Thursday, September 23, 2010

Cask Away

Our latest article for the Monday Magazine is in print. We talked about the local cask ale culture, which is vibrant. The article was written before the Great Canadian Beer Festival, otherwise we would have been able to wax lyrical about some of the other great casks on offer.

Spinnakers responded to the article to point out that they have been offering cask events for years. This is true, and Spinnakers efforts should not be ignored. We chose to focus on Vancouver Island Brewery (VIB) because, well, I think that their regular lineup is a little bit tame. Good quality — but conservative. I was hoping that getting some discussion going about the totally non-tame casks VIB are producing might help put pressure on the powers-that-be at VIB to let their creative talents spread to the bottle fridge.

Speaking of casks, there will be a unique casking event this Friday at the Beagle Pub in Cook St. Village. For non-Victorians or those who don't know, Driftwood's Sartori Harvest IPA was a sensational release last year. So much so that they are brewing twice as much this year.

Sartori will still only be available in limited quantities, so get down the Beagle if you have the chance,  or camp outside a decent liquor store as bottling is underway and it will hit the stores soon. Because it is a fresh hop IPA it is probably best drunk as soon as possible before the volatile and short-lived flavours imparted by the fresh hops fade away.

Fresh hopping (shown left, courtesy of the Double Mountain Brewery) is a seasonal practice. Hop harvests come in at this time of the year and are usually pressed into pellets or processed in other ways to maintain their shelf-life or enhance their usability for brewers. Hop pellets maintain the flavour of the hop very well, but some brewers swear that only fresh hopped beers are capable of imparting the full range of sensations that these little herbs have to offer.

At the Great Canadian Beer Festival I found parts of a hop in  my Central City imperial IPA. I'd been warned against chowing down on one of these for fear of ruining my palate for the night. But, let's be honest, after several hours at a beer fest your palate is pretty much beat in any case.

Chomped down I did. Not great. Definitely better in the beer itself. Head to the Beagle tomorrow night to find out what I mean.


  1. Sartori is out - in fact I am enjoying some right now!

  2. We are looking forward to having you guys join us at our Fall Firkin Festival Nov 20th! John T at Monday Magazine contacted me.

    Kristine (Spinnakers)

  3. Thanks Kristine, very much looking forward to attending!