A reporter's life (far right) with friends at the 2014 Great Canadian Beer Fest.

A reporter's life (far right) with friends at the 2014 Great Canadian Beer Fest.

Spitting beer: a tale of beer geekery

Watching a Victoria brewer spit beer at the Great Canadian Beer Fest taught me a lot

There are few things that will dampen the image of a brewer more than the phrase “tastes like butter.”

This was explained to me on a gorgeous afternoon at the 2014 Great Canadian Beer Fest.

As I stood beside the tent of a local brewery my sipping partner, an assistant brewer from another shop here in town, explained the concept of how some brewers, particularly one we know and love in Victoria, are too eager to pull the plug on the two-week (or so) brewery process.

Somehow, for reasons only science can explain, bottling the beer a few days early can lead to a subtle flavour of butter that certain palettes will pick up the instance the golden, or in this case, black hued lager reaches their lips.

“Basically, sugar versus yeast is a complicated process that plays out in peaks and valleys near the end of the brewing process,” said the brewer (or something close to that).

Basically, he added, you might think the yeast process is finished but it flares up one more time. By bottling it prior to that final surge the beer somehow takes on the normally charming flavour of butter (or something like that).

And that’s when he spit out the said beer.

“I haven’t had it for a while, I don’t buy it.”

It wasn’t the first beer he spat out. Two tents later, the contents of another beer was poured, sacrificially, onto the grass of Royal Athletic Park.

It was a shock, to say the least. I can’t say that I joined him in this act.

“Got to prioritize my liver space,” he defended.

Understandable.

It was an educational day to say the least. Hearing the raw opinions of what’s really happening in the Victoria beer scene, which is otherwise treated by media and the public like a darling gift bestowed to the South Island economy by angels.

By the time we parted ways after an hour of touring through last year’s festival, I felt I had finally graduated from beer fan to beer geek. Being a beer geek is, of course, a noble and respected title to bear, one which you must live up to.

For instance, a true beer geek will hold opinions but also sees the good in all beer. Budweiser, for example, is said to be one of the more difficult recipes to brew as it demands a different style of consistency that craft brewers don’t need to adhere to.

Craft brewers are credited for the revival of fresh, locally sourced beer with abundant and creative ingredients. They are praised for tweaking the recipe from batch to batch.

But it was once regaled to me by another brewer, this one from up-Island, that Budweiser brewers are to be respected.

“The consistency needed to make all those Budweiser batches the same is incredible. You have to consider the shelf life these beers are going to have before they ever make it to the table. Some won’t be opened for months, you have to adjust for that in so many little ways.”

Don’t know if that’s true, but I heard it said. These are things you learn sitting late night at the Drake Eatery and walking amongst the men and women in attendance at the Great Canadian Beer Fest.

This year’s Great Canadian Beer Fest is underway today (Sept. 11) from 3 to 8 p.m. and tomorrow from noon to 5 p.m.

– Reporter Travis Paterson is a beer fan who is, sadly, skipping the GCBF in 2015.

 

Just Posted

Processed sewage is still being deposited at the Hartland landfill rather than sent as biosolids to a Richmond cement plant. (Black Press Media file photo)
Biosolids at Hartland still being placed on landfill in Saanich

Richmond cement plant up and running, but CRD end product not suitable for purpose

An SUV sits where it crashed through the front window of the 2:18 Run store in Fairfield Plaza, after the driver appeared to lose control on Monday afternoon. (Photo by Phil Nicholls)
Driver crashes through front window of Victoria running store in Fairfield

Phil Nicholls of 2:18 Run said crash sounded like an earthquake at first

Elk Lake Drive area resident Michael Blayney protests a proposed multi-building development for his Royal Oak neighbourhood, outside Saanich municipal hall on Monday (June 14). (Photo by Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)
Demonstrators protest 11-storey development on Elk Lake Drive in Saanich

Saanich locals gather at municipal hall to protest development, public hearing goes Tuesday

Seismic upgrading and expansion work at Victoria High School is about a year behind due to pandemic-related factors, the Greater Victoria School District announced. (Photo by Cole Descoteau)
Victoria High School seismic work, expansion a year behind schedule

Greater Victoria School District now targeting September 2023 for reopening of historic school

The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority is calling on Transport Canada to rescind its ban to Feb. 28, 2022 on cruise ship stops in Canada, to allow planning to begin in advance of a reopening of the cruise industry next year.
Greater Victoria Harbour Authority seeks end to federal ban on cruise ship stops in Canada

Greater Victoria Harbour Authority CEO hopes cruises will resume by 2022

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

Neighbours fight a small late-night bush fire with garden hoses and shovels in Cinnabar Valley on June 5. They couldn’t get help from local fire services because the fire was located in an area under B.C. Wildfire Services jurisdiction. (Photo courtesy Muriel Wells)
Neighbours on edge of Nanaimo city limits left to put out bush fire themselves

Cinnabar Valley residents tackle fire with hoses and buckets for two and a half hours

Darren Campbell’s truck (pictured) was stolen when he stopped to check on a car in a ditch on Cowichan Bay Road on Monday morning. (Facebook photo)
Vancouver Island Good Samaritan’s truck stolen in nasty trick

‘Try to be a Good Samaritan and my $20,000 truck gets stolen right under my nose’

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

Creative handmade signs abound at the June 13 Tofino rally for old growth trees. (Nora O’Malley photo)
VIDEO: Tofino stands in solidarity for Fairy Creek Blockades

Over 150 supporters attend rally hosted by Friends of Clayoquot Sound

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Most Read