March Newsletter

March Newsletter

Category : News

CAMRA BC – Victoria Branch View this email in your browser ( CAMRA BC – Victoria Branch Join us in Support of Craft Beer March 2018 Monthly Newsletter (Apologies for the super lateness of this newsletter – it has been a hectic last few months for me and free time has been few and far between. I hope you enjoy this issue. Cheers! ** In this Issue: ———————————————————— CAMRA Victoria February/March Members Event Wrap-up CAMRA Victoria visits Brewery Creek breweries Victoria Beer Week 2018 Event Wrap-Up Vancouver Island Beer News Upcoming CAMRA Victoria Events – Members Events Vancouver Island Beer Events – Everyone Welcome If you would like to join our ranks, we’d love to have you. Individual memberships are only $25/year and joint/family memberships are $40/year. CAMRA Member Events: March 20th: Monthly meeting at Moon Under Water’s new distillery/tasting room April: TBD More info above events available later in this newsletter ============================================================ CAMRA Victoria February Event Wrap-Up By: Nathan Say, Secretary, CAMRA Victoria (with additional content by Sean Clark, Communictions Director, CAMRA Victoria, added in italics) Back on Sunday, February 20th members off CAMRA Victoria took off on West Coast Brewery Tours shuttle out to Sooke for, essentially, a test run of a similar event that VBW subsequently ran during their event. Despite some early hiccups regarding shuttle availability, the overall day was well attended and proved to be extremely popular with the members. In all we visited the three breweries currently open for business, and were provided with a very in-depth analysis into what makes each one unique. A huge thank you to your secretary Nathan for providing us with a nice write-up off the day. First Stop – Sooke Oceanside Brewery: Bonfire Blonde – Straightforward, clean, crisp, accessible. They use Kölsch yeast and Citra hops, making this a bit of a German/American, Kölsch/blonde hybrid. That Old-World/New-World aspect will turn out to be typical of their beers. Sometimes these light easy-drinking beers can be thin and flavourless but this one actually had some body and definitely a light hop presence, without being a hoppy beer. The guys said this was their “gateway beer” meant for Old Milwaukee drinkers but I thought that really undersold it. You could say it’s a gateway beer with substance. Leechtown Lager – Straightforward lager. I preferred the blonde. This was a bit more like the gateway beers I’m used to: a bit too light, at least for me. Renfrew Red – Decent red/amber ale. I found it to be on the lighter end of the range. Again, I seem to like “redder” red ales with bigger flavours. Head Brewer Garritt Lalonde however said that this beer actually has quite a deep red colour when poured into a full pint glass but for me the flavour still wasn’t quite robust enough. I should say that I may sound negative but these three beers do very well for SOB, so call it personal preference. When the brewery first opened they ran out of Renfrew Red in 2 1/2 days, and sold out three weeks in a row. They contract brew their four core beers (Bonfire, Renfrew, Stiff Jab & Springboard) at Riot Brewing in Chemainus because their system at the Sooke location is too small and can’t keep up with the demand. The red ale in particular comes out paler than it did originally as it’s brewed at Riot, whose kettle has steam jackets, while SOB’s kettle (more on that later) is heated with an actual flame which leads to more caramelization and a darker beer. It would be interesting to try this one brewed at the Sooke location. Mullard’s Mild – Another British style with a North American twist. Garritt called it a North American mild as it had the body colour & flavour of a traditional mild, but with Centennial hops. With these British styles (Renfrew Red & Mullard’s Mild) they use Baird’s malt for authenticity, but if possible, local hops. Stiff Jab Pale Ale – The story with this one is that SOB owner Ryan Orr has a cousin who is a boxer, and who says that a stiff jab isn’t as fancy or dramatic as a knockout, but is still sometimes enough to win a fight. That’s what this beer is about, there’s nothing funny in the malt bill, and it just has two C hops: Centennial for bittering and Cascade for aroma. So it’s pretty simple, and