Granville Island Brewing let us know last week that they will be taking part in an international beer exchange with London’s Fullers. From January 25th to February 5th, Fullers London Pride will be available at the GIB Taproom and Lions Winter Ale will be available at the Iron Duke in London. GIB will also be hosting a Taproom for the UK event, which is open to all comers, this Wednesday, January 27th at 6PM at the Taproom. While I think this exchange is a cool idea, I have a feeling it has more to do with marketing than beer. Consider the timing of the event and the participation by breweries in the next two Olympic cities. Notwithstanding that neither London Pride nor Lions Winter Ale can truly be considered world class beers, so we can’t say either brewery is really putting their best foot forward. And while Fullers is a major international brewer and their beers are readily available in BC, I wonder if anyone in the UK has ever heard of GIB? That isn’t a slight to GIB who are widely considered BC’s favorite brewery among non beer enthusiasts.
My biggest concern with the event is the quality of the beer itself. While both Fullers London Pride and GIB Lions Winter Ale are both good beers at the best of times, the international travel these beers will undertake won’t favor the quality of the beer. Consider that beer is best served fresh and, save for high alcohol beers stored under the right conditions, will only deteriorate over time. Now consider that these beers were brewed 4708 miles away from each other. The beers must each travel across a continent by truck or train), across an ocean by boat, and then be stored at a liquor distribution center until the appropriate paper work has been filed. I’d guess the age of these beers to be at least three months since packaging, which means that they are probably starting to go stale. I’ve experienced stale Fullers London Pride often, but, considering that I bought this beer at a BC Liquor Store, it could have been up to a year old.
I hope beyond hope that both beers were shipped expediently after they were brewed, stored in optimal conditions, and are both tasting great. What would be even better is if the beers were casked and conditioned (under optimal conditions) on the way, but that might be too hopeful. Best of luck to both GIB and Fullers in this endeavor. However, I’d suggest keeping future international exchanges local in the interest of freshness. Washington and Oregon aren’t too far away.
For those of you who don’t know, Beer Wars is a movie about the struggles of craft brewers to stay competitive in a beer market dominated by giant corporations like AB InBev and Molson-Coors. The movie itself has gained substantial attention, praise, and scrutiny from beer enthusiasts North America wide. It hasn’t made its way to here yet, but CAMRA Vancouver has organized an upcoming screening for us. The screening was originally supposed to be last night, but unexplained complications resulted in the event being pushed back to Sunday, January 31st at 4PM. To make up for the delay, CAMRA has recruited some of our local brewers to be on hand to serve beer, those being Steamworks, Yaletown Brewing, Granville Island with their new limited release Chocolate Stout, and Red Truck with their Limited Release Porter. Since District 319 is a licensed and private venue, patrons will be able to have a few beers while watching the movie, something many of us haven’t legally ever been able to do. To get tickets, head to the CAMRA event page and purchase away.
I’ve also heard a rumor that there might be an epic beer announcement made at the screening. Considering that Greg Koch, CEO and co-founder of the legendary Stone Brewing Company, is said to be attending, I wonder what this rumored epic beer announcement could be? I’ve already guessed at it and have been sworn to secrecy, but I’m hoping our clever readers will be able to guess at my suspicions.
I read on the honourable Rick Green’s BC Beer Blog today a mention of a Vancouver Craft Beer Week being planned for May 10-16. This was the first I’d ever heard of such a thing (even Google didn’t know about it!) and was naturally intrigued. When I asked Rick what it was all about he indicated it would be in the vein of San Francisco Beer Week. From that I can only assume that CAMRA, in association with our local breweries, brewpubs and beer bars, will be planning a series of beer related events in Vancouver. Sounds good to me! I wonder if this is the first annual VCBW? I also wonder if those beyond us beer geeks and hangers on will take notice and take part? If the first VCBW is well staged, I imagine the masses will be clamoring to partake. What I am sure of is that this first VCBW is a step in the right direction and will surely be good times. I will post any details that make their way to me.
Sorry for my near two month absence, my extended leave is completely inexcusable and I apologize profusely to all of you. I know it is not much of an excuse, but I just moved into a house and it turns out houses are a lot of work and will quickly consume most of your life. Things are settling back down to normal now and Shaw recently ran cable to my house last week and I am now once again connected to the world through the magic of the internet. So I am back!
I put together a post a few weeks ago about Dead Frog‘s latest release – which is a great amber ale. I thought I would be able to steal internet access from my neighbors unsecured wireless network, but the signal was no good and I couldn’t upload the post. I thought is might still be worth sharing. If you you haven’t yet tried Dead Frog’s Amber Ale I recommend you go out a give it a whirl.
Aldergrove’s Dead Frog Brewery recently released a new beer to mark their two and half year anniversary. No surprise to hear that the beer is name 2 ½ Year Anniversary Ale – very creative. This new release is asmoked amber ale and is only available in Dead Frog’s 12 pack mixer. After finding reading about this new release earlier today I stopped in at the liquor store on my way home to find this new beer.
Although I have never been a fan of clear bottles, as they tend to turn delicious beer into foul smelling skunk water, this new beer is delicious. The smokey flavour is relatively mild but is noticeable in the aroma. The 2 ½ Anniversary Ale is malty but not overpowering and is balanced by a mild hop finish. All in all a well balanced flavourful amber ale.
Smoked beer is a scarcity here in BC and often times when found the smokey flavour tends to be overpowering. Cheers Dead Frog for putting together a great smoked amber ale.
Last week, Emily from Touchwood Editions, publishers of the book, let me know that there is going to be a launch party for Drinking Vancouver at the Alibi Room on Thursday the 28th from 6-8PM. There will be books on sale and you may even get to meet the author. Even better, this event is open to all comers. Check out the Facebook page for the event here.
ABOUT THE BOOK
With sharp, witty reviews of the best spots in town to slake your thirst, DRINKING VANCOUVER is the pocket-sized booze bible for locals and visitors craving a night out on the town. Written and compiled by travel and feature writer John Lee, this book is handily divided into eleven neighbourhoods from the heritage bars of Gastown to the slick joints of Yaletown to the gritty pubs of the Downtown Eastside. You’ll find special sections with top drinking, dining and ambience suggestions, as well as recommended watering holes for the next time you’re on the road in other parts of British Columbia.
With Vancouver’s long-overdue bar renaissance upon us, this is the first hands-on guide to toast the city’s newly hot bar scene.