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Posts Tagged ‘Rick Green

BC Liquor Law Review: Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace

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Almost anyone who enjoys having an alcoholic beverage in British Columbia will have a gripe or few about the legal restrictions on doing so. Well, now you have a chance to influence some changes the government will make to bring our laws more in line with the current social culture. Like Halley’s Comet, this opportunity does not come often. Don’t let this chance to have your views included pass. Saying your individual opinions don’t matter is lame. It’s not about you! It is the sum of the parts that matter, so make yourself part of the equation by October 31 for the collective impact to be greater.

So what should those changes be? It’s easy to leap right into the details, but I have to agree with Anthony Gismondi:

Modernizing B.C. liquor laws has to start with a philosophical change about how we interact with alcohol.

In many respects, I think we are already there, given the many parties that are pushing for change. The challenge is for the government to accept the broader cultural underpinning for these changes and approach this issue from that perspective, rather than reacting piecemeal to parochial lobbying, which is what led to the LDB warehouse privitization fiasco and special dispensations to the wine industry (BYOB, legal personal importation) that irritated beer and spirits folks.

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VCBW Myths and Lost Opportunities

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Maria Dobrinskaya, Rick Green, Mayor Gregor Robertson toast VCBW.

Maria Dobrinskaya and Mayor Gregor Robertson toast with me the launch of VCBW with some Central City Roach at the Alibi Room Hoppapalooza. (Brian K. Smith photo)

Now that a couple of weeks have passed by since the inaugural Vancouver Craft Beer Week has finished, there’s been time to get feedback in various shapes and forms. Given that we sold out most of our events, that the mayor officially proclaimed Vancouver Craft Beer Week and came to celebrate the festival kickoff with us, and that the mainstream media gave VCBW some good coverage, one could deem it a success for craft beer. Nevertheless, VCBW did not work for some. I want to address a few of the issues that have come to my attention, especially some myths and misconceptions that result in lost opportunities.

First off, I want to point out this was the first such festival for Vancouver; in fact, for Canada. You never get everything right on the first go, but you hope to be in the ballpark (see above). In getting third parties on board, it also didn’t help that we had the Olympics, the Playhouse International Wine Festival, Dine Out Vancouver, and the playoffs as a significant combined distraction. Under the circumstances, one may have to forego the ideal and opt for what is expedient. Next time around, we hope parties will get involved early enough so that we can achieve the ideal for the 2011 VCBW.

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CAMRA Vancouver Recognizes Local Beer Excellence

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Central City brewer, Gary Lohin

Central City brewer, Gary Lohin.

The Vancouver chapter of the Campaign for Real Ale has announced the results of its annual members poll recognizing local and regional excellence in brewing and beer service. Surrey’s Central City Brewing was awarded Best Local Brewpub; the Alibi Room Best Local Beer Cafe, Pub, or Restaurant; and Brewery Creek Liquor Store, Best Local Liquor Store for beer selection. This is the second year both the Alibi Room and Brewery Creek were rated the best in their categories.

With the growing popularity of cask-conditioned ale (Real Ale) in Vancouver, more establishments have been adding this type of beer to their offerings. For this reason, CAMRA Vancouver added a Best Local Cask Night to its list of awards. In a nod to its pioneering role in popularizing Real Ale in the city, Dix Barbecue and Brewery won this category and won silver for its winter cask ale festival. The Whip is also acknowledged for its Real Ale Sundays with a different cask every week supplied by R&B Brewing.

Since last year, Amber Jack’s Tap House, St. Augustine’s Restaurant & Lounge, and Yaletown Brewing have each begun offering Real Ale on a weekly or monthly basis. The Alibi Room now offers a continuously changing selection of three cask ales nightly. They celebrated their 100th beer menu rotation on December 3. Read the rest of this entry »

Canada’s First Beer Cocktail Competition

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Canada’s first beer cocktail competition will be held at The Refinery in Vancouver on August 17, featuring beer from Whistler Brewing. It will be interesting to see what the local bartenders will come up with to expand the beer cocktail repertoire beyond a Black Velvet, Irish Car Bomb, Ogre Juice, and Red Eye.

Contestants will have to devise a cocktail using either Whistler Black Tusk Ale, Classic Pale Ale, Honey Lager, Premium Export Lager, or Weissbier. They will then have to create it live, behind the bar at The Refinery, using their own ingredients and the supplied beer.

Judging the competition will be Bruce Dean (President, Whistler Brewing), Chester Cary (Canada’s first Certified Cicerone), Joanne Sasvari (The Vancouver Sun), Andrew Morrison (Scout Magazine), and yours truly.

The winning bartender will receive a TaylorMade golf bag; a case of Whistler beer; and a day of golf, dinner, and drinks for two at Pemberton’s Big Sky Golf & Country Club, voted Best Course in BC by the Vancouver Sun Golf Guide 2009.

After the competition, General Manager, Lauren Mote, and her team will be serving a special Whistler Brewing Company beer cocktail list, along with paired canapés from Executive Chef Michael Carter. Carter was formerly the chef at Dix Barbecue and Brewery.

Whistler Brewing Cocktail Challenge
Monday, August 17 @ 3:00pm
The Refinery
1115 Granville Street, Vancouver

CAMRA Recognizes Vancouver’s Best in Beer

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Dustin Sepkowski, Morris Anh, Rose Weir of The Whip

Dustin Sepkowski, Morris Anh, and Rose Weir, photo courtesy Brian K. Smith Photography.

