Mystery Gift Holiday Countdown Launch at Craft Beer Market – Vancouver

Everyone remembers their chocolate advent calendars from their childhood but why should kids have all the fun?  Two of the biggest craft breweries in BC have come together to create the ultimate Adult Advent Calendar in East Vancouver’s Parallel 49 and Surrey’s Central City Brewers & Distillers.  It’s called the Mystery Gift Holiday Countdown ’24 Days of Exciting Surprises’.  The pack is a mix of Parallel 49 and Central City brews with at least two tricks up its sleeve.


To celebrate the launch of this exciting product both breweries came together and hosted an invite only party at Craft Beer Market in the Olympic Village in Vancouver.  The lucky people that attended the event were able to sample two unique beer that will be showing up in this advent calendar.  Both are collaboration beers one brewed at Central City’s brewery and one brewed at Parallel 49’s facility.

MysteryGiftCCP49-003 MysteryGiftCCP49-006  MysteryGiftCCP49-004

Brewed at Parallel 49 Brewing was the “Schwarzward Porter” a black forest cake porter that was quite delicious.  At Central City the “Dubbel Trubbel Belgian” was created by adding rum soaked raisins to a Belgian Dubbel.

At the event they had one of the Mystery Gift packs on display and it looks awesome.  Not only does it look like a wrapped Christmas present but on the top of the box there is a numbered perforated door for each days beer.  On the top of the box it also has a tag in the design so you can give it as a gift!


The entire crew from both breweries were on hand and chatted with the people in attendance about the product.  It is very apparent that both breweries are very excited about this product and can not wait for it to be December 1st!

This product will sell very fast so it is in your best interest to head to your local BC Liquor Store of your favourite private liquor store asap!

Click this link to find it at BC Liquor Stores near you

Here are a few closeup shots of the box for your enjoyment.  Yes mine does say From: Mike To: Mike!

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Weeping Reaper Blood Orange Helles Bock – Dead Frog Brewery

From Aldergove’s Dead Frog Brewery comes their new “Weeping Reaper Blood Orange Helles Bock” a very flavourful style of lager.  The beer pours a copper colour with a slightly off white head.  The aroma consists of bready malts, citrus and blood orange.  The flavour is of bready malts, caramel, citrus, citrus rind, blood orange and some hops bitterness.  The alcohol content comes in at 7% with an IBU of 26.  Helles Bock is not a style I know all that well but this one tastes great especially because the flavour seems to evolve as you drink it.  I recommend picking up a bottle to try it for yourself.

Recommended glassware from brewery:  Hollowed out skull of your enemy.  I just used a whiskey snifter personally though.

Commercial Description:  A warm golden lager with a splash of citrus and slight caress of fruity hop flavour and aroma. Premium European malts and hops result in a brew that’s light in colour but not in body with a perfectly balanced finish.


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Townsite Brewing – Timewarp Wet-Hopped Pale Ale

Up the BC coast Townsite Brewing brews out of the old Municipal Building/Post Office in Powell River.  Their wet-hopped offering this season is the Timewarp Wet-Hopped Pale Ale.

The beer pours a nice red-tinged brown, fairly opaque, just allowing enough light through to offer highlights.  The head is light and fine with an off-white colour.

The nose is light, just hinting at what the beer will be.  Just a bit of evergreen over a chocolatey, roasty malt aroma.

Despite the light nose the first sip is full of flavours.  I like that Townsite is not afraid to play up the malt in a wet-hopped beer, balance is so important and, while highlighting the fresh hops is important, just hops without malt and yeast flavours would be uninteresting.  The first flavours are a roasty malt and a bitter, herbaceous hop.  The bitter persists all the way through the finish as a sweet caramel note comes out of the malt and marries well with the anise notes that come out of the hops.  Somewhere in there is a bitter chocolate note as well.

I really like this beer.  I have had it several years in a row and I always look forward to the release.  While I am sure there must good pairings I would rather just drink this on its own.


