B.C. Beer Blog

The who, what, where, when, why, and how of B.C. craft beer

Posts Tagged ‘festival

CAMRA Vancouver Summer Beer Festival

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St. Augustine’s will be featuring some great and unique beers from across BC at their CAMRA Vancouver Summer Beer Festival this Saturday, August 14th. Saturday’s festival, the first CAMRA Vancouver festival held at St. Augustine’s, will feature over twenty beers from twenty BC breweries. Many of the beers featured will be cask-conditioned. These seasonal releases, experimental batches, and one-offs have all been crafted by local brewers with the discerning craft beer lover in mind.

Many brewers have gone beyond the use of brewer’s yeast in their offerings this weekend. These brewers have instead created sour or ‘wild’ beers with the use of lactic acid bacteria and Brettanomyces, a wild yeast traditionally viewed as a contaminant in the production of most beer styles. This weekend’s festival will feature three examples of these sour or otherwise wild beers from BC craft brewers.

Russell Brewing will have a pin of their 100% Brettanomyces beer entitled “Brett Lambicus and the P-Funk All-Stars”. As the name suggests, this is a pale beer fermented and aged six months exclusively with Brettanomyces Lambicus.

Iain Hill of Yaletown Brewing will have a cask of his Brick and Beam IPA cask-conditioned with Simcoe hops and Brettanomyces. Iain cultured this Brettanomyces strain from a bottle of Orval, which gives the IPA a sweet, fruity Brettanomyces aroma.

Dave Woodward over at High Mountain will have a keg of his Berliner Weisse, a light, refreshing sour wheat beer.  This beer underwent a secondary fermentation for several months with Lactobacillus delbrueckii to create what Dave describes as an extremely well attenuated beer with a light lactic nose and tart finish.

The above beers are just the beginning of the creative, interesting beers present at this weekend’s festival. Here’s a complete list of the casks and kegs at the CAMRA Vancouver Summer Beer Festival.

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Written by Ryan

August 13, 2010 at 6:29 pm

Meet Your BC Craft Brewers

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A couple of years ago, I wrote about how what is considered to be the working man’s beer is anything but. Ironically, the worker is persuaded through multi-million dollar marketing campaigns that guzzling a multinational corporation’s industrial lager is more appropriate than buying from a local small business, a style of ale with a history pre-dating lagers by centuries. Craft beer is somehow “fancy,” even though a barley wine, bitter, or brown ale is still made, like lager, with water, barley, hops, and yeast.

It is actually quite easy to shatter this myth if you take the trouble to meet some of your local brewers. The best place to meet them is in brewpubs because they often work within plain sight and even hang out at the bar to eat or have a beer after work. However, if you happen to be shy or introverted, here’s a video produced for Vancouver Craft Beer Week to introduce you to the down-to-earth folks known as Canadian craft brewers:

As you can see, there’s nothing fancy about what our craft brewers do. They just make a good honest brew that doesn’t have to have micro-bubbles, be cold certified, filtered five times, called something it isn’t, or served with a lime in order to sucker you into drinking it. There are more flavours in beer than honey and lime waiting to be experienced. Meet a craft brewer, and they will be happy to show you the way.

Written by BCbrews

May 3, 2010 at 9:52 pm

Why Vancouver Craft Beer Week?

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Vancouver Craft Beer Week logoVancouver has experienced varying degrees of success with its beer festivals, but hasn’t found its groove to the degree that Victoria has with the Great Canadian Beer Festival or even Penticton with the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale. Having heard this topic brought up on a number of occasions over the past couple of years and the inevitable lamentations that followed, I was determined to do something about it.

The main challenge with putting on an event similar to the aforementioned, though, is the money required to stage it. It seems that those with the passion don’t have the money and those with the money either don’t have the passion or don’t have the confidence in you pulling it off if you haven’t already proven yourself. If passion for craft beer and money were hand-in-hand in Vancouver, then we wouldn’t be in this Catch-22 predicament.

Nevertheless, staging a large event on a single day without a reputation from a positive track record is a risky venture. There is a lot riding on just a few hours. The GCBF and OFOA got to where they are today by lots of hard work, building them up over more than a decade from smaller beginnings. Would we really have to wait that long before Vancouver finally has itself a beer festival worthy of its status as the largest metropolis in Western Canada? Could we wait that long?

