Fresh Hop Showdown. Driftwood Sartori Harvest IPA vs. Hoyne Wolf Vine Pale Ale

The competitors
The competitors

As I sit in front of a retina scorching monitor there’s a 3 year old waging physiological warfare on me from the top of the stairs. It’s bedtime, or at least it’s supposed to be bedtime. My little “princess” has become quite a manipulator when it comes to going to sleep every night and try as I might I can’t seem to crack the code of getting her to agree with me. I’ve run into a similar situation while comparing 2 fresh hopped, limited run beers from a couple of fantastic Vancouver Island breweries. One is an IPA, it is wildly popular and causes good people to do bad things to obtain it upon its release every year. The other is a Pale Ale that is from a less “popular” brewery and doesn’t generate anywhere near the buzz that the IPA does and it puzzles me. I’m going to make some of you mad with this post, I don’t care.

Sartori Harvest IPA
Sartori Harvest IPA

Driftwood Brewing‘s Sartori Harvest is the darling of the BC craft beer scene. Its name alone sends shivers down the spine of hop heads all over the south west corner of our little country. It is a fantastic beer, this is a fact I can attest to having sampled it for the past 3 years upon its release. It has changed from year to year and in my ever so humble opinion it was at its best in 2011. This year it was slightly better than last year but not by much. Here’s the thing, is Sartori Harvest a better IPA than Driftwood’s Fat Tug? I know a lot of you will point to and say “Scott, you idiot, look at the numbers!” Well, the thing with and any other site like it is that the ratings are user generated and thus not a true representation of a beers true value/rating. A once a year limited run beer like Sartori Harvest is bound to get glowing reviews because it’s in demand and supply is short, simple math.

Wolf Vine Wet Hopped Pale Ale
Wolf Vine Wet Hopped Pale Ale

Hoyne Brewing‘s Wolf Vine Wet Hopped Pale Ale is the red headed stepchild of the fresh hop season. Often being given poor ratings and receiving it’s fair share of negative backlash in the craft beer community. Is it deserved? No effing way, this beer is fantastic. BC has a major beer boner for IPA’s and Wolf Vine is not an IPA, it’s a Pale Ale which is a very different style of beer. When I read what some so called “beer experts” have to say about this beer it makes me want to scream. I hear the word “diacetyl” thrown around a lot when it comes to this beer and quite frankly I think you’re all a little over your heads trying to say that you can recognize an organic compound used to produce a buttery flavour over the proper use of malts in a proper pale ale. What cicerone course did you attend? Oh right, the same one as everyone else, none at all. Wolf Vine is NOT AN IPA, I really think a lot of you to read that a few times and let it sink in.

So here’s my verdict. Sartori Harvest is a fantastic beer, a true west coast IPA that makes great use of the fresh hops available during hop harvest season. However, it is not the best IPA in town and Driftwood’s own Fat Tug is proof of that (along with a few others but it really is splitting hairs on a few of them). In this showdown it makes the most pronounced use of these wonderful hops and I will be very sad when my last bottle is gone.

Wolf Vine is a stellar Pale Ale with a more subtle use of fresh hops but they add a certain delicate balance to this beer that’s very addictive. This year’s Wolf Vine is a marked improvement over last years and if the trend continues into next year this beer will be truly legendary. The strong caramel malt backbone and the fresh hops are a magic combination that elevates this humble pale ale to the status of David as he slays Goliath, a true giant killer.

Wolf Vine takes the 2013 WFLBC Fresh Hop Showdown Crown. I’ll be keeping an eye out for fresh hop releases from other local breweries and I plan on comparing them as well.  I await the hoards of sheep that like to follow the heard to tell me how wrong I am.



Menu tasting at Cache Bistro

Cache Bistro and Lounge in the heart of Yaletown is the debut restaurant of Hong Kong born chef Alex Mok. Chef Mok boasts an impressive resume including learning under Chef Herves Martin, the once private chef to the late King Leopold of Belgium. Chef Mok’s technique is classically French complimented by Asian flavours and locally sourced ingredients. I was invited to try a few dishes from their new menu and guess what… It’s really good!


