Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Lighthouse Brewing's New Ads Make Me Want to Hurt Myself

Okay folks, watch this.

Congratulations, you are now stupider.

I know, I know, it's supposed to be funny and silly and lighthearted, and not really objectify women, and certainly the folks that I know from Lighthouse would be mortified to think that they were offending anyone, but this is just plain dumb, and I'll tell you why. The craft beer industry will only continue to grow and improve because of the involvement of women.

Just look at the local CAMRA executive if you don't believe me.

But before that check out more silliness:
Oh look, her top came off. Of course it did. Now, let's get some lime in that beer and serve it EXTRA COLD.

Seriously, what century are we living in?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Battle Royale No 7: Abel vs. Cain

As a passport-bearing denizen of Northern Ireland, I am no stranger to family in-fighting. In the wee parcel of land from whence I sprung, men have bled and died while not realizing that they have much more in common with each other than they do with either the people of the Republic of Ireland or the British Royal family, that bunch of teat-sucking German vampires. No prizes for guessing which side I tend towards.

However, I am all too happy that my folks eschewed the blinkered life of the oul' sod and came instead to Canada, where I can even make friends with a Liverpudlian without the attendant stigma associated with same. Well, without most of the stigma...

But anyway, here we are at the much-overdue B.R. numbah 7, and it's time for a little good old fashioned inter-brewery throw-down. In one corner, the much-lauded Fat Tug; in the other, Twenty Pounder gets another shot. Ding!

Driftwood Fat Tug IPA vs. Driftwood Twenty Pounder Double IPA

Round 1: Fight!

Now, many of you might already be saying, "Hey! You already said you didn't like the Twenty-Pounder! How fair is that?" Well, not fair, actually, but let me put this out there. Ignoring all a priori notions of which beer is better, I laid aside my initial impression, and really tried to examine the beer. After all, while taste is subjective, some folks are really digging this brew. 

So here we are then, and at first sniff, here we are with some seriously hoppy beers. Seriously, the Fat Tug's got more hops than a jackrabbit smoothie, and a whiff of the Twenty-Pounder indicates the same. Warning: the 'Tug starts Alexander Keith's corpse spinning in his grave, but the Twenty Pounder has him hitting 9000 rpms. Dude just hit VTEC, yo.

On first blush, the Twenty Pounder has the edge on body and colour, but it's the Fat Tug's floral hop bouquet that draws first blood.

Round 2: Fight!

Obviously, I've got to sample the Fat Tug first off, as the Twenty-Pounder has the heft to be an A-Bomb to the tastebuds. I am become DIPA, destroyer of Palates. It's hard to believe that this stuff is even better on tap than it is in the bottle. It's fresh and light and delicious without being wimpy. As much as I love Red Racer, Fat Tug is stiff competition against any IPA.

But it's not up against any IPA, it's up against its hairy-knuckled big bro'. Which beer, it must be said, has some of that stewed-grapefruit character of Southern Tier's Un*Earthly, possibly my fav beer if I had to choose. But where the Tier balances that double shwack of hops with a big malt body, the Twenty-Pounder has an astringent bitterness that's off-leash. No mistaking the big alcohol content either. Second round's gotta go to the 'Tug.
Round 3: Fight!

There's a third left in each bottle now, and if I didn't have a liver the size of a wagon-wheel, I'd be slurring my sibilants. As it stands, I still stand, and so do our two combatants, though the Twenty-Pounder has been taking a beating.

But something funny's happened. The initial bite of both beers has been muted by their intense hop concentrations to the point that the acrid, astringent taste of the Twenty-Pounder is no longer off-putting. It's been blunted by repeated sipping and funnily enough, the Fat Tug is almost like a Race Rocks in its maltiness as its hoppiness is masked by the solar flare of resin coming off the Twenty-Pounder. Which do I prefer? 

Hmm. Round 3 is a draw.

Round 4: Fight!

We're down to the dregs now, and the numbers of lysed brain cells are hitting the trillons. So I hope you appreciate the research, dear readers, as the chances of me ever doing a crossword puzzle again just went out the window. 

But, in the final round, we do have a winner. The Twenty-Pounder is just too much like work. It's not quaffable in any degree: the intensity of the hops is simply exhausting to the palate, and then you refresh yourself with a sip of Fat Tug and wonder why you're bothering with the other. After all, the Twenty-Pounder is only 2% stronger than the 'Tug is anyway.


Fat Tug wins, despite giving up a hop-load and ABV advantage to the heavy-weight Twenty-Pounder!

Post-Battle Review:

More is not necessarily better. Hard to believe I'm saying such a thing about beer, but there you go. I maintain that Driftwood Brewing is the Brewery to beat on the West Coast for range-wide excellence, but their regular IPA remains too good for a misfire of a DIPA to take out in single combat.

