The GOODS from 33 Acres Brewing Co.
Vancouver, BC | 33 Acres Brewing Company has officially launched its brewery tour program! Get an insider’s look into how 33 Acres brews their beers with an in-depth tour of the brewing process. Along side beer education and some history, you’ll get to enjoy a long table tasting that over-looks the brewery floor. Expect beer, some food, some more beer, and then maybe some more beer. They only allow 16 people every two weeks so make sure you sign up fast. Tickets are $30 and available on their website. Learn more about 33 Acres Brewing Co. after the jump… Read more
This is the first 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 | On any sunny day, the Dageraadplaats, a square on the east side of Antwerp, is full of people. Kids ride laps around the square on their bikes, form impromptu gangs and generally run wild, while parents sit and chat with friends and neighbours while enjoying the sun and watching passersby.
The square contains no monuments and no public buildings of note. If it appears in any tourist guide to Antwerp, it’s as a footnote, not a destination. The Dageraadplaats isn’t a ceremonial space; it’s just a pleasant place for the community to gather. There’s a basketball court and picnic tables under the trees in the middle of the square, and the edges are lined with café patios.
At any of the cafés, from the Moeskop to the Zeezicht, you can buy incredible beers like Orval, Duvel and Westmalle Dubbel at very reasonable prices. These beers are simply a part of life in Belgium. It is not uncommon to see a couple of retirees drinking Tripel Karmeliet at a café at ten on a Tuesday morning. What else is retirement for?
By mid-afternoon, the café tables begin to accumulate a wide variety of beers, each served in its own particular glass. There is Rochefort’s graceful goblet, Mort Subite’s fluted tumbler, Duvel’s iconic tulip bulb, and Kwak’s ridiculous flask and wooden stand. More often than any of these, you’ll see the bolleke – an upward-sweeping footed goblet full of copper-coloured beer from Antwerp’s own De Koninck brewery. So much variety, so many different flavours, so much beer culture, all from one tiny country.
I love Belgium. I love the people – the Flemish and Walloons both. I love Antwerp and the Ardennes. And I really love the beer. But I don’t live in Belgium, I live here in Vancouver. I love our beer, too, our IPAs and our imperial stouts. But when I’m not in Belgium, I miss Belgian beer. I miss its diversity and complexity, its depth and surprises.
Can we have that beer here? Not just occasionally as an expensive, imported bottle, but as a standard, locally-brewed beer? Can we drink an authentic-tasting Belgian-style beer from the other side of the city, instead of the other side of the world?
Dageraad means “daybreak” or “sunrise” in Flemish. Vancouver is already experiencing the dawn of a new beer culture, and Dageraad Brewing will be part of it.
I’ve been visiting friends in Antwerp for about a decade now, and over the years I’ve had a slow, smouldering love affair with Belgian beer. It started off as a dalliance, a summer fling, but it gradually grew into a passion.
A year and a half ago I made a commitment: I went to brewing school and took two beer sabbaticals to Belgium. I brought along the other love of my life, my wife, journalist Erin Millar — or she brought me along, it’s hard to tell. We visited breweries and were often welcomed by brewers who recognized us as fellow aficionados. It was an amazing opportunity to learn about Belgian beer and ask brewers for their secrets.
It has been my experience that most brewers are incredibly generous with their time and knowledge when they meet a kindred spirit. In the following eight posts, published here over the next few weeks, I’ll recount what I’ve learned about Belgian beer, in part to pay forward the hospitality I received from brewers in Belgium, and in part to announce my new brewery.
I’m opening a brewery.
It’s called Dageraad Brewing. It’s named after a square in Antwerp. It’s also named after what that square is named for: daybreak or dawn, that period of time when the sky is brightening but the sun has yet to rise, when there are still stars in the western sky and the pale moon is just starting to fade into the pale blue sky.
The beers aren’t going to be Belgian. Belgian beers come from Belgium. My beers are going to come from a little industrial unit in Burnaby, BC, Canada, so they’ll be Canadian or British Columbian or Burnabarian, which is a word I made up that I like very much. But the beers will be Belgian-inspired, because those are the beers I like best.
Can you brew authentic Belgian-style beers in Canada? What does Belgian-style even mean? In coming posts I’m going to explain what Belgian-style means to me and argue that yes, you can brew those beers here. And then I’m going to prove it.
