Posts in British Columbia

BC Beer: February 2012 Releases

February 21st, 2012 Posted by British Columbia, New Beer Releases No Comment yet

Tree Brewing has released a new ‘Occasional Rarity’, Hop Head Black IPA. At 8.8% abv, this one’s bigger than their Double IPA. Although it’s packed full of flavour, the dark malts bring some balance and make it seriously drinkable. You’ll currently find this at private liquor stores in BC, but in a few months it’ll also be part of the LCBO’s Tree Brewery Feature!

Howe Sound Brewing’s Total Eclipse of the Hop and Megadestroyer Imperial Licorice Stout are back on the shelves. Driftwood just released their Singularity again as well. With these two world class stouts, there’s really no reason to be drinking the macro-of-macro’s this St. Paddy’s day… though they’ll probably sell out by then.

The Dead Frog Brewery has introduced a new stout at this seasonal time as well. The French Oaked Stiff Stout is described as a full flavoured, smooth stout combining roasted barley and chocolate malts aged on toasted french oak to create a rich, textured beer with a finish so stiff you’ll never forget it! This one’s in the government stores, but availability seems to be limited.

Lighthouse Brewing is releasing a new IPA at the end of the month (great label!). Unlike their British inspired Beacon IPA, the new Switchback IPA is a serious Pacific Northwest brew with 80 IBU’s coming from Citra, Zythos and Falconer’s Flight hops!

And that Granville Imperial IPA did hit the shelves a few weeks ago. This one’s different than last year… and it’s one bold DIPA!

BC Beer – January 2012 Releases

January 19th, 2012 Posted by British Columbia, LCBO Releases, New Beer Releases No Comment yet

Last month I mentioned a few new breweries opening this year, but then Hoyne Brewing actually managed to get a few growlers out the door before Christmas! Now they’ve got their Pale Ale and Pilsner bottled, and it’s starting to hit the Private Liquor Store shelves.

Old Yale Brewing has entered into a new partnership and moved to a larger location. Canadian Beer News is reporting that kegs and bottles of the Sasquatch Stout and Sergeant’s IPA are currently available, and we’ll start to see cans of the IPA and Old Yale Pale Ale in February. It’ll certainly be great to have some more hoppy brews available in cans!

Lighthouse Brewing Company has their 6th limited release from their Big Flavour Series. The official press release says this 9% “Belgian Black is fermented with a Belgian Ardennes yeast strain. Enjoy the rich malty features of plum and dark cherry backed with subtle spicy notes”.

Mission Springs Brewing Company is releasing another special brew in bottles on January 30th. “The Strongman Ale” is an 8% Cascadian Strong Ale… this should be interesting.

Phillips has iced a barleywine, pushing the alcohol up to 12%. Thankfully, this so-called Mass Extinction is available in (reasonably-sized) 341 mL bottles.

Granville Island’s Imperial IPA will be on tap next week, and hopefully we’ll start to see some bottles again soon!

Tree Brewing’s Hophead Double IPA is currently available at the brewery. Many Bartowelers will be happy to hear that it just shipped to Ontario as well! You can expect to see it on the LCBO shelves by the end of February. In the mean time, Ontario will have to get their west-coast hop fix from the regular Tree Hop Head, or perhaps Central City’s Red Racer, which just hit the shelves again.

BC Brewing in 2011

December 21st, 2011 Posted by Beer Awards, Brewery News, British Columbia No Comment yet

It was another great year for brewing in BC. This year our brewers managed to take home 1/3 of the Canadian Brewing Awards!

Howe Sound took home 7 awards (more than any other brewery), while Driftwood’s Fat Tug IPA was named ‘Beer of the Year’. Congratulations to all the winners. Here’s the list from BC:

Fat Tug IPA, Driftwood Brewing Co.
Hermannator Ice Bock, Vancouver Island Brewery
High County Kolsch, Mt. Begbie Brewing Co.
Sea Dog Amber Ale, Vancouver Island Brewery
Belgian Wit, Granville Island Brewing Co.
Hill’s Special Wheat, Yaletown Brewing Co.
Thor’s Hammer, Central City Brewing Co.
Sap Sucker Maple Porter, Fernie Brewing Co.
Pepper Lime Lager, Dead Frog Brewery
Serendipity #3, Tree Brewing Co.

Hermann’s Dark Lager, Vancouver Island Brewery
Navigator Doppelbock, Lighthouse Brewing Co.
Porter, Okanagan Spring Brewery
Harvest Moon Organic Hemp Ale, Nelson Brewing Co.
Scotch Ale, Swans Buckerfields Brewery
Baldwin and Cooper Best Bitter, Howe Sound Brewing Co.
Diamond Head Oatmeal Stout, Howe Sound Brewing Co.
Hoppelganger IPA, R&B Brewing Co.
Red Racer Imperial, Central City Brewing Co.
Cypress Honey Lager, Granville Island Brewing Co.
Pumpkineater Imperial Pumpkin Ale, Howe Sound Brewing Co.
Singularity Russian Imperial Stout, Driftwood Brewing Co.
Yaletown Oud Bruin, Yaletown Brewing Co.
Megadestroyer Imperial Licorice Stout, Howe Sound Brewing Co.

Overboard Imperial Pilsner, Lighthouse Brewing Co.
Thirsty Beaver Amber Ale, Tree Brewing Co.
Brewmaster’s Black Lager, Okanagan Spring Brewery
Captivator Doppelbock, Tree Brewing Co.
Howe Sound Lager, Howe Sound Brewing Co.
Analog 78, Phillips Brewing Co.
Garibaldi Honey Pale Ale, Howe Sound Brewing Co.
Pandora Pale Ale, Swans Buckerfields Brewery
East Side Bitter, R&B Brewing Co.
Woolly Bugger, Howe Sound Brewing Co.
Citra IPA, Dead Frog Brewery
Hop Head Double IPA, Tree Brewing Co.

The BC brewers did well in a couple of international competitions, in addition to receiving a number of readers choice awards from the North West Brewing News:

Best IPA: Driftwood Fat Tug IPA
Best Barley Wine: Central City Thor’s Hammer
Best ESB: Central City Red Racer ESB
Best Herb or Spice Beer: Saltspring Island Heather Ale
Best Cider: Sea Cider Rumrunner

Yeah, I know the Reader’s Choice Awards are a bit of a popularity contest, but consider the U.S. population in the Pacific Northwest… now consider some of the brews in that region. BC took BEST IPA and Barleywine! Clearly the people of British Columbia are impressed by their brewers!

If you’ve been following the monthly BC Beer Releases here, you’ll know there’s been a heck of a lot this year. The craft beer industry is certainly healthy in BC. A number of Brewers are expanding distribution into Ontario, and there’s continued growth here as well.

In 2012 we’ll finally see the new production facility for Central City Brewing, along with at least 4 brand new starts: Townsite Brewing in Powell River, Firehall Brewery in Oliver, Hoyne Brewing in Victoria, and Parallel 49, which is affiliated with St. Augustines in Vancouver.

It’s GREAT to be here!

BC Beer – December Releases

December 20th, 2011 Posted by British Columbia, New Beer Releases No Comment yet

As the Winter Solstice is upon us, we’ve got a number of seasonal brews. The Christmas Beeracle has returned from Dead Frog, and this year they’re donating a portion of the proceeds to the BC Children’s Hospital. This bomber is a great little stocking stuffer, supporting an excellent cause. Dead Frog’s Winter Mixer is also back again in BC, but it’s also making its debut in Ontario. It’s currently available at the LCBO, as well as a few of the self-serve Beer Stores. These mixers are great to have on-hand for entertaining and introducing friends and family to the diversity of craft brews.

Whistler Brewing has released a new Winter Dunkel that’s brewed with chocolate and orange rind.
Mission Springs
has released their new Mr. Brown’s Mashing Pumpkin Winter Ale in bottles as well.

Russell and Storm Brewing have done a collaboration brew, the “Big Smoke Ale”, which is brewed with 10% (a relatively large amount) of peat-smoked malt. Once again, the Vancouver Beer Blog has an excellent writeup.

Driftwood’s seasonal Blackstone Porter is back on the shelf, along with their Old Cellar Dwellar. Phillip’s Trainwreck Barley Wine is back again as well.

Hoppy Holidays!

BC Beer – November Releases

November 21st, 2011 Posted by British Columbia, New Beer Releases No Comment yet

The Driftwood Brewery has just released the first of their Bird of Prey Wild Ale Series. This Flanders Red “spent a year conditioning in a mix of American & French oak wine barrels. Tart & funky, this beer can be aged for a very long time, but will be enjoyed now!”

The Anceint Forest Alliance was selected as Phillips Benefit Brew for 2011. Some of our old growth forests are truly remarkable {pics}, and this worthy organization will be receiving the proceeds from the Phillips Ancient Brown Ale. So drink up! Phillips is also introducing a Root Beer Style Ale called Old Sarsaparilla, as well as their Mash-up Baltic Porter, which they brewed in collaboration with Garrison Brewing (after doing the Belgian IPA on the East coast).

Christmas is coming and there’s a few seasonals back on the shelf. Look for Dead Frog’s Christmas Beeracle and Tree Brewing’s Spiced Reserve Ale.

