Drink Smarter (Education Through Consumption)


Do you want to learn more about beer?  Do you want to do a guided personal or corporate tasting?

Vancouver now has a way to do this in Drink Smarter.

Paul Pyne is a certified Cicerone and a craft beer consultant.  Not only is he a Cicerone but he is also an Industry Professional and an Instructor in craft beer courses.

If you are wanting to get into craft beer he can do a guided tasting of some good entry level beers.  He can also do very specialized tastings be it to a certain style, Country or Theme.  These tastings are not limited to private events either you can also have these tasting for your company.  Recently I was invited out to a specialized tasting with a few of my industry counterparts.  Seeing as we are not just your average consumer Paul set us up with some seriously cool beers.

I have lost my notes of the beers we tasted but the following are what we tried.

Gulden Draak – 2016 Limited Edition Aged in Whisky Barrels 03/2016.
Brekeriet – Sourley Wine (Sour Barley Wine)
Hornbeer – Caribbean Rumstout
Straffe Hendrik – Heritage 2015 Quadrupel a Armagnac Oak Aged Ale
Le Trou du Diable – L’Ours

This was one of the best tastings I have every been to.  The beers were amazing and Paul had done a tone of research about the breweries and the beers themselves.  I would highly recommend checking out one of this tastings or hiring him for a private tasting and education session. 

http://www.drinksmarter.ca

paul@drinksmarter.ca

https://www.facebook.com/DrinkSmarter.ca/

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Vancouver Craft Beer Week Festival – June 4th, 2017


Every year I hope to make it to more Vancouver Craft Beer Week events and every year my schedule gets stupid right at that time.  This year I finally made it out to the big festival at the historic PNE Fairgrounds on the second day day on Sunday June 4th, 2047.  This was the final day of Craft Beer Week and was a festival of epic scale covering a massive area in the PNE grounds.

The festival ran from 1pm to 6pm and hosted 100 craft breweries and cideries with over 300+ beer and cider being poured.  For the full list of breweries click here.  The tickets were a great value at $39.99 and included 2 drink tokens.  More could be purchased for a $1.5 each.  Breweries came from not only Canada but also from around the United States and I think there were some from around the world also.

The festival hosted live music also as well as a bunch of food truck options, art installations, market stalls, brewing demonstrations and a game area and barber shop.

With the festival being so spread out it never felt overly busy on the Sunday and I never had to wait more than a minute or two to get a sample of beer.  I had to leave early so I don’t know if it was this the entire time but I really enjoyed the fact that I could just walk up and get a sample of any beer I wanted without waiting forever in line.  I think VCBW might be onto something with this festival and I am glad that I was finally able to make it out to the PNE festival.  I would always recommend going to as many events during VCBW as you can but I know not everyone is made of money.  If you can only make it to one event you would not be doing yourself a disservice going to this one.  Tons of different beers to try with some of the latest breweries that have opened in BC as well as breweries from out of town you may or may not have had the chance to try.

If you have not made it out to VCBW yet then you need to head to their website and bookmark it for next year!

http://vancouvercraftbeerweek.com/

Fest-Of-Ale Beer Judging 2017 – Penticton


This was the fourth year that I was asked be a judge at the Okanagan Fest-Of-Ale in Penticton.  Once again the judging was held on day two of the festival on April 8th this year.  We had gone from 10 to 14 categories in the last two years but they scaled it back to 12 this year.  Those categories were Pilsner/Golden Lager, Pale Ale, Wheat Ale, Saison, Amber/Dark Ale, IPA, Specialty IPA, Dark Lager, Stout/Porter, Sour, Cider and Fruit Beer.  Once again we had 9 judges broken up into three groups of three.  The categories were broken up between the three groups in a way that everyone judged around the same amount of beer.  We were tasked with picking our favourite beer in each category that we were responsible for.  From there the groups were asked to pick their top two beer from those winners.  This gave us the top 6 beers for the entire group to deliberate over for the best of show.  I think this gets even more contentious every year and the discussions become arguments but we get down to a winner in the end.  The following photos of the Judges come from Kim of DogLeg marketing.

