Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Central City Brewing Grand Opening Media Preview

I was absolutely honored to be invited to Central City Brewing's Media Preview for their grand opening of their new state-of-the-art 65,000sq/ft facility.  This year also marks their 10th anniversary and what a way to celebrate by unveiling this gorgeous new brewery. 

Here's a little history about them from their press release and from what I've been able to gather:
 They first opened back in 2003 as being pretty much the only brewpub in the area and for all of Surrey for that matter.  The location that they were in (the original restaurant and brewery are still located on the original site) wasn't exactly the best area to be around, especially at night.  But the brewpub and liquor store, located next door, was so popular that people came out in droves, even from Vancouver to enjoy what they had to offer.  In 2005 the brewery launched a canning line which enabled them to sell their beer at their own liquor store.  That was a huge bonus to anyone that wanted to drink their award winning beer at home. 

Being so popular and getting big way too fast put them at a crossroads because back in 2009, they reached full capacity.  Always wanting to achieve more and to push the envelope, they leased a piece of land not far from their original site to accommodate the growing demand.  But it didn't stop there!  The one area that lacks
view of the distillery
attention and is dominated by the European market is distillery.  Their new 65,000 sq/ft facility also has distilling capabilities enabling them to add craft distilled gin, vodka, rye, and single malt whiskeys.  But you're going to have to wait for the whiskey and rye because as of right now, they're only making vodka and gin.  Their gin however, is flavored and their last batch included orange peel, lemon peel, coriander, chicory, juniper berries and cinnamon, giving their gin a nice licorice flavor.  
preview of their gin bottle

Just like their Red Racer brand of beer, their distillery is also going to have a brand called Seraph, meaning winged person not necessarily an angel.  Once you enter their store, you can see the huge statue of the Seraph. 

As soon as I walked in I was greeted right way by Yvonne.  She's the PR Rep for Central City.  She was very friendly and gave me the low down of what was in store for all of us that night.  She also directed me inside to their tasting room where they had an assortment of cheese, meat and bread products.  Very tasty.  So before I grabbed my first beer, I decided to walk around their store to have a look around.  Inside their store you'll find a wide variety of merchandise to buy from clothing and glassware all the way to a beer pong set.  There is also a nice Red Racer Motorcycle on display (don't sit on it).  Because it's a huge concrete building full of aluminum and metal, getting a cell signal is pretty much non existent inside depending on your cellphone provider so you're going to have to go out to the parking lot if you want to tweet, instagram etc.

Red Racer Motorcycle
When I was done walking around I went to their tasting room to enjoy their beer and great food that they had.  I was joined by my buddy Scott (local blogger and man about town) to chat with other bloggers and staff and to really enjoy our surroundings.  I was really fortunate to try their brand new Special 10th Anniversary Imperial Porter.  It's an in-house collaboration porter.  Each bottle is blended in batches from their original brewhouse and from their new brewery which is then barrel aged for a year.  It is very smooth, has a great smokey flavor from the roasted malts and has a light whiskey kick at the end.  Very enjoyable and a definite must try.  They are going to start selling it at their new brewery starting this Friday during their public open house. And remember, Growler fills start at just $11!!!

Finally the time came for us to go over and have a tour of their new state-of-the-art brewing facility.  We were met by Gary Lohin, Brewmaster and Partner, who gave us a first hand, detailed tour.  He went into great detail about the brewing process of their new distillery.  There was so much info for me to absorb that I recommend for you to go for a tour and see for yourself.  It is recommended that you call ahead to secure your spot.  For more information, go to their website  You can also follow them on Twitter

Just to give you more detail, here's the difference between the original brewery and their new brewery:
Notes of interest

Yvonne Chiang is a Freelance Publicist and PR Consultant who is also the PR Rep for Central City's new facility.

Scott Graham is beer/food blogger that hosts many events around town to support local charities.
You can follow him on Twitter
He also the founder of South Fraser Beer Club
You can also follow sfbc on twitter

Gary Lohin, Brewmaster, has over 20 years of brewing experience working at different breweries and of course, brewing for Central City.  In 2003, he became a partner and has personally overseen 2 major expansions in production capacity.  Under his leadership, Central City as become a leading Craft Brewer, recognized on the national and international stage with multiple awards.

**Some of the information on this post was directly from their press release and fact sheet.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Sartori Harvest IPA..What's with the hype?

I have to admit that I didn't know anything about Driftwood Brewing's Sartori Harvest IPA until earlier this year.  I heard that it was "the" beer to get if I'm going to get any seasonal beer this year.  I was really intrigued because I didn't think that it got any better than their Fat Tug IPA, truly one of the top IPA's in BC.  I wanted to know what this beer was all about and why it was the most popular seasonal release of the year so I decided to poke around a bit.

Here's what I found out:
- It's released around every September
- It's "wet hopped" not just once but throughout the brewing process
- They use fresh Centennial Hops from the Sartori Cedar Ranch in Chilliwack, BC
- The hops are still dripping with oily goodness when the brewing process begins.
- It's really expensive. (depending which Beer Store you go to)

So, after finding all that out, I went to my local Cold Beer and Wine Store and put my name down on a list for when it came in.  That's right! A LIST!  When I left the store, I immediately told myself "This beer better be f@cking EPIC!  When it came in, I bought 3 at $9.50 a bottle plus tax

The Twitterverse was all abuzz about this beer.  People were tweeting their asses off about it.  There were a few that missed it and were asking everybody where they could get it.  People were tweeting about it for a few days after and I couldn't wait to try it.  You see, I bought them on Wednesday and I couldn't get to drink it till the Friday so I was salivating at the chance to try it. 

Finally the day was here.  It was Friday evening and I had a long day so as soon I had the chance, I opened one up and poured in a glass.  Holy crap the smell was amazing.  There was a sweetness in the aroma that made it different than the Fat Tug, Switchback, or any other IPAs out there.  But that's as far as it went for me.  I'm not going to describe the taste in detail because I'll be sounding like my past blog post about their Fat Tug.  The biggest and only difference I found was that the Sartori Harvest IPA had a really unique sweetness to the taste as well as the aroma.  Don't get me wrong, the taste was really, really good and I prefer this over a lot of other IPA's but I didn't think that this one was worth me putting my name on a list and spending over $9.50 plus tax each for 3 bottles.  Next year if I happen to walk into a Cold Beer and Wine Store and see the Sartori Harvest IPA sitting there, I'll for sure buy one.  But if there's a list for it, chances are that I'll just grab the Fat Tug and be on my merry way.  I'm sure you guys will disagree with me and tell me otherwise but this is just my opinion and I'm sticking with it. 

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Harvest Honey Pale Ale

Tin Whistle Brewing Company

Penticton, British Columbia

Seasonal Flavored Pale Ale

Light Copper


Useless trivia time... Did you know that Tin Whistle was the first Brewery to open up in the Okanagan?  Yup.  I've enjoyed a few beers that they've brewed.  Scorpion anyone?  This is one that is not too bad but it's nothing to yell about over a crowed beer festival.  What I really like about this beer is that it's hoppier (they use fresh Cascade Hops) than a regular pale and the addition of wild flower honey, makes this beer stand out.  The floral and citrus aroma is very present in this beer and you don't even need to close your eyes to smell it.  The very first taste, tastes like a regular pale ale.  Use that first taste as a pallet cleanser because after that, the flavor starts to come into play.  It has a unique citrus taste at first then blends into a honey smoothness.  This beer has a really smooth taste, crisp finish, and a slightly bitter aftertaste.  All in all, this beer is really well balanced and will not leave you begging for a glass of water.