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Archive for the ‘Beers’ Category

January Beer of the Month

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Yup, it’s a new year already. You can tell because people are hauling their groggy asses off of the floors of their apartments before noon for the first time in a few weeks. Another good tip-off that a calendar rollover of some sort has recently occured is that I’m taking a whole post to laud praise on whatever seasonal release Driftwood is throwing our way this month.

Now, I didn’t get into the blogging business to be a credible journalist. In fact, those of you that know me probably spit up your coffee a bit at that sentence (or threw up a bit in your mouth, it’s really a matter of how well you know me). And, as such, I’m not overly interested in being considered an objective eye on the beer scene. However, my near-ubiquitous and nigh-constant shovelling of acclaim at a certain brewery in Victoria has even gotten me suspicious of my own motives.

But what’s a beer geek to do? They keep producing good beer, and I keep liking it. So here goes. The January Beer of the Month is, of course, Driftwood Old Cellar Dweller 2011.

But this is the 2009 label. Yeah, I’m just that lazy.

This is a great barley wine, and one that will improve for years to come. I recently did a vertical tasting of the 2009, 2010 and 2011 OCDs, and the ’09 came out on top and provided a great preview of what the ’11 might be in two years time. (The ’10, which still a great beer, just couldn’t keep up)

And the best part is that Driftwood made giant freaking buckets of this stuff, so it’s not hard to find like their other seasonals, and it doesn’t sell out very fast, if at all. Get out there, buy it, and drink it folks.

Now, as a personal favour, Driftwood, if you’re listening, could you guys produce something completely horrible, just so I can sound more balanced? I dunno, perhaps decant a single 650ml of Fat Tug just after the boil and call it the “Barley Mowat Journalistic Integrity Special Release” or something.

Written by chuck

January 4th, 2012 at 11:26 am

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Upright Seven Back In Town

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Not sure how much more I need to write than the title. It was announced today from our good friends at RainCity Brands that Upright Seven, curiously missing from BC liquor shelves since mid-summer, is now once again available for consumption.

I’m a massive fan of all things Upright. They’re perhaps my favourite brewery after Driftwood. It’s a shame they’re so far away (note, this doesn’t mean they make the best beer, just that I like their style).

Seven is a fantastic Saison, similar to Lighthouse Deckhand but a little less fruity and a bit more yeasty (all their beers are bottle conditioned). Consider it a much more robust version of their also-excellent Four, which is just perfect on sunny patios when you want a non-serious beer to pass the afternoon with.

Stock up while you can, folks. I’m pretty sure my case order via the LDB will be fulfilled soon enough, so that’s 12 less bottles that will make their way to shelves.

Written by chuck

November 4th, 2011 at 2:11 pm

Sartori Sartori Sartori Sartori!

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To be honest, I was very seriously considering just making this entire update nothing but the word Sartori, but I finally relented when I realized exactly how fucking stupid that would be.

Yes, it’s that most wonderful time of year: the annual release of Driftwood Sartori, BC’s reigning beer champ. If you were following me on Twitter yesterday, you would have seen a series of announcements as I wandered from private craft beer store to store, marched to the counter and demanded “Where is it? WHERE IS IT!?!?”

My multi-location retail-focused adventure was caused not by low stock, but by said stores’ policies to limit sales per customer. Some as high as six. Some as low as two. Sure, these rules ration out the diminishing supplies of the golden elixir so that as many people as possible can get their yearly top up, but they also prevent me from purchasing–then consuming–ALL the beer and are therefore bad (note, similar rules designed to prevent anyone else from such hoarding would be good).

Most stores received about 10 cases of the stuff, and were selling it rapidly even before it made its way onto the shelves. In fact, even though I was in each store only 4-5 minutes total, at every one but Darby’s I was not the only beer geek with as many bottles of Sartori in my hands as they’d let me carry away… yanked right out of the still-open cases not he floor. Translation: if you want some of this delicious brew, you’d best either have it already or be on your way to the store right now. I am very serious when I predict most stock to not last the weekend. Except Darby’s. For some reason that store just doesn’t show up on the beer geek radar. Heck, they still have Spring Rite, but don’t tell anyone.

In the end, a grand total of 20 bottles proved enough to keep myself, my friends, and Sharon happy for a the month or two consuming them will take. Sartori will now become one of my regular beers until I run out. I tried cellaring it last year to discover that the freshness of the hops disappears over the course of 6-8 weeks. If you do wish to enjoy some mid-winter, then keep it as close to 0c as possible. A bottle I found in the back of the food-fridge (3c) was good 6m after the fact.

So, how is it? Is it still the best in BC? Yes, absolutely. This is a fantastic IPA. Is it better than last year? A qualified yes. As always, the hops are fresh and juicy. The switch to local malt has upped the local-ness of it, which is worth something. And I don’t know if it’s the local malt, but there’s also a certain Belgian-ness to it, something it shares with Driftwoods other two local malt beers (CuvĂ©e D’Hiver and Spring Rite). Of course, those are Belgians so take that comparison with a grain of salt.

However, the BC beer scene in general has improved significantly in just the past twelve months. So much so, in fact, that Sartori no longer stands out as the only truly awesome beer I’ve had recently. It’s still a 10, but a 10 surrounded by 9s just isn’t as stand out.

Sure, this is largely due to Driftwood itself (20 pounder, Fat Tug, Spring Rite, etc), but other breweries are improving things also. Heck, the fresh keg of R&B East Side Bitter I have *holds its own* against Sartori. It’s not as good, mind you, but it’s also not bad in direct comparison, sip vs sip. Not bad at all. And that’s a good thing.

Written by chuck

October 14th, 2011 at 11:19 am

Posted in Beers

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