Meet The Judges

Chelsea – Brewtiful BC, Jeremy – Craft Beer Vancouver, Jan Zeschky – Beer writer

Rebecca Whyman – Beernesday.com, Rob Mangelsdorf – The Growler, Joe Wiebe – Author

Wade Dhooge – Cask & Barrel, Me, Jason Van Rassel – Daily Beer

Every year this panel is done by blind tasting with all samples poured by a team and handed out to each judge.  We do not judge to the full standards of the BJCP but only pick what each of the three judges in a group likes best then deliberate which of those should be our choices for number one.  Like I said above once we had decided which of the beers were the winners in our categories we had to choose our top two.  We had some pretty good discussions and disagreements about what beer should go on to the full judge panel.  Wow was there ever some serious disagreement this year when we came together as a group of nine to pick the best of show.  We started out with a very civil conversation where we discussed if the winner should be an approachable beer for the masses or what we thought was the most technically interesting beer.  Just this simple part of the conversation was a contentious one.  I don’t know if this was the most contentious judge panel that I have been a part of or not but this was definitely the one that had the most swings in our voting.  There was absolutely two different camps when it came to which beer should win.  The funny part is that the winner in the end was an underdog.  It wasn’t until one person voting against the winner said something that swayed the balance to the winning IPA.  I am really happy that I was able to come out on the right side of this vote in the end but it was close.  The judging once again started at 10am (Its a hard job but someone has to do it) and it went on for quite some time.

Once we had made all of our decisions about best beer of every category and best of show we were given the names of all of the winners we had chosen.

Best in Class, Judges’ Choice Awards:

Pilsner/Golden Lager Pixel Pils – Fuggles & Warlock, Richmond, BC
Pale Ale Dusk Pale Ale – Parkside Brewery, Port Moody, BC
Wheat Ale Summer Ale, Witbier – Steamworks Brewing, Burnaby, BC
Saison Sirens Chai Saison – Britannia Brewing, Richmond, BC
Amber/Dark Ale Brave Liver Scotch Ale – Mt. Begbie Brewing, Revelstoke, BC
IPA Street Legal IPA – Twin Sails Brewing, Port Moody, BC
Specialty IPA High Five Hazy IPA – Yellow Dog Brewing, Port Moody, BC
Dark Lager Dark Lager – Steel & Oak Brewing, New Westminster, BC
Stout/Porter Dry Irish Stout – Ravens Brewing, Abbotsford, BC
Sour Nectarous – Four Winds Brewing, Delta, BC
Cider Pippin’s Fate – Twisted Hills Craft Cider, Cawston, BC
Fruit Beer Park Life Passionfruit Ale – Bomber Brewing, Vancouver, BC

The People’s Choice Awards, voted for by guests at the event:

Best Beer                                                 Old Style Lager – Red Arrow Brewing, Duncan, BC
Best Cider                                                Pears & Peaches – BC Tree Fruits Cider, Kelowna, BC
Best Food                                                Brodo Kitchen, Penticton, BC

Best in Show, Judges’ Choice Award:      

High Five Hazy IPA – Yellow Dog Brewing, Port Moody, BC

This was once again an amazing judging session at the Okanagan Fest-Of-Ale.  To check out the post on the festival itself click here.  Here are some of the photos of the group of judges and our amazing group that set up the juding and poured our samples.

Here are the photos from the Awards ceremony that was held in the main hall of the festival a few hours after we had finished the judging session.

Fest-Of-Ale 2017 – Penticton


April has come again and one of my favourite beer festivals has come and passed.  This was the 22 annual Fest-Of-Ale in Penticton.  This years festival was held on April 7-8th 2017 (Friday and Saturday).  This festival is held at the Penticton Trade and Concention Centre and is comprised of a large indoor area and a small outdoor section.  Both areas have live music as well as food options.

This festival continues to grow every year.  This year had an extra 15 breweries bringing it up to 65 and and a total of 6 bringing it up to 71 cider and beer producers.

