Eleventy One Imperial Stout – Torchlight Brewing

From Torchlight Brewing in Nelson BC comes their “Eleventy One Imperial Stout”.  This beer was one of 12 original beers launched at Lift Off! an event part of Victoria Beer Week 2016.  The beer pours an opaque black colour with a brown head.  The aroma consists of roasted malts, chocolate and sweetness.  The flavour was much more complex with roasted malts, earth, ash, milk chocolate, dark fruits, mild bitterness and alcohol.  The alcohol content comes in at 10%.  Big bold and full of flavour all things you want in a big Imperial stout.  I just hope more people in BC get to try and enjoy this beer than normally do!

Commercial Description:  This potent stout derives it’s rich flavour from the complex blend of grains used to brew it to the original gravity or eleventy one.


Pacific Beer Chat Podcast #2

Reposted from http://www.pacificbeerchat.com

Were back and talking beer (Pacific Beer Chat #2)

Welcome to Episode 2 of Pacific Beer Chat.

Bloggers involved include;
mike G of http://www.mikescraftbeer.com,
Terry of http://westcoastbeergeek.com/
Joe of http://thirstywriter.com/,
Mike of http://thebeerrater.com/ and
Steve also of http://www.mikescraftbeer.com.

Topics of Discussion:
1 – Recent attended event recap.
2 – Discussing the April 1st Price Changes in British Columbia
3 – Lastly we discussed issues around growlers.

Establishments and breweries mentioned in this podcast include, Vancouver Craft Beer Week, Four Winds Brewing, Washington Brewers Guild, Victoria Beer Week, Hoyne Brewing, Dageraad Brewing, Powell Street Craft Brewery, Drake Eatery, Swans Brewpub, Category 12 Brewing, Strange Fellows Brewing, Brassneck Brewing, Main Street Brewing, 4 Mile Brewpub, Loghouse Brewpub, West Coast Brewery Tours, Maui Brewing, Hop & Vine Taphouse, Deschutes Brewing, Bomber Brewing, Red Truck Beer, Parallel 49 Brewing, Fest-Of-Ale, Bad Tattoo Brewing, Kettle Valley Station Pub, Cascadia Liquor, Spinnakers Brewpub, Moody Ales, Half Pints Brewing, Phillips Brewing, Lighthouse Brewing, Driftwood Brewing, Howe Sound Brewing, Woods Coffee (Washington), Steel & oak brewing, Lake of the Woods Brewing, Fort Garry Brewing.


Note to would be Podcasters
It may seem like a cool idea to podcast with two different bloggers in the same room (With different computers) but there are to many technical issues.  One of which is hearing yourself speak through your headphones (My god that was distracting).  Having to set only one microphone to record and ensuring that your computer doesn’t overrule your muted microphone.  I had to fight to remove a second echo version of my voice on the podcast and it was not simple and was time consuming.
Mike G

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.

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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.

Closing Cask Night – VBW – March 14th, 2015

Every good beer week requires a great closing cask night.  Victoria Beer Week 2015 was no different.

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On March 14th, 2015 the closing cask festival was held at the Victoria Public Market.  While the opening cask festival centered on Victoria beers the closing cask festival centered on Vancouver and other parts of British Columbia.  Being from Vancouver I was happy to see that most of the breweries on hand brought interesting one off casks not just standard fair.  This event seemed to really have a buzz especially as many of the beer on sample were from breweries that are not easily attainable on the island.  As I know one of the organizers I did not have to wait in line and was able to get a bit of an inside look into the setup of the event.  Here are a few of the photos I took while behind the scenes.

Once it got closer to the time that the doors would open I got a my grubby mitts on the list of beers that would be poured.

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The beers included if the list is not clear enough:

Bomber Brewing – Winter Tropics’ Stout
Brassneck – Inertia II
Bridge Brewing – Black Rye IPA with Cocoa nibs
Cannery Brewing – Turbanido Sugar
Central City (Red Racer) – Oaked India Style Red Ale
Dead Frog Brewery – Belgian Mist
Fernie Brewing – Griz Pale Ale dry-hopped with Mosaic & Simcoe
Four Winds Brewing – Vexillum Imperial IPA
Green Leaf Brewing – Les Saisoniers
Howe Sound Brewing – Devil’s Elbow dry-hopped with Summit & Topaz
Main Street Brewing – Session IPA with Brettanomyces
Moody Ales – Raspberry Blond Ale
Old Yale Brewing – Hazelnut Sasquatch Stout
Parallel 49 Brewing – Rye the Sterling Face
Postmark Brewing – Dry-Hopped Citra & Simcoe IPA
Powell Street Craft Brewing- White IPA
Red Truck Beer – Fresh Squeezed Delicious
Stanley Park Brewery – Rum Soaked Oak Chips
Steamworks Brewing – Imperial Red Ale
Steel & Oak Brewing – 001 Azacca The Projekt
Strange Fellows Brewing – Talisman West Coast Pale Ale with Mosaic (not listed)
Townsite Brewing – Black Wheat Beer
Yellow Dog Brewing – Pineapple/Mosaic IPA

Once the doors were about to open I was able to get my glass that came with 8 drink bottle caps and one food ticket.  More could be bought at 4 beer tokens for $5 and one food ticket for $5 both of witch you would need more as the beer and food were both great!VBW Closing Cask-010

Once the doors opened it was a steady stream of ticket holders, brewmasters and brewery owners.  The event was very relaxed with little to no stupidity that can break out when you have alcohol involved.  People were way to excited to try amazing beer to be causing any trouble from what I could tell!

