B.C. Beer Blog

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

Posts Tagged ‘Granville Island Brewing

Winter Games ≠ Winter Beer

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“Our time to shine.”

“Showcase Vancouver to the world.”

These are just two of the pithy slogans Olympics boosters have come up with to get us to embrace an event whose overall benefit to Vancouver and the province are rather dubious. What does the general public have to endure in order to ensure official sponsors get unimpeded access to assault us with their advertising? That IOC’s reputation is not impugned by those opposed to its methods or who question its goals? Plenty.

Some argue that this is acceptable, given how we’re all going to do well by the Games. That’s a rather facile way of looking at it. Ask yourself if some will benefit disproportionately to others? By how much? Ask yourself if all this money were invested in some other fashion, would it result in greater good for the whole? Is this the beginning of a slippery slope where respect for our fundamental freedoms becomes optional?

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Moving Mountains

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Sometimes, changing a culture feels like trying to move a mountain. You put all your strength into it and it doesn’t budge. Of course, being that lone wacko on the fringe is like battling windmills with a toothbrush, you can easily be dismissed. Having acquaintances with earth moving equipment, though, begins to lessen the odds.

Fun at the Fest-of-Ale

Modelling beerwear at the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale, Penticton - April 4, 2009.

In BC’s craft beer scene, we witnessed a slight tremor in the mountain in 2009. Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub inaugurated their first cask ale festival on March 14, which quickly sold out. They followed with another fest on November 21. Both days of Penticton’s Okanagan Fest-of-Ale on April 3 & 4 were completely subscribed. Summer Caskival at Dix Barbecue and Brewery in Vancouver garnered a full house. The Great Canadian Beer Festival always sees full attendance on both days. CAMRA Vancouver’s Oktoberfest celebration at the Granville Island Tap Room sold out. X-mas X-treme at Dix on December 5 had to close its doors less than two hours into the event because of reaching capacity. Now we find that the third annual Feast of Five Firkins at Vancouver’s The Whip Restaurant & Gallery sold out in a day!

This can be a bit of a problem for CAMRA members and their circle who have supported many of these events from the beginning. Venues are at capacity when you visit, or events are sold out with even a day’s delay. What’s a poor beer aficionado to do? Well, it indicates an expansion of capacity is necessary. Events may have to grow or become more frequent. More establishments will have to be persuaded to part with their slavish 10 taps of crap and begin offering a rotating selection from other parts of the beer spectrum. Pioneers have to venture out to tame the frontier, bringing living colour to the glasses of macro-lagerdom.

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Ocean Wise Seafood Chowder Chowdown

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Boundary Bay Smoked Salmon Chowder Having been very impressed with the Granville Island Brewing / Pacific Institute of Culinary ArtsWinter Ales and Fare” cooking competition, I’m pleased to announce another food and beer contest comes right on its heels.

On Wednesday, November 25, the Vancouver Aquarium‘s Ocean Wise program is hosting their 2nd annual Seafood Chowder Chowdown in conjunction with the Craft Brewers Association. The following ten Ocean Wise chef finalists will battle it out to be the BC Ocean Wise Seafood Chowder Champion 2009: Chef Wesley Young (C Restaurant), Chef Josh Wolfe (COAST  Restaurant), Chef Matt and Andrew Christie (Go Fish), Chef Chris Whittaker (O’Doul’s Restaurant), Chef Sarai De Zela Pardo (Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts), Chef Jasen Gauthier (Provence Marinaside), Chef Michael Carter (The Refinery), Chef Randy Jones (Whistler Blackcomb), Chef Myke Shaw (Vancouver Aquarium Catering & Events), Chef Nobu Ochi (Zen Japanese Restaurant).

Granville Island Brewing, Phillips Brewing, R&B Brewing, Tree Brewing, and Whistler Brewing will each be partnered with two of the chefs to come up with beer pairings for their chowder. These, along with the ten chowders and other beers from the breweries’ portfolios, will be available for guests to sample in the extraordinary setting of the Aquarium at night. At $35 per ticket, this is a phenomenal value.

You get to choose the People’s Choice Award, while five esteemed judges—Chef David Hawksworth, Jamie Maw, Chester Carey, Guy Dean, Kim Stockburn—will determine this year’s champion. Chef Quang Dang of C Restaurant was last year’s 2008 Sustainable Seafood Chowder Champion.

As wine is often an ingredient in chowder, I’m looking forward to seeing what the chefs will come up with in respect to beer. The Smoked Salmon Chowder pictured here is made by Boundary Bay Brewery & Bistro in Bellingham. It paired wonderfully with Buy tickets!their Chinook IPA, an annual special release beer that’s sold to raise funds for the Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association.

The Seafood Chowder Chowdown serves as a good model for other cooking competitions that also lend themselves very well to pairing with beer. Two that I can think of right off the top of my head are the Canadian Festival Of Barbecue And Chili at Eat! Vancouver and the Gastown Blues & Chili Fest. An IPA and curry cookoff would also be brilliant.

2nd Annual BC Ocean Wise Seafood Chowder ChowDown
Wednesday, November 25, 2009 @ 6:00 – 9:00 pm
Vancouver Aquarium, Stanley Park
Tickets: $35 / person

Granville Island Gourmands

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Lions Winter Ale Short Rib

In BC, we’re slowly seeing a growing understanding of the role beer can play beyond the swill of choice for frat parties and sports bars. No longer are brewmasters dinners confined to just brewpubs and beer geeks. There are an increasing number of restaurants teaming up with their local brewery to offer something that Belgians have known for a long time.

