Monthly Newsletter

March Newsletter

 

CAMRA BC – Victoria Branch

 

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CAMRA BC – Victoria Branch
Join us in Support of Craft Beer
March 2017 Monthly Newsletter

In This Issue
CAMRA BC AGM Wrap-Up
Victoria Beer Week Wrap-Up
Vancouver Island Beer News
Upcoming CAMRA Victoria Events – Members Event
March/April Vancouver Island Beer Events- Everyone Welcome

If you would like to join our ranks, we would love to have you. Individual memberships are $25/year and joint memberships are $40/year.

CAMRA Member Event:
March 22nd, 2017
Yates Street Taphouse
See below for details.
CAMRA BC AGM Wrap-Up
CAMRA Victoria Communications Director Note:As you know, the CAMRA BC AGM was held this past February 19th in Port Moody at Yellow Dog Brewery. Thank you to all the fellow CAMRA members that submitted nominations and were able to attend. As such, i’d like to congratulate our CAMRA Victoria past president, Glen Stusek, as well as member Dave Garton for their appointments as both Secretary and Treasurer of CAMRA BC, respectively. We know they will both excel in their positions, and do all of CAMRA proud!

Following that, here is a wrap-up article written by the CAMRA BC President, Paddy Treavor.


Back to the Future, Back to Basics

Posted on March 1, 2017 by President

Two weeks ago if you had told me I would be sitting here banging out a message as the president of CAMRA BC I would have told you that you were crazy.

I had my exit planned from the president’s seat from the Powell River branch and was fully expecting to ride off into the sunset, having put in my time for the society in an official capacity.

But on Feb 10th, with just hours left until the close of the nomination period for the BC Executive elections, there was not one nomination for the four seats up for grabs.

I was loathe to see years of blood sweat and tears by those who worked tirelessly to found and guide CAMRA BC, in years gone by, potentially go down the drain and was not going to sit by and watch the society dissolve before my eyes.

That may sound dramatic, but, quite seriously, it could have come to that with no one at the helm to steer the society and look after the finances.

After a flurry of e-mails and texts, former branch presidents Martin Williams (Vancouver, 2009-2010) and Glen Stusek (Victoria, 2004-2017) and myself (Vancouver, 2011-2013, Powell River, 2013-2017) decided to give one more year of executive service to CAMRA BC.

Still short a treasurer, we were uncertain as to what to do, but Glen contacted one of the Victoria members, Dave Garton, who has a strong passion for craft beer and a more than solid financial background, and the 2017 CAMRA BC Executive was born.

It was not an easy decision for all of us, as Glen, like me, had thought he had made the great escape after 13 years as the Victoria president and Martin had been out of a CAMRA executive seat for over five years.

And Dave, poor Dave, has no idea what he is in for but is up for the challenge.

With over 20 years of presidential experience at the branch level, this 2017 executive is very connected to the history and roots of CAMRA yet forward looking and willing to think outside the box. This executive is well balanced. Martin and I are strong in the advocacy department, with me being more of the bulldog and Martin more cerebral in his approach but equally as fierce. Glen is extremely detail oriented, and offers a very sober-second-thought perspective on things and balances my  more bombastic style by being a man of few words. But when Glen speaks, he is almost always on point and I always listen.

Actually, same goes for Martin. When he speaks, I listen.

I know from my perspective, having Martin and Glen as support was the sole reason I stepped the president’s role.

I have high hopes that we can provide strong leadership and focus in order to guide the society back to its purpose of being a consumer advocacy group. We need to strive to fulfill our mandate of championing the cause of the craft beer consumer in BC. I feel over the past few years CAMRA BC  has drifted back towards being more of a craft beer social club, that exists to organize events and offer discounts, than a consumer advocacy group, this despite the fact there are a handful of very enthusiastic advocates doing their best at the local level. They need support and they need it from the provincial branch, the branch elected to oversee CAMRA BC.

Although discounts and events have a place in the CAMRA experience, they should never be the main focus of the society and members need to know that when they join, they are joining the cause of supporting the rights of craft beer consumers in BC.  The discounts should not even be the second priority as supporting craft beer education and homebrewing also rank ahead in my opinion.

From my perspective, the main drift away from advocacy is the fear of offending those offering CAMRA discounts and the fact that many members, when they join CAMRA BC at the branch level, do not really understand what CAMRA BC is about or why the society was founded.

