…but what surprises and disturbs me is how, relatively speaking, we’re not drinking much more than we tend to in a typical year.
Research done at the University of Victoria suggests that the average person in BC has had between five and ten more drinks a month in 2020 than the 2012-2019 average. Drinking spiked in March (unsurprisingly), dipped in April, and has gone up consistently until July (the last month for which the researchers have data). But again–not as much as I was expecting.
What is shocking to me, though? Those numbers represent “estimates of per capita monthly standard drinks of total alcohol consumption” for everybody in the province aged 15 and older. To put it in other words: if a standard drink is ~a 12 oz. beer at 5% alcohol, that means that in July 2020, it’s estimated that every single person in BC aged 15 or older drank the equivalent of fifty beers in the month of July. Which is, again, just slightly higher than the average of per capita monthly standard drinks of total alcohol consumption since 2012.
Fifty drinks is approximately two beers a night. Or two glasses of wine. Or two shots. Which is not bad.
But then you remember that the drinking age in BC is 19. And, of course, not everyone drinks fifty drinks a month; I’m probably at a third of that this month.
So spare a thought for those whose drinking keeps the average per capita that high in a regular year.
And my Northern brothers and sisters, you really gotta up your game. I mean, I had to drink Sleemans. A lager that comes in a bottle that looks like this:
Seriously: Clear bottles? I can’t respect that. C’mon, Canada. You aren’t Mexico.
Although I suppose I got what I deserved when I bought a “variety pack” of beers that were all lagers of some kind. Dear Sleemans: you cannot add food coloring to your lager and call it a bock. It doesn’t work like that.
It wasn’t all bad though. I did manage to get to a proper pub and try a few things:
Block 3 lager
I’m told this is a Belgian lager and it is no lie: the oddly sweet nose, a a very sweet fruit slant with a dry finish. You can’t call this a normal lager by any means. It’s not bad but the yeast shines so brightly, I’m not sure about the beer. Is this a problem of expectations, or is it just that the style doesn’t support Belgian yeast flavors very well? I don’t know but I’m pretty sure this beer appeals to someone because it’s got interesting flavors and it isn’t flawed. Just not for me, I think.
Descendants Harbinger American pale ale
A pretty solid IPA. Or I guess APA. I’m glad to see a distinction being made: hopefully this means that IPAs will start to be indicative of more balanced beers, while APAs push hops much further. That would be handy for drinkers and enthusiasts alike, I think.
Finish is dry on this beer but still a solid bitterness. It needs a little work though, there is something off here that I can’t put my finger on. A little dirty? The nose rapidly fades too and that’s not a good sign. This is a solid start but it still needs a little push.
This was a lager I could get into. Clean and tasty, there isn’t anything to write home about here, and that’s exactly how it ought to be. Except I ought to note; it was a hell of a lot tastier than Sleeman’s beers which were content to provide mere whiffs of flavor. If given the option, gimme more of that.
Squamish is a small town and to be frank, there isn’t much to do there.
But there is a brewery: Howe Sound. I had a few of their beers during my stay, including a few that I enjoyed but didn’t take notes on. The next day, I went back and got a sampler; here’s what I wrote about those:
The pumpkin ale (far right) has a nice biscuit quality, evoking a pie crust, and I appreciate the brewery’s take on things, even if I’m not fond of the style. And let’s face it, pumpkin beers are the pumpkin spice latte of ales: trendy and trying to appeal to everyone.
The base hefe (far left) is very nice, the banana and orange elements are pronounced but not overwhelming. The wheat gives it a good backbone. It’s ok but the truth is, their King Hefe is a better beer. Get that if you have the option.
Troller (the red next to the hefe) has a marijuana stink in the nose. It’s also a bit too thin to support this intense aroma, and the resiny finish doesn’t have the middle to balance it.
The IPA (between the two redder ales) is mining the NW IPA style and it should appease any hophead. Clearly restraining the malt in order took emphasize the hop qualities, it is eschewing balance to appeal to what is one of the most popular styles in the NW area.