the European tradition of fall festival beers, Dogwood’s ‘Organic Fest’ is another popular seller. “It’s our Oktober- fest-style dark lager at 6.9% alcohol. It’s really probably our best loved beer… And we launched our IPA which is more of a hybrid style. Many of the hardcore West-Coast- style IPA drinkers would call it an English-style IPA. But I think it’s far too hoppy to be an English-style IPA. So we put the taste somewhere in the middle. It’s not incredibly hoppy and bitter. It has more of a body to it. The flavour is rounded out more.” Like any artist or culinary creative type, Claire and the Dogwood brewers like to experiment with new recipes, ideas and techniques. And similar to many breweries and distilleries, they use their ‘tasting room’ as a yardstick to measure the popularity of their experiments, and the future direction of their product rollout. She explains that their ‘London Fog’ experiment has become an instant tasting room sensation. “It’s a small batch that we made for our tasting room. It became so popular that it is now going in cans. It’s a light golden ale made with Earl Grey and vanilla.” Dogwood also produces a 4% year-round stout, for those of us who like to sip our way through a nice dark pint.
recycled cardboard boxes. And we went for printed cans because they can be infinitely recycled.”
To misquote Marshall McLuhan, in this case the packag- ing is the message. The decision to go with six-pack cans directly affects the beer’s design, as opposed to how one would design the product to be delivered in large growl- er-type bottles or 3/4-litre cans. Claire points out that the flavours and consistencies are designed to accommodate drinking all six beers in one sitting! Or at least ensure that, after drinking one, the experience isn’t too overbearing to discourage a second. “The beers need to be consumable in sixes. Not that you are necessarily going to drink six, but it’s a beer that, if you wanted to drink six, you wouldn’t just drink say one IPA and think ‘oh, I need something else now.’ So that’s the way these beers were designed.” “Vancouver has such a strong and vibrant organic food movement. It’s something that people are looking for.” Claire’s Irish upbringing and her history as a brewmaster in Germany can’t help but play a significant role in the creation of their “Fest” beer. It’s not lost on Dogwood that beer lovers are particularly fond of celebrating their tastes and culture in a festival atmosphere. Paying homage to
Regulations in British Columbia have recently changed allowing these tasting rooms to feature small volumes of
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