B.C. Beer Blog

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

Posts Tagged ‘CAMRA Vancouver

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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Vancouver Approves On-Site Brewery Lounges

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by Wanderingpaddy

Last night the City of Vancouver took a huge step forward in modernizing their liquor policies by unanimously approving zoning changes to allow breweries, distilleries and wineries to have small, licensed lounges on-site where they can sell their products to be consumed.

The by-law changes removes the roadblocks (read here) in Vancouver that were preventing breweries from taking advantage of a recent provincial liquor policy changes allowing breweries and distilleries to apply for endorsements to their manufacturing licenses to run on-site, licensed lounges giving them equal footing with wineries who have had this opportunity for years.

As of today, breweries can apply to the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch for their lounge and special event endorsements (see link above)| with the knowledge that they have clear sailing as far as Vancouver City Council is concerned.

That is the good news which has the local craft beer industry and craft beers consumers hoisting a jar of their favourite local brew in celebration.

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BC Liquor Law Reform Post-Election: Where Do We Go From Here?

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by WanderingPaddy

The election hangover has long past. British Columbians who were excited about the possibility of the NDP taking charge and following through on their promise to reform our provincial liquor laws “one practical step at a time”, have come to grips with the reality that we have four more years ahead of us with the Liberals steering the political ship. Hopefully, not four more years of business as usual.

The provincial Liberals have made some positive changes to our liquor laws and policies over the past few years, but have not “overhauled” them as they claimed in a February press release. The Liberal approach has been haphazard, at best, and reactionary, described by the NDP as a “piecemeal approach to liquor policy,”not part of a systematic, comprehensive plan.

The NDP had made it loud and clear, both before and during the election, that they were committed to a full review of current BC liquor laws. This would have included a comprehensive consultation with the BC liquor industry to work out an effective strategy to modernize our liquor policies, which even the Liberals have described as archaic. They have, to this point, also been very open to listening to consumers. I have had meetings with several NDP MLAs where we discussed issues that negatively impact the craft beer-drinking public.

We will never know if the NDP would have been able to keep that election promise. But my sense is that the commitment is real, and that they are ready to continue to push the Liberals from the opposition side of the BC Legislature to start a full review.

So where do we go from here?
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Vancouver Licensees Beware the Pint Police

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Falconetti's Signboard

A sleeve is not a pint, or even close to one, so don’t call it one! In Canada, a pint = 20oz, nothing more, nothing less.

by WanderingPaddy

I don’t know about you, but I am getting fed up with being misled, whether intentionally or not, by bars and restaurants who advertise pints but serve sleeves.

Twice in the last few weeks, I have seen restaurants on Commercial Drive advertising “pint” specials when they were serving sleeves, which are 20-40% less in volume, depending on which version of the hated glassware is being employed. This pisses me off to no end, as it is misleading at best and downright dishonest if the misrepresentation is knowingly advertised.

A few Mondays ago, I notice Falconetti’s tweeting about an all-day “pint” special. I tweeted back a few times, asking if they were, in fact, serving 20oz pours. I was met with silence. Later in the day, I walked past the restaurant on my way to the park with my kid, and noticed a “pint” special advertised on their sidewalk chalkboard. Curious, I stuck my head in the door, and there was not a pint glass to be seen. Just to be sure, I called to enquire, and was told “pints” were a part of the Monday special. When I asked if it was actually a 20oz pour or a sleeve, the response was, “Technically, I guess you are right. We serve 16oz sleeves.”

Technically? Really?

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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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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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The Ties That Bind – How the BC Liberals Want to Limit Beer Choice

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It came to my attention yesterday that with respect to tied houses and related trade practices in British Columbia, the Liberal government intends to reduce current provincial regulations. For them, it isn’t a question of whether or not to do so; it is a matter of how much.

For those who do not know what a tied house is, this is the definition from the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch (LCLB) consultation paper that was recently circulated to some potential stakeholders:

A tied house is an establishment that has an association, financial or otherwise, with a liquor manufacturer or its agent that is likely to lead to its products being favoured.