it’s terrific. The hops are all grown in Chilliwack also. I couldn’t taste the difference between these hops and Centennials & Cascades grown in Oregon but apparently hop terroir is a real thing. Springboard IPA – Garritt said he loves Fat Tug (who doesn’t?) but his issue with it is that at 7% ABV it’s too strong, so he wanted to do an IPA that was a bit lighter. So this one is 6.5%. This is also made with some British malt, in particular Maris Otter, and American hops: Citra, Cascade, Columbus, and one that you almost never see in an IPA, Willamette. Overall, I found their beers to be pretty straightforward with just enough of a twist to be new & different which these days, when breweries are opening up everywhere and they’re all trying to stand out somehow, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s quick and easy to get people’s attention by brewing something like “fried-chicken beer” but SOB seems happy to do it hard way, which is just to make really good beer that people will remember and want to drink again. I can’t move on without describing the brewery setup they have there. The short explanation is that it’s an overscaled homebrew setup. I mean literally. Ryan comes from a culinary background and didn’t intend to work as a professional brewer, but started homebrewing in order to understand the brewing process and issues that brewers might deal with. So the brewery uses his old Sabco Brewmagic system, which is literally a homebrew system that Garritt uses to brew up to six batches a day. They also still have the small cabinet he used as a fermentation chamber, which is big enough for perhaps four carboys. Since carboys are single-walled, it’s good to have a cabinet like this in order to maintain a constant temperature. That’s not especially interesting however. What is completely out of left field is that, as this is an oversized homebrew setup, the brewery’s fermenters are also single-walled, and thus need their own fermentation chambers to maintain a constant temperature, just like the cabinet made for 23L carboys used in homebrewing. So as they have a walk-in cooler for their hops and other things, Ryan ran intake & exhaust ducts from the main walk-in to four “sub-coolers,” each containing a conical fermenter. These ideas come from “in theory,” the wonderful place where everything works out nicely. As this had never been tried before, it was doubtful whether the main cooler would have enough power to cool down all four, which it seems to in the winter, but in the summer he had to install an air conditioner in the cooler line to keep it cool enough. I’ve never heard of a commercial brewery anywhere doing something like this but it seems to work out. Second Stop – Sooke Brewing Company: Arrived at Sooke Brewing Company. Hosted by Yari, one of the owners. It’s much bigger than SOB, and in a purpose-built building rather than an oversized homebrew setup in the garage at a gas station. As with Axe & Barrel, Sooke Brewing is more growler & lounge focused, and pours directly from the bright tanks. Vienna Lager – As with Renfrew Red at the previous place, this red/amber lager was a bit light for me. I guess you could say this is more at the “gateway beer” end of the scale. Yari said this was their biggest seller and I can’t argue with that. I guess my idea of a red ale/lager is just more robust than others’. They’re both still good beers. German Pils – Another straightforward lager. Not bad. IPA – No complaints. Nice IPA with Simcoe, Amarillo & Citra hops. Can’t go wrong with that. Foreign Export Stout – Usually my favourite beer is just the one in front of me, but now this was probably my #1 beer of the trip. There are some stouts where I only taste the patent malt, but this had many rich flavours of roast grain, bittersweet chocolate & cocoa, light coffee, light ash & a general full-bodied creaminess. It’s a superb stout, but it was a limited run and I really hope they’re still pouring it when the VBW road trip visits there. Third Stop – Bad Dog Brewing Arrived at Bad Dog Brewing, right in the middle of nowhere, run by John and Rosie Lyle. John is the brewmaster, while his wife Rosie is the business manager. Unlike the other breweries on the tour, and others around town, they serve their samples straight from the cans as they currently do not have a tap system in place. When I visited them back in early November before they officially opened, they mentioned how they may implement a single tap system out of their cooler to do a different growler fill a day So we’ve gone from very small-time nanobrewery in a gas station, to medium-sized, purpose-built, commercial brewery to mom-&-pop-in-the-front-yard-shed brewery. They’re also looking at getting a license in the spring/summer to allow patrons to consume beer in a picnic setting at their location. 