DRINKER | New Craft Brewery “Steel & Oak” Now Open (And There Was Much Rejoicing)

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by Chuck Hallett | Well, that didn’t take long. Not quite a week since the last brewery threw open its doors to make the world slightly more awesome, the new New Hot Thing is crouched at the starting line, ready to burst onto the scene in a haze of hoppy glory.

If you’re keen on ticking off yet another “Brewery Opening” on your list of Things To Do, though, get ready for a bit of a trip. Steel & Oak Brewing, the wort wizards in question, are all the way out there in New Westminster. I took the plunge and sat on the Skytrain for five hours (OK fine, twenty minutes), to trek out there last week for a bit of a preview so you didn’t have to. Well, fine plan that was. They’re good enough that you really, honestly should head out today to see for yourself.

Before we get on to the part of the brewery preview where I attempt to make yet another wood-clad tasting room sound original and inspiring, let’s take a second and review how you should actually go to S&O. Google might tell you to walk along Stewardson after leaving the weird mall/Skytrain stop that is New West Station. Don’t. Despite diesel particulate’s rumoured effectiveness as an aphrodisiac you might be better off with a short detour over to the boardwalk along the Fraser. Click here for a map.

Alright. Now you’re there. What should you expect? Co-owners Jorden Foss and Jamie Garbutt have put together a fine micro-brewery that, astonishingly, has some space left to grow. Plans are already in play for a barrel aging program and German-trained Brewmaster Peter Schulz is already concocting recipes in that precise, analytical brewing mind of his.

For opening day, S&O will have up to four beers ready to slip past your hipster moustache, and they’re all good. Damned good. Very damned good. So good that I wonder if the Fraser River is the common bond between great breweries because the last place to open of this calibre was Four Winds, downstream in Delta. In addition to the quality of the product in the tap, the balance of the brewery outside the tap is similarly fancy.

Yes, I did just compare S&O to the best brewery in BC. Now get ready for this: I think they could eventually be better. Sure, Four Winds is better right this instant, but they have a full year under their belt (happy anniversary, Mills’s!). When they first opened my reaction was “yeah, that’s a decent beer.” S&O beats that. Here are their beers:

Red Pilsner | Pretty much a perfect Pilsner nose, but a rich body that keeps on giving. I’m not a Pilsner guy, but I sorta love this beer. Start here.

Smoked Heff | Just the right balance of smoke. Not overpowering nor invisible. I’ve heard rumours of a bourbon barrel aged version, and I think it’ll slay.

English Pale | Tad young when I tried it, but had the start of a malty, chewy light pale ale that tastes exactly like Another Pint.

West Coast ESB | Also young when I tried it. Big tropical hop nose on this guy, but a bit unbalanced on the bittering. I suspect this is brewed more as a salve for the local hopheads than through any strong passion.

Coles Notes
Steel & Oak Brewing | www.steelandoak.ca
1319 Third Ave, New Westminster
Hours: 12pm-8pm Daily (10pm Thurs-Sat), Closed Mondays
Growlers: 32oz ($6), 64oz ($11.50)
Bottles: 650ml, coming in the fall
Barrels: Yes (not yet, though)

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BARLEY MOWAT | Main Street Brewing Now Pouring For The Public At East 7th & Scotia

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by Chuck Hallett | It’s been the subject of conversation amoungst the Mount Pleasant craft beer crowd for some months now: “When will Main Street Brewing opening?” Speculation ranged from “6 weeks” to the slightly qualified “6 weeks–just not all in a row.”

Folks eager for an insider glance pressed bearded faces up against small gaps in the hoarding on the mustard-coloured building on the northwest corner of East 7th and Scotia for some clue missed by everyone else. Satisfied with that they saw, they’d step down off the ladder and knowingly proclaim “Tanks are in. Shouldn’t be long, now.”

And thus, the winter passed.

More recent reports included a note about the neighbourhood smelling like hot wort, which led to “any day now” updates. This eventually gave way to “the 29th of May at 11am,” which begat “come back at 3.”

Yes, with that hour upon us, the tanks are full, the counter is polished, and the bar stools are in position. Main Street has officially thrown open its glass doors to welcome the first of many clients this afternoon.

What should you expect from Vancouver’s newest craft brewery?

Well, for starters, they should expect a gorgeous interior space. Previous breweries like 33 Acres and Brassneck set the standard for a high quality tasting room but the brewery itself was always something of a bit player, visible only from certain peek-a-boo angles. Bomber changed that with a fermentation vessel looming behind the bar, and Main Street goes even further by using a 4ft high half wall to separate the tasting room and growler shop from the brewery floor.

Until legislation changes in Victoria, no other brewery will let you get closer to the action (I guess the government is afraid we might…er…brew beer…or something). While you’re out in the front of house drinking their product, brewmaster Jack Bensley will be visible not 30 feet from where you sit toiling away to brew his next creation.

The tasting tables will soon featuring fig trees growing through them, reaching up to the soaring double-height ceilings & wooden beams. Ample natural lighting is provided by generous skylights and a large, windowed entry way. The space is bright, airy and inviting. I intend to pass many hours here simply enjoying both being in a brewery and feeling the sun on my skin at the same time.

At launch there will be at least three regular beers (Brown Ale, Session IPA and Pilsner) and all four of the permanent cask engines will have some sort of one-off pouring. As well, the kitchen will up and running with a variety of bar-appropriate snackables. Hours are 11am to 11pm, seven days a week.

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Chuck Hallett lives and works in downtown Vancouver. His passionate obsession with craft beer borders on insanity. When not attempting to single-handedly financially support the local brewing industry through personal consumption, he spouts off on his award-winning beer-themed blog: BarleyMowat.com. If you’re in a good beer bar reading this, odds are he’s sitting next to you. Be polite and say hi.

DRINKER | East Van’s “Bomber Brewing” Is Ready To Fill Its First Growlers Tomorrow!

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by Chuck Hallett | And you thought 2013 was a big year for breweries. 2014 is off to a bang, and not quite two months in we’re already welcoming the opening of our second local brewery (the first was Black Kettle of North Van in early January). Now, crouched at the starting blocks in East Van and awaiting their official Friday opening, we have Bomber Brewing.

Bomber Brewing, with it’s connection to BierCraft via founder cum brewer Don Farion, joins Vancouver’s two other existing brewery/restaurant duos: Brassneck/Alibi Room and Parallel 49/St. Augustine’s. Between those two examples, Bomber is a bit closer to Parallel 49 in terms of both beer styles (session-able beer sold by the six-pack), and in terms of raw location (1488 Adanac).

You read that right. Eschewing the rapidly growing, painfully hip and increasingly crowded Mount Pleasant/Brewery Creek neighbourhood for the more industrial confines of East Strathcona, Bomber is the first to open of three planned breweries clustered around Venables and Clark.

They join relative veterans Powell Street, Parallel 49, Coal Harbour and actual veteran Storm Brewing a short distance away to form a tight, walkable pod of breweries that some are already calling Yeast Van.

Tucked deep in the belly of their warehouse at 1488 Adanac is a cosy, darkened tasting room in which plentiful use of natural wood and stone contrast sharply with the cold, brightly lit steel fermenters on the other side of a large glass window, in which the beer is made. It’s a great place to whittle away an afternoon, or four.

Bomber opens Friday February 14th 2-7pm for growler fills (1 & 2 L) and six-pack/bottle sales, with the tasting lounge following shortly on Monday February 17th with their regular hours of 11am-11pm. Beer lineup at launch will be their IPA, ESB, Stout and Belgian Blonde (Blonde in growler fills only).

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DRINK THIS BEER | Sipping A Cool Snifter Of Wooly Bugger In Front Of A Roaring Fire

December 27, 2013 

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by Chuck Hallett | Beers make it into my column for a few reasons. Maybe the brewery is stepping up their game, maybe the packaging is interesting, or maybe the beer itself is excellent. Today, we’re getting all three. Yup, there’s one very interesting brew out there this holiday season that I figure everyone should buy and try, and it’s Howe Sound’s Woolly Bugger 2013.

