Great Canadian Beer Festival 2015 – Victoria BC – September 12th


After missing last years Great Canadian Beer Festival it looked like a good time to reacquaint myself with the largest Beer Festival on Vancouver Island (and one of the largest in BC).   Like every year the festival was a two day event with a Friday that ran from 3pm-8pm and the Saturday Noon-5pm and was held at the Royal Athletic Park in Victoria.  Much like last time I was not able to make it out to the Friday event and only the Saturday because of work and bad/late planning on my part.  Tickets ran at $40 per day and you got a pamphlet with all of the breweries and beers available and a beer glass.  Beer tokens came in at a fairly average BC price of $1.5 which got you a 4oz pour of beer.

GCBF2015-poster

This years festival has reverted back to Canadian only Breweries with the vast majority being from British Columbia.  I personally like to bring in American breweries because its a good way to compare our brews to some of the most renowned in the world (but that’s just me).  There were still a ton of breweries at the festival with a total of 62.

The breweries in attendance:

33 Acres, Bad Tattoo, Barkerville, Big Rock(AB, BC), Bomber, Brasseurs Sans Gluten, Bridge Brewing, Cannery Brewing, Canoe Brewpub, Category 12, Central City Brewers & Distillers, Coal Harbour, Cumberland, Dageraad, Dead Frog, Deep Cove, Dieu Du Ciel, Doan’s Craft Brewing Company, Driftwood, Fernie, Four Mile, Four Winds, Fuggles & Warlock, Gladstone, Granville Island, Howe Sound, Hoyne, Les Trois Mousquetaires, Le Trou De Diable, Lighthouse, Axe & Barrel, Longwood, Merridale Cider, Mill Street, Moody Ales, Muskoka, Okanagan Springs, Parallel 49, Persephone, Phillips, Postmark, Powell Street, R & B, Red Arrow, REd Truck, Russell, Salt Spring Island Ales, Sherwood Mountain, Spinnakers, Stanley Park, Steam Whistle, Steamworks, Steel & Oak, Strange Fellows, Swans Brewpub, Tofino, Townsite, Tree Brewing, Unibroue, Vancouver Island, Wheelhouse, Wolf, Yellow Dog, Yukon.

With a selection of breweries as far north of Victoria as a 2,490km drive and as far East as 4,805km away this festival did a good job of bringing Canadian breweries out to share their beer!  In previous years I kept a log of the beers that I was enjoying but this year I decided against it.  I did take many photos of the beer I was enjoying but not all of them as I would hold up the line while doing it.

Once again the costumes were out in full force as well as the entertainment.  There were lots of familiar faces all around but there were so many people I knew were there but missed. This event is planned and executed very well and is a ton of fun but I found that there might have been to many people.  Some of the breweries had lines that you would be lucky if they only took you 10-15 minutes to get a beer sample.  Fuggles & Warlock Craftworks beat this with a line so long that I didn’t even say hi to the guys at the booth it stretched so long!  I hear the Friday event was much less crowded but I did not get to check that night out.

Full sized photos found here

Overall I had an epic time and I look forward to what next year has to offer!

Rookies & Legends – VCBW – June 5th, 2015


vancouver-craft-beer-week

Vancouver Craft Beer Week has once again come and gone. From all accounts the entire week was a massive success.

Due to my schedule and many other factors I was only able to make it out to one event this year.  This one event happened to be the Rookies & Legends event at 12 Kings Pub.  The event brought together 24 BC breweries 12 Rookies and 12 Legends and raised money for the BC Craft Brewers Guild.

Rookies: Yellow Dog, Bomber, 4 Mile, Powell Street (New Location), Moody Ales, Bridge (New Location), Postmark, Steel & Oak, Strange Fellows, Barkerville, BC Craft Brewers Guild, 33 Acres

Legends: Hoyne, Tree, Stanely Park, Fernie, Central City, Philips, Parallel 49, Red Truck, Townsite, Vancouver Island, Steamworks, Whistler, Four Winds

All of the breweries were on hand mixing with the crowd at the event.  The 12 Rookies were poured at the regular bar in the pub while the 12 Legends were poured in a backroom that I did not even know existed.  The back room also housed the food table which made it a popular room.