When advocating on behalf of the consumer, CAMRA BC, at times, will bump heads with the craft beer and hospitality industries, which can result in friction and yes, discontinued discounts at some establishments. At times our advocacy will bring us closer to these same people when we have common goals.

But what has to be remembered is that what is good for the craft beer and hospitality industries is not always good for the consumer.

Think about the tight reign of control on where growlers can be filled (tasting rooms only) and serving size issues. What benefits us, as consumers, is not what benefits those above mentioned industries.

The second reason for the shift away from CAMRA BC’s main purpose is general membership apathy. We only have to look at the lack of nominations for the BC Executive elections and the fact that only about 25 members bothered to show up at the BC AGM, Feb 19th, even though it was purposely held in the Lower Mainland at Yellow Dog Brewery, right next to the Skytrain system, with hopes that there would be a good turonout from the 1000+ members living in the vicinity.  It was simply pathetic and disappointing turnout and a sure sign that there is significant member disengagement towards what the society is all about.

It will be a bit of a balancing act, shifting focus from good times and discounts while trying to increase member engagement but we will do what we can with the resources we have. We have to get CAMRA BC back into the spotlight, attract members who understand what CAMRA is about and who are willing to support campaigns and their local and provincial executives.

It is a tall order, but we, as the 2017 CAMRA BC Executive are dedicated to give it a go. It is my hope that your new executive will be one that is remembered for the right reasons and one who shed light on just what the provincial executive is supposed to do and gives focus to the society as a whole while allowing the local branches to operate independently within the framework established by CAMRA BC.

If any members have any questions, I can be reached at pres@camrabc.ca.

 

Cheers

Paddy Treavor

President of the Campaign for Real Ale Society of British Columbia

 

 

Victoria Beer Week Wrap-Up: Part One
Highlights of Victoria Beer WeekWritten By: Edward Kaye
Bring Your Porter To The Slaughter – Craft Beer Blog
Now the dust has settled and my hazy memories are starting to clarify, I thought it would be a good idea to collect my thoughts on Victoria Beer Week 2017. In my opinion, this was the best year yet, with a wide variety of events to satisfy everyone from the most casual beer enthusiast to hardcore beer nerds like myself.

I attended six of the official events, six unofficial events, and the VIP closing party. According to Untappd, I managed to log 130 unique beers, so… great success on that front!
I think that the standout event this year, and arguably the new tent-pole event of the whole week was All about the Wood, which is a festival of barrel-aged beers held at the old Roundhouse train yard. There were so many spectacular beers on offer that I thought I’d gone to Valhalla. Strange Fellows were serving all of their 2015–2016 Fellowship beers, Gladstone had their Black Braggot, Powell had their 4th Anniversary Brett barley wine, Driftwood had Singularity, Four Winds had their Mona, and so many more! I really hope they do this event every year. Kudos to Joe Wiebe for coming up with this one.

From a beer nerd’s perspective, this year’s Drink in the Story was just wonderful. This year’s speakers were Ian Hill of Strange Fellows Brewing, Gary Lohin of Central City Brewers + Distillers, and Matt Phillips of Phillips Brewing. Through the course of the evening each speaker discussed the history of craft brewing in BC and how they got started in the industry. It was incredibly interesting to see how these three very different brewers got where they are today. During the three talks, each brewer’s favourite beer was poured, which was a real treat.

I also bumped into Ian Hill and Gary Lohin at The Drake with Joe Wiebe later in the night and got to have a good chat. Joe also introduced me to Matt Phillips after the talk. I might have had a fanboy moment!
Continuing the beer nerd theme, the Homebrewing Workshop at Category 12 was a lot of fun. We got to spend the better part of a day watching founder and head brewer Michael Kuzyk brew up a batch on his pilot system, while BrewVic president Rob Reynold made a Brew-in-a-Bag batch.

From a personal achievement standpoint, The Ultimate Craft Beer Quiz was a very cool night. I was asked at the last minute to join the CAMRA team with my friend and fellow blogger Mathieu Poirier… and we won! We defeated three teams from Phillips, brewers from Lighthouse and 4 Mile, the VBW team, and Joe Wiebe himself!

For lovers of sour beer, Pucker Up was a dream come true, with 12 different breweries serving up 14 different wild and sour ales. Fuggles & Warlock were the stars of the show—they put on two incredible fruity sour casks that sold out in about an hour, because people were lining up down the hall for them!