642 Session Ale – Named after Sooke’s area code, this is their gateway beer. Decent cream ale with New Zealand hops. Honey Blonde – Another gateway(ish) beer though not as sweet as you might expect from the name. Depending on what flowers the honey is made from, honey can have a strong taste & that may be why. Old Red Red Ale – I didn’t have much luck with the red beers on this trip as again this was another one that wasn’t bad but a bit too mellow for me. Tire Biter IPA – A bit mild for an IPA but no real complaints. I didn’t get what hops are in it but I thought it was fairly standard. That’s not a bad thing. Overall it was a great road trip that took us to three brand-new breweries that are also definitely off our usual beaten path. The standard for beers has definitely improved in the last few years as the beers were great overall and there were no real duds at any of the places we visited. Thanks to our events guy Malcolm for setting it up right up to the last minute, to VP Cayla for driving the three of us who couldn’t fit in the van, to West Coast Brewery Tours for once again providing us with safe and reliable transportation, and to the breweries for hosting us. We hope to see you on the next one! CAMRA Victoria March Event Wrap-Up By: Sean Clark, Communications Director, CAMRA Victoria Back on March 20th we had the honor of exploring the brand new, still-to-be opened distillery/tasting room at Moon Under Water Brewpub. Led by co-owner and brewmaster Clay Potter, we were guided through an assortment of the various spirits they have available, including but not limited to: a citrus gin, orange vodka, pure grain vodka, espresso vodka, and their spin on the Westcoast cocktail known as ‘The Shaft.’ It was an exceptionally well attended event, with over 30 members joining us for the evening. After the first couple of tastes the group was split up and were taken through a small tour of the rest of the new facility, which included the loading bay, cold storage, dry storage/warehouse, and finally the still room where the spirits are actually concocted. Pics from the CAMRA Victoria members inside Moon’s tasting room Clay then ran us through the hurdles they’ve faced on their path to opening the distillery/tasting room, which if you’re familiar with others such as: Phillips tasting room, Merridale’s brewery/distillery and the Hudson Brewpub, (more on that later in the newsletter,) all comes down to city zoning. Yes, Moon has gotten the OK from the province, the liquor board, etc… they’re just waiting on the city to give them the go ahead, all because of number of parking spots. Yes, according to Moon, because they are outside of the downtown core, they must have something like a parking spot for every 3 patrons, which they would officially not have once the tasting room opens. Phillips, which sits one block outside of ‘downtown,’ is in the same boat, which has delayed their opening, (among other things.) If they were in the heart of downtown, the city would have no parking issue. So yes, despite Moon being on a main transit artery, and continuously hammering home the fact that drinking and driving are bad, and with a large number of street parking on the surrounding streets, the delays come down to parking spots at the actual facility! More pics from the storage room and the still room at Moon’s distillery Anyway, after about 90 minutes in the tasting room we all moved to the brewpub portion, where many of the members stuck around to enjoy a 16 or 20oz of Moon beer and some nachos. We drew some tickets members were given earlier, and three were awarded with a bottle of Moon’s spirits. All in all it was a great evening full of great info, tasty spirits and good company. A huge thanks to Clay Potter and the rest of the Moon staff for having us, and we look forward to the official opening of the tasting room sometime down the road! CAMRA Victoria visits