Thursday, December 16, 2010

Canadian Beer Travels v2.0 (Part 3)

And then back to Vancouver…

Went to Steamworks a couple of times due to the location.


Steamworks Empress IPAreminded me of a Pale Ale or Bitter more than an IPA but was lovely after walking around on a warm day (thumbs up)
Steamworks Nirvana Nut Brownsweet/smoky smell, hints of porter (thumbs up)

For some reason I noted that one of the songs on was one used to death at Spin class and was followed by Band of Horses (yessss!).

And then for the best surprise find of the trip. Off the SkyTrain (love love love the SkyTrain) at Commercial Drive and needing to find a bathroom. We spotted what looked like a Sports Bar and kept walking until I spotted this sign and figured 12pm was as good time as any for a pint (and a trip to the bathroom!).

40 Microbrews on tap!!!!!

So with 40 micros on tap, what to pick?

Crannog Ales Red Branch Irish Aleclean, good session ale (thumbs up)
Central City Brewing Red Racer ESB (two thumbs up)... and he returns to the old faithful

Back to Alibi Room and oh look, a Red Racer ESB again. This was the final excursion to Alibi Room and therefore we may have gone a little crazy.

Phillips Brewing Skookum Cascadian Brown
RnB IPA (cask)intense and yet mellow (much different in a bottle with the carbonation going nuts), lovely, lovely, lovely. Ordering a pint of this was both wise and unwise (yes two thumbs up)
Driftwood Crooked Coast Amber Alepumpkin? (can’t remember what this referred to)
Iains Warm Dry Hopped IPA straw/hay. Awesome! (two thumbs up)
Brooklyn Brewery Black Chocolate Stoutand now I seem to have acquired an obsession with chocolate stouts which is amazing given that I was (a) not a stout fan, and (b) dubious about chocolate beers (I cannot stand fruity beers, don’t know why that made me dubious about chocolate…). This was WOW… Like a cherry devil’s chocolate cake with espresso and a huge helping of rum (two thumbs up)
Conrads NXNW Hoppy Pale Ale
Rogue XS Series Double Chocolate - all I wrote was “drool, chocolate goodness!”. Definite two thumbs up. I remember getting a high just from taking a sniff, this had HUGE cocoa aromas.


And then we finished the trip with bottled beer at the hostel

Nelson Brewing Company Paddy Whack IPAorganic, had little to say about it (meh)
Hoppleganger RnB IPAafter the pint at Alibi Room I was keen to have this again (also picked up a bottle for a friend back home). Was still lovely and hoppy but over-carbonated.
Philips Longwood Chocolate Portersome chocolate notes but also floral. Saved by the lingering chocolate after taste, otherwise bland (meh).

Canadian Beer Travels v2.0 (Part 2)

Day 1 - Great Canadian Beer Festival

Then for the highlight of the beer tasting travels – two days of the Great Canadian Beer Festival in Victoria. This was such a pleasure to attend (particularly in comparison to something like the NZ Beer Festival).


The first day ended up being much colder than expected therefore did not go down so well but I got myself a Red Racer t-shirt so all was well in the world!

New tshirt

Sun was out for the second day and we had an awesome time. We also found one of the guys from our kayaking trip who had too many tokens and as a consequence we got to try more beers! Good guy… Anyway so these are the beers we tasted (and there are a few):

Big Rock Traditional Ale, Bowen Island Irish Cream Ale and Artisan IPA
Cannery Brewing Blackberry Porter and Cannery IPA and Squire Scotch Ale (double thumbs up for the Scotch Ale)
Canoe Brewpub Beaver Brown Ale
Central City Brewpub Red Racer Imperial IPA (cask) (double thumbs up – they can do no wrong!) and Red Racer Belgian Tripel

Red Racer!!!

Double Mountain Brewery India Red Ale
Elysian Brewing Immortal IPA (cask)
Hopworks Brewing Organic Rise Up Red Ale and Organic IPA
King Heffy Three Beavers Red Ale
Les Trois Mousquetaires Grand Cuvee Doppelbock
Longwood Brewpub IPA (cask) and Copper Bock
Lost Coast Brewery Chocolate Porter
Moon Under Water Brewery Blue Moon Bitter
Paddock Wood Brewery Loki Double IPA
Peaks Brew Pub Mt Pleasant Porter
Phillips Brewing Longboat Double Chocolate Porter
Pike Brewery Kilt Lifter Scotch Ale (cask)
Plan B Brewing Bitter Bob Bitter and Idiot Rock IPA
Port Townsend Boatyard Bitter and Hop Diggidy IPA (cask)
Russell Brewing IP’eh and Wee Angry Scotch Ale (cask)
Salt Spring Island Ales Salt Spring India Pale Ale
Spinnakers Brewpub Jameson’s Scottish Ale (cask)
Three Skulls Ales Hop the Plank IPA (malty)
Whistler Brewing Black Tusk Ale
Wild Rose Brewery Brown Ale and IPA (cask) (also were I convinced the other half to pick up this lovely tshirt)

