Monthly newsletter of the Edmonton Beer Geeks Anonymous. 
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EBGA - November 2012 Newsletter

Deschutes logo

That's right!  Not only is beer from this sought after brewery available in Alberta, we will be hosting their beer and sales rep (with a surprise) in the up coming EBGA event.  We're going to have both the Deschutes Mirror Pond Pale Ale and the Black Butte Porter on tap at Wunderbar for the event.  We've also been told to expect something else to sample.... and of course, we'd tell you, but that wouldn't be very sporting now would it!?

The event details:

Where:  Wunderbar
When:  21 November, 2012 @ 7pm
Guest: Deschutes Brewery

As of late there have been many new additions to the selections on local shelves from bigger name breweries from the US, Deschutes, Green Flash, Magic Hat, Elysian, Anderson Valley, Uncommon, and even Jester King (!).  This is all very exciting news and we hope that we're lucky enough to keep getting beer from these remarkable breweries, but let us not forget about the local and other Western Canadian breweries! 

Alley Kat is about to come out with their next round of seasonals, the Darn Tartan Scotch Ale, and the return of the extremely popular Three Bears Oatmeal Stout (*drool*).

St. Albert brewery Hog's Head is now up and running with two of their beers - Baby Back Hops and Death By Pumpkin - and will soon have a third offering on the way.  You can find the Hog's Head beers on tap at (but not limited to) Wunderbar, Cha Island Tea Co., Accent Lounge, Three Boars, etc.  Pictured here is Hog's Head brewer Stu at the recent Rocky Mountain festival at the Shaw Conference Center (note the banner in the background!)  Can't wait to see what else these guys have in store for us in the future; here's wishing them well!  Glad to see another local craft brewery on the market!

Yukon Brewing is set to release the next beer in their Brewers A.D.D. Series - we're told this next one is a Cascadian Dark Ale / Black IPA and will be the 5th in the series!  The Underground (100st and Jasper) will be getting a couple of kegs of this beer, so keep an eye on their social media feed for announcements.  Also from Yukon will be their Jelly Donut Ale, which is a raspberry beer, and is set to be on tap at the 109st location of the Urban Diner!

That's a lot of beer news, looks like we've got some work to do!

EBGA Ratings - Update

As many of you already know, we've recently instituted a rating system for our local bars, pubs and restaurants.  This system was released a couple of months ago with a small-ish list of establishments to get things started.  Since then we've seen much debate, and even dedicated an EBGA meeting to hashing out the details of how best to formulate the rating system.  It's been great to see the enthusiasm and amount of feedback from all the readers and beer geeks out there! 

When we first developed this rating system, we stated that it's going to be an iterative process, both to build a baseline of ratings and to tweak the formulas, so here's a breakdown of the differences we've instituted since last time...

(1) We've ditched the Inducement Factor.  The Inducement Factor was an immediate loss of 50% of the establishments total score if we suspected inducements were present.  Now, we had A LOT of debate over this one, and because of both the way the AGLC defines certain things and the fact that we're extremely unlikely to be able to prove the existence of the most harmful of inducements (ie: bribery, mysterious free kegs, and other pushy sales tactics) we don't want to negatively impact any establishment mistakenly.  With regard to the AGLC definitions (as per the AGLC Licensee Handbook section 8.2.12), items like coasters and tap handles are considered "non-essential items" with respect to inducements, but the AGLC does not hold say, branded glassware (for the proper beer experience) in this same category.  As a cumulative result, we're going to rely on the rating system to be a direct metric for the most negative of inducements and by proxy, you the readers (more on this below).

(2) The rating system (from this point forward) will be presented with both an aggregate score, and a monthly rating to institute a broad spectrum rating, and to allow chronological tracking respectively.  By applying this method we will be able to determine if a certain establishment is improving over time, for example.

(3) To reiterate the how the ratings are allocated, there are four main sections that combine to influence the final letter grade.  The four sections are: Tap List Rating, Bottle List Rating, Service Rating, Beer Knowledge Rating; these sections are weighted respectively:  35%, 35%, 20%, and 10%.  From these sections the raw score out of 100 then fits into a letter grade bracket. 

