Saturday, 17 October 2015

We visited Osaka Japan


In Oct 2015 we visited Osaka Japan for 4 days. We spent much of our time in the Dotonbori district which is famous for its street food including local favourites like Takoyaki (Octopus balls topped w’ Bonito flakes), Okonomiyaki (pancakes made of shredded cabbage and seafood), crab legs, gyozas and of course steaming bowls of Ramen.

After all that eating our thoughts naturally turned to beer. Unlike here in Vancouver, most craft brewpubs in Osaka don’t actually brew their own beer and serve 100% guest taps. They also don’t do Growlers.

Our first stop was Yellow Ape (http://ameblo.jp/yellow-ape-craft/). They don't brew their own beer but they serve a nice variety of guest taps in their whopping 200 sq ft tasting room. Prices are steep but it has is a quirky ambience, owing partly to extreme coziness and partly to the Spanish tapas style bar snacks made with wholly Japanese ingredients. We tried the Minoh Pilsner from Osaka and the Shigakogen Porter from Nagaon - both were nice but they serve tiny 260ml pours - more like we’d see in a flight.


The music featured a heavy rotation of Taylor Swift (like everywhere in Osaka) but on the upside they have free Wi-Fi and a great selection of local English language craft beer magazines to browse.

Our second stop was Garage 39 (http://garage39.com/) and I could become a regular. People were devouring authentic pub food (Japanese, French, Spanish & English) and they served a great selection of guest taps (not brewing any beer either). The service was excellent and it’s the kind of place where in the middle of the most foreign place, you feel instantly at home (unlike some cheesy fake Irish pub).

They serve flights of 3 beers. Prices were also double (maybe triple) that of Vancouver but they make up for it with friendly & knowledgeable service. We tried a Shigakougen IPA (6%), a Shigakougen Saison (7%) and a Miyajima Pilsner (5%). I liked the Saison best . Thankfully there was no Taylor Swift - instead they played a funky selection of bouncy euro tracks that kept us Shazamming...

Here they gave us the "Osaka Craft Beer Map vol. 03", a wicked map of craft brew pubs organized my district and x-referenced by subway lines. We couldn’t find it online but it sure would have come in handy at the start of our crawl.

Out final stop was at Marca - one of the few craft breweries actually brewing beer in Osaka.
(
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Marca-Cafe-Beer-Factory/591001931032521)

Tiny doesn't begin to describe an entire working brewery & tasting room in under 1000 sq ft. They had 3 of their own beers on tap (2 pale ales and 1 IPA) and a guest tap Saison. We tried them all and the IPA was our favorite. They do serve a few Japanese bar snacks but the prices were steep so we didn't hang around for long.  Mizuki Kamiya, the owner & brewmaster has been at it for 3 years now but the place lacked ambience and seemed clinical.

It’s always fun to check out the local craft beer spots wherever we travel. Even if it just reminds us how very spoiled we are in Vancouver with our amazing craft breweries and tasting rooms.

~ Ron & Carmen


Websites dedicated to Craft Beer in Japan: 
Beer In Japan - Osaka: http://beerinjapan.com/bij/858/beer-in-osaka/ (Beer Scene in Japan – Japanese & English)
RateBeer – Osaka: http://www.ratebeer.com/places/city/osaka/0/105/ (Worldwide Ratings of Beer - English) 
The Japan Beer Times: http://japanbeertimes.com/ (Craft Beer Magazine of Japan –English & Japanese)
Beer Zen: http://beerzenjournal.com/ (Journal for Japanese Craft Beer – English & Japanese)




Thursday, 15 October 2015

Pabst Brewing Company Returns to its Roots



Pabst Brewing Company Returns to its Roots

With the craft beer craze taking over North America, Pabst Brewing Co has decided to take advantage of its vast library of vintage beer recipes.  Next year, Pabst will reopen its historic brewery closed in 1996 to produce vintage beers going back to its roots.  The company will open a new microbrewery and tasting room in its original building (a converted Methodist church from the 1890s.)  The brewery's history goes back even further than that: it was founded in 1844.

