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300 and Counting

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If you’re surprised I haven’t posted about the impending Alibi Room 300th Taplist yet, then let me say I’m with you. What’s up with me?

Anywho, if you don’t already know, Nigel is doing his 300th Taplist next week, coincidentally about 100 taplists after his 200th celebration. However, instead of having one giant blowout evening with a lineup stretching down the block, he’s decided to split it into three nights starting Monday so as to give the most people the most chance to get in. And, of course, to give his registers the most chance to rake in that awesome, awesome, beer geek green. Now hey, not being critical here, Nigel needs that molah to buy weird beers with, which encourages those breweries to brew more weird beers, which in turn makes more beer for us. The ciiiiiircle of liiiiifeeee…

Aside: Not saying Nigel’s making a massive profit here, anything but. Despite the huge crowds, the margins on events like this remain fairly thin, with a good chunk of the cash going to entertainment (remember Rich Hope) as well as worthy charities like the Food Bank. Most of what’s left over pays for the very beer you’re drinking, but that was sort of my point: Buying craft/unique beer begets more craft/unique beer to buy.

I’ll be there at least on Tuesday, so keep an eye out for your favourite Bearded Beer Geek. 2nd Favourite? 3rd Favourite? 1st Somewhat likeable Beer Geek? Favourite somewhat-beer-related-guy-you’d-wave-to-from-across-the-street-but-not-actually-cross-the-street-to-talk-to? Well, fine, Mr. “I’m better than Chuck,” I’ll just wave to you from the uber-exclusive VIP express lineup that Nigel will invite me to. Right, Nigel? Nigel? Hello?

In preparation for this huge event, I’m assigning some beer homework for y’all. And no, it’s not the “drink some beer” type of homework. That’s just expected from you on a daily basis. No, this is reading based, but don’t fret, it’s reading *about* beer. Below are the menus from Nigel’s 100th and 200th events. Download them and peruse. Note please that these are not merely beer lists, but mini illustrated novels about beer and beer culture in BC. Stories about the breweries, anecdotes about brewmasters, streams of consciousness from Nigel, and little illustrations by Perrin. These are less menus and much more love poems to beer and beer culture. This is what makes the Alibi Room my favourite beer hall in town.

Well the massively awesome beer lineup doesn’t hurt, either.

Wow, just look at them… LOOK AT THEM! LOOOK!

Written by chuck

December 9th, 2011 at 12:11 pm

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Holy Sh*t! Malone’s Has Great Beer!

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This might come as a shock to many of you, but not every single one of my regular readers is a diehard CAMRA member. If they were, then the title of this article wouldn’t really be much of a surprise at all, honestly, as Malone’s hosted CAMRA’s most recent organized booze up (Oktoberfest) just last weekend and everyone got a face full of good beer awesomeness served up the most recent convertee to the Good Beer Crew.

But for me, and most of the regular public out there, saying “Good Beer” in the same sentence as “Malone’s” would require the insertion of “most definitely cannot be found at” in order to make any sense. To give you an idea of what I speak, Malone’s primary purpose in my life was as the place where you awkwardly killed a few minutes after trying to get into the Railway Club before it opened at 5pm.

After walking in the door, you’d progress through each of these activities in order:

1/ Wonder what that smell is.
2/ Attempt to avoid making eye contact with the sort of pre-gaming hockey fans who feel a normal pre-requisite to viewing said sport is to have legitimate trouble finding the stadium through drink.
3/ Grab a beer menu, and read the whole thing. Twice, because you can’t give credence to so many taps yielding so few drinkable beers.
4/ No really, what IS that smell? Actually, fuck it. Knowing will likely make this experience even worse.
5/ Sigh, and resign yourself to ordering a “pint” of the best (only) decent beer: GIB Winter Ale.
6/ Wonder if complaining about the obviously dirty 12oz glass your beer came in will get you stabbed.
7/ Ugh. When was the last time they sold a pint of this? It’s clearly off, and no one else in the bar seems to be drinking beer darker than light urine.
8/ Put money down, and quickly scuttle over to the Rail to wait the last few minutes outside in the cold.

Sure, I can be harsh, but that is pretty much my exact experience from a trip to this place last spring. Imagine my horror when I wanted to Rail it up with a couple friends a few weeks back, and they informed me it was closed and hence they were at Malone’s.

Me: “Ugh. Please, no. Rogue’s not too far away. Hell, even the fucking KINGSTON has better beer.”
They: “I dunno, this bitter I’m having seems decent.”
Me: “… bitter? Um… not calling you a dirty liar or anything, but who makes it, ya dirty liar?”
They: “Uh… where’s the menu… Swans?”
Me: “I’ll be right there.”

