Beer lovers gather at Chapel Arts for the 2012 BC Beer Awards

Awards or "Black Dildos" as emcee Jonathan called them

Ever wonder what a Sasquatch drenched in beer tastes like?

Me neither. But if it tastes anything like Old Yale Brewing Company’s Sasquatch Stout then I’m game. While this beer didn’t win anything at the BC Beer Awards it doesn’t mean it doesn’t stack up, it just means that the competition is high and BC makes some ridiculously good beer.

Vancouver beer lovers, many CAMRA members, gathered together for an afternoon of beer tasting, and “cheers-ing” last weekend as they watched many of their favorite breweries walk away with awards. The awards were part of the Harvest Cask Festival, which meant that there were many seasonal-only beers to be had. Six hours flew by as guests wandered from cask to cask checking out what “the harvest” brought this year.

And what the harvest brought was without a doubt crowd-pleasing and at some times also very unique. Coal Harbour Brewing showcased their Smoke & Mirrors Imperial Smoked Ale, while R&B Brewing poured their Cucumber Mint IPA.

New breweries and old breweries were pouring at the festival ranging from Parallel 49 and Townsite who have been brewing for less than a year, to Spinnakers Brewpub who has been in the business since 1984. All three of whom went home with an award.

There were many new faces at the event that I had not yet seen at other craft beer functions, as well as a handful that I know are devout to local microbreweries. To no surprise Vancouver Craft Beer Week‘s Rick Green and his faithful wingman and photographer, Brian K. Smith, were at the event sampling beers.

Jonathan Lloyd Walker, actor/producer and craft beer drinker emceed the awards in his typical witty fashion including his nickname for the awards as the “black dildo”.

After the awards I went on a brief tour with the head judge and co-founder of the event, Chester Carey.

Since there are so many pumpkin beers on the market now to match with the season’s flavour I was curious as to how he felt about the different kinds.

“There are many pumpkin beers being brewed locally now so brewers have to somehow make their’s taste different; there needs to be variety otherwise they may as well not exist. Some pumpkin beers taste strongly like pumpkin while other’s don’t at all. Central City’s Pumpkin beer tastes strongly of nutmeg, Phillips tastes strongly of cloves and Granville Island’s has a lot of spice but not a lot of pumpkin. On the other hand, Howe Sound Imperial PumpkinEater tastes much like pumpkin and pie crust. Parallel 49’s Schadenfreude also has a lot of pumpkin flavour but not a lot of spice. Their chocolate pumpkin is dominated by chocolate, but it’s unique and you can still taste a bit of the pumpkin.”

And the winners were:

Gary Lohin of Central City Brewing

IPA – 36 IPA
1.) 5 Rings IPA – High Mountain Brewing Company
2.) Central City Imperial IPA – Central City Brewing Company
3.) Red Racer IPA – Central City Brewing Company

Lager/Pilsner – 22 Beers
1.) Steamworks Pilsner – Steamworks Brewing Company – Best of Show
2.) Beach Blonde Lager – Tree Brewing Company
3.) Kelowna Pilsner – Tree Brewing Company

Session – 17 Beers
1.) High Country Kolsch – Mt. Begbie Brewing Company
2.) Seadog Amber Ale – Vancouver Island Brewery
3.) Begbie Cream Ale – Mt. Begbie Brewing Company

Wheat/Rye – 22 Beers
1.) Belgian White – Lighthouse Brewing Company
2.) King Heffy Imperial Hefeweizen – Howe Sound Brewing Company
3.) White Bark Ale – Driftwood Brewing Company

Special Lager – 8 Beers
1.) Brewmaster’s Black – Okanagan Spring Brewery
2.) Hermann’s Dark Lager – Vancouver Island Brewery
3.) Iron Plow Harvest Marzen – Vancouver Island Brewery

Pale – 41 Beers
1.) Red Racer Classic Pale Ale- Central City Brewing Company
2.) Salt Spring ESB – Gulf Island Brewing
3.) River Rock Bitter – Canoe Brewpub

Porter/Brown – 24 Beers
1.) Pow Town – Townsite Brewing Inc
2.) Dark Chocolate Porter – Lighthouse Brewing Company
3.) Longboat Chocolate Porter – Phillips Brewing Company

Scottish/Irish – 3 Beers
1.) Big Caboose Red Ale – Fernie Brewing Company

Fruit – 15 Beers
1.) Blackberry Festivale – Townsite Brewing Inc
2.) 4 Way Fruit Ale – Howe Sound Brewing Company
3.) Seedspitter Watermelon Wit – Parallel 49 Brewing Company

Stout – 14 Beers
1.) Keepers Stout –  Lighthouse Brewing Company
2.) Pothole Filler Imperial Stout – Howe Sound Brewing Company
3.) Singularity- Driftwood Brewing Company

Sour/Brett – 4 Beers
1.) Oud Bruin – Yaletown Brewing Company
2.) Bird Of Prey Flanders Red – Driftwood Brewing Company
3.) Imperial Flanders – Storm Brewing Ltd

Specialty – 20 Beers
1.) Smoke & Mirrors Imperial Smoked Ale – Coal Harbour Brewing
2.) Serendipity #5 – Tree Brewing Company
3.) Schadenfreude Pumpkin Oktoberfest – Parallel 49 Brewing Company

Strong – 7 Beers
1.) Hermannator Ice Bock – Vancouver Island Brewery
2.) Old Cellar Dweller 2012 – Driftwood Brewing Company
3.) Bourbon Barrel Aged Thor’s Hammer – Central City Brewing Company

Cascadian Dark Ale
1.) Skookum Cascadian Brown Ale – Phillips Brewing Company
2.) Gathering Storm Cascadian Dark Ale –  Howe Sound Brewing Company
3.) Cascadia Dark Ale – Spinnakers Brewpub and GuestHouses

Steamworks Pilsner was named the best beer in B.C. (Brewer Conrad Gmoser shown below with BC Beer Awards founders Chester Carey and Gerry Erith)

Photos by James Healey Photography




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