Expect to see chestnuts such as Tankard Ale, Kloster Beer, Bock, Andecker, and more.  If you visit the brewery/tasting room (expected to be opened Summer 2016), you will be able to enjoy brewery tours, a museum full of memorabilia, a tasting room (of course), beer garden, and even a brew pub serving small-batch brews only available on-site.

Pabst joins a host of large international breweries trying to tap into the craft beer momentum.  This phenomenon is not without controversy from craft beer purists.  (Is it really "craft beer" when manufactured by one of the world's largest breweries?)  Still, a company with such deep history, at least from the perspective of the USA, they should have the right to revive the gems of their past.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Doan Brewery

There is always something fun to do at Doan !

Doan took over the location of  Powell street brewery, and if you remember that place you know how small the tasting room was! If you could even call that a tasting room. Well Doan renovated and made it much larger. I would say it is still one of the smaller tasting rooms, but you can only work with the space you have. They could accommodate about 8-12 people depending on how friendly you want to get !

Doan is a family run brewery, and they've got some great ideas to keep thing fresh and fun ! A pinball machine, which can be played at any time, but on Thursday night it's free!

They start off the week with a cask night on Monday's, followed by Bingo on Tuesday, and Lego on Wednesday.

They offer up the usual tasting room foods, pretzels and popcorn, but also offer locally made Samosa and Pizza.

Doan offers an IPA, a Kolsch as well as an Altbier. The batch Kolsch wasn't quite ready to be served the night we were there, but one of the perks of a family business is they can bend the rules. We got a sample right from the vat !


~ Colleen



Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Callister Nano-Brewery

They just keep popping up!

Starting off our evening at Callister, we had the chance to enjoy a flight of their beer as well as some from other breweries. Callister is a Nano-Brewery specializing in small batches. 

Callister had a great selection to pick from. 4 of their own, as well as a couple from Brewery Creek (only available in limited liquor stores), Real Cask and a few from the brew-master himself, called "Machine" If you are looking for a selection, this is a great place to visit. 




"Dank Williams" from the Machine was one of the groups top pick for this evening.

Make sure to visit frequently, because they specialize in small batches, their flavors rotate often, giving you the change to experience some great flavors.


~ Colleen 







.

Friday, 14 August 2015

Old Town Pilsner, Victoria


Brewed in the heart of Old Town Victoria!

The Old Town Pilsner is light gold in colour with a hoppy aroma with a hint of floral.


OLD TOWN PILSNER 5.4%


~ Colleen

Friday, 7 August 2015

Lifty Lager


2013 BC Beer Awards: Silver

The lightest and most quaffable beer made by BrewHouse. Canadian Pale malt, Czech hops and German lager yeasts are blended in this beer to create a crisp, tasty, golden lager.

Friday, 31 July 2015

A patio pint at Red Truck

We finally ventured over the the much anticipated Red Truck Brewery. With promises of an opening for what seemed like a year they finally opened their doors the summer of 2015.

The "truck stop" is designed as a '50's-era diner complete with an iconic and fully functioning 8 foot water tower.

Serving a truck stop inspired menu. I ordered the beef burger and fries, each sold separately. The burger was excellent. A basic home made patty for an excellent price. And their garlic fries, they're a must try.

The place was rockin' on a Thursday night and they kept up with all the beer and food orders.

I would absolutly recommend a visit to the Red Truck Brewery.

~ Colleen

Soft opening at Red Racer, Yaletown

Red Racer Restaurant:
871 Beatty Street, Vancouver

On Friday July 24th, Surrey’s Central City Brewers + Distillers opened their 4800 sq ft Red Racer pub in the old Dix’s BBQ location on Beatty St in Vancouver. We checked it out earlier at a V.I.P. preview event.

This is a full service restaurant, not a brewpub, as they’re not brewing beer onsite (yet). The interior has been refreshed but remains mostly the same as it was for Dix. The service was vastly improved.



