Vancouver! I am Coming for Your Beer!

Well, the time has come. This weekend I will be heading over to Vancouver with the aim of visiting every craft brewery in the Metro Vancouver area and having either a pint or a flight at each. That’s about 43 breweries. There’s also a couple of small brew pubs, but I’ve heard they aren’t worth bothering with. Wish me luck!

Here’s where you can expect to see me this weekend:

  • 33 Acres Brewing
  • Andina Brewing
  • Big Rock Urban
  • Black Kettle Brewing
  • Bomber Brewing
  • Brassneck Brewery
  • Bridge Brewing
  • Central City Brewery & Distillery
  • Callister Brewing
  • Boombox Brewing
  • Lightheart
  • Real Cask
  • Coal Harbour Brewing (no tasting room)
  • Dageraad Brewing
  • Deep Cove Brewers & Distillers
  • Doan’s Craft Brewing
  • Dockside Brewing
  • Dogwood Brewing
  • Faculty Brewing
  • Fuggles & Warlock Craftworks
  • Granville Island Brewing
  • Green Leaf Brewing
  • Hearthstone Brewery
  • Luppolo Brewing
  • Main Street Brewing
  • Moody Ales
  • Off The Rail Brewing
  • Parallel 49 Brewing
  • The Parkside Brewery
  • Postmark Brewing
  • Powell Street Craft Brewery
  • R&B Brewing
  • Red Truck Beer
  • Steel & Oak Brewing
  • Steamworks Brewery
  • Storm Brewing
  • Strange Fellows Brewing
  • Strathcona Beer Company
  • Twin Sails Brewing
  • Yaletown Brewing
  • Yellow Dog Brewing
  • Steel Toad Brewpub

van map.PNG


Brian Chapman Raises Funds for MS by Cycling to Every Vancouver Island Brewery

17634381_255512384918933_7370273114851191553_n.pngPeople often think of me as the guy who cycles everywhere and drinks all of the beer, but Brian Chapman is about to steal my crown.

Brian runs the website, where he is raising money for MS by riding his bike. In 2018 he plans to ride his electrically assisted bicycle 10,000 kilometres all over Canada, from coast to coast, in order to raise $10,000 for the MS Society of Canada. This ride will be a Guinness World Record attempt for the “Longest Journey on a Motorized Bicycle.”

He called the initiative “Every Hundred Meters” because during those 100,000 kilometers, he will theoretically pass a Canadian with MS every hundred meters.

Prior to this grand effort he is planning to warm up with a special 650km ride around Vancouver Island, visiting every craft brewery and cidery on the rock, finishing up with a party at Moon Under Water on May 18.

That sound like my kind of cycling tour!

Check out the inventory below and make sure to donate here.

Island Tour de Brewers – May 11-18, 2017

650 km’s all over the island to visit every craft brewery and cider on our big beautiful rock!

May 11th – Beach Fire Brewing and Nosh House, Merecroft Village Brewpub
May 12th – Forbidden Brewing, Gladstone Brewing, Cumberland Brewing, Royston Nanobrewery
May 13th – Loveshack Libations, Twin City Brewing
May 14th – Tofino Brewing (after a very hard grind!)
May 15th – Mount Arrowsmith Brewing
May 16th – Longwood Brewing, Wolf Brewing, White Sails Brewing, Riot Brewing, Craig Street Brewpub, Red Arrow Brewing, Merridale Cidery/Distillery
May 17th – Sooke Brewing, Sooke Oceanside Brewing
May 18th – Axe and Barrel, 4 Mile, Category 12, Sea Cider, Tod Creek Cider, Twa Dogs, Lighthouse, Spinnakers, Canoe, Swans, Phillips, VIB, Hoyne, Driftwood, Moon Under Water

There will also be a wrap-up fundraising party at Moon Under Water on May 18.

Why Hopheads Are the Metalheads of the Beer World

melvin.pngOK, that might sound silly, but bear with me here… Imagine for a moment that beer is like music and that all of the different styles are like different genres of music.

Well, I’ve been a metalhead for most of my life and love a good IPA, which has led me to notice quite a few similarities between the two.

