Whistler Village Beer Festival 2016

 Look at Banner!

Look at Banner!

What makes a great weekend away? There are many answers, but one of the best I've experienced had 3 major components. Mountains, Music, and Most Importantly: Beer!

 The crowds weren't afraid of the weather!

The crowds weren't afraid of the weather!

The Whistler Village Beer Festival featured all 3, and more! Situated in the Olympic Plaza in the gorgeous Whistler Village, this outdoor ode to ales and lagers was an amazing time, and one which I cannot recommend enough to anyone in the future! Even though the weather was spotty at times, the outdoor nature of the festival, coupled with the picturesque views of the mountains climbing their way towards the clouds, made for an unparalleled experience for imbibing your favourite brews. Throw in some great live musicians and some intensely knowledgeable staff, vendors, and volunteers, and you have one of the best Beer Festival experiences available in BC.

 Great crowds, tiny lines! Win-win in terms of a festival!

Great crowds, tiny lines! Win-win in terms of a festival!

While the events of the Whistler Village Beer Festival were spaced out over 5 days, the Main Festival took place on Saturday and Sunday afternoon. Over 60 breweries were in attendance, so no matter your preference of style, there was plenty of choice for the festival-goer. There was even a section solely dedicated to Cider! Also available were several food options (a sorely overlooked necessity at many festivals I have attended). Despite the great numbers of people, you never had to wait too long for a beer at all! The live entertainment had the crowd dancing and singing along and it felt like a great big party! Because it was!

 Mike Doan takes some time away from pouring samples to play some Cornhole with the On Tap Crew

Mike Doan takes some time away from pouring samples to play some Cornhole with the On Tap Crew

One of the biggest draws for WVBF for the breweries is the competition to win Draught Contracts with some of Whistler's biggest pubs and restaurants. This is an amazing prize for any brewery, especially those looking to make their mark. Huge congratulations to the following breweries!

First place and the biggest surprise of the festival was Coast Mountain Brewing, one of BC's newest Breweries! Located just outside of Whistler's Village in Function Junction, these guys are breaking into the beer scene in a big way up on the mountain! I tried some of their beer at the festival and can say they definitely set the bar high for themselves in a big way!

Second Place went to Okanagan Springs Brewing, This was a surprise to me, and I'm sure many other people when they heard the news. There is something to be said though, about the broad appeal of their beers and the popularity of the brand they carry. I have enjoyed OK Springs beers on many occasions and will again on many more in the future.

Third Place went to some of the best brewers in BC right now: Fuggles and Warlock. I have to admit a small bias here, I. Love. Fuggles and Warlock. I have yet to try a beer they do that I don't like, and I consider them to be the best brewery in BC at the moment.

 Beautiful views and beautiful brews!

Beautiful views and beautiful brews!

The Whistler Village Beer Festival's tagline is, “For the Love of Beer.” From the moment I set foot on the grounds to the moment I left, I was feeling the love that the organizers had for their festival. This was obviously a passion project for those involved and I cannot wait to see how the festival evolves in the future. So prepare yourself for next September, load up the car, and take a weekend away in the mountains. For the Love of Beer.

 

The Promo Video for WVBF

Ravens Brewing Anniversary Party

 

The sunlight battled through the clouds on the afternoon of September 3rd as I stepped out of my car. As I rounded the corner of the building, the smell of barbeque teased past my nostrils, carried by the wind, followed closely by the gentle tones of laughter and conversation, all set to the beat of classic 80's tunes. If ever you need to know how to throw a party, ask the staff of Ravens Brewing.

 

The Ravens Brewing First Anniversary Party appealed to all tastes, featuring a Pig Roast with the help of Pig BBQ, Coffee supplied by Jack Coffee Bar, and Simon Bridgefoot spinning some solid 80's classics! We'll get back to all of that in a bit, first we need to talk about the most important part:

 

The Beer!

 

Nick and his team of Brewers, (and other staff as well!) all brewed up their own special batches of one-off brews for this most special of occasions. I think they may have made a mistake though, because they set the bar so high this year that they will have their work cut out next year to beat the excellent lineup they brought to their first Anniversary. But enough fluff, let`s talk about each beer!

 

The Demogorgon Dunkelweizen: A textbook example of the Dunkleweizen style. No flavours, no flash, just a pure, straight-up interpretation of the style. Carefully balanced and clean. By choosing not to play around too much, this beer showed maturity and ability in its execution.

 

Stranger Things Lager: Lived up to the name by continually keeping your palate guessing! I was least excited to try this beer, due to it being a lager, but it was the one I kept coming back to. There were so many layers to it, the ginger aroma, the green tea flavours smoothing to a crisp lager finish, a challenging beer that with some fine-tuning could be an absolute knockout for mass production.