In past years, this has been one of the few BC-brewed, English-style Barley Wines on the market, and I’ve loved it. This year, however, they’ve changed things up a bit and gone for more of a hybrid form: a strong malt base with a slightly bitter finish. The result is an outstanding step up from previous years, a beer that is eminently drinkable now but will definitely cellar well for 2-3 years. Right now you’ll get subtle chocolate behind balanced hops, but over time the smooth malt tones will mingle and come forward.

But I said something about packaging, right? Sure did. This is not only a dramatic departure from previous Howe Sound bottling, but also from prior Woolly Buggers. Frankly, I love every little bit of this bottle. To generate this beauty, Howe Sound teamed up with Tom Pedriks from Resonance Branding and, gosh darn it, they did well together. In addition to a flat out awesome 19th century pharmaceutical look and feel on a bottle that basically contains medicine, the format of the bottle should not be overlooked. It’s a 375ml demi. Most local Barley Wines come in 650ml bombers, which can make the commitment involved in cracking one open somewhat daunting. The term “Drinkable” in beer doesn’t usually mean “something you can physically drink in one sitting”, but what the hell, I’ll call this one Drinkable.

So, go forth and buy a few bottles of this sweet and boozy concoction, and enjoy yourself a cool snifter in front of a roaring fire. It’s what this beer was made for.

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DRINK THIS BEER | The Exceptional Saison Brett By Delta’s Own “Four Winds Brewing”

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by Chuck Hallett | We lead a charmed life here in BC, at least as far as good beverages are concerned. Entire swathes of the beer-drinking world are still stuck under the oppressive thumb of Big Beer, knowing naught of the delightful, hand-crafted products that the rest of us take for granted, never even suspecting that beer can be more than something to get drunk on before a football game.

But the isolation knife cuts both ways. Us spoiled BC-types have a tendency to get complacent. We forget that while we do generally have pretty great beer, in the grand scheme of things most of our craft beer is fairly average. Beer releases in BC that are truly world-class come along only on very rare occasions.

This is one of those occasions. Four Winds Brewing of Delta have proudly declared their membership in the upper echelon of BC breweries by throwing down a Brettyanomyces-fermented and corked whopper of a Saison, titled simply “Saison Brett.”

Before winding up in your mouth, this beer spent six months fermenting away inside six used wine barrels from BC’s own Burrowing Owl and Stag’s Hollow wineries. During that time the beer absorbed depths of character from the oak and bubbling Brettanomyces dried it out while adding a funky, straw/barn-like complexity to an already exceptional beer.

Reviews have generally been of the “frothing-at-the-mouth amazeballs” variety and, frankly, I agree 100%. This is an outstanding beer that can either be eagerly drunk this instant and or cellared (marvellously) for up to two or three years. I’m not kidding when I say that this is the best beer to be produced in BC in a very long time. As per usual with beers of this quality, only a very limited quantity was released, so get some sooner rather later or you’ll probably regret it.

Find yours at select private liquor stores (my full list) for $12 to $15.00 per 750ml bottle. Note that only 136 cases were made and even less were distributed, so you best move now.

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DRINK THIS BEER | The “Hermannator”, A Dark Lager From Vancouver Island Brewery

November 6, 2013 

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by Chuck Hallett | The start of the winter cellaring beer release season is upon us. How can I tell? Vancouver Island Brewing has dropped the 2013 version of their famous Eisbock, aka Hermannator. Now in its 26th year, this dark and strong bugger comes out mere weeks before the rest of the winter heavies, giving us beer geeks time enough to clear out a shelf or two in our cellars.

You wouldn’t know it by looking at it, but an Eisbock is actually a lager; a pitch black, strong (9.5%!) lager that, upon tasting, you’d be forgiven for confusing with a rich ale, what with all the chocolate, caramel and brown sugar that comes through on the palate. And is that some raisin I taste in there, too? Yes it is. This is a brilliant beer to sip out of a snifter on those cold winter evenings (drink it from the bottle and I will break into your condo, hurt you, and take it away like a cruel sort of reverse Santa Claus).