So, what happened? Well, Malone’s has thrown down some serious good beer gauntlets, that’s what happened. Their current beer lineup goes past good to really quite great. Heck, they’re in Rogue Wet Bar territory without the snotty name. In fact, with the name change to Malone’s Urban Drinkery, I’ll even give them the edge. The food is better, although still pretty sketch, but the heavily BeerThirst-inspired tap list does much to make me forget about subpar burgers (very improved from before but still not great food in general).

A decent variety of US imports like Elysian, Pike and Lagunitas balance out my favourite BC beer bar staple: the brewpubs like Swan’s, Longwood, Howe Sound and Central City. Few bars other than the Alibi bother getting in stuff from Swan’s or Longwood.

Also, the use of a Kokanee chalkboard to proclaim “The only good beer is craft beer” was a delightful move, even if it might piss off your account rep (or perhaps especially because of that fact). Keep up the good work, guys.

Written by chuck

October 20th, 2011 at 5:13 pm

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Vancouver Craft Beer Week

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Tickets for the general events of VCBW go on sale today, and if last year is anything to go by, expect them to sell out faster than hot cakes. Or crack. Or hotcakes full of crack. Ok, faster than just crack… which is on sale… just go with it, ok? They’ll go. Fast.

Sadly, this year will see me in far off Cuba during the festivities. Which is also during the second round of the playoffs… hmm… perhaps better planning is required on my part for future travels. But don’t let my misfortune grow into yours. Just because I won’t be able to make to any of these events, and therefore they will obviously suffer for my absence, doesn’t mean you should get all depressed and just stay home. Go. To as many as possible.

Before you look at the prices and decide “but it’s so expensive” remember that most event prices include tax AND gratuity. I don’t know about you, but I don’t remember the last time I ever left a bar full of food, good beer and good times for prices like this.

Some highlights:

Dead Famous Dead Guy Crawl : Yes, this is your chance to dress up as a zombie version of a celebrity, stagger around downtown and drink good beer. I missed this event last year (when it was just a funeral for Dix), and have regretted it ever since.

Legacy Liquor Store Cellaring Seminar : Chris knows his cellaring, and any aspiring beer geek would do well to heed his advice. I know I’ve written about cellaring before (and likely will again, on, say… Tuesday), but there’s just something about learning in person that beats reading some egomaniac’s barely literate scrawlings on the ‘tubes.

Upright x Driftwood Brewmaster’s Dinner : Two of my favourite brewers together in one spot? Sweet mother of all that’s holy, I might fly back from Cuba for one night to go to this.

Driftwood Beer Dinner at Hapa Umi : The Driftwood Hapa Izakaya meal last year was supposed to be fantastic (I was off doing something else beer-related) so this is bound to be great.

Red Truck Brewmaster Dinner and Cheese Tasting : I think there might be cheese at this one.

The Whip’s Firkin Fetish Night with Storm Brewing : Storm Casks, good food and nigh-naked people? Yes please! James, please keep your pants (mostly) on.

Alibi Room Presents, Brothers in Hop Featuring: Red Racer Beer x Ninkasi Brewing x Hopworks Urban Brewing : Ninkasi has never been in BC (aside from kegs) before, so I’m excited to see if these VCBW appearances are the start of a product launch (a la Upright last year).

Lastly, VCBW also created a video to advertise the week, and it’s been floating around the web since late last night. Since I’ve already been asked a couple of times, I’ll just point out straight away that No, this is not me. My leotard is purple, and this one is quite obviously teal. In fact, not only is this Not Me, but I had absolutely nothing to do with the conception, planning, execution or production of this fine fine example of post-modern beer-themed art. Shocking, I know. So shocking, in fact, that even I’m a bit wary to believe this disclaimer because, let’s face it, if you gave me a lot of money, a camcorder, and two furry outfits, this is likely what I’d make, beer week to advertise or no.

Not Me, but seriously… Woof!

Finally, it wouldn’t be a blog by Chuck without me taking exception to something. In this case it is VCBW whoring out to accept sponsorship funding from The Charles Bar. Guys, do you seriously need money so badly that you’re willing to take it from someone who’s idea of Craft Beer is Whistler Brewing? Yeah, I get it, they have Phillips in bottles, but anyone even remotely interested in good beer would have something better on tap than Whistler Dreck Light, Whistler Dreck Dark, Pilsner, Rickard’s, Heineken and Guinness.

This is a serious shot to your credibility. Wise up.

/PS Holy shit! The Backstage Lounge has good beer! When did this happen? Anyone up for a Sunny Saturday Patio Excursion sometime before my departure on April 29th?

Written by chuck

April 8th, 2011 at 3:56 pm

Posted in Bars,Beer and You,Breweries

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