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.



Booze Reviews – Estrella Damm Inedit

This post is going to ruffle some feathers among my craft beer friends. The thing is, S.A. Damm is a large scale commercial brewer of lagers from Spain, they are marco all the way. Macro beer is awful stuff, Heineken, Budweiser, Molson Canadian and on and on. These beers are loaded with adjuncts, fillers that make them cheap to produce, taste bland (and all the same) and quite bad for you. Corn and rice have no place in beer, period. Then Damm goes and does something awesome, they bring in world renowned chef Ferran Adria of and his team from the greatest restaurant to ever exist, el Bulli, and let them work their magic on a limited run beer.

Estrella Damm Inedit
Estrella Damm Inedit

For those of you unfamiliar with Chef Adria and elBulli you can check them out HERE and HERE. Chef Adria was joined by his business partner Juli Solar and elBulli Sommeliers Ferran Gentelles and David Seijas to create Inedit for Damm. Inedit translates to “Never been done before” and I tend to agree. There are beers that are made to pair with food but none that I can think of have this kind of talent behind them.

The beer itself is a lager\wheat beer blend with coriander and orange peel added to the brewing process to give it its desired flavour profile. It pours a cloudy pale yellow with a light, large white head and a nice amount of carbonation. The flavour is light and delicate with orange and coriander playing off the subtle hop notes. This beer is meant to be served chilled in a white wine glass ( yes, I know mine wasn’t in a wine glass…) and left in an ice bucket after it is opened. By itself this beer is quite nice but not extraordinary. You need to pair it with food to see what it’s really meant for.

I paired it with sashimi (tuna and salmon) and it was outstanding. The slightly oily yet delicate fish made the citrus notes of the beer sing like an opera. Beer pairing is quite different than wine pairing. Craft beer pairing is like hammering a nail into a piece of lumber, the flavours are often intense and need intense foods to balance with. Wine pairing is more like a finishing carpenter dovetail joining two pieces of a high end cabinet together, it takes a lot more finesse to get it right. Estrella Damm Inedit takes beer pairing and makes it as sophisticated and subtle as wine pairing, it’s quite an achievement. There are pairing suggestions in the little booklet that comes on the bottle and they’re spot on.

Like I said, my craft beer pals will not like this post but at the end of the day isn’t this what all of us want? A macro brewery trying to make unique and interesting beer? Doesn’t that mean that craft beer and its popularity are forcing the big guys to change their ways? It does.


Second annual Beerthirst Tour de Richmond

What happens on the bus stays on the bus.
What happens on the bus stays on the bus.

It’s hard to believe the first Tour de Richmond was a year ago, it feels like it was a lot longer than a year. This year’s event was a beer and sandwich throw down featuring Rogue Brewing from Portland. Each pub/restaurant on the tour was assigned a specific Rogue beer and they had to come up with a sandwich to pair with it. The stops were Hogshack Cookhouse, The Buck and Ear, Sharkey’s (in Lander), O’hare’s and The Pumphouse. I was asked to judge the beer and sandwich pairings along with my pals Dennis Pang and Lynn McIlwee, it’s a tough job but we were up for the task. We all met up at Landsdowne station on the Canada Line, climbed in a big yellow school bus and headed for stop number one, The Hogshack.

Meat on the left, Quinoa on the right

The team at Hogshack had Rogue’s Dry Hopped St. Rogue Red Ale, a well hopped red ale that Chef/owner John Lim Hing decided to pair with an Asian inspired slider. Bulgogi marinated beef and bacon patty with kimchi slaw, pickled carrots and spicy mayo on a brioche bun. I was tasty and the judges also got to try the vegetarian option. The veggie patty was made with quinoa and beets so it looked like beef, the texture was obviously not meat but it was damn good, as good if not better than the beef burger. Dennis and I had joked that if anyone made a veggie sandwich we were going to start flipping tables, I would give up meat for this slider, ok no I wouldn’t but it was good. My only criticism is they both needed a little more spice.

