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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

Update on Donnelly’s New Oxford

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This weekend, I finally found time to wander the three blocks from my house over to Donnelly’s New Oxford in Yaletown. An attempt to pop in for a pint late Saturday night ended poorly when we were turned away by a stern-but-apologetic bouncer who informed us that the New Oxford was at capacity, and that additionally capacity wasn’t all that much because they were still on a restaurant license. Ah, BC liquor laws, we meet again!

So instead of late night pints, it was a late brunch. What do I think? Well, I’m pleasantly surprised. The interior still has that “too new to be true” Donnelly look about it, but at least the walls here are real brick instead of the faker plaster kind used in some of their other pubs. I suspect that the leather chairs and booths will age over time and gain character, assuming management lets it do so (keeping things shiny seems to be Donnelly’s goal in life).

I was somewhat disappointed to note the shuffleboard was under lock and key, even at 2pm on a Sunday afternoon, and positioned in such as way as to discourage use (encroached upon by occupied tables). Additionally, the place was crammed full of a distinctly Yaletown clientele, consisting of a statistically unlikely percentage of blondes, but then again, it is on Homer.

As to the good points, the back room had a delightful character about it, and the rumours of reasonably priced Farmhand and Phillips IPA on tap proved 100% true ($5.15/16oz), although a proper pint was no where to be found despite the heavy handed English character of the place.

As well, a placard advertising $3 sleeves on Tuesdays was sighted on the table. True the ad did include a limitation to “Domestic” beers, but a quick glance at the draught menu reveal no risk of the usual “domestic” beer exclusion rule (aka Molson, Labatt’s, etc, but not the stuff brewed a block away), since the only true macro beers they had were decidedly imports. I have gotten into arguments with bar managers about why Labatt’s is Domestic and R&B is not.

Food was better than average, which says a lot considering the offerings at other places in the family, which waver around “unexceptional.”

The presence of a projection TV and plenty of LCDs elsewhere means this could be a great hockey hangout, especially on Tuesdays. With this good comes bad, though, as those same TVs mean plenty of not-hockey buggering up chances for a quiet pint on virtually every other day (their current schedule is UFC-a-riffic).

Summary: A decent place, but not somewhere I can strongly recommend outside of the odd quick afternoon pint or hockey games on Tuesdays.

How to improve: Turn the TVs off during not-hockey, serve real (20oz) pints, and expand the tap list.

Rating (yes, I rate bars): 3/5. I’ll be back, but only rarely or at someone else’s suggestion. Still, that’s a lot more than I would ever visit other Donnelly Group establishments. Now if only they could repeat the baseline -> Oxford improvement with their next pub…

Written by chuck

February 1st, 2011 at 10:32 am

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Finally, Alibi Room’s 200th Beer List

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Makes me thirsty even after all this time.

I know I said I’d get on this, but somehow I forgot and only noticed my souvenir beer list sitting on the shelf this morning. So, here it is.

My favourites from the evening where definitely these:

  • Upright Late Harvest — Delightfully sour, and a tad tastier than the bottles I have lying around.
  • Central City Roach — Separates the Hop Fan from the Hop Maniac. Do you have unpure thoughts about hops? This beer is for you.
  • Storm Cherry Lambic (non-13 year old version) — Sweetly delicious. Please don’t lose this one for a decade.
  • Lagunitas Maximus — Better than the bottle by far.
  • Driftwood OCD ’10 (cask) — Please keep away from open flame.

If you weren’t there,
download then cry.

Written by chuck

January 31st, 2011 at 1:12 pm

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