Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Vancouver Island Brewery Doughhead Beer

Due to so many things going on I have not had a chance to talk about the tasting of the Vancouver Island Brewery Doughhead Ale on Saturday.   I went into it with trepidation because so many of the wilder beers I have had over the last couple of years have been duds in my opinion.   The five local breweries and four brewpubs offer something like 75 to 80 different beers depending on the time of year.   Not to be too critical, there are least a few brews that have been released that I think were done more for attention than the quality of the flavour.   With so many choices you have to stand out somehow and a gingerbread ale felt like that.

The idea of a gingerbread beer was something I had trouble reconciling in my head but Rob Ringma of Vancouver Island Brewery convinced me to come and try it on Saturday.

I was pleasantly surprised at the flavour.   Sheila and I had just made a large batch of ginger snaps the night before so we had a strong sense of a gingerbread flavour in our minds.   The beer delivered enough of the flavour to make the beer interesting but not so much as to smack me upside the head.   A good gingerbread has a strong spicy and bitter flavour along with the sweetness.   Gingerbread is really a very earthy or umami aspect to it and it is this that came through in the beer.   I could really get the bitter and sweet notes of the molasses along with the spice of the ginger.  

My biggest fear was that the beer would be overly sweet or taste like drinking raw gingerbread dough and nothing else.    Neither of these were true, the beer was very well balanced.

The brewery had some food pairings for the beer - a blue cheese and crackers (I think?).   I am not sure any longer what they were but I did think the pairings did not work for me.   I am not sure what I would pair this beer with.   The gingerbread flavour is there but subtle enough that I would need to find a food that enhances the flavour and does not over power it.   With the cheese I lost a lot the complexity from the molasses.

I like the beer enough that I will be buying some bottles while the supplies last.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Vancouver Island Brewery

Tomorrow Sheila and I are going to try this new beer from the Vancouver Island Brewery - the Doughhead Gingerbread Ale.   We are doing this because I expressed my skeptism about the very idea of gingerbread beer but Bob Ringma at VIB has convinced to come and try it.

We talked back and forth on email a bit and I mentioned that I had noticed last summer how so many of the small independent breweries in Canada had been purchased by international companies but that in Victoria we have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to independent brewers.

Here is his part of the conversation:

You are very correct. The big boys now know that artisan craft breweries are growing and they do not fully understand our side of the industry so often the easiest way to gain entry is through acquisition.  We started brewing at the same time as Granville Island (now Molson/Coors) and Okanagan Spring (now Sapporo) yet we are still owned by a 74 year old farmer from Cobble Hill by the name of Barry Fischer!
These same global corporations make sure to keep these acquisitions quiet as they know it will affect their credibility and future sales of the craft beer brands they purchased.
Although we are the oldest, we certainly are not the biggest in BC as breweries such as Phillips now export their beer to Alberta and Ontario and have surpassed us in size. We still do over 85% of our sales right
here on Vancouver Island and we are proud of that.
Please feel free to come by on Saturday, we open at 10am- 6pm. I think they will have the cask ready to go at 12pm.  I will be in attendance but may be in the back warehouse, hand wax dipping the tops of  a
special 25th Anniversary edition of Hermannator Ice Bock!
Please have one of the employees in the store come get me as I would like the opportunity to meet.
We will bring the camera and report on what we think of the beer.....

Monday, November 19, 2012

Vancouver Island Brewery - Gingerbread Ale???!?!

I have to say this does not make me want to drink the beer - I can not reconcile gingerbread and beer

Vancouver Island Brewery News Header
Dough Head Header
Vancouver Island Brewery 
NOVEMBER 19, 2012
Press Release!
Dear Bernard, Dough Head Gingerbread Ale

Our Brewmaster has been hard at work baking some new ideas for a craft brew...

Local brewery mixes brewing and baking to craft a Holiday Classic!

When you think of the holidays and times spent with loved ones, sweets and treats seem to find their way into the picture. With that holiday inspiration in mind the brew crew at Vancouver Island Brewery set out to craft a beer that brings the best flavours of the season into a unique beer perfect for the holidays.

Dough Head Gingerbread Ale is the result of combining the best of baking and brewing and the local brewery has brewed up a fresh limited release batch as part of its seasonal 650 mL bottle series. Crafted carefully, Dough Head Gingerbread Ale unites these two worlds into a handcrafted beer with a touch of ginger and spice that is balanced with a malty sweetness.