House made bread and butter
House made bread and butter

First up was a nice plate of house made bread with 2 house made butters, a truffle butter and a peanut butter infused butter. The bread was good and the butters were nice as well, especially the peanut butter butter.

"Paris plate"
“Paris plate”
Xfour Classic Martini
Xfour Classic Martini


Next up was the Paris Plate, a lovely charcuterie board with thinly sliced sausage from Oyama, a very intensely flavoured foie gras mouse, pickled vegetables, mixed olives, onion jam and some walnuts, All of this wonderfulness (which is totally a word) was paired with a classic Martini with a twist made with Xfour Vodka which is made in Vernon.

Aldergrove Mok Ribs
Aldergrove Mok Ribs

I sampled 2 mains, first up was Aldergrove Mok Ribs. A full rack of pork back ribs with Chef Mok’s secret BBQ sauce and a red cabbage slaw. The ribs were incredibly tender and the BBQ sauce had a nice Asian twist with some hoisin sauce and a few other Asian flavours blending nicely with the rich BBQ flavours. The ribs were paired with a 2011 Le Vieux Pin Syrah Cuvee Violette.

Peace Country Lamb Chop
Peace Country Lamb Chop

The second main was my favourite dish of the night, Peace Country lamb chop with roasted house made fennel lamb sausage and a navy bean ragout. The lamb was perfectly in that magical zone between medium rare and medium and had a nice salty crust. The lamb sausage was rich with flavour and had a nice firm texture, very impressive for a house made sausage. The beans still had some firmness as well which is just fine with me, mushy beans are gross. This delightful dish was paired with Church and State Cab Franc, I’m not a wine expert by any definition but this wine is terrific.

Cache S'more
Cache S’more

Last but certainly not least was dessert, the Cache S’more. Croissant bread pudding, chocolate ganache and house made coconut marshmallow baked to perfection. The coconut marshmallow was perfect and proves once again that it’s not the taste of coconut I dislike, it’s the texture. The plating of this dish was quite lovely with an artistic dusting of powdered chocolate with the outline of a fork in it. It was so pretty the picture you see here was featured at Gastropost Vancouver.

Cache is the real deal, go see for yourself.

Twitter – @CacheBistro

Instagram – CacheBistro

Facebook – cachebistro

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Thanks to Cache and co for inviting me out and feeding me some fantastic food.




Hog Shack SWINEFEST 2013


Can you believe that Hog Shack Cook House in Steveston is turning 3 years old? To celebrate this milestone they are holding an event, SWINEFEST 2013! On Wednesday October 9th at 6:30 pm (reception at 6 pm) you have the opportunity to enjoy the best BBQ in Vancouver along with some amazing craft beer, including… wait for it… a cask of Driftwood Brewing’s highly sought after Sartori Harvest IPA! Tickets are $65 ($57 for CAMRA members so SIGN UP!!!) and here’s what you get, (I totally stole this from their website)

Join us for an evening of debauchery as Hog Shack celebrates its 3 yr anniversary and our team serves you a competition level BEER & BBQ FEAST like no other! This is our once a year flagship event.

Walking away with several top finishes and awards this past BBQ competition season, Hog Shack’s Chef John Lim Hing will put together a mind blowing Kansas City style BBQ buffet where you will indulge in the city’s finest smoked meats.

Allan and John will pair their top 6 beers of 2013 they have personally chosen to indulge with the SWINEFEST MENU.

One of those beers will be the highly sought after Driftwood “Sartori Harvest Ale” in a CASK!

There will be LOTS of door prizes to win, and an entire evening of BEER & BBQ mayhem.

 What’s included:

Buffet Dinner

5 X 10oz pours of amazing Craft Beer

1 X 16oz CASK POUR of Driftwood’s “Sartori Harvest Ale”

Amazing company


-Must be 19 yr or older to attend

-Please notify us of any allergy concerns by e-mailing us at at least 3 days prior to the event

After being a part of the Hog Shack Competition BBQ team for the past year I can tell you that you’re in for a treat. Competition BBQ is like nothing you’ve had before, here’s a shot of some of Johnny’s turn in boxes from this year’s PNWBA events.