If spices aren’t your thing, R&B Brewing has their Auld Nick Winter Ale. This unadulterated Scottish Wee Heavy weighs in at 6.5% abv, with a restrained 18 IBU from the East Kent Golding hops. It took home a gold at the 2011 BC Beer Awards, besting the excellent Cannery Squire and Russell Wee Angry Scotch ales.

International Stout Day

November 2nd, 2011 Posted by Beer Events, British Columbia, Miscellaneous Beer News No Comment yet

Following on the heals of the controversial IPA day (August 4th, 2011), we now have an International Stout Day. No it’s not St. Patrick’s Day, it’s actually November 3rd, 2011.

Some of the brewpubs in BC offer a fine stout, but if you’re looking for a locally-produced, widely-distributed stout, your options are a fairly slim. Although both excellent, there’s only the Nelson Blackheart and R&B Darkstar Oatmeal stouts. The seasonal Maple Stout from Cannery Brewing is also currently available in BC Liquor Stores, as well as the LCBO.

But BC does get a few other world-class stouts. There’s the St. Ambroise Oatmeal Stout, which was the only brew to receive a perfect 4 stars from Stephen Beaumont in “The Great Canadian Beer Guide”.

If your feeling a little more International on this day, BC gets Young’s Double Chocolate Stout, and there seems to be a few Brooklyn Black Chocolate and North Coast Old Rasputin stouts kicking around as well.

Then again, if you’re REALLY LUCKY you might just have a Driftwood Singularity or Howe Sound Megadestroyer tucked away in your cellar.

Are there any plans for February 2nd, 2012? I propose International Barley Wine Day!


BC Beer – October Releases

October 19th, 2011 Posted by British Columbia, New Beer Releases No Comment yet

October is BC Craft Beer month and the BC Craft Brewers Guild has put together two sampler/mix packs. The beers showcased in the 12 bottle pack are Blue Buck, Sea Dog Amber Ale, Powder Mountain Lager, Dead Frog Nut Brown Ale, Hop Head IPA and Blackheart Organic Oatmeal Stout. The 12 can pack includes Naramata Nut Brown Ale, Red Racer IPA, High Country Kolsch, Race Rocks Ale, Russell Cream Ale and First Trax Brown Ale.

Phillips Brewing is treading a hoppy new path with the introduction of an India Pale LAGER, called the Eternal Optimist.

Also brand new this month is Tree Brewing’s Jumpin’ Jack Pumpkin Ale. This one is brewed with real, caramelized pumpkins and a restrained spicing. It has a slight residual sweetness to compliment the pumpkin-pie-like flavours, and at 6.4% abv it does pack some nice flavour.

Pumpkin ales have also returned from Granville Island, Swan’s, Fernie, Howe Sound, Phillips and Central City (see Gary’s video).

For those that aren’t a fan of the pumpkin, Granville Island is also making a Fresh Hop ESB; Driftwood has their Sartori Harvest IPA (this years is fresh/wet Centennial hops from the Sartori Cedar Ranch, as well as locally malted barley from Vancouver Island making this a true harvest ale); Plan B Brewing Co. has hooked up with Bitter Bine Hops and also brewed a fresh-hopped IPA! (Unfortunately it’s only available at their nano-brewery).

We’re starting to see some of the winter releases appear as well. Granville Island now has the Lions Winter Ale in 6 packs of bottles as well as cans; Tree Brewing’s Vertical Winter is now available in 6 packs; Last but not least, Vancouver Island’s Hermannator Ice Bock should also be available next week.

Congrats to Dockside for celebrating their 10th anniversary. I imagine their patio will be a little cool for the party on the 27th, but hopefully their special anniversary cask will keep everyone warm!

BC Beer – September Releases

September 22nd, 2011 Posted by British Columbia, New Beer Releases No Comment yet

Big Surf Beer Co. has quietly started brewing in Kelowna, BC. The owner is no stranger to the beer industry, having been a national sales manager for Labatt and currently owning two of the most craft-friendly pubs in Kelowna: Doc Willoughby’s and the Old Train Station Public House. Big Surf is launching with a “Laid Back Lager”, which their Austrian brewmaster has crafted using “European hops and the finest Canadian malt”. 6-packs of cans are now available at BC Liquor Stores.

Russell Brewing has released their Märzen just in time for Octoberfest. “At 5.5% alc./vol. this amber-hued Lager has been brewed with Pilsner, Munich and Caramel Vienna Malts and Hallertau Hops”.

Lighthouse Brewing Company has released the 4th edition to their Big Flavour Series: Uncharted Belgian IPA. This 7.5% brew was fermented with two different strains of yeast and showcases Riwaka hops from New Zealand. The Vancouver Beer Blog had a nice interview with brewer Dean Mcleod.

