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CAMRA Collabrew, Malt 101, Andina Brewing feature, and more!
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What's New

  • Get ready for the first annual CAMRA Collabrew, featuring a collection of one-off beers that have never been on the market, and may never be on it again!
  • What to do while you're not at Collabrew? Check out some additional June event happenings right here.
  • The results are in! After a great response to last month's advocacy survey, there was clear feedback on which two issues are most important for CAMRA members and the beer community. Hear all about these, and some exciting new education-related plans, from David in the President's Update!
  • We're excited to be teaching a Malt 101 class for the very first time as our June education offering! Click here to check it out.
  • Once upon a time,there were two Columbian brothers that married two Columbian sisters. As one would expect, the four of them decided to open a brewery... naturally. Sounds like the beginning of a weird modern hipster Shakespeare play, doesn’t it? That’s exactly what happened to the founders of Andina Brewing. They are bringing a South American flair to the Vancouver beer scene. Click here to learn more about them!
  • Love the benefits of CAMRA membership? Want to help be a key part of bringing these to beer lovers around Vancouver? We're looking for membership team volunteers!
  • Obscure Beer Style of the Month takes on a unique German delicacy: click here to learn about Lichtenheiner!

President's Update

I would be lying if I said that the few years I have been at the helm of CAMRA Vancouver had gone the way I had envisioned. Honestly, when I first stepped in, I thought we were going to be making large scale advancements, mostly on the advocate front. But, the realities of running an organization like this hit me and suddenly it became a lot harder to accomplish the goals I was setting out to do. I plan on doing a full retrospective of these few years when my term comes to an end - so I won’t focus on that for now. I will focus on the fact that we are a bit over 3 months into our terms as a board and we need to get our collective posteriors in gear! This past week, I used our monthly board meeting as a call to action to the team. We used the time as a summit of sorts to try and get ourselves refocused, aligned, and executing.

While I don’t want to get into the details of what we have planned (I don’t want to overpromise in case they change), I would like to talk a little bit about the philosophy behind the summit.

First, we addressed the fact that we have a board that is - well - not as active as we have had in the past. The reality is, a lot of these people are struggling with new babies, life changes, selling homes, taxing careers, and family stuff. All in all, it’s hard to gain any kind of traction when we are struggling to keep the lights on. Obviously, I can’t ask the board to stop having a life outside of this organization, so we had to take a different approach. Ultimately, we have to refocus ourselves in the right directions.

One of our biggest timesinks over the years have been our events. We became known on the Vancouver scene for events like Session Cask Festival and CiderWISE, amongst others. Under the planning and guidance of Amanda Barry-Butchart, we were the premiere organization for beer related events in the Greater Vancouver Area. Hardly anyone was putting on beer festivals at the time, and we had become the trailblazers in that area. I am glad we were, because the efforts of that time blew open the thriving festival scene we have now. Case in point, we were at VCBW these past weeks and it was phenomenal. We have Farmhouse Festival and Tri-Cities Cask Festival, to name a few. There is zero shortage of beer events in the city. These festivals are often run by people who have a professional stake or career in the beer or service industry, so doing it as a part of their job is easier; not so for us. So why would we sink time and resources into something that other people are doing? Now - before you get out the pitchforks, I am not signing an executive order on Events at CAMRA Vancouver (Oh, how very topical!). I am just suggesting we don’t focus on them if we have limited resources. We are still running events: we have our CAMRA Vancouver Collabrew happening at the end of the month! Other than that, however, we decided it made more sense to focus on our two main pillars: Education and Advocacy work.

 

So that’s where we are - we had an amazing whiteboarding session where we planned out a few really outstanding, mold-breaking education programs that we think will take our beer and beer related education programming to new levels. Again, without overpromising, we are throwing around a few ideas. First, we would like to open up the concept of recurring curriculum based programming. Instead of attending our one-off classes (which we would still offer), people could attend a month long curriculum program meant to really dig into beer on a deeper level. The second major idea is a longer shot, but one we are willing to take a crack at. We would like to do some kind of education event that would draw large groups of people for a full day (or two.) I don’t have all the details yet, but right now the plan is to have a beer summit of some sort in Vancouver. We have already started moving on this and hope to have more movement in the coming weeks.

On the advocate front, we discussed the results of the advocacy survey we sent out in the last month. It was very clear that there are two very important issues to our members/followers:

  1. Keeping unique and/or experimental brewery models viable when challenged by legislation/policy (e.g. farm breweries, collaborative breweries, nomad brewing)

  2. Relaxing restrictions to allow beer to be responsibly consumed in public areas such as parks and beaches

CAMRA BC has already been a big part of helping Persephone Brewing create awareness around the issues of Agricultural Land Reserves as it pertains to farm based breweries. We are continuing to work with them in any way that we can to assist. We are also closely watching collaborative brewing spaces like Callister Brewing to be sure that legislative changes don’t hinder the consumer’s ability to reap the benefit of so much diversity in one location.