Vancouver’s Brewery Creek By: Sean Clark, Communications Director, CAMRA Victoria Last Month I visited Vancouver again for a couple shows during the weekend of February 22-26. While there, I used the Saturday to visit the Brewery Creek region, where I went to 6 breweries in total. The ones I went to included: – Red Truck Beer Company – Brassneck Brewery – Main Street Brewing Company – 33 Acres Brewing Company – R&B Ale & Pizza House – Faculty Brewing Company – Yaletown Brewing Company (visited on Sunday evening) First stop was Red Truck, where I had arranged for a full tour and tasting with John Leiper, the head tour guide for the brewery. He took me through the brewhouse, explained their processes and how they got to where they are today, then back into the tasting room where I was presented with their full portfolio of 8 beers. I was going to do a Facebook Live video with him, but due to the heavy snow that hit the region on the Friday, he had spent the better part of the morning shoveling the parking lot, plus it had gotten busy at the brewery as the sun came out and the day got nicer. A few pics from Red Truck including the tasting room and my flights of beer My two favorite beers had to be their NE IPA, which despite not being as hazy as is typical to the style was still juicy and super smooth, and the stout which was dark, roasted and full bodied. John was a great host, and Red Truck as a whole have been great to CAMRA Victoria as they donated a good number of items for our booth at last year’s GCBF Stop number two was Brassneck Brewery, which has one of the nicest tasting rooms I’ve seen in the city. It’s rustic and cozy, with nooks and crannies tucked into the back of the room that one could sit in and take in the atmosphere. They limit the number of patrons at any one time to 50, and it was pretty busy when i arrived but luckily got a seat with no problem. I settled in on a flight with their Free Radical White IPA, Wingman Amarillo & Citra Pale Ale, Synesthesiac Hazy IPA and The Geezer English Porter. Pics from Brassneck, including the tap list, taster flight, beer archive wall, peek into the brewery and their various awards Highlights for me included their Hazy IPA, which was cloudy and juicy and full of tropical flavor, and their English Porter which was a rich and malty beer with a noticeable hoppy profile of black currants that paired well with the roasted malt backbone. I enjoyed it so much that I even brought home a tall can of it. Brassneck is certainly a brewery I’d visit again on a future visit as they have a great collection of beers that change constantly, so i’m assured a different list next time. Stop 3 was Main Street, around the corner from Brassneck. Main Street is certainly a pretty big deal in Vancouver, due to their location in one of the few remaining heritage buildings in Brewery Creek. They have a large and inviting tasting room, and an easily accessible view of the brewery to boot. Their beers are pretty solid as well, as I settled on a flight that consisted of; Fruit Bomb Kettle Sour, Oxymoron Dry Irish Stout, Naked Fox IPA and Flying Suitcase Belgian Strong Ale. Pics include the tap list, shots of the brewery and the tasting flight Highlights for me were the Fruit Bomb, which is surprising as I’m not usually too big on sours but this one was soft and refreshing, with very subtle bitterness. It was like drinking a fruit salad. I also much enjoyed the Oxymoron stout, which had a wonderful creamy head, a dark and rich chocolate flavor and satisfying dryness. Definitely my favorite dark beer so far! Next on the tour was 33 Acres, a brewery I had visited a few years ago. They’re one of my go-to breweries at beer festivals, as they always put out stellar and inventive beers. It was very busy when I arrived, and as I had most of the beers before I settled on a 10.5oz glass of the 33 Acres of Onyx Black IPA and a taster sample of the 33 Acres of Coff33 batch #3. Pics include my glass of Black IPA, the tap list and the menu board The Black IPA was wonderful, to me comparable to Category 12’s and White Sails style. It has wonderful color, an excellent balance of roasted malt and hoppy bitterness, along with a well-retained head. As for the 33 Acres of Coff33, I wish I had gotten a full pour as it was incredible! The honey, tropical fruits and local coffee married together so well that