Sadly, I missed out on the first cask night, but from what I hear Cask Night #2 was the better of the two. It’s not hard to believe, because there were some absolutely wonderful casks on offer. My favorites were the Brett barley wine from Bomber, the Woolly Bugger on oak from Howe Sound, and the date & rum porter from Twa Dogs.
I was volunteering at the CAMRA table at this year’s Craft Beer Lift Off, but thankfully still got a chance to try all of the beers. This year had a great mix of old and new breweries, from luminaries like Swans and Spinnakers to newer breweries like Yellow Dog and Twin Sails. This year’s pop-up store was run by the James Bay Spinnakers Liquor and was far better than previous years.

Along with the official events, there were also several other beer events around town this year. The Drake held a pre-opening night event called The Magnificent Six, in honour of the big six Vancouver breweries that have supported them over the years—all of their taps were dedicated to beers from Vancouver that aren’t readily available here, plus Steel & Oak and Moody Ales made them a special Froot Loop pale ale! They also held a Left Hand Brewing tap takeover and the annual Péché Day celebration of Dieu du Ciel’s Péché Mortel.

Smith’s Pub also hosted the Island launch party for Parallel 49’s Brews Brothers volume 3, their annual Tofino Brewing tap takeover, and a Kooteney’s tap takeover, featuring beers from Fernie Brewing and Torchlight Brewing.

The week closed with a VIP and volunteer party at the Victoria public market, where everyone reflected on the busy week and drank what was leftover from all of the events.

All-in-all it was a fantastic, if not exhausting, week and I cannot wait for next year. Congratulations to everyone involved with organizing this year’s events and all of the many volunteers who gave their time to make sure everything ran smoothly.

 

Victoria Beer Week 2017 Wrap-Up – Part Two:
4th Annual VBW possibly the best one yet!By: Sean Clark
CAMRA Victoria Communications Director

For 9 wonderful days, over 50 breweries from all corners of our province decesded on Victoria for the 4th annual Victoria Beer Week. Making their returns were the ever popular Friday Night Casks and Lift-Off, to VBW newbies Taco Tuesday and All About the Wood. 

I attended at least half of the events over the 9 days, both as a patron and a volunteer, and I can definitely say that this year may have been the best one yet. With events covering all corners of the craft beer spectrum, in venues large and small, there was something for everyone. For the craft beer rookie to even the most seasoned of connoisseurs, there was never a lack of choices. Here are some of my highlights from the events I attended:

Friday Night Casks #1 – March 3rd:

Returning to the Victoria Public Market was the first of two cask nights, where up to 25 different breweries each highlighted a special one-off cask of beer. This event sold out in advance, with over 400 craft beer fans in attendance checking out the various brews. Standouts to me were, as follows:

Axe & Barrel BrewHouse Axe Stout:
Andrew Tessier, formerly of Swans Brewpub, made the transition over to A&B last year and crafted this wonderfully dark and robust stout. Clean, not heavy and bursting with chocolate and coffee notes, this hopefully will become a regular brew on tap in Langford.

– Bad Tattoo Brewing Black Russian Imperial Stout:
– Sooke Oceanside Brewery Black Russian Stout:

I included both of these in the same paragraph as they are vary similar in appearance and taste, which suffice to say was wonderful! Imagine a Black Russian cocktail melded with a stout, and you get the best of both worlds. Rich and satisfying, these both would be wonderful on a cold and rainy night getting warm by the fire.

– Four Winds Brewing Vexillum Imperial IPA:
Part of the breweries Zephyrus series of bold and unique ales, this intense imperial IPA may have been my favorite of the night! A 9%, 100 IBU monster that drank so incredibly bitter, but balanced and smooth, I just had to have another.

– Phillips Brewing & Malting East Coast Hazy IPA:
The popularity of this style of IPA, a cloudy and unfiltered one originating in the New England/Vermont region of the United States, has become more and more pronounced in the last couple years. While still relatively unknown in BC, a region known for the mid-high IBU ‘West Coast IPA’ using the hops well known here, the east coast variety normally utilizes an abundance of New Zealand hops with juicy aromas and flavours, and many times real tropical fruit.

Well, this style may start to become a favorite of mine. First appearance reminded me of an unfiltered homebrew, but upon first sip I was floored by the juiciness and cleanliness of the flavours. Very little trace of bitterness, but a whole ton of tropical fruit made me enjoy it more and more. Very enjoyable indeed, which made me even happier when another brewery brought a similar beer the following week for the second cask night.

All About the Wood – March 4th:

A new event on the VBW scene, this one focused on complex and unique barrel-aged beers that are so rare you may never see them again. These are the kind beer geeks search out for, and those breweries that can produce them take a great care in developing.

