Interesting times continue! I’ve left the culinary industry and began a new career in retail, started a podcast with my buddy Simon, become and middle-aged homeowner/DIY enthusiast and lately I’ve tried to generally chill out more on my off hours.
Key to my even keel amidst these chaotic times is to kick back with a brew or two on my off hours. Savouring my beer and taking notes has been a great exercise in mindfulness and has helped me not only expand my palate, but also learn new things about my favourite liquid art form. It’s about time to pass on a couple things I’ve noticed during this last summer/autumn.
The BC beer scene has had a rough summer for sure: In August the BCGEU went on strike, causing all BC Liquor stores to begin rationing what product they had to prevent their precious supply from running dry. Empty shelves and frustrated patrons were a regular scene at all of my local stores. This really hit the BC tourism business in a soft spot right when it needed to make up for two years of pandemic-related losses, but it seems like we are through the worst of it and now both tourists and locals can freely imbibe while the fishing is still good.
As a result, more people turned to craft beers when the stores lacked the big name, 24 can camping packs they were used to. I hope that a lot of the smaller breweries made some fans.
2022 Summer-Autumn Beer Roundup (In alphabetical order, no ranking here… They’re all fabulous!)
Abyssus Kriek – Driftwood Brewing (Victoria, BC)
It wouldn’t be a EDB beer list without Driftwood Brewing kicking down the doors with big flavours, bigger ABV% and awesome bottle art. This dark red ale explodes with the sour cherry and oak taste that typifies this Belgian-style Lambic beer. Soft biscuity notes balance the acid and keep this from becoming too sour. I’ve got a lot of nostalgia for Kriek beers as I discussed on a podcast episode and Driftwood’s Abyssus ranks right up there with Bellvue Kreiek as one of my all-time favourites.
Easy Tiger- Superflux Beer Company (Vancouver, BC)
The care, level of experimentation and sheer number of IPAs that Superflux produces every year has made them synonymous with that type of beer and it was a hard process deciding between four of their IPAs to put on this list. Easy Tiger won because it’s so damn easy to drink compared to its less-hazy and bitter brethren. Huge citrus aromas give way to a sweet and hoppy medium body with a finish that is light and slightly herbal. Buy this or any other Superflux beer you can grab on a hot summer day.
Greg IPA – Four Winds Brewing (Delta, BC)
This one might be a little hard to find as it was a special batch produced in honour of the late Co-Founder of Four Winds Greg Mills. It’s a beautiful ale to go with such a beautiful sentiment! Heavy pineapple aromas that carry through into the body with pine and caramel flavours bringing up the back end. Similar to Fat Tug in many ways and equally easy to drink.
Hazy Saison – Field House Brewing Co. (Abbotsford, BC)
Saison is my current favourite style of beer and Field House makes one of the best I’ve had, probably due to the IPA-style mix of hops they add to increase aroma and balance the usual fizzy Saison finish with some bitterness. It really works! All the spicy cardamom and pepper notes you would expect from a farmhouse mix with the bitterness to cut that fluffy, wheaty finish that often makes saisons hard to session. There is a version with apricots and orange that is also great.
Homestead Sichuan Farmhouse Ale – Ravens Brewing Co. (Abbotsford, BC)
Speaking of spices, I can’t believe I’ve never seen sichuan peppercorns added to a Saison. With their flowery aroma they perfectly compliment this already coriander and cardamom-heavy style of beer, though the clove-like sichuan numbing sensation is absent. Citrus, especially lemon and grapefruit are also present in both aroma and flavour and the finish is as peppery as you’d expect.
Peach Bod – Parallel 49 Brewing (Vancouver, BC)
Surprisingly my favourite beer of the summer was a smooth, peach flavoured ale from Parallel 49 that really turned me around on fruit beers in general. Frothy and filled with peachy aroma and not-to-sweet body this light ale is perfect for exactly what the label suggests… Cruising the beach with sun glasses on!
BONUS!!! Not a beer, but still a great drink for the Summer/Autumn:
Pictish Beast Braggot – Meadow Vista Honey Wines (Kelowna, BC)
During our epic, two-part podcast on making mead, I mentioned the braggot (a beer-like version of honey wine) that Simon had gifted me and how much I had enjoyed it. Meadow Vista makes the braggot we were talking about and if you are a beer fan that want to get into mead drinking this is where you should begin. It’s got a lot of piney, grassy and fruity aromas thanks to the hops added into the fermentation process, but retains all big complex body of a honey wine. Best of all it hasn’t got the cloying sweetness that sometimes makes drinking mead such a slog, instead it’s slightly fizzy and dry as a bone.