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Granville Island was once the dangerous heart of industrial Vancouver. Tangled ropes. Rusty chains. Noise. Soot. Rickety shacks. Now it’s bustling markets, high drama, excellent West Coast dining, and a dockside artsy vibe that’s famous across Canada. It’s also the place where we’ve been brewing up good times since 1984.

Introducing the complete Under the Bridge Series: four beers as unique as the ‘island’ that inspired them. Using local ingredients, the Under the Bridge series is a natural progression for the beer lover in all of us.

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Infamous IPA: Granville Island wasn’t always pretty parks and public markets. This place has a tough, gritty past; firetrap factories, shadowy characters, dark dockside tales. A bitter start, and a bright finish. Sound familiar? Our-well hopped IPA pays homage to this patchy history, with plenty of Pacific Northwest flavours. Find out what made this beer infamous here: Infamous IPA.

Swing Span Amber Ale: Way back when, this bridge swung aside to let tall ships through. We’re blowing a horn to that heritage with this medium-bodied, deep amber ale – rich with aromas of premium Mosaic and Cascade hops. Swing over here for more beer info: Swing Span Amber Ale.

Hey Day Hefeweizen: Look back, look forward, and look to Granville Island, where this brilliant Hefe was born. Inspired by the West Coast, this classic wheat ale is cloudy, crisp and dry, with aromas of banana and clove – great with brunch, patios, and bright dispositions. Try it with breakfast and let your day shine! Explore more about this cloudy treat here: Hey Day Hefeweizen.

Maple Shack Cream Ale: This malty, smooth maple cream ale has a hint of maple syrup, with mild hop bitterness. It’s a tribute to both
Quebec’s legendary sugar shacks, and the tin roofs that littered Granville Island back in the day. Big saps welcome. Take a sip and enjoy the caramel malts, light hop bitterness, and hints of maple. This beer pairs perfectly with roast beef or BBQ ribs. Discover how it shacks up here: Maple Shack Cream Ale.

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Make things. Do things. Craft things. Brew things. That’s what we’re all about on Granville Island. Always have been. With this revamped Under The Bridge Series, we’re staking a new claim in #ItsGoodToBeHere – Have we wet your appetite? Find out where you can purchase the whole series here: where to buy.

 

Vern

A wise man once told me that the only way to slow down time is through change. It’s now time for me to do exactly that. I’m looking forward to a new chapter in my career, as I move into the world of brewery consulting. Happy to report that my first consulting gig is with GIB.

When I first came to GIB, I thought it would be a five-year stint. 13 years later, I feel that I’ve accomplished everything (and more) at GIB that I set out to. Wow – time flies.

Thank you to all of the great people that I have worked with at GIB and Molson – both past and present. It’s been an incredible ride! We’ve created an innovative and varied Small Batch program, and we’ve strengthened our incredible reputation for making great craft beer. I’m proud of what we’ve done over the last 13 years and I’m excited to keep working in this great industry getting my hands dirty with new brewers.

Vern

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“Beer mixology is not about destroying beer. It is not an attempt to make beer better or to alter and change the quality and flavour of beer…it is about improving the cocktail.” Says Ashley Routson, founder of BeerMixology.com

We loved this, so we talked to our team and asked them to come up with a few beer cocktails. This is what we got:

Beer Mimosa

The Swing-Tang: This one may seem a bit adventurous, but it’s definitely worth a try. Pour a bottle of our Swing Span Amber Ale into a mug, and add 4 oz.’s of orange juice. It’s like a beer mimosa. Magically delicious!

 

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The Red Eye: Sometimes a Caesar is just a bit too much. Try our Island Lager, and Clamato juice with a salted rim.

 

 

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The Berry White: Get into the mood with this Barry approved drink. Mix 8 oz.’s of our False Creek Raspberry Ale and top up with our Hey Day Hefeweizen. This fruity, refreshing mix will bring you summer flashbacks.

 

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The Weissen Sour: This sunshine-bright cocktail contains bourbon, lemon juice, orange bitters and Hey Day Hefeweizen. It’s basically a whisky sour with a beer thrown in. Can you even handle it?

 

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The Christmas Morning: We all know that Christmas Eve is usually a blow out, so this simple cocktail is designed to help you wake up as fresh as a daisy. Take a pint of our Cocoa Loco Chocolate Imperial Stout, and drop a shot (or 2) of espresso vodka into the mix. Your morning mocha is served.

