination was Main Street Brewing Company just off of Main Street in the Brewery Creek district.  Brewery Creek being the original brewing district in BC this is a great place to start any craft beer tour.

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Once inside the brewery the 4 of us headed passed the tasting room to get into the brewery proper and start the tour in earnest.  On the way through you pass though the growler filling room that also holds all of their merchandise.

One of the coolest pieces of information we were given was that not only was is the building that houses this brewery a historic building that housed a brewery way back but they could also cast a fishing rod out the back doors and catch salmon in the now subterranean Brewery Creek.  It is also cool to see all of the casks the brewery has for their in house cask program.  Rachel was very thorough in the description of how beer is brewed right down to what tank the brewing starts in (mash tun) right down to the fermentors and bright tanks.  Seeing as I know the process fairly well I spent more time poking around and taking photos.  Once we had finished the tour of the brewery we headed back to the tasting room to sample a paddle of their beers.  We sampled their Pilsner, Sessional IPA, Brown Ale and their new Belgian Bonsai IPA.  All are solid beer but my favourite by a landslide was the Belgian Bonsai.  Main Street Brewing started out contract brewing at Surrey’s Russell Brewing Company with their Pilsner way before they opened up this brewery.

Once we had finished up at Main Street Brewing we all hopped back into the bus to hit up destination number 2.  Our second brewery was Bomber Brewing located on Adanac street close to Commercial Drive.  The brewery is located in the second hub of brewing in East Vancouver lovingly nicknamed Yeast Van.  Unlike Main Street’s beginnings Bomber Brewing is a true Canadian story.  The owners of Bomber Brewing all played on a beer league hockey team of the same name.  The brewmaster was home brewing for the team when they came up with the idea to open up the brewery.

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We quickly headed into the brewery for our tour.  They had just finished a brew and were cleaning out the mashtun.  Rachel reinforced the brewing process with the other two guests on the tour.  She also pointed out the barrels that are aging beer.  Like many beer drinkers they did not realize that some beer is actually better aged especially on oak.  She went on to explain what styles of beer are great for aging such as imperial stouts, barleywines and sours.  We took a look at the packaging area including their small but efficient canning line.

Once done in the brewery we headed into the tasting room for some samples.  The samples included their Blonde Ale, I Braineater Pumpkin Ale, Extra Special Bitter (ESB) and their new collaboration ale with Stone Brewing in California called Blood From A Stone Red Rye IPA.  Much like the last brewery one of the beer on this tray was a home run and was by far my favourite.  The Blood From A Stone is excellent and I would never turn down a sample or pint of this beer!

Once done at Bomber it was time to leave the city of Vancouver and head over to Burnaby.  Burnaby is the home of the new production brewery for Steamworks Brewing Company.  This brewery is a great opportunity to show the scale differences in craft beer.  Steamworks is one of the largest craft breweries in BC currently.

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Heading into the brewery it is instantly obvious that Steamworks is nothing like Bomber Brewing or Main Street Brewing Company.  This brewery is bigger than both of those breweries put together!  It is massive.  Not only is it much lager but hey have a few more toys to play with also.  First they have a Hopvac (I think that was the name of it) and this is where they can add large volumes of hops in what they call dry hopping.  They also have a centrifuge which is a style of filter for beer that spins the beer at a high speed and retains the flavour where other filter methods can loose flavour.  Every part of this brewery is just bigger!

When we had finished in the brewery we headed out to the tasting room to have the last of our samples for the tour.  I did not write down the names of the samples at Steamworks but I think they were as follows:  Black IPA, Pale Ale, Blitzen and their Pilsner.  From memory I think that my favourite was the Black IPA.  While enjoying our beer I was able to snap a photo of the two other guests on the tour.

When we were done at the brewery we headed back out to the bus.  I had planted my car at Steamworks Brewing as I had to make it to a play fairly quickly after the tour but the bus takes everyone right back to Waterfront Station.  You can not ask for a better setup as you are able to take transit to the tour and not worry about how you are going to make it home.  While at Main Street Brewing Rachel took a group shot of us which was sent by email to the three of us.  Below is this photo.
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I would not hesitate to recommend to anyone that is into craft beer or wants to learn about it to check out one of these tours.   This tour is good for locals but even better for tourists and out of town guests.  So if you have people coming to town and want to show them a good time this would be a great option.  Check out their website for prices and possible tour dates.

http://vancouverbrewerytours.com/


604-318-2280

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Shredder Golden Ale – Deep Cove Brewers and Distillers


The latest beer to come out of Deep Cove Brewers and Distillers in North Vancouver is called the “Shredder Golden Ale”.  This golden ale has been created to raise money for the Tim Jones Legacy Fund a fund that helps North Shore Search and Rescue operate.  If you or someone you know loves to spend time in the North Vancouver backcountry this may just be a great cause to support.

