Barley Mowat 

Archive for January, 2012

My Rio-Related Rant

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I won’t spend much time recapping this one, as most other news sources/bloggers/street callers have covered pretty much every aspect of this story. However, I will say a few things from a Chuck-POV and see what conversation that starts. So, please consider this:

The law in question prevents theatres from serving liquor. This particular law is from BC’s “Booze is a dirty drug to be consumed in shame” post probation hangover. It accompanied other fun laws like not allowing music or food in beer halls, requiring patrons to be seated at all times, and having separate entrances for men and “escorted ladies.” Basically, the idea was that if we made drinking booze even the slightest bit fun, all hell would break loose and society would collapse imminently.

What sort of voting public would accept such terrible limitations on their boozing? Well, a voting public whose only other recent option was no booze at all. So yeah, I guess I’d go for the “take your medicine, rummy” approach as well in that case. The issue at hand is from the same era, but is more of the “won’t someone please think of the children” point of view. The logic is this (and I am not shitting you):

1/ Children go to movies
2/ Movie theatres are dark
3/ Children do naughty things in the dark
4/ Having booze in movie theatres means that children will be drunk!

Yup, that’s the logic. Selling booze at the movies equals drunk children, and you can’t possibly be in favour of drunk children, can you? Well, whatever, it was a weird time. People were kinda kooky back then in the, uh, 1600s, I guess? History’s not my strong suit.

Many of these weird laws have been removed or modified, but lots have not. When you have an old bat shiat crazy law on the books that is not enforced, politicians (quite rightly) decide to better focus their times and efforts on issues that actually affect people. And that’s how we wind up with the cat’s breakfast known as the BC Liquor Control and Licensing Act. Try reading it some time; it’s fucked up. Lawyers who study it have no idea what it means.

To make things slightly better, the BC LCB helpfully issues a policy guide, which is written in plain(er) english, and tells business owners how to go about conducting their affairs. The policy guide has virtually no relation to the laws, but it’s the best we can do. Essentially, the law is so messed up even the governing body has decided to ignore it in favour of something less insane.

And that’s what gets me. During this whole Rio v LCB thing, the LCB *LOOKED AT THIS ARCANE LAW*. During that review, someone there read that bit of tripe up there and thought “Yeah that makes sense. I mean, I LIKE children” and decided to reply with “This is a law we’ll enforce” vs the more common “Yes that is technically illegal and I cannot advise you to do something illegal, but let’s just say a complaint won’t exactly wind up on the top of the Investigate and Enforce pile.” Even when the Rio offered to not sell booze when showing movies, which is a reasonable half-way point to a stupid law. But still, “CHILDREN!”

That’s the fucked up part, and that’s the part that let’s us know how hard legal change will be in this province. It’s not that we have a bird’s nest of legal issues, and non-sensical code (although we do definitely have that), but it’s that the people in charge of the whole mess honestly, truly, think they’re doing the right thing by banning movies in bars amongst other things. Change is easier when the other side also realizes they’re being a bit daft, but it’s very hard when they actually believe in their heart of hearts that you want to take children into a dark room and get them drunk.

Zealots are hard to beat, my friends.

Written by chuck

January 23rd, 2012 at 1:45 pm

Posted in Beer and You

I Done Won… Something!

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I’m shocked. Just stunned. It turns out that I’ve won some sort of award from CAMRA for, uh, something. You see, I got this in my inbox just the other day:

Good day Chuck!

It is our pleasure to let you know that the CAMRA Vancouver membership has spoken and picked you as a winner in the 2012 CAMRA Vancouver Beer Awards.

Award(s) will be handed out at the AGM on Sunday, Jan 22nd. We kindly invite you to send a representative from your company to accept the award(s).

Note that the message says absolutely nothing about what, exactly, I won. Heck, I don’t even know that I truly won anything, since they give out prizes for the top three. And “Second” is just another word for “First Loser.”

I could be getting the nod in pretty much any category here, beit “Best Blogger”, “Best Beard”, or perhaps “Guy We’d Most Like To Meet In Person So We Can Give Him A Bomb Designed As An Award.” Sadly, all are equally likely. Although somehow I doubt I got third in Best Beard. I mean, c’mon! Have you seen Fluffy?

In any event, I won’t be there. I have a Driftwood Brewery tour to conduct at that exact same time. Instead, I will be sending along my lovely, and almost certainly insane, assistant Jenn to pick up the plaque for me (Note to Jenn: Please don’t pawn it before I get back). Please be nice to her, and remember that I’m not legally bound to honour any predictions, pacts or promissory notes she issues on my behalf.

