GHOST HOODS | On The Rise And Fall (And Rise) Of Mount Pleasant’s “Brewery Creek”

April 10, 2014 

The GHOST HOOD series dovetails with the new HOODS section of Scout (launching on Monday)

by Stevie Wilson | In conversations about Mount Pleasant these days, the old “Brewery Creek” moniker is being increasingly employed on account of all the new breweries that have arrived in recent years. But what exactly is the significance of the name? It’s important to note that although it’s generally thought of as synonymous with the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood, the “Brewery Creek” distinction refers to a particular stretch of waterway that was integral to the growth and economic development of the area. Long before white settlers arrived, this expansive region was a popular harvesting location for First Nations. It would later become an important economic sector for new businesses thanks to its flowing natural resource.

The patch of land that became known as Mount Pleasant was originally shrouded in dense, dark rainforest. The creek that drained this forest into the salty waters of False Creek sat at the bottom of a large ravine that was open to the sky. It offered an abundance of flowers, berries, and other plants used by First Nations for medicine and food. The (now lost) waterway began near where Mountain View Cemetery is located today. Water flowed downhill just west of modern-day Fraser Street to a marshy, dammed area near 14th Avenue (Tea Swamp Park). From here, the creek flowed down the Mount Pleasant hillside, following a northeastern path alongside a First Nations trail (near where Kingsway cuts across Main Street), and continuing into the eastern waters of False Creek (which have since been filled in) near Terminal Avenue.

In 1867, the creek area in Mount Pleasant became Vancouver’s first piped waterway, delivering water by flume to Gastown – then the center of the city – and the boilers at Captain Edward Stamp’s Mill near the foot of Dunlevy (later known as the Hastings Sawmill).

The Brewery Creek region was defined by its open landscape, its distinct flora and fauna, and the numerous businesses that followed the path of the waterway – including several slaughterhouses, the nearby Vancouver Tannery, and an assortment of local beverage-makers that used the creek to power their water wheels: the San Francisco Brewery (later known as the Red Star Brewery), Mainland Brewery, Landsdowne Brewery,  Lion Brewery, and the Thorpe & Co. Soda Water Works. Read more

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.

MORE BARLEY MOWAT

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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: Why Craft Beers Are Awesome (And Macro Brewery Beers Suck)

February 28, 2013 

by Chuck Hallett | So what’s all this Craft Beer fuss about? You see the term in bars, and you definitely see it in the liquor store, but what makes some beers craft and others…not?

“Craft Beer” is a fairly new concept, one which grew out of the older term “Micro-brewery.” Micro-breweries staggered onto the scene begin in the mid-80s, and wanted to differentiate themselves from the “beer” produced by the major breweries (think Coors, Busch, Molson, etc). So, they began a program of marketing themselves as the little guy, brewing beer with time honoured traditions and only quality ingredients, versus the big corporate behemoths, only concerned with ever-increasing profits.

And guess what? It worked. It worked so well, in fact, that the micro-breweries grew so large that the term “micro” became a fairly laughable misnomer for them. Therefore a new term was needed, and now we have Craft Beer. Only the USA has an official definition of craft beer (and one that seemingly constantly shifts to avoid including anything brewed by the big guys); Canada has no official designation, but coloquially it means “sorta good.” You can read more about changing Craft Beer designations here.

But why aren’t macros good? Surely, as the old “micros” have proven, one can certainly brew good beer in large volumes? Ah, but therein lies the trick. The older, larger breweries just aren’t brewing good beer. They aren’t even trying to brew good beer. They’re brewing a special brand of insipid lager that they created and popularized through decades of research and advertising. How? Why? Time for a bit of history…

Lighter tasting beers are a fairly recent innovation in brewing. While the trend towards predominantly lager production was in place pretty much as soon as lager was invented, the wheels really didn’t come off the beer flavour cart until US Prohibition (1920). Prohibition is pretty much solely responsible for the invention of “American-style Pale Lager”, a label that’s about as hard to throw out of your mouth as the product is to throw in. Even so, this abomination is anywhere from 75-95% of all beer sold today, depending on the market (we’re ~80%, FYI).