And don’t just take my word on it. Hermannator was recently awarded the coveted Best Of Show Award at the 2013 BC Beer Awards, which is some serious beer geek cred. In addition to being almost universally acclaimed as awesome, Hermannator is a great starting beer for those interested in cellaring. Properly stored, this beer will age and slowly improve for five or more years.

If you’re keen on cellaring, look for the limited edition waxed dipped 650ml bomber with the 2013 vintage stamped into the wax-dipped top at private stores in Victoria, and at select private stores in Vancouver (VIB will announce who gets the goods via Twitter).

Where to get it: The LDB carries the six packs. Private stores in Victoria will get access to the waxed 650ml bombers.
How much is it: $13.75 for six 335ml bottles.
When to get it: Hermannator six packs stick around for a few months, but generally are gone by February.

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DRINK THIS BEER | Hoyne Brewing Co.’s Fresh-Hopped Seasonal Wolf Vine Pale Ale

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by Chuck Hallett | Hoyne Brewing is a fairly new outfit in Victoria. Started in late 2011 by Sean Hoyne, formerly of the Canoe Brewpub, their focus is on what I like to call “Table Beer”: inexpensive, moderate alcohol, solidly brewed beers meant to be consumed regularly, or to pair with dinner. Their regular line-up includes a meaty Pilsner, a balanced Pale Ale, and a subtle IPA.

You can find most of their beer at your local government liquor store for the low, low price of $5.25 per 650ml bottle. However, today I’m not talking about their regular line-up. Today I’m talking about their fresh hopped seasonal: Wolf Vine Pale Ale.

Fresh-hopped beers are exactly what they sound like; instead of using regular dried hops to brew the beer, fresh-hopped ales grab the little green bitter bombs straight from the ground and plunge them into the brew whole. As hops are harvested in September, these are fairly rare beers with limited availability. Ask your local private store about this guy, buy it, and drink it soon (fresh is best). You can save thanking me for later.

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BARLEY MOWAT | Awaiting First Pours In The Imminent Brassneck Brewery On Main

September 16, 2013 

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by Chuck Hallett | When Nigel Springthorpe and Conrad Gmoser decided to start Brassneck Brewery at 2148 Main Street, they also decided to start growing out their beards as living emblems of their common endeavour. What initially seemed like a bit of a lark turned into well over a year’s worth of untrimmed facial hair as delays and setbacks repeatedly pushed the opening date ever into the future. Thus the gag evolved from a joke into a symbol of their struggle, commitment and perseverance.

Well, the wait is almost over. Only two inspections remain (fire and health), and then Brassneck will be open for business. Nigel and Conrad’s promise of a dozen or so beers on tap likely won’t be realized on day one, as it takes quite a bit of time to fill thirteen cellar tanks, not to mention to work out all the kinks and quirks of a brand new brewing system.

However, there will be a few options to try out, all holding a bit of a view into future brews from Brewmaster Gmoser. Rumour has it that some or all of the following might be on the opening day menu: A straight up single-hopped pale (“Brassneck Ale”), a low ABV session lager (“No Brainer”), a Falconer’s Flight dry-hopped pale (“Passive Aggressive”), an orange-hued 5 grain weisse beer (“Multiweizen”), a White IPA w/ Galaxy hops, and an unnamed Russian Imperial Stout. The good looking bottles/growlers see straight-forward minimalist branding treatments from the young team at Post Projects (see also Revolver Coffee) with darling brew-specific motifs by local ceramicist Maggie Boyd, the same artist who made the cool plates at Bestie.

The first brews will all be small batch experiments, as the brewing team tries to learn what each fermenter can bring to the party. Unlike pretty much every other brewery in Vancouver, Brassneck will have five different types of systems on which to brew beer. What fails in one system might work beautifully in another. Figuring this out takes time, experimentation, and tasting, and boy am I willing to help out with that last part!