I was happy to see that some of the breweries brought out some new or limited release beers to make things interesting as many events cater to the new craft beer fan not the experienced aficionado.  Having two bar setups instead of different stands for every brewery meant for quick thinking for every sample of beer.  You had to have your decision made before you made it to the bar as they were trying to make everything move quickly and smoothly.  They did a great job of trying to keep the lines moving really quickly also!  The event was sold out but it went off without a hitch with really good service and smiles all around.  I look forward to next years Vancouver Craft Beer Week as well as the next event they hold at 12 Kings Pub!

Pacific Beer Chat Podcast #3


Re-posted from Pacificbeerchat.com

Breweries, events and cross Canada beers (Pacific Beer Chat Podcast #3)

<span style=”color:#ff0000;”>I apologize for the lac of video for the first 9:39 of the video I screwed something up and lost that portion of video (Mike Mikescraftbeer).</span>

Welcome to Episode 3 of Pacific Beer Chat.

Bloggers involved include;
mike G of <a href=”http://www.mikescraftbeer.com&#8221; rel=”nofollow”>http://www.mikescraftbeer.com</a&gt;,
Terry of <a href=”http://westcoastbeergeek.com/&#8221; rel=”nofollow”>http://westcoastbeergeek.com/</a&gt;
Steve also of <a href=”http://www.mikescraftbeer.com&#8221; rel=”nofollow”>http://www.mikescraftbeer.com</a&gt;.

Topics of Discussion:
1 Upcoming and recent events attended
2 Latest breweries frequented
3 Beer from across Canada

Audio Only Version

Establishments and breweries mentioned in this podcast include, R&amp;B Brewing, Central City Brewers &amp; Distillers, Howe Sound Brewing, Big River Brewpub, Red Truck Beer, Doan’s Craft Brewing Company, Dageraad, Elizabeth Station, Moody Ales, 33 Acres, bomber brewing, stone brewing, tru du diable, dieu du ciel, unibrue, trois pistoles, great lakes brewery, half pints brewing, fort gary brewing, lake of the woods brewing, toolshed, west coast liquor, kerrisdale, laurelwood public house and brewery, mill street brewery, leavenworth, great Canadian beer festival, vcbw, vancouver craft beer week, great okanagan beer festival, moylan’s brewery, beerthirst, london pub, 12 kings pub, hoyne, fernie brewing, phillips brewing, parallel 49 brewing, yellow dog brewing, powell street craft brewery, bridge brewing, farimont hotsprings, east kootenay beer festival

Finale: Brewmaster’s Brunch – VBW – March 15th, 2015


One of the events that I was looking forward to the most at Victoria Beer Week was the Brewmaster’s Brunch on Sunday March 15th, 2015.  I had heard some great things about this event from the year before.  The premise was to pair 6 different 4oz pours of beer with 6 different food courses.  Seeing as I had to drive soon after this event I had to keep to just the 6 samples as it came out to 2 12oz glasses or just over a pint.  If you were not driving they would serve you full glasses of the beer on offer with the one rule that all of the 4oz samples of each beer had to be poured before they would serve full glasses.  Full glasses were at an extra cost.  The event took place at The Atrium building in downtown Victoria.  I find it amazing that this great location could be used as almost every tenant is a government organization.

 

At each place setting along the tables that snaked all over the room you could find a menu of all the food and beer that were to be enjoyed.

