Dandy Hobo – Saltspring Island Ales

Limited Release

Coming from Salt Spring Island’s Saltspring Island Ales (Gulf Island Brewery) comes the “Dandy Hobo” a light golden rye ale that was brewed with fennel, cumin and caraway.  This limited release was only available for tastings and growler fills at the brewery.  The beer poured a light golden colour with a white head.  The aroma consisted of sweet fruits, spices, mild malts, fennel, caraway and some rye.  The flavour was of huge fruits up front with caraway, fennel, very mild spice from cumin, malts such as rye and a very mild tart finish.  The alcohol content came in at 5%.  This was a very refreshing ale and just as tasty as it was experimental!  I hope that this beer some day sees the light of day in a bomber release.


Saltspring Island Ales – Salt Spring Island

Living in Vancouver it is almost impossible to get a hold of beer from Saltspring Island Ales.  Their beer is distributed to Vancouver Island but not the Mainland for the most part.  I have been planning to travel over for a while and check out the brewery.  Steve and his Wife asked if I would be interested in riding out to the brewery on August 3rd, 2014 and I jumped at the idea.  If you are looking to make this trip the best idea is to drive out to the long term parking out on the spit at Tsawwassen terminal (or take the buss if you do not drive).  From here you ride up towards the car booths for the ferry and follow the signs for bikes.  At the booth let the person know that you are riding through to Saltspring Island and they will charge you for the through trip currently around $20 one way. You will be taking the Victoria ferry across and then taking the short ride over to the Saltspring terminal directly to the left while you ride off the ferry.  You will be landing at the Fullford Harbour terminal and this is the one you will want to leave from also.  On the way back you can pay for your return trip on the Saltspring ferry which will get you to Tsawwassen via Victoria and will cost you $10.

Once on Saltspring Island there are lots of things to check out including the Brewery some wineries, restaurants and even a few Provincial Parks to name a few things.  Here is the Video of our trip!

Instead of heading straight to the brewery we decided to take a quick peak at a local Provincial Park called Burgoyne Bay Provincial Park.  Its not far passed the brewery but its a nice view.

Once done at the park we backtracked and headed up to the brewery.  It is at the top of a big hill so either hope you have some great legs for riding or you may be walking up the hill.  Keeping with the theme of these brew bike trips I did not actually know what to expect when I arrived at the brewery as I had never looked up any photos.  Arriving at the brewery you find a small tasting room on the second floor of the building where you can sample the beer that they currently have.  You can also buy bombers of their beer and also get growler fills.  They only fill off of taps so the beer has to be consumed in the next day or two after filling.  I was not able to get a tour of the brewery as the brewmaster does not work on weekends to be with family but I did get to see the brewing equipment that is kept outside.

Seeing as we had no other plans on the island and Steve and Sarah both like wine we headed up to a winery further up the road called Garry Oaks Winery.  From the sound of it their wine is very good.  I tried all of the wines on offer and as expected I did not like any of them but it was to be expected as I do not like wine.  They did have some beautiful viniards and a cute little wine shop and tasting room though and it is worth the visit if you enjoy rotten grapes (oh wait fermented grapes lol).

I remembered seeing a sign for a joint venture hop farm on the way towards the brewery and winery so on the way back we stopped to check out the farm.  Hops grown here are used to brew the beer at Salt Spring Island Ales.  These hops are grown organically which makes it even more impressive.

A day of riding would not be complete without some food and brew and what better way to get both than to support a local Island Restaurant?  We Stopped in at Rock Salt Restaurant & Cafe for some food and a Saltspring Island Ale.  My food was awesome and from what I hear the seafood was to die for.

Once our food was done we headed back to the terminal and waited for the ferry to bring us back home after a great day of sampling and riding.  Here are a few photos from the ferry rides on both ferries.

Full sized photos can be found here.

To get to Saltspring Island drive to Tsawwasen ferry terminal and ride onto ferry.

Directions to Saltspring Island Ales
When you get off the ferry head up Fulford Ganges Road
Turn left to stay on Fulford Ganges Road
Turn right to stay on Fulford Ganges Road
Turn left on Furness Road
Follow road until the end where you will arrive at 270 Furness Road

Directions to Garry Oaks Winery
Follow same directions but continue strait when you arrive at Furness Road
Stay Right to stay on Fulford Ganges Road
You will arrive at 1880 Fulford Ganges Road

Salt Spring Island Ales
270 Furness Road, Saltspring Island

Garry Oaks Winery
1880 Fulford-Ganges Road
Salt Spring Island, B.C.
Canada V8K 2A5
Telephone: (250) 653-4687
Fax: (250) 653-4426

Rock Salt Restaurant & Cafe
2921 Fulford Ganges Road
Salt Spring Island, BC V8K 1X6
Reservations by phone only 250.653.4833

