B.C. Beer Blog

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

Posts Tagged ‘Thor’s Hammer

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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Central City Turns Five

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Surrey’s Central City Brewing celebrated its fifth anniversary on Saturday. Brewmaster, Gary Lohin, opened up the brewery to those wanting a tour. And because touring makes one thirsty, he set up a special beverage station with the following cellared ales:

  • Belgian Tripel – brewed December 06, 9.0% alc/vol
  • Smoked Porter – brewed October 07, 8.5% alc/vol
  • Thor’s Hammer Barley Wine – brewed October 07, 10.5% alc/vol
  • Imperial IPA – brewed June 08, 8.5% alc/vol
  • Red Racer Winter Ale brewed September 08, 7.5% alc/vol

Needless to say, the beverage station proved to be the most popular part of the tour. If you happened to miss the celebration, you’ll have to wait another five years before you can sample a comparable selection of cellared Central City ales. If we’re lucky, Gary may even brew a special beer for the occasion —a Red Racer 10-Speed, perhaps?

Gathered in the brewery for a special cellared ales tasting.
Gathered in the brewery for a special cellared ales tasting.

Another thing worth celebrating is the new chef. Executive Chef, Carl Sawatsky, came to Central City from the Bacchus Bistro at Domaine de Chaberton winery in Langley. He has brought a sensibility for matching food & drink that was also showcased this day with a five-course tasting menu:

❧ Beet Salad with goat cheese, pecans, frisée, and Raspberry Wheat Ale gastrique
Red Racer White Ale (aka Wally’s Wheat)

❧ Onion Cheddar Beer Soup
Iceberg Copper Bock

❧ AAA House Aged Striploin with mushy peas potatoes and red wine demi glaze
Boomers Red Ale

❧ IPA Braised Pork Belly with cabbage and crispy potatoes
Empire IPA

❧ Spiced Beer Cake à la mode with toffee sauce and stout truffle
Steelhead Oatmeal Stout

AAA House Aged Striploin with mushy peas potatoes and red wine demi glaze, accompanied by a Boomers Red Ale.

One could choose the courses individually or order all five for $40.00, including a 5oz taster of beer with each — very good value for the quality of the food and beer. Carl and Gary are eventually hoping to have a new tasting menu every month. Given how good this was, they should be encouraged at every opportunity to do so. Not enough brewpubs do this, which in my opinion is a major shortcoming. Brewer and chef should be working hand in glove, creating a synergy that exceeds what they can accomplish individually.

In case you didn’t know it Central City lager, pale ale, and wit are available in cans in both government and private liquor stores. The Empire IPA will be the next beer released in cans.

Forthcoming Innovation from Taylor’s Crossing

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Dave Varga, brewer at the Mark James Group’s North Vancouver brewpub, Taylor’s Crossing (formerly Avalon Brewing), is an interesting brewer. On the one hand, he’s a perfectionist in his aim to brew to style. On the other hand, he can go completely off-tangent — last year brewing a cask-conditioned mole stout; this year, coming up with a masala pale ale cask (yes, a curry beer!). His forthcoming beers are a combination of the two approaches.

Varga’s next seasonal will be an English Summer Ale (English Golden Ale).  Made with Maris Otter Pale malt, some wheat, and a bit of Crystal for colour, the bittering hops were Target and the finishing and dry hops were Amarillo. This will be available as “Alchemy” at booth 31 at the GCBF, but it may be called something else when it goes on tap at Taylor’s Crossing after the Hefeweizen runs out early this month.

Due to the persistence of the hop shortage for TC, the focus on most of their remaining seasonals will be on either unique flavours produced from yeast or from different adjuncts. For example, Varga will attempt a fruit beer for this year’s winter seasonal, calling it “Harvest Ale.”   He is contemplating using apples, but hasn’t decided on whether to use a Belgian yeast strain or his house ale strain.

Normally, Taylor’s Crossing Firkin Fridays mean patrons get to sample a cask-conditioned ale on the first Friday of each month. In October, there will be two casks — a Summer Ale dry-hopped with Hallertau & Saaz and a special Red Truck Lager for Oktoberfest. The latter is an interesting innovation since it is difficult to make a palatable lager in a cask. Varga got the inspiration to try this at this year’s Craft Brewers Conference in San Diego. He used ale yeast to recarbonate the beer and added a generous amount of Hallertau and Saaz hops for dry-hopping. By the time it is tapped,it will have lagered for nearly three months.

Needless to say, I’ve got some North Vancouver visits planned. Hopefully, Sailor Hagar’s will have Thor’s Hammer the Elder on tap at the same time as TC’s Harvest Ale. That will be a wobbly day!