Posts tagged “craftbeer”
As we prepare to say our goodbyes to summer, we will hold onto these Buck Lake memories to get us through the fall and winter. One of many highlights of our summer road trip was enjoying the fruits of our travel labour at the cottage with Cherryl’s family. There is so much fun to be had with beer and family. A big thanks to our hosts, Kathy, Ron and Maddie for letting us geek out big time at the lake. Sadly, we depleted our stock pretty quickly and had to extend our sessions with ‘cottage’ beer.
Hop picking is in my blood. My ancestors were farmers who lived and worked on a hop farm, called Clinches Farm at the time, in Fowle Hall, Kent and where the original Oast house still stands today. So I was only too pleased to put my heritage into practice and respond to a call for volunteers to help with the harvest at Persephone Brewing on the Sunshine Coast this past Sunday.
What better way to get to know a brewery than to pick with the staff, their friends, family and neighbours and other beer lovers from the region. The bounty was plentiful this year due to a hot summer. We picked centennial and cascade - the cascade being larger and having a stronger floral and citrusy aroma. Much of the harvest is going into a fresh hop IPA as early as Monday while the rest will find their way into some of their regulars like the American Pale Ale.
We were well taken care of with samples of beer and a taste of the ‘off the grid’ wood oven pizza made from local farm ingredients which we enjoyed in the cozy tasting room equipped with games of chess and crokinole.
Hop picking brings a community together and it was special to be part of this traditional process which, as they expand their acreage, may soon be a thing of the past as they will need more expedient methods to harvest in the short time required.
Look out for the fresh hop IPA at the end of the month and know that the hops were hand-picked with love by a community of great people. We look forward to tasting the fruits of our labour.
We were not able to make it to the Great Canadian Beer Festival this past weekend but that’s okay as neither was one of our local favourites - Storm Brewing, so we had a little festival of our own with some of their seasonal offerings, Juniper IPA, Ginger l’Orange Pilsner and the Fennel Countdown Pilsner. What a great idea - no tickets, no travel, no lineups, and unlimited tastings until the growlers ran dry!
Short distance beer trips are just as fun as the long ones and Four Winds Brewing brought us to Delta last Saturday. We have admired this brewery since its start in 2012 and its solid creations such as Phaedra (Belgian Rye IPA), Juxtapose (Brett IPA), Triplicity (Belgian Tripel) and Brett and Wild Flower Saisons. We figured it was about damn time to drink from the source.
Inside, the well-appointed and tastefully-designed taproom betrays its industrial park storefront window setting. We whet our palates with the Saison, IPA, Pale and Pilsner but tucked into the Witicism (peppery and zesty, seductively smooth witbier), Juxtapose (a big citrus, hoppy, sweet malt and piney Brett IPA), Brett Pale (a dry-hopped-with-Galaxy and highly drinkable pale) and Apparition (a spicy, zesty citrus, dry and refreshing West Coast White Ale).
We admire Four Winds for their beer but also for their design which is gaining them a reputation as a leader in craftbeer design with the help of artist, Andy Dixon. Four Winds is simply a leader in good taste.
On the deck this lovely summer evening is Commons Brewery Biere Royale - a seasonal sour ale brewed with black currents. Tart and sour upfront followed by bright black currents with a subtle salty* finish. The perfect beer for this evening.
*more likely because we were eating pringles at the time…
A day trip to Hill Farmstead in Greensboro, Vermont is a beer bonding experience. What else can you do when standing in line for three hours other than get to know the locals, other travellers, their kids and their dogs, who are all waiting patiently for a taste of this historic beer.
A journey for beer is never too far. We traveled 5,000 miles to get a taste of this small batch barrel-aged beer after taking note of much creative social media chatter about it. When people post about Hill Farmstead, they become poetic. A sign that this beer is art.
To us, Shaun Hill is an artist and his beer is an expression of himself, his environment and his ancestry. The farm where the brewery is located has been in the family for over 230 years. His mother serves you samples while you wait in line, named after dear relatives like Clara and Arthur. The beer is brewed with the homestead well-water and at times includes neighbouring seasonal ingredients such as blueberries.
Hill brings a Danish flourish to his creations having brewed in Copenhagen for Norrebro Bryghus for a few years. He maintains these connections through collaborations with his Danish brewing mentors and friends. He brews flagship beers like Edward (brewed in honour of their Grandfather) a highly drinkable 5.2% unfiltered and dry-hopped American Pale Ale, and many seasonals. In 2013 his beer topped the ratebeer charts at number one. In 2015 the brewery will expand to 5500 barrels/yr from the 500 produced when it started in 2010.