Given the great success vintners have had at marketing and educating the public about wine and food pairing, it may take some time for the brewers to catch up. But if the wine-obsessed Italians can come around to the idea of pairing food with beer, we eventually will too.

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Granville Island Winter Ale Cooking Competition

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Granville Island Brewing and Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts are holding their 1st annual “Winter Ales and Fare – Granville Island Brewing and Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts Winter Ale Cooking Competition” on Tuesday, November 3, at Granville Island.

Teams consisting of one culinary and one baking & pastry advanced student, will work together to create one entrée and one dessert item using Granville Island Brewing’s Lions Winter Ale. Competitors will have 45 minutes to race around the Granville Island Public Market to gather core ingredients for their dishes. One more hour will be allowed for cooking, prep, and mise en place, another 15 minutes to bring all the necessary elements to the GIB Tap Room for final plating before the judges.

Students’ final creations will be judged on a points system incorporating criteria such as creativity of menu and use of the beer, best representation of beer flavor, and aesthetic presentation of plating.

WHAT: Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts students go head to head, crafting mouthwatering meal and pastry creations using GIB’s Lions Winter Ale.

DATE: Tuesday November 3, 2009

TIME:
2:00pm – cooking @ PICA, Granville Island
1505 West 2nd Avenue, Vancouver BC

4:00pm – tasting and judging @ GIB Tap Room, Granville Island
1441 Cartwright Street, Vancouver BC

Granville Island Brewing Logo Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts Logo

About Granville Island Brewing (GIB)
Established is 1984, Granville Island Brewing (GIB) is Canada’s first microbrewery offering a variety of award-winning beers which are brewed and sold here in BC . GIB is dedicated to handcrafting only the finest premium beers that are 100 per cent all-natural and brewed in small batches to provide consumers with the ultimate tasting experience.  In celebration of their West Coast heritage GIB names each beer after iconic Vancouver locations that embody the local lifestyle. From the original Island Lager and English Bay Pale Ale, to Cypress Honey Lager, and now their latest innovation; Brockton IPA, GIB continues to produce a diverse portfolio of beers inspired by life on the West Coast.

About Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts (PICA)
Located at the entrance to Granville Island in Vancouver, British Columbia, Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts offers two diploma-granting professional programs in the Culinary Arts and the Baking & Pastry Arts. Additionally, this culinary centre offers programs for the casual home-chef and industry professionals including intensive wine studies, restaurant operations management and hospitality entrepreneurship.  The onsite restaurant, Bistro-101, and bakeshop at Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts were founded to create a ‘real-world’ training experience for the school’s professional Culinary and Baking & Pastry Arts students. Open to the public five days a week for a la carte dining and available for private events, weddings and catering functions, Bistro-101 at Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts gives guests both a fine-dining experience and a glimpse at the world’s future great Chef’s in training.

Creemore Springs Buying Granville Island

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Creemore Springs BreweryIt was announced yesterday that Creemore Springs Brewery (a Molson Coors Canada subsidiary) intends to acquire Granville Island Brewing from Andrew Peller Limited. No changes in Granville Island’s operations are currently anticipated. According to the press release, Creemore’s primary reason for buying Granville Island is to offer a broader portfolio across more markets in Canada. This offers the potential for both to become national brands.

Craft beer aficionados are concerned about what role Molson Coors may play in this. However, according to Ontario beer writer, Greg Clow, “Molson has taken a very hands-off approach to Creemore, similar to the way that Sleeman basically left Unibroue alone. The beer is still brewed in the same place on the same equipment by the same people.”

Granville Island BrewingThere is some irony in this deal. The raison d’être of craft brewing in British Columbia—begun by the likes of Horseshoe Bay Brewing, Spinnakers, Granville Island, and Vancouver Island Brewery—was to offer more choice to British Columbians than the Big Three, whose mass-produced lager dominated the market to such an extent that it was synonymous with “beer.”

What role did Molson, one of the aformentioned triumvirate, play in this? How hands-off will they remain? Won’t it be better for Granville Island to be owned by brewers, rather than winemakers?

The best-case scenario is that Molson Coors will remain behind the scenes and merely provide Creemore Springs/Granville Island with the financial means to expand craft beer consumption across Canada. This allows them to profit from beer’s fastest growing market segment without generating nearly as much controversy and suspicion from beer aficionados that creating faux craft beer brands and fictitious breweries has done.

Should Molson Coors decide to become more involved in the day-to-day brewing with Creemore Springs/Granville Island beers suffering as a result, they will just be further examples of craft beer compromised by the corporate mentality. The customer base will shift with the more quality conscious moving to, perhaps Phillips or Tree; they will be replaced by industrial lager drinkers who have discovered their taste buds and want to move towards something more interesting.

However, one thing is certain. Regardless of what happens, craft beer in B.C. is here to stay. With three new microbreweries starting up in the last year, there is no shortage of those wanting to offer us a better brew. Seeing what is happening in the U.S., there is ample room for growth in Canada.

For the original Creemore Springs/Granville Island press release, see Canadian Beer News. You can also join the discussion on this deal at The Vancouver Sun, The Globe and Mail, and the CBC.

B.C. Beer Chicago Bound

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Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson made a friendly wager two weeks ago with Chicago Mayor Richard Daley over which city’s team would win the NHL playoffs. Each mayor put up a selection of local products they would give the other if their team lost. With the Canucks losing 5-7 to the Blackhawks in Game 6 in Chicago on Tuesday, Mayor Daley is the lucky winner.

Mayor Gregor Robertson packs up the booty for Chicago Mayor, Richard Daley.

Mayor Gregor Robertson packs up the booty for Chicago Mayor, Richard Daley.

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