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Game On

with 11 comments

Alright, here we go. Got your warpaint on? Elbow pads? Helmet? Bear spray? Let’s DO THIS THING!

Driftwood Sartori is out today, folks. There might be some anticipated beer releases in BC, but none approach the madness that is Sartori Day. I thought I was alone in my fanatical pursuit of it last year… at least at first.

In an attempt to get around the per-customer bottle limits that so frequently accompany rare releases like this one, I drove from LRS to LRS buying my max. I thought that surely I’d be the only idiot so devoted, but that was not the situation. I was but one in a ravenous hoard of fresh-hopped nutters moving from store to store, emptying case after freshly opened case with a seemingly insatiable hunger.

Seems like a reasonable serving
(oh c’mon, that’s adorable)

This year I expect things to be even worse. Craft Beer, you see, is huge right now, and only getting more so by the minute. Sure, Driftwood–knowing a good thing when they see it–brewed up a double batch but even that’s only a wimpy 600 cases or so.

Driftwood has massively expanded their LRS support in the past 12 months, so supplies on a per-store basis will be rather limited. Don’t expect anyone to get more then 10 cases, but also expect random non-craft beer focused LRSs to land a few just because they happen to sell a lot of Fat Tug.

All told, the usual suspects (Legacy, Firefly, Brewery Creek, Viti) might sell out mere hours after getting their shipments in, so watch those Twitter feeds. Other, less popular or more remote stores should have supply into the weekend (16th Street, Darby’s, My Liquor Stores). Heck, Central City LRS isn’t even scheduled to get their shipment until Thursday.

If you think the bottle lust to be a tad extreme, then avoid St Augustine’s and the District Public House. Those fine establishments will be each receiving a cask of the lovely, and at a paltry 35 litres that’s barely the equivalent of 4 cases of bottles.

So get out there and get some.

How much does it cost and is it any good?

UPDATE — Stock is generally good. Legacy got in 40 cases and sold ~20 last night. Darby’s has 7 cases. My Liquor Store has some (unknown number). The only sell out I’ve heard of it Brewery Creek.

UPDATE 2 — Legacy is out, but Liberty on the Drive says they have some, as does Edgemont

Written by chuck

September 23rd, 2013 at 11:37 am

Posted in Beers

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May Beer of the Month

with one comment

The more astute of you might have noticed my BOTM not being updated for April. This is for a few reasons, namely:

  1. I was in Bolivia
  2. No beer stood out in April
  3. I plain old forgot

Mostly, though, it was number two there. I always said I’d skip a month if no beer of note was released, and that was the case. Sure, there were a few that piqued my interest slightly, but in the end none of them really fit the bill.

May, though, is a different story. A beer was released in late April, and is still available in stores right now, that is definitely something to think about. It’s Driftwood Clodhopper. Clodhopper is virtually unique amongst beers in BC because it’s brewed with barley grown and malted in BC. Sourcing local barley might seem like a huge chore when there’s a nice website you can just plain old order the stuff from by the pallet-load, but it’s the next big step for breweries to take on the road to making better beer.

The problem is this: sure, it’s nice and easy to order from that catalogue, and you sure do get a consistent product, but you know who else can order from that catalogue? Everyone. Every single brewery in BC can, and does, source barley from one of a handful of possible locations. Barley contributes as much flavour to a beer as yeast and hops do, both of which are carefully considered before being used (yeast is mostly propagated in-house, and hops are increasingly locally sourced, or even home grown in some cases). Barley, though? Give Ed at BarleyWorld a call and get 500kg of the Malt. See if we can’t get some with less rats this time.

But not no rats, though. They help with stirring the mash. And add flavour.

Not Driftwood Clodhopper, though. This is made with barley grown mere minutes from the brewery. Sure, the farm isn’t very big, and the harvest is likewise small, so they’re restricted to this one release, but the demand is there and it’s growing. Unique, malt-forward beers are coming.

Unless, of course, the government doesn’t do anything. You see, one of the main advantages of using all-BC ingredients in your booze is you can then sell the resultant happy-juice tax free from your establishment. The goal here is to create demand for BC-grown ingredients that are traditionally sourced from out of province. Demand equals jobs which equals, let’s face it, votes. Wineries have long enjoyed this little break, and just recently the government opened up the legislation, stared long and hard at the wording, and changed it… to include distilleries. Breweries, on other hand, can just go fuck themselves.

