Last week I posted about some of the pumpkin ales recently released by our esteemed BC brewers. I’m pleased to say that I’ve now had the chance to try most of them. Erik and I enjoyed a pumpkin feast and pumpkin ale tasting this past weekend. Below are my rankings and impressions of the four beers we tasted side by side. It should be noted that we were drinking full glasses of each beer, which may have affected the quality of our tasting notes.
- Swans Pumpkin Ale – This was my favorite pumpkin ale. I found it pleasantly sweet and nicely balanced with spice. Tasting note: “Tastes like pumpkin pie in a good way.”
- Central City Red Racer Pumpkin Ale – This was the most drinkable of the bunch, meaning that you could easily drink a few of these. The pumpkin ale taste was not overwhelming and there was no detectable spice. Tasting note: “Reminds me of their pale ale with added pumpkin.”
- Phillips Crooked Tooth Pumpkin Ale – I found this one good, but not great. It had more pumpkin flavor that the Granville Island version and also reminded me of pumpkin pie, but not in as pleasant a way as the Swans version. Tasting note: “Tastes like turkey dinner in a glass.”
- Granville Island Pumpkin Ale – The most underwhelming of the bunch with very little pumpkin taste, but plenty of spice. We guessed they may have used a Belgian yeast because it had that funky aroma. Erik wondered whether the bottle we had might have oxidized a little bit. Tasting note: “Tastes Belgiany.”
It should be noted that all of the above beers were reddish brown in color, none deviating very far from the other. It should also be noted that the Howe Sound Pumpkineater I tried at the Alibi Room would likely rank high on this list, but I was unable to procure any for this tasting session.
Swans was my favorite pumpkin ale of the season
For those of you who might be interested in knowing what we ate at our pumpkin feast, Rachel made pumpkin soup, roasted vegetables including pumpkin, pumpkin gnocchi, and a baked pumpkin pastry dessert. I wish I’d taken a picture of the spread because it looked as wonderful as it tasted. I don’t think I’d eaten roasted pumpkin before, but if I had then I forgot that it tastes very much like roasted sweet potatoes or yams. Why don’t we eat roasted pumpkin more often?
I went out for dinner last night with a few friends and visited one of CAMRA Vancouver’s newest corporate member’s, Jake’s Steakhouse and Piano Lounge. I found out a few weeks ago that any business can join CAMRA Vancouver as a corporate member. Dedication to quality beer is not a requirement for corporate membership, so long as the membership fee is paid they are in. But CAMRA membership is much different than CAMRA recommended, where a good beer experience can be expected.
I was a bit hesitant recommending Jake’s to our friends, an unproven restaurant in the heart of Whalley is not all that enticing. For those familiar with Vancouver’s Skytrain system, Jake’s Steakhouse is found at the Skytrain’s last stop in Surrey in the Compass Point Inn, not exactly the nicest part of town. But our friends live in Whalley, so I figured their expectations wouldn’t be too high?
I was completely blown away by Jake’s Steakhouse. Who knew a restaurant in Surrey offering a great selection of beer existed, and further yet that they make food and beer pairing suggestions. This almost makes me think that this whole craft beer thing is beginning to catch on. On top of the impressive beer list, the menu was also great, featuring an array of classic steakhouse dishes with a local and seasonal influence. Unlike many restaurants offering a seasonal vegetable side, Jake’s seasonal veg was actually seasonal, and included fiddleheads, asparagus and other early spring vegetables. Fiddleheads – in Surrey – really?
Although my steak was cooked well past medium rare and into medium territory, an almost unforgivable offense, we had a great evening. For once I was able to enjoy a steak alongside a full flavored ale – Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter to be exact. Something about Whalley makes me think of Hunter S. Thompson. Gonzo Imperial Porter, brewed as a tribute to the late Hunter S. Thompson, seemed an obvious choice.
Jake’s Beer Menu includes the following:
Standard imports and domestic beer is also available. All of the beer mentioned above comes complete with food pairing recommendations.
Jake’s Steakhouse and Piano Lounge is a great restaurant where beer and wine enthusiasts can can both sit down and enjoy a well prepared meal. And if a meal is not in the cards during a visit, they also happen to have a great piano lounge to relax in. I am sure Jake’s would be happy to receive support from the local beer community. Don’t let the Whalley neighborhood or the long skytrain ride scare you away – Jake’s is a great place for great food and beer.
I’m lucky to work near enough to Brewery Creek and Firefly that I can pop in at lunch, which I usually do every other week. This week I set out with a purpose, to see if I could find myself some more of Mill Street’s brews. I recently wrote about my experience with a couple of Mill Street products and the honourable Rich Green was kind enough to let me know that Firefly had Mill Street Coffee Porter in stock.
I am always curious to hear what Erik, and other beer enthusiasts, purchase from these fine purveyors of beer, so I thought it might be of interest to post my recent purchases. I came back from Firefly with:
My return trip via Brewery Creek was also fruitful:
I always come back with more than I “need”, but never have a hard time finding people to share beer with. There is usually some rhyme or reason behind my purchases. I purchased the GI Porter and the Philips Stout because they are new BC seasonal releases, the Rogues on the recommendation of a co-worker I was with at the time, the Mill Street to continue my investigation, and the Pumpkin Ale because there was a big ‘new’ sign under it. I am that fickle.
A side note, I bought an extra Philips the Hammer for The Cellar. Patience not being a gift of mine, it pains me whenever I stash a beer in my ultra high tech cardboard box garage cellar. See you in a year beer.