Monthly Archives: March 2010

Phillips Dr. Funk Dunkel

Jenn from Phillips sent us this video a few days ago:

Looks like Phillips has a new beer called Dr. Funk coming out soon.  It’s a Dunkel style lager, which is one of my favorite beer styles.  The style tends to be easy drinking like a lighter lager, but is then also full of roasted malt, chocolate, and coffee flavors like a porter. I really like Phillips and I think they are one of BC’s best craft breweries.  And thanks to their continual seasonal releases and clever marketing, I think they have a chance to take over some big market share from the big boys in the mainstream (lame) beer world.  At least I hope that happens.  If you see this beer, you should buy it and help them on their way.



More cool stuff in Portland

We went to Portland a couple of weeks ago to drink beer, eat food, and have good times.  The trip was a rousing success.  I’d never been to Portland, but I really liked it.  It’s a really laid back place with great beer and food all over the place.  One goal of our trip was to eat at as many Diners Drive-ins and Dives joints as possible.  If you haven’t seen that show, you should probably start watching it.

On the way down to Portland we stopped in Seattle for dinner at Bizarro Italian cafe, a triple-d spot.  We had to wait for about half an hour to get a table, but it was well worth it.  Bizarro was started by a few ex-circus performers who built their circus flair right into their restaurant.  On top of that, all of the food was better than good and the Elk Bolognese was awesome.  I’d definitely head back there.

Once we arrived in Portland, we checked into our hotel and began wandering the streets for a place to have a beer.  We stumbled upon the Life of Riley Tavern, a simple pub with over 20 taps of excellent quality Western American beer.  There is only one place I can think of in Vancouver that has 20 taps of the good stuff and that’s the Alibi Room.  We didn’t even have to try to find a similarly stocked pub in Portland, which is no knock on the Alibi Room and a tremendous compliment to the Portland beer scene.

The next morning we set out for a triple-d breakfast at Byways cafe.  Again we had to wait, and this time I’d say the wait wasn’t quite worth it.  Breakfast was good, but not spectacular.  I do believe Byways is better known for their burgers, so it’s a shame we didn’t head their later in the day.  I couldn’t resist ordering their biscuits and gravy, a dish I’d only ever seen on TV before.  Sadly, I couldn’t finish half of the southern classic.  This has never happened to me, I swear!  Turns out baked fat with extra fat poured on top resulted in gastrointestinal impotence.  Maybe the south shouldn’t be opposing health care so vehemently?  I think I’d have had a heart attack if I’d tried to finish my gravy covered biscuits.

Biscuits and Gravy from Byways Cafe

Later on in the day we tried to visit another triple-d join, one we were all eagerly anticipating, called Pok Pok, It serves Vietnamese, Thai, and other Asian style dishes, but sadly we didn’t get to taste any because it opened hours later than our visit.  Shoot, maybe next time.

In the early afternoon we visited the Deschutes Brewpub, which served the full compliment of Deschutes beers.  I do believe we managed to try each beer collectively and they were all good to wonderful.  I was amazed at the sheer size of the brewpub, which was twice as big as any brewpub in Vancouver and quite busy too.  The atmosphere was great their too.  We didn’t try the food, but the food we saw others tables receiving looked very tasty.  Sadly, we decided to eat at the Rogue bar in town later on.  The food and the atmosphere their were nothing to write home about.  They did serve the full compliment of Rogue beers, but the place was disappointing in that it was a bit run down.  We also visited the Rock Bottom pub in town and we found it to be rather generic and unexciting, definitely nothing to write home about.

Us Guys at Deschutes in Portland

Our last brewery visit of the weekend was to Tugboat Brewing, Portland’s oldest Brewpub.  The place was a bit of a dive, but we really enjoyed their Chernobyl Imperial Stout. It was a bit of a handful at 13% ABV, but also a trip to flavor town.  A glass of Chernobyl cost all of $3 and a pitcher cost $13, steep!  I seem to recall us ordering some tasty nachos, again for not very much money,  but it was late in the day and I may not be recalling correctly.  Also, we really liked the live jazz music at Tugboat and the opportunity to play Jenga.

Erik Playing Jenga at Tugboat Brewing

The next day we used Yelp to find two good places to eat.  We had breakfast at the Utopia Cafe in Portland, which again required a long wait, but was tasty.  I don’t think I’d wait so long again though.  We had dinner at Flying Squirrel Pizza in Seattle and it was amazing.  It was the best pizza place I’d ever been too.  The crust was excellent and the toppings were exotic and well combined.  I still dream of flying squirrel pizza the odd night, go there.

Flying Squirrel Pizza in Seattle



First Ever BC Beer Awards by Brewery Creek

vcwb logoBrewery Creek, Vancouver’s finest beer store, is putting on the first ever BC Beer Awards as part of Vancouver Craft Beer week.  I’m told that 35 of BC’s breweries and brewpubs (almost all of them) will be entering over 190 beers (almost all of them) in ten categories.  I don’t know what the categories are yet, but will let you know when I find out.

