From Oliver BC’s Firehall Brewery comes their “Table Beer Series #1 Red Wine Barrel Brown 2016″. As the brewery puts it this is the Beer of Wine Country. The beer pours a very deep brown colour with a brown head. The aroma consists of a ton of red wine, roasted malts and some sweetness. The flavour is of red wine, roasted malts, nuts, earth, chocolate, cherry, berries and mild bitterness. The alcohol content comes in at 4.5%. I do not always know what to expect from Wine barrel aged beers but this was a fantastic, enjoyable brew!
Firehall Brewery in Oliver held a Kick-starter campaign in 2016 to build a tasting room at their brewery. They had an empty space but not the money to build a proper tasting lounge so they went to the customer and successfully got funding.
When you arrive at the address you will find Pappa’s Firehall Bistro. To find the brewery you take the stairs down at the end of the fence as seen in the photo. At the bottom of the stairs you find the door into the tasting lounge known as the Beer Shop & Social.
Walking in the door you find a great space. You can purchase bombers or growler fills to go. You can also stop in for a few beer. I love that the flights come in what looks like a metal lunch box! Right in the tasting room you find their barrels that are currently aging their first beer in their table series of beers that are meant to be paired with food. As can be seen in the last two photos is the table that is signed by all of the kick-starters that includes me. Take a peak for my name!
There has not been to much change in the brewing space itself since the last time I wrote about the brewery back in 2014. Here is a look at the brewing space.
6077 Main Street (Lower Level) PO Box 10
From Oliver BC’s Firehall Brewery comes their “Hoser Lite” a hybrid lager with a lager yeast and an ale yeast blended and fermented at a multi stage temperature scale to benefit from both yeasts. The beer pours a light golden colour with a white head. The aroma consists of grainy malts, grass and a mild bite from hops. The flavour is of grainy malts, grassy hops, citrus and a mild hop bitterness bite. The alcohol content comes in at 4.3%. For a low alcohol lager this beer has a lot of flavour. This beer is aimed more at people aiming to try out craft beer without having a lot of bitterness.
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.
I was asked to be a judge for the Fest-Of-Ale and at first I was not sure if I should do it. Not being a certified judge weighed on my mid a bit. I felt unqualified or at least under qualified. I decided though that there is no way to get experience without just jumping at an opportunity that you are given. This blog has given me opportunities to do things that I would never have had a chance to do usually. The judging took place on day two of the Okanagan Fest-Of-Ale on April 5th, 2014. There was 42 Beer and 3 Ciders to be judged from 35 different Breweries and Cideries. There were 9 Catagories including Lager/Pils (6), Pale Ale (4), Ale (4), IPA (13), Stout (5), Belgian (2), Wit (4), Fruit Beer (4) and Cider (3). The following Head Shots are from Kim of DogLeg Marketing. Meet the Judges.
David Beardsell – Brewery Owner/Consultant
As with all Beer Judging competitions this one is done blind. Beers are brought out in their categories with only numbers on them to differentiate them. Here are a few examples of how the beer is laid out for the judges and what our scoring cards looked like. This competition was overseen by Martin who is the owner of the upcoming Bad Tattoo Brewing and runs the Kettle Valley Station Pub both in Penticton.
There are many ways to judge beer from what I can gather talking to this group after the judging. From what I can gather it is best to take notes and sample all the beer and then go back and give your final scores. I didn’t do it this way and I wish I did. If there is a next time I can always do it differently. Judging this competition you are allowed to discuss with the other judges on all points of the beer and if it actually fits into the category it is submitted as. Saying that it was very quiet in the room from around 10am when we started to 3pm when we finished up.
Once all the samples had been judged our score cards were handed to Martin. He then tallied up all the scores and were were given a sample of all the winning beers. This is were the discussion on Best of Show began. The best of show has to both be a very good beer and it also should be true to the style. There was a long discussion comparing the merits of each beer. When it came down to it though it was a fairly easy choice.
Group shots by Kim
Lager/Pilsner: Hoyner Pilsner – Hoyne Brewing Co., Victoria BC
Pale Ale: Red Truck Ale – Red Truck Beer Company, Vancouver BC
IPA: Four Winds White Rye IPA – Four Winds Brewing Co, Delta BC
Wit/Wheat: Robson Street Hefeweizen – Granville Island Brewery, Vancouver BC
Ales: Naramata Nut Brown Ale – Cannery Brewing, Penticton BC
Stout/Porter: Holy Smoke Stout – Firehall Brewery, Oliver BC
Belgian: Sunkissed Tea Saison – Deep Cove, North Vancouver BC
Fruit Beer: Stiegl Radler – McClelland Premium Imports, BC
Ciders: Red Roof Cider – Orchard Hill Estate Cidery, Oliver BC
Best of Show
IPA: Four Winds White Rye IPA – Four Winds Brewing Co, Delta BC
Four Winds Brewing doesn’t seem to slow down on the awards front these days. Congratulations to all the winners. You all deserved the awards and should be proud of the medals you received!
Here are some more photos from Kim
We then dispersed into the hall for the remainder of the second day of the Okanagan Fest-Of-Ale. After doing the judging for this event I would jump at the opportunity to do it again. There was no doubt that the other judges had a better understanding of how the judging process worked and the flavour profiles of the ingredients in beer. But then they are professionals that either work in the field or have been writing about beer for a lot longer than I have.