B.C. Beer Blog

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

Posts Tagged ‘Alibi Room

Vancouver Restaurateur Insults Craft Brewers, Belgians, Beer Drinkers

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by WanderingPaddy

A few months back I met with someone from the wine camp. Over a few beers, we had an excellent discussion about issues common to both the BC wine and craft beer industries, successes the wine lobby had realized as a result of advocacy, and how craft beer consumers could better organize to help them realize similar successes. During this discussion, it was pointed out to me that craft beer advocates and the craft beer industry as a whole have a major problem. It has nothing to do with the quality of beer being brewed or the lack of industry organization. This is a problem that is playing a major role in the lack of support given to craft beer by the government and the hospitality industry.

“You (craft beer consumers/industry) have an image problem,” I was told. This was not news to me, and should not be for the majority involved with the craft beer scene in BC. It is a reality and a hangover from the Dark Ages of Beer. This was when, with few exceptions, the majority of beers available from coast to coast in Canada were generic, mass-produced lagers meant to be swilled for effect, not taste. During this Dark Age, beer had no place in the finer restaurants about town, did nothing to enhance or compliment food, and was considered a beverage almost exclusively downed by down-and-outs and working men. Thankfully, due to the explosion of the BC craft beer scene and the amazing beers being brewed locally, those days are long gone. Or are they?

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Vancouver Island Craft Beer News: August 15, 2012

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This marks the first installment of a new series of posts about what is new in the Vancouver Island craft beer scene.

Pandamonium Unleashed by Phillips Brewing Company

Hot off the heels of their last limited beer release, Evergreen Ale, Phillips has unleashed PANDAMONIUM. This über-hopped double IPA went out Monday the 13th from the brewery, was field tested by the public at the brewery on the 14th, and is on its way to the Alibi Room for keg tapping tonight at 6pm. Grab it quick before it’s gone at discerning craft-focused liquor stores.

Release notes from Phillips’ Web site:

August 13th 2012: A year ago we celebrated 10 years of brewing with a 10% Double IPA, and this year there was only one way to follow it up: Turn it up to 11!

So we dialed up the malt and hops across the board, and are celebrating 11 years of beers with Pandamonium–a double IPA monster.  Brewed to 11%, we loaded hops into the pre-boil, and then added more hops every 11 minutes over a 111 minute boil for a grand total of 11 hop additions (plus a dry hop).

Hopquakes like this don’t come around very often and we only turn 11 once, so enjoy this brewtiful beast while you can!  Pandamonium 11th Hour IPA is available for a limited time at finer craft-focused liquor stores.

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Craft Beer Culinary Tour Highlights Gastown

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Rogue Wetbar beer samples & food pairings.

Whenever I plan to visit a new city, if it isn’t in Saudi Arabia, I’m checking out the local craft beer scene online ahead of time  to ensure I enjoy some of the local flavour. I know I’m not alone in that regard because If you visit Rate Beer and Beer Advocate, you’ll notice each has a section set up for the brews traveller. And with the rapid growth of craft brewing in North America, beer tourism is also on the rise.

Beer festivals, like the Great Canadian Beer Festival in Victoria and the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale in Pentiction, are obvious tourism boosts to those cities. Penticton, however, isn’t known as a beer town. Victoria, on the other hand, is well-regarded in craft beer drinker circles for its high per capita number of breweries, pubs, and brewpubs. The fact that I don’t see much of Victoria outside of those when I visit is a testament to the quality experience our provincial capital offers.

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The Next Wave in BC Craft Beer

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Patrons enjoying the Driftwood beer dinner at Hapa Umi.

It was just over three years ago when I started this blog out of frustration over the lack of craft beer coverage in the mainstream media – virtually none. In fact, they were reporting the decline of beer in favour of wine when I knew it was a generalization that completely overlooked the ferment that was happening in BC amongst the microbreweries and brewpubs. Clearly, the MSM had no idea, given their wine obsession. At the time, craft beer in Vancouver seemed like an underground subculture whose workings were known to a select few. I had started getting the word out through CAMRA Vancouver’s newsletter, but needed a means for discussing issues and covering events in more depth than e-mail. The B.C. Beer Blog was born.

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Another Milestone: The Alibi Room 200th

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Nigel Springthorpe spoofs Michael JacksonI remember there was a time when a new change-up in the Alibi Room’s draught lineup was newsworthy of being posted on this blog. Those then became such a regular occurrence that even Nigel couldn’t keep up with posting copies of his new draught menu to his own Web site. Now we are lucky to get the occasional tweet, warning us of the odd noteworthy beer going on tap.

On December 3, 2009, the Alibi Room celebrated its 100th tap list with a party that has become legend amongst local craft beer nerds and brewers alike, not least of which was Nigel’s souvenir the beer geek’s guide to the Alibi’s 100th beer list. A shade over a year later, and three and a half years after this ball got rolling, it’s time to toast the 200th:

The Alibi’s 200th Beer List
December 22, 2010, 5:00pm
157 Alexander Street, Vancouver

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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 »

Brooklyn Brewmaster’s Dinner

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Garrett Oliver with the Granville Rooms chef, Kye Agrios.

