From Oliver BC’s Firehall Brewery comes their “Holy Smoke Stout” a smoked stout. The beer pours an opaque black colour with a brownish head. The aroma consists of roasted malts and some smoke. The flavour was 0f smoke, roasted malts, pete and some hops bitterness. The alcohol content came in at 4.5% with an IBU of 24. Being someone that does not enjoy smoked beer I will admit that I was a bit worried about trying this stout. Luckily when I did try this beer I realized it was just enough smoke to add some flavour. This was an amazing beer!
Commercial Description: “Dry Stout” is an off-shoot of the “Porter” beer style. Porter was a mass produced beer style originating a couple hundred years ago in London, England, where the water was suited for dark barley malts, and hop flavour and bitterness was a growing trend. Porter was brewed to give sustenance, strength, and energy to London’s working class. The Porter style brewed in Dublin, Ireland by Arthur Guinness became darker and heartier, and focused less on hop flavour and more on the roasted flavours from the dark barley malts. Soon many breweries were brewing their own stout, and stout became historically prescribed as a healing tonic and health drink, especially for seniors and pregnant women. Our Holy Smoke Stout is stylistically unique: a marriage of the Dry Stout style and the German “rauchbier” style. For thousands of years all beers had a smoky flavour because the only way to dry barley malt was over a fire. Recent industrialization removed the smoke flavour from beer, except for a handful of German malting companies that still smoke their malt over a traditional beech wood fire.
Located in the middle of Wine Country known as Oliver, BC comes Firehall Brewery. The brewery can be found in the basement of the original Oliver Firehall built in 1948 and then renovated in 2003. The brewery was built by Sid (the Brewmaster) and his dad Jim. I decided to take a long cut to Penticton on the way to the Okanagan Fest-Of-Ale. I arrived at the brewery on a Thursday but was very lucky and Sid happened to be looking out the window just as I looked into the hallway that leads to the brewery. Without this I would never had a chance to take a walk through the brewery.
Photo courtesy of Oliver & District Heritage Society; Accession Number: OLP-984.532.2
Photo taken from Firehall Brewery website
The brewery opened in February 2012 and has been making some amazing draft ales ever since. Very recently they have started bottling their brews. For everyone in Metro Vancouver don’t get to excited now as they only distribute to a small area in the Okanagan. If you find yourself in Oliver on a Friday between 4 and 7pm make sure to stop by the brewery as they will fill a growler for you!
Currently Firehall Brewery has a lineup of three different unfiltered, unpasteurized ales. The beers are as follows Backdraft Blonde Ale, Stoked Ember Ale and Holy Smoke Stout.