Barley Mowat 

Archive for the ‘itsgoodtobehere’ tag

Granville Island Cloak and Dagger

with 3 comments

Well, here we are. GIB has finally let loose with the 2013 version of their Cascadian Dark Ale, the 2012 version of which started the whole CascadiaGate issue. Or, at least, that’s Steamworks’ story and they’re sticking with it.

For their part, Steamworks has since announced that everything is fine, and they realized the errors of their ways. Anyone can use “Cascadia” in the style of a beer, just so long as they don’t use it as the name (then they’ll have to pay $1). But I digress, this is not a story anyone even remotely familiar with beer in BC is not completely sick of. Kind of like our overly restrictive beer laws. What? Those are still here? Crap.


Pictured: Great beer in Costco. This is a thing that happens elsewhere in the world.

GIB also took the opportunity to relaunch their Limited Release Series as the Black Book Series. The beers themselves will be familiar versions of Brewmaster Vern Lambourne’s brews of years past, but they will have funky new labels and, for the first time, names.

Naming the beers is a concession to the “style but not name” requirement from Steamworks above, but also overdue. Good beers deserve names. The branding, though, is curious, as it de-emphasizes the “Granville Island Brewing” aspect so prevalent on GIB’s Molson-brewed beers, and instead highlights the specific beer. Frankly, the difference in quality between Molson’s “Granville Island” and Vern’s “Granville Island” has long been ill-served by the similar-looking bottles, so I say “well played, GIB.”

Anyway, back to the beer. What was the point of everyone turning towards Steamworks last fall and muttered “The fuck?” if not to protect a brewery’s right to make a fantastic hoppy beer and rightfully–truthfully–call it “Cascadian.” Sadly, that hypothetical beer is not this one (although Parallel 49 just released a Cascadian Dark Lager…)

Cloak and Dagger is a Cascadian Dark Ale, and all CDAs tend to be good, but it lacks that massive hop punch that trademarks the style. In fact, this is somewhat of a sweet ale… with an approachable taste, and that’s my main issue. CDAs are a beer nerd’s nerdy beer, and this just isn’t that. Sure, it has some of the toasted malt we all like in our CDAs, but that’s about it.

Tasting notes:

NOSE Dark malt, some roast coffee, and a mild punch of hops
APPEARANCE Black as night with light tan head
TASTE Sweet malt, although some bitterness from the roasting, not a lot of hops to back it up
SHOULD I BUY IT? Depends. Do you like sweeter, maltier IPAs? Then yes. Otherwise, give it a skip.

Coles notes:

Brewery Granville Island
From Vancouver
Name Cloak and Dagger
Style Cascadian Dark Ale
SOA Now None Awarded
SOA Potential Not a cellaring ale
Drink Now.
Lawsuit odds I’ll give you 4:1. I just don’t see them doing it.
Availability Widely available at LRS
Cost $? per 650ml bottle (free sample).
Similar BC Beers Howe Sound Gathering Storm

Written by chuck

April 30th, 2013 at 6:58 pm

Posted in Beers

Tagged with ,

GIB CDA Is Coming

with 5 comments

I’m back! Did you miss me? I’m working on a couple pieces relating to my recent journey through South America. One is about the growing craft beerscene in Bolivia, which most of you will be stunned to know exists at all. The second is a wine-centric piece on Chile. Sure it’s not the focus of my blog, but I have a soapbox and I’m going to use it. Look for those two streams of consciousness to appear in the next few weeks.

In the meantime, Granville Island Brewing has gone and done something interesting: They’re releasing a Cascadian Dark Ale. Chris from LoveGoodBeer wrote decent summary a few days ago, and even includes a picture of the label. You can read his summary here.

Last fall, when Steamworks was all “no Cascadia for you” they rather explicitly singled out Granville Island and tried to make the whole issue into a David v Goliath story. The feint didn’t quite work, but all that is in the past as Steamworks has rather generously conceded that anyone can use Cascadian Dark Ale as a descriptor without license.

So, now the first brewery to drop a major CDA release into the market since all this kerfuffle is none other than Granville Island, the brewery whose previous CDA Steamworks cites as the spark behind the whole of Cascadia-gate. That sound you heard was every pair of eyes in BC Craft Brewing focusing on the corner of Water and Cordova, waiting to see how Steamworks reacts.

If SW holds true to their story, they should be fine with this new release from GIB. Heck, GIB even made a concession to Steamworks here by giving a name to their previously-nameless special release, even if “Cloak and Dagger” is a bit tongue-in-cheek. The goal here is to be able to absolutely, 100% point to a name on the bottle and a totally separate style descriptor.

Personally, I think Steamworks will do the classy thing here and let this one slide. GIB has met them half way, afterall.

Written by chuck

April 8th, 2013 at 5:46 pm

January Beer Of The Month

without comments

I know, I know… it’s, like, 1/2 way through January already, so what gives? Well, first off, I’m a very lazy man. Secondly, there was no clear beer to highlight for January, and Siren was just so very good that I figured I’d let it slide for a day or two… which became a week.

All that changed yesterday, when I visited Granville Island Brewing’s store to stock up on their Barley Wine for my cellar. Despite this release being rather limited at 360 cases, clearly visible in the brewery was a towering palette of unsold (and unwaxed) product.

Well sheet, that ain’t right. The single most ambitious beer ever produced by GIB cannot be allowed to sit unsold on the brewery floor. We have to encourage them to brew more barrel aged wonders, and about the worst way to do that is not buying the results. So, without further adieu, January’s Beer of the Month is Granville Island Brewing (Taphouse) Barley Wine.


Look at it, sitting there all sassy. How can you NOT buy it?

Sure, there are better Barley Wines out there right now, but you know what? This is still a pretty damned good one, and one ideally tuned for some cellaring. I’m seeing a lot more talk on The Twitter about cellaring beer, and no self-respecting Vancouver-based beer geek should give this one a miss.

Plus, it’s a beer that is priced well below it’s quality and potential. At $7.95 a bottle, Granville Island is practically giving this stuff away. Buy some, drink it now, and buy a few to put down as an intro to cellaring.

Some beers only change slowly or subtlety, requiring a bit of experience and patience to figure out what’s going on, but not this one. Over a year or two, this beer will show all the restraint of meth-addled hooker who’s gone clean for three hours. No secrets, and it’s all out there for whomever wants to see it.

Want to see how yeast in-bottle affects a beer? It’s there. Want to see how malt-forward sugars blend together over time? Check. What about the slow hops decline? Sold. Bourbon- and barrel-flavours mellowing? It’s got that too.

If you’re curious, the following stores have stock: Big Ridge, Bimini’s, Brewery Creek, Burrard, Central City, Clayton, Crosstown, Darby’s, Firefly Cambie, Granville Street, Legacy, Sutton Place, Sunshine Hills, Toby’s, West End, and Yaletown. And, of course, the GIB Store.

Go forth and consume.

Written by chuck

January 7th, 2013 at 3:22 pm

Posted in Beers

Tagged with ,