Barley Mowat 

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Focus on the LDB

with 4 comments

Nope, this isn’t a rant… well, it isn’t entirely a rant. I looked out the window this afternoon and noticed it was kinda nice out. Then a cloud floated by which sorta looked like a “patio” and I thought “bang up idea, Mr Cloud!” (Note: pretty much all clouds look like a patio to me)

Of course, patio means patio beers. And with that thought came images of Belgian White. Long since gone from the private stores, Belgian White is available rather ubiquitously at the LDB, making for a rather shocking aberration from the LDB’s otherwise near perfect record of stocking pretty much entirely dreck and calling it beer.

So I wander over to the LDB website to find out where to buy this great concoction, and I see this.


Sigh. No funny caption. Just sigh.

Sure, there is such a thing as a nice wine to have in the summer heat, and this wine myopia on the LDB website is nothing new. However, there was just something about my particular context today and made this sting a bit more than usual. So I hung my head in a little bit of mini depression for how awful our provincial liquor board is.

Sensing that I was particularly vulnerable at that moment, the LDB website went for a “kick Chuck while he’s down” approach and scrolled this by.


Oh fuck off, LDB, just fuck right off.

I have officially given up hope that the LDB will ever give a focus to beer, period. Yet they sometimes have nice or unique products in stock. So screw you, LDB, I’ll do it for you. Thus, I present my first Focus on the LDB, a periodic post that will highlight interesting or special beers available in the LDB right now. This is not meant to be a comprehensive list, just two or three beers in stock at the LDB that I happen to like (and are therefore good).

Beer 1: Lighthouse Belgian White

Dean’s follow up to their highly acclaimed Belgian Black, the White is a more traditional take on a Belgian Wit Ale. I love this beer, and am happy to see it widely available. Sure, it’s not as over-the-top great as the Black, but sometimes a simpler beer is just what the doctor ordered. This is effectively the perfect patio beer.

Listing: http://bcliquorstores.com/product/231118
Price: $6.50 for 650ml
Availability: Wide

Beer 2: Hopworks Secession

I guess someone ordered too much of this and had to dump it at the LDB to get rid of it. Having said that, this is perhaps the one of the best CDAs available in Cascadia. Grab some of Vern’s locally produced GIB CDA while you’re at it, and do a side-by-side comparison to see who wins in a CDA-off.

Listing: http://bcliquorstores.com/product/130062
Price: $7.75 for 650ml
Availability: Limited

Beer 3: Parallel 49 Sampler

Ok, fine, this isn’t a beer, but rather four beers. So that’s got to be four times better, right? The newest BC brewery on the block decided to jump into the LDB with a splash, giving us all four of their summer lineup in one box. The four are: Seedspitter Watermelon Wit, Old Boy Classic Ale, Gypsy Tears Ruby Red, and Hoparazzi India Pale Lager. Each is a slightly unusual and interesting beer, and I love them all. The only problem is that every time I look down my glass is empty.

Listing: http://bcliquorstores.com/product/698498
Price: $23.50 for 12x341ml
Availability: Limited

Written by chuck

July 21st, 2012 at 2:46 pm

Old Yale Vanishing Monk

with one comment

When you think of craft beer in Vancouver, you don’t often think of Old Yale Brewing. I mean, they’re all the way out in Mordor (the Wack), so their beer can’t possibly be any good, right? So let’s just grab another hop bomb from <insert hip hot new local brewery here> and call it a day.

Thus, when 2014’s Canadian Beer Awards rolled around, more than a few eyebrows where raised when Old Yale’s tried and true Sasquatch Stout won the coveted “Beer of the Year” award. I’ll be honest, it took me by surprise as well. 2013’s winner was Powell Street’s delicious Old Jalopy Pale Ale. I had no problem with that. Hip new breweries beat the old guard, right? Punchy Pales > Boring Old Stouts.

Or so the thinking went before everyone woke up and remembered that Sasquatch is really quite a well brewed Stout. The win looks like it might have been somewhat of a surprise for the fine folks at Old Yale themselves, as the sudden rush of sales and publicity that follows such an award seems to have jarred them into a bit of a brand modernization.

With that rebrand comes a new brew, being right now broadly distributed via the BC LDB. With broad distribution comes media samples, and for the first time ever I received some Old Yale product to open, taste, and trash/praise. So, is Vanishing Monk Belgian Wit any good?

Yup, it is. It won’t blow your mind wide open, but it is a very well brewed example of a style that’s easy to mess up. Frankly, this beer is pretty good. There’s lots of yeast complexity going on here, but not so much it becomes the focus of the beer. There’s a subtle line between a refreshing Wit and a beer that’s all gonzo “Look at me! I’m brewed with a kooky yeast! CAN’T YOU TASTE THE ESTERS?!”

