Mandarin & Hops Get Fresh (WinterGlow IPA Launch) – Stanley Park Brewing


Stanley Park Brewing has launched their latest beer in the WinterGlow IPA.  For the launch they held an event at the Stanley Park Pavilion inside Stanley Park.

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The event started at 6:30pm where they started us off with a bottle of WinterGlow.  For the first half hour we were treated to WinterGlow and a few other beers and a sample or two of a duck canape.

The WinterGlow IPA pours a golden colour with an off white head.  The aroma consists of biscuit malts, mild hops and a hint of mandarin ornages.  The flavour is of Biscuit malts, mandarin orange rind, mild mandarin orange, citrus and hops bitterness.  The alcohol content comes in at 6.4% with an IBU of 55.  Don’t let the Mandarin oranges scare you as they add a nice note of orange while the IPA characteristics rule the day.

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Once the welcome tasting was done everyone was welcomed into the dining hall.  Once everyone was seated we were treated to a family style beer dinner.  Share plates of each dish were set out on the table.  The dinner started with with two salads then followed with 5 entrees and one dessert.

Salad Courses

Watermelon Salad
Kalamata olives, pickled onion, mint, arugulaPaired with Noble Pislner

Broccoli & Grape Slaw
Cheddar, sour cream dressing
Paired with WinterGlow IPA

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The Watermelon Salad and the Pilsner both were very light and refreshing.  The mild hops in the pilsner are a nice accent to the flavour of the salad.  The WinterGlow IPA had a nice earthiness that worked with the Broccoli Slaw but the hops bitterness was a bit of a off putting for the pairing.  The Pilsner seemed to be a better pairing for the group I was sitting with.

Once the salad course was done the entrees started to come.

BBQ Chicken Legs
burnt & sticky
Paired with Windstorm Pale Ale

Steelhead En Papillote
SPB Mandarin IPA, bergamot, lemon, dill
Paired with WinterGlow IPA

Roasted Baby Potatoes
sea salt, olive oil
Paired with Foghorn IBA

Ratatouille
Paired with Noble Pilsner

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Starting with the Chicken Leg the flavour was awesome!  The chicken was sweet and sticky and I found the Windstorm kind of got lost in the sweetness.  The WinterGlow on the other hand was a great pairing with the mandarin orange and the hops bitterness both complimenting the meat.  The Steelhead was tasty but mild.  The IPA was a bold pairing for a mild fish but it worked.  The Roasted Potatoes were the best pairing of all 4 entrees.  The root vegetable pairs amazingly with an earth beer like the Foghorn.  The final of the 4 was the Ratatouille that had a mild peppery note to the beer.  The mild hops bitterness helps to accentuate the pepper in the food.

Dessert


Grapefruit Pana Cotta
pistachio crumble
Paired with Windtorm Pale Ale

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The big grapefruit citrus in the dessert really matched up with the fruitiness of the Pale Ale.  I don’t usually get overly excited about desserts but this one was super tasty!

Stanley Park Brewing really knows how to throw a party!  I look forward to the next launch party they hold.  But until then make sure to pick up some of the WinterGlow IPA as it is quite tasty!

Red Racer Maple Bacon Ale Launch Event – The Pint Vancouver


For the second year in a row Central City Brewers & Distillers have collaborated with the Vancouver radio station 99.3 CFOX to bring us the ultimate breakfast beer the “Maple Bacon Ale”.  The launch party was on April 28th, 2015 and was held at The Pint in Downtown Vancouver.

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The Pint is lucky that it has a large downstairs portion of the venue so they can hold large private parties like this one.  The launch party was reserved for people that won the chance to attend on 99.3 CFOX’s Jeff O’Neil Show and for local beer media.

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Everyone that attended the event was given two drink tickets that were to go towards sampling the Maple Bacon Ale.  Just to sweeten the deal Central City Brewers & Distillers had arranged a breakfast buffet with the Pint that included both bacon and pancakes to put maple syrup. Why not drink a beer called a Maple Bacon Ale with both maple syrup and bacon?

