10 members of the club toured three Vancouver Downtown Eastside breweries on Nov. 13th under the guidance of a former brew master and wine connoisseur. The idea was to try to develop an understanding of the finer points of beer from the perspective of someone who is intimately familiar with wine as well as beer.
We visited Callister Brewing Co, Powell Street Brewery, and finished the night at Andina, a South American-style brew pub, where we sampled various kinds of ceviche and other South American treats.
1. Foam is your friend:foam is where flavour is most concentrated, particularly bitterness from the hops. No foam, little flavour.
2. Fat is the enemy of foam. Avoid eating fatty substances such as Cheezies or potato chips. The oil from these things almost instantly “kills” the foam in a glass of beer.
3. Never drink from a bottle if you can pour the beer into a glass. The glass opens up the beer to smell, which accounts for 75% of the experience of flavour.
4. White foam indicates the beer has been carbonated naturally. Coloured foam indicates artificial ingredients were used to carbonate the drink.
5. While hops are the “sexy” component of beer, yeast is the most significant ingredient. Yeast is “magical” for all the things it can do for a beer. Brewers are really just bakers without the flour and the oven!