VBW Brunch-004

As you arrived you were handed the first sample of beer which happened to be Hoyne Brewing’s Voltage Espresso Stout.  Once in the doors you had to remember to not drink all your beer right away as it was to be paired with the first course.  With that in mind I found a seat.  I did move fairly quickly though as I was invited to sit with the Owner of West Coast Brewery Tours Elton invited me to sit with him and his Fiance (or Wife my bad I can’t remember).  Once the majority of people were seated the first course started to be served.

First Course
“Coffee & Dougnuts”
Chef Tara Black From Origin Bakery (Gluten Free bakery but these were Gluten Filled!)
Hoyne Brewing – Voltage Espresso Stout

VBW Brunch-006

The espresso flavour in the beer really cut down on the sweetness of the doughnuts.  Although the sweetness cuts though on some of the bitterness from the coffee also.  Come on who doesn’t like some espresso with their early morning (or late morning after cask fest)  breakfast sweets?

While we enjoyed this course Tara Black and Sean Hoyne got up to discuss the pairings.

Second Course
“Spring Green Salad”
Papaya, avocado, antioxidant papaya seed dressing by Chef Alesha Davies of AJ’s Organic Cafe
Lighthouse Brewing – Shipwreck IPA

VBW Brunch-013

You probably can not go wrong with pairing a very tropical fruity IPA with a fruity salad in my books.  Because of the fruit in the salad I found that the sweetness overtook the bitterness of the IPA fairly well and even seemed to please the group of people beside me that hated IPA’s.

Third Course
“Alder Smoked Salmon”
brioche, egg yolk, butternilk potato puree, wild nodding onion by Chef Brad Holmes from OLO Restaurant
Gladstone Brewing Co – Belgian Single

VBW Brunch-017

This was a tasty dish and was a hit from everyone around me.  I found the salmon to be a bit salty for my liking but don’t listen to me as I am very picky with my Sea Food and only like fish as it is.  The Belgian single is a style we need to see more of.  It is quite tasty although light with lots of yeasty notes like you would expect with a very low alcohol content.  Good on Gladstone for bringing out one of these beers that seem to be almost non-existent in Canada.

We had more speakers but I can not remember who they were but I would assume it was Brad Holmes of OLO and someone from Gladstone Brewing.

VBW Brunch-018

At this half way point Joe Wiebe the Thirsty Writer author of Craft Beer Revolution got up and spoke about how well Victoria Beer Week had gone on its second Annual event.   Seeing as it was a smashing success once again it was a very upbeat talk.  He did mention that all of the organizers would need some rest after pulling Victoria Beer Week off.

VBW Brunch-019

Fourth Course
“West Coast Beans & Toast”
Fernwood coffee rye eye braised saanich organic beans, Sloping Hill Farm’s pork belly, Spinnaker’s beer bread toast, Highland Bound Ranch smoked egg mimosa, locally foraged stinging nettle coulis by Chef Ali Ryan from Spinnakers Brewpub.
Spinnakers Brewpub – Reve de Londres Belgium Porter

VBW Brunch-022

Seeing as this beer was a collaboration between Spinnakers Brewpubs brewery and kitchen you know it would be good.  The food was amazing and my favourite course with great beans and minimal pork.  Do not ask me why the Chocolaty mildly fruity porter worked but it really did!

Once we got our plates Chef Ali Ryan and Kala Hadfield got up and talked about the pairing.

VBW Brunch-023

Fifth Course
“Scotch Tamale”
Parry Bay Mutton chorizo, quail egg, maseca, masa husk, mole, lime, cilantro by Chef Kelland from 6 Mile Pub.
Category 12 Brewing – Unsanctioned Saison

VBW Brunch-026 VBW Brunch-025

This course I was sadly was not big on. It seemed to lack in flavour and was a bit doughy.  The very mild spice did build a bit with the saison which was nice.