Fish Taco
Fish Taco

So, is a burger a sandwich? As it turns out there was only one place that made an actual “sandwich”. The next stop was The Buck & Ear, a place that I’ve never been to but they’ve recently started carrying some nice craft beer so I’m sure I’ll be back. They were given Rogue’s Captain Sig’s Northwestern Ale, an ode to Sig Hansen of Deadliest Catch fame and his famous crab fishing boat The Northwestern. The Buck made us a Fish Taco (not a sandwich) on a toasted flour tortilla with shrimp, halibut, prawns and fresh salsa. The pairing didn’t really do anything for me, they didn’t oppose each other but they didn’t really compliment each other either. The taco itself was quite messy, maybe a little too much filling for the tortilla and I only found one prawn. It was a pretty standard pub food representation of a fish taco.

Doughnut burger
Doughnut slider

It was time to get back on the bus and head to Ladner, the bus seemed a lot more “lively” after stop 2 and it just go louder after each stop, lol. Sharkey’s in Ladner had Rogue’s Dead Guy Ale which is probably their most well known brew. Chef Brent Fahl went way off the map with a doughnut slider (still not really a sandwich). The slider actually worked well, the sweet doughnut with the savoury beef and an acidic tomato to balance them out. If this was a full sized burger I think it wouldn’t have worked as well, to much going on, but as a slider it worked and the pairing worked as well. My only other quibble is that it was kind of hard to eat due to the doughnut being really soft. The side of popcorn was clearly an attempt to get Dennis Pang’s vote as his company is called Popcorn, if they made bacon popcorn Dennis would’ve had no choice but to pick them. Oh so close haha!

Chicken spring rolls
Chicken spring rolls

Stop number 4 involved the longest drunken bus ride I’ve ever been a part of and it was awesome. From Ladner back to Steveston and O’Hare’s Gastropub. O’Hare’s had Rogue’s Brutal IPA which isn’t as hoppy as you’d expect with a name like “Brutal”. Clocking in at a respectable 59 IBU’s it’s still a worthy IPA. O’Hare’s paired it with chicken filled spring rolls (also not a sandwich). They were tasty, with some sort of cheese and a spicy aioli on the side. The old palate was getting a little weak at this point and the descriptions were getting a little hard to come by but everyone was having such a great time it didn’t really matter. I think their regular menu item “Irish Spring Rolls” are better though, corned beef, Swiss Cheese and sauerkraut, basically a Reuben in spring roll form. The pairing worked, IPA’s always pair well with spice.

House made Banh Mi, AN ACTUAL SANDWICH!!!
House made Banh Mi, AN ACTUAL SANDWICH!!!

The 5th and final stop was The Pumphouse, a short bus ride from O’Hare’s that I don’t totally remember. The Pumphouse has seen me at my very best and my very worst but I always have a great time there. They had Rogue’s Yellow Snow IPA, another hoppy American style IPA. Chef Daniela Iaci actually made a sandwich!!!! And one of my all time favourite sandwich a Vietnamese classic, the Banh Mi. Chicken liver pate, cucumbers, carrots, roasted pork, sriracha aioli in french bread. It was a good representation of a bahn mi made on a large scale. The pairing was nice as well. There was a little too much bread for me, a regular bahn mi is served on it’s own little french loaf where these were made on large loafs and sliced into servable sizes. It was missing something that I can’t quite put my finger on, not enough acidity or something but overall it was good and I was happy someone actually made a sandwich for a beer and sandwich throw down.

Rogue Beer
Rogue Beer

Over the last year I’ve had a lot of fun with the gang at Beerthirst and I’d like to thank them for all of the events they’ve invited me to blog about, it’s given me exposure in the craft beer community and introduced me to a lot of great new friends. I think it’s time to pass the torch to another blogger, someone up and coming who could use a few events to hone their blogging skills. There’s a good pool of talented hungry bloggers out there and I’m sure they’ll be up to the task. If you want to know who won I think it will be announced at Beerthirst .com sometime this week, or maybe on their Twitter account. Or you could just DM me or text me if we’re tight like that, the winner was unanimous. UPDATED – The winner by unanimous decision is Hogshack Cookhouse! Peoples choice goes to The Buck & Ear, well done everyone!

Just to be “That Guy” I’m going to give you my rankings. #1 – Hogshack Cookhouse, #2 – Pumphouse Pub, #3 – Sharkey’s, #4 – O’hare’s, #5 – The Buck & Ear.