Driftwood Fat Tug
Recommended if:-one "schwack o' hops" is enough
-balance is favoured over sheer mass
-still worth ordering for the double-entendre name

Not Recommended if:
-you only buy cans
-tastebuds be damned, I need to kill my brain!
-you don't like IPAs. In which case: this is the wrong B.R. for you, boyo.

Driftwood Twenty-Pounder
Recommended if:-ABV and IBU high-scores matter more to you than taste
-For those about to have a major hang-over, we saluuuute you
-you probably should try it at least once anyway
Not recommended if:-you're not a hop fan. Because this will melt your face.
-you favour balance over outright intensity
-there's Fat Tug available. Because it's better.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

In Which I Actually Make It To A Cask Event For Once

The previous two posts have been a bit Debbie Downer. So, let me surcease being a nittering nabob of negativism and wax ecstatic 'pon the great deal of fun I just had, thanks to the nice people of CAMRA Vancouver.

But first, a word about Dead Frog.

I got this at the 16th St liquor store, and while there's always something interesting there, take note that they don't have a lot of turn-over. In fact, you can git yo'self a bottle of Naughty Hildegaard, Spring Rite or even Cuvee D'Hiver, last I checked. So whither this comes in the Brewmaster's lineup, I know not.

But let me speak to the schizophrenic nature of this brewery. At best, its regular lineup is a local version of Sleeman's. At worst, its regular lineup is a local version of Sleeman's. If I wanted to drink Sleeman's, I would drink some damn Sleeman's.*

*Actually, if I felt like having a Sleeman's, I'd probably go for some retrograde phrenology and hit myself with a series of large mallets until I snapped out of it.

But as for the Brewmaster's Series, well, apart from the T-Pain label, they've all been quite good. Case in point: the Citra Hop Dead Frog. Scuttlebutt has it that there's a bit of a revolving door at Dead Frog, so the wide variety of styles in their Brewmaster's Series could possibly be due to there being a new Brewmaster every few months. However, I've done exactly zero research to ascertain whether this rumour has any truth behind it. I mention it here in the best traditions of TEH INTERNETS, where nobody is ever wrong about anything cough Wikipedia cough.

This hopped Pilsner is pretty good, and I even poured it into something other than my usual pint glass. 'Twas a hot day, and it went down like a torpedo'd Lusitania. Which is to say, quickly, and with a certain amount of North-Atlantic-like crisp refreshment.

But on to the cask event.

This was a last-minute attend for Mrs. Damnbeerblogger and self. Normally, we attempt some minor project on The House, and next thing you know we've spent all day installing skylights, flying buttresses and a moat. Happily though, a quick jaunt on the seabus had us in Gastown in a jiff.

Vancouver sure is beautiful from the water.

Any road, as it turns out, our memberships were lapsed, so we seized the opportunity to sign up, especially as I keep telling everyone I'm in CAMRA anyway. It's in my byline for the paper and everything.

Shout outs to @mikefarlane, @scorpiogirl and @vancitybeer, all of whom I now have put a face to the tweet-handle.

The beer.

Howe Sound Jack-Daniels Infused Imperial Pumpkin Ale:
-less brown-sugar flavour than last-year's (could be the Jack in the cask)

R&Bl Brewing Black Cherry Hefewiezen
-light and refreshing, the cherries are quite subtle
-second sip: man, R&B is underrated as a brewery

Red Racer Vodka-Soaked-Vanilla-Bean Infused Oatmeal Breakfast Stout
-That's a long name for a beer
-Oooh, but it's good
-The vanilla is pretty buried, it's almost a coffee stout
-Can't wait for cans of RR stout. Imperial?

Granville Island Brewing Bitter
-As usual, GIB's special fare is much better than the mainline beers (although I like those too)
-Nice and hoppy, and only 3.5%? Cool.

Driftwood 2010 Old Cellar Dweller:
-Okay Driftwood, THIS is why I was so hard on the Twenty Pounder. I struggle to think of anything even half as good as this stuff.

Also a cask of La Chouffe, but we gave that a miss, as we had to hurry back home. Altogether a great cask event, and we look forward to being able to attend more of these as The House becomes complete. Yeah, right.

Last, a quick word about Beer-Mixology, Mrs. Damnbeerblogger's speciality.

Here's something she whipped up at the event: a blend of the Howe Sound and the Red Racer.
This would then be a Jack-Daniels Infused Imperial Pumpkin Vodka-Soaked-Vanilla-Bean Infused Oatmeal Breakfast Stout. Or you could abbreviate and call it Kick-Ass. Kick-Ass tastes delicious.