Tasty BBQ
Tasty BBQ

And a Sartori Harvest cask?! You can guarantee you’ll see me at this celebration of smoked meat and hops.

Get your ticket on Eventbrite (click me click me click me)


The semi occasional weekly rant – episode 2. Team 1040 morning show

If you follow me on Twitter or know me in real life you already know where I stand on the recent changes that Vancouver’s sports radio station, The Team 1040, has made to it’s morning show. Mr. Team, in all of his wisdom, decided to shuffle long time morning show host Scott Rintoul to the night shift and let go of some talented people (Paul Debron, Joe Leary) to make room for a “Big Name” in Vancouver radio. Jake Edwards has been a part of Vancouver radio for a VERY long time. He’s a misogynist loudmouth douchebag who appeals to the lowest common denominator and recycles 20+ year old material (The Champ).

Bro Jake. Photo credit -
Bro Jake. Photo credit –

Bringing in Bro Jake was reason enough for me to find another morning radio routine, but it got worse. Another polarizing Vancouver radio personality, Dave Pratt, was announced as Bro Jake’s sidekick. Pratt is most famous for being a plagiarist while he was writing a column for The Province and having as on air blowup with Team 1040 superstar Don Taylor about whether poker was a sport or not. Pratt thinks it is FYI, here’s the embarrassing audio. Pratt left the Team 1040 over a contract dispute where he tried to play hardball over his salary and found out the hard way he wasn’t worth what he thought he was.

Photo credit - The
Photo credit – The

I have been boycotting the Team’s morning show since The Bro Jake show launched on September 9th but last week I cracked. I like hearing sports news in the morning, not having it is like not having coffee. I loved the old morning show, Scotty was the glue holding all the personalities together. Paul Chapman brought strong opinions backed up by real sports knowledge, Jason Botchford, who left the show a few months ago, was the controversial trigger man that got the listeners worked up with his cut and dry delivery of his take on Vancouver sports. Paul Debron produced some of the best intros Vancouver radio has ever heard and his occasional foray into an on air role produced some of the funniest moments I’ve ever heard on Radio, namely his Friday Top 6 feature. Above all else they were all sports guys who knew what they were talking about.

Fast forward to early last week. On my way to work I decided to give the new show a shot. You know what I heard? Fart jokes, The Champ (which has never been funny, ever), Justin Bieber stories, Bro Jake talking about having a nooner with his wife, Dave Pratt blindly agreeing with Bro Jake because I’m sure he’s a little gun shy being back at a station that let him walk not that long ago. The guests were a joke, the whole show is a joke.

If I wanted to hear “Shock Jock” radio there are other stations in this city I would listen to, I listen to The Team for sports but as it stands right now they aren’t a sports radio station until 10am when Matt Sekeres and Blake Price take over.

This might be the biggest bonehead move in Vancouver radio history, I’d love to hear what you think, leave a comment below.


MOA longtable dinner at The Pumphouse with Beerthirst

New Zealand craft beer is seriously popular right now and MOA beer is riding that wave right into BC courtesy of the fine folks at Beerthirst. Beerthirst has once again teamed up with the Pumphouse Pub is sunny Richmond for a 5 course beer pairing dinner. Leo and the gang at Beerthirst were kind enough to invite me to join them.

Thai scallop ceviche
Thai scallop ceviche

Course 1 was a delightfully fresh Thai Scallop Ceviche paired with MOA’s brilliant Methode pilsner. The ceviche was crisp and flavourful with hint of heat and citrus notes that paired perfectly with the champagne yeast and Pacifica and Motueka hops in the Methode. I liked this beer so much that I just bought 3 bottles and plan on adding it to my regular rotation.

Shrimp and corn fritters
Shrimp and corn fritters

Shrimp and corn fritters paired with MOA Pale Ale became what we referred to as course number 2… Actually that’s because it was course 2, whatever. The deep fried fritters were delicious, seasoned right and had lots of shrimpy goodness. The savoury flavours paired very well with MOA’s Pale Ale and its malty back end with subtle but fragrant and delicious Cascade and Nelson Sauvin hops. New Zealand hops are incredible.