 

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The Stout Diplomat: Dessert beer cocktails? Yes please! All the ingredients for this cocktail should be pre-chilled. Mix 1oz mild dark rum, such as Diplomatico, 1/2oz of Pedro Ximenez sherry, and 6oz chocolate or regular stout. Combine all these ingredients in a straight glass and serve immediately. Your post dinner food coma will thank you.

 

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I Dream of Raspberry: Grab 3/4 cup of frozen raspberries, three-and-a-half bottles of our False Creek Raspberry Ale (the half is for you to drink while mixing), one bottle of frozen raspberry lemonade concentrate plus half a cup of vodka. Mix all the ingredients together in a large punch bowl. Garnish with lemon and lime slices, serve over ice and kick back and enjoy the ‘punch’.

 

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Winter Float: This one came to us from @WinnieHoang. Take a bottle of our Winter Ale, a scoop of candy cane ice cream, and plop it in. Voilà! A beer float!

Do you have a beer cocktail you can’t live without? Tell us about it on Facebook and you could win a GIB swag bag.

Vern is all smiles with this 3 year vertical of aged Barley Wine

Vern is all smiles with this 3 year vertical of aged Barley Wine

Aging a beer is a little like enjoying music. You either chase the newest release, or you stick to the classics. Some like bass, some like treble, and some just love to sing kumbaya. But no matter what your taste, there is one thing that we can all agree on; and that’s the love of better beer. So we’ve devised your step-by-step guide on how to age your beer.

 

First things first:

3 year vertical of aged Barley Wine. From L to R: 2012, 2013, 2014.

3 year vertical of aged Barley Wine. From L to R: 2012, 2013, 2014.

There are a few things you need to look for. For starters, look for brews that have been ‘bottle-conditioned’. The active yeast will continue to ferment the beer as long as you store it, lending it new and exciting flavours.

A hoppy or seasonal beer that takes advantage of fresh ingredients should stay that way. Hops fade with time, so drink your favourite seasonal beer, IPAs, or any other hop forward beer as soon as you get home.

High-alcohol beers tend to age better. Look for a brew with an ABV of 8-10% or higher. Typically, higher percent beers are so complex that some amount of age will take off the sharper edges and you will get a velvety finish.

Now with all of this in mind, you’re ready to get started. We recommend you try aging your favourite Stout or Barley Wine. Try our: Cocoa Loco Chocolate Imperial Stout or 2014 Barley Wine (available at our brewery, and all great liquor stores).

 

How to store it:

  • Find the right spot. A dark cool area that’s kept around 10-12 degrees Celsius. This prevents the heat or light from degrading your beer and turning it into skunk water.
  • Store your bottles upright. Most beers are capped with a crown bottle cap, which has a plastic lining that protects the beer from the metal. If you store a beer on its side, the beer will eat away that lining over time, and eventually spoil the beer.
  • Keep track of when you put it into storage, and drink your beer at its prime.

 

How long should you age your beer?

Enjoying a vertical of aged barley wine

Enjoying a vertical of aged barley wine

This is the fun part, but it’s also an exercise in restraint. For starters, we recommend buying 4-6 bombers of the same beer. Try one when you get home, one in 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, 3 years, 5 years. Make it your special occasion beer. Commit to drinking one of your bottles every Canada Day for as long as they last for instance. And always remember to invite the homies.

 

Flavours to expect:

Although every beer is different, here is a quick look at what you can expect to happen over time:

  • Harshness increases
  • Alcohol sharpness decrease
  • Fruity and floral esters decrease
  • Catty/blackcurrant character increase
  • Bready character increases
  • Sweetness (toffee/honey) increases
  • Caramel flavours increase
  • Earthy character increases
  • Straw character increases
  • Woody character increases
  • Wine/sherry/stale fruit flavours increases
  • Meaty-like/broth flavours can develop

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Just like a good 24-hour marinade gives you the meat sweats, by the time you’re ready to crack your first aged brew, you’ll be salivating with the beer sweats. Believe us when we say, it’s worth the wait.
Happy aging!

Straight from Canada’s first microbrewery, Granville Island Brewing’s Vern Lambourne gives his expert opinion on why you should participate in Beer Cheers this holiday season.

