BC Breweries 30th Anniversaries

This year was the 30th Anniversary for three different BC Breweries.  First off there is Spinnakers Brewpub in Victoria BC the very first Brewpub in Canada.  The other two breweries that are celebrating their 30th are Vancouver Island Brewery in Victoria and Granville Island Brewing in Vancouver (Owned by Molson).  The craft beer boom may be going strong but these are some of the real pioneers for craft beer in Canada.  I would like to congratulate the breweries on fighting the good fight all these years!

All three breweries released a beer to celebrate this occasion.  Granville Island Brewing released a new 6 pack offering as the start of a new series of beers called the Under The Bridge Series and the beer was called Swing Span Amber Ale.  Read the review here.


Both Spinnakers and Vancouver Island Brewery released special one off bomber releases.  Spinnakers Brewpub released “30th Anniversary Grand CRU” while Vancouver Island Brewery released a “Thirty Years Imperial Red Ale”.  In great BC tradition both beers were very big imperial ales with tones of flavour that packed a punch.

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Because Spinnakers and Vancouver Island Brewery brewed special one off releases I wanted to honor them together with a combined review.

Spinnakers Brewpub – 30th Anniversary Grand CRU

The beer poured a dark amber almost brownish colour with an off white head short lived head.  The aroma consisted of sweet dark fruits, caramel, candied sugar, wine, spices and some yeast notes.  The flavour was of sweet dark fruits such as raisins, earthiness, candied sugar, spices, Belgian yeast, tartness, some herbal notes, mild bitterness and some alcohol warming.  The alcohol content comes in at 8% with an IBU of 20.  This beer although a little thin was very full of flavour and a really good commemorative brew.  I would like to see Spinnakers play around with this style more and untap the possibilities.

Commercial Descripiton: In celebration of our 30th Anniversary, we present our Grand Cru as a token of thanks. Brewed with UK Marris Otter Pale malt, Belgian yeast and dark candi sugar, our Grand Cru is a medium-dark, malt-forward, complex ale best enjoyed with friends.

Cheers to the next 30!


Vancouver Island Brewery – Thirty Years Imperial Red Ale

The “Thirty Years Imperial Red” poured a ruby red colour with a tan head.  The aroma consisted of sweet fruits, dark fruits, anise, sweet caramel malts, molasses which is very reminiscent of barleywines.  The flavour was of fruity with good notes of dark fruits (rasins), sweet Caramel malts, orange, citrus, rum, mild hops bitterness and an alcohol warmth at the end.  The alcohol content came in at 8.5% alcohol.  Other than Vancouver Island Brewery’s Hermannator Ice Bock this is their most complex and exciting beer to date (That I have tried that is).

Commercial Description:  For over 30 years we’ve lived the belief that one trend is here to stay – true craftsmanship and quality. With this in mind we decided to pay tribute to our long standing Piper’s Pale Ale and ramped up the recipe to create a big, bold and robust beer. This malty, well-hopped Imperial Red Ale is our way of saying thank-you for your support. Cheers!


Both of these beers are extremely well crafted brews and well worth being commemorative 30th anniversary beers.  I would like to congratulate all three breweries on 30 years of brewing and look forward to the next 30+!

Congratulations from Mike’s Craft Beer!

I was lucky enough to go over to Victoria and celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Spinnakers Brewpub with the Brewery and locals.  Click here to check it out!



Grand CRU Bruocsella Lambic Bio 2008 – Brasserie Cantillon

From Brussels, Belgium’s Cantillon comes their “Grand CRU Bruocsella Lambic Bio 2008” this bottle filled in March 2012.  This beer is brewed in the same way it was in 1900 with the only change being that they moved to organic ingredients in 1999.  The brew pours a cloudy orange with basically no head and very low carbonation.  The aroma is of sweetness, yeast, apples and vinegar.  The flavour consists of Sweet, tart and funky notes with yeast and mild to medium vinegar.  The alcohol content is 5%.  This is a very good beer and very different than your average Grand CRU.  I am just glad that it was able to be brought into Canada!

Commercial Description;  he Lambic Grand Cru Bruocsella Cantillon is a lambic which has matured for three years in oakwood barrels and has been selected for its exceptional colour, taste and flavour.  Its light, slightly amber, yellow-gold colour and its aroma, a mixture of apples and honey, make the Grand Cru Bruocsella a very seductive beer.  Its taste derives from its dry character and its slight and discreet acidity.  When kept for a long time, its bouquet gets the fine flavour of roasted bread which, according to some, relates it to the white Burgundy “Chardonnay”.  This aristocratic beer is to our national beer patrimony what Mouton-Rotschild, Petrus or Romanée-Conti are to the wines.


Winter Cask Festival 2013 – Central City Brewing

On January 26th 2013 Central City Brewing held their annual Winter Cask Festival.


There was more than 30 casks at the event for our tasting pleasure!  Casks came mostly from British Columbia but also included casks from Washington and Oregon.  The price was around 30 dollars like always and it included 3 samples and a free 4 ounce branded glass.  More tasting tokens were a dollar each and got you a full glass of beer.  Most of the beer styles revolved around winter drinking aimed at warming you up.  Like always the crowd was very fun and very friendly willing to chat and talk beer with anyone and everyone that wanted to talk.  For this tasting I only sampled 12 casks as I was just getting over a really nasty cold/virus.

