Erik and I attended the Dix Summer Caskival with the wives last Saturday and it was really fun. It was by far the best beer event I have attended in Vancouver, thanks to the plethora of good beer on hand. My only complaint was that, like most beer events in these parts, it started too early. I understand that its tough to take over a restaurant on a money making Saturday night, but starting a beer event at noon means that drinking beer is all you are really going to do that day. It was really good times nonetheless.
We arrived at Dix a bit before noon and queued up with the other eager beavers. We’d heard that arriving early was a good idea to ensure no delicious cask beer went untasted. We were not disappointed and had unobstructed access to the many creative brews available, which were:
- BigRidge Brewery Creek Dry-Hopped Lager
- Central City Red Racer Double Dry-Hopped Empire IPA
- Dead Frog Raspberry Bulleit Bourbon Nut Brown
- Dead Frog Sahti Pale Ale
- Dix Double IPA
- Dix Raspberry Blanche
- Dix Oak Aged Barley Wine
- Dix Dunkel
- Dockside Pilsner
- Driftwood Wit/Saison Blend
- Howe Sound Blackberry Nut Brown
- Longwood ESB
- R&B Raspberry Sun God Wheat
- Russell Blueberry Wheat
- Russell IP’eh!
- Spinnakers Cranberry-Orange Ale
- Storm Rollicking Red Nose Raspberry Apple Cider
- Storm ‘Root of All Evil’ Root Beer
- Swans Oaked Scotch Ale
- Taylor’s Crossing Oak Aged Mad Scow Stout
- Taylor’s Crossing Dry-hopped Red Truck Lager
- Yaletown Cider
- Yaletown Oud Bruin
- Whistler Brewhouse Woodward’s IPA
For the cost of $20 ($15 for us CAMRA members), we received admission to the Caskival, a nifty tasting glass and three tasting tickets. We purchased quite a few more tasting tickets for $1 each and we didn’t want to waste any, which meant that we tried almost all of the casks on hand, save a few of the lagers. My two favorite beers were both from Dead Frog, who represented the valley well with their two entries. I find that tart/sweet fruit flavors go well with nut brown ales, which is why I liked the Howe Sound Blackberry Nut Brown as much as Dead Frog’s Raspberry Bourbon Nut Brown. However, my particular favorite was the Dead Frog Sahti Pale Ale. Sahti, a traditional Finnish beer made with unmalted grains including barley, wheat, rye and oats and flavored with juniper instead of hops, was a beer I’d never had before. The Dead Frog version tasted strongly of pine, but in a good way. Other particular favorites of mine were the Driftwood Wit/Saison blend and the R&B Rasberry Sun God Wheat, both because they were a little out of the ordinary. There were ten other beers there that I really liked, but listing them all would simply mirror most of the above list.
In the end, I do believe that the Dead Frog Sahti Pale Ale won the Golden Spile award for brewer’s choice (a spile is a small wooden peg used to control the flow of carbon dioxide out of a cask). Erik and I both voted for this one, which must mean we have exceptional taste. The Golden Bung award for drinker’s choice went to Storm‘s ‘Root of All Evil’ Root Beer (a bung is like a cork for a cask). I too enjoyed the Storm Root Beer, mostly for the novelty of drinking a beer resembling the common soft drink. A worthy choice, but not my favorite.
We ended up leaving the Caskival a little early, but more than satisfied, to hunt down some pizza. We were definitely feeling the effects of our tasting and were not particularly productive the rest of the day. Still, I can’t wait for the Dix Winter Caskival, where I’ve heard the beer is twice as adventurous. I did take a few crappy pictures of the event with my iPhone (forgot the camera, shoot), here they are: