Elysian and AB-InBev. Brewers not Nazis



The betrayed are out in force on twitter. “Goodbye Elysian” “Last time I EVER drink Elysian Beer”

“Traitors!” “Sell outs!”

It was as if the founder of Greenpeace had just joined ACME petrol-chemicals Inc. and personally dumped toxic, radioactive waste directly on a whale’s head while laughing maniacally!

I realise that the craft beer is more than just great beer, carefully brewed by bearded artisans in railway arches and barns behind a pub. It has become a political movement that reflects the campaigns against the 1%, a liquid counterpart to ‘farm to fork’ and locavore groups.

The . . . → Read More: Elysian and AB-InBev. Brewers not Nazis


Beer for English Devolution

A beer for every region!


Talk of English devolution got me thinking. At first beer was, unusually nothing to do with any of thoughts, but memories of history lessons about Anglo-Saxon England and the original divisions of England emerged, before those pesky conquering Normans came along with their Dukes and Doomsday Books. I checked a few blogs and websites on devolution and came up with a modern version that might work today, dividing England up into modern day provinces that represented some historical roots but allowed for modern populations etc. etc…..’but what the hell does this tangent . . . → Read More: Beer for English Devolution


Judge a beer by the colour of its glass?

On returning to live back in the UK, one of the treats in store for me was to have a few bottles of some of the beers that I had loved in the era before the ‘Craft Beer Revolution’. These are beers that some young hipsters in East London might turn their nose up at these days, but in my view are as tasty and drinkable as any put out at £3.60 a bottle in a stall in Borough Market! They might be seen as old-fashioned, traditional or just plain boring, but these are the ones that I grew . . . → Read More: Judge a beer by the colour of its glass?


Becoming a Beer Sommelier


IBD Beer Academy Beer Sommelier Pin

I recently became a beer sommelier, well rather I achieved my accreditation as one, I considered my previous jobs as being an uncertified beer sommelier, as I had much the same role as a (wine) sommelier in a more wine oriented establishment. So what does it mean and is it necessary? Well, the number of beer styles and sub-styles seem to be ever growing and, to the uninitiated, it may seem like a malty quagmire of names that mean nothing. There are the know-it-all beer geeks who pedal internet based knowledge at . . . → Read More: Becoming a Beer Sommelier


Beer Store Focus: Market Row Wines, Brixton

Wrangler Rating: (Excellent)

Having moved from what I consider the centre of Canadian craft brewing, Vancouver, back to my old home in London, I quickly missed the range of cutting edge brews that were available in a number of stores around town. The British supermarket choice is fair at best but can’t compare with the specialist retailer I have been spoilt with for the last 6 years or so.

On a slow day searching for new employment opportunities I took a break and had a stroll around the fantastic Brixton Village and Market Row, the indoor . . . → Read More: Beer Store Focus: Market Row Wines, Brixton


Is there such a thing as “Craft Beer”

What do these beers have in common?


Sharp’s Doombar

Goose Island IPA

Worthington White Shield IPA

Granville Island ‘Thirsty Farmer’ Saison

Leffe Brune


The answer is that they are all delicious, well made beers by individual brewers who seem to care about the product that they make. Oh they also happen to be owned by two of the largest international mega brewery companies in the world; companies that most ‘craft beer’ fans treat with contempt, and are unlikely to be ordering any of their more visibly ‘industrial’ brands anytime soon. Those two companies are Molson Coors and . . . → Read More: Is there such a thing as “Craft Beer”


Beer! The Show

It was with great pleasure that I took part in an episode of Beer! The Show a while back, and I’m glad to say it has been released! Fortunately for me I star with the lovely Chanté Swanson, and follow the great interview with Powell Street Brewing’s owner and brewer David Bowkett (recently the winner of Best Beer in Canada with the Old Jalopy Pale Ale at the Canadian Brewing Awards)

My bit is about seven and a half minutes in and takes place at Bitter Tasting Room in Vancouver, but please watch the whole lot as its an entertaining . . . → Read More: Beer! The Show


A perfect beer cocktail for Summer – the Vancouver Vice


A vice is something that we might enjoy despite it being bad for us, a bit naughty or immoral in some way!

Weiss Beer is a German wheat beer (and pronounced almost like the English “vice”) that is delicious and refreshing.

I put the two together and developed this great summer cocktail. It sells now in Bitter Tasting Room in Vancouver’s Downtown East Side, and if you want to impress some summer guests who need to be shown how versatile beer can be, then grab a cocktail shaker and make a few of these with your favourite German Hefe!

. . . → Read More: A perfect beer cocktail for Summer – the Vancouver Vice


Beer Cocktails: Artistry or Desecration

Beer cocktails can be an anathema to both the mixology purist as well as the craft beer aficionado, so what are they all about, and why should we ruin the flavour of a well crafted beer?

There are arguments abound on the web about this and in many ways I might agree about ruining a fine brew with a shot of liquor in it. A quick scan on the Wikipedia entry on the subject lists a range of so called “beer cocktails” that seem to be a bunch of pints with a shot of something in it, often still in . . . → Read More: Beer Cocktails: Artistry or Desecration


Save The Growler! – Stop The Tax

I had wanted to write a reflective piece today about stepping down as CAMRA Fraser Valley president after 2 years on the exec, but Warren Bowyer from the BC exec came along to our AGM at Mission Springs brew-pub and made us aware of the new “Growler Tax”. In short this will raise the price of a growler fill at a small brewery (under 15,000 hectolitre production) or brew-pub by about $1 (and change) in the province of British Columbia.

