Seeking Beervana

Seeking Beervana Columnist Lara Lewis has been a homebrewer for years and is a certified beer judge through the American Homebrew Association’s Beer Judge Certification Program.

A Beeline for the Honey Brew

During my frequent beelines to the Fat Tug IPA and other craft beers at the Whitehorse Liquor Store, my eyes catch a glimpse of the solitary bottles of Fuller’s Organic Honey Dew beer, but then they move on. I’m not against honey or Fuller’s, but I do remember trying this beer years ago and deciding …

A Beeline for the Honey Brew Read More »

Beer in China

I wanted to write something positive about drinking beer in China. After all, they are the world`s largest consumers of beer and a major hop-growing nation. They also have the fastest-growing beer market in the world. Their beer production doubled in the past decade to around 48-billion litres of beer per year. That’s about twenty …

Beer in China Read More »

Scottish Beer? Ay, Laddie.

The problem with being a great whiskey-producing nation like Scotland is that it becomes all you’re known for, Okay, there’s also bagpipes, haggis and Caber tossing. But Scottish beer? Do they even make beer in Scotland? Yes. McEwan’s Scotch Ale was the only Scottish beer I heard of growing up. It could be seen gathering …

Scottish Beer? Ay, Laddie. Read More »

Thanksgiving in Haines

My friends and I spent Thanksgiving in Haines this year. We thought we would catch some fish, drink some beers and see some bears. Only one of those panned missions out. The fish weren’t jumping, or running, or whatever fish do. We saw a few dead coho on shore, but that was it. And we …

Thanksgiving in Haines Read More »

A Sexy Fall Surprise

I usually wait until Christmas to lurk around the Whitehorse liquor store in search of sexy new beer products, but September brought a surprise: Guinness Black Lager. Guinness has been throwing some heavy coin into advertising this new product. The U.S. commercials adopt the beautiful-people-cocktail-party-scene to portray the beer as a sleek, sophisticated drinking option. …

A Sexy Fall Surprise Read More »

How Pure is Your Beer?

There are the purists who believe beer should be simple. The Bavarian Purity of Law of 1516, the famous Reinheitsgebot, stated that beer could only be made with water, malt (malted barley or malted wheat) and hops. Louis Pasteur wouldn’t discover yeast for a few hundred years. Some suggest the Reinheitsgebot was just designed to …

How Pure is Your Beer? Read More »

What’s in a Name?

A Fat Tug by any other name would be just as hoppy. But the name of your beer can entice or drive your average beer drinker away. I probably wouldn’t pick up a six pack of Camel Squirt if that beer even existed, but a bottle of the Belgian beer Verboden Vrucht (Forbidden Fruit) with …

What’s in a Name? Read More »

Beer and Sport

It doesn’t have to be an epic battle between the forces of good and evil. I believe beer can live in a symbiotic relationship with athletic pursuits. It’s all about balance, expectations, pacing and choosing your sport wisely. The expats in Malay had it right — drinkers with a running problem. The Hash House Harriers …

Beer and Sport Read More »

Making something illegal that used to be legal is a tricky road to manoeuvre.

Making something illegal that used to be legal is a tricky road to manoeuvre. Opium? Sure, I understand. DDT? Makes sense. But making booze illegal after being freely produced and imbibed for hundreds of years in North America — what idiot dreamed that one up? Prohibition was heavily supported by the women of Canada and …

Making something illegal that used to be legal is a tricky road to manoeuvre. Read More »

No Judgement. Really.

I’m not going to tell you what you should drink. I don’t care if you ferment raisins with brewers yeast in a garbage pail. I’m a laissez-faire kind of person. You can drink your Bud Light Lime, your Wildcat or your Pabst Blue Ribbon. You don’t have to be sheepish. Why would I care? Most …

No Judgement. Really. Read More »

USA Hops to the Lead

Humulus Lupulus = Hops. They aren’t involved in the fermentation of beer. They aren’t even a major component. You might have 6 kg of malt in a homebrew batch but only 30 g hops. They don’t get roasted. And they occur in virtually every commercial beer. Hops are preservatives, they have sedative properties and give …

USA Hops to the Lead Read More »

IPAs explained

I’m an unapologetic hophead, and consider no beer too hoppy to drink. I love the constricting bitterness. I love the resiny, citrusy, nostril-doping snort of a good, hop-filled American-style India Pale Ale (IPA). I wasn’t always this way. If you handed me an Ice Fog IPA 20 years ago I would have pawned it off …

IPAs explained Read More »

Wait a Second, That’s Not Beer

I like beer —anything heavier and I can easily overdo it. I just don’t have the pacing right. So when I was asked to check out the Whitehorse Fine Malt Society, I didn’t respond with my usual enthusiasm. After all, I still had some foggy residual effects from a rabid Robbie Burns scotch night a …

