Saturday, December 4, 2010

Need a Keg? Head to R&B Brewing...Vancouver peeps

Last weekend was one of my good buddies wedding. And he is a craft beer head like me. As such he would definitely not be serving your average macro at the event or surrounding events. He contacted a few of his favourite local breweries and was excited to tell me about the options at R&B brewing. R&B doesn't just offer their standard beers in keg format, they also offer custom casks to your tasting.

My buddy ended up with a Cask of the Raven Cream Ale which had been on oak and extra hopped. This beer was super delicious and fun as I got to tap it since my buddy was busy with all of the wedding festivities. This is definitely a great option if you are having a special occasion.

Service at the brewery was excellent. Everyone that helped us out was super friendly and spoke to us about the different projects and beers they have going on. Definitely a cool experience and will be keeping them in mind next time I have a special event.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Scuttlebutt Brewing

We recently took a couple of days off work and headed down to Seattle for a couple of days. While we were down there we were able to hit up this family friendly pub for a lunch and a taster tray. The Scuttlebutt brewing building is located on the Everett Harbour and is a bit of a dated building. But that is fine with me as that means charachter. We entered the pub and were greeted with two other groups quite promptly. But who cares that much about that, it's the beer that is important.

So we sat down and I noticed the sampler was 8 X 6oz. pours, a great way to get to know their beers and Julie agreed to drive for the afternoon so it was on. The sampler included all of their regular lineup 5 on beer gas and one on nitro, I love beers on nitro, can't we have them all that way? And it also included two of their seasonals. AS I have found myself drinking a little bit more seasonal lately I really enjoyed the 10 Below Winter Ale. It was delicious, nice and malty but with some good hop action still. I really enjoyed the IPA, in fact I bought a case to take home. It's more of an English style IPA with some westcoast hop action. Also their Hoptopia seasonal was tasty. The red ale on nitro was a great red with good hop charachter and oh so smooth. The other's were good, but to tell the truth after that many beers I can't remember the details all that great.

On the food it was hot, tasty and really reasonably priced. I definitely recommend this place if you are ever in Everett, WA and looking for a tasty, friendly and reasonably priced pint. I also have heard they are going to be moving locations, so look forward to hitting that up next time i'm in Everett.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Great Canadian Beer Fest

Headed over to Victoria last week for the 2010 edition of the Great Canadian Beer Fest. This is the largest beer festival in Canada and it sells out every year. I had heard good things about going on the Friday as there are more special beers available that get drank up before Saturday. The day started off early and we headed out to the ferry. Grabbed some coffee and the 1:30 went by super quick.

Once on the Island we headed downtown and grabbed a pre-festival lunch at Swan's Brewpub. As I had never been here before I ordered a sampler. In my sampler I had the Brown Ale, the ESB, the Belgian Wit, and the Stout. All were very tasty, but I especially enjoyed the Wit, which is not normally one of my favourite styles. I also enjoyed a Lamb Burger which was very tasty.

After we finished lunch we had some time and decided to go check out one of our favourite BC Breweries, Phillips. Checked out the store front which is very cool and was super stoked to see so many people in filling up their growlers for the weekend. We also bumped in to a friend from high school Kurtis. Check out the link cause the prank they played on him was very funny.

Once we got to the festival the lineup was quite long to get in, but surprisingly once the gates opened it moved very quickly. Once in I was overwhelmed with all of the choices available for tasting. I won't go over everything but here is a synopsis.

Favourite Beer Tasted: Dead Frog Cascadian Nutbrown. Super tasty.

Most disappointing beer: Green Flash La Freak. I had big expectations after trying there other beers but this just not stand up for me.

Wish I had tried: Lighthouse Brewing - Espr
esso Vodka Infused Imperial Stout. Heard great things about this one after.
Beer that will inspire a road trip: Peaks Brewing - Train Wreck IPA and Chocolate Porter. Both were delicious can't wait to make a trip.

Most Interesting: R&B Black Raspberry Lambic.