The beer seemed to be quite the hit as they ended up running out of the beer and had to start serving the Red Racer IPA instead (For those that didn’t realize that is a Central City Brewers & Distillers brand).

But the real question is what did the beer taste like?

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The Maple Bacon Ale is an Amber Ale and poured an amber colour with a tan head.  The aroma consisted of caramel malts and a mild maple finish.  The flavour was of caramel, mild maple with some very mild smoke and a hint of citrus.  Last years batch was to smoky and maple filled for many CFOX fans so this edition was toned down quite a bit.  I found that it still was an enjoyable beer although it really has nothing that resembles bacon and has almost no maple flavour.  Just a side note this beer is vegan friendly as their is no actual meat in it!  The alcohol content comes in at 5%.  I seriously preferred last years edition but this is still well worth the purchase.

Full sized photos can be found here

Here is a link to last years edition.

The Beer Formerly Known as Detective Saison Launch Event – Central City Brewers & Distillers


Recently I was sent an invite to a new secretive launch event to a new exciting line of beers coming from Central City Brewers & Distillers.

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Then came the press release we unleashed on the masses (excerpt to follow):

“Surrey, B.C. – Central City Brewers + Distillers has unveiled a bold new mythical world filled with full-bodied drama and malty mystery for the launch of a series of character-based beers. A complete departure from the Central City brand that many have come to know, the new Central City world tells a tale of a post-industrial, mythical metropolis port town.

Central City is a once-rich township of honest, blue-collar citizens who are now governed by institutions run by old power and old money.

In a city where corruption and crime rule all, justice is brewing…

Detective Saison is the first character-based beer to be introduced, amidst the dirt and weeds sullying the streets of Central City. A breath of fresh air to the city’s moral compass, Detective Saison is a smooth, dry, classic French Saison-style wheat ale, balanced with a fine malt character and a spicy attitude with the added complexity of pink peppercorns. A witty intellect, Detective Saison has an iron constitution about right and wrong and her pursuit of truth and justice is unrelenting.”

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Something very unfortunate came up 5 hours before the launch event though for Central City Brewers & Distillers.  It came to light through twitter that the new company they have hired to produce the new labels for this series had plagiarized (and not lightly either). Its safe to say they are no longer in the employ of Central City.

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Click here for a story from the Surrey Now Newspaper.

Now everyone in the Vancouver and BC beer scene know that Central City Brewers & Distillers are a company of high moral standards and would never knowingly release anything plagiarized.  This put them in a tough position for their launch party in 5 hours though.  They had costumes and skits already planned to help launch this brand new character line of beer.  To their credit not only did the show go on but they dropped all the bells and whistles and held the launch party for a now temporarily unnamed Saison and their new Dry Hopped Cider.  This had to be extremely hard for them as its hard to sell a new product line while not being able to name it.  So because of this I present you with the “The Beer Formerly Known as Detective Saison” (yes I am borrowing from Prince and I don’t care and I don’t even like him).
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The “The Beer Formerly Known as Detective Saison” pours a light golden colour with a fluffy white head.  The aroma consists of wheat, yeast, grainy malts, fruit and sweetness.  The flavour was of citrus, wheat, grain, yeast, spices with a nice crisp finish.  The beer comes in at an alcohol content of 6%.

The ingredients included water, malted barley, malted wheat, hops, pink peppercorns, yeast.

Sadly for everyone involved on the brewery side the first batch of bottles was released to stores for the launch and could not easily be recalled.  To the consumer it was great to get a bottle of this beer right off the bat so not only could I review it but I could document the happenings.  Below is the actual photo of the bottle.

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Also launched at this event was their brand new and first Cider the “Hopping Mad Dry Hopped Apple Cider”.

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With all that has transpired I can not think of a better name for their inaugural cider.  One thing that caught me off guard with this cider was that I actually liked it!  I am not a fan of cider and had not had a cider to this point that I would willingly drink.  Being a launch though I had to do my due diligence.  This is one tasty cider and I will be recommending it to all my cider drinking friends to be sure!

Lets get onto the party.  Here are a few of the photos from the party portion of the event.  I tried to take most of my photos with very few people in them.  The room was very full!