Pepsi Throwback!

Is Pepsi made with real sugar better for you? No, no it most certainly is not but it can’t be worse for you than the regular high fructose corn syrup recipe. Health concerns aside I took it upon myself to try this retro cola and see how it compares with regular Pepsi.

Pepsi Throwback
Pepsi Throwback is slightly sweeter than regular Pepsi but the flavour is better, less chemical aftertaste. The sweetness is on par with typical soft drinks which is way to sweet in my opinion. Throwback seems less carbonated than regular Pepsi, and not in a “we didn’t carbonate it as much” kind of way, it’s more of a “this has gone flat” thing. The only time I really drink pop/soda is in highballs so I grabbed a bottle of Bacardi white rum out of the liquor cabinet and mixed up a drink. The flatness was magnified by the rum as was the sweetness. It was so sweet that it was hard to finish but for science sake I poured myself another, it was flat and sweet too.

One thing I really like is the old style logo and colours on the box and cans. Way better than the ugly blue look and overworked logo they currently use.

If you like Pepsi you’ll like this. If you don’t like Pepsi you probably won’t. Case closed


Pumphouse Pub Longtable dinner – Guest post by Lynn McIlwee

Summer has now passed, which not only means that the great autumn beers
are back, but the
Pumphouse Pub
resumes their Beer Tasting Series! I’m always curious to see what Chef Daniela
Iaci will create with her food magic and per usual, she didn’t disappoint. These
dinners just keep getting better and better so if you haven’t checked one out
yet, get on it! Daniela does an amazing job of nailing the pairings and
prepares such succulent and flavourful dishes. I bow to you, Daniela.
The menu:
Course One
Café latte beef carpaccio espresso
crusted beef, crème fraiche & arugula salad
Paired with: Elysian Split Shot Espresso
Milk Stout
The carpaccio was paper thin and paired gorgeously with the crème fraiche
and arugula. Balsamic vinegar was drizzled on the arugula and it exuded a
pleasant parmesan aroma.
Stout paired with the first course, you say? Bold, for sure, but it
worked. And the
Elysian is such a
fantastic beer. It’s truly one of my favourite stouts – the coffee and
chocolate notes are well balanced and it is a smoooooth beer to drink. Ahhhh. I
love you, Spilt Spot.
Course Two
Spicy coconut sweet & sour prawn soup
Paired with: The Commons Urban Farmhouse
The chilies that were used in the broth would pack a big, punch you in
the face and take no prisoners bite, should you eat them. And we were warned so
as not to have a surprise should we eat one. But wow, did they ever enhance the
flavour of the soup. It had a great kick to it and kept the sweet and sour from
having their own battle. I loved this soup.
The Commons’ beers are new
to BC and thanks to
Beerthirst, they’re
now being imported! We had the Urban Farmhouse Ale with this course. I’m a big
fan of farmhouse ales and this is a great example of one. Floral notes, some
bitterness and a clean finish. This beer is the 2012 World Beer Cup Bronze
Medal winner. Applause, applause. We’ll be stopping in at The Commons’ tasting
room on our next Portland trip (coming up next week!) and will indulge in some
of their other goodies like the Flemish Kiss…
Course Three
Crispy pork belly crostini with goat
Paired with: North Coast Le Merle
Farmhouse Ale
I made some pretty detailed notes on this one, such as SO DAMN GOOD! I’m
no food blogger, but I know what I like in food and beer. And this pork belly
was ah-maze-ing! So flavourful and tender in its porky goodness. I think we all
wanted seconds, and thirds, and and and… Did you catch that I loved this?
Ok, I’ll stop my pork-love-in and get on to the Le Merle. North Coast hits a lot of home
runs, in my opinion (Old Rasputin, Old No. 38 Stout, PranQster and others) and
this Farmhouse Ale is beautiful. Its inspiration comes from the Flanders region
with Belgian yeast, plenty of hops and fruity undertones.
Course Four
Citrus BBQ chicken tostada
Paired with: Half Pinks Little Scrapper
The citrus flavours on the chicken tostada danced around like a happy
little mariachi band. How Daniela managed to make this pairing a show stopper,
I’ll never know, but she did it. This dish was so flavourful and tasty! Slow
clap time… clap-clap-clap
Half Pints Brewing are
another new addition to BC, again courtesy of Beerthirst, and Little Scrapper
is a great IPA. They sell t-shirts that say “Together we can stop the evil
spread of lite beer”. Yep, we will get along just fine. A hop forward IPA with
gorgeous citrus/grapefruit notes all the while, staying balanced.
Course Five
Fig & blue cheese crème brulee with
candied walnuts
Paired with: Tenaya Creek Double Tandem Double
Did someone say crème brulee? I love crème brulee. I’m not a dessert
person by nature but good luck on me passing this up. Fig and blue cheese might
not be what you’d expect in this dessert but it rocked my world. Daniela, my
hands are getting sore from all the clapping… but well deserved. She outdid
herself with this gem. A few candied gooseberries also came along for the ride
and the brulee was sweet and salty. I saw a tweet from Daniela earlier that morning
saying she didn’t have a proper recipe for this dessert – the way she wanted it,
she obviously put her creative genius and culinary skills to work. Bam! She nailed
The Tandem DIPA from Tenaya Creek
was a new beer for me and is a limited special release. Grab a
bottle before they’re all gone, beer geeks, as it’s worth a try. It has the
typical characteristics of an IPA with a bit of earthiness. Mild bitterness and
extra hoppy goodness.
These amazing dinners with generous pourings are $40 (not including tip
– please tip their great servers!). Talk about value!
During and after dinner, we were treated to the musical stylings of Dino DiNicolo. What a talented man! I
just checked his tour schedule and it’s amazing he has time to play at the
Pumphouse – check him out!
The next beer dinner will be during BC Craft Beer Month on October 19th.
There will be a six-course brewmaster’s dinner with six BC brewmasters on hand
to pour their own beers and mingle with the crowd. Tickets are $50 and more
information can be found on The Pumphouse’s
Facebook page or their website.  I’d suggest you get your tickets soon as this
will undoubtedly be a sellout!
Thanks again to The Pumphouse staff, chef Daniela and Beerthirst for
another excellent event. We continue to look forward to the next creative menu!
Follow Lynn on Twitter @BGCanary
Sorry about the formatting, Google’s Blogger platform doesn’t like WordPress… 🙂 – Scott