In regards to the second point, we had engaged in conversations with several municipalities about this issue, but they have since gone silent. We will be present at the City of Vancouver’s Liquor Policy Review meeting this coming week and will certainly do our best to have our concerns voiced there. Beyond that, we have an idea for a great community event that is going to be digging right into this. If all goes well - we should have some kind of statement-making activity by end of summer/beginning of fall. Please keep your eyes on this space for any updates!

David Perry
President - CAMRA Vancouver

This Month in Beer Events

It looks like summer is almost on us, and in true Vancouver fashion the weather is being a little uncertain. Another thing that seems up in the air right now is what is happening for beer events in Vancouver this month. Tri-Cities Cask Festival Summer 2017 is coming up on June 24th, and there are a ton of tap take overs and cask nights listed on the What’s Brewing Calendar throughout June. If you’re looking for something after Vancouver Craft Beer Week to warm up for the next big summer beer events, check that out.

In our upcoming CAMRA events this month we have a brand new, exciting afternoon to tell you about! Sunday June 25th at Central City Beatty St location, 1pm to 5pm, we invite you to join us in celebrating BC craft beer at the first annual CAMRA Collabrew Festival.

The CAMRA Collabrew Festival is a celebration of British Columbia’s best locally made craft beers. This event offers attendees the chance to explore new collaborations from some of Vancouver’s favourite craft breweries, including:

Faculty Brewing and R&B Brewing

Steel & Oak and Lupollo Brewing

Fuggles & Warlock and Britannia

Moody Ales and Yellow Dog Brewing

Callister Brewing and Odd Society

Tickets are $20 for CAMRA Members/$25 for non-members, and include entrance, a taster of each beer, and 1 pint of ticket holders choice.

Jill Taylor
Events Coordinator - CAMRA Vancouver

CAMRA Volunteer Opportunities

CAMRA Vancouver is always looking for more passionate, beer-loving volunteers to help with events, advocacy campaigns, communications, and more - including our membership functions! Are you an organized, outgoing type who sings the benefits of CAMRA membership to your friends and coworkers? Can you see yourself chatting with fellow beer fans about membership at fests and events? Or if you're more of a behind the scenes type, perhaps you're interested in helping with our membership and renewal system? We'd love to talk to you! If you're interested in volunteering to help with membership (or any other area), give us a shout at volunteer@camravancouver.ca - we'd love to hear from you!

Education Update
Beer in glassware

This month, we're excited to announce our very first offering of Malt 101! After water, malt is the most common ingredient in beer. The type of malt that goes into a beer directly impacts everything from alcohol content to flavour, to head retention, to colour. A single addition of malt can even be the defining point of one beer style from another!

Come take a roll in the barley fields with your CAMRA Vancouver Education Liason and Certified Cicerone® Alastair Lindsay as he walks you through everything malt from farm to table. Join us on Thursday, June 22nd at Big Rock Urban - CAMRA Member tickets are only $15 per class and available on Eventbrite. As always, samples are included!

Community Spotlight: Andina Brewing


 

Andina Brewing Co. is Vancouver’s first South American themed brewery, and the beers, food, and décor are all inspired by the founders’ Colombian roots. “The brewery is a reflection of our South American heritage combined with our developed identity as Canadians and more specifically British Columbians. We have incorporated the sights, scents, sounds and tastes of South America with the craft beer tradition of Vancouver, offering distinctive beers, food and atmosphere,” explains Claudia Amaya. They are not only family-owned, but family run. The Amaya brothers married two sisters and they are running the ship on a daily basis at the brewery.

Before opening the brewery, they came from diverse backgrounds. Andrés, CEO, and his wife Rocio worked in the hospitality industry for over a decade in Columbia, Canada, and the USA. Once Rocio got her citizenship, she made the shift to the world of finances - which is serving her well as she is Andina’s Financial Director. Nicolás, COO, and his wife Claudia, Director of Communications and Marketing, created Hola TV - which offered programming to Canada’s Spanish speaking community.

Once they decided to open the brewery, they knew they had to offer something different. They couldn’t just do the same styles as everyone else. Instead, they decided to lean on their heritage and bring a Latin twist to a lot of our favourite beers. Claudia told me “The Andina beer lineup features unique ingredients imported from Colombia: exotic fruits like passion fruit & lulo, Panela (which is raw, unrefined, whole sugar cane) and, from Chile, Patagonia malt.”

