Print Edition: October 2, 2013
It is no secret that AfterMath had a less-than-perfect relaunch this fall. With changes in operation style and a menu overhaul, the student-run pub was bound to encounter some issues.
However they have taken good steps with what matters most at a student lounge: beer.
I am a typical broke student, so I am interested in getting the most for my money. Last year when PBR was $3 including tax, it was an easy choice. But since it has gone up to $3.99 plus tax, I find myself looking for more interesting options.
During the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Student Union Society (SUS) put an open call on Facebook about what beer should be purchased for the games. They opened AfterMath’s doors and sold pizza by the slice and beer by the can. I emphatically commented that they should focus on local craft options as they know how to brew and aren’t owned by the beer giants of the world. Finding true local craft breweries may be a hard task, considering 90 per cent of Canada’s beer is brewed under license by non-domestic companies.
So I was happy to see Chilliwack’s Old Yale Brewing incorporated into AfterMath’s beer lineup. A clean blonde ale with a little bit of body and a light clean finish, it is a step up from the carbonated water PBR offers.
Now if you aren’t a fan of the golden yellow options that come with blonde ales and pilsners, you could turn to a pale or amber ale. Unfortunately, AfterMath only offers Vancouver Island’s Sea Dog amber ale by the bottle. Less beer, not kegged, for the same price. Just like fountain pop is better than canned, draught beer is superior to bottled.
You could go for the slightly redder Sleeman Honey Brown (and support Japanese brewery Sapporo in the process) but this is still only one step above the lightest of light beers.
They still have a lot of work to do.
Where are the stouts? I’m talking full-flavoured, nurse-like-a-good-cup-of-coffee, meal-replacement pints. Where are the IPAs with the bitter grapefruit notes that come from more hops? Where are the Belgian wits that were so popular all summer with the cloudy golden appearance and hint of citrus?
This is the kind of beer that AfterMath should be exploring now that it has retired the dreaded Budweiser tap, instead of offering similar beers by different companies — Steam Whistle brewing and PBR are both thin bodied pilsners, Okanagan Springs 1516 and Chilliwack Blonde are essentially the same in colour, body, and flavour (with Chilliwack Blonde’s tasting slightly more authentic).
Beer is so much more interesting than the one-dimensional options on the AfterMath menu suggest. Whistler brewing released a pineapple ale a couple of summers ago. R&B brewing launched its Applejack Moonshine ale at Vancouver Craft Beer Week this spring. Every local brewery is putting its personal spin on this fall’s pumpkin ales (Nelson brewing and St. Ambroise do it best).
So AfterMath, Chilliwack Blonde on tap is a start, but don’t quit now. Finnegans may have $9 pitchers, but you have the opportunity to actually sell decent beer. Take it.