Barley Mowat 

R & B Brewing’s New Ale

with 5 comments

I have some history with R&B. A long time ago, when my hook-up contacts at Russell sold their fortune to settle a new land (Mark & Peter Russell themselves), I started getting my kegs fairly regularly from the tiny two-lettered brewery at Quebec & Fourth. Much like other early craft beer revolution breweries, R&B have a solid, if not terribly imaginative, line-up of ales featuring such stalwarts as IPA, Pale, Cream, and even Wheat. Their beers are decent, but not fantastic. Only one, Raven Cream, really shines, and honestly that’s only in the first few days after tapping (seriously, try it, it is a completely different beer when ├╝ber fresh).

But all that’s fine. For kegs, I’m not looking for the best beer on the planet, but rather a solid session ale intended to keep me (and the uncouth drunken slobs that pass for my friends) out of the hidden fridge that contains the Good Stuff. And in this, R&B perfectly fulfills the role. Plus, they’re a fantastic group of friendly folk, and I do take a little pride from supporting a local business (even if it’s under the table). The fact that they’re the closest keg-selling brewery to my house is also a plus.

About a year ago, this all began to change. While the lineup stayed the same, R&B began fucking around with casks. And not in the “cram a handful of centennial pellets into some decanted IPA” way favoured by certain unnamed brewing companies in Yaletown that I so heavily loathe, but in honest-to-gord attempts to create either fascinating or tongue-splittingly awful beers. We’re talking grapefruit IPAs, bacon stouts, and fermented pineapple ales here, and I absolutely love them for it. A cask from YBC, Central City or Granville Island will likely be interesting, but utterly conventional. A cask from R&B is going to be bat shiate insanity in a barrel.

With that innovation has come something new in their regular beer lineup. Sure, you look at that lineup and figure an ESB will be a nice conventional addition to cover all five points of the Boring Beer Star, but then you taste their new East Side Bitter and wow! Holy shit! This is good. Fantastic, in fact. And now they’re bottling the stuff.

Is it the best ESB in the province? Hard to say, only history will tell–scratch that. Yes, yes it is. Central City, you’ve been served.

Go out and get some now. I grabbed a few bottles at Firefly last weekend, and already I’m looking for more. R&B, please tell me this will be a regular addition to your lineup, and reserve a keg of it for my next pickup!

Written by chuck

June 3rd, 2011 at 1:12 pm

Posted in Beers,Breweries

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5 Responses to 'R & B Brewing’s New Ale'

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  1. Awesome post man. I love the East Side Bitter. I had the pleasurenof drinking it straigjt out the consitioning tank where the citra hops tastes like gold. I picked up 2 bottles last week and now I need more. Looking at the casks you listed it seems like your a regular on tuesdays at the railway club?


    3 Jun 11 at 13:21

  2. Hey Leo; Yup, I absolutely am. I manage to get out to the Rail Cask 3/4 times or so, since it’s on the way home from work.


    3 Jun 11 at 13:36

  3. It really is very good. Much better than I had expected, given my regular R&B experience. How would you say it compares with Naughty Hildegard?


    7 Jun 11 at 19:52

  4. As fine as ole Hildegard is (and she is very fine), this is better in my opinion. I like strongly hopped beers to be balanced by the heavy viscosity of lots of malt and that is what this delivers–much more so than Driftwood’s ESB.


    8 Jun 11 at 09:37

  5. […] not bother writing up just how much I love this beer again, since you can just go read it here if you’re so […]

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