 

Where`s Barb?: Strawberry-Rhubarb Beer. This, this is the beer I was looking for all Summer Long. Not too sweet, not too sour, I can only hope this beer makes a comeback. If you missed this event, this is the beer you most missed out on.

 

Dark Mild Cask: Conditioned on Mint and Raspberries, if you went to BeerBQ earlier this summer, this is the beer they served at that event. A brighter version of the already excellent Ravens Dark Mild.

 

Belgian Single: I'm not sure this was a one-off beer for the event, but it made it's debut there. Spicy and crisp, this beer tasted like fall. An excellent example of the breadth of styles the Ravens Crew is capable of.

 

And of course, the rest of the Original Line-up and Tasting Room Experimentals were on offer.

 

 What does the future hold? Barrel Aged Deliciousness!

What does the future hold? Barrel Aged Deliciousness!

The celebrations at Ravens Brewing were attended by a broad spectrum of people, from beer geeks, hop farmers and brewers to families, friends and locals from throughout the valley. It is impressive that Ravens Brewing has only been producing for one year, and they are consistently pushing out quality beers that satisfy a broad range of tastes. There is truly something for everyone on the Ravens Menu.

So, if you missed out on the party, or you have never tried one of their beers, listen to their slogan next time you're at the local bottle shop or pub: “Ask for Ravens”!

How to Get the Most Out of Farmhouse Fest 2016

Farmhouse Fest 2016 is coming up, and we want to make sure you get the most out of your ticket! Here's a few ideas picked up from our experience at last years Festival and from other festivals we have attended.

Plan a Safe Ride Home

It's a beer festival. Don't drink and drive.

Have a Good Sized Meal Before

Although there are food options at the festival, we cannot stress enough that having a good base down before starting your drinking will help with longevity! There's over 100 beers on offer, you want to try as many as possible, right!?

Pace Yourself

In order to make the most of your day, you're going to want to spread out your drinking. Take time to appreciate the beer you're drinking. Discuss it with your friends and people around you. Take in the scenery around you. Listen to the live entertainment. You paid for all of these extra things with your ticket, no sense in wasting it on chugging down beers and getting obliterated in the first hour or two.

Hydrate

It's a Marathon, not a Sprint. We're all here for the appreciation of the beer. There's no shame in taking a pause in between to reflect on the beers you have already consumed, downing a glass of water (or two), and carefully selecting your next sample. Plus, staying hydrated will help with the post-festival headache and hangover!

Be Social

Everyone who is at this festival is there for the love of beer! These are your people! Mingle at the group tables, talk to the people serving! (Don't hold up the line though.) There are lots of cool people that are going to be at this festival, and if you don't compare notes and enjoy your time with them, you're doing yourself a disservice!

Plan a Safe Ride Home

Seriously.

 

That's All we can think of off the top of our heads! Have any other ideas? Comment Below!

Fieldhouse Brewing Co Grand Opening

It was a beautiful day for the official grand opening of Abbotsford's newest brewery, Field House Brewing Co. The weather could not have been better and the excitement in the air was palpable. The brewery's "magical beer garden" was packed with families and the lineup for beer was out the door throughout the day.

 A look at the comfier and more intimate side of the tasting room.

A look at the comfier and more intimate side of the tasting room.

On offer were ten different beers from the Field House Lineup. The six "standard" releases that have been (mostly) available since their doors opened and four new beers. Whether you're a beer geek or a casual drinker, there was something for everyone, including cold brew Oldhand coffee for those not in the mood for something fermented!

 Field House Coolship Commons and their Limited Edition Copperplate Growler

Field House Coolship Commons and their Limited Edition Copperplate Growler

Field House definitely showed their commitment to being a community oriented brewery by having activities (and ice cream!) for kids as well as the plenty of options for Adults. Along with their usual lineup of baked goods, cheeses, and charcuterie, Taqueria del Pueblo was on location providing fantastic Mexican eats and Duft and Co. Bakehouse supplied some of their fantastic donuts for the hungry people. Live music was provided by Mark Woodyard in the afternoon and Ryan McAllister and the North Country Gentlemen in the evening.

 There was something for everyone at the Field House Grand Opening Event

There was something for everyone at the Field House Grand Opening Event

The crew at Field House Brewing Co. have embraced the community with open arms and the community has responded in kind, as can be evidenced by the turnout for their Grand Opening Event. There are several breweries in Abbotsford. Field House isn't just a brewery in Abbotsford. Field House is an Abbotsford Brewery. 

 The Field House Sour Wheat Gose

The Field House Sour Wheat Gose

#MyCraftBeerPhilosophy

Hey Guys, Cam here with an update on a new project I'm working on!