Apothic White launch party. WINE!!

Let me start by saying I love events put on by Dunn PR, they’re pros. Apothic is a California based wine maker with two products, a red and a white, both blends. I’m sure most of you know I’m in a committed relationship with Craft Beer, I have regular affairs with single malt Scotch and the odd one night stand with spicy Caesar’s so wine is a rare drink for me. Apothic’s wines are what wine folk call “cocktail wines”, meaning they are blends of multiple varieties. The red is a blend of Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot and is quite sweet as far as reds go. The white, which was the featured wine for this launch, is a blend of Chardonnay, Riesling and Moscato resulting in a very sweet yet easily drinkable wine with lots of fruity character and a hint of vanilla. Both wines are a great choice for people looking to get into wine.

The event itself was held at District 319 which is one of my favourite event spaces in the city. Located in the heart of the Downtown Eastside District 319 offers a large, infinitely adaptable event space with style and atmosphere, I am furiously trying to think up an event so I can hold one here… This was also a WFLBC team event as Rochele and her awesome husband and fellow Honda enthusiast Russ joined in the festivities!

As usual the Dunn PR crew put together all the little touches that make their events great, good food, great entertainment (in this case ballet dancers) and a Twitter wall which quickly became the inappropriate stage on which I cyber-flirted with Dennis Pang, Nick Routley, Rick Chung and Kevin Wu. They can pretend like they didn’t like it but I know what’s up.

As this was an event with lots of free booze I have the opportunity to make a little public service announcement about the hazards of blogging. When attending events where you will be drinking make sure to wear properly supportive footwear. As my date and I found out on our way to the train, wine, high heels and the uneven streets of the Downtown Eastside are not a good match. Skinned and bruised knees and sore ankles accompanied by a bruised hand from me trying to catch her were the result of her looking incredibly sexy. No pain no gain? Not sure if that applies here. My pictures also directly reflect my level of intoxication, I’m sure you knew that though.



