Barley Mowat 

Archive for the ‘centralcitybrew’ tag

Casks and Hops

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There are two upcoming beer events of note. The first is Central City’s Summer Cask Festival. There are 26 confirmed breweries so far, including an intriguing entry from Coal Harbour Brewing. So far, we’ve only seen a very young saison from Daniel’s new endeavour, so I’m curious to see if this time around the beer will be, you know, finished.

Things kick off this Saturday at 11am, yet there are still tickets available. I rather suspect the reason that this festival has not been subject to the near instantaneous sellout status of other lower mainland festivals is largely due to Central City’s rather unfortunate placement in Surrey. Sure, it’s right across from the Central City Skytrain stop, making for a nice easy commute to and stumble from the event, but no amount of transit convenience can hide the… Surrey-ness… of it all. It’s the smell, if there is such a thing.

Alas, I will also be skipping this one, but because of prior commitments rather than any particular olfactory concerns (hell, you should smell my bathroom). All joking aside, tough it up, city folk, and get your asses to Surrey.

Second up is yet another CAMRA-initiated event, Fest of Ale: Too Hop to Handle. Hosted at St Augustine’s, this iteration of the Fest of Ale will focus on, well, hops. And lots of them. Personally, I just love the pendulum swing from the last event, which focused on light alcohol beers with subtle flavour. It’s as if the CAMRA exec said “fuck that shit, bring on the hops and boooooooze!” Unlike the last event, which had a 3.5% ABV max, there is no ABV minimum this time around, but I’d expect the average will easily top 6 or 7%.

Expect to see IPAs, IPAs and, just for something a bit different, perhaps an IPA or two. Lots of the participating breweries already produce IPAs, so I’m hoping they’ll create something a bit special for this fest (and don’t just dry-hopped your regular brews, please). In fact, I’ll pull out an oldie-but-a-goodie and promise to call out breweries that get lazy and just pour their production beers. I know I’ve threatened vehicular damage for such transgressions in the past, but that’s suddenly out of vogue these days.

Perhaps more interestingly some of the contributors are not known for their hoppy ales, so I’m very interested to see what they bring along. Specifically, Saltspring and Crannog, both of whom grow their own hops, incidentally. I’ll be keeping a sharp eye on you guys, so bring your A-game.

I will be at this one, assuming I can snag a ticket before they sell out.

All in all, summer is off to a good start. I rather suspect the CC event will be the better of the two, but who knows, I’ve been wrong many, many times before.

Written by chuck

June 22nd, 2011 at 2:56 pm

Top Ten Lists

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Okay, I’ll admit it. Beer geeks are an obsessive lot. Nothing proves this more than the recent wave of consternation and discontentment that rippled through the barley fandom after a random website published a “Top Ten List of BC Breweries” that wasn’t in line with what many expected. Or reality.

Was the list bad? Hells yeah. How bad? Well, when your Top Ten list includes a brewery that no longer exists you know you’re doing something wrong. I’d like to think there are a few breweries out there that both outcompete Dockside in terms of quality and still produce, you know, beer. Basically the whole thing reeked of a desperate attempt to throw together something–anything–to cash in on this whole hot “good beer” trend and get some page views. And we happily obliged this hackneyed effort by linking to it over and over and over again.

Which website? Who the fuck cares? It sucks. If you’re curious about it, a 10s trip to Google or twitter will turn it up. Not directly, mind you, but rather through blogs about it, again pointing out the stupidity of the matter, that the blogs discussing it are more highly ranked than the source page. I’d advise against going there in any event, as there’s nothing to learn. I’m not going to link it here, but rather I will talk about my favourite BC breweries instead. Mostly because I’m awesome… or a complete narcissist, I can’t remember which.

I have a list of BC breweries on this site. And implicit in that is a ranking (you can sort by any column, including “Ranking”). However, I don’t like the notion of anything as arbitrary as a top ten list. What’s the difference between 10 and 11? By the time you get down there, you’re really splitting hairs.

So what’s my top ten list? I don’t have one, as the notion is too subjective and changes too often. I do, however, group breweries based upon a simple notion: if said brewery were to create a brand new beer, what would my preconceived expectation be? For those too lazy to click the link above and sort, here’s the summary:

I expect great/awesome beer:

  • Driftwood
  • Crannóg
  • Howe Sound
  • Central City

I expect solidly good beer:

  • Craig Street
  • Granville Island Tap House (NOT the big brewery)
  • Longwood
  • Spinnaker’s
  • Steamworks
  • Storm
  • Swan’s

I’ll omit the balance for brevity. Am I right? I doubt it. Will this list change? Absolutely. Several breweries are doing their damnedest to improve their beers or produce interesting casks (R&B and Russell among them) and new contenders are popping up all the time. For every new entrant I’ll just have to try their beers and see what I think. Man, this job sucks.

Written by chuck

March 10th, 2011 at 12:56 pm