Categories: Pale Ale | Tags: , | 2 Comments

BC Beer Awards 2014 / Cask Festival – October 25th 2014

It’s that time of year again!  It is time to celebrate the best of the best breweries and beer in British Columbia.  On October 25th, 2014 the BC Beer Awards were held at the Croatian Cultural Centre.

index  bc-craft-beer-week

Like every year the beer awards are held with a cask festival that runs at the same time.  The event started at 4pm and went until 9pm.  The cask festival starts right when the doors open and features some amazing beers from both the local Metro Vancouver and Victoria breweries as well as many breweries from around the Province.  The breweries that poured beer at the event are as follows: Bomber Brewing, Bowen Island Brewing, Bridge Brewing Co, Cannery Brewing Company, Central City Brewers & Distillers, Coal Harbour Brewing Company, Dead Frog Brewery, Driftwood Brewery, Vancouver Island Brewing, Four Winds Brewing, Fuggles & Warlock Craftworks, Granville Island Brewing, Howe Sound Brewing Co., Hoyne Brewing Co., Lighthouse Brewing Co, Longwood Brewing, Main Street Brewing Company, Mission Springs Brewing Company, Moody Ales, Moon Under Water, Parallel 49 Brewing, Persephone Brewing Company, Phillips Brewing Company, Powell street craft brewery, Prohibition Brewing Company, R&B Brewing, Red Truck Beer Co, Russell Brewing, Scandal Brewing, Shaftbury Brewing Co., Steamworks Brewing Co., Steel & Oak Brewing Co., Three Ranges Brewing Company, Tofino Brewing, Townsite Brewing, Tree Brewing Company, Turning Point Brewery, Whistler Brewing Company, Yaletown Brewing co, Yellow Dog Brewing, Fernie Brewing, Brewhouse Whistler, Big Ridge, Vancouver Island Brewing.

I am not sure what time the awards began but at a point they announced that everyone should approach the stage.  Like last year Stephen Quinn of CBC Radio was the presenter for the awards.  Last year around 300 beer were entered into 18 categories.  This year there was around 500 entries in the same 18 categories which really shows the growth of craft beer in BC.  This year there was a lot more diversity to the winning breweries at the awards.  Here are the winning beers in the categories as presented.
Light Lager – 22 Beers entered

1    Turning Point Brewing Company – Stanley Park Noble Pilsner
2    OK Springs – Okanagan Spring 1516
3    Hoyne Brewing Company – Helios-Dortmunder Golden Lager

Pilsner – 22 Beers

1    Steamworks Pilsner – Steamworks Brewing Company
2    Barley Station Brew Pub – Canoe Creek Pilsner
3    Russell Brewing Company – Lager

Special Lager – 17 Beers

1    Tree Brewing Company – Captivator Doppelbock
2    Pacific Western Brewing – Pacific Schwarzbock
3    Persephone Brewing Company – Black Lager

Hybrids – 37 Beers

1    Steamworks Brewing Company – Steamworks Brewpub Kolsch
2    Phillips Brewing Company – Slipstream Ale
3    R&B Brewing Company – Sun God Wheat Ale

German Wheat/Rye – 10 Beers

1    Moon Under Water Brewery – This Is Hefeweizen
2    Moon Under Water Brewery – Moon Berliner Style – Weisse
3    Big Ridge Brewing Company – Big Ridge Dunkleweizen

UK Ales – 40 Beers

1    Tin Whistle Brewing Company – Stag Apple Scotch Ale
2    Bowen Island Brewing – Snug Cove ESB
3    Moon Under Water Brewery – Wee Woody

North American Ales – 48 Beers

1    Main Sreet Brewing Company – Main Street Sessional IPA
2    Phillips Brewing Company – Coulrophobia IRA
3    Rossland Beer Company – Paydirt Pale Ale

Porter/Brown – 30 Beers

1    Yellow Dog Brewing Company – Shake A Paw Smoked Brown Porter
2    Powell Street Brewing Company – Dive Bomb Porter
3    Lighthouse Brewing Company – Road Trip Fresh Hopped Dark Ale

