I like beer. I’ve drunk a lot of it over a great many years in a great many places and I am thrilled by the current explosion of distinctive craft beers here in British Columbia. Yet I am not, I hope, the stereotypical pot-bellied pub purist who clings to some some imagined “real ale” heritage. Full disclosure: I started drinking in my native England — at a local called The Happy Man — and I’m from the era when the Campaign for Real Ale was launched to promote alternatives to the mass production of bland and boring booze.What I am, I hope, is an easy-going, convivial kind of guy who enjoys good company in a good pub in equal measure to good beer. I recognize that beer preferences are personal and it is not the intention of this blog to bore you with mine. The aim is to explore and celebrate our ever-expanding beer options and, perhaps, nudge some readers to leave their comfort zones and sample something different once in a while.In that vein, allow me to pour a barrier-busting craft beer from East Vancouver’s Parallel 49 Brewing Company called Hoparazzi, recently added as one of the 24 taps at my local, The Queens Cross Neighbourhood Pub in North Vancouver. As a veteran newspaperman (more than 40 years of ink-stained toiling), I can’t resist the name which is a play on paparazzi, the wretched low-lifers of the media who hound celebrities in pursuit of sordid gossip and candid photographs. The Hoparazzi coaster features a vaguely European-looking gent with a press pass in his hat and a camera around his neck. Only three grain sheaves in his shirt pocket allude to the content of the brew. The beer has a hoppy tang which is not to everybody’s taste, although in this case it is not overbearing. What is very different is that it also has the smooth, light finish of a lager. In fact, it bills itself as an India Pale Lager, a cute and comfortable mingling of traditional over-hopped India Pale Ale with the pilsner-style still favoured by a majority of drinkers on both sides of the Atlantic.As you may know, extra hops were originally added to IPA for their preservative properties — the export ale had to survive a long, hot voyage from the Old Country to British troops in India — but these days hops are valued more for their ability to import bitterness, flavour and bouquet. When you can get all of that in a lager, what’s not to love.