it was an explosion of flavors. Sadly, I didn’t, and it was on to the next stop. Stop #5 was R&B, and as soon as I walked in was bombarded with the largest crowd of people I had seen yet. It was so busy that I had to go into the growler filling room, where I was only able to get a couple of samples. I had the Deutscher Porter and one other who’s name slips my mind, but enjoyed the porter so much I bought a bomber to bring home, (I still have it sitting in my beer pantry just waiting for the right day!) Shots of the exterior of R&B, along with the inside of the pizza house and an array of awards. No pics of beer due to the crowdiness unfortunately The 6th and final stop of the day was Faculty Brewing, which was another crowded place when I arrived. I think it helped that I was by myself as there was no wait to get inside, and I quickly found a stool at a table where I had a nice chat with some out-of-towners regarding CAMRA and what it means. I’ve always admired Faculty and it’s set-up, with the beers and labels a take on college/university course numbers. The tasting room is small, with the brewery tanks situated to the right of the entrance so you get a great view while you try the beers. I soon settled on a flight, but sadly realized that I had the card with the beer numbers on the wrong side of the pic, so I can’t recall fully which ones I had. I do know i had the 778 IPA and the 710 Dry Oaked Stout which were very good. I think a return trip is in order, both to here and R&B so i can get a better feel for the place. The exterior, tap list, tanks and taster flight at Faculty Brewery That was all for the Saturday. Sadly I missed out on Big Rock Urban, but I had been there before so it wasn’t too big of an issue. Also the former Steel Toad/current Tap & Barrel brewery wasn’t open yet, same thing for Electric Bicycle. Maybe my next trip there will include those breweries. i did have one more brewery visit, as on the Sunday I stopped into Yaletown Brewing before my show that night, as I always liked there beers and don’t get to have them enough as they’re not usually on the beerfest circuit. All in all, another enjoyable brewery experience! 5th Annual Victoria Beer Week Wrap-Up By: Sean Clark, Communications Director, CAMRA Victoria March 2-10 saw the 5th edition of Victoria Beer Week, a 9 day extravaganza of beer-themed events around downtown Victoria. Over the course of the days I attended many events (with the exception of two as noted below), such as: (* Sponsored by CAMRA Victoria) – Lift Off! – Brewmasters Brunch – *Beer School (attended by Vice-President/Membership Cayla Stiles-Clark) – *Ultimate Craft Beer Quiz (attended by Vice-President/Membership Cayla Stiles-Clark) – Taco Tuesday – All About The Wood – Friday Night Casks – Hoppy Birthday It was a wonderful time at all of the events, with highlights such as: – Small Block Brewing’s arrival with their Nail Head Pail Ale at Lift Off!, a very good take on the classic style – VIB’s re-re-branding with a 21st century spin on their classic logo, as well as a wonderful Raspberry Stout at Lift Off!, the brewery’s first ever. – Fuggles & Warlock’s Kizuna Pineapple Sour and Yellow Dog’s Coconut Hazy IPA at Lift Off!, which were both just excellent! – Volunteering at Brewmasters Brunch, where I ran into the same very nice couple I met at Lift Off!, who are actually from The Okanagan and members of the South Okanagan branch of CAMRA. Also, the food from Chef Bob Hendle was as good as always. – Vice President/Membership Cayla had a good time attending Beer School, where she helped in the brewing process and learned how to detect off flavors in a beer. We also gained a few new members that afternoon! – She also attended the Craft Beer Quiz, looking to defend our title from last year. Unfortunately we fell short, despite leading after the first half. While we may not have beaten The Thirsty Writer Joe Wiebe, we did in fact tie with him. There was a great CAMRA Victoria presence on various teams, with members Chris Martin and Laura Aldridge the eventual winners. – Excellent Taco and Beer pairings at Taco Tuesday, with another great appearance by Small Block, a stellar Cask IPA from Red Truck, a wonderful Pineapple Coconut Sour from Twin City, and a great and juicy Hazy IPA from Parkside. – The stellar event that is All About The Wood, where practically every