Blue Buck vs Fat Tug
Which is the better pioneer of BC craft beer?
Hey Beer Loopers!
I had a West Coast Hazy IPA in Pacific City, Oregon this weekend—which my taxonomy-obsessed beer brain found tough to process. We've often thought about West Coast and East Coast IPAs as distinct beer styles (see this week's Beer School section below).
It appears the inevitable is happening: the merging of these two beer styles. And looking back on some of the new hazy IPA releases I've enjoyed from BC's craft brewers, it looks like the pendulum may be swinging to a happy place between the two beer styles.
This week features summer-inspired beers and flavours, as well as our first head-to-head clash of BC's brewing titans!
— Joseph Lavoie
NEW BEER RELEASE
Dig for Victory Lager
Later this week, Coast Mountain is releasing a collaboration with Chromag Bikes. The result? A crispy lager timed for summer heat waves. Chromag carries a line of merchandise that supports Sea to Sky Trails by giving back to trail builders in the community. That line of merchandise—Dig for Victory—now shares a name with a beer that will support this cause.
- Available: At the brewery, starting June 30
- Location: 2, 1212 Alpha Lake Rd #2, Whistler | Map
NEW BEER RELEASE
ORCUS barrel-aged sour
House of Funk has a new sour that features a blend of beer that has aged in oak barrels for three months and 30 months. This beer has waited patiently to make it to your lips, so take some time to sip this one. You can expect a floral character underpinned by a complex acid character.
- Available: In cans at the brewery and online
- Location: 350 Esplanade E #101, North Vancouver | Map
NEW BEER RELEASE
North Vancouver's Black Kettle Brewing has a new sour out this week for those looking for something fruity and sour while taking in sunshine and the ocean breeze at the beach. Tropical Mango, pineapple, grapefruit, and passionfruit are waiting to burst out of these cans.
- Available: On tap and in cans. Also pouring at Vancouver Beer Week.
- Location: 720 Copping St, North Vancouver, BC | Map
NEW BEER RELEASE
Shoreline Brewing is bringing Summer's official flavour to its Kölsch. This flavoured beer features watermelon, but what some of us really want to know is if the beer will freeze well in popsicle molds? Seems like the perfect summer treat.
- Available: In cans, at the brewery, for those of you going to the Interior for the long weekend
- Location: 3477 Lakeshore Rd #116, Kelowna | Map
NEW BEER RELEASE
The result is a fruited sour that has been hopped lightly with Mandarina Bavaria and fermented with a Kölsch yeast strain. This beer also features a collection of beautiful labels, so you've now got an excuse to scoop up several cans.
- Available: In cans at the brewery
- Location: 30 Capilano Way #11, New Westminster | Map
Even more beer releases
- Barn Owl Brewing welcomes back its popular summer beer, a Pina Colada Sour.
- Strange Fellows is bringing back its limited edition barrel-aged wild ale.
- Fernie Brewing is re-releasing its seasonal summer dry-hop sour, Vertex.
- Moody Ales has a new summer seasonal, a Blood Orange Hefeweizen.
- Bomber Brewing has collaborated with Ace Brewing to release a thiols-enhanced tropical hazy. Don't know what thiols are? Check out last week's Beer School.
- Another Beer Company also has a new collaboration with Dageraad, a Sour White IPA.
- Backcountry has a fruit-punch sour. Kool-aid, anyone?
THE GREAT BC BEER-OFF
Blue Buck vs Fat Tug
We all have a favourite beer. But which is the best? Is that even possible to decide? We want to find out.
The Great BC Beer-Off will feature some of BC's best beer in a vote-off to see which will be crowned the champion.
The first Beer-Off is between two titans of the BC craft beer scene - the OG craft beer Phillips Blue Buck versus the absolute classic Driftwood Fat Tug.
Voting closes on Sunday, July 10, so get your votes in now!
The "Great Tier" is out
We've been keeping a close eye on each of Justin McElroy's beer rankings release, and the marathon almost comes to an end this week with his release of the "Great Tier" (we'll profile the top ten breweries late this week).