In the past I’ve expressed concerns about beer awards because I feel like they aren’t true selectors of good beer. Awards should be fairly and honestly given, especially when considering beer companies tend to use the awards they win extensively in their marketing.  I’ve heard that winning some awards can be as simple as entering a beer into one of thirty or more style categories.  That’s ninety medalists right there, and then we aren’t told who actually entered what beers into what categories.  I’ve got it on good authority that almost every beer in BC will be entered into these awards and that the list of competing beers will be disclosed.  When you consider that this blind taste test will be judged by beer, wine, and food writers with considerable palates, I’m encouraged to think we have ourselves a true competition that will select BC’s finest brews.

The blind tasting will take place next Monday at an undisclosed (super secret) location and the winners will be announced during Vancouver Craft beer week.  All the pertinent details are in the following press release:

The Vancouver Craft Beer Week organizing committee is proud to announce the first ever BC Beer Awards by Brewery Creek. On Monday, March 22nd, an expert judging panel will review over 150 beers from all across British Columbia at [a location I’m supposed to keep secret]. Media are invited to join judges and volunteers at 9:00am to witness the judging process, as well as learn about the intricacies of craft beer and to find out more about the upcoming Vancouver Craft Beer Week.

The only blind judged beer competition in British Columbia, the BC Beer Awards judging panel boasts such beer experts as:

•       Don Tse – A BJCP Certified beer judge, freelance beer writer and consultant, Don has been writing professionally about beer for seven years. His articles have appeared in beer publications such as All About Beer, Ale Street News and Beers of the World.

•       Abram Goldman-Armstrong – A beer writer in Portland, Oregon, Abram has been a BJCP National Rank Judge since the age of 21, judging at competitions such as the Great American Beer Festival, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ales, and Portland’s Spring Beer and Wine Fest. He co-organizes the North American Organic Brewers Festival, the world’s largest organic beer festival.

•       Megan Flynn – The publisher of Beer Northwest, a quarterly magazine covering beer, food, and lifestyle in the Pacific Northwest, Megan travels North America in search of the best beer and beer personalities, continuing to develop her pallet into one of the most diverse on the continent.

•       James Nevison – Columnist for The Province newspaper, where his “Wine Guy” column appears weekly each Thursday. He is the co-author of five bestselling wine books, the latest is Had a Glass: Top 100 Wines for 2010 under $20, $25, and $30. Recently James was named a “Top 40 Foodie Under 40” by Western Living magazine.

Winners will be announced at the BC Beer Awards by Brewery Creek award show on Friday, May 14th, one of Vancouver Craft Beer Week’s signature events. For further information please contact:



Rad Beer Festivals Coming Soon

Spinnakers is hosting their Spring Cask Beer Festival this weekend, Saturday March 20th.  Alas, I am too late in writing about it, for it is already sold out. It would have cost $30 for entry, souvenir glass, and three beer tickets, plus $1 for every extra beer ticket after that.  It will be good times for those lucky enough to have tickets.  The lineup is said to include beers from Driftwood, Phillips, Lighthouse, Vancouver Island, Central City, Elysian, Deschutes and more.

If you missed out on Spinnakers, don’t get too down because the Washington Cask Beer Festival is the following Saturday, March 27th in Seattle.  For $35, this one includes twenty tastes to drink from your very own commemorative cup.  I went last year and had a really good times.  With so many free tastes and such a stellar beer lineup, my group had a hard time keeping it together.  We had a really good time until things got out of hand.  Id’ say the Washington Cask Beer Festival is the best beer event in the Northwest, so don’t miss this one.

For those of you not willing to make the trip south of the border, you’ll soon have an opportunity to party in your hometown.  Vancouver Craft Beer Week is happening May 10-16, but I still haven’t heard what it will entail.  That being said, I’m sure it will be super rad and something to look out for.



Belmont Station in Portland

I went to beer mecca Portland last weekend.  I’d never been there before and I was pretty impressed.  I’d liken the city to one big Commercial Drive, at least the places I saw.  What impressed me most about Portland was the constant selection of fantastic beer and food.  Everywhere we went we had an abundance of local craft selection sold at extremely low prices, as little as $3 per pint.  We went to a lot of cool places in Portland, but my favorite place we visited was Belmont Station.

Belmont Station is an epic beer store stocked with an enormous selection of amazing beers from around the world.  The closest comparable we have here is Brewery Creek, but our liquor laws and taxes prevent them from competing as well as they’d like to.  I was overwhelmed when I walked in to Belmont Station.  I wanted to buy everything, but was obviously limited as to what I could bring back across the border after a two day trip.  I picked up some Russian River brews I’d never seen anywhere else before.  I also bought Aphrodisiaque, a cocoa vanilla bean stout brewed by Quebec’s Dieu du Ciel.  I’d never seen this beer in BC before, which I find upsetting.  You’d think we’d be able to procure some of Canada’s finest?  Another notable purchase was Chatoe Rogue Dirtoir Black Lager, which is made from Rogues home grown barley and hops.  There were others, but these were the notables of consumed and enjoyed so far.

If you can believe it, Belmont Station also has an attached beer bar with 22 taps of top notch beer.  We all ordered something different and all received something wonderful.  For me, it was my first chance to drink the legendary Pliny the Elder.  It stands up to it’s reputation as being one of the greatest beers in the world.  Erik and I were actually angry at how amazing and affordable Belmont Station is.  Why can’t we have something like that here?  Any future trips to Portland will involve a visit or two to Belmont Station.  If you love beer, you must go.