Barley Mowat 

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This month’s beer is special for a few reasons. Perhaps that’s why I’m putting this up early! Yup, leaving my BOTM selection until it’s nigh The Next Month is a thing of the past. So, goodbye Howe Sound 4Way, we hardly knew ye.

And hellllloooo Russell’s Rick August Imperial Stout! To be honest, I have no idea what this beer is really called. Is it Russell’s Rick August’s Stout? Russell/Rick August Stout? Russell’s Rick August Stout where “Rick August” is the name of the beer much like “Blood Alley” is the name of their bitter? I have no idea.

And I don’t give a flying fuck. Why? This beer is good. Damned good. Fantastic, in fact. It’s a solid 7/10 amoung imperial stouts, and that makes it a solid 99.9/100 amoung All Beers. It’s a damned tasty beer, and you should drink it.

What else is special? Well, this beer is actually made by some bloke named Rick August. He won the 2011 Golden Stag Home Brewer’s award with this beer. Well, not technically *this* beer. Just a beer very much like this. *This* beer was brewed recently by Jack at Russell Brewing from a recipe very much like Rick’s, and bottled under his name.

That’s probably why I love this beer so much. Not only is Russell brewing and bottling a scaled home-brew recipe brewed by some guy named Rick from Saskatchewan, but they’re doing it again this year with Dave Shea’s barley wine. In case you aren’t sure, that’s cool. That’s very cool, and it deserves our support.

So, when you see this in an LRS near you, buy it by the armload.

It’s okay to lick the screen. I already did. It’ll be like we’re eKissing!

Written by chuck

May 30th, 2012 at 6:19 pm

Posted in Beer and You,Beers

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The Week That Was VCBW

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Are you ready for my half-assed, far too-short review of VCBW? No? Well, here it is anyway.

VCBW was a massive, rollicking event that spanned 7 days, 4 events, and 4 restaurants. I know the website claimed a fair number more than that, but I can’t really confirm anything I didn’t personally see, so I’m sticking to my 7/4/4 claim.

Hoppapalooza I’ve already covered in a prior post. Go read it here.

Next up was the Driftwood + Pourhouse dinner that was coined “Beach to Bone” and came with a rolling narrative that basically served to roll out a menu that contained oysters, chicken, beef and maple syrup. I bought these tickets menu-unseen, based simply on the people involved. The thinking went something like: Pourhouse is good food and Driftwood is good beer, but… I already have my wallet out, don’t I? Crap.

A similar line of thought about books and John Travolta was less successful

Well, it wasn’t so bad. In fact, it was pretty good, but I can’t help but compare it to the tadalafil from canada and sorry Ian(s), you guys come up short. Of course, it was also half the price, so I guess that makes it pretty good. For a much better review of this event than I can put together, see Jan’s reporting over at the Province here.

Thursday saw me get off work early, then walk a kilometer… then get on a Skytrain… then take that thing all the way to the end… then wait fifteen minutes in the wind for a bus… then take that bus another two kilometers… then fight a balrog… and then finally get to a bar called “Pumphouse”. Ok, one of those things isn’t literally true. The balrog and I settled our differences via government-mandated binding arbitration. 5% wage bump per annum my ass.

The BeerThirst/Elysian tap-takeover out in Ditchmond was exactly as promised: a little slice of the suburbs served up with 20 tasty Seattle brews, many of which had not seen the light of BC yet. Full disclosure time: BeerThirst did indeed bribe me to come out to this event with promises of two free tickets and free beer. And yes, I might not have attended if not for this. However, I started this blog to get free beer, and thus I used this misplaced generosity to dive in and sample a wide range of beers from a decent brewery.

There were quite a few middle-of-the-road beers, and more than one great beer, but the Barley Mowat Best in Show goes to The Dread, an oak-aged imperial stout that is so good, you just know it’s not coming back any time soon. I don’t know why, but the import rules are basically made to keep out good beers, and to let in Becks. Sigh.

Will I be back? Nope. Sorry, folks, I left the rural life behind me, and the Pumphouse just doesn’t jive with my huge downtown snobbishness. I’d love to say that I found hanging out with the salt of the earth very relaxing and energizing, but alas the truth is closer to what Sharon whispered in my ear on the long train ride home: “Can we never go to the suburbs again, please?” There’s just so many better bars so much closer to home.

There’s also lots of shitty bars. I have options, is what I’m saying

Final day, final event: The VCBW Beer Festival. You take a day of perfect weather, a very awesomely restored 80 year old salt refinery, and combine them in a pot with 50 stalls of good beer and you have a very happy Chuck, right? Well, not so fast there skippy. I actually think this might have been my last beer festival. Sorry, festivals, it’s not you, it’s me.

You see, standard beer fests like this one are the same as always: lots of breweries and lots of good beer, but nothing too terribly interesting going on. Sure, they’re very nice, and generally fairly well executed, but consider this: I had not one beer from Driftwood, but three of Storm’s. Driftwood brought their regular (and very good) lineup, but I’d already had that. Storm, meanwhile, being off their meds as per usual, brought three exotic and very odd beers, and I had them all. Storm also ran out of most of their beer.

Don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed my 10 4oz samples of random beer, but overall I’m not sure that what was effectively 2 standard pints should have cost me $55, and I certainly didn’t enjoy it anywhere near as much as Hoppapolooza, which was $60 all in and involved literally dozens of intriguingly rare or one-off beers. Sure, I could have stretched out the value for $1.25 per 4oz (or $2.50, which was the going rate at far too many booths), but at 10 I had had everything I wanted (and a few I didn’t… looking at you, Whistler Brewing’s Grapefruit) and was effectively done.

As attractive and well put on an event as this was, the stark reality is that beer festivals are for relative new-comers to good beer, and that just isn’t me. So farewell, beer fests, it was good to know you. And hello cask fests, you come around far too infrequently.

Written by chuck

May 28th, 2012 at 7:35 pm

Posted in Beer and You

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I’m Going To Regret This

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Tonight, Vancouver Craft Beer Week kicks into high gear with Hoppapalooza at the Alibi Room. Hoppapalooza is the annual sold out event where local breweries take the current hoppy beer craze to its insane conclusion. Nigel has put up some teaser tweets, hinting at about 30 IPAs, many of the rare or insane variety (double CC Roach? OK!).

Sure, my palate will likely be completely fucked up about 2 hours into the 6 hour insanity-fest, but I don’t care. Sometimes, if you love something, you just have to go whole hog, strip naked and cover yourself in it from head to toe (unless, of course, that thing is boiling oil but hey, maybe that’s your thing. I’m not here to judge you, you sicko).

Bees, though, are fine. Sexy beard, guy. Rwar.

To fully embrace the off-kilter-ness of the evening, I am handing over my Twitter account (@Barley_Mowat) to one Dr Jennifer Gardy, whose last contribution to this blog was a review sheet from the CAMRA Spring Sessional as covered in unicorns as it was in beer stains.

I understand some sort of tiny plastic animals and cardboard dioramas might be involved. No, I am not kidding. Look for my Twitter stream to stop making any level of sense around 4pm today.

For a less unbalanced version of events, follow me on Untappd (BarleyMowat) as I slowly numb my tongue over the course of the evening.

That’s it for now. See you all tomorrow… but not before noon.

Written by chuck

May 20th, 2012 at 11:39 am