The GOODS from Joy Road Catering
Penticton, BC | On July 18th, get ready for the party of the summer: an art deco celebration of Okanagan Bubbly! Our inaugural and exclusive sparkling wine event will be held at Linden Gardens in Kaleden from 6:30pm – 9:30pm for $99/person, with pours from some of your favourite sparkling wine producers Blue Mountain Estate Winery, Bella, Sumac Ridge, Therapy Vineyards, Orofino, 8th Generation, Elephant Island, and more.
Costumes are required. Think Gatsby, and you’ll be glad you dressed up for an elaborate setting with live music, antique cars, food and wine stations hidden throughout the gardens, and vintage vignettes for photo ops. Come celebrate local bubbles in style! Details… Read more
This is the seventh in a nine-part story chronicling Dageraad brewer Ben Coli’s exploration of two questions he had to answer before taking the gamble of his life in starting a brewery: What is Belgian beer and can it be brewed here?
by Ben Coli | Plunging down the steep hill into the Vallée des Fées I could smell my bike’s brakes smoking. Torn between the exhilaration of the descent and fear of repeating a previous year’s crash, between my impatience to drink La Chouffe and my desire to have two intact clavicles, I braked my weird little folding bike into the corners and let it run fast down the straightaways.
Erin and I were on a pilgrimage to the reputed origin of my yeast.
The village of Achouffe had grown a bit since the brewery was founded 31 years earlier, but it was still very much a one-horse town, and that horse is Brasserie d’Achouffe. The brewery is near the middle of town and the brewery’s cafe is right in the middle of town, but then again, Achouffe is small enough that everything is pretty much in the middle of town.
We were given a private guided tour of the brewery, which is in the same location, but is technologically a far cry from Chris and Pierre’s original set-up, with its washing-machine-drum lauter tun. The present brewery is a large facility with rows of enormous outdoor fermentation tanks looming overhead. Our helpful guide answered every question I asked him, right down to the mash and fermentation temperatures, practically daring me to make a beer as good as theirs.
But the real point of our visit was in the brewery’s café. I wanted to taste one of my favourite beers while it was as fresh as possible, right outside of the brewery’s doors.
All beer begins to change subtly as soon as it’s bottled, in some ways for the better, in others for the worse. Hop aromas fade, chemical processes slowly create new esters, and no matter how well-packaged the beer is, oxygen inevitably finds its way in.
Many stronger beers, such as barleywines and Belgian quadruples, are built to withstand age and can be much more complex after three or five years of careful aging than when they’re fresh. Lighter, crisper, hoppier beers are almost always better fresh.
A strong beer stored in a dark place with cool, stable temperatures can slowly evolve into something truly magical, but no beer is better off after all the jostling, temperature fluctuations and time spent sitting on docks in shipping containers involved in shipping a beer overseas. I never had a worse Sierra Nevada Pale Ale than one I drank in Britain, 8,000 kilometres from where the beer was brewed. Fortunately, Belgian beer can withstand transportation better than a 5% alcohol pale ale. Higher alcohol levels and bottle refermentation help to ward off bacteria and oxygen, making Belgian beer more resiliant than most.
I’ve been drinking La Chouffe and Chouffe Houblon on tap at Vancouver bars like Biercraft for years now, and I’ve always loved both, even after their long voyage. It was a different story drinking them a hundred meters from the boil kettle.
La Chouffe is a bit different than it is at home; I wouldn’t say it’s remarkably better, just different. The fruity esters are a bit less pronounced, the hop character a little more present. But the Chouffe Houblon is a completely different story.
Brasserie d’Achouffe invented the Belgian IPA style by brewing Chouffe Houblon in 2006, when an American importer asked for a beer that would cater to the hop craze sweeping America. The beer was originally designed to be exported, which is unfortunate, because it tastes much better if you drink it fresh. A hundred meters from the brewery, the beer delivers an explosion of American and European hop aroma, coupled with the fruity esters of Achouffe’s famous yeast.
No Belgian IPA brewed on this side of the Atlantic has ever equaled the original, but I can’t blame brewers here for trying. It’s a style of beer that just doesn’t taste the same if you drink it too far from where it was brewed.
