THE call came up to me from our receptionist here at the North Shore News: "Hi Andy, there's a woman who wants to see you."
I grunted, noncommittally. No offence to anyone who likes to show up unannounced at newspaper offices, but some of the people who show up unannounced at our newspaper office are either eccentric or angry.
"She's got beer for you," the receptionist said. Like Wile E. Coyote of cartoon fame, a dust cloud shaped like me appeared sitting at my desk in the space I occupied mere instants before. Seconds later I was shaking hands with Leigh Stratton of the Bridge Brewing Company, a new North Shore joint that advertises itself as Vancouver's first nanobrewery.
Stratton handed me a growler of Bridge's North Shore Pale Ale along with her business card. Her job title? "Director of consumption." I liked the sound of that.
We'll get to growlers and nanobrewing and journalism ethics in future columns but for this, my first crack at writing a beer column, I wanted to taste some beer. So here are my thoughts on Bridge's North Shore Pale.
The circumstances for my first sip weren't ideal. I'd just come home from my first pickup basketball game in 10 years and was quite possibly delusional from the shock my body received from actually exerting physical effort. Naturally, instead of refueling with water or energy drinks I cracked the growler, loaded up a pint and dove in. Yum.
I've recently lost my taste for pale ales. In my beer infancy I found them a refreshing change from terrible macro-brewed lagers but in these days of hopped up IPAs and all sorts of seasonal delights, most pale ales seem to, ahem, pale in comparison. Not so with Bridge's offering.
You'd hope that it's good given that it's the only beer that they brew year-round. And oh yes, it's good.
The initial blast is full of flavour with a nice hint of hoppiness. It's not crazy hopped so you won't be making a bitter beer face but you know the hops are there and they taste good. Those initial smooth hops are followed by a light, flavourful brew that's got some citrus kick to it.
Now I'm not just saying that Bridge's offering is good because the director of consumption hit me with a freebie. She didn't know that I soon would be writing a new beer column for the paper. I think she just loves to spread beery joy. Anyway, I'll soon head over to Bridge's wee brewery on Dollarton highway and plop down my own cash to fill my growler back up. It's $5 to buy an empty 1.89-litre glass growler and you can fill it for $12. That's a pretty good price for nearly a six-pack worth of beer. It's also available on tap at some local establishments.
That's My Pint is a new beer column written by North Shore News sports editor and beer enthusiast Andy Prest. It will run in this section on a semi-regular basis. Story ideas can be sent to email@example.com.