Course 3 was the one we were all waiting for because POUTINE! Hand cut fries with caramelized onions, crisp bacon and Gorgonzola creama paired with MOA St. Joseph Belgian style tripel. The poutine, although non traditional, was outstanding. The salty bacon cut through the funky but awesome Gorgonzola while the caramelized onions added a little sweetness. The MOA St. Joseph is a nice example of a classic triple with the flair that New Zealand beers are known for. The pairing was sadly not there for me but on their own the poutine and beer were great. This dish was CRYING for a hoppy pale ale and MOA’s Five Hop would’ve been just the ticket.

Wok Duck
Wok Duck

The 4th course was “Wok duck”. Crispy fried duck with a sour cherry beer demi glaze paired with MOA Noir, a dark lager. This dish was sadly way off the mark. I’m hoping I just got a bad one because these longtable dinners are usually spot on. The duck wasn’t crispy and was difficult to remove from the bone. The sour cherry beer demi glaze was quite nice, I wish there was more of it on the duck. The MOA Noir is a solid example of a dark lager with strong coffee notes and an abv that’s a very sessionable 5%.

Dark chocolate mocha cup
Dark chocolate mocha cup

The fifth and final course was everything I hoped it would be and more. Hand made dark chocolate mocha cups filled with crunchy almond cream and topped with smoked sea salt. Wow, just… Wow. Super rich, intensely sweet but cut down by the smoked salt. Creamy, crunchy, melty, dreamy. It was paired with MOA’s stellar Imperial Stout which weighs in at a hefty 10.2% abv and tips the hop scales at over 100 IBU’s. This is a MASSIVE beer. The funny thing is that, as Chris from 16th Street Liquor Store put it, this is the only dish that could cause a huge imperial stout to act as a palate cleanser, the desert was that rich. Awesome pairing, awesome beer, awesome dish. Perfect ending to the night.

Big thanks to The Kooner Hospitality Group and Beerthirst for buying me yet another dinner, you guys rock. If you haven’t been to one of these dinners I highly recommend you check one out, they’re one of the best values in town.


Fundraising with the Joseph Richard Group is awesome

Fundraising is something that most pubs do for various organizations. Sponsoring local amateur sports teams or having Pub Night fundraisers for various causes is quite common around the Lower Mainland. The Joseph Richard Group has taken this tradition and reinvented it to be easier, more flexible and just plain better.


You can fund raise for whatever you want and they’ll donate 10% of your groups purchases to the organization/cause of your choice. Here’s how it works:

• A 10% rebate on all purchases made by any member of the team or company over the duration of the agreed upon time frame.

• Management and main contact person will establish the duration for the season.

• JRG will supply each member of the team/company with a personalized key tag to present on each visit to JRG. each key tag will state the team name and expiry date

• JRG commits to maintaining a detailed ledger on site at all times that will record each and every purchase made by team members. the ledger will contain: team captain/main contact person name and contact info, date/name/amount spent, initials by JRG staff and team member for every purchase made, and copies of every receipt.

• JRG will also commit to allocating an additional 10% of the total spend, to a maximum of $500, towards an ‘end of season’ / ‘wrap up party’.

• JRG will also provide a complimentary ‘JRGmvp’ trophy during the end of season party if executed.

• For regular fundraising ‘pub nights’, JRG will provide the design and print costs of any tickets needed, provided they are within the template of the current fundraiser ticket design. details of such events will have to be discussed and confirmed by the team captain and management at JRG.

• Rebate dollars can be paid out at any time with a minimum 72 hours notice. rebates can only be approved for disbursement by the documented team captain/main contact and senior management at JRG. rebates will be paid out in the form of a company cheque.

But here’s where it gets really cool. Say you like to raise money for a specific charity. For example. I like to raise money for Variety and other children’s charities. Sign up with JRG, get a whole bunch of key tags to give to your friends and family (or Twitter followers or whoever) and BOOM, you’re raising money for charity every time you or your friends hang out at a JRG establishment. For me it’s Edith & Arthur in Fleetwood because it’s within walking distance and they have Fat Tug IPA on tap. Win, win, win.

Also this is in no way a sponsored post, I just think this is awesome and I plan to do good things with it! WFLBC/Variety key tag anyone?