This year the list included:

4 Mile Brewing Co.
Bad Tattoo Brewing Co
Banff Ave Brewing Co.
Barley Mill Brew Pub
BC Brew Co. and Distilling  – New
BC Tree Fruits Cider
Beau’s All Natural Brewing
BNA Brewing Co
Bomber Brewing
Boundary Brewing Company  – New
Bridge Brewing
Britannia Brewing  – New
Cannery Brewing Co.
Canuck Empire Brewing
Category 12 Brewing
Coal Harbour Brewing
Coronado Brewing Company
Crannog Ales
CrossRoads Brewing  – New
Dead Frog
Detonate Brewing
Doan’s Craft Brewing Company  – New
Dominion Cider Co
Dogwood Brewing – New
Double Mountain
Fernie Brewing Co.
Field House Brewing Co.  New
Firehall Brewery
Foamers’ Folly Brewing Co.  New
Four Winds Brewing
Fuggles & Warlock Craftworks  – New
Glutenberg
Hearthstone Brewery
Highway 97 Brewing Company Ltd
Howe Sound Brewing
Howling Moon Craft Cider
Hoyne Brewing Co.
Kettle River Brewing Company  – New
Lighthouse Brewing Company
Longwood Brewery
Marten Brewing Co.
McClelland Premium Imports
Moody Ales
Moon Under Water
Mt Begbie Brewing Co.
Naramata Cider Co.  New
NOMAD Cider – New
Orchard Hill Estate Cidery Ltd.
Parallel 49 Brewing
Persephone Brewing Co.
Phillips Brewing & Malting Co
R&B Brewing Co
Ravens Brewing Company
Red Arrow Brewing Company  – New
Red Collar Brewing Co
Red Racer
Red Truck Beer Company
Spinnakers Brewpub
Steamworks Brewing
Steel & Oak Brewing Co.
Strange Fellows Brewing  – New
Summerland Heritage Cider Co.
The Parkside Brewery  – New
The Tin Whistle Brewery
Torchlight Brewing
Tree Brewing Co.
Twin Sails Brewing  – New
Twisted Hills Craft Cider
Victoria Caledonian Brewery  – New
Whistler Brewing
Yellow Dog Brewing

This year there were more than 175 craft beers being poured over the Friday and Saturday with over 5000 people in attendance.  Once again this was an amazing festival with great beer and lots of great people!  Here are some of the beer and food that I tried while at the fest.

This year I spent more time working on episodes of Pacific Beer Chat than I did taking photos for the blog.

Episode 12 Found us talking with Crannóg Ales out of Sorrento.   Website, Google Play Music, iTunes, Stitcher.

Episode 13 Part 1 found us talking with a selection of breweries as seen below.  Website, Google Play Music, iTunes, Stitcher.

Cannery Brewing, Detonate Brewing, Bomber Brewing, Steel & Oak Brewing, Untapped Craft Imports, BNA Brewing, Kettle River Brewing and Torchlight Brewing.

Episode 14 Part 2 found us talking with a selection of breweries as seen below.  Monday May 1, 2017

R&B Brewing, Crossroads Brewing, Tin Whistle Brewing, Marten Brewpub and Yellow Dog Brewing.

Like every year this was an amazing event.  There are a ton of people but you never have to wait in line long for a beer.  So many beer festivals get so crowded that you almost need two samples glasses to make it to the front of the line.  In the years that I have attended this has never been an issue.

This festival has become one of my absolute favorites every year.  Most of the best breweries come to this festival every year and the people really love that fact!  This year there were so many new beers to boot!  It may not have been requested but this year so many breweries brought out North East Style IPA’s the super cloudy and juicy beers.  These beers are all the rage right now and I am very happy that this is the case.

The first day of the festival I really explored the beers that the festival had to offer as I usually do.  This year though the weather was very bad on the way to Penticton and you could pick out the people like me that took the Coquihalla Highway and the Okanagan Connector as were were still stressed out and drank a bit to much because of it.  On Day 2 I was once again one of the as they put it Industry Expert judges for the best beers of the festival.  After Juding beer from 10am on Saturday I decided like normal that the second day of the festival was far more about the food than the beer.  Luckily for me the food was amazing!

If I remember correctly on Saturday around 3pm all of the judges made their way to the Main Stage for the awards ceremony.  Here are the winners from this years festival.

