Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Beer School Feb9th Ian's Dark Foley

Mrs. Left4beer has repeatedly said that she never married me for my brains. I do dumb things all the time. Book beer schools on dates that don't exist. Forget to bring beers to these events. My personal favourite was the time I scheduled a school on Mother's day! Yet again I have messed up, but this might turn out gooder. Too many beers have been purchased. That is right, this will be a six course beer school! The theme is all dark beers from various styles.

Email in early to reserve your spot,Sunday, February 9th, 7:30ish at Clive's Classic Lounge in the Chateau Victoria. The beers in no particular order:
1. Overcast Espresso Stout - OakShire Brewing, Eugene
2. Black Boss Porter - Poland (One of my favourite beers)
3. Take the Black Stout(Game of Thrones) - Ommegang
4. Victoria at Sea Imperial Porter - Ballast Point, San Diego. A coffee vanilla porter
4. Wookey Jack Black Rye IPA - Firestone. That's right Dave, A freakin, black rye IPA!
5. Bad Santa Cascadian Dark Ale - Pelican Brewing - Pacific City, Oregon

As always you are there to learn. There will be history, glassware lessons, food pairing suggestions, a cheese plate to nibble on and prizes. The same format as always: bring a pen, your palate and $30 (6 beers). Email me or leave a comment to reserve your spot. There will be only 22 spots for this event. Do not delay as these schools fill up quickly. The last school filled in under three hours.
Plan for a safe trip home as always. We have six beers to sample and a few are more than 9% ABV

Please forward this to any other craft beer loving friends who might like to attend. As always plan for a safe trip home. Luckily, Monday is the long weekend.

Looking forward to seeing everyone again,
Ian

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Blood Orange Wit (Phillips)

Beer releases are a rare occurrence in the first month of this year. This week we are blessed with three. Two by Phillips and one by Spinnakers.
The wit (white) beer style is a top fermented wheat brew which originated in Belgium. The single handed efforts of one man, Pierre Celis, to revive this style are a fascinating read. The classic example of style is Hoegaarden, named after the Belgian town where Mr. Celis started brewing this beer. Spices and fruits are commonly used additions to witbiers. Coriander and orange peel are the most common, but I have seen cumin, chamomile and grain of paradise used. So how did the Phillips version fare?

Blood Orange Wit  = 6/10


This brew was pretty darn tasty. The nose was an equal mix of coriander, sweet blood orange and spicy wheat. Each sip didn't reveal anything new, but its light and creamy mouthfeel was very refreshing. It flavours faded quickly, as all good witbiers should. Well done. Odd that it wasn't released in summer.


Taste +4
Aftertaste 0
Alcohol Content 0 5%
Value +1 (Worth the price $6)
Appearance +1 (Good description of flavour and money goes to charity)

Glassware: The heavy hexagonal glass is historically the Hoegaarden/witbier glass. Thick glass helps to keep the beer cold longer. It was possibly shaped to reflect the tradition of drinking out of jam jars, which are often hexagonal.

Food Pairings: Light foods are best. Perfect to start with salads, light fish or seafood and great with cheese sandwiches.

Cellar: Nope, drink this one fresh. This is why I think its release is odd since summer is months away.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

It's official, beer drinkers eat a lot of junk food. We tried to hide it behind the mountain of carrots and apples, but science has found us out. This is according to an article in the September 2013 edition of the European Journal of Preventing Cardiology. This issue was way better than the August edition. Researchers in France tracked the spending habits of shoppers at the supermarket chain Casino. Ever wonder what happens to your loyalty points data? It could be used for science. After sorting through almost 200,000 till receipts, they found some interesting facts:
  • Moderate alcohol drinkers display more favourable socioeconomic status.
  • 71% of French shoppers drank wine, compared to 14% who drank beer.
  • Whisky drinkers spent the most of their food budget on alcohol (10.1%) compared to beer drinkers (4.9%). Beer drinkers spent the lowest.
  • Wine buyers bought more healthy foods than anyone else. Especially those that bought Bordeaux. Yes, the researchers split the variety of wine purchases into different categories; it was France after all.
  • Beer drinkers bought the lowest amounts of healthy foods.
  • Sadly, people overall spend more on unhealthy foods than healthy foods.
Healthy foods included tea, margarine, fish, fruits, veggies, white meat and low-fat dairy products. Unhealthy foods were described as processed, added sugar, cheese, salt, butter, biscuits and high-fat dairy. The French Paradox of health was thought to be due to the consumption of red wine. This article casts doubt on this fact as healthy food choices were different with those who drink wine. I have a few complaints about this article. The craft beer movement is a little lagging in France. Would this data be comparable to grocery till receipts obtained from Whole Foods, Safeway or Haggens? To make matters worse, beer drinkers also spent the most on soft drinks compared to other shoppers. This is not surprising, soda pop is similar in flavour to Bud and Kronenbourg 1664.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Top Ten Beers of 2013

2013 was a great year for Victoria craft beer drinkers. I believe we had the most new releases to date. This year also saw a few great firsts. Tap takeovers were a regular occurrence in 2013; first started by Moon Under Water but later perfected by Spinnakers. So was the phenomenon of the guest tap in brew pubs. Also started by Moon Under Water but perfected by Spinnakers. All the brew pubs and breweries provide growler fills. Swans was the final holdout.