(4) User interface!  (Finally!)  So when we initially put out the rating system, we admittedly were not quite ready for the amount of attention it got and as such didn't have the user interface setup yet.  But, now, we've got the means for you, the reader and rater, to submit your scores, thoughts, and comments to us via our fancy new form:  EBGA Rating Form  We, obviously, encourage you to take a peek at the form and use it the next time you head out for a pint, or down the pub.  The more ratings we get, the more we can work at promoting a healthy craft beer scene here in Edmonton. 

And finally, a couple of notes regarding the ratings form.....
- the ratings are dated so that if someone has a particularly good/bad experience and it falls well outside of the establishments average numbers, we can contact the establishment to inquire
- there are fields for user comments on the form which should facilitate a bit of ranting to backup the numerical ratings
- we want your feedback (in general) about the functionality of the form, what you think of it, how well it works for you and any recommendations you have

Thanks beer geeks!

So, get out there and start rating your favourite watering hole, or, your least, because now, it's all up to you!
EBGA Bar/Pub Ratings

So, after some feedback and a discussion group, we've revised how the bar ratings are calculated.  See above for the details, but here are the revised results!

For this month both the aggregate score and the monthly score are synonymous.  Now we need your help by submitting your ratings and comments to our online rating interface!  Click here for the rating form.

Wunderbar    95.4    A+
Sugarbowl    94.6    A
Three Boars    96.3    A+
Next Act    83.65    B
Accent    85.5    B+
Pourhouse    79    C
Urban Diner    88    B+
Cha Island    92.7    A
MKT    66.7    D
Continental Treat    80.2    B
Hudsons    63.45    D
Ale Yard    65.45    D
Original Joe's (Varsity)    69.2    D
Metro Billiards    74.4    C
RATT    35.05    F
Sherlock Holmes    42.75    F
Underground    88.5    B+
Black Dog    67    D

Brewery + Still = Brewstillery...?

So, our friends up in Whitehorse at Yukon Brewing have (spoiler alert!) recently released their Solstice Botanical Vodka here in Alberta.  It was released some time ago up in the Yukon, but we're lucky enough to see this brand new product.  And the news gets better from there as the vodka will soon be followed by a single grain, single malt whiskey!!

By both distilling and brewing, Yukon has become the first craft brewery and craft distillery to be available in Alberta!  Pretty exciting news, but if you think about it, it really makes sense.  Both brewing and distilling require a mash tun, boil kettle, and fermenters, but then the processes start to differ.  Distilling requires a still, but we're told that the guys at Yukon have adapted some of their equipment to handle this.  For more on the story see this article

While we have to wait for the whiskey, the Solstice Botanical Vodka is available at finer liquor stores near you.

Beer Events in YEG

6 November 2012: Next Act Cask Night
Alley Kat brings their latest in the Dragon Double IPA Series - Orange Dragon, brewed with Summit hops, tapped at 6pm
15 November 2012:  Alley Kat Launch Party
The folks at Alley Kat are releasing their next round of seasonals: Darn Tartan Scotch Ale and Three Bears Oatmeal Stout, 5pm at the brewery
21 November 2012:  Edmonton Beer Geeks Anonymous at Wunderbar
We're getting things back on course by bringing you a taste of Deschutes out of Oregon.
22 November 2012:  SugarBowl Cask Night
Once again Alley Kat is gracing us with their seasonal brew Three Bears Oatmeal Stout, and the SugarBowl is going to have a cask of it!  Cask will be tapped at 5pm......*drool*

Growlers in YEG

So, if you haven't heard, the AGLC has recently allowed liquor stores to pour draught beer into our favourite 64oz glassware, the growler.  So far in Edmonton there are two locations that have the facilities installed to pour fresh draught beer into sealed growlers - the Keg'n'Cork (3845 99 Street) and the new offering from Liquor Depot, Wine & Beyond (Windermere). 

The boys down at Keg'n'Cork have already brought in some very unique beers from breweries including, but not limited to: Rogue, Mill Street, Alley Kat, Deschutes, and are contiuing to bring in new things every week.  By offering draught beer for retail instead of soley at bars or pubs, it's probable that we'll see some amazing things coming on tap, and in greater quantities.  This will hopefully quell the race to get to the specific pub for a pint of this one-time-only remarkable beer (as much fun as that is, it's nice to not have to do that sometimes).  The Keg'n'Cork will be updating their facebook page with their current offerings on tap, but currently it is unknown if Wine & Beyond has an online accessible tap list.

The fact that we can get unique keg only beers in a take-home format is a fantastic development for the retail beer market!  So, don't hesitate and go fill up your growlers!


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