I just heard via an invite to the Four Beers and a Funeral Brewpub Crawl, a VCBW event, that Dix Brewery is closing down permanently. Can anyone confirm if this is true and why? As far as I can tell, Dix does booming good business so I doubt the reasons are financial (just try getting a table before a Canucks game).
If Dix is indeed closing down permanently in a few weeks time, this is sad news to say the least. Dix Cask Thursdays, Dix Caskival events, and pre-sporting event beer drinking will all be sorely missed. I spent a good part of the Olympics at Dix and I can’t imagine it not being there when I return to Vancouver. At least I’ll always have the memories of the good times.
Anyway, apparently the pub crawl will feature a march from Steamworks to Dix where a Dix Funeral will be held, then onto Yaletown and Dockside. Tickets are $65 and include beer and food. If Dix was special to you, now’s your chance to say goodbye with a rip roaring good party.
I have been absent for quite some time now. Don’t worry, my passion for fine beer and delicious food has not subsided – if anything it has increased. I was out shopping for supplies in preparation for tonight’s hockey game and while picking up a 12 case of Central City’s summer pack I caught sight of a heartbreaking slew of product’s that left my soul devastated. Light Lime Lager is everywhere! No longer is this craze limited to the macro brewing giants, small craft brewers have jumped in head first without hesitation and fear of drowning in the deep end of the macro brewers pool of mass market “beer”. Dead Frog, Big Rock and The Northam Group are all promoting their own fizzy lime swill marketed at lager and I am afraid this is the beginning of the end.
It is true, Bud Light Lime is a massive hit, and why not, people love 7up – market 7up as beer and, what do you know, its a hit. It doesn’t disappoint me to see new products on liquor store shelves that macro brewers market as beer, when really they resemble juice more than beer, I don’t expect much from giant corporations. However, I hold craft brewer’s to a much higher standard and I am disappointed in their current behaviour.
To all you craft brewers offering a lime “beer”, please stop, its not a good thing that you are doing. If your marketing team is pushing you to offer this product, please inform them that following trends, not fads, is the best practice.
On a more positive note, I am making Salt Spring Island mussels, fries, and wings tonight – accompanied by an oude guezze . All will be enjoyed in the company of good friends while cheering the Canucks on to victory.
Vancouver Craft Beer Week is shaping up with many tantalizing events announced recently. If you haven’t heard, VCBW is a week long celebration of local beer taking place around Vancouver May 10-16. There will be many events at many different venues, for the full list click here. I’ve just learned that tickets to two of the most exciting looking events have just come on sale and aren’t expected to last long.
Hoppapalooza at the Alibi Room on Monday, May 10 is looking like the pick of the litter so far. Apparently Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson will be on hand to kick off this event, which marks the beginning of VCBW. For $50, your ticket gets you a taste of over 25 hop forward beers, a dish of bison chili, and the enjoyment of local blues musician Rich Hope. Buy tickets here.
The BC Beer Awards Tasting Event brought to you by Brewery Creek will be held Friday, May 14 at Heritage Hall on Main street. At this event, $30 for your ticket lets you taste the winning beers from the first annual BC Beer Awards. The winners haven’t been announced yet, so that will be part of the fun too. Buy tickets here.
There are many other beer dinners and pubcrawls to choose from, so make sure to check out the other events. Also, take a look at this video released for VCBW:
Sadly, I’m not going to be able to go to any of the VCBW events, what with moving to another continent and all. I have consoled myself, if only a little, by buying tickets to the Great British Beer Festival coming up in August.
The irony that I’ve moved from Surrey near Guildford in Canada to Surrey near Guildford in England (at least until we head up to London next week) isn’t lost on me. This time I’m not talking about Central City, Russell Brewing, or Big Ridge, but Hogs Back Brewery. Much to my surprise, I learned of Hogs Back Brewing through Google Buzz. It was recommended to me by a friend of friend in Canada who originally comes from Surrey. Without a car, I was trying to figure out how to get to Hogs Back when a random Google Buzz user let me know of a few pubs in Guildford that carry their brews. Who knew people used Google Buzz? Anyway, I eventually found Hogs Back’s beers at a small beer and wine shop in Shalford.
I picked up TEA and OTT, which stand for Traditional English Ale and Old Tongham Tasty (Tongham is the town Hogs Back is based in); both are bottle conditioned. I’ve only tried TEA so far and I quite liked it. As the name says, it is a traditional bitter. I found it to be pleasantly malty and full of flavor, if lacking in hops for my tastes. So far I’ve found that English brewers tend to focus on malt and its subtleties, versus North American brewers who make much more use of hops to provide bold flavors and bite. While both approaches have their merits, I’m currently enjoying the excellent session brews the British brewers are brewing (most bitters weigh in at 4% ABV). I’ll definitely buy TEA again and I can’t wait to try the other interesting beers that Hogs Head has to offer.
We’ve been in England for over a week now and I’ve noticed a few things that I quite appreciate about drinking beer here:
Real Ale – Or cask ale as we would call it, is available at almost all pubs. Commonly you’ll find six or eight of the major brands on tap and then there will be three beer machines pumping out real ale. Often you’ll find Fuller’s London Pride, Young’s Bitter, or Wells Bombardier available, among other British ales.
Ordering at the bar – Whether it be beer or food, you order at the bar here. There is no pretense of table service and I much prefer this means of ordering. You go to the bar, order, pay, and have your beer shortly after. I much prefer this to table service where you are at the mercy of your server when it comes to ordering and settling up.
Public Drinking – You can drink in public here. You can buy beer at a store and crack one on a train or in a park. You can order a beer at the pub and then walk out and enjoy it on the street if the weather is nice or the place is too crowded. I was shocked the first time a saw open alcohol in public, but only because it isn’t allowed back home, which isn’t to say it doesn’t happen anyway. People definitely drink in public at home, but either hide it or fear confiscation. Why bother with a silly law? People who want to drink in public will do it anyway. In the words of my aunt when told about our law, “but how do you have a picnic in the summer then?”
Good Beer Guide – CAMRA UK publishes a Good Beer Guide to England detailing the many great pubs over here. I recently purchased this book only to find that there is also an iPhone app. The app uses the phone’s GPS to pinpoint your location and walk you to the closest approved pub. Considering that I don’t know a whole lot about my current whereabouts, this app is a revelation. My iPhone is now a good beer finder, wooo!