Barley Mowat 

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Focus on the LDB VII

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If you haven’t been over to the LDB’s website recently, you might have missed their full site redesign, which was quietly rolled out recently. The new site is slicker and sports a more minimalist design that I actually prefer to the old. However, that’s not all. There are also new features, including an easy-to-access list of recommended products (sure, it’s full of crap right now, but give it time), and the ability for the plebs (that’s you guys) to rank their inventory from 1 to 5 stars.

That last feature made the rounds of the local Molson marketing group shortly after the launch of the site, as the entire Molson catalogue was quickly marked up to 5/5 stars, including sub brands such as Granville Island and the lesser known Black Loon. Subtle, guys. Things eventually balanced out, but a few hundred beer geeks going through the beer section would be even better than the general public (hint hint… link).

So, did a new website lead to a new advertising strategy? Not even a little. Well, I guess the new site now has nine prominent advertising slots with which to ignore beer instead of the old seven, which is sort of a change. Our new total gives us:

Wine: +5
Liquor: +2
Beer: +0
Corporate: +1

One of those links goes to the now-permanent Savvy Shopper feature, which is basically “what’s cheap and still gets you there.” Seriously, pretty much anything you see here is best paired with big hair, stained t-shirts and cars on blocks; they might as well sort these listings by ounces of alcohol per dollar. In any event beer does make a small showing in the 31 discounted booze products, even if it’s mostly Bud.

Wine: 15
Beer: 4
Liquor: 12 (lumped the “coolers” in here. Seriously, though, what IS Palm Bay?)


I mean, aside from being the
drink of choice of these people.

In addition to those, the Spring Edition of Taste Magazine has been released. Weighing in at a hefty 180 pages, it contains ads for 185 products, and 6 of those are for beer! In fact, not only are there six more featured beers than last issue, and not only are these pretty decent beers, there’s a whole article about beer by none other than Joe Wiebe! Rock on, Joe!

Sure, Taste is still a meandering, wine-myopic tome (153/185 featured products are wine), and I’m reasonably sure some wines have now been featured multiple times over the past year, but progress is progress. If this rate of increased features keeps up, beer will contribute as much to the pages of Taste as it does to the LDB’s sales figures by, oh, 2017 or so.


Much more likely, though, is the all-Franzia Special Edition.

Taking all that into consideration we wind up with:

Wine: 33 (+6)
Beer: 3 (+1; rounded waaaay up)
Liquor: 12 (+2)
Corporate: 13 (+1)

Lastly, here are three great beers currently on the LDB website that they could have chosen to feature instead of laundry lists of wine that have been featured several times already (The Show, anyone?). Sure, Joe picked six interesting Vancouver-based brews in his article, but those are buried a bit deep for web-consumption.

Beer 1: Phillips Bottle Rocket ISA

Classic LDB attention to beer. They get the name right but neglect to tell you who brewed it. The brewery in this case is Phillips, and this is their new(ish) and impressive Bottle Rocket India Session Ale. It’s a milder, lower-ABV take on the now-common IPA style.

Listing: http://bcliquorstores.com/product/200303
Price: $11.85 for 6x355ml cans
Availability: Very low; likely just starting to be stocked

Beer 2: Central City Pilsner

Need a nice lager to go with the warming weather? Try Central City’s new Pilsner. It’s a superb hoppy Pilsner that’s a near perfect example of the style. Crisp, light with subtle hops.

Listing: http://bcliquorstores.com/product/255943
Price: $12.40 for 6x355ml cans
Availability: Widely available.

Beer 3: Townsite Said the Ale

Need a beer with an awesome storyline? Not too long ago CBC Radio 3 threw out an idea for beers named after bands. Everyone loved the idea, and it took off. The result? Several BC Breweries borrowed the CBC graphics and brewed actual beers that pay tribute to awesome indie bands. This guy is a play on “Said the Whale.” Indie music and craft beer: my two favourite things in the world together at last.

Listing: http://bcliquorstores.com/product/760900
Price: $5.96 for 650ml of indie awesomeness
Availability: Select stores; might have to ask them to ship it to your store.

Written by chuck

May 21st, 2013 at 2:50 pm

Two Seasonals From Townsite

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Ah, December release madness. You think you’ve got it all covered, so you take a day off to relax then Bam! there’s like six more beers to review. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.

This round features two interesting seasonals from Townsite Brewing, who are just up-coast in Powell River. Townsite busted onto the BC Brewing scene earlier this year and released a lineup of beers that were quickly met with… acclaim?… nope, that’s not it. Not criticism, either… more like “meh”-ism.

There’s nothing terribly wrong with their beers, but in a brewing market that has become increasingly upscale and snobbish in recent years, about the most charitable thing I could come up with was that they were “making the best beer Powell River’s seen in some time.”

While the beers were decently crafted examples of their style, Townsite wasn’t exactly wowing us beer geeks in quite the same way as Tofino or Parallel 49.

So how do their two most recent releases rank with the biggest bearded beer geek of all (by mass)? Well, both are great beers. While neither is going to be celebrated as best-in-class any time soon, they do represent a step up for the brewing game of Townsite, and indicate that we can expect more great beers to come. Of course, the sword cuts both ways, as now our expectations have been raised accordingly.

And no, our ego is not so inflated that we’re referring to ourselves in the majestic plural. Rather, it’s a medical condition we have and we’d appreciate your tact in this matter.

Tasting notes:

Biere D’hiver (Winter Ale): Nose is light caramel a bit of toffee thrown in because hey, why not?. Sip this back and whoa, we’re talking roasted malt. Heavily roasted, almost burnt malt. This yields an unexpected dark roast coffee flavour, which seems to amp up the dry bittering hops far beyond their stated 27 IBUs.

A few more sips and that roasty-malty flavour blends in with the alcohol to do what any good winter warmer should: make you feel all fuzzy inside.

Shiny Penny (Belgian IPA): Nose is strong Belgian yeast, barnyard funk and straw. On tasting, the dryness from the yeast slows yields to a lingering dry bitterness from the hops. The yeast is very dry and funky here, almost Brett-like, and the body round robust and sweet: a very pleasant, almost ideal combination.

After a few sips the hops fade into the background as your palate adjusts, making the nuances of the yeast more apparent.

Coles notes:

Brewery Townsite
From Powell River
Name Biere D’hiver Shiny Penny
Style Winter Warmer Belgian IPA
SOA Now None awarded Bronze
SOA Potential n/a; table beer
Drink Now
My suggestion for Townsite’s next style Russian Imperial Stout. Can’t have enough RISs. You can even call it “Chuck”.
Availability Limited LRS, and selling fast
Cost $6.00+ per 650ml bomber
Similar Beers Hoyne Gratitude, R&B Auld Nick, Howe Sound Father John’s Lighthouse Uncharted, Phillips Hoperation
Chuck says Simultaneously intriguingly and disconcertingly coffee-like A solid Belgian IPA that I’d drink again in a heartbeat


Like you expected anything else.

Written by chuck

December 17th, 2012 at 4:03 pm

Posted in Beers

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