Belgian/French – 45 Beers

1    Driftwood Brewing Company – White Bark Witbier
2    Dageraad Brewing – De Witte
3    Four Winds Brewing Company – Juxtapose Brett IPA

Vegetable/Spice Beer – 27 Beers

1    Parallel 49 Brewing Company – Lost Souls
2    Howe Sound Brewing – Pumpkineater Imperial Pumpkin Ale
3    Fuggles & Warlock Craftwerks – Bean Me Up Espresso Milk Stout

Stout – 24 Beers

1    Persephone Brewing Company – Dry Irish Stout
2    Dead Frog Brewing Company – Commander Imperial Stout (2013)
3    Dead Frog Brewing Company – Commander Imperial Stout (2014)

North American IPA – 44 Beers

1    High Mountian Brewing Company – 5 Rings IPA
2    Four Winds Brewing Company – Four Winds IPA
3    Central City Brewers and Distillers – Red Racer IPA

Imperial IPA – 14 Beers

1    Brassneck Brewery – One Trick Pony
2    Central City Brewers and Distillers – Red Racer Imperial IPA
3    Bomber Brewing Company – SuperPest

Fruit/Sour – 24 Beers

1    Driftwood Brewing Company – Bird Of Prey- Flanders Red
2    Parallel 49 Brewing Company – Schwarzwald
3    Brassneck Brewery – Peach Changeling

Strong – 16 Beers

1    Steamworks Brewery – Steamworks Blitzen
2    Townsite Brewing Company – Biere D’Hiver
3    Howe Sound Brewing – Wooly Bugger Barley Wine

Specialty – 29 Beers

1    Granville Island Brewing – Lost In The Barrels
2    Moon Under Water Brewery – Year 2
3    Parallel 49 Brewing Company – Salty Scot

Smoke/Wood – 16 Beers

1    Central City Brewers and Distillers – Thor’s Hammer Barrel Aged
2    Parallel 49 Brewing Company – Braggot
3    Brassneck Brewery – Inerita II

Dan Small Homebrew Award

1    Matt Anderson – Anderson Estate IPA – Fresh Hopped
2    Grayson Barke – Harvest Rye IPA
3    Brad Johnson – Squashmonster

Best of Show

Yellow Dog Brewing Company – Shake A Paw Smoked Brown Porter

Once all of the awards were announced the cask festival ramped back up.  It was now time to see if you could sample some of the winning beers.  Once again it was a very successful event with amazing people and amazing beer!  I look forward to what might come next year as even more breweries are opening up and the industry is only getting better at making beer!  I would like to congratulate all the winners this year!  Every single one of you deserved the award for making a great tasty and enjoyable product!  Here is to another year of sticking it to the flavourless garbage that macro breweries make.

This year I helped with the setup of the beer awards between 11-4pm.  It was great to be able to help in a small way to make this event go off so well.  I thought I would share some of the photos from the setup.

Categories: Beer Awards | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stone Brewing Brewmaster Dinner (Biercraft Bisto) – October 23, 2014

With Stone Brewing launching in Western Canada they have been involved in all kinds of events to help celebrate the occasion.  One of the last events in this week long launch was a brewmaster dinner at Biercraft Bistro on Cambie Street.  On October 23rd, 2014 the Stone Brewing crew came out to Biercraft and Don Farion of Biercraft and Bomber Brewing created some amazing dishes.

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This dinner was comprised of 4 courses and 5 beer.  arriving at the dinner we were seated in the back portion of the restaurant where it was laid out with a menu and some Stone Brewing coasters.

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Before the dinner started Don came out and talked a bit about the dinner and how the night would go.  After Don spoke one of the representatives of Stone Brewing got up and did some talking about who they are and what they do.  They made sure to stress that Stone Brewing tries to push the boundaries of brewing and enjoy every second of it!