beer available is a beer geek’s dream. Both Dageraad Entropy’s, Parallel 49’s Russian Imperial Stout, Powell’s 5th Anniversary Hazy Brett IPA, Torchlight’s Noctis, Yellow Dog’s POMO-PDX, (which I bought a can of at the pop up store,) VIB”s Wine-aged Hermannator, I could go on and on. Suffice to say i came out of that night very happy! – Friday Night Casks, which is again another night of beer geekery. Some spins on classic beers, but mostly unique one-offs that you’ll never see again. I thoroughly enjoyed Off the Rail’s Comet Launcher DIPA, Sooke Brewing’s Foreign Export Stout, Strange Fellow’s Third Eye IPA, Driftwood’s Old Cellar Dweller, (who doesn’t!) and many more. – And finally, the final event, the all-inclusive Hoppy Birthday formal night. There was a solid contingent of beers available, as well as a stellar BBQ booth with pulled pork sliders and smoked chicken. None of the beers were anything unique, but they paired well with the evening. Hoyne’s new Alpha Acid IPA, VIB’s Belgian Tripel and Imperial Stout, and Phillips Tiger Shark Citra were great. As was seeing our esteemed past president Glen Stusek in a tuxedo! Various pics from the 9 Day event Vancouver Island Beer News ** Île Sauvage Brewing Co. ( should be opening within months: After many, many delays the brewery is making good progress with their brewhouse. Tanks are in, their Founders Club is up and running, glassware is made, and test batches have been brewed. If all goes well the hope is to be open sometime later this year, maybe late spring. Stay tuned. Hudson District brewery/brewpub still going forth: With no news in over a year, I reached out to Yates Street Taphouse, the company behind the above mentioned brewery for any updates. I’ve been told that they’re still going forward, and after delays and cancelled meetings with the city they’re planning on sitting down with them later this month. The hope, if they get the necessary bylaws approved is to be open in time for the fall’s Victoria Royals season and the upcoming World Junior Hockey Championship. Phillips Tasting Room making progress: Another delayed brewery project is making more headway, with the long awaited tasting lounge at Phillips Brewery taking shape. CAMRA Victoria member Phil C passed along info that the city has finally passed their approval enthusiastically, the retro neon sign for the building’s corner will be iconic, they’re looking at allowing servings of 10oz glasses, and staying open until 10pm and possibly longer for special events. Upcoming CAMRA Victoria Events – Members Only Stay tuned to Facebook and email info regarding our April event. ***And as always, please plan for a safe ride to and from the events. Please don’t drink and drive.*** Also, I invite all members to help contribute to the newsletter. If you have a story and(or) pictures from breweries or pubs you’ve visited while traveling, I’d love to hear from you. Fire me an email and I’ll be sure to include it in a future issue. Cheers! Upcoming Vancouver Island Beer Events – Everyone Welcome Friday Night Casks – Every Friday evening White Sails Brewery – Nanaimo Peche Day – Saturday, March 24th The Drake Eatery – Downtown Victoria Bike Tune-up and Beer – Saturday March 24th Riot Brewery – Chemainus Springtoberfest 2018 – Sunday March 25th Gladstone Brewery – Courtenay Cooking Class w/ Ester @ Riot – Wednesday March 28th Riot Brewery – Chemainus Beerducation: Yeast! It’s Alive! – Sunday April 1st Cascadia Liquor – Langford Oregon Craft Brewers Tour III – Saturday April 7th The Drake Eatery – Downtown Victoria Nanaimo KInsmen Beer Festival – Friday April 13th Beban Park Social Centre – Nanaimo Snake Bite Festival – Saturday April 28th Tod Creek Craft Ciders – Victoria More information on these and other events can be found on our Facebook page and on the events calendar. Know of an event you think should be included? Then shoot us an email at Until then, Cheers! Have an event you’d like listed? ** Contact us ( . ** ( ) ** ( ** ( Copyright © 2018 CAMRA BC – Victoria Branch, All rights reserved. You are receiving this email because you opted in at our website. Our mailing address is: CAMRA BC – Victoria Branch Box 30101 – Saanich Center Postal Outlet 3943 C Quadra St Victoria, British Columbia V8X 1J5 Canada Want to change how you receive these emails? 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