Gavin, a coworker of mine, just returned from Hawaii and was thoughtful enough to bring back some of the local beer. Gavin is a good man. More of my friends should learn from his shining example and bring me beer back from places. I just finished a can (labelled as welcoming me to the microcanning revolution!) each of CoConut Porter and Big Swell IPA from Maui Brewing. They were both quite delicious beers, even after overheating in my car yesterday in the epic Vancouver heat. Like Erik, I am not a huge fan of fruit beers, but I really enjoy a good Coconut flavor. The coconut adds a subtle sweetness that really rounds out a porter. The Big Swell IPA was quite good also, full of fresh hoppy flavor.
I’d never thought of Hawaii as a beer destination and I was surprised to find that Hawaii has some really excellent craft beer. I am going to Hawaii soon (when your Dad offers you free accommodation and you find cheap flights, you go!) and might have to make some detours to a few of the local breweries. The BeerAdvocate BeerFly directory for Hawaii will guide me on my quest to find deliciously fresh craft beer in Hawaii. Me, sea turtles, beer…heaven.
Once again, it is hot in Vancouver, and even hotter in the Fraser Valley. I’m not complaining, the heat is nice, but it is hot. All meals are now cooked outside on the grill, the oven is officially off limits, and all beer must be served cold. This kind of heat leaves no room for cellar temperature ales – if a darker beer is a must, I recommend pairing it with some cool vanilla ice cream to make a beer float.
Lager, Alt/Kolsch, Blonde Ale and the occasional Pale Ale are all far more affordable than buying a brand new air conditioner, plus they are far tastier. Here are a couple of great summer beers that may help you keep cool.
- Surgenor Steam Donkey Lager. A great pilsner style lager.
- Lost Coast Tangerine Wheat Ale. I was have never been all that fond of fruit beers, Lost Coast has made me a believer.
- Mission Springs Blonde Bombshell. I have found there to be some consistency issues from bottle to bottle, but when it is right, it is a delicious blonde ale.
- Yaletown Brewing Raspberry Wheat Ale. If you find yourself in Yaletown it is well worth a taste. I’m not sure how long this one will be around for, so don’t wait too long.
- Mt. Begbie High Country Kolsch. A great example of a German kolsch.
- Central City Brewing Spring Board Lager. A well priced craft brewed lager, Central City’s brewmaster, Gary Lohin, can do no wrong.
Feel free to comment on any of your favorite summer beers.
Surgenor Brewing is a new brewery from Comox BC. Their first two beers are just finding their way to the shelves of the lower mainland’s better beer stores. I’d heard about Surgenor a while back and was anxiously awaiting the arrival of their beer, which I managed to procure last week. Surgenor brews two beers, Steam Donkey Lager and Red House Ale. I bought and enjoyed drinking both, but I really liked the Red House Ale, which I found to have a malty sweetness as well as a nice level of hop bitterness. I found it to be a well balanced and enjoyable beer that I would buy again. Well played Surgenor, your initial offerings have me looking forward to further beer releases!
Aluminum Surgenor bottles emptied by me
What I find really interesting about Surgenor is their choice of packaging. They bottle their beer in aluminum, yes bottle. From a beer protection and shipping standpoint, the light blocking and light weight aluminum is an ideal material choice, but then why not can? I’m guessing that this packaging is more part of a marketing strategy than anything else. For Surgenor, brewing good beer is just the start. They need to get noticed to stick around, and aluminum bottles might be just the gimmick they need. Personally, I really liked the feel of the aluminum bottle. I hope it works for them, but the only way to ensure that Surgenor makes it is for us beer fans to start buying their beer.
There are some cool beer events happening in the lower mainland in the near future. I found out about them via the CAMRA Vancouver email list and the CAMRA Vancouver Facebook group. If you want to know the latest cool beer goings on, I suggest you join both the list and the group. However, I wouldn’t stop there; I’d consider becoming a full fledged CAMRA member. The $25 fee will quickly be recouped in savings and other perks, trust me, do it, join. Now for the events:
- Big Ridge in Surrey is hosting a Brewmaster’s Dinner on Tuesday the 28th at 7PM. The dinner costs $40 and features four delicious courses, each paired with a tasty big ridge brew. Learn more.
- It is once again time for the annual Dix Summer Caskival, where many brewers bring a cask or two of their creations for us to enjoy in one spot. The Caskival is August 8th from 12PM to 5PM and costs a mere $20. I have not attended a Dix Caskival yet, but plan to make this my first. Check out the beer lineup and other info here.
I went to La Casa Gelato in Vancouver yesterday. This famed ice cream joint has 218 flavors in store, and I’m told they have even more flavors in reserve. I happened to notice one flavor in particular that I just had to try, that being Guinness Draught Beer Sorbetto. I was surprised to find that it tasted exactly like Guinness, not generally resembling stout or beer, but very specifically like Guinness! I’ll be honest, I didn’t love it, but finding this beer so convincingly adapted to ice cream got me thinking. Can I make my own beer ice cream out of one of my favorite beers? This article is the best I’ve found on making your own beer ice cream, something that I’ll have to try. If I have any success, I’ll definitely post my results.
Guinness Draught Beer Sorbetto from La Casa Gelatto
Some other tidbits:
- Erik convinced me (wasn’t hard) to go to Brewery Creek with him yesterday. It’s a good thing we went because we managed to snag the last few Great Canadian Beer Festival tickets. I was going to wait until Monday, which would have been bad. I’m hearing that all tickets available in the lower mainland are now sold out. If you want to go to the GCBF this year, you should get on the case now.
- We also hit up Bosa Foods. It was my first time there and I was very impressed. It is the best gourmet food store I’ve been to in the lower mainland. I was particularly impressed by the butcher shop. I’ve previously written about beer and meat and beer and chicken; I do believe I’ve finally found the place to buy quality meat. They sell organic free range redbro chickens from Polderside farms, as well as a great selection of lamb, pork, and beef cuts. I was impressed by the color (deep red, not bright red), texture (moist, but not wet looking), and marbling of the beef steaks, as well as the colour of the pork (pinkish, not grey). I will definitely be buying my meat there from now on.
Have a great rest of the weekend.