Barley Mowat 

Archive for the ‘howesoundbeer’ tag

Beer Reviews for Everyman

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Howe Sound Brewing’s Twitter arm posted this clip Wednesday morning. It’s of two goofs down south opening one of HS’s beers (King Heffy), tasting it, and just saying whatever occurs to them. Yup, as you might expect, low production values, lack of humour and boring commentary make it nigh unwatchable.

As well, their outright ignorance about basic beer facts is so pervasive that I almost suspect a put-on (“How is a ‘beer’ different from an ‘ale'”? Really, guys?)

I know what you’re thinking. Why isn’t this video sending Chuck into a beer-nerd rage-fit? They’re reviewing beer but know nothing about it!

Well, I actually kind of like it. It’s just what it seems: two guys who don’t know a lot about beer drinking it, liking it, and talking about it. It’s honest and raw. Sure, they seem fairly ignorant but they also say, and this is key, that they’re going to have to go out and learn about the things they’re not sure about. And ultimately, what more could you ask?

Written by chuck

April 27th, 2011 at 10:45 am

Posted in Beer and You

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I, like you, was very excited by the prospect of a smoked duck sausage being made by BeerBrats from Howe Sound’s awesome King Heffy Imperial Hefeweizen. Unlike you, though, I slept in and didn’t make it to the Winter Farmers’ Market until just after noon. This was apparently all the time it took for Zach to sell out his entire stock of said duck, making for a very unhappy Chuck.

I can’t get enough of this man’s sausage.
What? Why is everyone snickering?

Luckily though, Zach had lots and lots of other options available, so I settled on some Howe Sound Oatmeal Stout Smokies and a pack of Tree Double Hop Head Butter Chicken Sausages. To accompany these hearty hunks of meat, I picked up some light produce at said market, and picked out a mild yet interesting ale from my cellar. The beer selected was Jolly Pumpkin Madrugada Obscura, a sour stout aged in oak barrels, brewed about fifty miles west of what once was the city of Detroit. This would match the sausages–particularly the smokies–quite well.

A quick trip to the BBQ and everything was ready to go. A fresh tomato/basil salad and some artisan sourdough sat prepped. Food was plated (and photographed by Sharon for posterity) and we were ready to pop the top on our sour ale and dig in. Knowing that Jolly Pumpkin ales can be a bit, er, active when you pop the cap, I wisely had a glass at hand to catch any overflow.

Of course, I based the need for a glass upon previous openings of Madrugada, Oro de Calabaza, La Roja and others. Sometimes it opens like a normal beer, and sometimes it foams up and needs to have a pint (or two) poured fairly quickly to avert a small mess. To avoid this, let the beer settle for a few hours (or months in my case), and open it either over a sink or with a glass or four nearby. This time, though, I was in for a surprise.

Immediately after taking off the cap and placing it aside, the air directly above the bottle was replaced by a leaping, sprouting fountain of delicious pressurized sour ale, at least 3 inches in height. I’d like to claim I remained calm in this situation, and swiftly deposited the surging contents in a handy bowl, bucket or out the nearest window but, alas, I panicked like a beer newbie and did the one thing you are not supposed to do in these situations. Yes, I put my thumb over the top, all while yelling “What do I do?” This might work for leaky dikes, but it sure as hell doesn’t work for highly pressured barley juice on the loose.

The result was, in the most accurate terms possible, nothing sort of a beer explosion. Beer sprayed sideways, upwards, and downwards to distances of ten feet or more. Finally enough time had elapsed for my senses to begin functioning again (and for Sharon to helpfully point out the bread bowl right in front of my stupid face). I emptied the bowl of bread, deposited the bottle in said bowl and transplanted the whole operation to the kitchen, where it probably should have started in the first place.

Historical Recreation

All told, though, only 1/3 to 1/2 the bottle was lost to the kitchen table, floor, couches, walls and cats. I still got to enjoy my delicious BeerBrats with slightly less ale than I’d hoped. The pairing was excellent, but the meal was absolutely made by the sausages (Attn: Zach, begin the cut for a review quote here) Folks, these sausages are good. Delicious in fact. Track down Zach on BeerBrats’ twitter feed (@BeerBrats), find out what market they’re at, go there and hand over your money. You will not regret this. (End Quote. Do I get free sausage now? Please?)

The moral of the story? I guess it’s get up early, because if I’d managed to pickup some King Heffy Smoke Duck Sausages I probably would have grabbed a different beer to go with dinner. Hmm… what goes with smoked duck… sour stout would probably be just about right. I wonder if I have any left?

I aim to be at the market nice and early this weekend, perhaps even forming a line before it opens because of all the added business this post will generate. (Really? Not even one free sausage? Huh.)

Written by chuck

March 29th, 2011 at 3:02 pm

Dia de San Patricio

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For those of you that don’t speak Spanish and/or are not practising for an upcoming trip to Cuba, that there headline is “St Patrick’s Day” (I think), which falls on this upcoming Thursday. Instead of having my headline hidden in a sea of english versions, I thought I’d go with something different. So sorry to disappoint, this isn’t article about St Paddy’s in Havana, as if such a thing exists.

Sorry about the crushing poverty.
Here, have a green hat.

St Paddy’s day is about as close to a beer-themed holiday as there can be, but honestly it has about as much to do with good beer culture as Xmas does with Jesus. Sure, there’s something about Irish culture and whanot, and that might include a pint o’ the black if you’d like, but hey, buckets of cheap green beer! Woooo! Yeah!

Except not. Ever notice how rotten you feel the next day? Even if you really restrained yourself and only had 8 pints? And how that never happens any other night of the year? Ever also notice how green beer is always made from macro lager and tastes like complete shit, even worse than the crappy lager tasted to start with? Think all these things might be related?

In the end, it turns out pouring gobs of coloured high fructose corn syrup into beer is a shit-poor way of going about things, even if that beer is likely almost entirely corn to start with. There are a few alternatives, like spiking lager with blue caraƧao (blue + yellow = green) which works colour-wise, but congratulations fucknut, you just created 20% ABV light lager. Enjoy your evening on that party bus.

I hope they at least hose it out a bit before school tomorrow.

Alternatively there have been a few attempts at actually brewing beer with algae mixed in to give it that particular hue, but the results have been mixed (from “decent” as per above to “ugh” as per Dogfish Head’s attempt, which scored abnormally low for a DH beer despite even having the word “Good” in the name).

But why all the fuss? Beer is sweet, lovable, and nigh perfect in its existing form, and has natural hues from almost clear through, well, the exact opposite. As well, adding colouring to your beer is just going to piss off the brewers. In yesterday’s post on VancouverBeerBlog, Jack Bensley, Brewmaster from Russell Brewing was quoted as saying “I hope people can appreciate it for what it is rather than putting some green s@#t in it.” That’s the sound of man speaking through clenched teeth. I rather suspect if you coloured his beer he might come over and kick your idiotic ass.

So, by all means, go out and have fun this Thursday. The afore-mentioned VBB article has an excellent summary of places where you can get good, non-coloured beer in Vancouver. In addition to that, Howe Sound’s Brewpub is taking things to the next, much more awesome level, by releasing live snakes in the pub and awarding prizes to whomever can rid the motherfucking bar of the most motherfucking snakes. How cool is that?

Written by chuck

March 15th, 2011 at 11:14 am