"The holidays are times to be enjoyed and this beer is a feel good brew, crafted to bring a smile to your lips." stated Jim Dodds, General Manager at Vancouver Island Brewery. "We love brewing unique, flavourful beers and this gingerbread ale is a fine example of combining spice and malts perfectly balanced for a drinkable winter treat."

The brewery is also hosting an open house and cask tasting event for Dough Head Gingerbread Ale on Saturday Nov 24th from noon - 6pm. This is a great opportunity for beer enthusiasts to come down, sample Dough Head Gingerbread Ale and go on a brewery tour to see how the local brewery crafts their beers. They will also have fresh Gingerbread Ale draught available in unique 1.9L glass Growlers at the brewery.

Crafted in small batches there is a limited supply of bottles available at local beer stores and at Vancouver Island Brewery's on-site beer store.

Flavour: Ginger and spice balanced with a pinch of sweetness
Aroma: Spice, molasses and malt
Colour: Gingerbread brown

About Vancouver Island Brewery
In 1984 Vancouver Island Brewery started with the mission of crafting local, all natural craft beers for Islanders to enjoy. Beginning with the careful selection of the finest quality ingredients, we use skill and patience to handcraft our family of ales and lagers in small batches. Our goal is to bring
our passion for craft beer to the brewery each day and brew unique, flavourful beer for you to enjoy.

Thanks for your time! I hope you enjoyed the update and can make it down to the brewery on Saturday, Nov. 24th for a tasting of Dough Head Gingerbread Ale.
Adam Ball
2330 Government Street
Victoria, BC V8T 5G5
Vancouver Island Brewery
Socialize with Us
Find out what's going on at the brewery on Facebook and Twitter, and share your craft beer experience on Untappd.
© Vancouver Island Brewery - 2012
VIB Brewery Tour
Coupon must be printed and presented in person. $2.00 savings applies to the brewery tour fee of $10 which includes a branded VIB pint glass. Coupon is transferable so please share this offer with friends and family. For more brewery tour info please click  here.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Aaron Hall goes to Wannawafel

Aaron Hall is the host of Shaw TV's local foodie show Delicious and this time he checks out Wannawafel.

I have tried their waffles, my problem is that they are a style that does not appeal to me.  These are well made proper Belgian waffles, but they are simply too sweet for me.

Wannawafel on Urbanspoon

Friday, November 9, 2012

Aaron Hall goes to Foo Food

Aaron Hall is the host of the Shaw TV program Delicious and this episode he goes to Foo Food.

This is a hard one for me to write because I know they are good but the experience for me has always been not quite right.   I put it down not to a problem on their part but really a frame of mind thing on my part.   I have either come there and it has been very busy and I was annoyed and a in a rush, which is not their fault. Or I went with someone else that wanted to go there and it was not what I wanted to eat.

Here is my horrid admission, I really am not a pad Thai fan, I can tell when they are good but something about them does not really work for me.  I think it comes down to the tamarind flavour, nothing else would seem to make sense.

Very cool is that they make use of the Health Nexxus Food Tracker app.

Foo Food on Urbanspoon

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Saanich Food Roundtable November 20th 11am

CR-FAIR header
 Saanich Food Roundtable
November 20, 2012
11:00am - 1:00pm

District of Saanich, in the Annex
770 Vernon Ave Victoria, BC
Come to learn and share about emerging issues and actions in Saanich related to the Food System including:
  • District of Saanich planner Jane Evans will update on planning and food related initiatives
  • Sustainability Office Communities in Harvest vegetable growing contest set for 2013
  • Community Kitchens Network Coordinator, Diane Andiel
  • Panama Flats, Gorge Community Gardens, Commonwealth Community Gardens, Food Scrap Recycling Program…
  • Update on the Regional Food Policy, and the efforts to support land access for farmers in motion.
This meeting is a roundtable format for networking and sharing information, please bring updates and any materials you would like to distribute.

Aaron Hall goes to Street Level Espresso

Aaron Hall hosts another episode of Delicious on Shaw TV.   This time he is at Street Level Espresso.

Street Level Espresso on Urbanspoon