Monthly Archives: August 2009

Erik in Quebec

The Wild Chef Martin Picard

The Wild Chef Martin Picard

If you were wondering why Erik hasn’t been posting much, and you probably were, it’s because he is on vacation in Quebec.  What’s he doing there you ask?  I hope he’s collecting beer to bring back for me, but he’s more likely enjoying smoked meat and poutine, as well as putting the emPHAsis on the wrong syLLAbles like a French Canadian.  He mentioned a trip to Martin Picard’s (The Wild Chef) restaurant Au Pied de Cochon as well as many other culinary adventures.  He also planned to visit a few of Montreal and Quebec’s wonderful craft breweries, specifically Dieu du Ciel.  I imagine he’ll have a few posts to share with us of his adventure when he gets back.  It is with insane jealousy and anticipation that I await his return, which I’m hoping will include a few treats to share with me.

Cheers,

Chris

Kolsch Night at Chuckanut Brewery

Every Tuesday is Kolsh Night at Chuckanut Brewery in Bellingham, where eight ounce traditional glasses of Kolsch go for $1.50.  Considering that Erik and I live in the boonies not too far from the border, what choice did we have but to head down and drink delicious Kolsch?  It only took us forty minutes to get to Chuckanut Brewery, including border lineup, which is the same amount of time it takes us to get to Vancouver, provided we don’t get distracted by all of the big city bright lights.

I was pretty interested to give Chuckanut a try after reading about them in the latest issue of Northwest Brewing News.  They are one of the few Northwest breweries to predominantly brew German style lagers (and no IPA!).  Plus they have a rad name that makes me giggle.  Come on now, don’t pretend that Chuckanut doesn’t roll off the tongue.  Seriously though, with styles like Dortmunder, Dunkel, Kolsch, Marzen, and Helles on the menu, it was well worth a trip.

Chuckanut Brewing Beer Sampler

Chuckanut Brewing Beer Sampler

As one must do when first visiting a brewery, I ordered the beer sampler.  I really enjoyed tasting three and a half lager styles side by side to really taste the difference (Kolsch is a ale/lager hybrid of sorts).  I’ve visited breweries where I found many of the beers to be rather similar, but Chuckanut did well to distinguish their brews.  Of the golden tinged beers, I found the Dortmunder to be on the hoppy side, the Helles sweeter and more malty, and the Kolsch to be fruity.  The Organic Amber and Pale Ales were also enjoyable.  I really liked that they listed brewing information, style descriptions, and food pairing suggestions on the menu for each beer.  For dinner, we enjoyed some fresh mussels steamed in beer, tasty wood stone oven pizzas, and some desserts drizzled in an amazing blackberry sauce.

Erik enjoying Kolsch Night at Chuckanut

Erik enjoying Kolsch Night at Chuckanut

Chuckanut beer steamed mussels

Chuckanut beer steamed mussels

Holly was pretty excited about the pizza

Holly was pretty excited about the pizza

We attempted to find a liquor store on the way home so that we could bring back some craft brew at affordable prices, but were too late in the day for our quest.  We settled on Walmart instead, where I found Deschutes Black Butte Porter for $6.97, less that half of what I paid in Canada last week.  Interestingly, this delicious craft beer was situated just above BLL on the shelf and selling for the same price, which would you choose?

Deschutes Black Butte Porter and BLL for $6.97

Deschutes Black Butte Porter and BLL for $6.97

It was a successful sojourn across the line for some tasty German beers and well worth the trip.  We’ll surely be back again.

Cheers,

Chris

BC lacks Porter

I love porter; it is one of my favorite beer styles.  I find porter to be quite easy and enjoyable to drink, which might be due to the moderate alcohol levels and pleasant roasty and chocolate flavors one finds in porter.  What I don’t like about porter is its relative scarcity in these parts.  I can’t think of one BC brewer that regularly sells six packs of porter.  You’ll sometimes find 650ml bottles of porter from BC craft brewers available in BC Liquor Stores, but these examples are often brewed with an additional element such as chocolate, coffee, coconut, or other fruit. While I definitely like these beers, what I’d really like to see is a widely available six pack of quality porter from one of BC’s many fine brewers.  In the mean time, Deschutes has recently made its way into BC.  Thank heaven for their Black Butte Porter, which is definitely one of my favorite beers!  I picked some up from Brewery Creek last week and, with a few friends, made quick work of them.  With craft brewing gaining ground in BC, I can only hope that a widely available porter is on the horizon.  I’d suck one, or six.

Cheers,

Chris

A British Columbian Pint

Larry Pynn of the Vancouver Sun ran an interesting article this morning on the legality of an imperial pint in BC. In Canada the legal definition for a pint of beer is 20 oz. or 568 ml; however, in BC no establishment is legally allowed to serve a beer over 17.5 oz., or 500ml.

The federal government insists that anyone who claims to be selling a pint in Canada had better pour a full Imperial pint measuring 20 ounces, or 568.26 millilitres.The province’s Liquor Control and Licensing Branch, however, stipulates that individual servings of draft beer cannot exceed 500 millilitres or 17.5 ounces — effectively legislating a legal pint out of existence in B.C.

The Vancouver Sun tripped across the contradictory regulations while conducting a random survey of 15 pubs in Metro Vancouver to determine just how much beer customers receive when ordering a “pint.”

The Sun found pubs served 17 ounces on average, representing a three-ounce or 15-per-cent discrepancy.

The Golden Spike in Port Moody served the smallest amount at 14 ounces, followed by 15.1 ounces at the Mountain Shadow in Burnaby. Two pubs that effectively served the legal limit included Steamworks in Vancouver and Jimy Mac’s in Langley at 19.4 ounces.

As the article pointed out, very few pubs and restaurants in BC  serve an imperial pint, Steamworks being one  of the few pubs serving beer close to a federal 20 oz. pint. It seems the provincial government is turning a blind eye to this situation; the provincial government claims that the the point of the law is to avoid over intoxication and they seem to be enforcing the spirit of the law and not the letter.  20 oz pints tend to sell for more, meaning more liquor tax revenue to the government – I can’t see the government being all that upset about establishments serving 20 0z pints.

Lets hope this article doesn’t have a negative impact on those businesses that are serving a proper pint.  Check out the full article here.

Cheers,

Erik

Amber Ale

Anarchist Family Shot, Jan. 19,      2009Recently I have been drinking a number amber ales – this is new for me.  I used to find most amber ales were far too malty, at times bordering on syrupy, and most often poorly balanced between bitter (hops) and sweet (malt).  But often as I am, I was wrong.  Amber ales are fantastic and are a beer style that I have been foolishly neglecting for quite some time.

This delicious beer style is full of rich malt flavor, with caramel, toffee, hints of subtle roasted grains and if lucky, a delicate vanilla finish are all great flavors found in an amber ale – fantastic.

A few of the amber ales I have been enjoying are Light House Brewing Race Rocks Amber Ale and Cannery Brewing Anarchist Amber Ale.  Both are quite good, but if you prefer hoppier beers, I recommend Anarchist Amber Ale; if malty is your thing then try Race Rocks Amber.

Cheers,

Erik