Do I have any predictions for 2014? Yes, I have a few:

1. We will have one or two new breweries in Victoria. There has been much talk about the four mile pub starting to brew, but there might be another.

2. There will be a new specialty beer bar opening with Certified Cicerones and Beer Servers on staff.

3. There will be a local collaboration brew this year.

4. One local beer release will be priced higher than $15.

5. Victoria will finally have its own Craft Beer Week, March 1st to 8th.

Now for the top ten beers of 2013 as chosen by me. Please note, I was unable to sample the Lighthouse Oyster Stout. Based on comments from friends, it would probably score a 9/10 and rank about third or fourth.

1. Swan's Legacy Ale (Barley Wine) =10/10
This was the last, local barley wine to be released in early 2013. It fell nicely between the almost undrinkable Old Cellar Dweller and the Drainwreck. Drinkable right away, it's earthy hops were very assertive but didn't overshadow the rich sherry and dark fruit malts. Well done Andrew.

2. Belgian Black 2013 (Lighthouse) =10/10
This was a new recipe from the original version and the taste differences were very apparent.

3. Lustrum Sour Ale (Driftwood) = 9/10
Five sour releases is a wonderful thing. This potent brew was aged in French oak with the addition of black currants

4. Year One - Moon Under Water = 9/10
A wheat wine with multiple yeasts added, how could this not taste delicious.

5. Barnacle IPA (Lighthouse) = 9/10
2013 was also the year of the wheat IPA. I thought that Lighthouse's was the best.

6.  Numbskull Imperial IPA (Lighthouse) = 9/10
I felt this was an Australian barley wine, but no one else thought so.

7.  Lighthouse 15th = 9/10
A double Race Rocks? Yes please. Maybe this year we will be blessed with a double Keepers?

8. Saturnalia Gruit (Salt Spring Island) = 8/10
This very herbal tasting beer was just stellar and completely different from all other releases.

9. Shatterbier (Moon Under Water) = 8/10
Coffee is usually an addition to stouts, putting it in a golden ale was a risky move that tasted great.

10. Black Jackal (Phillips) = 8/10
A delicious imperial coffee stout.

Many other beers scored 8/10 in 2013 and are listed below.
Kaleidoscope Mosaic IPA (Phillips)
The Heretic tripel (Driftwood)
3 Weeds (Lighthouse)
Clodhopper Dubbel (Driftwood)
Rum Barrel Aged Red Ale (Phillips)
Creme Brulee Vanilla Stout (Salt Spring Island)
Twenty Pounder DIPA (Driftwood)

Finally an honourable mention for best label art goes to:
Absolute Darkness (Vancouver Island)
A very simple and elegant label that glowed in the dark. Also a nice tie-in to the Horne Lake caves.

If you felt I didn't mention your favourite beer, feel free to leave comments below. Thank you all for reading.





Friday, January 3, 2014

Sunday Beer School, Jan 12th - I Can Barley Contain my Excitment

That's right; this beer school is all about barley wines. Do you know how hard it is to find different barley wines in BC? Luckily these are all imports. Due to the high ABV of these brews, we shall only be sampling four beers.

Email in early to reserve your spot,Sunday, January 12th, 7:30ish at Clive's Classic Lounge in the Chateau Victoria. The beers in no particular order:
1. Class of 88 - Deschutes,Rogue and North Coast -10.2%ABV
2. Alaskan Barley Wine 2011 - Alaskan Brewing 10.7%ABV
3. Tribute 2012 - Renaissance Brewing (NZ) - 11.8% ABV (yah.. right..)
4. Hog Heaven - Avery Brewing 9.2% ABV - a dry hopped one with 104IBUs

As always you are there to learn. There will be history, glassware lessons, food pairing suggestions, a cheese plate to nibble on and prizes. The same format as always: bring a pen, your palate and $20. Email me or leave a comment to reserve your spot. There will be only 20 spots for this event. Do not delay as these schools fill up quickly. The last school filled in under three hours.
There will be only two more beer schools this season, and possibly forever. One will feature my beer hoarding and a school five years in the making! All good things must come to an end.

Please forward this to any other craft beer loving friends who might like to attend. As always plan for a safe trip home. You might also want to call in sick Monday morning.

Looking forward to seeing everyone again,
Ian