Sixth Course
“Chocolate Pretzels”
chocolate pate, salted caramel, Herman’s lager meringue by Chef Thomas Yesdresyski from the Westin Bear Mountain.
Vancouver Island Brewery – Herman’s Dark Lager

VBW Brunch-027

The Herman’s Lager meringue was to die for being nice and frothy.  The chocolate and pretzel where great tasting and went well with the roasted malts and chocolate flavours of the beer.

Not only was this a great brunch but the company was great also!  If this bunch and the whole Victoria Beer Week says anything about what next years festival will be like then you should be very excited!

One other exciting part of this brunch event is that there was a pop up liquor store.  With the new changes to the liquor laws some of the changes have been very beneficial to the average consumer (Not most but some!).  Spinnakers has a line of liquor stores on the island and they were the group that decided to set up the pop up store at this event.  At this store basically every Victoria brewery was sold as well as a few others including Salt Spring Island Ales.

Full sized photos can be found here.

Winter Cask Festival 2014 – Central City Brewing


On January 25th 2014 Central City Brewing held their annual Winter Cask Festival.

Central Winter -052

The pamphlet claims 30 casks from breweries in BC and the Northwest but this for the first time I can remember was not true.  This year every single cask was from BC and only BC.  Like always tickets ran you $30 and included 3 samples and a branded 4oz glass.  Extra samples were around a dollar a piece.  For the most part all 33 casks were very big on alcohol content as is expected with a winter cask festival.  It was great to be able to catch up with all of the different brewers that I have been able to get to know over the last year.  I was lucky enough to spend the afternoon with Sara and Chloe two amazing craft beer fans.  This year I did the impossible and tried every single cask.

Central Winter -053

The Brew List

1 Central City Brewers + Distillers & Camra – Mystery Cask
2 Mission Springs – McLennan’s Scotch Ale
3 Spinnakers – Hopscotch
4 Coal Harbour – IPA
5 Dead Frog – Fearless IPA
6 Old Yale – Sergeant’s Citrus
7 Phillips – Puzzler Imperial Belgian Black IPA
8 Big Ridge – West Coast Pale Ale
9 Deep Cove – Go Fuggle Yourself
10 Red Truck – Ale Dry Hopped
11 Big River – Bourbon Oaked ESB
12 Bridge Brewing – Nettle & Honey Red Ale
13 Persephone – Dry Hopped Red Ale
14 Central City Brewers + Distillers – Chocolate & Orange Porter
15 33 Acres – Melaco
16 4 Winds – Coffee & Cream Oat Porter
17 Russell – Estate Coffee Porter
18 Whistler Brewhouse – Oaked Brown Porter
19 Central City Brewers + Distillers – Vanilla Bean & Espresso Stout
20 Brassneck – Bourbon Barrel Aged Inertia
21 Hoyne – High Voltage Espresso Stout
22 Parallel 49 – Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout
23 Steamworks – Rye Stout with Laphroaig
24 Cannery – Vanilla Nut Express
25 Driftwood – Old Cellar Dweller
26 Granville Island – Burly Goat Weizenbock
27 Green Leaf – Black & Tan Fantasy28 Howe Sound – Winter Ale
29 Lighthouse – The Bad Seed Farmhouse Quince Ale
30 Moon Under Water – Belgian Triple Wedding Ale
31 R&B – Ginger Beer
32 Storm – Orange Creamsicle
33 Yaletown – Jolly Hooligan

Central City Brewers + Distillers & Camra – Mystery Cask
Central Winter -002
Cumin? Spice not a favourite

Mission Springs – McLennan’s Scotch Ale
Central Winter -015

Spinnakers – Hopscotch
Central Winter -014
Dark Amber Colour
Caramel, Scotch Ale, hops bitter, pine

Coal Harbour – IPA
Central Winter -030

Malty, citrus, sweet, bitter

Dead Frog – Fearless IPA
Central Winter -029
Amber colour, off white head
citrus, pine, malts, sweet

Old Yale – Sergeant’s Citrus
Central Winter -028
Orange colour, off white head
pine, citrus, malts, full bodied

