Recently, I was asked to write a beer review blog. Over the next while I’ll be posting about beer, breweries, some local hangouts for hoisting a great pint and suggestions on generally enjoying beer. I’m not a brewmaster nor a beer sommelier and I’m certainly not a beer snob, just an average beer drinker who’s loves good beer. If you live in Victoria or anywhere in the Pacific Northwest you surely know how spoiled we are with selection and quality of beer. Sit back, pour a fresh one and I’ll share some of my experiences, a bit of knowledge and perhaps entertain a little.
For my first report I thought I’d suggest some of my favorite local flavors and give some lovin’ to five beers from right here in Victoria in no particular order. In the upcoming posts I’ll share some more specialized varieties, but for now enjoy these safe bets.
1. Driftwood Fat Tug IPA – There are two types of beer drinkers, those who love IPA’s and those who hate them. If you live in the PNW, I hope you fall into the former as this area is notorious for its IPA’s. Fat Tug is the benchmark for which all other IPA’s will be measured. Notes of citrus rind, grapefruit and melon with subtle but present malts at 7% ABV and 80 IBU, this beer should satisfy lovers of the hops. Notable award-winning 2011 Beer of the year at the Canadian Brewing Awards.
2. Phillips Longboat Chocolate Porter – Every beer enthusiast has friends who drink yellow fizzy mass-produced wussy beer. Phillips Longboat is the beer I offer to my “Buds” to gently introduce them to the world of craft beer. Despite it’s deep brown colour, it’s incredibly smooth relative to other dark beer. With its distinct chocolate flavour even the ladies love this one, so share this one with someone special when you are looking for a “sure thing” (with the beer that is).
3. Hoyne Down Easy Pale Ale – No beer could be an easier decision if you don’t want to think about anything at all. This is the go-to beer for putting your feet up and enjoying sipping a glass of relaxation all afternoon. Caramelly with toasty malts and lightly floral hops this beer is easy like a Sunday morning.
4. Spinnakers Jameson’s Scottish Ale – Best enjoyed at Spinnakers Brewpub pulled fresh from the cask, this beer carries a complex malt profile with subtle hops and a bit of peatiness that reminds me of a nicely steeped tea with a fresh biscuit on the side. Pair with a curried dish or a sandwich.
5. Vancouver Island Piper’s Pale Ale – When I first moved to Victoria from Saskatchewan in 1997, this is the beer that introduced my taste buds to smaller batch craft beer. As we expand the selection and variety of beer that we drink, so do our pallets evolve. Never forget to go back and drink a beer you enjoyed years ago, it will surprise you how different it can taste even though it hasn’t changed. Copper malts and fruity dry hops, this is very sessionable or enjoyed on a patio with friends.
That’s it for today and remember, always get it fresh.