Photos: Goffe Struiksma | Map illustration: Eli Horn
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 The Bottleneck
Vancouver, BC | The Bottleneck and R&B Brewing are collaborating on our second beer dinner on Tuesday, March 11th. It will be based around the exciting theme of Fermentation. Think pickled, smoked and cured meats, cheeses, veggies prepared in remarkable ways! Todd Graham of R&B will be coming up with beers to match a menu crafted by chef Hugh Carbery. Tickets are limited and include a selection of cask beer matched with a four course dinner, all served in sequence and including desert. Doors open at 7pm with dinner served at 8pm. Tickets are $60 with tax included. Call 604-739-4540 or e-mail Juliana at julianamoore [at] livenation.com to reserve.Learn more after the jump… Read more
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).
Co-founders: Nigel Springthorpe & Conrad Gmoser
Brassneck Brewery is now open! Come visit us at 2148 Main St. in Vancouver, BC. Our hours are Monday to Friday from 2pm to 11pm and Saturday & Sunday from 12pm to 11pm.
The GOODS from Red Truck Beer Company
Vancouver, BC | Our new, limited edition Black Truck Stout is a robust North American style stout. Strong, dark, and bitter chocolate and coffee flavours dominate. The body is relatively dry, and its light citrus bite from its South Pacific hops make it a comparatively easy drinking stout for it’s size. This beer is – in equal measure – a good defence against the rain and the holidays. Have a pint of darkness to take away the grey!
Appearance: Black. Very Black…like having your eyes closed in the Abyss.
Aroma: Roast barley, faint lemon, and chocolate covered coffee beans
Finish: Like being swallowed by a kraken after he has had his morning espresso.
Try it with hearty stews, ribs, BBQ and traditional holiday items like turkey and ham. It’s also often a match with oysters (just ask your shucker) and great with many rich desserts. Try it at select craft-loving eateries and bars throughout Vancouver. Read more
Blarney Stone | Place | A rite of passage for many young suburban Vancouverites is to party at the Blarney Stone, an Irish-themed “pub” in Gastown. Although remodelled in 2010, the bar still manages to attract an unbearable melange of barely legal douchebags-to-be who wreak (and reek) havoc on the neighbourhood every St. Paddy’s Day.
Usage: “Ugh. My dog just ate someone’s green puke in Bloody Alley. Thanks, Blarney Stone.”
Alibi | The Alibi Room is a beer focused restaurant offering some 50 odd taps on the eastern edge of Gastown. It has acted as the de facto schwerpunkt for Vancouver’s craft beer renaissance over the last seven years.
Usage: “Have you tried the new cask ale at Alibi yet”?
The GOODS from Re-Up BBQ
Vancouver, BC | The Re-Up BBQ is collaborating with their favorite neighbour, Longtail Kitchen (Angus An’s latest Thai restaurant) to throw down a significant amount of fried chicken in all sorts of styles, with all sorts of sauces. Eat fried chicken til you drop, and then wash it all down with a delicious pilsner from Ninkasi Brewing in Oregon, courtesy of artisanal beer supplier, Copper and Theory. And that’s it, folks! Fried chicken and beer. One night only. Don’t miss out. Purchase your tickets here. Read more
With the aid of New Zealand’s Tui Brewery, a group of guys play the joke that dreams are made of on their friend Russ (and his nonplussed spouse) by re-doing all of the plumbing in his house with cold beer, even the shower. Top marks to the Kiwi in the Vancouver Canucks hat at 4:04. Way to represent!
by Andrew Morrison | A month after serving its first currywursts at 105 East Pender in Chinatown, Bestie finally served its first beers last night to the gentle sounds of an Oompah fellow who was brought in to herald the liqour license’s arrival, German-style. To compliment their sausage selection, they’re serving Coal Harbour 311 Helles Lager (brewed with the same yeast strain from the Paulaner Brewery in Munich), Driftwood Crooked Coast Altbier, Driftwood White Bark Witbier, and Red Racer Pilsner in the vessels seen above. Co-owner Dane Brown notes that they “also have Schneiderweisse in half litre bottles for any homesick Deutschlanders.” And there was much rejoicing.
The GOODS from Red Truck Beer Company
Vancouver, BC | Red Truck Summer (5%) is an American Blonde Ale that is refreshing and easily crushable. This beer is sunshine, patios, laughing and running barefoot with unicorns. It’s what’s inside the Pulp Fiction suitcase. It’s full of wonder and tastes like dreams. This dry lightly toasted ale has hints of stone fruits, honey, peach and apricots and pairs well with Italian, Mediterranean and lighter North American foods. This limited product will be available in select locations including Wildebeest, Calabash, The Alibi Room, St Augustines, Chewies and Central Bistro. Read more
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.
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.