12 Reasons Why You Should Drink Beer Over The Holidays

  1. To make shopping marathons more bearable

Long line-ups and endless searches to find the perfect gift are inevitable during the holiday season, but shopping pain doesn’t have to be. Treat yourself to a lunch brew or two to break up the day, and make the mall marathon more tolerable.

  1. To put up with your annoying relatives

You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family. Although we all love our kooky clans, there’s nothing like a beer remedy to increase your tolerance for these inescapable awkward encounters.

  1. To flush out those heavy holiday meals

Beer, especially dark beer, like Barley Wine, contains fibre. After countless servings of turkey, potatoes and stuffing, you’ll be grateful to have counteracted those holiday helpings with a beverage that will keep you regular and absorb feast fats.

  1. To deal with your in-laws

Enough said.

  1. To help you sleep during the cold winter months

Beer hops contain chemical properties that promote the zzzs. Drink a hoppy beer at dinner to help you snooze throughout those cool Canadian nights.

  1. To cheers to the end of a perfect day on the slopes

The robust flavour of winter warm beers, like Lions Winter Ale, are the perfect pairing to winter escapades. Come in from the cold and celebrate the best winter has to offer.

  1. To act as your plus one

Whether it’s a work holiday party or a New Years Eve bash, a roasty bottle of beer is the ideal stand-in for an actual date. Already have a plus one? Grab two beers and make it a double date.

  1. To keep you hoppy and healthy for the holidays

Hops contained in beer contain antiviral properties that fight against cold-like symptoms in adults. Though we don’t recommend using alcohol as a primary medicinal source, we beer lovers can dream.

  1. To prove that you’re a knowledgeable holiday host

Impress your guests by pairing a delicious Honey Smoked Scallop and Bacon Chowder with a hearty Lions Winter Ale, or a smooth Pot de Crème with a rich Chocolate Imperial Stout.

  1. To implement your best Saint Nick impression

His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry…

  1.  To spread the holiday cheer(s)

Beer is the quintessential social beverage. Drink a few beers, share a few laughs and cheers to lasting memories this holiday season.

  1.  To save up for the next holiday season

After all the gift exchanges and elaborate holiday events, you’ll surely search for ways to make extra cash in the new year. Return your empties to the Granville Island Brewing retail store and receive 10 cents for each GIB recycled bottle/can. After a holiday season of beer drinking, it will be the gift that keeps on giving…

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December brings cold temperatures and the threat of snow, (code for rain in Vancouver’s case) making beers with a little warmth and character that much more appealing. This November and December we see the return of the warm and jolly, with two holiday Small Batch releases – our Cocoa Loco Chocolate Imperial Stout and 2014 vintage Barley Wine.

With Cocoa Loco’s monstrous blend of roasted malts, cocoa and coffee flavours, it’s no wonder this ultra-bold creature makes an appearance every winter. After a very limited run last year we are back to full production. This dark chocolate coloured ale is brewed with four different types of malt, Sterling hops, cocoa and cocoa nibs, and rings in at 8.7% abv and 45 BUs. Cocoa Loco is a full, bittersweet somewhat fruity concoction with the unmistakable flavours and aromas of chocolate. Perfect for the holidays, pair it with blue cheese and rich desserts.

Now there’s nothing small about our latest batch of Barley Wine. Aged in Jack Daniels barrels, this year’s brew has an abv of 11.5% and a BU of 60. Full of flavour, our Barley Wine is loaded with Australian hops – balancing the beer’s sweet malt character and dried fruit flavours, while allowing the oak, vanilla and alcohol characteristics of the barrels to shine through.

The perfect accompaniment to a cold day, (and any beer aficionado’s stocking) we have also cellared a few cases of our 2012 and 2013 batches of Barley Wine – which will be released alongside this year’s brew. Look for all three batches in our retail store.

Cheers, happy holidays and stay warm!

Both additions to Vern’s Black Notebook Series are available in our Taproom & retail store on Granville Island, as well as in select stores in BC & AB for a limited time.

Our Brewmaster

Always wanted to know the difference between an Ale and a Lager? Or when hops are added? Or the correct serving temperature for a stout?

Whether you're a 10th level beer mason or just a guy who picks up a six pack for the game, you can ask the Brewmaster. Simply leave a comment for Vern and check back for an answer. Who knows your question could be the topic of Vern's next post.

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