Out for pretend birthday brunch

Yukon Brewing Red Amber Ale

Canadian Beer Travels v2.0 (Part 1)

Okay so months after the fact I am finally telling the tale of our Canadian Beer Travels v2.0. This time we spent our entire trip in BC and managed to get ourselves to both days of the Great Canadian Beer Festival (GCBF). Unfortunately our trip was delayed by one week, meaning we didn’t get to explore the “northern” BC breweries, and I was also quite lazy with my tasting notes on this trip. As always we couldn’t make it everywhere and there were many other places on my list that just didn’t eventuate. Hopefully I was consistent (will soon find out when I delve into the scribbles in my beer notebook) in my laziness which should equate to a ‘meh’,’ thumbs up’,’ two thumbs up’ style rating (I know, lazy!) and hopefully my memory serves me well. It is worth noting that even the ‘meh’ rated beers were drinkable - they just didn’t do much for me.

Once again our travels began in Vancouver and our first beer excursion was to Yaletown Brewing Company.

Yaletown Brewing Company

Brick and Beam IPA: Citrus notes, hoppy, true to style. Two thumbs up.
Downtown Brown: Malty, smokey/burnt aromas. Thumbs up.

After some study of the public transport routes, convincing the other half that his appendix was okay and a walk through a street on the outskirts of Chinatown at night (other half was quite sceptical about where I was leading us) we made it to my new favourite place, Alibi Room. The tap list is constantly changing and this picture shows you a list of the beers that were ON TAP (the reverse side was their bottled/cellar list).

Tap list for the evening

Alibi Room

Drinking commenced with a tasting tray between us and thus our love affair with Red Racer also commenced:
Central Brewing Red Racer IPA (thumbs up) and Red Racer ESB (two thumbs up and possibly the standout beer of the trip), Hopworks Hoppy Red Ale (thumbs up), Cannery Brewing Naramata Nut Brown (two thumbs up).

Tasters at Alibi Room
The ESB (surprise surprise) and Naramata Brown were then drunk in a slightly larger glass. I eventually moved to the Crannog Back Hand of God Stout (thumbs up) which is rather out of character for me. (I’m still gutted that we had to cancel our visit to their brewery/hop farm.) This stout had an aroma of toasted oats.

With lunch on UBC campus we had a Granville Island Pale Ale (between meh and thumbs up). Was good for a Pale Ale and for the occasion.

Then our love affair with the Howe Sound bottles began.

Local beers

Howe Sound Devil’s Elbow IPA (thumbs up) – heavily bittered and dry hopped, amazingly clear and golden and not too in your face/punchy. Could be a good session beer (although we didn’t get to test this thought)

Lunch in Kitsilano where all the cool kids go, on a very hot day.
Granville Island Brockton IPAall I noted was fit for purpose so I think it qualifies as somewhere between meh and thumbs up. It was cold, we were minutes from the beach and it was very hot out. And it went well with the food!
Russell Brewing Wee Angry Scotch Alepurchased from BC Liquor and drunk at the hostel. Thumbs up

The beer drinking halted for a few days while we kayaked Johnstone Strait with the Orcas and stayed at Port Hardy either side of the kayaking. Port Hardy had a BC Liquor but we never managed to make it there during opening hours.

So we made it safely to Nanaimo (after I found some Dutch courage and drove for the day) and felt the need for beer. The Granville Island IPA was consumed once again (due to it being available on tap). And then we tried to experience some ‘local’ beer (by local I mean Vancouver Island and not Nanaimo) which did not go down well
Lighthouse Beacon IPAserved far too cold, sweet smelling (meh)
Vancouver Island Brewing Spyhopper Honey Brownmeh again, some creaminess?

We then continued to drive south (ish) toward Victoria. After some ummm-ing and ahh-ing we took a very slight detour to Duncan which was well worth it. Duncan is not a large town but it does have the Craig Street Brew Pub. We would go back there anytime! We also happened to show up on cheap pint day :) Excellent.

Craig St Brew Pub

Also ordered snacks which were AWESOME. Gourmet Cheese toast and
Cajun spiced cactus cut chips, served with creamy garlic cheese dip (was like having kettle-fried potato chips but hot).


Shawnigan Irish Redexcellent session beer, light (in terms of hops) version of Macs Sassy Red, almost nothing on nose but big on flavour (two thumbs up and a stand out for the trip in terms of a session-style beer)
Arbutus Pale Ale (thumbs up)
Mt Provost Porter (thumbs up) – Little to no nose, toffee, slight smoky/burnt-toast flavour, not overpowering (which gets a thumbs up from me, I’m not a coffee fan so find Porters a challenge)

Craig St Arbutus Pale Ale and Shawnigan Irish Ale
Craig St Mt Prevost Porter