Photo by Goffe Struiksma | Map: Eli Horn | BREWER’S BLOG ARCHIVE
Ben Coli is owner and brewer of Dageraad Brewing, British Columbia’s first brewery specializing in Belgian-style ales. An award-winning home brewer, Ben formalized his brewing knowledge at the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts and at Brewlab in the United Kingdom, earning a certificate from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling. Before his beer obsession took over, Ben was a writer of books, magazine articles and marketing content. He is currently writing a book titled “How to Love Beer.”
The GOODS from Meat & Bread
Vancouver, BC | Meat & Bread’s Pender St. location is in search of a full-time line cook with a minimum of 3 years of kitchen experience. The applicant must be creative, have a strong work ethic, a sense of urgency and attention to detail. Daytime hours. Please drop off resume in person weekdays before 10am. The Gastown location is currently seeking a front of house manager with a minimum of 3 years of experience in restaurants. The applicant must be a great communicator with a sense of urgency and great attention to detail. Daytime hours. Please drop off resume in person at our Gastown location weekdays before 10:30am. Read more
The GOODS from Orofino Strawbale Winery
Cawston, BC | Orofino is thrilled to support a terrific opportunity to experience an evening of music and wine on Saturday,` April 26th. Forget block long line-ups or rowdy crowds. Sofa Sessions is a unique opportunity to experience live music in the intimate setting of a Vancouver home. It’s not every day that you get to be up close and personal with handpicked Canadian musicians, surrounded by great people, all while supporting an amazing cause, imagine1day.
Volume 4 of Sofa Sessions will be headlined by two-time Juno nominee Jeremy Fisher from Toronto. Vancouver’s “no ordinary soul man” Robert Wilson will open the show, and hosting the evening will be CBC award-winning host and producer, Paolo Pietropaolo.
This is the second time Orofino has paired up with Sofa Sessions to present top Canadian talent in this unique setting. All wine is donated for the evening with proceeds going to imagine1day. The event is held at a secret venue in the Point Grey neighbourhood, locations revealed with ticket purchase. Learn more after the jump… Read more
It turns out that the hippest winery in Mexico is made of recycled boats.
The email below was edited marginally because it exceeded the exclamation point allowance for this column…
Becoming a Sommelier Overnight With Savvy Girl
Hi! Hope all is well. I wanted to reach out to see if you’d be interested in featuring my newest client, Savvy Girl: A Guide to Wine in an upcoming feature!
With a passion for learning and desire to be savvy, author and entrepreneur, Brittany would crave the knowledge how-to books promised to offer, but found them painful to complete… Savvy Girl produces beautiful 100-page guidebooks that readers can finish in 5 hours or less… Savvy Girl believes in cutting through the clutter by delivering guidebooks that help women get savvy and get back to their fabulous life… even throw out words like “terroir” and “tannin” like WineSpeak is your first language.
Damn. If I had only known about this before! I could have saved years of study and thousands of dollars!
Unlike the parties at your house, this bathtub full of beer is actually therapeutic. The Schloss Starkenberger brewery in Tyrol, Austria is reputed to be the world’s only beer-based spa, located in its 700-year-old castle brewery’s underground vaults. Here in the old fermentation room, guests can immerse themselves in a bath of warm water and Biergeläger (translation: beer making leftovers). The only benefit/drawback? Guests are advised not to drink from the pools. Yeah, that’s probably good advice for every pool.
Meanwhile, in Canada: Uberfist. A Canadian-based company is “revolutionizing the drinking experience” with their invention of Uberfist, a cup holder with “unique thermal properties” inside a giant Hulk-like foam hand, allowing fans to “cheer on their favourite team while simultaneously supporting their beverage. What more could a sports fan want?” I am left answerless.
Meanwhile, in the USA, powdered alcohol is now for sale. Here you go kiddies – kool aid, pop rocks and Palcohol. Previous versions of the Palcohol website reported that the flavoured powder could also be snorted.
