It’s been a busy time in beer these past few weeks, what with Vancouver Craft Beer Week and a bunch of new breweries opening up. I’ve been super lazy with blogging, so I’m just going to cover a bunch of stuff in one post.
I missed the first three Hopapoloozas through a combination of being out of the country and not buying tickets in time. I was all over buying tickets to VCBW’s top event this time around and I was not disappointed. This is what I liked about it:
- It was at the Alibi Room and I love it there.
- There were about fifty beers available and most of them were great.
- It’s civilized for a beer festival, not too crowded, no fuss over tokens, and the crowd was congenial in general.
- It happened in the evening, so I didn’t have to start drinking beer too early.
- They handed you a glass of Tofino Spruce Tip IPA as you walked in.
- They made you eat. Well, they didn’t make you, but delicious chilli was included and most everyone took time to eat some, which helped keep things low key.
- I was able to bask in the glory of Nigel’s beard from a distance of just two feet.
Of particular note was the Citra dry hopped Old Jalopy pale from Powell Street. I had recently questioned their victory at the Canadian Brewing Awards, but now I get it. If this is the beer the judges tasted, then victory was well earned.
This year’s edition was held at the River Rock Casino, sort of. It was actually in a tent in the parking lot, which was not what I expected, but whatever. I felt like the overall quality of the beer on hand was higher this year than last. As a beer nerd, there were quite a few beers I was interested in trying, lots of stuff from Washington, Portland, and the new breweries in town. The food cart options were also greatly enhanced, plus Earls was giving out lobster sandwiches.
I also noticed that this event seemed much more mainstream versus other beer events. There were all sorts of normal looking people there to socialize and have a good time. Whatever floats your boat I guess…kidding, it was good to see craft beer’s widening appeal first hand.
As part of VCBW, Ontario based Steamwhistle were in town and held a few events, which they were gracious enough to invite me to. The first was a drinks and appetizer thing at the Butcher and Bullock and the second was a dinner at the Irish Heather. Both had copious amounts of Steamwhistle pilsner on hand and both were great events.
Here’s the thing though, I like Steamwhistle pilsner and it’s a good example of the style, but it’s not a beer I get excited about as a beer nerd. Whenever I meet the good folks at Steamwhistle, I or somebody asks them when they are going to brew other beers. They always say they want to be the best at this one thing. Sadly those Czechs exist, which isn’t to say they aren’t doing something right with their business, since they are growing and doing well. I just want more than pilsner; I’m greedy like that.
Deep Cove Brewing and Distilling
A couple weeks back I had the privilege to take a sneak peak at the new Deep Cove Brewing and Distilling in North Vancouver. Deep Cove is founded by two young engineers who are building the brewery themselves. They are joined by ex Coal Harbour brewer Kevin Ems and ex Central City sales lady Trish Garratt. All four are under thirty and were present when we visited. I was impressed by their drive and ambition. They seem like smart people who can pull this off.
The brewery itself was in total disarray when we visited, but apparently they are going to open by the end of the month. I saw on the Facebook that they brewed their first batch on their new kit today. They must be killing themselves to get this going.
Interesting things we learned:
- They had a ton of barrels already, all different kinds. They’ll be barrel ageing beers as well as their spirits.
- They are going to experiment a ton, quote from Kevin Ems “If it doesn’t work out, we’ll throw it in the still.”
- I tried a Tea Saison on site and at VCBW and it was good. Had a pale ale at VCBW that got poured out. Neither of these were brewed on their new kit.
- They are not going to make an IPA to start because they can’t get the necessary hop varietals to make it amazing.
- They are looking into building a draft line through to neighbouring Arcteryx.
- They are going to have a tasting room and a patio on site.
I left Deep Cove feeling super impressed with their ambition and not all that confident that they’d be up and running by the end of the month. I’m wishing them a lot of luck and I’ll definitely be trying their beers when they get released. In the end, all that matters is how good their beer tastes. I hope good.