B.C. Beer Blog

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

Posts Tagged ‘Campaign for Real Ale

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 »

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Brews Cruising in BC

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Maple LeafI used to work in the cruise industry in Vancouver, but I’ve never been on a cruise. The reason? I’m not a fan of floating feedlot dining and I don’t like to travelling with a large group of people, especially when you get hundreds disgorging from multiple cruise ships in port at the same time, overwhelming small towns with more tourists than residents, many of whom are seasonal workers from somewhere else.

Maple Leaf AdventuresTall Sails and Ales craft beer and culinary tour through the Gulf Islands via 92-foot tall ship, however, is something completely different. Led by Victoria-based brewing historian, Greg Evans, this low footprint cruise highlights 50 B.C. craft beers through brewery tours, tastings, and pairing with meals prepared from local ingredients (e.g. cheddar and ale soup, cream ale apple fritters, Salt Spring Island lamb, stout brownies). In addition to beer education and brewing history, guests will learn the “unbuttoned” social history of drinking on Vancouver Island and local Prohibition lore.
Itinerary Map

Of course, you cannot ignore the natural beauty of the area the itinerary covers. Maple Leaf Adventures also offers natural history tours, so you will also get the benefit of this expertise in experiencing the flora and fauna, such as porpoises, sea lions, seabirds, beaches, and rainforests. What a great way to enjoy beautiful British Columbia!

Tall Sails and Ales Cruise
October 22-27, 2009
5 nights, 6 days
Departs from: Port of Sidney Marina
Cost: CAD$2215, includes all accommodations, meals, tastings, materials, and use of gear on board, including kayaks

To book this trip, contact Maple Leaf Adventures at 1-888-599-5323 or via their Web site.

About Greg EvansGreg Evans
Historian, museum director, beer consultant, and raconteur, Greg Evans is known in many circles as a man who knows a lot and makes learning fun.

He is an active member of the Victoria chapter of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) and the executive director of the Maritime Museum of British Columbia. He has previously been director of the Vancouver Maritime Museum and the B.C. Museums Association, president of the Heritage Council for B.C., and a member of many boards and cultural organizations.

His masters thesis is on the Vancouver Island brewing industry from 1858-1917. His extensive knowledge is enhanced by a quick wit, as evidenced in the names of some of his lectures, including “Hic Hic Hooray: How Canadians Kept Americans Wet During Prohibition.”

You can find some articles by Greg Evans on Maple Leaf Adventures’ Web site.

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