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