Phillips – Puzzler Imperial Belgian Black IPA
Central Winter -027
roasty malts, bitter smoke, mild hops bitterness

Big Ridge – West Coast Pale Ale
Central Winter -011
pale malts, citrus, orange, floral hops

Deep Cove – Go Fuggle Yourself
Central Winter -010
Cloudy amber colour, white head
citrus, floral hops, malty, citrus, tea, saison,

Red Truck – Ale Dry Hopped
Central Winter -023
copper orange colour, white head
malty, hops, citrus, orange

Big River – Bourbon Oaked ESB
Central Winter -031
earthy, citrus, rind, sweet, floral hops

Bridge Brewing – Nettle & Honey Red Ale
Central Winter -024
Deep Copper
malty, honey, nettle, amazingly sessionable

Persephone – Dry Hopped Red Ale
Central Winter -019
citrus, pine, malts, caramel, sweet

Central City Brewers + Distillers – Chocolate & Orange Porter
Central Winter -012
big roast, chocolate, orange, mild coffee

33 Acres – Melaco
Central Winter -050
roasty, sweet, vanilla, molasses, smokey

4 Winds – Coffee & Cream Oat Porter
Central Winter -025
Black brown colour
coffee, roasty, creamy, oats, semi sweet

Russell – Estate Coffee Porter
Central Winter -026
huge coffee, mild roasted malts

Whistler Brewhouse – Oaked Brown Porter
Central Winter -033
big roasted malts, creamy, mild, hops, sweet

Central City Brewers + Distillers – Vanilla Bean & Espresso Stout
my last beer and I missed a photo and only took the note tasty (oops)

Brassneck – Bourbon Barrel Aged Inertia
Central Winter -003
black opaque, brown head
bourbon, vanilla, roasty, bitter, coffee, cream

Hoyne – High Voltage Espresso Stout
Central Winter -021  Central Winter -022
Black opaque colour brown head
roasted coffee, peaty, vanilla

Parallel 49 – Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout
Central Winter -004  Central Winter -005
Bourbon, vanilla, roasted malts, bitterness, boozy

Steamworks – Rye Stout with Laphroaig
Central Winter -038
smokey

Cannery – Vanilla Nut Express
Central Winter -039
nut brown, vanilla, sweet

Driftwood – Old Cellar Dweller
Central Winter -020
Think double IPA, malty, citrus, sweet, boozy

Granville Island – Burly Goat Weizenbock
sweet, brown sugar, dark fruits, malts

Green Leaf – Black & Tan Fantasy
Central Winter -001
Black, brown head
roasty malt, coffee, chi, tasty

Howe Sound – Winter Ale
Central Winter -044
sweet malts

Lighthouse – The Bad Seed Farmhouse Quince Ale
Central Winter -006  Central Winter -007
cloudy yellow, white head
yeasty, wheat, citrus, very mild funk, lemon peel, wants to be sour

Moon Under Water – Belgian Triple Wedding Ale
Central Winter -042
sweet citrus, orange, candied sugar

R&B – Ginger Beer
Central Winter -043
sweet ginger, more bite than ginger ale

Storm – Orange Creamsicle
Central Winter -041
vanilla, orange, sweetness, malts

Yaletown – Jolly Hooligan
Central Winter -040
sweet candied sugar, dark malts, rum, oak

This was another great event put on by Central City.  Thanks again for holding this event again as it is one of the most celebrated event each year.

Full Sized photos can be found here

My Favourite beer of the night was a tie between two beers.

Bridge Brewing – Nettle & Honey Red Ale
Central Winter -024

and

Lighthouse – The Bad Seed Farmhouse Quince Ale
Central Winter -006  Central Winter -007

I look forward to the Summer Cask Festival!  If you have never been to one of these cask festivals before you really need to check this one or one like it out!  They are a ton of fun and a great way to meet like minded craft beer nuts.