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This Just In-ier

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Remember that Craft Beer Market taplist that was leaked last week on reddit? (Hat tip to a few folks for email me about that one, including Rob Ardies) I re-posted it here and generated a bit of comment about whether or not it was legit. Well, it’s legit. CBM has now soft-opened, so feel free to head on down to check things out. If you’re too far away, too busy to make it, or (like me) are just holding out for the official launch, here are some spy shots of the final menu.


[Page 1] – [Page 2] – [Page 3]
(Spy photo credit: Thomas Milne)

There’s not a lot of new information there, though, because the leaked list was basically 100% accurate, right down to which beers go in which categories, and where those appear on the menu. And yes, for those that are interested in such things, this means that Alexander Keith’s was indeed slotted into the IPA category. They did, though, at least put down an IBU rating for each list IPA, and Keith’s is curiously lower than any of the other entrants at 28 (12 lower than the English IPA’s minimum of 40 by style).

The sole change to the early menu is a cider swap-out that saw Foundry get left behind and Sommersby get the nod for game time.

One detail that was missing from the leaked list was the composition of the 13 rotating taps. Wonder no more, my friends (pic):

  • GIB Collaboration Brew*
  • Wolf Red Brick IPA
  • Ninkasi Total Domination IPA
  • GIB Pumpkining
  • Ommegang Game of Thrones Take the Black Stout
  • American Brewing Breakaway IPA
  • Steamworks Pale
  • Jolly Pumpkin Bam Biere
  • New Belgium Pumpkick
  • Stiegl Radler Zitrone
  • Elysian Oddland Spiced Pear
  • Big Rock Life of Chai
  • Lighthouse Tasman

* This isn’t my beer as it hasn’t been brewed–or even conceived–yet

Lastly, here are some tidbits for you:

  • 0.4l of Fat Tug is priced at $6.25, or ~$0.46 per US oz. This is fairly pricey according to the famous Fat Tug Index. Aside: why US ounces, Paddy?
  • For those wondering what that would be for a proper pint (and let’s be honest, at least one of us seems to wonder about very little else), that’s about $8.88
  • The rotating taps aren’t pouring yet (UPDATE: Some are; see comments), and won’t be in time for next week’s official opening.
  • Tuesday is cask day. While I applaud having a cask at all, I am very disappointed that one of the rotating taps simply isn’t a cask all the time.
  • Tuesday is also discount beer day. All beers are $2 off. That change modifies Fat Tug above to be ~$0.31 per US oz, or about the same as the Charlatan every day.
  • Ratebeer.com gives this list an average of 60.2 overall, 66.67 by style. That’s a marked improvement from their Calgary location (53).
  • Worst Beer (according to ratebeer.com): Bud Light, which gets an “n/a” for overall, and 1 for style
  • Best Beers (according to ratebeer.com): Ayinger Celebrator, St Ambroise Oatmeal (100/100)

Written by chuck

October 30th, 2013 at 12:36 pm

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This Just In

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As excitement continues to build for the impending opening of Craft Beer Market in the Olympic Village, an early draft of their fixed tap list appears to have been leaked on reddit.

Sure, I find it odd that anyone who works at a craft beer focused restaurant (and therefore should be experts on beer/food pairings) would be asking a public forum for advice, but this list does appear to be legit (eg no one else considers Saisons, White IPAs or California Common beers to be “Anomalies”).

Remember folks, this is quite obviously an early draft (full of typos/not formatted all purty-like) so don’t be too harsh on them for listing “Strom Brewing Black Plaque Stout” on there.

Here is the list for easy access.

Some quick take-aways:

  • The rotating taps (13 in total) are not listed here
  • This list represents 43 beers from 27 BC Breweries (and 1 cider from BC’s Merridale, and two undoubtedly locally brewed house beers)
  • Ignoring the 13 rotating taps, that gives us a tap list that is 37% BC
  • Or, looking at it another way, a tap list that has 11 more BC products than St Augustine’s
  • Big winners in terms of scoring taps are: Parallel 49, OK Spring, Driftwood, Phillips and Howe Sound, each with three
  • The brewery with the most taps? Deschutes, with 4

UPDATE: After careful analysis I’d say this list is legit, but likely an early version of the tap list. I won’t say exactly why I suspect this (although Rogue Dead Guy is awful hard to get on tap regularly). Expect the final version to be slightly different.

Written by chuck

October 23rd, 2013 at 3:44 pm

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More on Craft Beer Market

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Is everyone all tingly with excitment yet? Vancouver Craft Beer Week, that most wonderful week of the year, is nearly upon us. It all kicks off tomorrow night with the Opening Gala at the Roundhouse. The main focus of the night will be all the new breweries in BC, but alas, they’re so new that only a handful will be able to actually, you know, bring beer. Oh well, the notably beer-less breweries will make up for it with their awesome beards.