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Spinnakers Cask Festival 2

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Spinnakers Cask Festival 2

Spinnakers is hosting its second cask festival on November 21, building on the success of its inaugural event on March 14 and the growing profile Real Ale is getting in Victoria. This is also a great opportunity to meet brewers from both the Island and the Lower Mainland, many of whom previously brewed at Spinnakers.

What’s the big deal about meeting a brewer? It’s like knowing a farmer, butcher, baker, or cheesemaker — you have a direct relationship with where your food and drink comes from that helps you to know what you are consuming. You also have a better opportunity to understand the process from source to table and even, perhaps, influence what the producer makes.

Here is the lineup:

  • Central City ESB
  • Dead Frog Oaked Winter Warmer
  • Deschutes Jubelale
  • Dix Barley Wine
  • Driftwood Porter
  • Driftwood #2 TBA
  • Granville Island TBA
  • Lighthouse Winter Ale
  • Longwood Brewpub Imperial Stout
  • Mission Springs Winter Pumpkin Ale
  • R&B Bourbon Oak-meal Stout
  • Spinnakers Gingerbread Ale
  • Spinnakers Mt. Tolmie Dark Ale with Highland Park 18
  • Storm TBA
  • Swans TBA
  • Vancouver Island “Caskannator”
  • Whistler Brewhouse Woodwards IPA

Spinnakers is dedicated to sourcing local ingredients, therefore, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate Slow Food and Real Ale than spending an afternoon at the gastropub on Lime Bay.

Time: Saturday, November 21 @ noon – 5:00pm
Place: Spinnakers, 308 Catherine Street, Victoria
Cost: $40 (includes 3 samples, souvenir glass, appetizers)
Tickets: at Spinnakers, both Spirit Merchants locations in Victoria, and CAMRA Vancouver’s Web site

Written by BCbrews

November 9, 2009 at 2:50 pm

GCBF Cruise Scam

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The Victoria Times Colonist reported yesterday on an apparent scam that appears to have surfaced in connection with the Great Canadian Beer Festival.

A non-brewer participant with a booth at the festival was offering a free trip to Las Vegas for anyone willing to fill out a ballot with their name, address, and phone number. Those who entered the contest are now getting calls to say they’ve won a four-day cruise from Orlando. However, they are being asked for their credit card information to make a $300 per person deposit to hold hotel rooms in their name.

Festival Chairman, Gerry Hieter said, “I’m really concerned someone’s going to get scammed and give them their money.”

“There’s absolutely no way this is ever going to happen again,” Hieter said. “We might just eliminate all vendors from future festivals for exactly that reason. We don’t need them anyway.”

Written by BCbrews

September 20, 2008 at 2:31 pm

Upcoming GCBF Highlights

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If you’re going to the GCBF and haven’t perused the brewers list on their Web site, you may want to make your way over there to plan ahead for what you definitely don’t want to miss out on.

For myself, I’m not interested so much in the exhibitors with bottles aka import agents and large producers. You can buy these in a liquor store. My first priority is breweries whose products I can’t get here. Of those, cask ale tops the list as they may be a one-off or at least of a regular style they brew but of unique character.

Non-B.C. breweries I’m looking forward to sample are Baron, Boundary Bay, Peaks, Silver City, Wild Rose, and Wildwood. Bushwakker from Regina, SK, is one coming the furthest to represent themselves and another I’ll be thoroughly evaluating. Paddock Wood from Saskatoon will be there too, but their products are available in Vancouver and they have exhibited only bottled product in the past.

Specific beers on my to do list: Anacortes IPA, Baron über-Weisse, Boundary Bay Imperial Oatmeal Stout & Scotch Ale, Peaks Dungeness Spit IPA, Pike IPA, Silver City Indianola Pale Ale & Imperial Stout, and Wild Rose Port-infused Oatmeal Stout

My second priority is B.C. brewers with a cask, a seasonal, or something new, followed by breweries whose beer I’ve never tried — Barley Mill Brewpub from Penticton and Hells Gate in Delta (I suspect this is the new Mark Anthony brewery).

B.C. beers I’m excited to try: Central City Imperial IPA; Crannóg Bansidhe, Bogtrotter Brown, Insurrection Pale Ale, and Pooka Cherry Ale; Howe Sound Pothole Filler & Total Eclipse of the Hop; Longwood Imperial Stout, IPA, Märzenbier; Nelson Paddywack; Spinnakers Hefeweizen; Steamworks Great Pumpkin Ale & Grand Espresso Stout (conditioning since last winter); Swans Scotch Ale; Tree Hophead; and at the Yaletown booth, Alchemy, Dix IPA, and Whistler Brewhouse Heart of Darkness.