Don’t expect a big announcement or a launch party. Nigel wants to avoid the first day crush experienced recently by other breweries. When the beers are ready (but not before), he will quietly take down the paper covering the windows, open the door, and welcome his first customer. No fanfare, no lineups (at least at first); just great beer and his vision of what a brewery tasting room should be. We can expect 45-50 seats altogether in a room that is enlivened by 100 year old wooden framing planks reclaimed (Craigslisted!) from a Vancouver mill.

I suppose the only question that remains is whether or not Conrad and Nigel will shave their beards for opening day. [ed. note: they've promised]

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Chuck Hallett lives and works in downtown Vancouver. His passionate obsession with craft beer borders on insanity. When not attempting to single-handedly financially support the local brewing industry through personal consumption, he spouts off on his award-winning beer-themed blog: BarleyMowat.com. If you’re in a good beer bar reading this, odds are he’s sitting next to you. Be polite and say hi.

BARLEY MOWAT | On The Odd But Always Interesting Introduction Of “Brett” To Beer

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by Chuck Hallett | Ready for some advanced beer-geekery? Let’s talk Brettanomyces, or “Brett” for short. Brett is an interesting micro-organism. I’ll give you a second to go read that link. In particular, read the sub-section on Sensory Compounds. Brett can infuse your wine and beer with such lovely flavours as “Band-aids”, “Sweaty saddle”, or even “rancid cheese”.

Sound delicious yet? Well, that’s the trick. On the surface, this bugger sounds just awful, like the sort of insulting thing you would say about a beer right before pouring it down the drain. In sufficient quantities, it can be true. In just the right levels, though, it’s actually really freaking good. I mean, who doesn’t want just a little “antiseptic” in their beer?

Brett can add a pleasing complexity to beer, something perhaps best described as “funk.” The best thing is that virtually no two Brett beers are the same. Brett in different levels can add a tiny tang to a beer, or go all the way up to making it almost – and I must stress the almost – undrinkable.

The fact that most producers tend to ferment their beers with Brett while aging in oak barrels only adds to the complexity. I’m a huge fan of pretty much anything that spent time in an oak barrel, and beer is absolutely no exception.

Because Brett works slowly it can keep changing a beer for months, even years, after bottling. This is why these beers are often bottled with a little Brett left in suspension, and not infrequently corked in order to…well…keep the Brett from exploding.

For this reason, even two bottles of the exact same beer can show remarkable variability. They can be subtle with a flavour that you can’t quite put your finger on. They can be tart. They can be sour. They can be – and usually are – delicious.

Ultimately, though, I’m not going to have much luck trying to convince you online that “barnyard” really is a flavour that you’d dig in your beer. In person is the only way to go, and luckily I have some recommendations. Go to your local private liquor store and grab some today (the government one’s don’t carry stuff this good).

YOUR HOMEWORK | On the milder end is “Logsdon Farmhouse Seizoen Bretta.” This is a subtly complex Saison from just outside Portland, Oregon. Watch for the non-Brett version, too (no “Bretta” in the name). This is a great opportunity to buy both and compare the before and after to see what Brett does.

Want some hops with your funk? Try “Rayon Vert,” a hoppy, Bretty Belgian Ale from San Diego brewer Green Flash. Also available is “Anchorage Galaxy White IPA,” which has some wine yeast thrown into the mix for good measure.

A little more advanced (and a little on the sour side) is “The Commons Flemish Kiss.” This is a fairly straight-forward Portland-produced Pale Ale that’s been crammed into used wine barrels with Brett for five weeks. The result is a slightly sour, intensely interesting beer.

Slightly sour not your thing? Try “Cantillon Gueuze.” It’s a traditional Belgian sour presented straight-up. This is just you, some beer, and capital-S Sour. If you find the prospect of unadulterated sour beer somewhat intimidating, you should try the “Cantillon Kriek.” Sour cherries have been introduced to the mix to provide some extra body, and of course cherry flavouring.

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Chuck Hallett lives and works in downtown Vancouver. His passionate obsession with craft beer borders on insanity. When not attempting to single-handedly financially support the local brewing industry through personal consumption, he spouts off on his award-winning beer-themed blog: BarleyMowat.com. If you’re in a good beer bar reading this, odds are he’s sitting next to you. Be polite and say hi.