These guys could easily sub-in for the villain in an old timey-western. Please don’t hurt me.

This celebration of all things beer and face-follicle-related is brought to you by none other than Craft Beer Market, the mega-taphouse coming to the Olympic Village in the not-so-distant future. I’ve written about them before, but I recently had a chance to sit down and actually talk to Rob Swiderski, the man behind the dream.

From this talk I gleened some insights into both Rob and Craft Beer Market, and it would be remiss of me to not share these with you guys.

At first glance, Rob seems like the kind of guy who you could easily picture shotgunning some Canadian then crushing the can against his head. He’s tan, well built and–get this–completely beardless. I’ll admit it; I was worried. When he opens his mouth, though, the fa├žade falls away and you realize you’re talking to someone with a serious interest in craft beer.

Heck, in some ways, Rob has more beer geek cred than I do. Here is a list of things Rob does that I don’t:

  1. He homebrews
  2. He’s a member of his local homebrew club (Cowtown Yeast Wranglers)
  3. He’s a certified BCJP judge
  4. He’s a certified Cicerone Beer Server
  5. He’s intends to become a full Cicerone

He also talks a good talk. His goal with CBM is to focus on what’s good and local, building a restaurant from the kitchen on out. I lost track of how many times he said the word local while describing his final product, but I was definitely left with the impression that the food being served there will not be coming out of a can.


Nope, it’s free range spamalopes only.

What about the beer, though? Rob’s approach here is practical rather than passionate. If I were to run a restaurant, I doubt I’d make the following choices, but I also wouldn’t be opening a 300 seat mega-bar. Here are some highlights of our talk.

  1. Macros. Yes, there will be macros. More than one, in fact. The reasoning is that these are “entrapment” beers, designed to lure in your average macro lager drinker and make them feel comfortable. Once they’re served their shitty horse piss in a glass, though, the staff will begin making suggestions to move them up the beer-addiction ladder. I don’t even mind this approach. Think about the first beer you drank; I’ll bet it wasn’t Driftwood.
  2. 140 taps, but only ~20 rotating taps. Have you ever trained the staff in a 300 seat restaurant on 140 beers? Would you like to do it every week for the rest of your life? Maybe if you had good, passionate people this might not be too hard (think Alibi Room), but in a restaurant this size your staff turnover will guarantee a steady influx of clueless newbies. While I can’t help but agree that training them would be hard, I still feel limiting the rotating list to so few taps will be a mistake. Seasonal beers and one-offs are the life-blood of craft beer in BC. If I want a regular production beer (eg Fat Tug), I can go to the shitty bar down the street.
  3. Lines on the ceiling. Yup, they’re doing this. It’s not as bad as you think, though, as these will be glycol-sleeved, insulated lines of unusual thinness. The beer in here won’t go bad any time soon. Sure, it virtually guarantees that imperial stout will be poured too cold, but at least it… uh… looks cool, I guess? Oh wait, it’s also inefficient, so it has that going for it too.
  4. Line maintenance. The goal is to clean the lines at least once every two weeks, and preferably every week. This means that, on any given day, 10-20 lines will be fresh and squeaky clean. This is a good thing.
  5. Custom imports. When you buy a lot of beer, you can do some interesting things, and Rob wants to do just that, via importing beer that’s new to BC, but has been featured in his Calgary bar. Sure, he hasn’t tangled with the LCLB on the issue yet, so he still has hope. Let’s not take that from him just yet.

In the end, Rob is a savvy businessman with a solid vision of what his bar will look like. Is it the perfect bar that we’d like to see in the Salt Building? No, but I honestly think that perfect bar would go out of business pretty darned fast. Considering what else could have been there, I think we lucked out that Rob signed that lease.

This isn’t a bar for the high end beer geek, and it’s not trying to be a bar for the high end beer geek. Rob is, however, engaged. He wants suggestions, and seems willing to adapt his model to better fit Vancouver. So, on that front, if you see something you don’t like, let CBM know; I suspect they’ll accomidate us. You don’t get the mega-taphouse you want, you get the mega-taphouse you deserve.

Will I go there often? Sure. It’s got a nice patio, is in a gorgeous building, and will have at least a dozen solidly awesome beers on tap. Will I repeatedly joke about breaking-in on Twitter to gain illicit access to incredibly awesome and rare beer lists? Nope, I’ll save that stale joke for the Alibi.

I hope to see everyone there for the grand opening which, according to Rob, is in August. However, having seen the place just recently, I wouldn’t hold my breath.


Sorry, Rob, but a building that looks like this on May 9th does not turn into a 300 seat restaurant by August.

Written by chuck

May 30th, 2013 at 5:22 pm

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