Friday, September 5, 2014

BC Craft Beer Month - October 2014

From the latest issue of BC Craft Beer News

Since BC Craft Beer Month was launched in 2011, the number of BC craft breweries has grown by almost twenty per year. With that growth and the popularity of craft beer in BC, having an entire month to dedicate to BC craft beer allows breweries, restaurants, pubs and other venues to showcase an endless supply of BC craft beer.

Lundy Dale, Director, BC Craft Beer Month and Certified Cicerone®, is passionate about craft beer and supporting our local BC breweries. In its fourth year, Lundy has run BC Craft Beer Month with assistance from local representatives in the Okanagan and on the Island. As this is a non-profit organization and coordinated with minimal volunteers, it’s quite the feat to put this together in her spare time.

In 2013, forty-eight venues across BC participated in over seventy events. This year should prove to be even larger and more wide-spread as they have partnered with the BC Craft Beer Guild. BC Craft Beer Month and the Guild have a common theme – support local, work together as one in the brewing community and use this month as a way to thank the breweries for making such good beer. In this transition year, expect to see a unique collaboration beer between Four Winds Brewing and Central City Brewing hit the BCLDB stores at the beginning of October.

The premise of this celebratory month is not to make the breweries work harder to supply and support events, it’s merely a way to showcase BC beers. Restaurants, bars and pubs are encouraged to promote local craft breweries through tap takeovers, beer specials, casks, beer dinners – large or small events, it all supports the local breweries. Getting involved is as simple as emailing Lundy and her volunteers are there to help guide venues with their events from something as simple as putting them in contact with a brewery to arrange a cask to planning a beer festival. For instance, the Harrison Beer Festival was launched in 2012 during BC Craft Beer Month and Lundy directed them through the process. The festival has been a huge success selling out each year.

Given the new partnership with the Guild, BC Craft Beer Month has plans to expand their reach in 2015 and beyond by providing educational seminars, food pairings and other fun and unique events. There will be more exposure and promotion of the industry and the Guild is keen to create BC craft beer standards similar to VQA in the wine industry.

As craft beer loving consumers, October is a chance for us to support our local breweries and the venues that host the events. Get involved by hosting an event or drinking at one of these establishments and let’s all raise our pint to toast the fantastic beers that BC breweries makes.

Fuggles & Warlock – The Gypsy Brewers Find A Home

From the latest issue of BC Craft Beer News

The story of Dan Colyer (Fuggles) and Tony Iaci (Warlock) began five years ago just like many home brewers – Tony, a bar manager, was home brewing in his grandmother’s garage and Dan’s first beer was a Mr. Beer kit he purchased at Home Outfitters. Dan’s a graphic designer and internet marketer who started brewing because he wanted cheap beer. Tony only drank Kokanee and Corona five years ago. My, how things have changed.

So where’d they get their names? Dan actually hates Fuggle hops and used it as more of a curse as in “oh fuggles”. That was misinterpreted by some as a love for the hops and the name stuck. When you ask Tony why he’s the Warlock – well because he’s magical, of course. Duly noted.

Fast forward to 2012, Dan is sitting at Tony’s bar and they’re discussing their home brewing. One thing leads to another and they decided to make Super 8-Bit IPA. The first rendition of Super 8-Bit was really good but as Dan and Tony were busy drinking beer whilst brewing, they couldn’t remember the recipe (hint to home brewers: take notes). They spent the next three months trying to re-create the beer and finally succeeded.

Time for the gypsy to enter this story. In the fall of 2012 they had the unique opportunity to brew their Super 8-Bit IPA at Alameda Brewing in Portland, OR. The commercial version (likely version 95.2 of this beer) made its way to BC in December 2012 and was a hit with the local beer crowd. Their next foray with a brewery was in March 2014 when they teamed up with Big River Brewing in Richmond, BC to make River City Handsome Belgian IPA. Casks were distributed to local bars and restaurants and again, their beer was very well received. This was followed up with brewing Exterminate Dry Hopped Red Rye Saison and Shiva Session White IPA at Big River.

The brewing partnership with Big River has turned out so well that Big River is now the official home of Fuggles & Warlock Craftworks Ltd. Dan and Tony will be working with Big River Brewmaster, Mike Stewart, to produce a core lineup of five beers and limited releases.

Craft beer industry veteran, Tom Orange, arranged for the initial collaborations with Big River and orchestrated the current brewing agreement. Tom will oversee the distribution of Fuggles & Warlock beer throughout BC including 650ml bottles, which will be available in the fall.

Big River is investing in new equipment including three 15-barrel fermenters, two growler stations, 3-4 cask engines, a bottling line and a barrel program. White and red wine barrels from the Okanagan are making their way south to be filled with beautiful brett and sour beers.

Tony and Dan’s self-proclaimed mutual love of nerd culture including comics, video games and sci-fi movies are integrated into the graphics and names of most of their beers. The majority of the references I have to google but I’m slowing increasing my nerd lingo. Mind you, if you get run over by a rickshaw at GCBF, you get a beer named in your honour – English Speed Bump. I don’t recommend going this route, though.

Fuggles & Warlock beers are already on tap at many of the local bars, pubs and restaurants and, of course, at Big River. Growler fills are available at Big River and soon there will be rotating casks. The lineup is constantly changing and evolving as Tony and Dan stay true to their motto of “keeping beer weird” and if you ask nicely, they may even pour you a sample from the tank. Congratulations to Dan and Tony for making the leap to professional brewing in BC.

**October 2014 Update**
Fuggles & Warlock are no longer brewing at Big River. They're currently back to gypsy brewing status but plan on having a permanent home in 2015.