Barley Mowat 

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Get a Fat Tug in Public

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Congratulations are due to Driftwood Brewing, who have managed to get their grubby hands on that mythical beast, the fifth BCLDB SKU slot. For most small breweries, the LDB rather oddly limits them to four products, and only four products. This makes getting seasonal releases onto the shelves awkward at best. Howe Sound, for instance, seems to keep three permanent beers in stock and rotates in a seasonal for the fourth. Other breweries, like R&B, seem stuck at four permanently.

Thus, I was very very pleased when, starting a couple of weeks ago, Driftwood’s Fat Tug IPA began making it’s way onto store shelves next to White Bark, Crooked Coast, Farmhand, and their eponymous ale. Of course, Fat Tug then just as quickly made it way off said shelves and into the bellies of delighted beer fans everywhere. I’m not kidding; actually finding an LDB with Fat Tug in stock has proven rather difficult. I have been confronted with an empty slot on the shelf 3/4 of the times I try to buy it, and have to walk away disappointed.

And who can blame beer geeks? Fat Tug is at the LDB for a cheap, cheap $5.00 a bottle. Now that’s a product/price point I can get behind. Again and again. And really, isn’t over consumption what the LDB is all about?

With the addition of Fat Tug, the LDB Great BC Beer List has grown to a healthy five in my opinion:

  • Red Racer IPA
  • Phillips Hoperation Belgian IPA
  • Lighthouse Deckhand Saison
  • Driftwood Fat Tug IPA
  • Driftwood White Bark Wheat Ale

The addition of Fat Tug means that CC’s Red Racer should be feeling a bit nervous in its position as Best Beer Available At The LDB. I know I’ve gone on record saying it’s the better beer of the two, even if only marginally. However, I haven’t had a Red Racer v Fat Tug drink-off in a while, so perhaps I’ll re-evaluate things this weekend. Man this is a hard job. Red Racer ESB used to be one of my go-tos, but honestly I think the canned variety has gone downhill in recent months, and if that same deterioration is found in their IPA, well, let’s just cross that bridge when we get there.

Any other great, non-seasonal BC-based brews that should be on the shortlist?

Written by chuck

October 5th, 2011 at 11:31 am

Posted in Beer and You

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August and September Beer of the Month(s)

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Summer is a fun, but busy time. As such, the date for picking and posting an August Beer of the Month just slipped right past me. No mind, though, R&B’s East Side Bitter deserves extra acclaim.

My plan upon realizing the lack of update was to just let it slip until September and hope no one noticed. This is normally my plan for pretty much any disaster, btw.

However, something happened yesterday that changed that plan. And that something was Driftwood Twenty Pounder Double IPA. I’m not going to beat around the bush. This beer is astoundingly good. When Driftwood released Fat Tug last year, it was a serious contender to Central City’s reigning IPA, beating it in the all important viscosity battle but ultimately losing out to the fragrant and copious hops in CC’s beer. Seriously, open a can of that and see how long it takes for you to get a whiff of strong hops five feet away. It’s measured in seconds… with a decimal.

With 20 lb-er, though, Driftwood has taken the high sugar/viscosity goodness of Fat Tug and added a schwack of hops. And then another. And another. There’s so much hops in this bad boy that I’m fairly sure I just discovered the root cause of the recent hop shortage. Four hours later I could still quite vividly taste the hops. Hell, the next morning I could still detect lingering bitterness.

Now, I know it’s not fair to compare a DIPA to a regular IPA. They are quite different beasts. A better comparison would be Gary (of CC)’s excellent Roach DIPA, which is fantastic, but 20lb’s extra viscosity still takes the battle (well, and it beats Roach on hops, too). Perhaps a double-blind double-IPA taste test is in order. We can get samples from CC, Driftwood, GIB, Howe Sound, and Tree and line ’em up (maybe throw some Ace of Spades and Dogfish Head Squall in there for good measure). Of course, such a tasting is a ticket to very bad morning. Still, I’d be up for it because I’m dumb.

So there we have it, a double IPA for Beer of the Double Month. Fitting, no? I’m only 1 bottle into this so far, and believe me, there’s lots of research remaining to take 20lber’s measure. However, thus far, there is only one negative thing I can say about the beer: the label. I like the design, but the subtle black/blue colours just kind of blend into one another during printing. Oh well, can’t win em all, eh guys?

As someone with first hand experience,
let me just say colour correction is a bitch.

Written by chuck

August 19th, 2011 at 12:23 pm

Posted in Beer and You,Beers

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June Beer of the Month: Driftwood Spring Rite

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This probably surprises absolutely no one. Driftwood just keeps cranking out the great beers, and I just keep buying them. Although, I have to admit, this is just getting silly. At least slow down a bit guys! My cellar is now basically nothing but Driftwood, and if rumours of a summer kriek release are true, I might have to install another cellar in Sharon’s closet while she’s at work.

Issues with storage aside, this is a great beer. It’s a west coast take on the Trappist Ales of Belgium (in particular, this one was modelled after Orval). The “west coast” part means hops, and I very much think a handful of the second sweetest green bud known to man is a perfect addition to the already complex trappist style. With the addition of brett, this beer will also develop and change over time, and that’s why I grabbed two cases of it at Firefly last week.

I’m not going to expound about the subtle flavours because, at $7/bottle, you should just go buy one and find out yourself. If you want a more in-depth review, Vancouver Beer Blog has an excellent summary here.

In the meantime, Driftwood, please tone it down a bit and stop being quite so awesome. I’d very much like to talk about other breweries from time to time on this blog, and you’re hogging all the limelight.

The label is probably the weakest part of this release, in that it’s just good and not excellent. Oh well, they can’t make every label awesome.

Written by chuck

June 1st, 2011 at 11:14 am

Posted in Beers,Breweries

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