In the dark years of Prohibition bartenders would smuggle barrels of lager in from Canada (or from underground breweries closer to home) and then conscientiously serve a quality product to a clientele that, suffering under the iron fist of repression, needed just a few moments of flavourful relief and respite from their cruel, beer-less lives. Just kidding, they watered that shit down to within an inch of its life and sold it to desperate rummies who would pay anything for their medicine. It’s just the way it goes.

Surprisingly, their patrons actually *preferred* the lighter flavoured, lower alcohol product. Partly this was because the beer was either originally produced in someone’s bathtub between bathings or, even worse, smuggled in from Canada in a long, unrefrigerated version of a reverse underground railroad. Also, it could be presumed that it was easier to deny imbibing illegally if one wasn’t passed out blind drunk at the dinner table.

When the USA got their collective senses back and repealed Prohibition (1933), the pent-up demand was not for quality beers, but rather for the weaker American lagers that everyone had become used to…and so an industry was born. In the next few decades, things went from bad to worse as breweries boomed, grew to industrial scale, and began experimenting with ways to make their product even less flavourful. Flavourless hops and barley were custom bred to help (Coors famously uses their own species of barley) but that only took things so far.

Shortly thereafter, adjuncts such as corn entered the brewing chain, along with non-hop bittering methods. These were praised not only by consumers for providing “clean, refreshing taste” but also by the producers because they’re cheap as fuck compared to actual barley and hops.

Around this industry of generic, insipid drunk-water grew a massive marketing machine. This wasn’t by accident; the only way to differentiate an entire industry of effectively identical products is through branding. And thus the big-budget beer commercial was born, and legions of brand-loyal consumers bought the slick marketing hook, line and stinker. Despite professing being “Bud Men” or a “Coors Fan”, the reality is that the vast majority of macro-drinkers are unable to differentiate between their preferred product and the competition’s. They’ve bought the branding, not the beer.

With a product whose very existence relies on strong branding comes strong competitive advertising and a cut-throat industry hell-bent on destroying or acquiring the competition. This is macro beer, and the big guys behave towards the little guys pretty much like you’d expect: they buy them and shut ‘em down (or seriously water down their product to “increase its marketability”).

Craft Beer, in stark contrast, is focused around making the best beer possible and letting consumers decide what to drink – preferrably a variety of products. Consumers have bought into this model so strongly that the Craft Beer segment continues to grow faster than the breweries can keep up. With enough business to go around for everyone, there’s no pressure to subdue one’s competition. In fact, craft breweries have invented a unique tradition: the collaboration, wherein two breweries jointly share the creation of a beer so they can share techniques, technologoies, and processes.

That spirit of collaboration, quality, and constant improvement is the heart and soul of “Craft Beer”. The great suds are just a bonus.

MORE BARLEY MOWAT

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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.

GOODS: Local “Red Truck Beer Company” Releases New German Blonde Kolsch Beer

September 8, 2011 

Red Truck Beer Co. is located at 1015 Marine Dr. in North Vancouver | 604-682-4733 | www.redtruckbeer.com

Red Truck Beer Co. is located at 1015 Marine Dr. in North Vancouver | 604-682-4733 | www.redtruckbeer.com

The GOODS from Red Truck Beer Company

Vancouver, BC | Red Truck Limited Kolsch Is a German Blonde ale modelled after the ales of Cologne. The aromas and flavours are subdued, soft and smooth. It is pale gold in colour with a slight haze. The flavour profile is quite similar to most European session lagers, but with more complexity. The hop character is enough to provide balance. This limited edition beer pairs nicely with mild cheeses, fish and meats. It goes especially great with sushi and sashimi and is killer with risotto and gnocci. You’ll be able to find this Limited edition Kolsch in September at The Alibi Room, Boneta, St Augustine’s, Central, The Media Club, Mis Trucos, Calabash and The Point Grill. Learn more about us after the jump… Read more

GOODS: Schwartzbier & Bock Combine At “Red Truck” For Big Black Black

February 21, 2011 

Red Truck Beer Co. is located at 1015 Marine Dr. in North Vancouver | 604-682-4733 | www.redtruckbeer.com

Red Truck Beer Co. is located at 1015 Marine Dr. in North Vancouver | 604-682-4733 | www.redtruckbeer.com

The GOODS from Red Truck Beer Company:

Vancouver, BC | The fine brewing minds at Red Truck have come up with our latest limited release, based on two styles of German beers, Bock (Strong Munich Lager) and Schwartzbier (Black Lager). The colour is black…sooo black, with a tan head. Rich coffee liquor, dark caramel, burnt sugar, dried raisins and plums, dominate the flavours of this beer. It has a sweet malt finish, a subdued hop character, yet despite the colour, is surprisingly clean flavoured. This should go very with any char grilled meats, sausages, wild game, smoker BBQ, blackened food, mole sauces, sweet sauces, sweet roasted vegetables, custard flan desserts, and anything chocolate… Read more

“Red Truck Christmas” In The Holiday Spirit At The Media Club

November 25, 2010 

Red Truck Beer Co. is located at 1015 Marine Dr. in North Vancouver | 604-682-4733 | www.redtruckbeer.com

Red Truck Beer Co. is located at 1015 Marine Dr. in North Vancouver | 604-682-4733 | www.redtruckbeer.com

News from Scout supporter Red Truck Beer Company:

Vancouver, BC | Our friends over at Red Truck have got a big party planned for Dec. 4th over at The Media Club. Miami Device, The Christmas Band and others are playing. $15 entry and a free Red Truck beer before 9:45pm. Partial proceeds go to the Food Bank. Doors open at 8pm. Check the poster and details about Red Truck Brewing Co. after the jump… Read more

R&B Brewing Co. Wins Gold At 2010 Canadian Brewing Awards

October 27, 2010 

R&B Brewing Co. is located at 54 East 4th Ave in Vancouver, BC | 604-874-2537 | www.rbbrewing.com

R&B Brewing Co. is located at 54 East 4th Ave in Vancouver, BC | 604-874-2537 | www.rbbrewing.com

News from Scout supporter R&B Brewing Co.

Vancouver, BC | R&B’s “Sungod Wheat Ale” was awarded the prestigious Gold Medal for North American Style Wheat Beer. A second Gold medal was earned in the Stout category with their Dark Star Oatmeal Stout at the 2010 Canadian Brewing Awards. One of the brewery’s cornerstone products, Red Devil Pale Ale was bestowed the CBA Silver Medal for English Style Pale Ale and their newest brew, Bohemian Pilsner, took Bronze in the Kellerbrier category. Read more

Red Truck Brewing Co. Releases Limited Edition Steam Brew

September 29, 2010 

Red Truck Beer Co. is located at 1015 Marine Dr. in North Vancouver | 604-682-4733 | www.redtruckbeer.com

Red Truck Beer Co. is located at 1015 Marine Dr. in North Vancouver | 604-682-4733 | www.redtruckbeer.com

News from Scout supporter Red Truck Beer Company:

Vancouver, BC | Red Truck Brewing Co. Releases it’s newest Limited Release Beer – Red Truck Steam Beer. This 5% amber lager is a deep reddish brown , having a light fruit aroma, followed by a sharp, clean hop bitterness and a lingering, light caramel aftertaste.

Steam Beers were popularized during the California gold rush, where there was a desire for lagers, as it was a popular style, yet could not be made due to a lack of refridgeration. The solution was to warm ferment these lagers, which gave it a bit of ale and lager character. This “hybid” method is now an uniquely American style of beer.

Available in October at The Alibi Room, Boneta, The Flying Tiger, Mis Trucos, St Augustine’s, The Sunset Grill and Central Bistro. Read more

Red Truck Releases Blueberry Blonde Ale Dubbed “Purple Haze”

Red Truck Beer Co. is located at 1015 Marine Dr. in North Vancouver | 604-682-4733 | www.redtruckbeer.com

Red Truck Beer Co. is located at 1015 Marine Dr. in North Vancouver | 604-682-4733 | www.redtruckbeer.com

News from Scout supporter Red Truck Beer Company:

Vancouver, BC | Red Truck Brewing Co releases it’s newest Limited Release Blueberry Ale-aka The Purple Haze. This 6% blonde ale is fermented with blueberries. Deceptive to your senses like a four day trip to Vegas, this is a light tasting but powerful beer ideal for a weekend without complex plans. It is a deep purple colour with a pinkish head and a light blueberry aroma and tartness plus a dry finish. It can be a refreshing aperitif and/or should be paired with sweet dishes and desserts. Available this month at the Alibi Room, Mis Trucos, The Flying Tiger, The Village Taphouse, Central Bistro, St. Augustines and The Sunset Grill Read more

R&B Brewing’s Popular “Sungod” Wheat Ale Released In Bottles…

R&B Brewing Co. is located at 54 East 4th Ave in Vancouver, BC | 604-874-2537 | www.rbbrewing.com

R&B Brewing Co. is located at 54 East 4th Ave in Vancouver, BC | 604-874-2537 | www.rbbrewing.com

News from Scout supporter R&B Brewing Co.