Course 1

Tom Ka Gai
Thai curried lime and coconut soup with chicken and shiitake mushrooms
paired with Stone IPA and Stone Cali-Belgique (same beer but with a Belgian yeast)

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To ensure that the soup stayed hot while the Stone guys spoke as well as Don the first part of the soup was brought out without the broth and then it was added when it was time to dig in.  The soup had a great spice hit from the curry with some semi sweet notes, citrus and coconut.  The chicken and mushrooms were awesome.  Although both beer paired very well with this dish the Cali-Belgique was the winner as the Belgian yeast and citrus notes really came together nicely.

Course 2

Beef Tenderloin “Salad”
Seared-rare, soy glazed filet and roasted root vegetables
Paired with Arrogant Bastard Ale

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I had a ton of fun with with this “salad” as calling this a salad was almost as arrogant as the beer it was paired with.  Lots of soy and an earthy touch’s are found with the potatoes and parsnip.  The seared steak was amazingly flavourful and tender.  The Arrogant Bastard ale paired well with this dish as it had a great earthy malty backbone and the hops bitterness cut into the saltiness of the soy.  I would take this meat and potato salad any day!

Course 3
Dijon-Crusted Chicken Supreme
German potato salad, creamed corn
paired with Go To IPA

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The Dijon mustered that was put on the chicken before breading it made for some of the best chicken I have had in a very long time.  The potato salad also had some Dijon on it and the cream corn had a ton of flavour.  I think they said the Dijon was actually made by or for Stone Brewing.  The tang from the Dijon really went well with the citrusy India Session Ale and its bitterness.

Course 4
Cheese Plate
Aged cheddar, English Stilton, Danish blue, fruit and crackers
Paired with Ruination Imperial IPA

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The aged cheddar was just that much more pronounced with a sip of the Ruination Imperial IPA.  The English Stilton was delectable.  The frozen grapes actually cut through the hops bitterness and accentuates the malts.

Here are a few photos of the people at the event.

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This has to be one of the best brewmaster dinners that I have ever gone to.  The food was to die for and the pairings were spot on.  Not one part of the meal was out of place with the food.  I really commend both the Stone Brewing guys and the staff at Biercraft Cambie for putting on an amazing dinner.

Biercraft Cambie

3305 Cambie Street,
Vancouver, BC

Stone Brewing

Categories: Brewmasters Dinner | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Seraph (Central City Distillery) Launch – Guilt & Co

Central City Brewers and Distillers are well known for their lineup of beer “Red Racer” (or Red Betty in the USA).  On October 22, 2014 their new lineup of products launched.

Seraph launch-002

Seraph is their lineup of Spirits and has launched with a Gin and Vodka.  Whiskey will arrive in a few more years as in Canada it must be aged for a minimum of 5 years.  The launch of this product has been held up due to issues with the Liquor board though.  According to the Government this is not Craft Spirits due to the fact with their Betty’s Vodka Iced Tea product they have to large a volume to qualify.  Luckily the Government may be confused but consumers like you will be able to tell this is a high end craft product.  The Launch event was held at Guilt & Co in Gastown which is below street level.  The launch felt a little underground due to its small size (Excuse the pun) but that made it very intimate.  Samples of two different cocktails were being served one using their Vodka and one using their Gin.  The one using Vodka was known as a Lavender Lemonade while the Gin cocktail was known as a Starfish and was almost like a grapefruit creamsicle.  There was also a judged cocktail competition with 4 contestants and 3 judges (Gary Lohin being one of the Gudges).  The winning cocktail was available for samples at the end of the event.

Both these products should be in store soon if it has not already been placed on shelves.  Ask your favourite liquor store to bring it in!  Central City is well known for crafting very exciting beer so it only makes sense that when they stepped into spirits it would be top notch.

Slogan on bottle:  Single Batch, Single Malt

Categories: Tasting Event | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Hoyne Brewing – Wolf Vine Wet Hopped Pale Ale

It is wet hop season, my favourite beer season.  Just across Georgia Straight in Victoria, Hoyne Brewing’s wet hopped offering is their Wolf Vine Wet Hopped Pale Ale.

First, this beer does not pour very pale, more of a copper colour with a tan head.  While not cloudy it is not very clear either, just pleasantly hazy … that isn’t the right word but I can’t come up with a better one.


