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Game On

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We’re finally coming out of the late summer beer lull: those lazy days of late August after the summer releases have become scarce but before the tsunami of awesome Autumn releases pile up and demand room in my cellar.

For most of September the local breweries were preoccupied with producing their pumpkin beers. With the latest round of brewpub bottlings, have a truly amazing crop of pumpkin beers available this year. I count no less than 10 pumpkin beers available for purchase for in-home (or on-patio) consumption.

But honestly, while I do like a good pumpkin ale, it’s not what gets us beer geeks all worked up in a tizzy. No siree. They’re damned fine, but they are no Imperial Stout or Barley Wine, those two reigning kings of fine ale.

However, we just can’t jump straight into the main act of fall releases. That’d be a bit premature. We have to first get ourselves warmed up some teasers. The pumpkins served their role as a flirtation, but now we need something a bit more serious to occupy our attention.

And that something is the fresh-hopped beers. The king of all fresh-hopped beers is Driftwood Sartori, and it is making its way to beer stores as I type this. When I first has this brew, I was convinced that no better beer could be made or even conceived of. While my opinion has come down a bit, I still think it’s one of the best IPAs in the province.

But don’t stop there! Driftwood isn’t the only one dumping buckets of still-green hops into their beers. Phillips, Granville Island and even new-guy Hoyne are all throwing their mitts into the rink. Buy ’em all and do a side-by-each comparison. The only winner here is you.

And when you wake up from your hop-induced coma, it’ll be time to take things up a notch with the fall releases all our favourite stouts, porters and winter warmers. Oh, it’s the most wonderful time of the year…

Written by chuck

September 25th, 2012 at 12:27 pm

Focus on the LDB II

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Again, because they sure as hell aren’t doing it, I might as well tip y’all off to some great beers currently available via the LDB. But before we get to the part of this article that will actually be useful, please allow me to have a mini-rant.

I’ve gone on record about how the LDB weirdly loves to ignore beer in their advertising in favour of, well, anything else. This despite the fact that the majority of their sales are for beer, and that craft beer is one of the few product categories that is consistently seeing increased sales.

Now, though, I’m going to keep track of this bias. As of today the LDB main website at http://www.bcliquorstores.com features 7 advertisements–four in their rotator and three below that. These can be categorized as ads for:

Liquor: 1
Corporate Responsibility: 1

and, drumroll:

Wine: 5

Yup, that’s 71% of their ad space dedicated to a product that comprises only 30% of their income. I will keep track of this every month or so, and put a running tally on the right. I will also take bets on what # wine hits before beer hits 5. My guess is 140.

Now on to the delightful beers that this same store rather confusingly has in stock right now.

Beer 1: Brooklyn Sorachi Ace

Summer’s almost over, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up drinking light saisons. If there is a better mild saison on the market, I’m not aware of it. Sure, the price has gone up over the $9.99 it was first listed for, but I’m not gonna quibble over 66 cents.

Listing: http://www.bcliquorstores.com/product/132910
Price: $10.65 for 750ml
Availability: Very Limited

Beer 2: Unibroue U17 Grand Reserve

As of posting this beer is almost gone from the shelves, but there are a few out there still. Upon release this one didn’t get great reviews, and I concur. However, despite it’s not being as awesome as we’d all hoped, it’s still a very good beer, and now it’s being offered at a very good price.

Listing: http://www.bcliquorstores.com/product/837005
Price: $10.99 for 750ml
Availability: Extremely Limited

Beer 3: Howe Sound King Heffy Imperial Hefeweizen

Possibly the best hef in BC, but that’s not why it’s here. It’s here because Howe Sound has moved over to producing their fall seasonal, Pumpkineater, and that means King Heffy is gone for the season. Stock up now and crack one open when the rains come for a glass of sunshine, or to make yourself very depressed about how many months of dreary winter remain until this fine brew is new again.

Listing: http://www.bcliquorstores.com/product/127571
Price: $8.50for 750ml
Availability: Widely Available (for now)

Written by chuck

September 15th, 2012 at 7:17 pm

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September Beer of the Month: Howe Sound Pumpkineater

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Yeah, I know it’s a few days into September already, but I’ve been very patient with this one. When oh-nine-oh-one rolled around on Saturday, I hadn’t had a chance to try all the various contenders. So I let the date slip a day while I tried Phillips Electric Unicorn in the hopes it would be great. Then I let the date slip some more.

Luckily, just when things looked bleakest, I was informed that the current seasonal on offer at Howe Sound Brewery was none other than their annual release of Pumpkineater. Sure, you can’t get it in the stores yet, but by the time all 10 of my regular readers review this, it will be everywhere.

So, without further adieu, please gaze adoringly upon the label of this month’s winner:

I will drink this out of the skulls of my defeated enemies!

Or maybe a pumpkin. Yeah, a pumpkin seems like a better idea.

Written by chuck

September 5th, 2012 at 7:56 pm

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