Taking place at the Bayview Roundhouse complex in the historic repair building, the combination of exposed wood from the building mixed with beer aged in wood barrels was a match made in heaven. Breweries like Central City and Driftwood brought their famous Thor’s Hammer and Singularity, which were incredible as always. Others brought styles I’ve never seen before, which for someone not too knowledgeable on the barrel-aged beers was a tough decision for me.

If I had to choose a few of my favorites, I’d have to go with; Category 12’s Anomaly Belgian Style Quadruple & their Brett IPA, Gladstone’s Braggot & Bad Tattoo’s Wild Braggot Stout, Spinnakers Bourbon Choco-Chili Porter, and finally Townsite’s Cardena.

All told, an incredible afternoon of trying rare beers in a historic setting, which for a new event is one I hope to see next year.

Drink in the Story – March 7th:

Also returning again was the event where 3 of BC’s beer legends sit in a sociable setting telling stories of how they got into the craft beer industry. And this year definately was sold on the notion of ‘legends,’ as none other than Iain Hill of Strange Fellows, Gary Lohin of Central City and Victoria’s own Matt Phillips of, well, Phillips Brewery spent a good 3 hours sharing stories over pairings of wonderful beer and food.

This year’s location was somewhat unique, as instead of The Drake holding it in past years, this time it was at the brand new Harbour Air Seaplanes terminal. While skeptical at first, giving that it was an unusual spot to host a craft beer-focused event, my skepticism quickly changed to one of awe once I stepped inside. With the arrangement of comfy lounge chairs laid 5-6 rows deep, plus some tall bar tables and stools in the back, it really felt like an inviting venue.

While there was no table service like would be expected at The Drake, the food and beer pairings were defiantly top notch. Generously sized servings of each of the brewer’s favorite beer were available, and the food provided by the nearby Flying Otter Grill included some exceptional sliders, popcorn chicken, garlic fingers and an assortment of cheese and crackers.

All told, VBW and hosts Harbour Air Seaplanes put on a very enjoyable Drink in the Story!

Friday Night Casks #2 – March 10th:

Back at the Public Market again for the 2nd Cask Night. another roughly 25 breweries were on hand to showcase more one-off casks of their creations, and they did not disappoint! While a few of the same brewers from the previous week were present, they did bring something different and special. Some highlights include:

– 4 Mile Brewing Candy Bar Stout with Coconut:
I don’t have 4 Mile’s beer too often, which is surprising seeing as I work just around the corner from them. I’d dabble with a taster here and there at beer festivals and such, but otherwise had found their beer to be very hit or miss, especially in their first 6-8 months. I felt as if they rushed out of the gate quickly with too many styles too soon, instead of focusing on a small assortment at the start. As such, I always came across off flavours and smells, which made me hold back.

Well, I’m happy to say that lately they’ve vastly improved their wares, and this one was no exception. Upon taking my first sip I instantly felt like I was drinking a melted chocolate bar, like a Bounty or one similar. So smooth and flavorful, it was a great first impression for the night.

– Swans Brewpub Regal Standard Wee Heavy w/ Peaches & Roasted Habanero:
I’m a huge fan of pretty much anything spicy, so I had to make a beeline to Swans booth to try this Scottish-style beer with the spicy Habanero pepper. I took one drink, tasted the pronounced maltiness at the front, then was hit with a kick of heat right at the back of the throat. A nice warming, tolerable heat, that paired very well with the curry I grabbed from the Sutra table immediately afterward. Very enjoyable.

– Whistler Brewing Chocolate Milk Black Tusk Ale:
Like the above review for 4 Mile’s, this beer tasted so sweet and satisfying. Would have been an excellent breakfast beer, with the cocoa nibs and lactose added to their standby Black Tusk Ale making a good beer even better.

– Yellow Dog Brewing Hawaiian Haze – High 5 Hazy IPA infused w/ Pineapple:
And here we are, with the second example in as many cask nights showcasing an east coast IPA. Bursting with pineapple and tropical hop aroma the moment it hits your nose, this style is really going to give our famous west coast varieties a run for their money!

Lift-Off! – March 11th:
The end of Victoria Beer Week is here. Last year, coming off the heels of Thunderdome, the 2015 event that showcased the new beer launch, Lift-Off moved venues and changed the ticket structure to include samples instead of the full glass pour of the former. And it was all the more better for it, with a neat location in Market Square and a dozen breweries showing their newest beer before it got released to the public.