A great example is when you introduce someone to IPAs for the first time and they pull “that face,” like you just made them drink black bile and they need something to cleanse their palate. Well it’s the same thing when you first expose someone to metal—they look like they want to cover their ears and go rock in a chair for a little while.

scream.jpgHowever, once you have a taste for hops, there is no going back to drinking light lagers and once you get a taste for metal, there is no way you are ever listening to Katy Perry again!

Once this taste starts to grow, your palate really starts to develop and you start to pick out the nuances. It’s no longer a hoppy beer, it’s got floral, herbal, pine, tropical fruit, and orange peel notes on the nose; then you start to realize that the choice of malt is almost as important as the choice of hops for balancing the bitterness. Similarly, it’s no longer just heavy music, it has complex time changes, harmonies, solos, tapping, sweep picking, and more.

When you dig deeper, you have thrash metal, speed metal, death metal, black metal, power metal, doom metal, groove metal, industrial metal, and about two dozen sub-genres thereof. With IPAs you have the British IPA, the North West IPA, the North East IPA, the black IPA, the white IPA, the milkshake IPA, the Belgian IPA, the sour IPA, the wild IPA, the Brett IPA, and many more.

twentySomeone unfamiliar with these styles would often be hard-pressed to distinguish between them. If you told me that Death sounds just like Rotting Christ or that Fat Tug tastes just like Heady Topper, I would probably laugh in your face, but some people honestly just hear noise or just taste bitterness.

What I love most, though, is that when you become a metalhead or a hophead, you become an evangelist and you are constantly trying to educate people on the joys of your new found love and how they need to find their saviour!

“I know you don’t like hoppy beers, but I think if you gave Pliny the Elder a chance, you would learn to appreciate beer more in general and your life would be so much more fulfilling!”

number.jpg“Look, I know you don’t like metal, but this new Devin Townsend album really transcends genres and if you don’t like it, then you just don’t like music and are probably broken inside!”

Don’t lie, you’ve all been there.

Oh, and let’s not even get onto the fucking amazing artwork that they share!

Right, I’m off to finish drinking this imperial dark IPA from Scuttlebutt while listening to some Agalloch.


What to Try at the 8th Annual Island Beer Festival

38-exl.jpgThe Strathcona Hotel is hosting the 8th annual Island Beer Fest on Saturday February 25 from 1pm-7pm. While there are still a couple of surprises in stock, this is pretty much a full list of the beers being served.

The line-up is looking pretty decent. It looks like there may be a couple of casks on offer, but not as many as we saw at the Strath’s Oktoberfest celebration, bwhich is a shame.

It’s great to see Sooke Oceanside Brewery in attendance, if you’ve not tried their beer, I would highly recommend checking them out. The Stuck in the Mud coffee porter is particularly good. I hear rumours they might even bring a cask!

Strange Fellows is one of my favourite BC breweries and they have a nice selection on. The Goldilocks Belgian Golden Strong is divine!

Riot from Chemainus is another great one to check out if you haven’t tried them before. Their three core beers are all solid. I was hoping they’d have the Sorry it Took Us So Long Saison on, as I’ve not tried it yet. Oh well…

Parkside is a nice addition to the line-up. They are the fourth brewer to pop up on “Brewer’s Row” in Port Moody and their beer isn’t yet distributed to the Island, so this is a great opportunity to check them out.

If you’ve not had the Flagship IPA from Steamworks, then give that a whirl. They also have their new Salted Chocolate Porter on, which looks nice. Head brewer Julia Hanlon has been doing great work over there!

Parallel 49 is another great brewery to check out. They have their Mystic Skull No. 5: Dark Chocolate Mole Cerveza available, which looks interesting.

Phillips has their seasonal Space Goat Dry Hopped Oat Pale Ale on, which is definitely worth checking out. They will also have this year’s The Hammer imperial stout, which was pretty good this year, but not as good as last year’s barrel-aged version.

Hoyne has their seasonal Hard Rain double IPA on tap. It’s pretty tasty, but perhaps a little conservative for a DIPA at 7.5% ABV and an unknown IBU. They also have the classic Dark Matter available.

I’m eager to check out the new recipes for the VIB beers, as I’ve not had a chance to try them yet. While I’ve heard mixed things, I’d like to give them a try.

Twa Dogs is a good one to check out if you’ve not tried their stuff yet. The porter and IPA are quite nice and have improved since they first opened. I’m not much of a pilsner guy…

Red Arrow‘s Heritage River Hefeweizen and midnight Midnight Umber Ale are both pretty solid and definitely worth checking out.

