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.
The CAMRA Vancouver Award winners were announced last week. I was pleased to see many of my nominations amongst the winners. I’m extremely proud of CAMRA Vancouver and its members for rewarding true attention to and passion for craft brewing. Unlike many beer awards, these were given out by beer enthusiasts, which makes them more legitimate in my mind. The winners:
Best Local Brewpub
Gold: Central City Brewing
Bronze: Dix Barbecue and Brewery
Best Local Beer Cafe, Pub, or Restaurant
Gold: Alibi Room
Silver: The Whip Restaurant & Gallery
Bronze: The Railway Club
Best Local Liquor Store
Gold: Brewery Creek Liquor Store
Silver: BCL 39th & Cambie
Bronze: Firefly Fine Wines & Ales
Best Local Cask Night
Gold: Dix Cask Thursdays
Silver: The Whip Real Ale Sundays
Bronze: Yaletown Making it Real (Ale)
Best Local Beer Event
Gold: Alibi Room 100th Beer Menu Rotation
Silver: Dix X-mas X-treme
Bronze: CAMRA on a Mission to Mission
Best BC Brewery
Gold: Phillips Brewing
Silver: Driftwood Brewery, Red Racer aka Central City Brewing (tie)
Best BC Beer
Gold: Red Racer IPA
Silver: Phillips Longboat Double Chocolate Porter
Bronze: Crannog Back Hand of God Stout
Best BC Seasonal Beer
Gold: Driftwood Sartori Harvest IPA, Phillips Crooked Tooth Pumpkin Ale (tie)
Bronze: Phillips The Hammer Imperial Stout
A couple of months ago I went to the launch of the Granville Island Brewing’s then new Brockton IPA. There I met Crystal Henrickson, Yelp‘s only Vancouver based employee. I told her that I liked Yelp for its reviews, but really didn’t contribute any myself. Crystal is Yelp’s community manager in Vancouver, meaning her job is to get Vancouverites using Yelp. To get me to use Yelp, she took the unexpected approach of chastising me for consuming other people’s opinions without contributing any of my own. In case you are getting the wrong idea, she did this in a friendly way that I appreciated. I hadn’t really thought of it that way and, swayed by guilt, I signed up for Yelp to review a few of my favorite places.
Tonight, had I the choice of beer drinking venues to situate myself, I likely would have been at Dix tenth anniversary celebration that featured five casks of IPA from each of the Mark James Group brewpubs. Instead, I went to the Alibi Room for a business meeting, which is never a bad place to find yourself. It turns out that the Alibi Room is one of the first places I reviewed on Yelp. Loving it so, I gave it five stars for their friendly service and commitment to providing excellent local craft beer and delicious food. After I ordered today, I was surprised when Nigel, the owner of the Alibi Room, thanked me for my review on Yelp! First off, I had no idea that he knew who I was. Secondly, I should be thanking him for all the hard work he’s put into providing an excellent establishment for me to enjoy. Later on, I ordered a pint of Spinnakers Oatmeal Stout from Nigel. He kindly let me know that he thought his remaining stock of this beer might not be up to snuff and suggested I order a Pike Extra Stout instead. I took his advice and not only did I greatly enjoy the recommended Pike Extra Stout, but Nigel also brought me a taste of the beer I’d originally ordered. He was right, the Spinnakers Oatmeal Stout had gone off, a problem we’ve noted in Spinnakers packaged products in the past. What service! This is a great example of why the Alibi Room is a stand up joint. Also, don’t get the wrong impression about Spinnakers in general. It is a great pub to go visit, but I’d avoid ordering their products anywhere else.
Thank you Crystal for getting me onto Yelp. I’m glad that one little review that took a few minutes of my time to write could be noticed by, and possibly help, one of my favorite establishments. If anyone out there is interested, this is my Yelp page. I’ve not been keeping up with my reviews and could use some encouragement.
The Whistler Brewhouse is an establishment that I love. I’ve been going there for many years, long before I’d even fully discovered my love of beer. Some friends and I stumbled upon it during a ski trip one winter and have been going back ever since. We found the fresh beer and food to be excellent and the atmosphere to be delightfully cozy after a day on the slopes. The Whistler Brewhouse was also where I first enjoyed many lesser known beer styles, including a cherry ale, barley wine, and dunkelweizen that I can recall. When I found out that the Whistler Brewhouse would be hosting a beer festival this year, my interest was piqued.
I heard about the festival via the CAMRA Vancouver email newsletter, but haven’t been able to find very many details online besides the image included in this post and a Facebook event. The festival is said to be happening on Saturday June 27th from 12PM to 6PM and over twenty unknown microbreweries will be on hand. Tickets are $25 ($20 for CAMRA members) and are on sale at the Brewhouse and at Dix in Vancouver. Despite the lack of official details, the mere mention of a beer festival at the Whistler Brewhouse is enough for me. Erirk and I will be heading to Whistler that weekend for the wives for what will surely be an excellent time. To all my friends who expressed interest in previous beer festivals and were less than impressed when I didn’t invite them, please feel encouraged to join us at this one. It is going to be fun.
The spring season is finally here; the sun is shinning, the earth is slowly warming, the trees are beginning to blossom, my garden plants are sprouting and India Pale Ale is now is season. My latest IPA that I started six weeks ago has finally finished bottle conditioning and is now fit for enjoyable consumption, although it is still somewhat green and could use another three weeks to fully come together.
My IPA is not the only IPA of the spring season; many other brewers have used the early spring or late winter to launch their own IPA offering. Central City Brewing, Russell Brewing, and Granville Island Brewing have all recently launched an IPA into the market to compete for the growing hophead demographic. I am most excited about Central City’s Empire IPA and, although it has been sitting on store shelves for quite some time, I have yet to pour it out of a can in the comfort of my own home. Gary Lohin of Central City Brewing is one of British Columbia’s most talented brewmasters and he has yet to disappoint me.
I am less excited, yet still quite hopeful, about the Russell and Granville Island IPAs. Both brewers have shown they know how to craft a delicious IPA, yet have a tendency to water down their beer to reach a larger market. Granville Island’s past seasonal IPA was delicious and Russell’s IPA Cask served recently at DIX was flavorful and well hopped. As previously mentioned, I am not a huge hophead and hope that both the Granville Island and Russell IPAs make great summer beers.
Granville Island’s IPA, named Brockton IPA, and Central City’s IPA have both been available for some time now. Russell Brewing’s IPA has yet to reach liquor stores and I cannot provide a date when this new offering will be available. I recommend visiting Rick Green’s Blog for updates on upcoming beer releases; Rick has an immense knowledge about BC’s beer scene.
As for my IPA, which as yet to be named, it is malty and not overly hopped, but sadly will only be available to those who stop by for a visit or to those who invite me over for dinner.