All in all this was a great trip and cant wait to go back next year. I definitely recommend it if you love beer.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Brew Day - All Grain Honey Chamomile Sasion

So I've decided to start brewing with my good buddy Justin. This way we can brew more often, more different beers and learn to become better brewers. This week we started off with both of ours first All Grain brew. Justin likes to experiment and had read a recipe for a Wildflower Wheat in Extreme Brewing. However Justin is not that big of a fan of wheats so instead we decided to go with a Saison and switched the recipe a bit. To be honest I didn't keep a list of the ingredients so if it goes well, well we'll just have to deal with it.

Going in to our first all grain batch we were both a little worried about the whole process and making sure we did everything right. We started the process off and were quite surprised by the end of the brew how easy it was and compared to extract brewing actually not that much more difficult. As far as we can see at this point everything went as planned. Now for next time we just need to get a working hydrometer and an immersion chiller.

Some pics from the brew.

Boundary Bay Brewery

I can't believe it's taken me this long to put up a post about Boundary Bay Brewery. Boundary Bay is by far my favourite beer destination. I like all of their beers, but I am definitely partial to their IPA and IIPA. Both are super hoppy, they have a nice citrusy charachter and not too much malt, which is the way I like my IPA's.

The atmosphere is really laid back and it is in an older building so it's got lot's of charm If it's a nice summer day you can sit out on their patio which looks out to the garden, where they have various events throughout the summer. If you are in Bellingham this is a great place to go have a beer, relax and enjoy some tasty food.

Hopworks Urban Brewery

About a month ago we stopped in Portland for our night on our way to Bend, Or. Julie looked up places to eat and found Hopworks Urban Brewery had a great rating on Yelp. I had always wanted to go to Hopworks, so it worked out perfectly.

We arrived around 6 O'clock on a Wednesday evening and the place was quite busy. My Mum had arrived a little before us and had already ordered a sampler. Instead of ordering my own I shared hers, which allowed me to enjoy a full pint of my favourite one. I have to say I like all of the beers but I especially enjoyed their seasonal Rise Up Red and of course their IPA. The fact that the beers are organic is nice, but really they tasted great so that is the most important.

Rise Up red is a hop forward red ale which packs a lot of flavour and a fresh and crisp hop punch. Super refreshing. The IPA is delicious and if you like your IPA's on the Hoppier side then this is one of the best.

The atmosphere here is great. Of course I'm biased as they combine two of my favourite things, bikes and beer, they even have a repair stand. My family was there too, so having my 3 favourite things all there is going to make it a favourite. The food is great too. I really enjoyed the steak sandwich. Can't wait for my next trip down to Portland as I will definitely be heading there again.

Said Sampler

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Big Ridge Brewing Company - Review 1

This is named review 1 as i am sure i will be here a few more times and not every time but will definitely give an update here and there on how they are doing. I live out in the suburbs of Vancouver. This is a great place to live and work, but unfortunately the craft beer scene is not all that flourishing. Although, there are a couple of us living out this way, there is still not a lot of places to go. Most of the time a trip into the big city is in order. But there is Big Ridge Brewing.

Big Ridge Brewing is a part of the Mark James Group who have 5 different brewpubs throughout BC. I have been heading to Big Ridge for approximately the last 8 years and a couple of friends and even my sister worked there for awhile. They closed down there original shop last year, or maybe the beginning of this year and finally reopened in their new location in May.

We headed there shortly after their opening and from the outside the building looks very nice and as planned parking was definitely better, but not sure that will last. We walked in and the hostesses were very friendly, but I felt like I had walked into a place in Yaletown. This is not a bad thing, but it definitely takes away from the warmth. Overall for the suburbs I think the design is a little too flash, but that's me, I like things cozy and subtle.

Now on to the food. The food at the previous location was always good, but I found the menu to be a little limited. Well, not so at the new location, you can definitely tell that they have focused more on the food at this location, which is a good thing. Of the 3 meals I have had there, everything has been excellent. My favourite has to be the Fried Chicken and the Meatball Sandwich. And of the beers, I've only had one the Clover Ale(their IPA) it's a solid IPA, very tasty with a nice hop forward taste.