Vancouver, BC | Vancouver’s Local Microbrewery, R&B Brewing Co. has released their popular Sungod Wheat Ale in 650ml bottles. Barry Benson, co-owner of R&B Brewing Co. says “We get more requests to add the Sungod to our bottle collection than any other beer, we decided it was the right time to give our supporters what they were asking for.”

Recently awarded a silver medal at the 2010 North American Brewing Awards, R&B Brewing Co. Sun God Wheat Ale is a kristallweizen (filtered wheat ale) and is the perfect drink for a hot summer day. Brewed with Canadian wheat and barley, as well as German hops, it is a light-bodied and flavourful beer, easy drinking without compromise to its quality. Cases of twelve, 650ml bottles of Sun God Wheat Ale are available now, through R&B Brewing Co., associated sales representatives and specialty beer stores. Read more

Diva Hosting R&B Brewmaster’s Dinner This Father’s Day

R&B Brewing Co. is located at 54 East 4th Ave in Vancouver, BC | 604-874-2537 | www.rbbrewing.com

R&B Brewing Co. is located at 54 East 4th Ave in Vancouver, BC | 604-874-2537 | www.rbbrewing.com

News from Scout supporter R&B Brewing Co.

Vancouver, BC | Every Dad deserves a taste of Diva this Father’s Day! Treat your fatherly figure to our brewmaster’s dinner featuring pairings of handcrafted beer from Vancouver’s local and award-winning R7B Brewing Company. Saturday, June 19th. One seating: 6:30pm to 9:30pm. $55 per person (complimentary valet parking available). View the multi-course menu here.

Red Truck Welcomes Vancouver Craft Beer Week in a big way

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Red Truck Beer Co. is located at 1015 Marine Dr. in North Vancouver | 604-682-4733 | www.redtruckbeer.com

News from Scout supporter Red Truck Beer Company:

Vancouver, BC | Tonight we will be releasing our newest limited and seasonal product Red Truck Pilsner to co-incide with the launch of Craft Beer Week & Hoppapalooza at The Alibi Room. Look for the Pilsner later in the month at Mis Trucos, The Village Taphouse, Salmon House on the Hill, St Augustine’s and The Flying Tiger. More Red Truck beer news after the jump… Read more

Celebrate BC Craft Beer at Homegrown Heroes Cask Dinner

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The Corner Suite Bistro De Luxe Collaborates with Five Local BC Breweries this May 12th, 2010

News from Scout supporter R&B Brewing Co.

Vancouver BC | On Wednesday May 12th at 7:30pm, The Corner Suite Bistro De Luxe and R&B Brewing Co. present the Homegrown Heroes Cask Dinner. Five local BC Craft Breweries, including R&B Brewing Co, Crannog Ales, Steamworks Brewing Co., Vancouver Island Brewery and Spinnakers Brew Pub, will each present a cask beer to pair with one of five courses prepared by Chef Jason Leizert of The Corner Suite Bistro De Luxe. Homegrown Heroes diners will indulge in five courses including R&B Saison poached Foie Gras Terrine with pickled prune paired with R&B Psycho Saison Belgian Ale, Boudin Blanc with pomme puree & grainy mustard sauce paired with Crannog Gael’s Blood Potato Ale, Sablefish Collars, rhubarb galette, stinging nettle beurre blanc paired with Steamworks NXNW Pale Ale, braised Oxtail Pot Pie, flowering brussel sprouts, poached organic egg yolk, bacon jam paired with Vancouver Island ALT and Cocoa Nib chocolate truffles & 5 year aged cheddar from Quebec paired with Spinnaker’s Oatmeal Stout. Tickets for the dinner are $80 and will include a commemorative tee shirt exclusive to the Homegrown Heroes Cask Dinner. Full details after the jump… Read more

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