Wait a Second, That’s Not Beer Read More »

Craft Brew Paradise at the T&M

Andrea Pierce is a fiery creature. She is also a beer aficionado and the new face behind the bar at the Town and Mountain Lounge in Whitehorse. Pierce is responsible for the resurgence in popularity of the sleepy watering hole. The T&M lounge now has the best beer menu in town — hands down. Pierce …

Craft Brew Paradise at the T&M Read More »

Beer Packaging

Ah, sturdy and stout stubbies. Macro beer dribbling down your chin because of the bottle’s bad ergonomic design. I remember photos from the 1970s of my uncles with mo’s, long hairs, adidas shorts and Molson Canadian in stubby form. Cut to the 1980s where stubbies were essentially a third character in the Bob and Doug …

Beer Packaging Read More »

U-Brew Basics

Not long after I met my partner I bought him a beer kit. This was in the mid-1990s, when microbreweries were starting to come into their own. I was still drinking Kokanee, but I would often pick up a six pack of Big Rock Traditional Ale as a diversion and because it was hip at …

U-Brew Basics Read More »

The Mysterious Widget

Guinness is peculiar. It tastes creamy and has a fine-textured head you just don’t find in most other beers. You can chalk that up to the presence of nitrogen. Most beers just contain carbon dioxide. If you cut open a can of Guinness pub draught, you will discover a plastic orb with a pinhole opening …

The Mysterious Widget Read More »

Winter Beer to Warm the Cockles

The weather outside is frightful but a beer could be delightful — even if it’s not the first drink that comes to mind after a brisk day in a wintery wonderland. Most people don’t crave beer after freezing their extremities. Hot chocolate with Baileys? Maybe. Hot toddy? Yes please. Most beer can’t transition from cold-and-carbonated …

Winter Beer to Warm the Cockles Read More »

Get Thee to the Brewery

I was lucky enough to “help” Rob Monk tap off a cask ale at Yukon Brewing a few weeks ago. Truth be told, there was a bit of spillage as the spigot flew from my hand, but Rob is quick on his feet and he deftly rectified the situation with minimal loss. The cask was …

Get Thee to the Brewery Read More »

Monk-made Belgian Brews

I would like to write about a fabulous bar I went to in Whitehorse that served a wide selection of Belgian beer but, unfortunately, it doesn’t exist. Instead, I recently went to the Chambar Restaurant in downtown Vancouver and was greeted by one of the best beer menus in miles – all Belgian. Chambar is …

Monk-made Belgian Brews Read More »

Add Some Wit to Your Winter

One of the perks of spewing your beer brain onto a white page every couple of weeks is that people occasionally give you beer and suggest you write a column about it. One of my colleagues came back from a trip to Alaska in mid-October with a six-pack of Alaskan Wit, so I figured I’d …

Add Some Wit to Your Winter Read More »

Drop that Corskcrew

You are NOT going to eat that burrito with a glass of merlot. There are just some foods that were meant to be diluted by beer, not wine. You’re sitting in a sweltering taqueria in Playa del Carmen. You order a Pacifico, not a cabernet sauvignon. Nuff said. My sister-in-law Dallas phoned one night and …

Drop that Corskcrew Read More »

The Joy of Yeast

That Louis Pasteur was onto something. Seriously. People were harnessing the power of yeast to make beer for thousands of years before they actually knew what it was. Louis Pasteur figured out how it worked in the mid 1800s. He proved that fermentation was not just a chemical reaction but caused by an organism: yeast. …

The Joy of Yeast Read More »

Beer personalities

I bumped into an old Alexander Keith’s beer commercial on YouTube this week—you might remember the series. It involved a crusty Scotsman with spindly legs, patchy facial hair, and an abrasive tongue, insulting young people for spilling beer, peeling labels, or otherwise disrespecting the pride of Nova Scotia. “Alexander Keith toiled since 1820 for that …

Beer personalities Read More »

Beer

A Happy Accident

I can understand how they discovered wine. You squash grapes. Wild yeast on grape skins devours the sugary liquid and voila! Sociables. But how on earth did they figure out beer? You have to grow barley, dry it and then—most critically—malt it, which means you need to add water to the grains to get them …

A Happy Accident Read More »

Beer Saves

It’s empty calories, I know. If you are on a diet, beer kills—one imperial pint (20 ounces) of Yukon Red could be a tenth of your allowable intake of calories for the day. But beer also heals. If you drink bottle-conditioned beer (the stuff that is unfiltered and has the yeast sediment in the bottom), …

Beer Saves Read More »

Tropical Beer

While most of you poor sods were busy clothing and sheltering yourselves during the month of February, I was deciding how best to hydrate myself on a sailboat off the coast of St. Lucia in the Caribbean. The St. Lucia flag is blue (for the sky and sea) with nested, variably-sized triangles of yellow, black …

Tropical Beer Read More »

The Hot and Cold of It

Beer should be served cold… Or should it? The traditional rule is that ales should be served at cellar temperature (12-16 degrees C) and lagers should be served at the temperature at which they ferment (6-10 degrees C). Unlike ales, lagers go through an extra process in their development – the lagering process – where …

The Hot and Cold of It Read More »

Beer Cocktail, Anyone?