The Brew List

1 Central City Brewers + Distillers – Oaked Imperial Porter
2 Tofino Brewing – Dawn Patrol Coffee Porter
3 R & B Brewing – Latte Stout
4 Storm Brewing – Black Forest Cake Stout
5 Driftwood Brewing – Singularity
6 Phillips Brewing – Hammer Imperial Stout
7 Big Ridge Brewpub – Whalley Winter Ale
8 Spinnakers Brewpub – Biere de Noel
9 Salt Spring Island Brewing – Spiced Fireside Winter Ale
10 Moon Brewpub – Weizenbock
11 Longwood Brewery – Doppelbock
12 Lighthouse Brewing – Smoked Hop Bock
13 Howe Sound Brewing – Super Duper Grapefruit IPA
14 Dead Frog Brewing – Fearless IPA
15 Old Yale Brewing – Centennial Dry Hopped IPA
16 Coal Harbour Brewing – Powell St. English IPA
17 R & B Brewing’s Camra Vancouver Anniversary Cask – Dry Hopped Red Devil Pale Ale
18 Red Truck Brewing – Fresh Hopped Red Truck Ale
19 Elysian Brewing – Dry Hopped Immortal IPA
20 Swans Brewpub – Legacy Ale
21 Granville Island Brewing – Barrel Aged Barleywine
22 Cannery Brewing – Cracken Nut Brown Ale
23 Gigantic Brewing – Black Friday Imperial CDA
24 Whistler Brewhouse – Grand CRU with Orange Peel
25 Canoe Brewpub – Lager with Lemon Rind
26 Steamworks Brewpub – Conrad’s Golden Ale
27 Storm Brewing – Daniel Knibb’s Sour Fig Saison
28 Boundary Bay Brewery – Cabin Fever Scotch Ale
29 Parallel 49 Brewing – Braggot
30 Russell Brewing – Dry Hopped Wheat Wine
31 Yaletown Brewpub – Oud Bruin
32 Central City Brewers + Distillers – Unknown Cask (Contest to figure out style of beer and extra ingredients added).

All beer in red I sampled at the cask festival.  Below you will find notes that I took on the beer that I sampled.

Tofino Brewing – Dawn Patrol Coffee Porter
Aroma – Sweet, coffee, milk
Flavour – Roasted malts, coffee, mild bitter, milky

Driftwood Brewing – Singularity Imperial Stout
Aroma – Prune, chocolate
Flavour – Prune, chocolate, banana, roasted malts, alcohol, coffee
Impression – To strong for how my stomach felt

Salt Spring Island Brewing – Spiced Fireside Winter Ale
Aroma – Ginger, licorice, vanilla, clove
Flavour – Ginger, licorice, vanilla, clove
Impression – Great

Longwood Brewery – Doppelbock
Impression – Not my thing.  Sorry guys!

Howe Sound Brewing – Super Duper Grapefruit IPA
Aroma – Grapefruit, hops
Flavour – Lots of hops, pine, grapefruit
Impression – A very good IPA

Old Yale Brewing – Centennial Dry Hopped IPA
Aroma – little to no aroma
Flavour – sweet start with a bitter finish, citrus, pine, hopy!
Impression – Brew came off more like a high IBU pale ale.  Still tasty none the less.

R & B Brewing’s Camra Vancouver Anniversary Cask – Dry Hopped Red Devil Pale Ale
Aroma – Citrus, hops
Flavour – apple, grapefruit, pine, mild hops
Impression – very mild hops for a dry hopped beer.

Whistler Brewing – Grand CRU with orange peal
Aroma – Orange juice
Flavour – sweet orange juice, malty
Impression – classified as a lambic this beer is what you would give children if they could have alcohol.  Yummy!

Canoe Brewpub – Lager with Lemon Rind
Aroma – Sweet lemon, grassy
Flavour – bitter lemon peal, mild bitter, malty

Storm Brewing – Daniel Knibb’s Sour Fig Saison
Aroma + Flavour – Sour, tart, fig, vinegar, yeast, bitter finish
Impression – I wish this beer was a production beer!

Parallel 49 Brewing – Braggot
Aroma – Boozy, honey
Flavour – honey, sweet, boozy, fruity, apple
Impression – My first beer/mead.  This beer was good but not something I could drink much of.

Yaletown Brewpub – Oud Bruin
Aroma – Sour, citrus, oak
Flavour – very sour, mild aftertaste of nuts
Impression – this beer was very smooth and my second favorite of the afternoon!

Winner of the night for me was:

Storm Brewing – Daniel Knibb’s Sour Fig Saison

Second Place went to:

Yaletown Brewpub – Oud Bruin

I would love to thank Central City Brewing for holding this amazing event again that brings together so many breweries together. Keep up the great work!

Grand CRU – Brouwerij Rodenbach

From Belgium’s Brouwerij Rodenbach comes their “Grand CRU” a sour ale.  The beer pours a cloudy brown colour with a tan head.  The aroma of the beer consists of malt vinegar, sour, tart and fruit.  The flavour consists of malt vinegar, sour, tart, fruit and a mild sweetness.  This is one mighty fine Sour ale!  The alcohol content of this beer comes in at 6%.

Bottle: Filtered.
A blend of 1/3 young beer and 2/3 of beer aged 2 years in large oak vats. The more important proportion of oak matured beer contributes to its fruity taste, complexity and intensity. The finish is worthy of a great wine.