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The beer pours a copper colour with a slightly off white head.  The aroma is not to strong but consists of biscuit malts, mild fruit and floral hops.  The flavour is of biscuit malts, lemon, honeysuckle, hops bitterness with some resin and pine in small amounts to finish it off.  The alcohol content comes in at 5%.  This is a great golden ale and a great beer to partner up with the cause.

Commercial Description:  Tim Jones’ love of exploring the backcountry and shredding the North Shore Mountains led him to dedicate his life to saving many others, and ultimately to spark a lasting legacy.  He was given the nickname Shredder due not only to his love of backcountry skiing but for the infamous “shredding” motivational tactics that he used on his North Shore Rescue team to inspire the highest level of performance and success.  Tim was a huge supporter of the local community and dreamt of a day when the NSR could have sustainable funding, allowing the team to focus more on training.  With that coal in mind the proceeds from each bottle of Deep Cove’s Shredder Golden Ale will go to the Tim Jones Legacy Fund.

The SHREDDER Golden Ale was designed to be a beer Tim would have enjoyed with his family, friends and husky after a call well done. A nice, rounded malt body featuring biscuit and honeysuckle notes leads into a pleasing herbal hoppiness. Refreshing and sessionable, this honey coloured ale is best enjoyed while appreciating all that the North Shore has to offer. 5% ABV.

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To Commemorate the launch of this beer Deep Cove Brewers and Distillers held a fund raiser party on Saturday November 15th 2014.  350 tickets were sold at $45 a piece.  The event was held at the brewery and went from 5pm to 9pm.  There were silent auction items up for grabs, Shredder Golden Ale for sample and even a food truck for eats.  I had commitments the night of the event but I purchased two tickets and attended for the first hour.  I spend countless hours hiking and snowshoeing not only in the North Shore Mountains but all over Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley.  It was an honer to be able to meet some of these Search and Rescue volunteers and honor Tim Jones.  I hope to never have to meet any of these hero’s while enjoying the beautiful province we live in but I am glad that there are people out there willing to be that hero!  It is so important to make sure that Groups like North Shore Search and Rescue are well funded so that they can save lives.  So get out there and purchase some of this beer and help make a difference because who knows they may just be saving your life or a loved ones in the future.

If you would like to further help this cause you can donate money by clicking the following link.  Tim Jones Legacy Fund.

In Memory of Tim Jones (may 30th, 1956 – January 19th, 2014)
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Categories: Golden Ale, Tasting Event | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Spud Shack Fry Co and Monday Madness


Spud Shack Fry Co in New Westminster is now open on Mondays!  The hours are 12 noon to 8pm although that could change in the future.  A really exciting part of Mondays at Spud Shack is they run their Monday Madness promotion.  Monday Madness is comprised of $5 Whistler Brewing pints and 1/2 price poutine (Standard version I think).

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photo taken from Spud Shack facebook page.

Sounds to me like an amazing Monday lunch or dinner!

I was able to stop by the Spud Shack recently to check out some of their most recent and exciting creations.

The Night Market Poutine was the first thing that I sampled.
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Not only is this a crazy concoction but it is also amazing!  The poutine has the standard ingredients on the bottom including fries, cheese curds and gravy but what is on top takes it to the next level!  On top you will find deep fried wontons, ginger beef, kimchi and a spicy mayo.  It is a good thing that I am not a chef as I would never even thought of putting these ingredients together (I guess I have not been to enough night markets).  The flavours all come together very well and compliment each other.  I paired it with a Loser Pale Ale from Elysian.  A malty pale ale always pairs well with a poutine but there is just enough hops bitterness in the Loser to pair well with the spicy kimchi.  I would get this again in a heart beat!  This was a regular size also not a large!

The next thing that I was able to try was their Croque-monsieur a fancy grilled ham and cheese sandwich.
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The grilled cheese sandwiches are always changing at the spud shack so don’t wait to long to try this one out!  The ham is found in the middle of the sandwich while the cheese is found on top.  Swiss cheese was used for this Croque-monsieur although I think there was another cheese as well as it was very creamy where cheese met bread.  This is a very rich grilled cheese not like a cheap ones children usually eat.  I paired it with Bridge Brewing’s North Shore Pale Ale.

I recommend heading over to the Spud Shack either the next Monday that you are available or really any day! The Spud Shack is not just fries and Poutine.  There is something for everyone and great craft beer also!

