Spring Sessional Cask Festival – The Portside Pub

May 4th, 2013 was the day Vancouver had its First Sessional cask festival.  The festival was held at The Portside Pub in Vancouver’s Gastown neighborhood and was presented by The Portside Pub and Camera Vancouver.

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The twist on this cask festival was that the breweries had to brew their beers to a “sessional” standard of an alcohol content of 4.5% or lower.  On arrival all in attendance were given a 4 ounce branded glass and three drink tickets with more being available for a low price of $1.25.  One really cool part of this event is that 3 new breweries that are not even opening for a few more months participated in the event (Bomber Brewing, Deep Cove Brewers & Distillers and Four Winds Brewing).  As far as I know this was the first cask event held at the portside pub and it went off pretty well with it being packed with a ton of friendly, fun people that all love great beer (correct me if I am wrong).   Casks were located on both the top and bottom level of the pub at both bar locations.  It was really warm in the pub and some of the casks could have been colder but it was a great atmosphere.   Jonny and Nick of YVR Beer Tweetup were also on hand getting the social media side of things going for the event.

The Brew List

Four Winds Brewing -Featherweight Session IPA 4.5%
Deep Cove Brewers & Distillers – Deep Cove Scotch Ale 4.2%
Bridge Brewing – Bridge Brewing Kolsch 4.5% Keg
Central City Brewers & Distillers – Vanilla Bean & Espresso Stout 4.2%
Russell Brewing – Dry Irish Stout 4.5%
Granville Island Brewing – Bitter 3.8%
Coal Harbour Brewing – Blood Orange Witbier 4.2%
Red Truck Brewing – Kellerbier 4.5%
Camra Vancouver & Parallel 49 Brewing – Dark Mild 2.1% Camra memebers only
Bomber Brewing – Scottish 70 Shilling 4.5%
Bomber Brewing – The Baffler Best Bitter 4.2%
Howe Sound Brewing – Orange Ginger Wheat Beer 4.2%
Steamworks Brewing – Golden Ale 4.2%
Steamworks Brewing – Ordianry Bitter 4.5%
Big Ridge Brewing – English Pale Ale 4.5%
R&B Brewing – Snakebite Cider 4.3%
Parallel 49 Brewing – Cherry Berliner Wiesse 4.0% keg
McLelland Imports – Stiegl Radler 2.5% keg
McLelland Imports – Fruli 4.5% keg
Yaletown Brewing – Nagila Pale Ale (Late entry)

All beer indicated in red are the beer that I sampled at the event.  The other casks ran out before I was able to sample them.  This was a great event that was a lot of fun to attend.  Most leaving the event left to go drink more beer as they were still feeling like they could use some more alcohol in their system.  I would say for the most part this event was a success.  It does show a bit though that our amazing brewmasters are very competent at brewing high alcohol beers that we love to consume but they have not mastered the art of a sessional ale.  Many beer felt a little to thin and light on the flavour.  I personally challenge the brewmasters in Vancouver to outdo this years performance next year at what I would expect to be an annual event.

My notes on the Casks/Kegs that I was able to try.

Four Winds Brewing – Featherweight Session IPA 4.5%
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Appearance – Copper, off white head
Aroma – malty, citrus, mild pine
Flavour – malty, citrus, lemony, pine

Deep Cove Brewers & Distillers – Deep Cove Scotch Ale 4.2%
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Flavour – nice scotch ale flavour with decent hops for session ale

Bridge Brewing – Bridge Brewing Kolsch 4.5%
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Appearance – cloudy yellow
Aroma – Biscuit malts
Flavour – Biscuit malts, citrus, sweet, mild hops bite

Central City Brewers & Distillers – Vanilla Bean & Espresso Oatmeal Stout 4.2%
Appearance – deep black with a brown head
Aroma – coffee, roasted malts, vanilla
Flavour – espresso, coffee bitterness, roasted malts, vanilla, oatmeal, very thin

Coal Harbour Brewing – Blood Orange Witbier 4.2%
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Appearance – cloudy yellow,
Aroma – orange, wheat
Flavour – orange, yeasty, wheat, lemon, tasty

Camra Vancouver & Parallel 49 Brewing – Dark Mild 2.1%
Appearance – Black/brown
Aroma – fruity, sugar
Flavour – mild coffee, malts, fruit, sugar

Bomber Brewing – Scottish 70 Shilling 4.5%
Appearance – dark amber
Aroma – very fruity, bananas
Flavour – fruity, banaana, mild bitterness, very low carbonation

Bomber Brewing – The Baffler Best Bitter 4.2%
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Appearance – deep copper, cloudy off white head
Aroma – citrus
Flavour – citrus, pine

Howe Sound Brewing – Orange Ginger Wheat Beer 4.2%
Appearance – Cloudy orange
Aroma – orange, ginger, wheat
Flavour – orange, ginger, wheat, mild bitterness

Steamworks Brewing – Golden Ale 4.2%
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Appearance – Golden
Aroma – malty, citrus
Flavour – very mild malty and citrus

Big Ridge Brewing – English Pale Ale 4.5%
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Appearance – cloudy golden
Aroma – Mild malts and citrus
Flavour – malty, citrus, mild bitterness

Parallel 49 Brewing – Cherry Berliner Wiesse 4.0%
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Appearance – peach colour with white head
Aroma – sour cherry, lemon, wheat
Flavour – sour cherry, lemon, wheat, very light

McLelland Imports – Stiegl Radler 2.5% (mix of Stiegl Goldrau and Grapefruit soda)
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Appearance – cloudy light yellow
Aroma – sweet pop, grapefruit, citrus
Flavour – mild beer flavour, citurs, grapfruit, pop, tasty

My Winner of the night was a tie

Central City Brewers & Distillers – Vanilla Bean & Espresso Oatmeal Stout

and

Parallel 49 Brewing – Cherry Berliner Wiesse
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Best of Show as per certified beer judges at event and peoples choice award

Bomber Brewing – The Baffler Best Bitter
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Thanks to Camra Vancouver and The Portsite Pub for holding this great event.  Thanks to all the new and existing breweries locally for trying something they are not accustomed to doing for the good of the local beer community!  We all appreciate it!  Now until next year lets get back to our Imperial Ales and stop playing around.

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