Beer adulteration. It sounds dirty. But it’s a way to make an otherwise pedestrian beer seem wildly exotic. So-so wine can be made into sangria. So-so beer can be mixed with clamato for a great hangover remedy and an inscrutable flavour combination. However, I suspect people who drink this abomination are either caesar drinkers in …

Beer Cocktail, Anyone? Read More »

A Beer Snob Confesses

I admit it, I’m a beerist. Not quite so harsh a thing as being a nihilist or a sexist, but I have high expectations for the beer I drink – beer snob, maybe. I recently ordered the “Mystery Can” on the beer menu at a barbecue joint in Vancouver’s Gastown. I was encouraged by the …

A Beer Snob Confesses Read More »

Near Beer Part 2: Faux Phobia

Did you Read Part One? In my last article I slagged the North American breweries for slacking off in the non-alcoholic beer department. The non-alcoholic beers I’ve tried from this side of the pond all failed miserably in approximating beer-like satisfaction. Then again, with near-beer being such a small market, maybe I’m being too harsh. …

Near Beer Part 2: Faux Phobia Read More »

Near Beer: Part 1

Perhaps the most unspeakable adulteration of beer is the complete, or near-complete, removal of alcohol to make those sad, non-alcoholic shadows-of-their-former-selves near beers that men drink during sympathetic pregnancies, women drink during actual pregnancies, people drink when they have some bad genetics that make them incompatible with alcohol, or for a myriad of other reasons. …

Near Beer: Part 1 Read More »

Respect in a Tall Glass

If you’ve ever been to a Belgian beer bar you know that those Belgians have a different glass for every type of beer, bless their souls. It seems gimmicky, but they take their beer seriously. I was in Brussels during the Brussels Beer Weekend in the balmy month of September a few years ago. The …

Respect in a Tall Glass Read More »

Cool Tunes, Swell Suds

Dawson Music Festival (DCMF) is billed as a music event, but there happens to be a lot of beer action in the midst of it. My friend Lee, who didn’t have the foresight to purchase music tickets beforehand, kept calling it Dawson beerfest from his vantage point in the beer gardens. And arguably, beer does …

Cool Tunes, Swell Suds Read More »

Extreme Beer

I blame my current state of beer obsession on Christmas of 1995 when I bought my partner a beer kit as a present. It somehow took hold and made beer a part of the family. We now have two converted freezers full of craft beer and kegs of homebrew. Rod (my partner) has a “Brewing …

Extreme Beer Read More »

Iron Chef Beer Pairing

I am a non-reciprocator—people invite me to their houses for fabulous meals. I eat, and weeks later I think about having them over… and then I think too much… Time keeps passing and I somehow get invited back to their place again… and the one-way valve of guest parisitism continues. I am in the happy …

Iron Chef Beer Pairing Read More »

Too Much Like Funkytown

If your beer tastes like cardboard, you might want to reconsider drinking it. It was probably stored in a heated room, which accelerated the oxidation process, creating that flat, wet paper flavour. If you crack a bottle of your buddy’s homebrew and have to wrap your lips around the end of the bottle to staunch …

Too Much Like Funkytown Read More »

Awash in Brew

I must be getting old: asleep in my hotel room by 10 p.m. the night of Haines Beer Fest this year. A poor display of anti-beerfest behaviour. The first year I went to the Great Alaskan Craft Beer and Home Brew Festival it was 2001 and it was held on the Fort Seward grounds. I …

Awash in Brew Read More »

Best Beer in Food

My partner likes to separate his beer and his food. I’m in favour of mixing them. One day we will find common ground. In the meantime, I will continue to feed him experimental dishes of spicy sautéed spaghetti squash doused with Big Rock’s McNally’s Irish Ale, or Smoked Porter Ancho-braised pork shoulder chops… and he …

Best Beer in Food Read More »

We Have Your Beer

When I travelled to Toronto for work in March, my first impression was how I desperately needed new shoes and maybe a decent city coat not covered in lint and dust. My second impression of Toronto was that of a beer wasteland. Beer selection is controlled by the good people of the Ontario Government. You …

We Have Your Beer Read More »

Scroll to Top