May 29th, 2012

Notes from Hoppapalooza III, Alibi Room, May 20, 2012

The Alibi Room’s Hoppapalooza is our favourite event of Vancouver Craft Beer Week and we went through an emotional 24 hours after an unsuccessful attempt at getting our tickets. Thanks again to our friend Mike who deserves a medal, or a holiday, or at least a cuddle from each of us for staying up late into the night - on hold for hours with Michael Jackson’s Man in the Mirror playing ad nauseam - to secure and then share these precious tickets. Let’s hope next year finds an improved VCBW ticketing system and that midnight launch time is re-examined.

Congratulations again to Nigel Springthorpe at the Alibi for lining up an amazing collection of beer that cannot be beat at any other one event during VCBW. I managed to get to 15(ish) out of the 50+ beers on the official program, with a few more tasted here and there via sips of what friends were trying. Serving as a memory aid/reference list and not much else, here is my list of beers sampled, in the order they were consumed.

  1. Driftwood Brewing (cask) - Naughty Hildegard ESB. Very good; best start.
  2. Tariq Khan of Big Ridge Brewing - Smoke on the Lager Rauchbier. Smell reminiscent of smoked cheese; smoke taste was just right (gentle).
  3. Gigantic Brewing - IPA. New Portland brewery, and a nice IPA.
  4. Tofino Brewing (cask) - IPA dry hopped with Spruce Tips. We’ve noted their Hoppin Cretin IPA tastes like an island forest, and then this comes along! A beer we will dream of having again.
  5. Iian Hill of Yaletown Brewing (cask) - Centennial Dry Hopped IPA. Lovely.
  6. Upright Brewing - Five - Farmhouse Hoppy Pale Ale. Five was our hop gang’s favourite out of the Uprights, which were all on offer. “Too smooth & easy drinking” someone said. I may have tried Upright Six - Dark Rye Farmhouse Ale when I was crying about the other rye ales not being on.
  7. Gigantic Brewing - City Never Sleeps Black Saison. Tried this beer again at Brothers in Hops on Thursday and still have no words to describe it. Interesting.  
  8. Lighthouse Brewing (cask) – Dean’s one-off Barnacle White IPA. Light and tropically piney - very good. Too bad this is a one-off.
  9. Elysian Brewing - Idiot Sauvin IPA. Tasted very good with the delicious Fraser Valley pork chili prepared by Chef Greg Armstrong.
  10. Tariq Khan of Big Ridge Brewing - Imperial Stout (cask). Held its own along side the venerable Deschutes Abyss.
  11. Iian Hill of Yaletown Brewing - Oud Bruin Sour Brown. Really enjoyed this non-fruit sour beer – thanks Monica!
  12. Granville Island - Vern’s Limited Release Imperial IPA. Must have been enjoying it too much to write any notes. 
  13. Conrad Gmoser of Steamworks Brewing - Vitamin P Pilsner. Nice having good pilsners like this on offer. “Good palate cleanser” aka light and refreshing without being light on flavour.
  14. Tariq Khan of Big Ridge Brewing (cask) - Wrath of Khan Home Grown Hop IPA. Great citrus hops.
  15. Final (ok I wrote “final” but a few more may have snuck in after). Deschutes Brewery - The Abyss. A perfect goodnight beer before heading out into the night.

Hoppapalooza is a favourite event because of the variety of exciting craft beer it brings together, but also because of how much care and attention Nigel and his team put into the event, from the beerlist with Perrin’s distinctive covers, to the live music by Rich Hope, to the food. We didn’t take many photos this year, but luckily Christine McAvoy has posted many beautiful photos of the event and close-ups of several of the beers on Vancouver is Awesome.

See you there next year (if not before) …

Loading tweets...



We are two good friends who love beer and will travel far to find it. We make notes of the beer we discover and share our musings with others because we believe beer is a tradition that is best shared, and because otherwise we wouldn't remember them.