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This Just In-ier

with 7 comments

Remember that Craft Beer Market taplist that was leaked last week on reddit? (Hat tip to a few folks for email me about that one, including Rob Ardies) I re-posted it here and generated a bit of comment about whether or not it was legit. Well, it’s legit. CBM has now soft-opened, so feel free to head on down to check things out. If you’re too far away, too busy to make it, or (like me) are just holding out for the official launch, here are some spy shots of the final menu.


[Page 1] – [Page 2] – [Page 3]
(Spy photo credit: Thomas Milne)

There’s not a lot of new information there, though, because the leaked list was basically 100% accurate, right down to which beers go in which categories, and where those appear on the menu. And yes, for those that are interested in such things, this means that Alexander Keith’s was indeed slotted into the IPA category. They did, though, at least put down an IBU rating for each list IPA, and Keith’s is curiously lower than any of the other entrants at 28 (12 lower than the English IPA’s minimum of 40 by style).

The sole change to the early menu is a cider swap-out that saw Foundry get left behind and Sommersby get the nod for game time.

One detail that was missing from the leaked list was the composition of the 13 rotating taps. Wonder no more, my friends (pic):

  • GIB Collaboration Brew*
  • Wolf Red Brick IPA
  • Ninkasi Total Domination IPA
  • GIB Pumpkining
  • Ommegang Game of Thrones Take the Black Stout
  • American Brewing Breakaway IPA
  • Steamworks Pale
  • Jolly Pumpkin Bam Biere
  • New Belgium Pumpkick
  • Stiegl Radler Zitrone
  • Elysian Oddland Spiced Pear
  • Big Rock Life of Chai
  • Lighthouse Tasman

* This isn’t my beer as it hasn’t been brewed–or even conceived–yet

Lastly, here are some tidbits for you:

  • 0.4l of Fat Tug is priced at $6.25, or ~$0.46 per US oz. This is fairly pricey according to the famous Fat Tug Index. Aside: why US ounces, Paddy?
  • For those wondering what that would be for a proper pint (and let’s be honest, at least one of us seems to wonder about very little else), that’s about $8.88
  • The rotating taps aren’t pouring yet (UPDATE: Some are; see comments), and won’t be in time for next week’s official opening.
  • Tuesday is cask day. While I applaud having a cask at all, I am very disappointed that one of the rotating taps simply isn’t a cask all the time.
  • Tuesday is also discount beer day. All beers are $2 off. That change modifies Fat Tug above to be ~$0.31 per US oz, or about the same as the Charlatan every day.
  • Ratebeer.com gives this list an average of 60.2 overall, 66.67 by style. That’s a marked improvement from their Calgary location (53).
  • Worst Beer (according to ratebeer.com): Bud Light, which gets an “n/a” for overall, and 1 for style
  • Best Beers (according to ratebeer.com): Ayinger Celebrator, St Ambroise Oatmeal (100/100)

Written by chuck

October 30th, 2013 at 12:36 pm

Posted in Bars

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This Just In

with 12 comments

As excitement continues to build for the impending opening of Craft Beer Market in the Olympic Village, an early draft of their fixed tap list appears to have been leaked on reddit.

Sure, I find it odd that anyone who works at a craft beer focused restaurant (and therefore should be experts on beer/food pairings) would be asking a public forum for advice, but this list does appear to be legit (eg no one else considers Saisons, White IPAs or California Common beers to be “Anomalies”).

Remember folks, this is quite obviously an early draft (full of typos/not formatted all purty-like) so don’t be too harsh on them for listing “Strom Brewing Black Plaque Stout” on there.

Here is the list for easy access.

Some quick take-aways:

  • The rotating taps (13 in total) are not listed here
  • This list represents 43 beers from 27 BC Breweries (and 1 cider from BC’s Merridale, and two undoubtedly locally brewed house beers)
  • Ignoring the 13 rotating taps, that gives us a tap list that is 37% BC
  • Or, looking at it another way, a tap list that has 11 more BC products than St Augustine’s
  • Big winners in terms of scoring taps are: Parallel 49, OK Spring, Driftwood, Phillips and Howe Sound, each with three
  • The brewery with the most taps? Deschutes, with 4

UPDATE: After careful analysis I’d say this list is legit, but likely an early version of the tap list. I won’t say exactly why I suspect this (although Rogue Dead Guy is awful hard to get on tap regularly). Expect the final version to be slightly different.