Overall the cask festival was an amazing event.  I met all kinds of great people be it festival goers or VBW volunteers.  For the Volunteers you know who you are thanks for being really friendly and chatty.  I also never need a reason to chat with all of the brewery owners and brewmasters from the Vancouver region and I did a ton of this at this closing cask event.  I have to say that Victoria seems to know how to hold a cask event to be sure!  Being inside of the Victoria Public Market really gave a cool vibe to the event also.  It is a really cool space that lends itself to large gatherings!

Full sized photos can be found here.

Craft Beer Revolution Town Hall – VBW – March 13th, 2015

I was not lucky enough to make it out for the full week of Victoria Beer Week but I did make it early in the evening on Friday March 13th, 2015.  Once I checked into my hotel I headed over for the Craft Beer Revolution Town Hall event.  The event was sold with this sentence “A panel discussion with some of BC’s brightest craft beer minds exploring what’s next for the province and Victoria in particular.”  The talk was held at the Victoria Event Centre a medium sized room on the second floor of a building in downtown Victoria.

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Once in the doors there were some great beers to consume including the following

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Before the event began we were encouraged to grab a beer and socialize.  They had some shirts and hats for sale as well as the second edition of Craft Beer Revolution for sale.  Some of the very well known Vancouver Brewmasters and Brewery owners were in attendance.

Once the room was full the event began.  To start it all off they showed a video.  Once the video was finished the host Khalil Akhtar of CBC called up the first panel.

Panel 1 consisted of Nigel Springthorpe owner of Brassneck Brewery, Iain Hill Brewmaster of Strange Fellows and Nigel Pike of Main Street Brewing.  The three well known brewery owners in Vancouver discussed all kinds of topics centering around the Vancouver Brewing scene.  The topic that kept on coming up though was brewery lounges.  seeing as breweries in Victoria for the most part don’t event have proper tasting rooms let alone lounges this is a very interesting topic for the people of Victoria.

Once the panel finished talking Joe Wiebe came up to the stage to discuss his second edition of his book Craft Beer Revolution.  The event was a book launch of sorts.  The first edition was released in 2013 and the second edition already has 40 new breweries!  Now that is what I would consider a revolution!

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Joe discussed his thoughts on the brewing scene in BC and specifically Victoria.  He also discussed what he would like to see happen in BC including filling growlers in local private liquor stores.  This point seems to be a point of contention in Victoria as was noticed in the second panel.  If you don’t have a copy of this book yet then you really need to pick up a copy!

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After Joe talked there was a second video.  I wish I remembered what the videos were talking about but I was to busy socializing with Brewmasters and Joe.

The second panel then was called to the stage that included Joe Wiebe, Karen Kuzyk of Category 12 Brewing, Matt Phillips of Phillips Brewing, Ben Isitt a Victoria City Councillor and Steve Watson who is part of a group that wants to open a brewery in Victoria under the Vancovuer brewery lounge model.  This panel showed quite quickly that not all of BC is on the same page on the brewing scene.  For that matter not everyone in the City of Victoria is on the same page as this panel got heated at points.  Victoria seems to be under the impression that if breweries open up brewery lounges it will hurt their local buyers like bars and restaurants.  Victoria may be smaller than Vancouver but if my city has anything to say about this way of thinking it would be to say its a myth.  Every time a new brewery opens up in Vancouver with a lounge it gets busy.  The thing to look at is that every other brewery is also busy as well as every craft beer focused pub or restaurant.  Brewery lounges seem to just bring more people to the craft brewing scene that like to buy local.  If you have a local brewery where you can sit down and have a few sleeves you will build a connection and want to support that business.  Another point that came under fire was Joe Wiebe’s suggesting that we have growers filled at local liquor stores.  Breweries worry that beer won’t be served properly or lines won’t be cleaned correctly.  These are all great points but if we look at the United States for a second we can see that this model can work really well.  Not only at private liquor stores but at your local gas station also!  When I was in Arizona the best beer store that also happened to fill growlers was a Chevron station.  Sadly I think this will be a point of contention in the Province for a long time.

Once the panels were done talking the room was free to discuss the topics that were brought up in the room.  There was lots of discussion and more beer to be had by all.

This was a great event that made you think deeply about where the brewing scene is going in Victoria and around the province.  It is always good to keep and open mind and think of the best ways to help grow the brewing scene.  Good on the organizers for dreaming up this event!

Full Sized photos from Victoria Beer Week