Barley Mowat 

Archive for March, 2011

Railway Cask Update

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There were rumours floating around that the Railway Club’s cask today was to be something special… something weird. Ever since the intrepid VancouverBeerBlogger uncovered the possible existence of a pineapple beer inside Barry Benson’s (the B in R&B) mind, we’ve all been waiting with baited breath for it to burst out of his temple and make an appearance in the real world. (Aside, the glimpse into madness happened about half way through this excellent interview. You should read it, but only when you’re done here).

Pineapple beer is known to exist in Africa, and is also known to be universally gord-awful. If anyone could make a good version, it would have to be the fine folk who transitioned bacon beer from myth to reality.

So, when it was announced a little while ago that the 22nd of March would be a great day for going to the Railway Club to put tiny umbrellas in your beer and not feel awkward about it, I was exstatic… eggstatic… eckstatic… very happy. Then, when it was announced on twitter that said cask had expired in a beer-based explosion (aside: quite possibly the most awesomest of explosion types) I was equally crestfallen.

Oh well, beer innovation is not a straight-forward march from pale lager to bacon stout. There are sidetracks, wipeouts and yes, u-turns along the way. One day we will have pineapple beer but, alas, that day is not today. Instead we will have to drown our sorrows in an emergency replacement cask of R&B’s excellent East Side Bitter, wipe a tear from our eye and dream of what one day could be.

Written by chuck

March 22nd, 2011 at 10:56 am

Rain Rain Go Away

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Yesterday was that fabled changer of seasons, the spring equinox. In addition to being a date of moderate-to-low astronomical significance, it also marked a nigh-magical change in the weather in Vancouver. The clouds parted, the sky turned a worrying shade of blue, and the beastly face of He Who Reddens Skin shown done on us huddled masses.

Only one thing could be done in such situations, and that was to dramatically change up my normal Sunday plans by tacking “Outdoors” on the end of “Drink Beer.” In order to appear slightly more useful to society than the barely functioning alcoholic that I am, my friend Jenn and I elected to sit down and run through a short list of spring-suitable, patio-friendly beers and report back on them here. It’s not a crippling substance problem, it’s journalism (this is a distinction many people often fail to make–especially those nosey social workers).

On deck for consideration were:

  • Cascade Kriek
  • Salt Spring Golden Ale
  • Driftwood Cuvée D’hiver
  • Lighthouse Deckhand
  • Les Trois Musketeers Blanche

Now, as I’ve said before I don’t like to rate or rank beers so much, and this is especially true when all the beers up for consideration are equally great (well, except the Blanche–I thought it a bit weak and will thus leave it out). So rather than talk about colour, nose, taste and other such beer-geeky terms, I thought I’d slot these nicely into their perfect spots on a summer afternoon, for each has their own distinct tones.

One O’Clock — You’ve just finished ploughing a field, neutering a bull with a pair of pliers, and mercilessly putting down a peasant uprising or some other suitable farm-related activity often pictured in those gritty, realistic beer commercials. You’re sweaty and tired, but the still-pungent, acrid smell of charred poor people fills your nose and heart with the satisfaction of a job well done. It’s time to relax, so you reach for…

Salt Spring Golden Ale — This light refreshing session ale is a fantastic accompaniment to the distant lamentations of peasant women. A great body is teamed up with just enough hops to remind you that this is good beer. It pairs well with blazing heat, a healthy fruit-based lunch, and justice by the sword.

Three O’Clock — Now that things are all settled on the home front, you’re past due to take some time out for yourself. Again taking my knowledge of such things from beer advertisements, you load up your over-powered ATV and hit the hills for some casual mammal murder. A few fully automatic assault rifles make for a fine base arsenal, but the true outdoorsman adds a bit of spice to the activity via explosive-tipped arrows and large bore artillery. Also in the pack is…

Driftwood Cuvée D’hiver — I shall make a desert and call it tasty. I’ve seen more than one tweet out there describing this as “Sunshine in a Glass” and I cannot disagree. This is a lighter, fruitier version of Driftwood’s already excellent Farmhand, and it’s ability to make you forget about mid-afternoon heat during light activity/maiming is second to none. This pairs fantastically with pretty much anything, but I’m particularly fond of having it with fresh meat, and grapes feed to you by slaves.

Five O’Clock — You’ve returned triumphantly home and it’s now time to invite all your neighbouring land-owning barons over for a backyard bar-be-que and perhaps light entertainment in the form of hunting would-be poachers for sport. BBQs create an all-out assault on the senses, and you need a robust beverage to sip out of the jewel-enstudded skull of your former arch-rival. That beer is…

Cascade Kriek — Fermented three times (once with cherries), and aged in barrels longer than it takes to grow an illegal clone of yourself to maturity, this sour ale is probably the most complex beer on today’s list. Suitable for slowly savouring on a deck while the day’s heat dissolves and you survey your domains, the exclusivity of this beer is only enhanced by the fact it’s not sold in Canada… yet. To acquire it one must make the epic pilgrimage to Portland (or, you know, send a minion).

Seven O’Clock — The sun has finally set, the sky is afire with brilliance, and the scorching heat has finally ebbed for the night. A long evening of hearing the petitions of the locals whilst planning your next tactical land grab awaits you. It will be many long hours before you can finally retire to the warm embrace of your harem. A long day needs a flavourful end-cap, and that’s…

Lighthouse Deckhand — No surprise here, as it’s the only beer left on the list. A robust, flavourful saison that takes no prisoner, it’s the perfect accompaniment to the sorts of strong cheeses and deserts that are appropriately served while you listen to one peasant drone on about the improprieties of another before sending both to the stockade as a lesson about… something.

There you have it, a spring’s guide to summer ales. I know there’s a lot more out there that I didn’t include on this list, but my liver can only take so much in one evening. And you guys, honestly, can only put up with so much over-written tripe before you’re driven to paying some random east-asian HaX0r to wipe my blog off the internet once and for all.

Written by chuck

March 21st, 2011 at 2:09 pm

Beer For Lent

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I have it on good authority that there is this thing called Lent, which is of some sort of significance to Christians, but only some Christians while not others. I find it all very confusing, to be honest, but the details aren’t important here.

What is important is that folk elect to give something up for this period of time (I understand it to be somewhat longer than an hour), as a sign of their… something. Anyways, again details aren’t important. This is the point in the story where a guy named Wilson in Iowa becomes important.

Wilson (no relation to the volleyball) has decided to give up food. Not a particular kind of food, mind you, but the more general category of “Stuff That Goes In My Mouth What Requires Chewing.” In its place he plans on drinking an awful lot of calorie-crammed Doppelbock (Rock Bottom Illuminator, to be exact).

Personally I would have gone with something a bit more flavourful/varied like a nice stout or barley wine, but there is some historic basis for his decision. It would seem that monks would substitute in Doppelbock for bread during fasting periods, and thus the connection to Wilson.

We can follow along with Wilson at his blog here: http://diaryofaparttimemonk.wordpress.com/

It’ll be interesting to see what effects an all carbohydrate liquid based diet will have on our little lab rat. And that ignores the alcoholic content from the 7-8 beers per day he’ll need to drink to stay alive.

Written by chuck

March 16th, 2011 at 1:45 pm

Posted in Beer and You