Twitter – @ApothicWine

Facebook –

Web –


Steamworks bottled beer launch party

Photo credit – Kevin Wu

The life of a blogger is filled with hardships like super fun events and free booze. When the free booze is locally made craft beer you can imagine that my happy meter hits maximum pretty fast. Gastown’s iconic Steamworks Brew Pub has finally decided to bottle its beers and sell them to you to enjoy at home! They’ll be offering their Pilsner and Pale Ale year round in 355ml 6 packs and their seasonal brews, which include Frambozen, Wheat Ale, Heroica Oatmeal Stout and Pumpkin Ale in 650ml bombers.

Photo credit – Kevin Wu

Steamworks put on a great event pairing their beers with small dishes, my favourite was the Frambozen paired with a tiny ice cream cone! Check out and follow them on Twitter @SteamworksBeer to learn more about these terrific local beers. Big thanks to Kevin Wu for the awesome photos, check out his work at and his Flickr page. Also follow him on Twitter @K_Wu!

Photo credit – Kevin Wu
Photo credit – Kevin Wu
Photo credit – Kevin Wu
Photo credit – Kevin Wu






The Vancouver Urban Winery

The Friday before Labour Day weekend my fantastic boss dismissed the minions a couple of hours early so we could get a head start on our weekend. Most of us were staying in the city after work for other engagements, and I had a few hours to kill before taking the train out to Mission, so we decided to kick of the weekend with drinks in the neighbourhood.

I’m not going to lie, I work in a bit of a rough part of the city. Just a few blocks away is Oppenheimer Park, the Union Gospel Mission, and a number of slum hotels. It can get you down sometimes. However, Railtown is jam packed with architects, designers, textiles, Hootsuite’s headquarters, and fairly recently the Vancouver Urban Winery. Who knew that there was a winery two blocks from my office?

Anyway, we logged off and locked the doors and made the short trek to do some wine tasting. Having a winery down the block changes everything for us. It means we can do Friday drinks without planning in advance, and we can pick up bottles of wine on our lunch hours. Needless to say, we were excited to check it out.

The Vancouver Urban Winery is unique to Vancouver, and features British Columbia wines and the ever growing trend of wine-on-tap. With over 7,000 sq. ft. it boasts a tasting bar, a wine shop (full of gourmet goodies, too) and the space is lined with barrels and stainless steel kegs of… wine!  The website offers the following:

“The winery manufactures, packages, imports and distributes wine for multiple brands including Roaring Twenties Wine Co. The operations of FreshTAP, which specialize in packaging quality wines in stainless steel kegs for the emerging wine-on-tap category also takes place within the Vancouver Urban Winery.

As an urban winery the business is not attached to a specific vineyard. This enables the winery to source wine grapes and finished product from any appellation in the world.”

Before diving into any one bottle of wine, we decided to do the $10 tasting which consist of 5 different wines. It was a lovely summer afternoon, and I went for the Fresh Is Best tasting which consisted of: Roaring Twenties Sauvignon Blanc, Clos Du Soleil Sauvignon Blanc, Clean Slate White Slate, Rollingdale White Light, and Nichol Vineyards Pinot Gris. There are other packages as well as a Choose Your Own Adventure option. I only stayed for the tasting before it was time to make the trek to the train, but my coworkers carried on without me for some time.

The wine shop complete with all things delicious!
Wine in a keg, I think we’re on to something
Fresh is Best wine tasting
The Tasting Bar and Wine Menu

A cosy spot to enjoy your wine

Check out their website here!

What’s happening with Beerthirst at Vancouver Craft Beer Week

Vancouver Craft Beer Week kicks off this Friday, May 18th at the Roundhouse Community Centre in Gastown. I will be there with the Beerthirst crew so come find us! Wait, you want to hang out with us all week? Well ok, here’s a rundown of where we’ll be!

Saturday May 19th we will be at O’Hares Pub in Steveston (5031 Steveston Hwy) for the Russell Brewing/North Coast Brewing tap takeover from 6pm-closing. This is a non ticketed event, all you have to do is show up! There will be a Russell dry hopped double IPA cask and a keg of the VCBW collaboration beer!! As an added bonus Leo will also be giving out free hugs to anyone who sings his favourite Duran Duran song to him.