After a few speeches one from Gary and one from Tim Barnes led into tours of the brewery.  The group was broken up into two separate entities as there were way to many people to take on just one tour of the brewery.  The tours were led by Gary Lohin the Brewmaster extraordinaire (yes I went there).  I have had a tour before but I was not given a tour that included their sour barrel room and their whiskey aging room (Click here to see my first visit to this location).  The brewery has also really grown since their grand opening party.  It is amazing an a testament to the growth of BC craft beer!

It may not have been the smoothest launch of all time but it is bound to happen to a company now and then.  The bigger you get the harder it is to keep above board with all the legalities of business.  This may have been a rough growing pain for Central City Brewers & Distillers but they have created a new interesting beer universe with what seems to be intriguing new characters (snags and all).  I hope you are all as excited as I am to see what is in store for this new beer line.  Run out to your local beer store now to ensure you get a bottle from this initial release.

Full sized photos can be found here.

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.

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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.

Full sized photos can be found here

NEW BELGIUM INDUSTRY PARTY (BC Launch Party) – Vancouver BC – August 27, 2013


The distributor Beerthirst has been hard at work recently bringing all kinds of great beer into British Columbia and Canada in general.  Their newest brand to come into the fold is really exciting!  It was announced on July 16th that New Belgium Brewing was coming to BC debuting at the Great Canadian Beer Festival in Victoria on September 6th, 2013 and then hitting the stores soon after.

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To help spread the word of the impending launch of this brand Beerthirst held an industry party for people in the beer industry and local bloggers.  The launch party happened on August 27th, 2013.  The following excerpt came from the invite email and sums it up perfectly.

“It’s finally here! New Belgium Brewing has begun peddling their way into Beautiful British Columbia! But before they roll into the market, we want to familiarize all you wonderful people in the industry with the New Belgium offerings, by putting on a fun and interactive night.” (Beerthirst)

The event was held at the Uber Lounge at Steamworks Brewpub from 5pm until 10pm.  The whole crew from Beerthirst was there as well as a few reps from New Belgium Brewing including Mat Robertson (The Oregon Beer Ranger).  Right inside the doors there was pints of Fat Tire Amber Ale and Ranger IPA being poured.  Both amazing beer with lots of flavour.  Quickly great little appies were served including veggie springrolls, flatbread, meatballs, quinoa burgers and other great snacks.  Wandering into the Uber Lounge proper we were greeted by two amazing Lips of Faith series brews.  First was the Heavenly Feijoa Tripel (collaboration with Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel) and the Pluot.  If you have not had the pleasure of trying any of the Lips of Faith series beers yet you should expect a sour or wild ale.

There were all kinds of familiar faces including people from local breweries, liquor stores, bloggers, Camra executives and other local craft beer enthusiasts.  We all talked about the beer being served discussing what we tasted and what ones were our favourites.  One thing everyone agreed on was that they were very excited that these amazing brews were finally on their way to BC and we didn’t have to drive to Bellingham to get them anymore.  Here are some photos of all the great people!

Having already done a review of Fat Tire I will write review of the other three beers at the event and link them back to this post as soon as I can.  I will say that between this  event and beers I have picked up in the US over the years that every beer geek out there should be very excited about this launch and should stock all your local liquor stores facebook, twitter and websites and while your at it do the same with Beerthirst!  Just to prove that New Belgium is just as excited to finally bring their beer outside of the United States they have done a commemorative label for the first batch of Fat Tire coming to Canada!

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I would like to thank Beerthirst for inviting me to this event as well as all the other great people that were there that night who made it a fun, informative and super social event!  I would also like to thank New Belgium Brewing for not only sending their beers to BC but for sending up a few friendly, knowledgeable staff members to spead the gospel of Bew Belgium.  I look forward to finding all your great brews in Local Metro Vancouver stores!

Beerthirst
http://www.beerthirst.com/our-brands/

New Belgium Brewing
http://www.newbelgium.com
500 Linden Street
Fort Collins, CO 80524
(970) 221-0524