Plus, at 5.59 (before taxes) at the LDB it’s not a bad option. There’s lots of great competition in the Wit Zone, but Old Yale’s is one of the better ones.

APPEARANCE Pours cloudy yellow with a thin, instantly dissipating head.
NOSE Faint lemon zest, good Belgian yeast esters (clove, black pepper).
TASTE creamy mouthfeel, good balance between sugar and yeast complexity. A nice light summer ale.
STATS 5.0% ABV / 20 IBU / Witbier
SHOULD I BUY IT? Yes, and then find a patio by a lake for full effect.
SIMILAR BEERS Driftwood White Bark, Strange Fellows Jongleur, Brassneck Staircase
CHECK IN (4/5, Excellent)


A+++++. Would receive free samples again.

Written by chuck

June 26th, 2015 at 11:43 am

Posted in Beers

Tagged with

The Chuck Standard

with 5 comments

It’s one thing to start a debate on a hot topic and another thing entirely to propose a solution. Recently there was a post and resulting, quality discussion here around how we should approach this proposed “Brewers Quality Alliance.” Lots of great details were posted by folks in the comments, and now I’ll repost those in a main article and take all the credit. You guys making blogging so very easy; thanks!

So, here is my proposal. BC LDB, are you listening to me? Is this thing even on? Not that it matters, this is now the Chuck Standard for labelling beer, and all subsequent standards will have to be discussed according to how they either did or did not improve upon or the Chuck Standard.

Chuck Standard for Retail Beer Packaging

(aka Brewers Quality Alliance Label)

Intent

The Chuck Standard is a consumer-focused standard aimed at providing purchasers of beer in the Province of British Columbia consistent, standardized information to allow informed, carefully considered purchasing decisions.


Uninformed, impulsive decisions can be reserved
for after you drink the beer
Yes, that is a Nic Cage pillowcase. Never sleep without nightmares again by clicking here

The Chuck Standard is defined and maintained by Consumer(s) (in this case, by Chuck, but I could use some help). Professional brewers, owners of breweries or holders of a Liquor Manufacturers license will have no say in defining and enforcing The Standard, due to conflicting interests.

Details

In order to be eligible to display the Brewers Quality Alliance (BQA) label, a packaged product must contain all of the following information. The information does not have to appear in any specific format or layout.

  • Where the beer was manufactured
  • The company that manufactured the beer (holder of the Manufacturer license)
  • Alcohol by Volume
  • International Bitterness Units (note: an approximate range of 20 IBU is acceptable, e.g. 20-40IBU)
  • Beer Style (see below)
  • Ingredients, in order of prevalence, including:
    • Malts contained in this beer
    • Hops varietals contained in this beer
    • Yeast species used in this beer
    • Non-barley sugar sources for fermentation (eg Wheat, Rye, Corn)
    • Non-malts/hops/yeast ingredients (specifics not required, e.g. “spices” or “brewing salts”)
  • Package must indicate the following techniques used, if applicable:
    • Filtration
    • Pasteurization
    • Preservatives not listed in ingredients
    • Bottle conditioned
    • Barrel aging
    • Negative methods (eg Unpasteurized) are optional but encouraged
  • Production date, as accurately as possible (season of production is acceptable)

Additionally, the term “BC BQA” may be displayed on products that are produced in BC by breweries wholly owned by BC interests.

There ya have it, folks. Some BC brewers are already compliant with this standard while many are not. Attention BC Brewers: don’t wait for The Man to enact this stuff, go ahead and start printing your Chuck Standard Compliant labels today!


Feel free to borrow this

Note on Beer Styles

The goal of The Standard is to provide consumers with some indication of what is in a bottle without simultaneously impeding the creativity that makes BC beer great. For that reason, The Standard simply requires that style be stated as specifically as possible, and accurately reflect the product in the bottle.

Use of overly broad styles such as “Lager”, “Ale” simply “Beer” or even omitting a style entirely is non-compliant. Refer to the list of 2008 BCJP styles for guidance, but do not feel compelled to list a fully qualified style. Examples of style declarations that are compliant: “16E Belgian Specialty Ale”, “Belgian Specialty Ale”, “Belgian Ale with Spices”, “Northwest Belgian Ale” or “Belgian Ale.”

Qualitative style descriptors are non-compliant, e.g.: “Refreshing Belgian Ale” or “Superb Belgian Ale” except where historically included in styles (specifically “Best Bitter”).

When declaring a style that matches an existing BCJP style or category, ensure that your product can be defended as part of that style. Do not attempt to market an American IPA with undetectable IBUs, for instance. It will not be compliant.

Written by chuck

April 8th, 2014 at 2:01 pm

Posted in Beer and You

Tagged with