Garrett Oliver with the Granville Room's chef, Kye Agrios, holding a Mint White Chocolate Iced Parfait with Parisian fizzy fruit and Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout.

We’re fortunate to be able to get beer from Brooklyn Brewery here because it’s not widely available south of us in Washington (although what they do have more than makes up for it). It also means that Garrett Oliver has an excuse to visit Vancouver and be able to expense the trip by hosting a brewmaster’s dinner and tastings.

It’s important that Oliver does come to evangelize craft beer and food pairing because B.C. is only starting to get an appreciation for both; the more people (high profile or otherwise), the better. Some in Vancouver are starting to listen, but for a so-called cosmopolitan city, I find it rather disappointing how slow the pace is. At the very least, every brewpub should be featuring a paired beer with each of their food items. Using their own beer in their food should be a standard procedure, wherever it makes sense. Beer with dessert? If the appropriate styles are brewed, absolutely! If not, I would have bottles available to offer it.

Garlic and Thyme Grilled Beef Tenderloin with duck fat confit potato, baby vegetables, and green peppercorn sauce paired with Brooklyn Local 2.

Garlic and Thyme Grilled Beef Tenderloin with duck fat confit potato, baby vegetables, and green peppercorn sauce paired with Brooklyn Local 2.

We have the potential for so much more. Just look at what food pairing has done for wine. If there’s a way to differentiate craft beer from industrial suds, it’s in that direction. It also appeals more to women who are not engaged by sexist macrobrew marketing. To ignore or alienate roughly half the population in your marketing is sheer stupidity. I assure you, women do like beer, even most of the ones that say they don’t. It’s just a matter of finding the ones they like. Who cares if it’s not a macho beer, it’s still beer!

The Brooklyn Brewmaster’s Dinner was hosted at The Granville Room. At first I was a little leery about this choice. It’s on the Granville entertainment strip which is geared to young partiers who are not known for their discriminating beer taste, if what’s typically on offer in these places is any indication. My suspicions were even further piqued when the bartender was serving the aperitif beer in the bottle! That’s fine when you are talking about a characterless lager purposely made to offend as few as possible. For a full-flavoured beer, however, that’s like eating a fine meal with your nose plugged. You lose a lot of the experience, don’t you? Smell plays a large role in taste, so it’s important to drink from a vessel with a wide enough opening to fully take in the aroma. Those who understood this asked for a glass. Those who didn’t, were conspicuous by the bottle they were drinking from. The point, though, is that this shouldn’t have happened in the first place. Time to go to Beer School.

Aside from a stumble using Sichuan peppercorns to encrust ahi tuna in the second pairing (they numb the palate), the dinner was a great success. Oliver was both informative and entertaining; the food was top quality; and we had the good fortune of sampling Brooklyn Local 2, which is not currently available in BC. Personally, I like it better than the Local 1.

As the diners vacated The Granville Room for after-dinner drinks at the Alibi Room, the twenty-somethings were already lining up outside. And while I doubt they would see any benefit from Garrett Oliver’s previous appearance, I’ve still reconsidered my previous hesitation about The Granville Room. In fact, this is exactly the sort of place that needs to have beer events like this. There’s no point in preaching to the choir. It is the “great unwashed” that need to be reached, employees especially. If even a small ray of light can be beamed into their minds, it sows the seed of curiosity that has the potential to germinate into something much greater. This is why there’s a need for a “constant gardener.”

Gastown Cask Carouse

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Alibi publican, Nigel Springthorpe, pulls a pint of cask ale.

Alibi publican, Nigel Springthorpe, pulls a pint of cask ale.

CAMRA Vancouver is hosting a Real Ale pub crawl in Gastown this Saturday, featuring cask-conditioned ales from R&B Brewing at four of the neighbourhood’s best locations dedicated to craft beer.

R&B Brewing Alibi Room The Irish Heather Six Acres Steamworks

Gastown Cask CarouseParticipants will break up into four groups and hit the Alibi Room, The Irish Heather, Six Acres, and Steamworks. Each person will receive, respectively, a pint of R&B Hoppelganger IPA, Red Devil Pale Ale, Raspberry Sun God Wheat Ale, and Raven Cream Ale, along with an assortment of bar snacks.

People from CAMRA Vancouver and the craft beer industry will also be on hand to talk about cask-conditioned ale and answer any questions.

Gastown Cask Carouse
Time: Saturday, August 29, 12:30 – 5:00pm
Place: meet at Carrall & Water streets, between Koolhaus & Chill Winston
Limit: 80 people
Cost: $30, $25 CAMRA members
Info & Registration: CAMRA Vancouver Web site

The weather forecast for Saturday is sunny and warm, so be sure to register today to ensure your space.

Happy Birthday, Michael!

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Alibi Room co-owner, Nigel Springthorpe, taking directions from The Beer Hunter.

Alibi Room co-owner, Nigel Springthorpe, taking directions from The Beer Hunter.

Today is Michael Jackson‘s birthday. Beer aficionados around the world will be celebrating the life of this iconic figure who contributed so much to the public’s understanding and appreciation for beer. I will be giving a toast to Michael Jackson at the Alibi Room this evening at 7:00pm.

Written by BCbrews

March 27, 2009 at 12:18 pm