Now I hear you cry that that this is a small increase, why bother complaining about it when gas prices . . . → Read More: Save The Growler! – Stop The Tax


Cascadian Dark Ale – A name is dead? – time to re-brand!

Thanks to the litigiously minded Eli Gershkovitch at Steamworks Brewery in Vancouver, BC The name for that dark, top fermented beer, with full hoppy aromatics, created by the Cascadian varietals of hops, has now effectively ceased to exist. Proud Cascadian brewers across the Canada-US border in the beautiful Pacific Northwest have been denied the chance to brand the style that was created and championed with the cross national region that takes its name after the Cascade mountains (a term first used in 1825). In 1970 the term ‘Cascadia’ was first used to describe the surrounding region, and since then has . . . → Read More: Cascadian Dark Ale – A name is dead? – time to re-brand!


Beer Vs Wine… (Yawn..)

Google Beer v Wine and you will get many blogs, magazine articles and special events geared towards this eternal battle of the beverages. This usually comes from the beer sector of the publishing/blogging world as the wine folk don’t feel they have to prove anything. Beer people feel they need to prove how good modern craft beer is and how versatile it can be. This is a fair point, there is much ignorance amongst the general public about what beer actually is! Many still see beer as an inferior product, mass produced for the masses and hoi polloi to lubricate . . . → Read More: Beer Vs Wine… (Yawn..)


The Beer Moment


This months Session (no. 63) as posed by uber-beer blogger and writer Pete Brown is called The Beer Moment. Here is mine.

I grew up in a semi rural/suburban town in Buckinghamshire, just outside London (that’s UK not Ontario!) and my parents, especially my father, often went to the local pub and enjoyed cask bitters from the likes of Fuller’s and Bass. One such pub was a haven for families in the summer. Warm Sunday afternoons were spent in the expansive beer garden where kids could run, roam and play in relative safety, while the mums and dads . . . → Read More: The Beer Moment


Winter Beer Showdown

Seasonal beers are filling the shelves right about now, and go well beyond any single type. The basic style is the classic Winter Warmer. This is not usually spiced but brewed to a slightly stronger alcohol volume (6% – 7% is typical for this warming malty style). Specialty Christmas beers take their cues from the old Wassail Ales – spiced, sometimes fortified, mulled beer given to carol singers in Medieval England. Although no longer fortified or served warm, it is usually strong and spiced, rich and filling. There are other winter seasonal ales brewed in the Belgium style. They tend . . . → Read More: Winter Beer Showdown


IPA – A History

The History of IPA Pale Ale and Industrialisation

The history of IPA starts not in India but in London and then found its home in Burton-upon-Trent, an ordinary town in Staffordshire, Britain, where beer has probably been brewed since 1004, when an abbey was founded there. Monks were (and still are in Belgium) prodigious brewers, and would have used the water from the local River Trent to brew their early ale. What made Burton so special, therefore made it the most important centre of brewing in Britain (and even the world for a while) was the water from the river. . . . → Read More: IPA – A History


World Beer Cup Categories

I picked up a copy of the magazine “All About Beer” last week, as I wanted to have a read about various things beer related, including a detailed run down of the World Beer Cup and the brews that placed. As nice as it is to have a list of ‘must try’ beers in a well made magazine while sitting on the train, going to my daily job, I couldn’t help but get mildly frustrated by all the categories.

There were, in total 90 yes that’s 90 ! Including such notables as ” American-Style Strong Pale Ale”(featuring all three medalists . . . → Read More: World Beer Cup Categories


Beer and Butter Tarts

I had never heard of a ‘blog agregator’ before but there’s a first time for everything! Beer and Butter Tarts collects all its members’ recent blogs and shows bits from them and a link to their site/blog. It specialises in beer and food blogs, so if you’re a foodie or a beer lover, this is a great place to scour through a bunch of them in one place without having to find and actually go to the website, so it’s a real energy saver for those tired typing fingers (that’s just two for me!).

Most importantly it will be . . . → Read More: Beer and Butter Tarts


An African Oddity

So I have finally returned after spending three and half weeks in South Africa, Botswana and Zambia for work where I tried in vain to find a genuine craft brew available to drink. Sadly I failed. There were a couple of options, Mitchell’s in South Africa, and Zikomo in Zambia, but these proved elusive. No one I spoke to had even heard of them, least of all where to find them. Admittedly I wasn’t long in South Africa, so perhaps I didn’t give Mitchell’s a chance, but touring around Zambia, Zikomo was not known by anyone. I was very disappointed.

. . . → Read More: An African Oddity


Vancouver Craft Beer Week


Just a quick plug for the inaugural Vancouver Craft Beer Week. This should be a great series of events that will do more than wet your whistle! If you’re not a local this will be a great reason to come and visit the city, where British Columbia’s craft breweries will be showing off their wares and brewing prowess.

So if you drink your beer south of the border, come on up to BC and get a warm welcome and some cold beer!

If you are a local (that includes you on the island!) come and support what should . . . → Read More: Vancouver Craft Beer Week


A Cascadian Revolution

Viva Cascadia! So at last there seems to be some agreement on a name for a very hoppy dark brown to black ale made with Pacific Northwest hop varietals (see Northwest Brewing News). Those not from the great nation of Cascadia might not have had this mighty dark ale, but should definitely try this deliciously contrasting beer. Hoppier than an American Brown Ale, as dark as a porter, this beer has had numerous names in the past, not all of which make sense!

“A black IPA please” I hear in a crafty taproom. “A dark India Pale Ale for me!” . . . → Read More: A Cascadian Revolution