How does this threaten beer made from local malt? I mean, if it’s better, you’ll do it anyway right? You sure would, if the farmer hadn’t already sold it to distillers. Yeah, that locally distilled, high octane, booze, in addition to being awesome, is also made from–you guessed it–barley malt. Sucks to be a brewer wanting to make better beer.

Oh well, enough rambling from me, go out and enjoy this beer, and think about all the political nuances that went into its creation.

Tasting notes:

APPEARANCE Low, almost no, carbonation. Dark red/brown body.
NOSE Some darker fruits (plum, cherry), thick sugar/malt nose, with a hint of spiciness on the end.
TASTE Smooth, lots of blackened caramel, and just a wee bit of Belgian funk
SHOULD I BUY IT? Yes. Buy three. No, four.

Coles notes:

Brewery Driftwood
From Victoria
Name Clodhopper
Style Abbey Dubbel
SOA Now Bronze
SOA Potential Bronze
Drink Now. Might improve with some age, but it’s good right now.
Label Seriously, what an ugly label. What gives, guys?
Availability Widely available at LRS
Cost $7-10 per 650ml bottle.
Similar BC Beers None right now

Written by chuck

May 6th, 2013 at 7:32 pm

Posted in Beers

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Driftwood Twenty Pounder

with 4 comments

With virtually no warning Driftwood dropped this guy on the market two weeks ago. A lot of people didn’t notice because we were all preoccupied with the Alibi’s 400th tap list rotation, but once the giddy fogginess (aka hangover) cleared there was a new beer on LRS shelves staring us down. A big, mean, threatening beer.

That beer is Driftwood Twenty Pounder, their take on the a delightfully extreme style. This is only the second release of Driftwood’s Double IPA, and they’ve adjusted the recipe rather significantly in the direction of Crazy Weird Hop Party.

Pictured: Crazy Weird Hop Party

So is it any bloody good? Well yeah, what else did you expect from Driftwood? Of course it’s bloody good. Is it amazing? Nah, not really. Once you ratchet up the hops in a DIPA into “Humulus LD50 Research” territory I begin to lose interest, and this beer is definitely up in that rarefied air.

Giant hop-bombs measure their figurative dicks with something called the International Bittering Units scale. A score of sub 10 gets you light lagers, a classic British Bitter might be in the 20-40 range, while proper American/Cascadian IPAs start showing up around 50 or 60. Beers in the “as many hops as you can fit in the kettle” hop wars, though, put down “100+ IBUs” on the label as a badge of honour. It’s not that the scale stops at 100, but that the methods used to measure bitterness (largely via spectrophotometer) simply stop working above 100 and you wind up with “I dunno… a lot, I guess?” as the official result from the lab.

Not that 120 would mean much more than 135, though. Once you’ve past 100 the flavour of the beer just sorta becomes hops, hops, hops and nothing but hops. You know me; I like a balanced, flavourful beer (hence my preference for the much sweeter, viscous Cascadian IPA style over the dryer more bitter American IPA), and this beer might have been just that had they stopped adding hops about 1/3 of the way in. They didn’t, and we have a massive hop bomb.

In the end, I prefer the original, as the sweet body balanced the hops nicely. This beast just seems out of whack, and even more so than Russell’s recent Hop Therapy DIPA, which I found dry but not overwhelming. I’d love to do a side-by-each of both these monster beers, but alas they’re now equally hard to find in stores.

Hopheads rejoice, though, this is a beer for you.

Tasting notes:

NOSE Big pine with a solid under-layer of citrus. Both are hops-based aromas, I should note.
APPEARANCE Orange/brown with a thin sticky head (from the hops)
TASTE Hops. Hops. Hops. Some spiciness (caused by lots of hops) is about the only secondary flavour you get here.
SHOULD I BUY IT? Do you like so many hops you can smell them through the cap? The answers to these two questions are basically the same.

Coles notes:

Brewery Driftwood
From Victoria
Name Twenty Pounder
Style American Imerial IPA
SOA Now None Awarded
SOA Potential Not a cellaring ale
Drink Now.
Days until your “not a hops fan” girlfriend dares come within 10 feet of your stinky ass 2
Availability Running low at most LRS
Cost $8.00+ per 650ml bottle.
Similar BC Beers Russell Hop Therapy

Written by chuck

February 27th, 2013 at 3:02 pm

Posted in Beers

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