Find a JRG location near you at, follow them on Twitter @WEAREJRG and on Facebook at


Photo credit – JRG

2013 BBQ on the Bypass sample schedule and tips for visitors.


BBQ on the Bypass is tomorrow, Sunday September 15th, at 20771 Langley Bypass. Brought to you by the amazing Angie Quaale and her team at Well Seasoned, This is the 7th annual BBQ on the Bypass which also hosts the Great BC Bake Off. I’ll be on site with Team Hog Shack rubbing pork butts and making sure John Lim Hing has someone to talk to (that pretty much sums up my role haha). If you’re planning on coming down and want to sample some great BBQ I’ve put together a schedule and some tips!


The turn-in times for the teams coincide with the times that the public can sample food. Each team will submit their best stuff to the judges and whatever is left over is put in sample cups for you to try. Here’s the schedule for Sunday’s turn-ins ;

11am – Pork

12pm – Brisket

1pm – Chicken

2pm – Ribs

The samples coincide with the turn-in times so if you’re there at 12 you’ll get brisket, if you’re there at 2 you’ll get ribs etc. Remember that the teams have been up all night and the samples aren’t unlimited so please be understanding if we run out quickly. There will be live music and other food vendors on hand if you’d like to buy food in between turn-ins.

Parking is tough for visitors so car pool! Make sure you check out Well Seasoned while you’re there, it’s awesome.


Quick bite – Gordy’s Cafe in North Delta

Gordy's Cafe
Gordy’s Cafe

Every now and then I stumble across a hidden gem. Gordy’s Cafe in North Delta is a classic Dive Diner serving up all day breakfast, hot and cold subs, house made burgers and shakes, a classic diner menu from start to finish. The thing about Gordy’s is…well it’s not going to win any interior design awards. It looks old but in a comfortable, lived in way that I love. No pretension whatsoever, just nice people making good food.

The burger menu is particularly interesting so I decided to dive in head first and try the Cheddar Craze burger. The menu describes it as a single (house made) pure beef patty with 1/4 pound of cheese… That’s a lot of cheese. It comes with lettuce, tomato and mayo on a fresh baked bun. I was curious what a burger with a 1/4 pound of cheese would look like and when it arrived I was super happy to see a cheese skirt!

Sexy sexy cheese skirt
Sexy sexy cheese skirt

A cheese skirt is a ring of fried cheese that is one of the greatest things ever made (that’s probably an exaggeration). First made popular by the Squeeze Inn in Sacramento, California and featured on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives it has become something that other restaurants are trying to replicate. The burger on it’s own is fantastic. Juicy, fresh, high quality beef on a fresh bun with quality produce and real mayo. Add the cheese skirt and this burger becomes a contender for best burger in Vancouver. Pro tip, take half the cheese from the cheese skirt and put it back in the burger, eat the other half on it’s own.

Gordy’s also has REAL milkshakes made with ice cream and they make Screamers, a slurpee with soft serve in it. If you’ve never had one you’re missing out on a classic.

Check out Gordy’s Cafe at 9535 Scott Road in Delta.

Facebook – Gordys-cafe

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Win 2 tickets to the Steam Whistle Oktoberfest Party at the Vancouver Aplen Club

We love beer and we love giving away free stuff! Toronto’s Steam Whistle Brewing is having an Oktoberfest party on September 28th at the Vancouver Alpen Club and WFLBC wants to send you and a friend!


To enter you can tweet “I entered to win 2 tickets to the @SteamWhistle Oktoberfest party from @WFLBC. RT to enter  ” Or you can share this page on Facebook or leave a comment below! Or, do all 3!!

Hope to see you there!


Win an autographed copy of “Bones” by Bodhi Jones


We have 2 autographed copies of Bodhi Jones latest album, Bones, to give to YOU! It’s easy, just tweet ‘I just entered to win an autographed copy of Bones by @bodhijones from @WFLBC. RT to enter ” OR for you Facebookers you can share this page with all you friends and you’re entered!


Bodhi had his official release party at St. James Hall on September 6th and I can tell you that he sounds amazing. We’re all hoping for big things for Bodhi this year.

Enter early and enter often! Winners will be announced Sunday September 8th sometime in the evening.