Spud Shack is located in
352-800 Carnarvon Street
Phone: 604.553.2582
E-mail: info@spudshack.ca

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Organic Ginger Beer – Nelson Brewing Company


From Nelson BC’s Nelson Brewing Company comes their “Organic Ginger Beer”.  The beer pours a golden amber colour with a white head.  The aroma consists of huge ginger, some honey and lemon with a very light floral finish.  The flavour is of mostly ginger but has notes of malts, honey and lemon.  Any bitterness I taste seems to come more from the ginger flavour than hops.  The alcohol content comes in at 5%.  If you like a strong ginger flavour then you will really like this beer.  Do not expect a ginger-ale flavour though as it is not like a pop at all.

Commercial Description:  Nelson’s latest summer seasonal will surely satisfy your thirst all summer long on the beach. Upfront ginger snap that’s not over powering with subtle hints of organic honey and lemongrass, the light malted bodied allows the sweet and spicy ginger notes to shine through. This new legendary ale lends itself to be consumed straight up in a icey cold pint or blend with a small amount of ice, freshly squeezed lime and a jigger or two of dark rum…sounds like the best boat drink ever?

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Hearthstone Brewery – North Vancouver


North Vancouver better brace itself for the next brewery to open up because it is coming fairly soon.  Many people in Metro Vancouver will recognize the location as their used to be a very popular brewpub here.

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The old pub space has been re-purposed but the brewery space had been brewing strong until recently.  But not that long ago the owners of Mission Springs Brewing Company purchased this space and the entire brewhouse.  This new brewery is called Hearthstone Brewery and is a fully stand alone entity from Mission Springs.

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Hearthstone Brewery has two head brewers Darren Hollett who has been a brewer at Mission Springs as well as a home brewer and George a brewer that has been working for around three years (if I remember correctly) at Brewdog in Scotland.

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Photo taken from Hearthstone Brewery instagram feed

The Hearthstone is currently brewing beer with the hope of shipping their first kegs either late December or more realistically in January.  They do not want to fall into the trap of running out of beer.  They currently have a Red Rye, Milk Stout and a beer using graham crackers in tanks (there may also be a pilsner).

The brewhouse is located in a very open concept building with huge windows on each side.  The brewery has a large grain silo outside with an upper level mezzanine inside that stores their specialty grains and also their grain mill.

The brewery also has a refrigerated cellar for aging their beers.  What was originally separated as an ale and a lager cellar will probably now be mixed but it is an interesting setup.  You can also see into these cellars from the outside courtyard.

George and Darren have a ton of knowledge about beer and it was easy to realize this after talking with them for about an hour that I was at the brewery.  They plan to be a draft only brewery for the first year with the possibility of cans in the future.  They have some tricks up their sleeves for the future also although I am not sure how soon these things will happen or if they are public knowledge yet so I will have to just tease you for now.

Hearthstone Brewery
1015 Marine Drive, North Vancouver

http://instagram.com/hearthstonebrewing

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Dead Frog Brewery Launches Winter Seasonals 2014 – Bitter Tasting Room


Dead Frog Brewery is excited about their new Winter Mixer pack and their two new Winter Seasonal beers.

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The brewery held a small party at Bitter Tasting Room in Downtown Vancouver on November 10th, 2014 to help spread the word.  The new Winter Mixer pack is comprised of the following 4 beers: Rocket Man Interstellar ESB, Winter Seasonal Amber Ale, The Bold Belgian Pale Ale and their The Classic Nub Brown Ale.  The new Winter Seasonal Amber Ale has notes of caramel, vanilla, winter spices and citrus notes.

Much like the last few years they have changed up the recipe for one of their well known seasonal bomber releases the Winter Beeracle Winter Ale.

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The Winter Beeracle pours a deep chestnut colour with a brown head and lots of lacing.  The aroma consists of malts, vanilla, chestnuts and an overall sweetness.  The flavour is of caramel malts, vanilla, chestnuts, dark chocolate, brown sugar and some hops bitterness.  The alcohol content comes in at 7.5% with an IBU of 24.  Every year this beer seems to be getting better and this year is no different!

Coming later in the Winter will be the brand new seasonal the Nutty Uncle Peanut Butter Stout.  This beer will be launched late in November and is a single batch beer.  It is a peanut butter, chocolate milk stout.

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The version on hand at the party was a cask from the very first batch.  They have since added lactose to make it a milk stout and have added more peanut butter.  I can attest to the fact that it was already really tasty and will only get better!

Thanks to Dead Frog Brewery and its whole crew that showed up for the party far away from the brewery!  It was an amazing time and I look forward to having a few of these seasonals this winter!

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