Central City Thor’s Hammer is another standout. Brewer Gary Lohin used to make this when at Sailor Hagar’s. Sailor Hagar’s still have some of it from ten years ago and had a keg on draft last December — incredible! Word is they have one left, so keep an eye out for it later this year. In the meantime, you can try Thor’s Hammer the Younger in Victoria. If you’ve had Thor’s Hammer the Elder, you will recognize the progeny. Hopefully, Gary will put some away in a cool, dark corner and sit on it for a few years. Otherwise, bottle it so we can do so.

We’ve been expecting a Dead Frog cask in Vancouver from Tony Dewald (formerly of Dix) for a while, but he did not participate in the Surrey Summer Cask Festival, nor Caskival 5 at Dix — much of whose success is because of him. Now it looks like he’ll have a cask of their Nut Brown, so I’m anxious to sample it.

Dave Woodward’s Heart of Darkness from Whistler Brewhouse won best beer at the Central City’s Surrey Summer Cask Festival. An Imperial Stout aged on bourbon-soaked oak, it is a delightful mouthful that ought to be a staple Après-ski winter warmer in the Village.

If you stop by the Crannóg booth, one sample you should try to get Brian make up for you is a blend of 1/3 Pooka Cherry and 2/3 Back Hand of God. It makes a wonderful cherry stout.

On a final note, don’t overlook the wonderful cider from Merridale. Their cask Cyser is a must. It’s very popular, though, so I would recommend sampling it early. It also makes sense to do it before the big-flavoured, high gravity ales so you can fully appreciate it.

Down to the wire: Swans GCBF Package

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If you haven’t finalized plans to attend the GCBF yet, you may be out of luck getting tickets through regular channels, especially for Saturday. However, there is an opportunity to get both your ticket and accommodation in one handy package:

Written by BCbrews

August 7, 2008 at 5:05 pm

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Real Ale Extravaganza at Dix Summer Caskival

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Exterior of Vancouver brewpub, Dix BBQ & Brewery at Beatty & Smithe streets.

Exterior of Vancouver brewpub, Dix BBQ & Brewery at Beatty & Smithe streets.

Tony Dewald’s (currently Dead Frog brewmaster) semi-annual cask festival tradition continues under the tutelage of Derrick Franche with the upcoming Summer Caskival at Dix BBQ & Brewery on August 9. With the support of CAMRA Vancouver, Caskival is a showcase of live, all-natural, preservative-free, unfiltered, unpasteurized cask ales from the creative talents of B.C.’s leading craft brewers.

This year, there will be approximately two dozen different beers to sample over the course of an afternoon. According to Franche, more brewers have gone experimental with their casks this time. Caskival seems to be evolving into a freestyle beer event that gives brewers an opportunity to experiment in a way that would otherwise be financially risky. Sometimes you may get a bum beer, but then there’s the extraordinary ale that more than makes up for the former. It’s exciting to be on B.C. beer’s cutting edge!

In addition to the regular food menu, there will be featured food specials — an entree ($12-$14), an appetizer, and Chef Zai Kitigawa’s special beef jerky.

Dix Summer Caskival
Saturday, August 9, 2008
noon-5:00pm
Dix BBQ & Brewing
871 Beatty Street, Vancouver
Tel: (604) 682-2739

Cost: $15 CAMRA members, $20 non-members for entry; 4oz samples $1.00 each; souvenir t-shirts $20.00. There are no tickets for pre-purchase.

I will post more information about the participating brewers and their beers as the information becomes available.

Written by BCbrews

July 27, 2008 at 3:34 pm

GCBF Tickets Going Fast

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Tickets to Victoria’s Great Canadian Beef Festival are selling out fast, especially for the Saturday session. With over 45 craft brewers from across Canada, Belgium, and the Pacific Northwest and more than 7,000 people attending, it’s no surprise. (Their Web site must be getting a lot of hits since it’s hard to load up some of the pages, unless I’m getting throttled by my ISP…)

If you still want to attend this year, you’ll need to act quick in searching for a ticket and booking accommodation. Unfortunately, the GCBF Web site doesn’t provide full contact details for any of the outlets. But if you can’t get one from the nearest location, you might try checking others. If they have any, perhaps they might send you one if you offer to pay for shipping and handling.

