Tuesday, April 04, 2006

O Canada Part I

I had an unforgiving cold after a lot of travel, which made it so I could not taste many of the wonderful beers in Austin, TX. However, I tried to make up for that when visiting Vancouver, BC. I also brought three beers back, So there will be more on the way.

First, it seems that good beers come in the can more often in Canada. I liked that, especially as a traveler since I could throw them in my luggage and worry less than I would with a bottle. Even the microbreweries I visited all had cans. I know some microbrews here are trying it out, so that's exciting.

Also, Molson does not give tours. I did get this hasty image from outside the gate though:

Another distinctive Vancouverian beer observation is that cream ales are HUGE there. It didn't sound good to me and when I read this and saw "Low hop bittering" I didn't look any further.

My favorite part was that at least at the liquor stores *I* went to, you could mix and match a six pack. Oh happy day--an entire six-pack of different IPAs!

While in Vancouver I visited the Granville Island Brewery and Steamworks Brewing. Granville Island Brewery was closing for an event when I got there so sadly, the tour was cancelled.

There's no beer for you here at the inn, little girl!

They do have a cool website on which you can see which one of their beers you are. I am sure it is no surprise to loyal readers (ha!) that I am the English Bay Pale Ale, although I totally did not fix that. You'll have to wait to see if that is a good or bad thing, as I have a can of it in the fridge awaiting tasting. They also can change your name into a beer name. I got a chance to walk through their store, which sells a hammer that has a bottle opener instead of a nail puller. Which I loved.

I did eat a meal at Steamworks (excellent fish and chips) and they have enclosed the brewing equipment in glass, which was neat. They had so many pale ales I was at a loss! I had their seasonal, the Northwest pale ale. It was hoppy, but more citrusy than anything. Good. But their Empress IPA was amazing. My half tipsy note about it said "Brilliant!" It had a very
espresso-y tinge to it, which I have only seen in porters, but in the IPA it was GREAT!

The next night I was at a work function and at the mercy of the few beer options served. This was the day to try out Canada's larger breweries, I guess. I had Kokanee which, from the packaging looks like Hamm's or Busch.

Drink me only in emergencies

This is truly one of the worst cheap beers I have ever drank. Not tasteless like most, but actively bad. And this from someone who finds PBR drinkable, at least. From their website it appears they put the beer in a centrifuge, take out the yeast and reuse it. That seems odd and gross, so I am going to chalk up the bad Kokanee to that.

I then jumped at the chance for the Okanagan Extra Special Pale Ale. This can looked most like....MGD.

I misread the can and thought it was an Extra Pale Ale, which got me very excited. The website says it's the number one craft brew in Canada. Wow, Canadians must have very different beer interests than me. It claims to be hoppy, but it actually was extra weissy. It was bad. Musty! After all this I actually turned down more of the free actively bad beer. Canadian cheap beer is not so much unimpressive as actively, aggressively bad tasting.

In Part II I will review much better beers (IPAs!) and some traditional First Peoples' beverages. ODP--your source for international and multicultural beer reviews. Which Canadian IPA will reign supreme? Is it possible that *I* could hate a bar in a library as much as I did? Find out in the NEXT STUNNING INSTALLMENT!

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