The Awards were distributed as follows:
Best in Show, Judges’ Choice Award:
High Five Hazy IPA – Yellow Dog Brewing, Port Moody, BC

Best in Class, Judges’ Choice Awards:
Pilsner/Golden Lager Pixel Pils – Fuggles & Warlock, Richmond, BC
Pale Ale Dusk Pale Ale – Parkside Brewery, Port Moody, BC
Wheat Ale Summer Ale, Witbier – Steamworks Brewing, Burnaby, BC
Saison Sirens Chai Saison – Britannia Brewing, Richmond, BC
Amber/Dark Ale Brave Liver Scotch Ale – Mt. Begbie Brewing, Revelstoke, BC
IPA Street Legal IPA – Twin Sails Brewing, Port Moody, BC
Specialty IPA High Five Hazy IPA – Yellow Dog Brewing, Port Moody, BC
Dark Lager Dark Lager – Steel & Oak Brewing, New Westminster, BC
Stout/Porter Dry Irish Stout – Ravens Brewing, Abbotsford, BC
Sour Nectarous – Four Winds Brewing, Delta, BC
Cider Pippin’s Fate – Twisted Hills Craft Cider, Cawston, BC
Fruit Beer Park Life Passionfruit Ale – Bomber Brewing, Vancouver, BC

The People’s Choice Awards, voted for by guests at the event:
Best Beer Old Style Lager – Red Arrow Brewing, Duncan, BC
Best Cider Pears & Peaches – BC Tree Fruits Cider, Kelowna, BC
Best Food Brodo Kitchen, Penticton, BC

When it comes right down to it if you can only make it to one beer festival in British Columbia in a year then the Okagnagan Fest-Of-Ale is that one festival.  They also have an amazing pop up liquor store to boot!

Beer League Bash (3rd Annual) – Vancouver


On March 11, 2017 Bomber Brewing hosted the Third Annual Beer League Bash at Britannia Community Rink in East Vancouver.  The event ran from 4-10pm and cost $25 a ticket which got you three beer tickets.  More sample tickets could be purchased for $1.25 or for donated hockey gear.

From Bomber Brewing:  100% of the proceeds go to support Britannia After School Hockey. This great youth program gives kids, that normally would not have the opportunity to play hockey, a chance to play. BASH supplies all of their gear and provides coaches/mentors to help develop not just hockey, but life skills. Through this event, the local craft brewery community has helped to raise close to $5000 a year in cash and donated gear to support this program. Come out and enjoy some great beer and some mediocre hockey and help us surpass that level this year.

From me:  This event helps support an amazing program that helps kids be part of a team and learn life skills in a sport that is usually very cost prohibitive. I wanted to play as a child but my family could not afford it. This BASH program helps keep kids occupied with life lessons and a fun sport so that they do not end up getting in trouble with gangs and drugs. Or at least gives them a fighting chance. East Vancouver is traditionally not as well off as other areas of Metro Vancouver and the kids really need programs such as this. Supporting this event and the BASH program itself is enriching children’s lives and I am all for that!  

This fundraiser consists of a beer league hockey tournament and a beer festival.  Starting with the beer festival in the stands.

The breweries that came to support the BASH were as follows:  Bomber Brewing, Central City, Moody Ales, Parallel 49, Main Street, Powell Brewery, Yellow Dog, Steamworks, Bridge, Steel & Oak, Red Truck, Callister, Strange Fellows, Doans and Luppolo Brewing.

 

I really appreciated that some of the breweries brought out beer that was brand new or fairly new to try as this event does seem to bring out the industry and not just the average beer drinker.  Without the hockey though this is just anouther beer event.  The best of the festival for me was the new release from Bomber called The Code a beer that tied into the hockey movie Goon Last of the Enforcers.  While no goons are aloud in beer league hockey the Goon does have a place in many Canadians hearts. 

Now that I mentioned hockey again here are some photos from the hockey itself.  There were 4 teams this year in the Beer League Bash.  The teams included Bomber Brewing, Parallel 49 Brewing, Craft Beer All-Stars and the Suburban All Stars.  The Craft Beer All-Stars were made up of Vancouver breweries staf while the Suburban All Stars were made up of staff from the Vancouver Suburbs. They held a round robin tournament with music between plays, goal horns and everything.

This was beer league hockey and there was definitely mistakes but it sure made for some exciting goals.  For the first time in the 3 years this event had the correct finish with Bomber Brewing winning the big trophy!

I would be remiss to share some of the videos of the actual games.

Its not a win without the skate with the trophy!

I was sad to miss the second anual event but this year was a blast!  Being a huge hockey fan and beer fan this manages to bring so much good together and it is for a good cause to help get kids off the street!  If you did not make it to this event make sure you make it out next year!