Based on my own experience at the brewery, however, the biggest South American element they have brought in their brewery is the culture, the community and the vibrant love for life. When you step in there, music is playing, people are laughing and hugging; the colours are bright and the food smells oh, so good. And in true Latin fashion, they are so very excited to share that culture with the people that come through their doors. They explained: "(South Americans) have rich traditions that connect us, and from those, music and food are the most representative elements of our joint identity. Sharing meals and music with family and friends, it’s a way to keep a vital part of our culture alive.” Ultimately, they want to show pride of where they are from and want to see that culture embraced and felt through their client base. If they could be remembered for anything it would be being unique and unexpected, offering balanced beers, good food and a warm and loving environment that makes you want to keep coming back. Well, I am sold. My experience there was phenomenal! Despite it being insanely busy on a Sunday afternoon, I was greeted with a smile, a laugh - and I probably could have gotten a hug if I had asked for one. It was awesome!

In the spirit of sharing the love - Andina is offering CAMRA members 10% off of beer purchases at the brewery, with the presentation of a valid CAMRA BC card, of course! So get on out there, show them some love!

Andina's Ribbon Cutting and Grand Opening Ceremony was hosted by Colombian/Canadian brothers and founders, Andrés and Nicolás Amaya, with special guest, the Consul General of Colombia in Vancouver, Mónica Pinzón Bueno, and Shane Simpson, MLA Vancouver-Hastings.

David Perry
President - CAMRA Vancouver

Obscure Beer Style of the Month

Lichtenheiner

In one corner, you have sour beers: beloved by many, and increasing in years as brewers perfect the art of souring methods old and new.  Sometimes dry-hopped, other times barrel aged (and in a handful of cases, both!), but regarded as refreshing in the sweltering zenith of summer.  In the other corner, if not perhaps the other ring, you have your smoked beers.  Filled with rich umami flavours of ham, bacon, scotch-whiskey, we see it in everything from your Strong Scotch Ale, Smoked Porters, and Rauchbiers of the day.  Nobody would ever dream of crossing these seemingly incompatible styles of beer together, right?  Right?

This is normally where the big reveal happens, but since this is a column about obscure beers, you may have already anticipated where this is heading.  Enter Lichtenheiner: hailing from its German heartland in centro-eastern Germany, the name comes from a town in the area it was brewed in, Lichtenhein.  Having been brewed for centuries, this beer is one of the few top-fermented styles that survived the proverbial flood of pilsner in the 19th century.  But unlike it’s more popular cousins north of Bavaria, including Kolsch, Altbier, and Gose, it does not have the established credibility of being brewed by breweries across the globe.  Indeed, it sits as a subsection at the bottom of the BJCP guidelines in Category 27, Historical Styles.

If you’ve read my previous article, you may notice that this beer bears some striking similarities to the Grodziskie.  And if you happen to be familiar with Central/Eastern European geography, you may notice that the Lichtenheiner originates roughly halfway between the origins of the sour Gose and the 100% smoked Grodziskie.  While the style itself may be surprising to some from a culinary sense (although some sources indicate that the Berliner Weisse was originally made with smoked malt in the bill), we really shouldn’t be surprised at the crossover between the two styles.  But unlike either of the other styles, the Lichtenheiner didn’t achieve the same level of production as the two.

But what, exactly, goes into the beer?  Smoked malt, for one.  Sources describe the beer having a “dry wood fire” smokiness than the traditional ham that comes with rauchmalt.  Whether that’s due to the amount used, or the type of wood used for smoke, remains to be seen.    Aside from that, we see a significant use of wheat (up to 50%), which makes sense in the context of the Berliner weisse and the region, being that it’s not Bavaria.

The other primary component is, of course, lactobacillus.  Sources indicate that there is no secondary fermentation that the Belgian styles command, but more that of the Berliner weisse or Gose sour mashing technique, which makes use of lactobacillus to achieve the higher levels of acidity.  Much like the aforementioned styles, the original gravity is lower which, in combination with higher degrees of attenuation (from both top fermenting yeast and lactobacillus) leads to a refreshingly dry beer, with a typical alcohol by volume in the range of 3.5-4.5%.  Pouring a golden yellow with significant head (we are using up to 50% wheat after all), the beer tastes of moderately strong apples or lemons with a clean lactic souring present.  There is little to no bitterness, as hop additions are high enough to prevent spoilage, but low enough to avoid contributing significant bitterness; running a recipe through an IBU calculator, I get an IBU of 8 i.e. significantly low.  Coupled with high carbonation, this beer drinks “refreshingly complex,” a juxtaposition that is typically unheard of in our market yet believably true.  It is sour, but not quite so far as a Berliner weisse; think a smoked Gose without coriander or salt, or a sour Grodziskie.

While popular in the 1800’s, it has since suffered in it’s success with the advent of the ever-ubiquitous pilsner, even going so far as to have ceased production entirely between 1983 and 1997.  It is my hope, that like the Grodziskie, we see it pick up in its popularity in the western world, particularly North America.  We’ve saved styles before, why not this one?  With any luck, we can all be raising a glass of this unique German delicacy and shouting “Prost!” soon enough.


Alastair Lindsay
Education Liaison - CAMRA Vancouver

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