There are many great breweries that make the cut among the greats, including Main Street, ABC, Farmhouse, Coast Mountain, and 26 other breweries. Here's our take on a couple that made this tier.
What Geoff thinks: As someone who lived in Victoria, I have fond memories of Phillips and Driftwood. It's partially why I chose both of them for our first Great BC Beer-Off - they have a storied history of creating truly remarkable beers. In fact, Blue Buck was my first introduction to craft beer, so it holds a special place in my heart.
What Joseph thinks: Steel and Oak deserves its place in this tier. Their beers may look unassuming next to the others when you're trying to pick the right 4-pack at the liquor store, but behind that unassuming brand is incredibly well-made beer, regardless of style. I personally love their Simple Things Pilsner.
ONE FUN THING
Yeast of what?
Guelph brewery Fixed Gear Brewing is using the yeast of butterflies to brew their beer. It's from the Mottled Duskywing Butterfly and is described as "tangy summer beer with notes of fruit blossom".
LEARN SOMETHING NEW
West Coast vs East Coast IPA
This week, we dig into the world of IPAs with a primer on the difference between the two IPA styles that are dominating tap lists in breweries across the province. What makes these two styles different doubles as both a lesson in history and in style.
When the craft beer scene in North America had its supersonic boom, it was on the back of very hoppy interpretations of pale ales. Pioneers like Sierra Nevada and Anchor Brewing awakened our palates to bold hopping rates and unleashed a hop revolution. As these intense hopping rates were complemented by new experimental hop varieties, the West Coast IPA was born.
This was a brash, loud, and intense style originally known for its strong caramel malt backbone, clear body, and eye-popping bitterness. When West Coast IPAs dominated, so too did those classic floral, pine, and grapefruit flavours. Eventually, brewers started taking it to extremes in what felt like an IBU arms race to see who make the most bitter version of the style. Many failed.
Many more, decided to experiment in a different direction.
Rather than add the hops during the boil (which unleashes a hops battering compounds), brewers on the East Coast began to toss most of their hops during, or after fermentation finished. Beer is much colder when being fermented, and the result brought out a whole new flavour profile from hops. These are the juicy tropical and stone fruit notes that you'll find in most version of the style.
Adding hops during fermentation instead of during the boil significantly reduces the hops' bittering effect, which is why you often end up with a sweeter beer compared to the West Coast style.
Hops at this stage also add haze to the beer, contributing to that juicy milkshake look so many people love. But there's something else that makes East Coast IPAs different: the grain bill. Most add oats to the recipe to give the body an extra soft, creamy, pillowy feel. Combine these two significant changes from the original style, and you end up with a hazy, juicy, tropical beer. A style that continues to be all the rage, almost a decade after it was first invented.
THE BEER LOOP GIVEAWAY
Win $250 to some of BC's best breweries
We're giving away $250 in gift cards to Patina, Five Roads, Steel and Oak, Studio and Twin Sails. Enter with your email address at our contest page. The contest closes on July 12.
WHAT ELSE IS BREWING?
- Langford on Vancouver Island is hosting its first-ever beer festival, with over 80 breweries and cideries. [Victoria Buzz]
- Russel Brewing in Surrey now has a tasting room. [Canadian Beer News]
- Tri-Cities breweries have a new collab called the Tri-Cities Sour. Try it out at participating breweries. [Tri-Cities News]
- Small craft breweries are tag-teaming with local amateur wrestling groups. [NYTimes]
- According to The Takeout, it turns out it’s okay to let cold beer get warm and then re-chill it.
- Craft beer experts rank their favourite pale lagers to drink in the summer. [UPROXX]
- Retail beer sales are slowly changing, with live retail sales and online ordering. [Craft Brewing Business]
- Brewing with rye is challenging. Here’s a deep dive to demystify it. [Beer and Brewing]
- RIP to Stone Brewing, one of America’s famous independent breweries, that was just bought by Sapporo. [Tasting Table]
Brews you may have missed
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