I haven’t been too keen on Granville Island Brewing since they moved operations to Kelowna, but all of their small batch stuff is still made in the original location and I hear the Scotch Ale is rather good.

While Stanley Park‘s identity as a craft brewery is questioned by many, they’ve been doing some interesting pilot batches and casks recently. I’m quite looking forward to trying their Feelin F’whiskey, which is their winter glow IPA, secondary fermented with mixed culture, aged in American whiskey barrels, and dry hopped with Amarillo and Citra.

Russell Brewing (Surrey )

  • Eastern Promises Czech Pilsner
  • Punch Bowl Grapefruit IPA
  • Root Beer Milk Stout

Stanley Park Brewing / Turning Point Brewing (Delta)

  • Winter Glow Mandarin IPA
  • Noble Pilsner
  • Feelin F’whiskey (cask)

Phillips Brewing (Victoria)

  • Pilsner
  • Space Goat Dry Hopped Oat Pale Ale
  • The Hammer Imperial Stout

VIB (Victoria)

  • 48 Dark Lager
  • Carmanah Ale
  • Piper’s Pale Ale

Sooke Oceanside Brewery (Sooke)

  • Stuck in the Mud Coffee Porter
  • Boneyard IPA
  • Secret Cask

Hoyne Brewing (Victoria)

  • Dark Matter
  • Helios Dortmunder Golden Lager
  • Hard Rain IPA

Strange Fellows brewing (East Vancouver)

  • Talisman Pale Ale
  • Jongleur Belgian Wit
  • Goldilocks Golden Strong

Twa Dogs (Saanich)

  • Drouthy Neibor IPA
  • Holy Willie’s Robust Porter
  • Keekin Glass Pilsner

Big Rock Urban (Vancouver)

  • Citradelic
  • Honey Brown
  • Scottish Heavy

Parkside (Port Moody)

  • Dawn Pilsner
  • Dusk Pale Ale
  • Graffiti IPA

Steamworks Brewing (Vancouver)

  • Flagship IPA
  • Steamworks Pilsner
  • Salted Chocolate Porter

Riot brewing (Chemainus)

  • Lip Slide Lager
  • Life Partners Pale Ale
  • Junk Punch IPA

Parallel 49 (East Vancouver)

  • Mystic Skull No. 5: Dark Chocolate Mole Cerveza
  • Craft Lager
  • Wobbly Pop Pale Ale

Red Arrow (Duncan)

  • Heritage River Hefeweizen
  • Old Style Lager
  • Midnight Umber Ale

Lagunitas Brewing Company (Lagunitas, California)

  • IPA

Creemore Springs (Creemore, Ontario)

  • Lot 9 Pilsner

Granville Island (Vancouver/Kelowna)

  • Small Batch Scottish Ale


Spinnakers Liquor Shows Support for Dageraad

dsGWYe_5.pngThis is one for the Victoria readers out there. Last month, Dageraad Brewing had a malfunction in their bottle conditioning room that resulted in them losing a large amount of beer, which was not covered by their insurance.

Well, after hearing this, the manager of the Spinnakers Liquor store in James Bay put in a large order from Dageraad and then decided to put it all on sale, including their brand new batch of Londen Porter.

The idea being to first give Dageraad money and second to get Dageraad products into as many hands as possible. This is pretty awesome, and a nice little bit of karma after all of the support that Spinnakers got after the fire.

Get down there and pick up a few bottles!

Should Liquor Stores Impose Limits on Special Releases?

As craft beer fans, we all know that some seasonal releases from smaller craft breweries are only available in extremely limited quantities.

A few of the craft-centric stores here in Victoria are wise to this and when these special releases come out, they impose a limit per customer. Sometimes it’s six bottles, sometimes two, depending on the availability.

Sure, this can sometimes be annoying, but do you really need 12 bottles of a fresh hopped IPA? My example here of course being Driftwood’s Sartori Harvest, which always sells out at breathtaking speeds every year, leaving beer nerds hunting around town like packs of wild dogs. I’ve actually seen people get mad at liquor store employees over limits imposed on this beer. Their argument is always that they are willing to pay, so why can’t they have as many bottles as they like.