In the next week, I'm going to be starting a project I'm calling #MyCraftBeerPhilosophy, which will be a short blog and vlog series about the Craft Beer movement and what I and other people think about it. I'm calling on all my fellow Craft Beer lovers and writers, as well as brewers and people in the industry to join in and think about what it is that they love about Craft Beer. I'm hoping to record a short (5 Minute) video and blog post about my own feelings, and I hope you guys will be willing to chime in with your ideas too!

The goal of this project is to bring you guys more content in a shorter time frame, as well as to help engage with our audience and friends and spread the good word of Craft Beer.

This project is the kick-off point of Year 2 of the On Tap Podcast, and we're very excited for what the future holds!

Cheers,

Cam.

 

Sorry We've Been Gone So Long

Hey Crafters, it's Cam here with an update about the Podcast. We're both very sorry about the Hiatus we took this summer, but it's been a crazy couple of months! Episode 5 has been in the chamber since July, but we hit a major snag in the form of a computer failure. Luckily, I have been able to recover the files and am taking a break in editing the episode as I type this.

In combination with the hardware issues, I've gone back to school, so time is precious and far between due to my working hours and courseload. In combination with my schooling, Jared and his wife have brought a future Crafter into the world, so I don't think I need to explain how hectic his life has been! The On Tap Podcast has always been a passion project that Jared and I have been taking time out of our lives to do completely for free, and we have no intentions of stopping. The frequency of episodes is not up to where we wanted to get (1 per month) and we're still doing our best to nail down a format that works best for us and sounds best for you!

Here's to more podcasts, more beers, and the future of Craft Beer in BC!

Cam

 

Beers from Ep. 1 (Jan 28): Hammer Imperial Stout & Sasquatch Stout

Our first episode was a stout one, featuring two great examples of that style...

Cam's Beer: Phillips Brewing Co. Hammer Imperial Stout, Victoria BC

Hammer Imperial Stout.JPG

Colour: Rich black pour with mocha head

Flavours: Strong and smooth with a chocolate finish.

Pair with: Aged cheeses

8.3% ABV, available in 650ml bottles

Barrel-Aged Hammer Imperial Stout also available - worth tracking down!

For more information on the Phillips Brewing Co. Hammer Imperial Stout, click here.

 

Jared's Beer: Old Yale Brewing Co. Sasquatch Stout, Chilliwack BC

Sasquatch Stout is part of Old Yale’s "Tall Tales" series, and they describe it as "black and robust with a lot of body, just like the mysterious animal itself".

Colour: Dark, near-black pour with tan/caramel head

Flavours: toasted malts, coffee bitterness well-balanced with chocolate creme, easy drinking meal or dessert beer

Pair with: Beef brisket, pulled pork sandwich, oysters, chocolate cake, tiramasu

5.0% ABV, 25 IBU, available in 650ml bottles

For more information on the 2014 Canadian "Beer of the Year", the Sasquatch Stout, click here.

Sasquatch Stout.JPG

Ep. 1 (Jan 28): Ales & Lagers

Beer 101: Lagers & Ales

One of the first things that will help you understand the differences between the styles of beers you drink is to understand the difference between Ales and Lagers. Think of ales and lagers as the two major branches of the beer tree, with every other style stemming from either the ale branch or the lager branch.

What's the difference?

The difference between the two is the type of yeast used in the fermentation process. Ales are brewed using a “top-fermenting” yeast that is most active in warmer temperatures. They're usually conditioned in warmer temperatures (somewhere between 12-21C). Lagers, in contrast, are brewed using a “bottom-fermenting” yeast that thrives in cooler temperatures. Lagers are fermented and conditioned at cooler temperatures (between 3-10C) and for longer periods of time. The process of cold conditioning a beer over time is known as "lagering".

The important question, then, is what are the traits of ales and lagers that are created by the difference in the way they're brewed?

Common Traits of Ales

  • Fruity, aromatic, contain more esters
  • Can often include bitter features, "hoppiness"
  • Generally have more complex taste and aromas
    • All features of warmer fermentation
  • Thousands of years of brewing history

Common Traits of Lagers

  • Crisp, clean flavour
  • Often more carbonated beers
  • Also includes most lighter flavoured beers and beers with lower ABV
  • Only brewed since the 15th or 16th century, and much more widely brewed since the advent of refrigeration
  • Most commercial macro-brews are lagers

Examples of Styles of Ales

  • Pale, Amber, Blonde and Belgian Ales
  • IPAs (India Pale Ales)
  • Stouts
  • Porters
  • Hefeweizens

Examples of Styles of Lagers

  • Pilsners
  • Dark Lagers
  • Bocks and Doppelbocks
  • Dunkels
  • Helles
  • Most Oktoberfest-style Beers