The Vancouver chapter of the Campaign for Real Ale has announced the results of its annual members poll recognizing local and regional excellence in brewing and beer service. Dix BBQ & Brewery was awarded Best Local Brewpub; The Alibi Room is Best Local Beer Cafe, Pub, or Restaurant; and Brewery Creek, Best Local Liquor Store for beer selection.

“While it may seem curious that the best beer is in Surrey and the best brewery in Victoria, this year’s results reflect the growth in popularity of real ale in Vancouver,” explained CAMRA Vancouver President, Rick Green. “We are fortunate to have brewers throughout the province willing to meet the demand here.”

Dix BBQ & Brewery began the trend in 2002, featuring a cask-conditioned ale once a month. With the encouragement of CAMRA Vancouver, the following has grown. Now Dix features a weekly cask ale and hosts a semi-annual cask festival.

“We are very pleased to be awarded favourite brewpub in the Lower Mainland,” said Dix brewer, Derrick Franche. “On behalf of the Dix BBQ & Brewery staff, I’d like to thank CAMRA Vancouver for their support.”

Nigel Springthorpe, Alibi Room publican.

Nigel Springthorpe, photo courtesy Brian K. Smith Photography.

In January of 2007, The Whip Restaurant & Gallery partnered with local microbrewery, R&B Brewing, to offer a weekly cask from brewers all over BC. Last year, they inaugurated the annual Feast of Five Firkins, a special brewmasters’ dinner featuring five courses paired with five firkins from five brewers. Their success is reflected in the three rewards they received this year.

Real ale is also reaching the suburbs. Taylor’s Crossing brewpub in North Vancouver offers a monthly cask ale, as does Surrey’s BigRidge brewpub. Central City Brewing, also in Surrey, launched their annual cask festival last summer.

Not only is Gastown an evolving dining destination, it’s also a growing focal point for craft beer. Steamworks has been the standard bearer since 1995. Two years ago, the Alibi Room changed direction to become a true free house showcasing all of the province’s best beers. Publican, Nigel Springthorpe, noted:

“We went out on a limb to try something different. The build has been slow, but I really feel things are coming together. We pick up our own beer from the Island; we even have small breweries in the Interior carpooling their beer or getting visitors to throw kegs in their trunks to bring to us. Things are changing. Craft beer is becoming a bigger part of our culture here in BC.”

Last year, the Irish Heather moved across the street into a newly-renovated location. As part of their makeover, they became the first establishment in Vancouver to offer cask-conditioned ale daily, supplied by R&B. And with first-rate imports being sold through progressive retailers, such as Brewery Creek, we can expect the bar to be raised in Vancouver.

The results of the 2009 CAMRA Vancouver Awards are:

Best Local Brewpub
Gold: Dix BBQ & Brewery
Silver: Central City Brewing
Bronze: Yaletown Brewing

Best Local Beer Cafe, Pub, or Restaurant
Gold: The Alibi Room
Silver: The Whip Restaurant & Gallery
Bronze: The Wolf & Hound

Best Local Liquor Store
Gold: Brewery Creek Cold Beer & Wine Store
Silver: Firefly Fine Wines and Ales
Bronze: BCLS Signature Store (39th & Cambie)

Best Local Beer Event
Gold: The Whip Real Ale Sundays
Silver: CAMRA On a Mission to Mission; Feast of Five Firkins (tie)

Best BC Brewery
Gold: Phillips Brewing Co., Victoria
Silver: Storm Brewing Ltd., Vancouver
Bronze: Crannóg Ales, Sorrento; R&B Brewing, Vancouver (tie)

Best BC Beer
Gold: Central City Empire IPA
Silver: Storm Black Plague Stout
Bronze: Crannóg Back Hand of God Stout

Best BC Seasonal Beer
Gold: Yaletown Oud Bruin
Silver: Steamworks The Grand espresso stout
Bronze: Granville Island Winter Ale

Rick Green’s Dublin Steak Sandwich

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The colder weather has arrived. So here’s a recipe for some heartier fare with which you can better enjoy your stout.

  • 225g sirloin steak
  • 2 cups local stout, e.g. R & B Dark Star, Lighthouse Keepers Stout, plus more for drinking
  • 1 loaf French bread or 2 Terra Breads demi-loaves
  • 150g wedge Springbank Irish Guinness Cheddar cheese
  • 3 cups mixed salad greens tossed in Dijon vinaigrette (below)
  • small red onion, halved and sliced
  • mayonnaise

Cut the steak across the grain into 1/4″ slices. Cover in stout and marinate for at least four hours or overnight.

Remove steak from marinade and pat dry; lightly salt. Cook onions in remaining stout until it has been reduced completely. Meanwhile, prepare two sandwiches by cutting the bread in half horizontally. Lightly toast the bottom half, then spread with mayonnaise and cover with cheese slices.

Heat a dry iron skillet on high until it begins to lightly smoke, then add the steak, searing it on both sides until it is cooked to suit. Let rest a few minutes to return juices to the centre of the meat. Meanwhile set the bottom and top halves of the sandwich under a broiler until the cheese is melted on the bottom half and the top half is toasted.

To assemble the sandwich, place the steak on top of the bottom half, followed by the onions, and the salad greens. Spread mayonnaise on the remaining half and place on top. Cut in half and serve with a glass of stout.

Serves 2

Dijon Vinaigrette

  • 2 tbsp Modena Balsamico vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • pinch salt
  • pinch freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup light extra virgin olive oil

Whisk together all ingredients, except the olive oil, until smooth. Whisk in olive oil, adding slowly in a thin stream.

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