Because New Orleans doesn’t have anything else to worry about right now, the debate continues about allowing booze in ice cream.
If spring’s sunshine has you tuning up your bike, you might want to consider these accessories.
An Australian news example of turning lemons into limoncello, Adelaide Now reports that commuters were “treated to the bouquet of expensive white wine” after a truck carrying 11 tonnes of wine collided with a car, sending $500,000 worth of wine down the road. Also, much later in the story, no one was injured.
Leave it to Lithuania to make it hard for me to refute that Beaujolais Nouveau tastes like paint thinner with this new packaging.
THE GOODS FROM Le Vieux Pin & Lastella
Oliver, BC | Brand new websites for LaStella and Le Vieux Pin wineries bring more than great wine to consumers. The new websites focus on sharing relevant information about the South Okanagan in general and specific viticulture practices and terroir of each of their vineyards in particular. Until April 30th, in celebration of the new websites, new sign ups to receive the monthly newsletter will be entered to win a VIP tour of their vineyard and cellars combined with a barrel tasting and checking in on library wines. By signing up for the newsletter, receive timely release offers, rare releases and learn more about the Okanagan Valley and two well respected wineries. Check out Le Vieux Pin’s Petite Club, or LaStella’s Piccolo Club. Members receive 12 carefully chosen bottles of wine per year (two times six-bottle packages sent in the spring and fall each year costing approx. $150-$200 each) as well as 10% saving on wines purchased through the website or cellar door (excluding Maestoso, La Sophia and Library re-releases) and receive invitations and announcements of special events and tastings. Read more
by Lisa Giroday, Sandra Lopuch and Sam Philips | Asparagus! Yeah, we’ll spare you the urine jokes, even though they’re hard to resist. Like fiddlehead season, the asparagus season is extremely ephemeral. In fact, when we took some photos for this article, the ones harvested were about to go off, and are much longer and spindlier than they should be when harvested. But fear not, more shoots emerge…
What happens if you leave the shoots to keep on growing, you ask? Well, they become the most beautiful, fern-like fronds that your garden has ever seen. We like to plant ours in a patch amongst strawberries, as asparagus has a tall, upright growth and strawberries keep close to the ground, making for an aesthetically pleasing and delicious combo patch. Yes, you can have it all.
Asparagus is one of those veggies that many food growers in Vancouver don’t grow, mainly because it takes a few years of maturing in the garden to reach the edible stage, about 3 years from seed to harvest. You can, however, buy organic rootstock from a nursery that are typically 2 years old and have asparagus in the next year or two. As many of us move house fairly often, we don’t always invest in growing it. For those with the space and a quasi-permanent home situation (or an under-utilized space begging for some greenery and sustenance), asparagus is an exciting spring crop and one of the early spring delicacies in the garden. Because it’s a perennial (comes back year after year), it’s the gift that keeps on giving with little maintenance. It can live for 20 years, even longer.
If you’re botanically curious, Asparagus officinalis is a plant species in the genus Asparagus. Interestingly, it was once classified in the lily family like its Allium cousins, onions and garlic, but the Liliaceae have since been divided, and the onion-y plants are now in the family Amaryllidaceae and asparagus in the Asparagaceae.
Growing asparagus: Now’s a good time to transplant asparagus, and rootstock is becoming available at nurseries as we speak. Asparagus loves full sun. If you can, growing about 12 crowns will keep a happy two-some in weekly harvests during peak season. Be sure to plant each crown a foot apart. In the first season of the crowns producing, be sure to allow the spears to leaf out so the foliage can feed the developing roots for future production. Yes, this means no or little harvesting. An exercise in patience, it is, but it’s well worth it. Keep your asparagus happy and watered, and add a layer of compost in spring and fall – it’s a hungry veggie! Also, if you plant your asparagus crowns at varying depths, they’ll emerge at staggered times for a more continuous harvest. On a side-note, great asparagus companions are tomatoes, basil, and parsley.
So get out there, cut or find some spears, poach some eggs, turn on the grill, and grate some Parmigiano-Reggiano for a to-die-for dish of asparagus before it’s too late!