Pacific Western Brewery was established in 1957, and they’re currently celebrating their last 20 years of ownership with a limited edition Schwarzbock. This was crafted by Peter Boettcher, who has brewed in Germany, Switzerland, and now PWB (since 2010).

In celebration of their 10th anniversary, Phillips released a special IPA in a 3L bottle. Here’s some nice coverage from A News. More recently they released their (Twenty-four Mile) Blueberry Pail Ale, and we should see their Crooked Tooth Pumpkin Ale very soon.

Granville Pumpkin Ale is currently available at BC Liquor Stores, as well as Howe Sound’s Pumpkineater. Fernie Brewing’s Pumpkinhead Brown Ale should also be available soon. Expect to see some more pumpkin brews appearing in October, which is also officially BC Craft Beer Month.

Cascadian Report: Road Trip!

September 11th, 2011 Posted by British Columbia, On The Road Reports No Comment yet

I really love BC and the beer that’s brewed here. The private liquor stores have really benefited the small brewers and the general public seems to be more aware of the local craft brewers. Although BC is ahead of Ontario, craft beer is still a bit of a sub-culture, and we even suffer from a few archaic laws. Restaurants couldn’t actually serve draft beer until the mid 1980’s (a pub license was required). We owe a lot to Granville Island Brewing for fighting that legislation. Yet even today, many establishments don’t choose a food-primary license. This excludes minors (along with their family) from pubs, while many ‘fine’ restaurants still serve macro swill alongside their finer wines.

Across the boarder it’s a bit different. Here’s my report from our family road trip:

Our first stop for lunch was in the little town of Omak, which has a population of less than 5000. The Breadline Cafe had half a dozen craft brews on-tap, and even did growlers fills! I enjoyed a Methow Valley Porter and Alpine Marzen.

In the afternoon we weaved in and out of pine trees and sage brush until we came to our destination for the night: Yakima Washington. The irrigated valley along the river was a stark contrast to the surrounding desert. This is where you’ll find 75% of America’s hop acreage. My 3 year old was getting a little restless, so we went to a simple family restaurant: Applebees. Once again, I found a number of craft brews on tap and enjoyed a Yakima IPA (on the way back I had a Ninkasi IPA at another Applebees). It’s really nice to see that even the big chains support their locals.

As we continued south, we could see the occasional snow-covered volcano (pic) of the Cascade range in the distance. We made a stop in Bend at the Newport Market to pick up some supplies (bottles). Their beer selection was amazing for a grocery store, and they were offering samples of Life & Limb along with a few other local brews. We had dinner across the street at Kebaba. This Lebanese restaurant had a beautiful garden patio, a change table for babies and maybe a dozen different bottles of craft brews. They even had a rotating tap for something interesting, which happened be the Double Mountain Vapourizer, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

The next day we circled around Crater Lake (pic), which is a volcano that erupted 7000 years ago and has been filling with rain water ever since. Then we headed down to Lake Tahoe and then over to San Francisco. I had a few bottles in the evenings and replenished my stock at the SoMa Whole Foods in San Francisco (399 4th Street). I made a quick stop at Anchor Brewing, as they’re currently booking their tours 6 months in advance, but I hoped to grab a glass (I was getting tired of the hotel plastic cups and also wanted a keepsake). As I’m sure many of you know, Fritz Maytag saved this company when all the other little brewers were closing down, which was a pivotal point for American craft beer. Unfortunately, they were busy with a tour and while I probably could have sampled some free beer, it wasn’t possible to get my glass. But we went on to Moylans for lunch and I was able to get my hands on a real glass there.

We traveled up the coast along the old Highway #1. We missed a lot of the big brewers along the interstate (beer map), but it was a heck of a drive. We spent the night in Fort Bragg and had a nice dinner at
North Coast Brewing. The next day we drove through the California Redwoods (quite literally) and made a stop for the night in Brookings, Oregon. At the Art Alley Grille I enjoyed a bottle of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale along with a marionberry chipotle salmon, which was the gastronomic highlight of the trip.

Then we headed up to Newport and had dinner at Rogue (Brewer’s on the Bay which is the production brewery, not the original brewpub). I sampled a few of their rare treats and my daughter was delighted to have her kids meal served in a Frisbee! We liked Newport, and at this point we really just wanted to settle in for a couple of days, but we had to move on. We hit the Pelican Brewery for lunch and watched some surfing, then headed up to the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument (pic) before heading back to Canada.

It was quite a bit of driving (over 4600 km), so having a quality pint at a family friendly restaurant was REALLY appreciated. Anchor and Sierra Nevada gave the Americans a good start, but I’m still not sure how craft beer has become so much more commonplace. Is it simply the regulations?