Sunday May 20th we’ll be at Hogshack Cookhouse in Steveston (3900 Bayview st) for the debut of Odin Brewing in Canada. I’m particularly excited about this event because Odin takes great care in making sure their beers pair well with food, and as you all know I love the Hogshack! This one runs from 6-10pm, tickets are $35. Call 604-272-7264 for tickets and tell them Scotty sent you.

Monday May 21st we will be at Biercraft on Cambie (3305 Cambie st) for a Belgian Showcase with over 50 Belgian and Belgian style beers along with Belgian inspired hors d’oeuvres. Tickets are $75 and are all inclusive, just call 604-874-6900.

Tuesday and Wednesday there are some great events all around town but the Beerthirst crew and I will be chugging Pepto Bismol and piggybacking Tylenol and Advil to get ready for Thursday. Check out to see what’s up on our days off.

Thursday we’ll be at The Pumphouse Pub in Richmond (6031 Blundell rd) from 5pm-late for the Elysian Tap Takeover and Homebrew contest. 20 different beers from Seattle’s Elysian Brewing with their brewmaster Dick Cantwell on hand. He will be judging the homebrew contest where I look forward to trying Tony “The Warlock” Iaci’s much hyped homebrew. Tony is the manager at the Pumphouse so I’ll be watching closely for back room deal making.

Friday May 25th from 5-10pm and Saturday the 26th from 2-7pm (which is my birthday, in case you wanted to buy me something) we will be at the VCBW Beer Festival at The Salt Building in the Olympic Village (85 west 1st ave). If you have tickets already you are a lucky duck as both days are sold out!!

If you ever wanted to stalk me this is the time! See you next week craft beer lovers!!


Steam Whistle Launch Party with guest contributor Megan Harris!

On Friday, April 27th, I had the pleasure of attending the Steam Whistle Pilsner Launch Party that took place at The Bimini in Vancouver. BC Rep Mike Kiraly, who you can easily tell has a passion for great craft beer, hosted the event and gave me the facts on the brewery.

Steam Whistle Brewing opened in Toronto of 2000. Their focus is brewing Canada’s Premium Pilsner, using only 4 natural ingredients – spring water, yeast, malted barley, and hops. Their motto is “do one thing, really, really well.”

The beer is mainly sold in green glass bottles, a replica of the industry standard from the 40s and 50s, paying tribute to The Golden Era. The bottles are made with a thicker glass, making them reusable up to 35 times.

The name “Steam Whistle” comes from the sound of steam rushing from factory whistles of the 50s, marking the end of the day, and time for a rewarding brew!

Greg Taylor, Cameron Heaps and Gregory Cromwell are the three founders, aka “The Three Fired Guys”. They met while working for Upper Canada Brewing, and lost their jobs after the brewery was sold to Sleeman’s. “3FG” is marked at the bottom of the Steam Whistle bottles as an inside joke.

Steam Whistle’s Brewmaster, Marek Mikunda, is from the Czech Republic. What better place to be from than the birthplace of Pilsners?

Their beer became available in Alberta in 2006, and BC in 2009. Mike wants to focus on taking care of getting the beer on tap in Vancouver, as it’s a huge city with a serious love for craft beer.

I asked Mike, why only brew Pilsner? He summed it up by saying “Steam Whistle wanted to take something on as a project and perfect it. Our beer is fresh, made with all natural ingredients, and it’s Canadian.”

My opinion of the Steam Whistle Pilsner – I really enjoyed the beer. It’s got plenty of flavour, very refreshing, and would make an excellent session beer. Perfect for summer, or any time, really.

Steam Whistle will be taking part in the YVRBeerTweetUp May 2nd at Smiley’s Public House, the EPIC Sustainable Living Show May 11-13th at The Vancouver Convention Centre, and Vancouver Craft Beer Week, May 21st at The Electric Owl.

You can find Steam Whistle at on Twitter @SteamWhistle and on Facebook


Follow Megan on twitter @Megana28!!