Sunday, May 16, 2010

Vancouver Craft Beer Week - 2010

It is a shame that I am writing a blurb about one of the city's coolest new festivals/events as it is ending. This year marks the first annual Vancouver Craft Beer Week, which runs from May 10-16. It will likely run in early May in years to come, and it will never catch me off-guard again!

I went to the Women and Beer night at the Refinery on Granville and was very excited to try two local craft beers (of six) I had never even heard of, let alone tried. As anyone who reads my blog will know, I am passionate about local business and local products, so I was extremely hoppy to discover Saltspring Island Ales and Cannery Brewing from Penticton. The other breweries included in this event were R & B Brewing, Turning Point, Howe Sound, and Crannog Ales. Female brewmeisters from each of the six breweries were in attendance and did a great job of introducing their products. I always like being able to place a person or face with a company or contextualizes the consumer experience and helps solidify the fact that these breweries are a part of British Columbia culture. To make this heady and effervescent evening even more enjoyable, the Refinery's Mike Carter created nibbles to accompany each beer that was offered during the night.

Highlights for me consisted of Howe Sound's Three Beavers Imperial Ale (appropriate name, considering the evening's theme!) and Saltspring Island's Heather Lager. The Howe Sound Ale was robust and intimidating at 7.2%, but it was estery, smooth, and malty. The Heather Lager reminded me of several cask beers I had while studying in Scotland, where heather is a fairly common ingredient in small-batch brewing. It was light, crisp, and pleasantly honeyed. I was upset to hear that this beer is not yet available in bottle...only draught, at a select number of BC bars and restaurants.

A big yawp-out to Yelp Vancouver for running the contest which enabled me to attend this event. I will be more organized next year and actually purchase tickets to some of these outstanding dinners. It's about time oat soda was on equal standing with wine. The creation, fermentation, and aging of silly seltzer is just as complex as the production of vino.    

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