Saturnalia Gruit – Saltspring Island Ales

Limited Release

Coming from Salt Spring Island’s Saltspring Island Ales (Gulf Island Brewery) comes the “Saturnalia Gruit” an Ancient Ale using no hops as the style predates hops being used in beer.  This beer pours a dark brown colour with an off white head.  The aroma consists of sweet anise, malts, chocolate and cinnamon.  The flavour is of sourness and tartness with cinnamon, chocolate and anise.  The alcohol content comes in at 5%.  This is a very interesting beer for sure.  I really enjoyed the bottle for sure but I am not sure what I think of this style of beer but I am sure happy to see a style reborn none the less!  If you have never had a Gruit before pick up a bottle right away to see what you think.

COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION:  Named for a Roman Festival of mythical revelry, our ’Saturnalia’ Gruit is made without hops, using a special blend of herbs and spices. A darker brew with notes of chocolate, cinnamon and anise, Saturnalia is our second foray into the realm of ancient ’Gruit’ Ales. Raise a glass of this truly unique beverage and share a toast to independence and eccentricity.


Great Canadian Beer Festival 2013 – Victoria BC – September 7th

Well its that time of year again!  The Great Canadian Beer Festival in Victoria has come on gone.  The festival ran on Friday September 6th between 3pm – 8pm and Saturday September 7th Noon to 6pm and was held at the Royal Athletic Park.  I was lucky enough to go this year but was only able to go to the Saturday event.


The breweries involved came mostly from BC but also came from all over Canada and the Western United States.  The breweries that came included 33 Achres, Big Rock, Brasseurs Sans Gluten, Cannery, Canoe, Central City, Coal Harbour, Creemore Springs, Dead Frog, Deep Cove, Double Trouble, Driftwood, Elysian, Fernie, Four Winds, Gigantic, Granville Island, Green Flash, Hogsback, hopworks, Howe Sound, Hoyne, Lighthouse, Longwood, Merridale, Mill Street, Moon Under Water, Mt. Begbie, Muskoka, New Belgium, Nickel Brook, Ninkasi, Noble Pig, Okanagan Springs, Old Yale, Paddock Wood, Parallel 49, Phillips, Powell Street, Prince Albert, Prohibition, Russell, Salt Spring Island, Sound, Spinnakers, Stanley Park, Steam Whistle, Steamworks, Swans, Tin Whistle, Tofino, Townsite, Tree, Unibroue, Vancouver Island, Whistler, Wolf and Yukon.

One of the great things about this festival was that many of the booths were serving casks of their beer.  It is always great to try one off beer and standard beer hopped in a different way.  Due to the fact that I know way to many people now I did not get to try all that many beer.  I did however try some amazing beer as well as meet all kinds of new people and visit with lots of local beer friends.  My beer list was as follows:

33 Acres – 33 Acres of Sunshine
Driftwood – Old Cellar Dweller cask
– Crooked Coast altbier
Canoe – Galaxy ESB
– Summer honey wheat ale (Blackberry infused)
Granville Island – The Pumpkining cask
Howe Sound – Hopraiser IPA
– Megadestroyer Stout
Hoyne – Devils Wet Dream
Ninkasi – Maiden In the Shade Dble IPA
Old Yale Brewing – Chilliwack Blonde
Paddock Wood – Black Friars Porter
Phillips – Kaleidoscope Mosaic IPA cask
Salt Spring Island – Spring Fever Gruit Ale
Tin Whistle – Strawberry/rhubarb cask
Townsite – Westview wheat
– Blackberry FestivALE

My pick as favorite beer of the day was Driftwood Brewings Old Cellar Dweller cask although I did only have a small sampling of the beers.

This festival was just as much about the beer as it was for the people for me so here are all the photos that I took at the event!

Next year I plan on taking in both days and hopefully every brewery if not every beer.  One day will be for visiting and one day for sampling seriously.  The people that Put on the Great Canadian Beer Festival and volunteers did an amazing job and should be very proud.  I look forward to my next festival!

Larger versions of the photos can be seen on the blogs new flickr page!


Creme Brulee Vanilla Stout – Saltspring Island Ales

Limited Release

Coming from Salt Spring Island’s Saltspring Island Ales (Gulf Island Brewery) comes the “Creme Brulee Vanilla Stout”.  This beer was made as a collaboration with Liquor Plus liquor stores on Vancouver Island.  This milk stout pours a deep opaque black with a brown head.  The aroma consists of vanilla, sugar, caramel, lactose and chocolate.  The flavour does not vary much from the aroma.  The alcohol content of this brew is 8% but does not show this much at all.  This was an amazing imperial milk stout with lots of flavour to be had!

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