Written by chuck

October 23rd, 2013 at 3:44 pm

Posted in Bars

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August Jack

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It was with great interest that I learnt of the impending opening of a beer-focused tapas bar mere blocks from Sharon’s apartment in Kits. Prior to this opening, if we wanted an evening out at a restaurant with even slightly decent beer, we had to choose between the Manchester, Bimini’s or, more recently, Ceili’s. Needless to say, we cook a lot.

August Jack promised to change that, so I eagerly accepted their offer of a fully comp’d evening to take their new menu for a spin. I won’t bore you with a course by course rundown of what I was fed; enough beer bloggers went through the August Jack that ten seconds of Googling will get you quite a few detailed takes. However, I will run down what was good, what was okay, and what was worrisome.

The Good

The food ranges from quite good to excellent, and let’s face it, that’s sorta why you eat out. All five menu items I sampled were well structured & balanced dishes, prepared with care, and all priced at a very reasonable level. In particular, the mussels were fantastic. The Pan Seared Beach Oysters offered a very BC-take on our local meaty oysters, and had a rich earthy flavour that took me back to my days growing up on the coast, filling my insatiable oyster craving via my proximity to the beach. Of course, you have to take great food with a grain of salt, as the restaurant was fully aware that over 3/4 of their clientele that evening were reviewing the grub. Anything less than awesome would have been a disaster.


Pictured: Food of some sort.
What do you want from me? I’m a beer blogger.

The Meh

The beers chosen to pair with each meal were a confused lot. Take the opening salvo: inviting a bunch of beer geeks to your new restaurant and thrusting Steamworks Pale Ale in their faces upon arrival is a ballsy move. This is arguably the worst craft pale ale in the province, and using it as your lead move in a beer-pairing restaurant is questionable at best.

Then take the oysters. Why, oh why, would you skip down a tap list that includes Storm’s amazing Black Plague stout and elect to pair your oysters with Unibroue’s Blanche de Chambly? Yeah, I get it; the coriander in the beer is supposed to pair with the tarragon and portobello slices. It makes sense on paper, but it just didn’t work on the plate. Stout with oysters is Beer Paring One-Oh-Freaking-One, and they missed it.

Some of the pairings did work, especially the Odin Kolsch/mussels pair, but overall there were enough misses or questionable decisions to make me not trust the menu’s pairing recommendations… in a restaurant staking its reputation on beer pairings.

The Worrying

A glaring menu omission can be found on the draught list itself. Where are the serving sizes? The beer stats (ABV, IBU, FG)? Tasting notes? The theme of the restaurant is pairing food with beer, but somehow no one thought to put together a couple of lines about what flavours the beer actually has?

However, no aspect of the evening was more concerning than the wait staff’s decision to seat a party of sloppily intoxicated, rowdy 20 somethings in the midst of two tables of mid-review bloggers. I get it; the restaurant was empty and man those folks looked like they’d leave a bit of money behind, but August Jack needs to decide what kind of restaurant they want to be and stick with it.

Conclusion

Overall, my evening at August Jack was a pleasant one, and it does take time for a new restaurant to find its groove. The planned draught expansion, and the beer bottle cellar will take time to build out, but should add an extra level of complexity and quality to a solid start.

Overall, though, the restaurant really does seem like an endeavour from someone for whom craft beer is not a passion, but rather a sound business investment (see owner Chris Hall’s other restaurant, the Sin Bin to back this theory). But you know what? Craft Beer in Vancouver has grown to the point where it really IS a sound business decision, and I’m okay with that.

Will I go back and pay this time? Absolutely. Should you? Yup.


As I am wont to do, I crawled outside the foundation and into their cellar. It’s not loaded with awesome beer yet, but it will be.

Written by chuck

September 3rd, 2013 at 4:18 pm

Posted in Bars

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