First, why are there so many beer trophies on the internet? Second, why are they all made out of terrible beer?

Written by chuck

January 19th, 2012 at 2:29 pm

Posted in Beer and You

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Coming to Victoria!

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Where does a beer geek go when they have beer tourism on their brain pan, but not enough time to make it to Portland and back? Victoria! It’s a like a closer, mini-er version of Portland! Minus the awesome train to and from it… And the Whole Foods crammed to the rafters with good US beer… And the street cars… And the ubiquitous great street grub… And with more taxes… on top of higher prices… Sigh.

Actually, Victoria IS great, and boasts one of Canada’s few honest-to-goodness brewery districts. Don’t believe me? Well, what if I were to tell you that a single square kilometre of Viccy-land contains four breweries and three brewpubs? That’s equal to all of Vancouver, and it’s crammed within easy stumbling distance. That’s a density that matches the best Portland has to offer.

For those not in the know, the area is Rock Bay (roughly), and the breweries are Driftwood, Hoyne, Phillips and Vancouver Island. The brewpubs are Moon Under Water, Canoe and Swan’s. Ok, ok. Vancouver technically has six breweries and four brewpubs, but Parallel 49 isn’t up and running yet, and are we really counting Molson & Pat’s Pub? Really? Is Pat’s even still making that swill they call pilsner?

And those establishments are scattered all over the city. A mere 1.6km separates Swan’s and Driftwood, the two most distant contributors to this area’s awesomeness. And 1-2km over the bridge to the west are Spinnaker’s and Lighthouse, making a slight excursion worth while. You could easily walk to more of these hit locations than your liver would like you to. In Vancouver, you’d definitely need a cab. Or five. And good luck with that.

So, where am I going on my expedited two day skip-n-jump through barley-land? I’ve made a short list, but not being native to the rock (well, that part of the rock at least) I’ve likely missed out on some stuff. But here it is:


Hoyne — I definitely have to check out BC’s latest craft brewery. They’re just starting to crank out beer, and the early reviews are good. Sean Hoyne learnt his craft over at Swan’s, and those are some serious good beer credentials. Also, they have a slick website and some great bottle art. I love shit like that. I’ll be cruising by during their regular hours Saturday to take in a flight of the goods and likely buy a growler.

Phillips — Phillips also maintains regular Saturday hours with a growler bar. While I’m not a huge fan of many of their regular beers, they have a habit of making some nice smaller run ales (thinking of Hoperation, Krypton, etc).

Lighthouse — These guys, though, do not normally open the doors on the weekends. And that’s where being an internationally renowned beer blogger comes in handy. Dean McLeod himself will be coming out to give me a mini tour, which I can only hope will involve his being distracted long enough for me to sample all the current Small Brewery, Big Flavour beers in production.

Driftwood — What trip to Victoria would be complete without at least hugging the outside of Driftwood Brewing? Luckily, I can get all up inside that biatch, as Jason Meyer will be meeting me on Sunday to let the fox into the henhouse. As Gord as my witness, I swear my intentions are not to club Jason unconscious and load all the 2012 Singularity into the back of my truck. This is absolutely not a thing that will ever happen. (Just kidding Jason; I’m perfectly harmless–unless you count the smell)

Totally unrelated: these are now only $9.99 via mail-order!


Spinnakers — This is where, many years ago, I had my first sip of truly great beer. I can’t go to Victoria without stopping by to have a pint and watch the bay go by.

Swan’s — Believe it or not, I have actually never had a pint here. This will be remedied; I intend to sit on the patio and people watch over a pint of good bitter, just like all those backpackers.

Canoe — Again with the brewpubs I haven’t been to! It’s even sadder in this case, as Canoe’s beers are much harder to come by on the mainland versus Swan’s.

Moon Under Water — The Moon brews a style of beer that is sadly lacking in general availability: low ABV session ales. To be honest, I fully expect most of my take-back allotment to Vancouver to be comprised of MUB ales. And yes, there is an allotment. There’s no border I need to cross, but there is a trunk that needs to not drag on the pavement.

I will also aim to visit the Cook St Liquor Store and The Beagle, but honestly these 48 hours are starting to sound a bit packed. Have I missed any awesome beer-themed spot that only the locales know about?

Written by chuck

January 16th, 2012 at 10:59 am