The sweeping main bar has a custom serving up a varied  40+ craft beers; 14 of their own plus various guest taps from mainly local craft breweries including:  Bomber, Bridge, Dageraad, Persophone, Deschutes, 33 Acres, Driftwood, Steel & Oak, Postmark, 4 Winds, Hoyne, Steamworks, Powell St, Parallel 49, Hearthstone and others. Their big screen TV’s also serve as beer menus showing what beers are being served on tap, how full each keg is and the prices for a glass, pint or pitcher. Our server mentioned that growler refills will be available soon.

Food is key and includes the BBQ that Dix was known for and a Build Your Own Burger Bar. We tried many of the starters they plan to serve and especially enjoyed the Spring Rolls Al Pastor (good crunch), the Scotch Eggs (well-seasoned) and the Squid Diablo (nice heat). The pulled pork sandwiches were tasty as were the pork ribs (a little salty) but the surprise favourite was the  S’more dessert.

Looking forward to a follow-up visit to check out the burger bar and work through more of the brews on tap.
~ Ron          .




Sunday, 26 July 2015

Beer Corn

Ingredients

4 ears corn 
2 (12 ounce) cans beer
 

 

Directions


  1. Shuck corn, removing husks& silks. 
  2. Wash Corn. 
  3. Place corn in a dish and pour beer over to cover (may also use a large baggie) Set in fridge for at least 6-8 hours, overnight is best. 
  4. Drain corn and place on a hot grill, turning frequently till done, about 5 minutes. 
  5. If you would rather do this in a smoker, Preheat smoker to 250°F. 
  6. Place corn on racks, and stack racks in smoker. 
  7. Cook for 1 to 2 hours, turning every 20 minutes or so. 
  8. Either way, kernels should give easily under pressure when done.
Read more at myfridgefood.com

Friday, 17 July 2015

Cannstatter Wasen: A great alternative to Oktoberfest


Stuttgart's Cannstatter Wasen festival, taking place from September 25th to October 11th this year (2015), is the second largest beer festival in the world.


Visitors to the fair, which dates back to 1818, savor a variety of Swabian and German dishes and enjoy the party mood  in the many beer tents, with locals dressed in traditional costumes. Of course the thrills and spills on the traditional and modern rides are not to be missed, either !


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Friday, 10 July 2015

Beer flights go big at MicroBrasserie Saint Arnould Mont-Tremblant

Quebec has some great beer! On a recent trip to Mont-Tremblant we found some time to check out MicroBrasserie Saint Arnould.  Saint Arnould is the patron saint of brewers and I think they do him proud with their offerings.


Beer Selection


I love to try flights of beer and they have flights of 6, 8 or 10.  We tried 8 and I particularly liked the refreshing Blanche Anges, a Belgian white with orange and coriander.

The staff were friendly and informative and they had plenty of information sheets on the bar with tasting notes, alcohol content, IBUs and even the temperatures they should be served at.  In fact a lot of the beer bottles in Quebec seem to have this information on the labels.  I like it a lot.


The bar at Microbrasserie Saint Arnould



5 Yums UP! 
~ Cathy

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Sour White

Parallel 49th Sour White

What can I say?  The beer that has it all for me at the moment.  Enough funkiness to resemble a saison.  Barrel-aged in French Chardonnay barrels for over a year.  In a previous incarnation, they branded this as a "Sour Chardonnay Barrel-Aged".  Not only was that an uncatchy mouthful, it was misleading because the only similarity to chardonnay was the oak barrel aging, not the taste.  Parallel 49 now refers to the brew's "juicy pear" flavour.

Fairly high alcohol (7.5) and nice mild IBU (6) makes this an excellent summer sipper!

Sour white ale 5000 web



Monday, 22 June 2015

Dogwood Brewery

Can you think of a better thing to do on a hot summer day than go for a walk along the Fraser river and end up tasting beer? Yes, I said summer and I do realize it’s only June 14th.

Last week I lathered up with sunscreen, strapped on my runners, put my growler in my back pack and was off for a 45 min walk along the Fraser with the Dogwood brewing to be our destination.