The nose is full of hops, just what I want from a wet hopped beer.  I get a lot of pine and resin, a little bitter herb and a sweet malt mash aroma to add body to the nose.  For all the hop aromas they are not overwhelming, I don’t get hit in the face with them, they are nicely delicate.

The very first taste is bitter, but it quickly gives way to a clean hay and grass flavour.  There is a nice yeast funk that works its way to the surface of the flavours after a few seconds and brings a nice counter point to the malt.  The malt is subtle under the hop, adding a little balancing sweetness and just a hint of caramel on the finish.  Medium bodied, the carbonation is almost, but not quite, astringent, really waking up the tongue and the palate.

I really wish this one could come out earlier in the year because it would be great on a hot day, it is clean and refreshing.  I could see this paired with goat cheese or pasta in cream sauce.Wolf Vince

Categories: Pale Ale | Leave a comment

Stone Brewing Canadian Launch at Craft Beer Market – Vancouver

Stone Brewing from Escondido California has started a large scale expansion of their distribution. Their beer is being launched in BC and Alberta currently which is their first foray into Canada and to celebrate this Stone and Craft Beer Market held parties in Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary.  This was a very exclusive event and you had to either win to get in or get lucky enough to get and invite.  Luckily for me I was invited at the last minute to the Vancouver event and was able to attend.


Like any event held at Craft Beer Market lots of appetizers were brought around although many of these ones were made using Stone Brewing beer.  Stone brought 15 different beer to these events including the three permanent taps for Craft Beer Market including Stone IPA, Go To IPA and Arrogant Bastard Ale.  All of the beer were amazingly tasty which should surprise no one that is serious about craft beer.  If this was your first exposure to Stone’s beer than I would expect your mind to be blown.

Keep your eyes peeled to your local BC Liquor stores and local private stores for Stones Brewing’s beer to arrive.

Categories: Tasting Event | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Bomber Brewing and Stone Brewing Collaboration Beer

Unless you have had your head in the sand you know that Stone Brewing out of Escondido California is currently launching its beers in BC and Alberta.  One thing that was not made public though was that Stone Brewing would be doing a collaboration with local Vancouver brewery Bomber Brewing.

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I was lucky enough to get invited over to Bomber on October 21st, 2014 to take in the brew day.  Steve Gonzalez small batch manager from Stone Brewing brewed with Blair Calibaba head brewer at Bomber Brewing with help from the Bomber Brewing Crew.  The beer that they created is a Red Rye IPA and the beer looked amazing!  There was a truck load of malt in this brew especially with the added Rye.

Once the beer has fermented and is ready it will be available in both Bombers and on tap at the tasting room and select pubs.  I saw a sample of the label for this collaboration and it looks fantastic!  It brings together Stone Brewing and Bomber Brewing’s styles perfectly.  Keep your eyes peeled for the release date in the not to distant future. From what I understand the beer will be called “Blood From A Stone” but that could change.

On top of the brewing collaboration Bomber brought out their hockey sticks and net.  Bomber brewing was born out of a beer league hockey team and all.  It was time for a few Americans to take their very first shot at hockey.  It was quite humorous.



Categories: India Pale Ale | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Elephant Run IPA – 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 “Elephant Run IPA”.  The beer pours a mildly cloudy copper colour with a white head.  The aroma consists of sweet caramel, citrus and floral hops.  The flavour is of caramel, citrus, mild pine and some mild hops bitterness.  The alcohol content comes in at 6.3% with an IBU of 55.  There is no doubt in my mind that this is an English Style IPA and is probably tailored to the palates of the people of Cranbrook.  I personally prefer a big bitter IPA but I did quite enjoy this none the less.

Commercial Description:  A traditional English Indian Pale Ale that is reminiscent of the beers shipped to India from England in the 1850s. Heavily hopped, with five different American hops. This I.P.A. is dry hopped with leaf/whole cone. This style is driving the world wide resurgence in craft beer.

the heidout restaurant elephant run ipa

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