SEEN IN VANCOUVER #455 | Inside Mount Pleasant’s New 33 Acres Brewing Company

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by Chuck Hallett | The much anticipated 33 Acres is now open for business at 15 West Eighth Ave (just off Main). Their new tasting room is an unusual touch of elegant Swedish cafe in the otherwise burly man-cave-esque brewery scene. This pristine aesthetic isn’t just skin deep –it penetrates all the way to the brewery floor, which sports an immaculate white production floor showcasing a sparkling brewing line that would not look out of place in a utopian science fiction fantasy…uh…about beer (see my preview here).

Back in the tasting room, visitors can sample the elegant sessional beers on tap while contemplating the vast array of succulent plants, or perhaps just watching the world stroll by via a seat at the large picture windows. More often than not, those strollers-by end up inside as well.

Stylish, high quality merchandise is also up for grabs, but quality comes at a price. Those slick, desire-inspiring porcelain growlers? $75 a pop. Okay, I’ll admit it, I bought one, and it was worth it! On tap you’ll find Life, a smooth, flavourful California Common style beer somewhere between lagers and ales; Ocean, a Cascadian Pale Ale in every sense (think floral hops over a rich malt body with a hint of caramel); and a brand new witbier aptly named 33 Acres of Sunshine.

Check them out on Twitter, Facebook, and in person Monday to Thursday from 12pm to 9pm, Friday and Saturday from 11am to 11pm, and on Sunday from 11am to 5pm.

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BARLEY MOWAT | Taking The Mystery Out Of Cellaring Your Awesome Beer Collection

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by Chuck Hallett | Beer, much like wine, falls into two distinctive categories: table beer, intended to be consumed as fresh as possible, and cellaring beer, meant to be aged for some time prior to consumption. Cellaring beer is a growing hobby within the craft beer set, and you too can join in for a modest start-up investment. So let’s get cracking.

1. What should be cellared? | Generally high alcohol, high malt beers cellar better than most others. Look for Russian Imperial Stouts and Barley Wines to start. These releases come out from early December to mid-winter, and sell out fast. Other styles that cellar well include Belgian Quads, Tripels, Sours, and Ice Bocks. Driftwood Brewing, in particular, makes a great Barley Wine called “Old Cellar Dweller” that will improve over several years. Don’t be timid, though, all beers will change over time, and most beers are cheap enough that you can experiment.

2. Where should I cellar it? | Not in your garage, and sure as hell not in a closet that seems “kinda cold.” Temperature flux will kill your beer, and anywhere that is either exposed to the outside or to the inside will flux dozens of degrees F per day. You need to either dig a big hole or buy a cheap wine fridge. These fridges range from ~$10 per bottle to $50 per bottle, but for a starting beer cellar you can stick to the bottom end.

3. So I just stick the beer in this new fridge? | Not right away. Open one of yours beers and try it (you bought more than one, didn’t you?). Write down notes to remind Future You of what it tasted like. Don’t be too nice, as Future You is a jerk. He stole all your beer, afterall. Ideally you should buy several beers and sample a bottle every few months. This way you won’t miss it when it gets good.

4. What if I miss it when it gets good? | Don’t panic. Beer, unlike most wines, goes through several periods of emminent drinkability (or “peaks”) as the various compounds settle out.

5. What am I looking for? | No two beers age the same, but in very general, broad terms bold flavours will become less intense, hop aromas (and bitering) will subside, and milder flavours will begin to bleed together. A year or two in you might notice some light caramel coming to the front of a beer that, to start with, was basically all hops.

And that’s it. You’re ready. For more advanced info, read my (sorta NSFW) in-depth guide to cellaring, or perhaps my more recent article on cellaring beer standing up or lying down.

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Chuck Hallett lives and works in downtown Vancouver. His passionate obsession with craft beer borders on insanity. When not attempting to single-handedly financially support the local brewing industry through personal consumption, he spouts off on his award-winning beer-themed blog: BarleyMowat.com. If you’re in a good beer bar reading this, odds are he’s sitting next to you. Be polite and say hi.