That pretty much sums up Big Ridge for me. I will definitely be back and look forward to seeing what their seasonal offerings will be.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

Was down south of the border this weekend. Picked up some pretty sweet beers and also a two four(case in American) of Sierra Nevada. Mainly picked this up because it is cheap and pretty refreshing. I can remember my first Sierra Nevada Pale from about 5 years ago. I was in Vegas at a restaurant in Mandalay Bay, can't remember the name, but they had great steak. I ordered it as at that time I liked to try different beers. It was different but good. I had never had such a bitter beer, but I liked it. Well, I still enjoy it. I wouldn't put it in my top 10 overall, but definitely one of my favourite pales.

It's very typical of an American Pale Ale, light, malty and with a decent hop bitterness. If you haven't had one, try one. Nuff said.

Stay Tuned. I've got some great beers in the fridge ready to go.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Howe Sound King Heffy

Last night I tried the Howe Sound King Heffy. An Imperial Hefeweizen coming in at 7.7ABV. Now it's a little different from the beers that I normally drink, but I do enjoy a good hefeweizen every now and then. Well this beer did not disappoint, definitely the best hefeweizen I have had. It starts off with a strong banana taste and smell, then hits you with a pungent grassy taste. And for a 7.7%ABV beer it is very light on the mouth feel. This would be a great beer to enjoy sitting around the pool, on a patio or after cutting the grass. A definite thirst quencher.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Ranger IPA and Dale's Pale Ale Review

Went camping a couple of weeks ago and tried these two out. Overall I enjoyed both beers but would have to say the Ranger IPA was my favourite of the two.

Ranger IPA - This is New Belgium's entry into the IPA world. New Belgium's Fat Tire is one of the beers that first got me into craft beer and I tend to enjoy most of their offerings. Ranger is no different overall a great beer. The hops really hit you but are not too overpowering and are very fragant. Malt is nice and light and makes this beer easy to drink. At 6.5% it's probably not a session beer, but that would never stop me from sessioning IPA's. This beer has moved into my rotation of IPA's for pickup whenever I cross the line.

Dale's Pale Ale- I had heard quite a bit about this beer prior to my taste and was looking forward to trying it out. I have to say I enjoyed this beer and that it reminded me very much of the Red Racer Pale Ale. I'd say this is a hop forward Pale Ale that is easy to drink. Will try it again, but not something I will go out of my way for.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Skagit River Brewery

With Victoria day long weekend this past weekend the family headed down to Bayview State Park for some camping. On Sunday while the ladies shopped Rob and myself decided to go check out a beer bar out I had read about online. The Empire Ale House in Mt. Vernon. Unfortunately when we finally found it, it ended up being closed on Sunday's no problem we had seen the Skagit River Brewery on the way in and decided to head there instead.

The brewery is an interesting looking building from the outside and I looked forward to getting in there. As we walked in I could tell that this was a place i would like. A little older with some vintage looking decorations. We sat at the Bar about a 6 stool spot of wood, connected to the kitchen. Service was quick and friendly. I had the Sculler IPA, surprise, surprise. I quite enjoyed it. A little maltier than most westcoast IPA's, but had a great punch of hops. Would definitely drink again. Rob had the taster with there Pilsner, Pale Ale, Brown Ale and IPA. He mentioned that they were all good but that the IPA was the best.

Another cool thing about this brewpub is the assortment of custom ceramic beer steins they have. I forgot to ask but I am guessing they are for regular customers.

Overall I would definitely go back and if you are in the area I reccomend you check them out.

Down the hatch.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Welcome and Phillips Hop Circle IPA

I've been thinking of starting a beer blog for awhile now and well, sometimes you just get busy. For the last 10 or so years, since I started drinking beer I have always searched to try something different, something new wherever I was. As I look back I realize I always enjoyed the craft beers but until last year didn't really know that there was a seperate category. Now that I know I love the idea of craft beer and have been very busy over the last year trying different beers. I've also taken on the hobby of homebrewing, the ultimate craft beer.

This blog will be the place I document all things beer. Whether it be brewing, drinking or a a great beer adventure. I hope you stay tuned.

To start the blog off I will start with a review of a new IPA. The Phillips Brewing Hop Circle IPA. I enjoyed the previous edition of Phillips IPA, but I have to say I enjoy this one even more. It's very hoppy with a hop bitter taste. It's a little light on the malt, but that's fine because I love what they have done. This has definitely moved into one of my go to beers.

Me, My Wife and My Daughter