What this means is that a pub that is owned or has some contractual arrangement with a brewery, may find itself obligated to sell beer from that brewery alone. As a result of the Liquor Inquiry Commission of 1952, this was made illegal due to the lack of competition that resulted from brewery consolidation. Those were the beer Dark Ages in Canada when “beer” was synonymous with mass-produced lager because that is all you could get. It took 32 years before craft brewing even resurfaced here!

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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

A New Chapter

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Guide drinking a Festbier at Gordon Biersch, Taipei

Converting my guide to craft beer: drinking a Festbier at Gordon Biersch in Taipei.

You may have noticed that my posts have been coming a lot less regularly. That’s because I have started a new business venture with a friend that is not related to beer. It’s called Adventurocity, a travel company focused on Asia. (No, I have no plans to move back to Asia at this time.) My passion for beer is exceeded by that for travel, so my beer activities are now taking a back seat. Fortunately, I won’t necessarily find myself wanting for a good brew when on the road, but that depends on the country. My friends Josh Oakes and Sunshine Kessler have done a great job documenting the beer scene in a number of places. (They are currently in Malaysia.) There’s plenty of mass-market lager in Asia, but not a lot of indigenous craft beer – a good business opportunity for anyone wanting to start a brewpub or microbrewery and live overseas. Some brewers from North America and Europe are already doing this.

In starting this new chapter of my career, I have resigned as CAMRA Vancouver President; I no longer write for Northwest Brewing News and Urban Diner; and I no longer work for the Craft Brewers Guild of British Columbia. Although I initiated Vancouver Craft Beer Week, my role with VCBW is as a consultant, not as part of the executive. Nevertheless, I’m still very interested in what is happening in the craft beer scene here and hope, some day, we will have a beer culture that will rival that of Washington and Oregon. You’ll only reach high if you aim high.

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Beer Wars: The Battle Rages Every Day

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CAMRA Vancouver is screening the beer industry documentary, Beer Wars, at 4:00pm on Sunday, January 31. Greg Koch of San Diego’s Stone Brewing will be in attendance, and entertainment will be provided by local muscians, Sun Wizard. Central City, Driftwood, Granville Island, Howe Sound, R&B, Red Truck, Steamworks, Swans, and Yaletown brewing will be serving BC craft beer.

This is an ideal event for a person looking to find out more about beer and the craft brewing scene in BC. Where else can you have a good brew and watch a movie at the same time, except at home!


Beer Wars is not a stupid, drunken, frat-boy romp, filled to the brim with crude humor and bad taste. It’s a film that looks behind the scenes of the American beer industry (also relevant to Canada), where corporate behemoths are being challenged by small, independent brewers shunning the status quo, and creating innovative new beers. The story is told through two of these entrepreneurs — Sam and Rhonda — battling the might and tactics of Corporate America. Interviews with numerous industry players fill in the big picture.

Beer Wars is also not a flick that was made for the beer geek. Filmmaker, Anat Baron (UBC alumnus), set out to make an accessible movie that would give the average, mass-market beer drinker a better understanding of how their beer is made, where it comes from, and how it gets to them.

Beer Wars Movie

Date: Sunday, January 31
Time: 4:00 – 8:00pm
Venue: District 319, 319 Main Street, Vancouver, BC
Cost: $30.00, $25.00 CAMRA members (includes entry & all beer)
Tickets: only 150; advanced purchase only

  • online at CAMRA Vancouver
  • Alibi Room: see Rick Green on Jan. 28 from 6:00 – 8:00pm
  • Dix: see Monica Frost at the bar on Jan. 28 from 6:00 – 9:00pm
  • Firefly Fine Wines and Ales: see Lundy Wed. & Thurs., 3:00 – 11:00pm; Fri. & Sat., 10:00am – 6:00pm
Beer Wars movie poster

District 319 is an exclusive venue that is only available for private functions. It was an abandoned Asian movie house that has been renovated into a stylish, state-of-the-art multimedia facility.

Postscript

As of February 1, Beer Wars is now available on demand, as a download, or on DVD.