As soon as we walked in 3 chipper people said hello, one of them being a customer. It was a great welcoming.
Ordering a flight of all 4 of their beers, we learned they have only been open 11 weeks. And are already in full swing participating in the Vancouver Craft Beer Week and looking forward to hosting BBQ's on Sunday!  We grabbed a spot on a long benches to test out their "Organic beers."

Starting with their seasonal beer, Unite Red Ale. This a collaboration brew from several local craft breweries which is a challenge by the Pink Boots Society to challenge women on International Women's Day. Their Organic IPA, this was my favorite, a golden beer with a lasting hop aroma. Their Organic Stout and lastly the Fest. A Martzen style ale with a malty smooth flavor.

Their tastings room is bright, clean and airy. The staff is happy and available to chat and educate you on their organic beer. Making an effort to reduce their carbon footprint this place is a must visit. They have big idea and I wish them all the success.


I  will be visiting again.
~ Colleen

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Campfire Kolsch



Campfire is the perfect name for this beer. It has hints of a smoked wood flavor.

In honour of this year's lumberjack theme Red Truck Beer created for the VCBW (Vancouver Craft Beer Week) this Campfire Kolsch. A sessionable Kolsch style ale using a cherry wood smoked malt and hops that gives a tropical fruit note.

$1 of each bottle being donated to the Vancouver Firefighters Society.

 ~ Colleen




Monday, 15 June 2015

Fundraising for the Vancouver Downtown EastSide





We're happy to announce The Western Beer Club will be donating a craft filled growler to The Travel Group's 7th annual fundraising event happening this weekend at Iona Beach, Richmond. 

For details visit: www.longestday.ca

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Big Rock Urban Brewery

Personally I wasn't won over by the Big Rock Urban Brewery, I do not have anything bad to say, but it is just another brew pub and didn't stand out to me. The food is good, and beer is good but neither stood out for me.

It is a beautiful new building with a full service kitchen, large seating area which accommodated our large group, also with a small tasting room. They have a selection of their own beers, as well as many from other local breweries.

I will give it another chance at some point. There are always kinks to work out when something is new. 

~ Colleen

Saturday, 9 May 2015

B33r tasting at 33 Acres

This places seems to be a victim of their own success !

We all arrived in small groups, and ended up having to wait ! They were at full capacity. This is likely because it was a beautiful Vancouver evening on a Thursday. And we all know Thursday is the new Friday !

33 Acres is located just off main street and if I lived in that neighborhood I would be stopping for a pint on my way home as well. 

We all managed to get in after about a 20 min wait.  Each trying different flights and different pints. Ordering flights is fun, you take a card and mark down which B33rs you would like to taste. There was no stand out beer that was a "must try" but everyone seemed to find something they liked. 


The atmosphere is fun! Their tasting room is bright, crisp with a modern interior.




~ Colleen

Monday, 13 April 2015

Tree Brewery, Kelowna

Some friends and I had the opportunity to  visit the tree beer institute (pub)  and enjoyed a very entertaining and educational brewery tour.
 
The space is very cozy with little nooks where jenga , trivial pursuit, and checkers are laid out to play.  A large patio which looks out over Lake Okanagan, and upstairs is the Hop Garden with a communal table.
The brewery tour was reasonably priced at $10 per person , which included a flight of 4 tasters. The tour started by the front door with an explanation of the various hops and malts that are used for each type of beer.  
 
We enjoyed samples of their wheat beer, a German style Ruashberg and our favorite was the Knox Mountain Brown Ale, and thus a growler came home with us.
 
Next time you are in Kelowna check out the Tree Beer Institute Downtown Kelowna near the Delta Okanagan.

 
~ Sue
 
 
 

Friday, 10 April 2015

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

UrbanGrind

 
 

And up we went !
 
Climbing 40 flights of stairs (593 stairs) to enjoy a Storm IPA and incredible views of Vancouver.
Ron wins for being the quickest!
 