Some local liquor stores prefer to avoid this confrontation and don’t impose any limits. This has lead to me missing out on a few limited releases recently, because I’ve headed over on the day of release, only to find out that one or two people came in early that day and bought the entire stock.

Really it’s not the liquor stores to blame here, but the greedy people who decided they needed a unreasonable amount of bottles of a limited release at the cost of other people being able to try it. However, I do feel like liquor stores should have some sort of system in place to prevent these beer hoarders from denying everyone else the pleasure of trying out these special releases.

At the end of the day it’s actually better for the breweries when liquor stores impose these restrictions, because it allows more people to try their products out, rather than just a handful of hardcore beer nerds.


Are You Drinking Your Beer too Cold?

frozen-beer.jpgAs an Englishman living in North America I’m constantly the brunt of jokes about warm beer. Everyone here seems to think that Brits love to drink their beer luke warm, like it’s some sort of filthy sin akin to eating a deep-fried mars bar. I always just laugh and play along, but god damn it, it’s not that we like to drink out beer warm, we just don’t like to chill it to sub-zero temperatures until it no longer has any flavour!

I know people who will put their beer in the freezer for an hour after purchase, at the the risk of causing the bottle to explode, all for the pleasure of a frosty cold one. But here is the thing: if you cool drink your beer too cold, you loose all of the delicate aromatics.

Sure, some beers should be served chilled, but many benefit from being served at cellar or even room temperature. It’s like the difference between storing white and red wine. Or better still vodka vs. whisky—vodka goes in the fridge, while whiskey is stored at room temperature. If you chill whiskey, you loose all of the aromatics, and don’t get me started on putting ice in whiskey…

Some beers, i.e., the ones you don’t actually want to taste are best served ice cold, while some special ales are even served warm like mulled wine! However most good beer is best served between 4° C and room temperature. As a rule of thumb, lighter beers are best served cold, while darker beers are best served a little warmer. English bitter actually falls somewhere in the middle, being best served at cellar temperature, which is between 8-12C.

So where does this idea of super chilled beer come from? Big beer! They don’t want you to actually taste their lackluster beer, so they want you to chill it until you can’t taste anything. It’s brilliant marketing and is now so thorough ingrained in North American culture that most people can’t even contemplate not refrigerating their beer.

During the summer I tend to keep my beer in the fridge and remove it before drinking to allow it to warm a bit, whereas in the winter I store it in the cupboard then put bottles in the fridge for a bit to cool a little.

There are many lists of serving temperatures available online, but I found this incredibly  comprehensive breakdown on

Very cold (0-4° C/32-39° F): Pale Lager, Malt Liquor, Canadian-style Golden Ale and Cream Ale, Low Alcohol, Canadian, American or Scandinavian-style Cider.

Cold (4-7° C/39-45° F): Hefeweizen, Kristalweizen, Kölsch, Premium Lager, Pilsner, Classic German Pilsner, Fruit Beer, brewpub-style Golden Ale, European Strong Lager, Berliner Weisse, Belgian White, American Dark Lager, sweetened Fruit Lambics and Gueuzes, Duvel-types

Cool (8-12° C/45-54° F): American Pale Ale, Amber Ale, California Common, Dunkelweizen, Sweet Stout, Stout, Dry Stout, Porter, English-style Golden Ale, unsweetened Fruit Lambics and Gueuzes, Faro, Belgian Ale, Bohemian Pilsner, Dunkel, Dortmunder/Helles, Vienna, Schwarzbier, Smoked, Altbier, Tripel, Irish Ale, French or Spanish-style Cider

Cellar (12-14° C/54-57° F): Bitter, Premium Bitter, Brown Ale, India Pale Ale, English Pale Ale, English Strong Ale, Old Ale, Saison, Unblended Lambic, Flemish Sour Ale, Bière de Garde, Baltic Porter, Abbey Dubbel, Belgian Strong Ale, Weizen Bock, Bock, Foreign Stout, Zwickel/Keller/Landbier, Scottish Ale, Scotch Ale, American Strong Ale, Mild, English-style Cider

Warm (14-16° C/57-61° F): Barley Wine, Abt/Quadrupel, Imperial Stout, Imperial/Double IPA, Doppelbock, Eisbock, Mead

Hot (70° C/158° F): Quelque Chose, Liefmans Glühkriek, dark, spiced winter ales like Daleside Morocco Ale.