If you come up empty, there are at least three other options:

  1. post a request on CAMRA Vancouver’s Facebook wall
  2. post a request on craigslist — Vancouver, Victoria
  3. volunteer at the festival

If there is one beer festival in B.C. you should absolutely visit, this is the one. The quality of the beer is uniformly high, a large number of brewers are in attendance, the festival is well-run, and the crowd is very appropriate for the size of the venue. As a bonus, outside of festival hours, you have an excellent selection of brewpubs to choose from within a walkable radius (see my B.C. Beer Blog Map in the top right margin). It’s a great excuse for a long weekend.

Written by BCbrews

July 27, 2008 at 1:30 pm

2008 Canada Cup of Beer Awards

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Just Here for the Beer, organizers of Vancouver’s Canada Cup of Beer, have just released the 2008 Canada Cup of Beer Awards based on voting by the festival’s attendees. They are:

Favourite Canadian Lager
Dead Frog Lager – Dead Frog Brewery, Aldergrove, B.C.
Honourable Mention: Rebel – Tree Brewing Company, Red Truck Lager – Red Truck Beer Company

Favourite Canadian Ale 
Cutthroat Pale Ale – Tree Brewing Company, Kelowna, B.C.
Honourable Mention: Dead Frog Pale Ale – Dead Frog Brewing, Hophead – Tree Brewing Company 

Favourite Import Lager 
Efes Pilsener – Efes Beverage Group, Turkey
Honourable Mention: Estrella Damm Lager – Spain, Holsten – Germany 

Favourite Import Ale 
Liberty Ale – Anchor Brewing Company, San Francisco
Honourable Mention: Efes Dark – Turkey, Duvel – Belgium 

Best Booth Display 
Rickard’s – Vancouver, B.C. 
Honourable Mention: Red Truck Beer Company, Tree Brewing Company

Favourite Summer Cask Ale
Granville Island Raspberry – Granville Island Brewing
Honourable Mention: Dix IPA – Dix BBQ & Brewing, Red Devil Pale Ale – R & B Brewing

Favourite Beer Name
Thirsty Beaver Amber Ale – Tree Brewing Company
Honourable Mention: DUDE Beer – Pacific Western Brewing, Dead Frog – Dead Frog Brewing

Friendliest Servers
Red Truck Beer Company – North Vancouver, B.C.
Honourable Mention: Rickard’s – Vancouver, Tree Brewing Company – Kelowna

Favourite Microbrew Beer
Howe Sound Brewing – Squamish, B.C.
Honourable Mention: Tree Brewing Company – Kelowna, Dockside Brewing Company – Vancouver, Dead Frog Brewing – Aldergrove

Favourite Booth 
Campaign For Real Ale Vancouver – Vancouver, B.C.
Honourable Mention: Tree Brewing Company, Dead Frog Brewing, Efes – Sebucom International

Noteworthy for this year’s CCoB was the featuring of cask ale. Given that CAMRA was voted Favourite Booth of the festival, the fact that they served four firkins of local cask ale (BigRidge Clover Ale, Dix IPA, R & B dry-hopped Red Devil Pale Ale, Taylor’s Crossing Irish Honey Ale) means that more mainstream Vancouver beer drinkers are coming to appreciate the qualities of live, unfiltered, unpasteurized beer.

Where to find B.C. cask ale (see B.C. Beer Blog Map at top right margin):
BigRidge Brewing
15133 – 56th Avenue, Surrey
 – last Friday of each month at 5:00pm

Central City Brewing
13450 – 102nd Avenue, Surrey
 – Surrey Summer Cask Festival in July

Dix BBQ & Brewing
871 Beatty Street, Vancouver
 – every Thursday at 5:00pm; Summer Caskival in August, Winter Caskival in December

Great Canadian Beer Festival
Royal Athletic Park, Victoria
 – first Friday & Saturday after Labour Day (September 5 & 6, 2008)

Taylor’s Crossing
1035 Marine Drive, North Vancouver
 – first Friday of each month at 5:00pm

The Whip Restaurant & Gallery
209 East 6th Avenue, Vancouver
 – every Sunday at 4:00pm

The Wolf & Hound
3617 West Broadway, Vancouver
 – last Wednesday of each month at 6:00pm

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