Posts Tagged ‘Brewery Creek’
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 »
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.”
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 Beer Event
Gold: The Whip Real Ale Sundays
Silver: CAMRA On a Mission to Mission; Feast of Five Firkins (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
Vancouver’s upcoming Hopscotch Festival will be the 12th year it showcases Scotch, whisky, and beer. Unfortunately, unlike Victoria, the city continues to struggle in developing a festival that highlights a diversity of quality craft beer.
Part of the problem seems to be a money issue in that the craft brewers don’t have the marketing dollars the macros do to participate in these events. Therefore, organizers default to a beer lineup that would be familiar to the average mass-market beer consumer. In this case, Big Rock, Granville Island, Lighthouse, Molson (Rickard’s), Okanagan Spring, Pacific Western Brewing, Red Truck, Sleeman, Tree, and Unibroue. Lighthouse, Red Truck, Tree, and Unibroue are for the “more adventurous” punters, largely because they are less well-known and not because they are particularly challenging to drink.
The “exotic” beers are supplied by the importers, many of whom are wine agents with a token beer or two in their portfolio: Anchor, Dos Equis, Grolsch, Kirin, Krusovice, Kulmbacher, Palm, Pilsner Urquell, and Tiger. Most of these beers, however, are macro lagers in their respective countries that are available in the majority of liquor stores here. Ho hum.
The Autumn Brewmaster’s Festival at the Plaza of Nations was a step in the right direction; regretably, it expired. Now, the best that Vancouver can do is the cask ale festivals at Dix BBQ & Brewing and Central City in Surrey. Otherwise, when it comes to beer, you’ll find more interesting offerings at The Alibi Room, the Irish Heather, Six Acres or buying your own at Brewery Creek, Firefly, or Viti.
Hopefully, some day, we’ll have a respectable beer festival in Vancouver that doesn’t have mass-market brands (they already get plenty of exposure in the media) or needs to disguise the thinness of its offerings with alcopops and wine. It shouldn’t be a carbon copy of the GCBF either. I think Victoria has earned the right to its current format. Vancouver ought to come up with something else that distinguishes itself from others so as to present us with a greater opportunity for celebrating craft beer, not competing with others.
Postscript: in the fall of 2009, I gathered a team of friends & acquaintances to plan a “beer week” festival, after coming across San Francisco Beer Week on the Web. The following year, we hosted Vancouver Craft Beer Week, Canada’s first “beer week” festival. The City of Vancouver officially proclaimed May 10-16, “Vancouver Craft Beer Week”. Mayor Gregor Robertson opened the festival by tapping the first cask of VCBW Collaboration Ale at the Alibi Room.
It was a gloriously sunny day in Vancouver on Sunday, September 28 — a fitting tribute to an “Immortal” Real Ale Sunday at The Whip Restaurant & Gallery. Dick Cantwell, head brewer of Elysian Brewing in Seattle, visited Vancouver this weekend at the invitiation of R & B Brewing, who handle the cask logistics for The Whip. Cantwell brought a cask of his Immortal IPA, an Elysian best-seller, and a cask of Hale’s Ales O’Brien’s Harvest Ale—a Silver Medal winner at Denver’s Great American Beer Festival.
Both the sunshine and the special nature of this cask event brought out a crowd that filled the bar, restaurant, and patio with CAMRA Vancouver members, local brewers, foodies, neighbourhood regulars, and their dogs. (See Flickr and Facebook for more photos.) So popular were the casks that both sold out in a record 90 minutes.
Cantwell was surprised by the local reception and vowed to return to Vancouver for another visit. In the meantime, should you visit Seattle, I recommend stopping by at least one of Elysian’s three brewpubs. Their upcoming Pumpkin Beer Festival would be a good excuse to make a trip.
In B.C., Elysian beers are available at Brewery Creek in Vancouver; call ahead for availability.
CAMRA Vancouver member, Julian Price, has made an interesting discovery: Brewery Creek is not just a cold beer and wine store. Here’s his story and your chance to brew up some history.
