Saturday, August 19, 2017

GCBF Rant 2017

And you thought I was finished blogging? Rarely to a miss a chance to rant about beer. The beer list from GCBF this year is out and has quite a few gems. This year I thought about doing a Top Ten list of the beers that I am looking forward to trying and perhaps a few items people may have overlooked. There will also be a few duds this year. It is a rant by the Victoria beer prick right?

10. Axe and Barrel's Fruity Mother Pucker. This is a great name for a kettle sour, but it is not original. Peaks in Port Angeles made a kettle sour, but they mentioned that it was not intentional. Will be nice to see how Andrew's favourite kettle sour tastes in his new place.

9. KPU beers. This is the Kwantlen Polytech University brewing program. They picked a few classic styles like a Schwarbier (black) and an altbier (lagered dark ale).

8. Unibroue - Ephemere this year is a elderflower and fruit. Should be tasty.

7. Faculty brewing's 713 Balsamic stout. Balsamic reduction in an oaked stout. Could be good or really bad, certainly worth a token.

6. Beau's Gruit Ale. A gruit is a beer bittered with herbs and not hops. The Buenos Dias sounds like a salty Gose with citrus additions.

5. VIB - They will be releasing two new beers at GCBF this year. Hopefully they are truly new and not remixes of old beers or Corona clones. Their beers are usually solid and token worthy.

4. Category 12 - They seem to have an interesting selection of new beers and casks.  Zombie 2 and brett pale ale here I come. Swan's should also get a nod here too. Swan's Black Chamomile Pils sounds interesting.

3. All the new breweries and Vancouver tasting lounge breweries. There are too many to list. Many of them are too far away to reach Victoria or volume is too small to warrant the ferry cost. In no particular order: Luppolo, A-Frame, Mount Arrowsmith, SOOKE!, Ravens, Hathi, Riot Brewing, Andina Kolsch, WhiteTooth.


2. Field House's Coolship! A coolship is an open fermentation vessel which allows wild yeast and bacteria from the environment to land on the cooling beer and assist in fermentation. True terroir! These beers and generally a bit on the sour and funky side and always one of a kind. This is where I will be lining up.

1. Drake Cask Tent! I wonder why the Drake Eatery and Beer Parlour (at 517 Pandora) has it's own booth at GCBF? Sorry, inside joke. There is no mention if these 13 casks will be tapped at the same time, or if they will be staggered throughout the weekend. We will have to find out on the day.

There are a few honourable mentions, but I ran out of space. Fuggles and Warlock G&T Peach sour, Four Winds Quadrennial, Moon's kettle sour, Steel and Oak Steinbier (heated stone beer in collaboration with Freigeist Bierjultur), Trading Post tart cranberry brett ale and Strange Fellows Popinjay New World sour.

Again, I feel disheartened by lack luster effort from local breweries in their choice of beers to showcase at an event that garners so much attention. They have the shortest travel distance. C12 has some new items, even VIB timed beer releases well.  Driftwood core brands and cask of strong seasonals (didn't they do this last year?), Phillips ditto (although their Cola Slipstream sounds interesting) , Spins ditto, Hoyne ditto (their cask sounds suspiciously like Dark Matter with blackberries), Twa Dogs only current mixer pack, Lighthouse 3rd beer not mentioned. Canoe only core brands. Special mention to Granville Island for the best written description of their beers, but weren't these the same beers as last year? Then again, there will be people new to craft beer and this is the perfect place for them to sample regular brewery offerings.

Maybe I am being overly critical. Irregardless, it will be a great weekend of great beers hosted by great volunteers and fed by great local food trucks. Hopefully the washroom line ups will be shorter this year. What do you think, leave comments below.



Sunday, February 5, 2017

Excitation Espresso Stout - Category 12


Brewing with coffee, this is a great idea. The ethanol calms you down and the caffeine revs you up. Or the roasted flavours of stout and coffee blend nicely, your pick. There are a few ways to incorporate the goodness of coffee into a beer. The first is to just add coffee grounds into the brewing mash. This is the easiest way, but can produce a quite bitter, astringent and roasty beer. Imagine brewing a coffee with warm water for about an hour, you are going to extract all the flavours. Including ones you might not want. I'm pretty sure this is how Black Jackal was made, tastes like it anyways.
Another way is to just add lots of espresso shots. This is quite time consuming but highlights the rich, sweet creaminess of fresh espresso. Swan's yearly Double Shot Porter is made this way.
The middle ground of effort and flavour extraction is the cold brew method. Most of us have tried, or made, cold brew coffee. Just place coffee grounds into cold water, wait 24-48 hours, then remove desired caffeinated liquid. How does the phrase go..." all the jitter but none of the bitter." Spinnakers makes a cold pressed coffee brew and Lighthouse has their Night Watch Coffee Lager. You can either use the cold pressed coffee as strike water, or just add the coffee before the boil.

Excitation = 8/10

The nose is unusually calm with roasted coffee beans and blackberries.  Only a but of roasted bitterness, and not coffee acrid, starts off this medium to full mouthfeel beer. Get your jitter on with flavours of espresso creme, coffee water, dark berries and creamy bittersweet chocolate. The finish is long and roasted with addition flavours of toasted pecans.

Taste +3
Aftertaste +2
Alcohol Content 6.4% +1
Value +1
Appearance +1 Great label with nice description of expected flaavours

Glassware: Snifter, or ceramic mug

Food Pairings:Definitely grilled, heavy meats. You could also pair this with a dessert of tiramisu.

Cellar: maybe, but nope

For those who read all the way to the bottom, there is more. I'm guessing that you are also the people who stay to the end of the credits of an animation movie. Just in case there are extra scenes. I shall be brief. This will be the last beer review. I have been doing these reviews for over 10 years and my heart is just not in it. As you can tell, due to the lack of reviews this year. Also there was no best beer of 2016 article either. It would have been the 2016 Sang, it case you were wondering. Either that or the Twa Dogs Saison. If you want beer reviews, check out Bring Your Porter to the Slaughter, Matter of Beer, or Beer Ye Beer Ye. I might do something in the future, I paid for the web domain for the year. But for now that is all.
Thank you for reading and commenting