Victory Gardens is a team of local urban farmers for hire. Lisa, Sandra and Sam help transform tired or underused residential and commercial green spaces into food producing gardens. Their goal is to challenge the way communities use space and to participate in the change needed to consume food more sustainably. For the rest of the growing season, they’ve hooked up with Scout to share some cool tips and tricks on how to get the best from of our own backyards.
The Goods from Commune Cafe
Vancouver, BC | Commune Cafe on Seymour Street is looking for a talented individual with 3+ years of experience as a cook to join the kitchen team, specifically for dinner service. We offer a competitive salary/wage package and provide a unique learning experience. You can contact us at info [at] communecafe.ca. Learn more about the company after the jump… Read more
The GOODS from La Pentola
Vancouver, BC | La Pentola’s Famiglia Supper Series continues this April as we take a trip to the region of Marche, Italy. Join us Sunday, April 27 at 6pm to dine family style at a communal table with your neighbours and friends. For this 10+ course Italian feast Chef Lucais will feature classic dishes including Olives Ascolane and Vincisgrassi as well as coastal Marche inspired fish, seafood, meat, and farm fresh vegetable dishes. We encourage you to reserve as seating is limited. The cost is $55 per person for 10+ courses. Learn more about the restaurant after the jump… Read more
The GOODS from La Mezcaleria
Vancouver, BC | Are you vivacious, energetic, organized, and confident? We need you! Our Host is the first face of La Mezcaleria and therefore incredibly important to us. You will represent our brand, our family and our vibe. This is a demanding position. Are you up for the challenge? 2+ years of experience is a must, and Spanish is an asset. Please send your resume and cover letter to info [at] lamezcaleria.ca and learn more about the company after the jump… Read more
The Staff Meal photo essays detail the stories behind the family-style meals that some of Vancouver’s busiest restaurant crews get either before or after service.
by Ken Tsui | Before unlocking the doors to usher in another fully-booked dinner service, Wildebeest chef Ashley Kurtz is putting together a staff meal based on his memories from the time he spent in South Korea. While travelling the country, he discovered tteokbokki, a dish of rice cakes cooked in a spicy sauce.
Today, this ubiquitous Korean street vendor staple is at the core of the meal. As the sauce bubbles, Kurtz effortlessly moves around the kitchen, throwing kalbi (thin, marinated slices of beef short rib) on the grill, fluffing the freshly cooked rice while occasionally returning to the giant pot of tteokbokki for a quick stir. As the sauce thickens, he doles out his house-made kimchi, soy marinated bean sprouts and sesame leaves as side dishes.
When the meal is served, the staff gather around a long table, ladling out tteokbokki and wrapping sesame leaves around the rice and short rib. Kurtz sneaks a bowl of puffed wild rice onto the table for a bit of added crunch. Co-owner James Iranzad sits down to the spread, looks across the table and jokes, “OK, but where’s the beer?”
The GOODS from Bambudda
Vancouver, BC | Bambudda has sprung forward with their new Spring cocktail list. On the list you’ll see new creations by barman “Buck” Friend like the “Secrets of a Geisha” – rum, chambord, lime, lychee sake foam. A “Bubble Tea” cocktail made with gin, blue caracao, rhubarb bitters, green tea liqueur and hibiscus bubbles is also available, along with 7 other new cocktails. Chef Korzack has also tweaked the dinner menu with some new dishes. Shitake mushroom dumplings with chrysanthemum pesto, glazed lamb and cumin flatbread. Duck is done with red dates, burdock puree, chrysanthemum greens and a black tea jus. What’s more, the patio will be ready to go in a couple of weeks, possibly sooner if the weather cooperates. Read more
The GOODS from House Wine
Vancouver, BC | House Wine is looking for a full-time Marketing Coordinator, specifically an exceptionally organized individual who loves the art of coordinating: people, events, data, communications, etc. You are able to work both independently and collaboratively. You are a multi-tasker with an eye for details. You are able to navigate the proverbial forest while maintaining sight of the trees! You are outgoing, fun, curious, and enjoy a challenge. Read all about our values and get all the details about our company after the jump… Read more