This year the venue was changed to Centennial Square, the location for Fresh to Death last October, which meant a more open feel and space in which to spread out and mingle. And the beer was top notch, with full marks going to Fuggles & Warlock Craftworks Valis Imperial IPA, (have they ever put out a bad beer???,) and the crème de la crème, Twin Sails Blonde Stout.

Hands down the best beer I had all week, the Blonde Stout was every bit complex, flavourful, had incredible depth and smell, and looked absolutely incredible in the glass. The coffee notes really threw you off when looking at the color, as you would not expect that from so light a beer, but it was a match made in beer heaven!

Two of my favorite beers all week came from Port Moody, the so-called ‘Brewery Row,’ which makes me look forward to my stop there this May all the more exciting!

So there you have it. 9 days of excellent beers and good times with the people who make them and those who enjoy them. Congrats to the crew at VBW and Ticket Rocket for putting on arguably the best edition yet, and here’s hoping the 2018 edition is just as fine!

Vancouver Island Beer News
Recently, CAMRA Victoria member and former Co-Communications director Nathan Say took a trip to Qualicum Beach, which included a stop at one of the newest breweries on Vancouver Island. Here, for your reading pleasure, is his review on Loveshack Libations. Enjoy!
Hi all:
A few weeks ago I heard about LoveShack Libations in Qualicum and had a chance to go up there to visit. Occasionally I hear about Mt Arrowsmith Brewing which is in the works in Parksville but still not yet open, while LoveShack has already been open about a month and yet was completely new to me. I wondered if anyone else was in the same boat so I thought I’d pass along a short note to this list about it.LoveShack was founded by Dave Paul, who until recently was a homebrewer, and has now made the jump to commercial nanobrewing. His wife & mother-in-law handle sales & other front-of-house stuff. He’s doing this part-time at the moment (check business hours before you go!) as he isn’t interested in becoming a big commercial operation & wants to keep his regular job in the restaurant business.

It’s the smallest commercial brewing setup I’ve seen yet, about 150L or approximately 1 barrel, which is as small as a very large homebrew system, though not totally unheard-of in the homebrew world. The system was made by Ss Brewtech, which I believe is based out of Tacoma and included a converted 55-gallon drum in stainless steel as a mash tun.

At our visit Dave had five beers to choose from: DPA (a Cascadian Dark), Killer Kolsch, Crafty Cream Ale, Precious Porter and a rye pale ale. As a flight has four of them we had to choose one to leave out, so not being too hot on rye pale ales I skipped that one. I found the ones I liked most were the lighter ones, the cream ale & kolsch. They were good a few weeks ago but will be terrific easy-drinking summer beers. We had batch five of the porter, which we agreed was a bit thin & perhaps needed the most work of the four in the flight but Dave assured us that batch seven was the keeper. Maybe by the time you all read this he’ll be pouring it.

Another cool thing was the DIY table he made out of an old burl he got for free from from a friend & planed down. It’s on wheels so it can be pushed out of the way when he’s brewing. It’s not very often I get to have my tasters inside the brewery with the brewer. The exceptions may be a CAMRA meeting at a brewery though. Make a special trip, or if you go up for Mt Arrowsmith, don’t forget LoveShack!

CAMRA Victoria ‘Members Only’ Event
IPA Blind Tasting at Yates Street Taphouse
Wednesday March 22nd @ 7pm
Come join us Wednesday, March 22nd for our monthly meeting. We’ll be doing a blind taste test of various IPA’s on tap, with the goal to try and determine what style it is and who brews it.

Just a reminder that this is a ‘members only’ event for those in good standing, however you may bring a potential new member as a guest. It should be a fun night overall, and we can’t wait to see you there!

Vancouver Island Beer Events
March/April 2017
Paint Nite @ Red Arrow Brewing
Tues. March 21st, 7pm-9pm

Coronado Tap Takeover @ Moon Under Water Brewpub
Sat. March 25th, 1pm-5:30pm

Brasserie Dunham Tap Takeover @ Smiths Pub
Wed. March 29th, 5pm – 11:59pm

Brewmasters Dinner @ Heron Rock Bistro Featuring Moon Under Water Brewpub
Thu. March 30th, 6pm – 10pm

Oregon Day @ The Drake Eatery
Sat. April 1st, 11am – 11pm

Nanaimo Kinsmen Beer Festival @ Beban Park Rec Centre
Fri. April 7th, 6pm-9pm


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