At the brewery we sampled a few beers from the Ancestral Series, in addition to Edward:
Susan (Grandfather’s sister) - India Pale Ale, aromas of citrus, pine and grass, beautiful mouthfeel of juicy citrus flavour with subtle sweet biscuit, hoppy, with a nice bitter dry finish.
Abner (Great Grandfather) - Imperial Pale Ale that is double dry-hopped with loads of citrus and pine aroma and flavour, sweet malt cuts into the hops for a nicely balanced and highly drinkable double.
Everett (Grandfather’s brother) - A robust American porter, made with American barley, English and German roasted malts and American hops.
We also sampled What is Enlightenment American Pale Ale and Grassroots Brewing Legitimacy IPA, which smelled like being out hop picking and tasted even more so.
We bought some fresh growlers of Susan and Abner along with the capped bottles of Nordic Saison and Peleg:
Nordic Saison - Nordic-inspired ale brewed with Heather and Honey, a collaboration with Anders (Kissmeyer Brewing) and Will Meyer (Cambridge Brewing) from May 2014.
Peleg (Great, Great, Great, Great Grandfather 1757 - 1831) - old ale aged in oak barrels. Notes of funky, dark fruit and wet wood, tart with flavours of sweet malt, tobacco, dark fruit and wood. Brewed with Rune and Per Olaf of Bryggeriet Djaevlebryg and Anders Kissmeyer of Kissmeyer Brewing.
We picked up some more of the Grassroots Brewing series (collaborations with Anchorage Brewing) at the Craft Beer Cellar in Waterbury to bring back home. Arctic Soiree, ale fermented and aged in oak tanks with brett, lime juice and hibiscus, Arctic Saison, ale fermented in oak tanks with brett, and Brother Soignee, brewed with hibiscus, lime and blood orange.
Hill Farmstead is special beer and a special place, and why so many people travel far for it: The 500-mile beer run to Vermont.
It’s no secret, Vermont makes great beer. An efficient way to confirm this is to attend the Vermont Brewers Festival. The recent growth in breweries has risen from thirty to well over 55, earning its tag-line of Small State Big Beer, and a reputation as the Disneyland of Beer.
This gem of a beer festival is held at Waterfront Park in Burlington (July 18 - 19). As we approached the site we were struck by the spectacular Lake Champlain backdrop, the lush green, spacious and well-laid out grounds, and the natural stillness … just the happy sound of people talking about and drinking beer.
There are three sessions and $30 buys you 15 tickets (3 oz tastings) with 1 ticket for tastes under 8% and 2 for anything over. With an option to purchase 5 additional tickets, we found this plenty to explore the tastes of Vermont on our first day.
We looked for the longest line up and joined it for our very first taste of Alchemist and crushed (ha!) the Crusher American DIPA at 9% and Focal Banger an APA at 7%. (No Heady yet, but we would track that down later.) We then made a beeline to Hill Farmstead where they were pouring Edward a dry-hopped APA with beautiful floral notes and tastes of citrus and pine (just the way we love it) and Grassroots Brewing Brother Soigne (a collaboration with former Dieu du Ciel brewer Luc Bim Lafontaine) with hibiscus, lime and blood orange which was super refreshing. Another memorable summery moment was Otter Creek Fresh Slice White IPA with coriander and clementine. While chatting with others we learned that Fiddlehead Second Fiddle was one we had to try and we were not disappointed with this big juicy Double IPA. Just to compare we tried a Spruce Tip IPA brewed by Vermont Pub & Brewery with Lawson’s Finest Liquids and found it to be a touch more medicinal tasting than BC’s spruce tip brews. There was no shortage of big beers here so we went all in and indulged in Rock Art’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Wee Heavy Scottish Ale (at 10% it was big and heavy) and their Belvidere Big IPA (which later would end up coming home with us). To round things out we sampled the Trapp Dunkel, Four Quarter’s Fleur de Lis session saison and Opus Ferum Patersbier with Brett Bruxellanis (cask) and many more.
We were proud to see Canada well-represented by neighbouring Quebec breweries who were in such great company. It was nice to see several cross border collaborations with Vermont Pub & Brewery such as Lemongrass Saison with Hopfenstark, Sunset Vibrations an oak-aged Scotch ale with Dieu du Ciel, and Sour Rhubarb Saison with Le Trou du Diable. Benelux, Dieu du Ciel, Dunham, Le Trou du Diable and Hopenstark breweries were all present at the festival so if you don’t have time to visit Quebec you can sample their finest here.
We highly recommend this one - it is one of the best beer festival experiences we’ve had to date. Thanks to the brewers, the volunteers and to the Vermont Brewers Association for giving us such a welcoming taste of Vermont.