 

Friday, 13 March 2015

Vancouver mini pub crawl

There are so many craft breweries showing up in Vancouver as well as other cities in North America, it is hard to keep up with them !  The Western Beer Club, usually set out to a tasting room, and then some brew pub, to make sure we get some food into our bellies ! Today we suck to a good old fashioned pub crawl !


Starting things off at the Powell Street Craft Brewery, they opened December of 2012 before the craft beer craze hit Vancouver. Their location was small but David and his wife had big dreams. In the Fall of 2014 they moved almost directly across the street into larger location. Keeping to their artistic roots, Powell Street still have their incredibly creative beer labels, as well as local artist works hanging in their new tasting room. 




Next stop was a short walk away to Off the Rails. Opening February 2015. Steve, owner of the Railway Club, had always supported the local craft breweries by making the unknown local crafts beers available to the public. But one day he realized he needed to start brewing his own beer and that is where Off the Rails began. Now creating over 15 different Beers from a Kolsch or Pillsner, IPA, Ales, to Oatmeal Stout and Smoked Porters there is something on their beer list that will satisfy everyone.




Their name is very appropriate and you see this before you even walk in, with their crooked sign. Opening December 2014 at an old auto repair shop Iain and Aaron (founders) kept the vintage sign and made it their own.
When you walk in you are steps away from their mass bar with staff eager to help you experience their beers. This being our 3rd brewery of the night, I had some trouble reading the names of their beers, but the staff was happy to help and get me a great selection of beers to taste.

It was a great night visiting with friends and tasting some excellent local craft beers, keep it up Vancouver I look forward to tasting more.




~ Colleen  







.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Urban Grind

 
Colleen enjoying a Storm IPA after doing the Urban Grind at Harbour Center
 
 
Every Tuesday in March from 4 - 6:30pm
 
For just $5, get in on all the action! Climb 40 flights of stairs for incredible views of Vancouver.
Enjoy a local craft been at the top as well as a $5 food voucher for future use.
A live DJ is playing while you take in the 360' view.
 
Hope to see you there.
 
 

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Friday, 30 January 2015

Travel, drink beer, and cycle away the calories

http://www.eventbrite.com/e/motor-city-bike-and-brew-tours-guided-bike-tours-in-detroit-tickets-8740786929
Travel, drink beer, and cycle away the calories. 

How good is that!
Read Nathalie Chudnovsky's article, "Around the World on Beer Tours by Bike," and get planning your next beer-travel-bike adventure.  Nathalie describes tours in Belgium, South Africa, Flanders, Germany, Japan, Oregon (of course!), and Sacramento.
The one that caught my eye?  Cape Town, South Africa.  For about $113, you take a leisurely mountain bike ride through a bunch of South African breweries, including lunch at Rhodes Memorial restaurant. Somehow this is tied in with a visit to the famous Table Mountain.  Or check out Flanders, Belgium.  Centred around Bruges, you'll get to sample exotics like sours, lambics, and gueuze ales, beers that are just creeping into the local craft beer scene here now.  See, or rather taste, the real thing.

Friday, 9 January 2015

Bridge Brewery, Open House


Any place with a dog gets extra points with me! However even if Ziggy was not running around. Bridge has a great feel in the air.
 
Bridge Brewery opened in their new location last night, and The Western Beer Club, was lucky enough to be invited to the festivities.
 
They have moved into a larger location. The tasting room is at least twice the size and plenty more room for their beer production.
 
When you walk in you are immediately greeted with a smile from the growler filling window, which also serves flights, pints and basic beer tasting foods.
 
 
 
There is one large table for communal seating and a tv tucked in the corner for those Canuck games you just can't miss! Against the back wall is an alcove with 3 large windows which peer into the back to check out all the action while they mix and brew all their beer creations.
 
Bridge has a great feel of North Shore pride, you can feel it when you walk in their doors, and by the names of their beers. Try their North Shore Pale, or the Hopilano they both get the yums up from me.
 
 


~ Colleen

Red Solo Cup, Toby Keith