On January 22, 2017 I attended the Tri-Cities Cask Festival Winter 2017 Pro-Am with my wife and Mike.
This may be my favourite festival going forward. It was well organized, busy but not crowded, full of one-off casks and there were a ton of extras that came with the ticket. Plus I got to debut my drinking horn.
Let me apologize for the lack of pictures, I was having too much fun. You can see Mike’s post for his pictures.
Tickets are $49 and you get 10 tasting tokens, 1 custom burger with beef, chicken or veggie patty and fixings and a poutine with beef, mushroom or butter chicken gravy and fixings. On top of that there was live entertainment, a large, easily accessible water station and good seating.
I know layout isn’t really interesting but I do have to point out that everything was really well laid out. The event was held in a ballroom at the Coquitlam Executive Plaza Hotel and the hallway outside of the ballroom. Inside the ballroom the casks, seating and entertainment were setup, casks in the middle and seating on either end. Out in the hall were the food stations along one wall and a huge water station on the other wall. This allowed people to circulate so well and water was always easily available. I never waited more than a minute for a sample and all of the people manning the casks could chat for a moment because there weren’t huge lines.
The “Pro-Am” part of the event title stands for “Professional-Amateur” so there were homebrew clubs with casks to show off, including the Cow Town Yeast Wranglers who brought an Anise casked beer which was my favourite of the day. Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s Brewing program brought two beers, one brewed by students the other by their instructors. This really added some fun to the event and ensured there were new beers I had never tried.
OK, OK, this is brewed by Kirin, a macro, but bear with me on this. Two points can be made in favour of this beer being “craft”. One, macro brewers in Japan work a little differently than they do here in North America. While they do have an overarching national brand that encompasses a standard macro lager they also have small batch, carefully brewed beers for limited, seasonal, regional or event release, often with interesting ingredients or recipes that have been painstakingly created. Check out Mike’s review of the Sapporo Oyster Black for one of Sapporo Brewing’s offering. Two, this particular beer is a release for the Arashiyama Station Beer Garden in North West Kyoto, a local festival. Only available at the festival this beer really is created to match both the hot, humid weather of Kyoto in August and Japanese festival street food.
A slightly cloudy dark hay yellow with big, coarse carbonation bubbles. The head is snow white with much finer bubbles and pretty good staying power.
The nose is grainy with a light sake tinge and that beery lager scent.
Such a good summer beer with good flavour, there are lots of grass and hay notes with a round malted barley flavour to add body. A touch of sourness at the first sip gives way to a light bubblegum note. A nice, clean finish with a long lingering malt note finish off the sip. Good, rough carbonation tingles on the tongue while the mouthfeel is pleasantly light.
Best drunk on a hot summer day, possibly with tempura or dango.
Side note: if any of our readers can read Japanese I would love to know what the can actually says, I can only muddle through a few pleasantries and read a few Kanji.
Foamer’s Folly Brewing in Pitt Meadows, BC gives us their Middle Man Marzen.
The beer is a deep red-amber, very clear with light carbonation bubbles visible. The head is light tan and dense.
The nose is heavy on malt with that distinct German “beer-y” smell of mashed grains with a slight boozy backbone. No hops are detectable on the nose but the malt aromas are deep and inviting.
Hops are much more distinct on the first sip with an herbaceous, celery bitterness pairing against subtly sweet malt and toasted biscuit flavours. The hop flavours hang on forever while the malt fades fairly quickly.
Crisp and fresh this makes a good sipper. The hops linger too long to session this Marzen but with a good bratwurst or salty pretzel this would be perfect.
From Pitt Meadow’s, BC’s Foamer’s Folly Brewing Company comes their Red Barn Fresh Hopped IPA (growler fill).
Red Barn pours a deep copper with little carbonation showing. The head is off white and thick, though it dissipates quickly.
The nose is full of astringent hay notes and grassiness. The malt underneath adds a nice, balancing caramel sweetness to the aromas and it plays nicely with the grapefruit hop notes at the end of the nose.
Surprisingly malty for an IPA the hops are still foremost on the tongue. An herbaceous bitterness leads over top of a caramel backbone from the malt. The bitterness holds for a long time on the finish while grassy notes come out around the middle of the sip. The finish is a bit boozy with good alcohol warmth.
Overall the fresh hop notes are well displayed without sacrificing balance and drinkability.