HONOUR BOUND: Do Your Bit And Write In To Support Vancouver’s Brewery Lounges

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by Chuck Hallett | The big vote on brewery lounges is tomorrow at city council, and what was looking like a slam dunk on the side of awesome is now in jeopardy. The short version of that link is that a group of people (the Campaign for Culture) feel the proposed restrictions on are bad. I’m not going to pick a fight on that particular issue; the three restrictions, while reasonable, are totally just a salve to make lounges less threatening to bars. For the record, the three limitations are:

- Must close by 11pm
- Must be smaller than 860 square feet
- Cannot host more than two special events per month

What I am going to take issue with, though, is CFC’s approach of “if we can’t get what we want, we’re taking the ball and going home.” Yup, they are fighting against allowing lounges AT ALL unless those three restrictions are removed. Honestly, it’s like being three months into a relationship and refusing first time sex with your girlfriend because she won’t let you put the horse in the bathtub full of jello.

Having brewery lounges at all is so vastly better than NOT having them, that we’ll take this amendment, horse-less jello tub and all. (What? No horse? What about a goat?) While, yes, an amendment lacking those restrictions would be even better, what would be much worse is the many months of additional time it would take to get it. We have two awesome breweries about to open in Brewery Creek (33 Acres and Brassneck), both of which are absolutely counting on their lounges to generate much-needed revenue to stay afloat.

The other dirty little secret is, of course, that the current batch of breweries don’t even want those three restrictions lifted. None are proposed for more than 860 sf, and none want to be open past 11pm. That’s what pubs are for, and brewery lounges are absolutely not pubs.

Anyway, enough prelude. The whole point of this post is to get people to send emails to the mayor and council supporting this amendment. Those cranky bastards at CFC are doing this on their side, resulting in 12 letters against to just 1 for. I’ve taken all the hard work out of this for you, and drafted a form letter you can use below. The email address you want is mayorandcouncil@vancouver.ca and the letter is below. 

Dear Sirs/Mesdames:

I am writing you today in support of amending the Zoning and Development By-Law to allow lounge use accessory to a Brewing or Distilling use.

The burgeoning craft brewing and distilling industry supports a key demand of local residents: to purchase merchandise from, and thereby support, local businesses.

Vancouver residents increasingly recognize the quality products being produced by local breweries and distilleries, but unfortunately have to retire to their homes to enjoy these products beyond a small sample. Allowing lounges will encourage a sense of community around these new businesses, as well as award local producers a much-needed revenue stream, encouraging further expansion of this new niche.

Additionally, our rapidly increasing local brewery and distillery scene has drawn the attention of visiting tourists, many of whom are dismayed to learn that the extent of their sampling is limited to a single sample per day. Adopting an amendment that will erase this restriction, and bring Vancouver breweries and distilleries more inline with businesses in other jurisdictions will be extremely beneficial to local businesses and residents.

I trust that you will consider the interests of both local businesses and residents when you take this matter under consideration on July 9th, and vote in favour this amendment.

Yours truly,

YOUR NAME ETC.

Please folks, do this. It’s actually important.

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Honour Bound details the many cool things that we feel honour bound to check out because they either represent Vancouver exceptionally well or are inherently super awesome in one way or another.

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Chuck Hallett lives and works in downtown Vancouver. His passionate obsession with craft beer borders on insanity. When not attempting to single-handedly financially support the local brewing industry through personal consumption, he spouts off on his award-winning beer-themed blog: BarleyMowat.com. If you’re in a good beer bar reading this, odds are he’s sitting next to you. Be polite and say hi.

BARLEY MOWAT: A Look Inside “Brassneck Brewery”, Opening In August At Main & 6th

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by Chuck Hallett | Brewery Creek will get five, count ‘em, five new breweries this year. We’ve already given you the inside scoop on 33 Acres (opening July), but as cool as Josh Michnik’s art-house brewery will no doubt be, it’s not the brewery the beererati are a-buzz about. That brewery, my friends, is none other than Brassneck. Why does it get all the geek cred? Because it’s the love child of two of Vancouver’s premier craft beer legends, that’s why.

