alibi room 400th beer list special
Way back in February, Vancouver craft beer mecca the Alibi Room celebrated the release of their 400th beer list. Now, I’m not sure if that corresponds to 400 weeks, or what, but since it’s the Alibi Room, I’d say that the rotation is a bit more irregular than that. As expected for an event of this calibre, the wait to get in was long, and my party had to hang around Gastown for an hour before our table was ready (not that hanging around in Gastown is very hard). I don’t have a transcript of the list, but Barley Mowat can hook you up if you want to see what kind of goodies were available that night.
I started off easy, with Iain Hill’s (of Yaletown Brewing) Saison and Driftwood’s barrel aged Old Cellar Dweller. Okay, maybe opening with a barley wine wasn’t the greatest idea. I confess to having ordered this because it seemed like a “must try rarity”, while forgetting that I don’t really like barley wines all that much. The syrupy, pitch-dark fruit flavours are a bit too heavy and suffocating for me, and the 10%+ ABV leaves less headroom left for other brews. Saisons, on the other hand, are my favourite style of beer, though IPAs have been fast catching up since my first few encounters with them as a beer novice. Saisons are light without being bland, clean without being boring, and even a little spicy. This being February, the refreshment factor didn’t come through as it might have in summer, but it was still good to have the saison to take the edge off between sips of the barley wine.
Next up was the Ninkasi Tricerahops Double IPA. Old me wouldn’t have touched something like this with a 10-foot pole, but I’ve grown to like hops. The Tricerahops was a prime example of what comes to my mind when I think IPA: citrus, green stuff, pine, and bitterness that dries your mouth right out.
Deschutes’ Hop Henge Experimental IPA (what’s an experimental IPA?), on the other hand, wasn’t so traditional. If I could describe it as a tropical fruit cocktail with hops in it, I wouldn’t be too far off. A lot of tropical flavours, not just the citrus present in less “experimental” IPAs. That being said, I still wouldn’t jump into IPAs thinking they’re going to be sweet and fruity; this one is still bitter. I guess that the break into Hawaii-land with the flavours of this beer is what makes it experimental, but Driftwood’s Fat Tug is similar, so it’s evidently not that out there.
Even when the Alibi Room isn’t throwing a rare-beers-all-over party, it’s still one of the greatest places in Vancouver to sample beers of all different styles, and I get excited every time I head down to Gastown to see what’s on the beer list.