In 1905 the neighbourhood of Mount Pleasant was a logged-off area with only a few structures off Main or Broadway. One of them was a Vancouver Breweries building at the corner of what is now 280 E. 6th Avenue at Scotia. The brick and stone building is a heritage site and an artist live-work studio complex. The brewery was sited there because of the creek that flowed there. The water turned the grist mill and, of course, provided water for the beer.
Brewery Creek still flows but it’s underground now. It flows, as it almost always has, down to the False Creek flats at East First Avenue and Scotia. In fact, the Artech building has pumps underground to keep its parkade from flooding.
Across the street from Artech, there’s a large hop vine growing wild in the blackberry brambles. I can’t prove it, but it’s reasonable to suppose that spent hops and grains dumped outside the brewery found their way via stream, wind, or birds to where what now could be Vancouver’s last hop vine. False Creek was filled in to eliminate Mount Pleasant’s waterfront and Brewery Creek long has long since been sent underground, but the hops are still there…barely.
Recently, a City of Vancouver “Greenway” project has a planned bicycle path that will see the vine’s location on the boulevard bulldozed. The two-pronged approach of the path has brought the east end from Main Street to within a few yards of the vine. The westerly extension is at Great Northern Way and Brunswick, also within a half a block of the vine. I’m surprised there’s been a mature crop this year. I figured the machines would have sent the vine to oblivion weeks ago.
As the nights cool in the dying days of summer 2008, the last crop this old vine will produce has reached its prime. I’ve brewed with these hops, sold them on eBay, and given them away over the years. This is the last hurrah. I’ve taken samples of the hops to Derrick at Dix. He has said that he’s interested in brewing a fresh-hopped beer, but he will not be able to fit it into his schedule until the third week in September. The hops MIGHT still be there, but annihilation is imminent.
The vine is located on the north side of 336 East First Avenue, opposite the little park. Anyone interested in taking rhisome cuttings or hops will need pruners and gloves to clip away the blackberry brambles. The vine is large, so it will be possible to harvest a bunch large enough to brew anything from a basic five-gallon homebrew on up to craft brew sizes.
Another CAMRA Vancouver member has since advised me that another notable wild hop bine in Vancouver is on a pole supporting the wires for the heritage trolley, just below the pedestrian bridge over the trolley tracks, immediately north of where Hemlock meets West 4th.
So if you want to get some hops to make a fresh hop ale or add to your glass of bitter, pale ale, or IPA for some added fresh-hop aroma (be sure to bruise the cones before you add), here’s where you can find some. But before you do, take care to make sure they are not sprayed with defoliants or other such chemicals.
Update: reader Mattias Morrison has taken four cuttings of the heritage trolly bine and will be transplanting them at his new home in Campbell River.
Victoria’s Phillips Brewing has been expanding thanks to its aggressive ambition to release a seasonal beer every month. That goal had been momentarily set back in May as they moved from Esquimalt into a new brewery in Victoria. Now getting settled in, we should see Phillips get back on track with this week’s release of their new WheatKing Hefeweizen.
Phillips has been steadily making inroads into the Vancouver market. Eight of their products have BCLDB listings, which means they are available throughout the province. (Given the LDB’s logistics, I recommend you check the freshness date before purchasing if buying from a government liquor store as they do not refrigerate.) In Vancouver, the fullest range is available (and refrigerated) at:
Brewery Creek Cold Beer & Wine
3045 Main Street, Vancouver
Tel: (604) 872-3373
Hours: 11:00am – 11:00pm daily
Firefly Fine Wine and Ales
2857 Cambie Street, Vancouver
Tel: (604) 875-3325
Hours: 10:00am – 11:00pm daily
Draft taps have also been popping up in more locations. Here’s the current disposition:
· Morrissey Irish
If you are interested in carrying Phillips products in your bar, pub, or restaurant, call Kurtis Lysholm at (778) 866-0360.