The first of those two is none other than Conrad Gmoser, the brewer behind Steamworks Brewing Company for the past 17 years. Also involved is the legendary Nigel Springthorpe who, in his capacity as co-owner of the equally legendary Alibi Room, has done more to promote craft beer in Vancouver since 2006 than almost anyone else.

That combination of talents – knowing the culture of craft beer in Vancouver, knowing what beers to make, and knowing how to make them – has pretty much every bearded face staring in the direction of Main & 6th Ave with lips parted slightly in slobbering anticipation of the brews that are about to spill forth.

Upon opening, Brassneck will sport the ability to brew up to ten different styles of beer at the same time in a variety of batch sizes. What does that mean? That means Conrad will be free from the traditional pub-beers of Steamworks to brew an ever-changing line-up of novel beers. Don’t like what’s on offer Tuesday? Come back Friday and things will have changed. That, combined with an attractive, large tasting room nestled between the brewhouse and cellar (and of course the prerequisite growler stations), will keep both the new initiates to craft beer as well as the old school coming back week after week after week.

Look for Brassneck to open at some point this August. In the meantime, read a full interview about the brewery with Nigel Springthorpe on my blog here and keep up to date on their progress via their Instagram.

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Chuck Hallett lives and works in downtown Vancouver. His passionate obsession with craft beer borders on insanity. When not attempting to single-handedly financially support the local brewing industry through personal consumption, he spouts off on his award-winning beer-themed blog: BarleyMowat.com. If you’re in a good beer bar reading this, odds are he’s sitting next to you. Be polite and say hi.

BARLEY MOWAT: 6 Great “Vancouver Craft Beer Week” Events That You Shouldn’t Miss

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by Chuck Hallett | Alright, it’s here! Vancouer Craft Beer Week (VCBW) starts this Friday, and continues for the next eight nights. There are lots of beer fests around town every year, and understandably aspiring beer geeks can’t make it out to all of them but, folks, this is THE event of the year. Other festivals try to be as awesome, but none can match the sheer intensity of good beer that is VCBW (BC Craft Beer Month – October – just seems watered down by comparison).

VCBW combines daily ticketed and walk-up events to showcase the world of craft beer, across all of its awesome styles. Sure, many of the marquee events have long since sold out, but there are still tickets for many quality events, and every day features a walk-up event with no cover charge. Which events should command your hard earned cash? Well, hopefully you can make it to all of them, but if you can’t here are a select few that I think will be very interesting…

June 1st: Four Winds Brewing Open House (no tix required) | Swing on by and say ‘Hi’ to the Lower Mainland’s newest craft brewery. Sure, they’re out in Delta, but did I mention that they’ll be sampling beer?

June 3rd: Biercraft Belgian Showcase | Bet you didn’t know that BC produces plenty of award winning Belgian beers, eh? Try those out side-by-side with the real deal and see which you prefer.

June 4th: Beer Cocktail Competition | The beer cocktail is blasphemy to many a beer geek, but it is an emerging art form and gosh darnit if they aren’t making some tastey beverages out there.

June 6th: Brothers in Hops | Big hoppy beers, paired food, and actual brewmasters all in one place? Rockin’. Expect beards.

June 6th: Riverboat Throwdown | 10 cask ales go head to head to see who brews the best (tiny) beers. Throw gambling into that mix and you have the recipe for… well… foreclosure on your house, I guess.

June 7th/8th: Closing Beer Festival  | A two night bash featuring pretty much every awesome brewery in the province. If you’re just getting into craft beer, this is an event you won’t want to miss, as virtually every good beer brewed in the province will be pouring for samples. Tickets here for the 6th and there for the 7th.

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Chuck Hallett lives and works in downtown Vancouver. His passionate obsession with craft beer borders on insanity. When not attempting to single-handedly financially support the local brewing industry through personal consumption, he spouts off on his award-winning beer-themed blog: BarleyMowat.com. If you’re in a good beer bar reading this, odds are he’s sitting next to you. Be polite and say hi.

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