So You Want a Revolution?

no minors

For as long as I can remember, part of the joy of traveling through the Pacific Northwest was getting to sample the seemingly endless selection of great craft beers. And every time i returned home i would curse the local draught… why can’t we have craft beers like they do?

Well those days of cursing are over. In the last few years BC’s craft beer scene has exploded, with the quality of our ales rivaling anything south of the border. Though you wouldn’t know it, unless of course you walked into the Alibi Room and stared dumbstruck at the 30+ tap selection of predominantly BC beers. Do they really make beer in Chilliwack? Wow, they make really GOOD beer in Chilliwack!

Hold that thought… let’s get back to the Pourhouse for a moment.

beer bats at the Alibi Room

Beer bats at the Alibi Room

When the Pourhouse opened we had the beginnings of a promising draught line-up, most notably with the Pike IPA from Seattle and Brooklyn’s Pennant Ale. But somehow, somewhere we lost our way, buying into corporate breweries who were masquerading as craft beers. We don’t need to mention any names here. Before I knew it, there were fewer and fewer beers on tap that I actually wanted to drink. And as Neil Ingram from Boneta said about wine, don’t put anything on your list you wouldn’t want to drink yourself. Simple, right?

That’s where the Alibi Room fits into this picture. Make no mistake, we LOVE the Alibi Room. If you haven’t been yet do yourself a favour. Whether to sample the cask conditioned ales, watch freight trains passing by, or get an education in beer, the room is reminiscent of the very best that Seattle and Portland have to offer. And it’s right here in Gastown. We knew there was no better person to ask for advice about beer than Nigel Springthorpe, the Alibi Room’s modest owner. He helped us get our heads back on straight and sort out our draught line-up out. The smaller challenge was to choose from such a vast selection of incredible beers and funnel that into just six taps.

3 lads enjoying a cask ale, beer engine in the background. Alibi Room.

3 lads enjoying a cask ale, beer engine in the background. Alibi Room.

I have to make one more comment before I talk about what we finally decided upon. Vancouver suffers from a “we’re not really good enough” complex. A friend of mine once described Vancouver as an awkward teenager, and I think that’s exactly where we are at in terms of our cultural development. We aren’t exactly sure of our identity and hence we are always second guessing ourselves. Or copying others. For example, I know probably a dozen electronic musicians and deejays who could barely fill a 200 seat club here in their home town, but are packing massive venues in Europe. So guess what… they moved to Europe. Vancouverites will flock, and pay big money, to see artists from all over the world play here, but we just can’t seem to recognize that what we have here is good enough. And not just good enough, exceptional.

We never had chalkboards like this in school. Downstairs at the Alibi Room.

We never had chalkboards like this in school. Downstairs at the Alibi Room.

So damn it, we make stouts and IPAs that are just as good as Seattle and Portland! There, I said it. And it’s true. So it is within this recognition that the beer program at Pourhouse will focus heavily on BC craft beers, with one PNW tap and one European lager. The line-up will always represent the five basic styles; a lager, a wheat beer, an ale, an IPA, and a stout. The sixth tap will be a rotating tap, whatever we happen to be excited about at the moment. So the upcoming roster is as follows: Pilsner Urquel, Driftwood’s White Bark Wheat Ale from Victoria, Deschute’s Mirror Pond Ale – Bend, Oregon, Red Racer IPA from Surrey, and Crannog’s Back Hand of God Stout – which incidentally was Canada’s first certified organic brewery. Coming soon on the rotating tap could be Howe Sound’s Pothole Filler Imperial Stout, Red Racer’s ESB, and R&B’s Bohemian Lager.

So now after work I face a new dilemma… I can’t decide which beer to drink because I absolutely love them all. Neil, you were right. And Nigel, thank you.

We hope you like the beers as much as we do.

Not so faraway trains passing by. A lazy afternoon at the Alibi Room.

Not so faraway trains passing by. A lazy afternoon at the Alibi Room.

Photos by flett.