Brewers Reserve Series – Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub


On January 20th I headed to Victoria with my wife for the Brewers Reserve Series launch event at Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub.  Spinnakers Brewpub is the original brewpub in Canada after prohibition and opened in 1984.  There is no doubt that Spinnakers has some major history and they are looking to create even more history with their new barrel program.

Get to know the brewery better by checking out the podcast we did on Pacific Beer Chat.  We sat down with  Paul Hadfield the founder and Matt West-Patrick one of the brewers.  You can also find this episode on your favorite Podcast app at Pacific Beer Chat.

 

Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub is located on the waterfront just outside of Downtown Victoria and might win for best brewpub location ever.  This place has an English Pub vibe through and through.  The lower level is more of a restaurant with the top floor being more of a bar.

To top off the Brewpub they also have a lodging in their guesthouse.  We stayed at the guesthouse while there and really enjoyed out stay.  Staying with Spinnakers means you get a hot breakfast and Chocolate and beer tasting included with out stay.

Now lets get to the real reason we headed to Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub in the first place.  The latest beers to be released in the Brewers Reserve Series are Rubus a Blackberry Sour (Number 9) and Prunus Plum Sour (Number 10).  If you can find bottles of these beers make sure to pick them up as they are very limited.

Rubus Blackberry Sour

The beer pours a deep red colour with a very low carbonation and very little head.  The aroma consists of blackberries, mild cherry, semi sweet notes and tartness.  The flavour is of blackberries, cherries, tartness, wheat, oak with an almost wine like finish.  The alcohol content comes in at 5.1%.  This is quite the tasty Blackberry sour and I would highly recommend picking up a bottle of this.

Prunus Plum Sour

The beer pours a deep orange brown colour with almost no head and little carbonation.  The aroma consists of plum, sweetness and tartness.  The flavour is of plum, wheat, mild oak, wine, semi sweet with some good tartness.  The alcohol content comes in at 4.8%.  Like the Rubus this beer is exceptionally tasty.  I would recommend picking up at least one of these bottles if you can find it.

This new series of beer are really tasty and I can not wait to see what they have coming in the future.

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Raspberry Lager – Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub


From Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub in Victoria BC comes the “Raspberry Lager”.   The beer pours a deep amber colour with a tan head.  The aroma consists of raspberries, sweetness and grains.  The flavour is of raspberry, grain, caramel, sweetness and some low bitterness.  The alcohol content comes in at 4.5% with an IBU of 8.  While I am not a fan of lagers in general this one was actually really interesting.  I would not hesitate to grab more of this one.

Commercial Description:  A generous dosing of raspberries grown at Michells Farm on the Saanich Peninsula gives this clean, crisp, cold, fermented lager the unmistakable juiciness of raspberries!  Cheers to sunny days!

Red Fife Hefeweizen – Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub


From Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub in Victoria BC comes the “Red Fife Hefeweizen”.  The beer pours a hazy golden colour with a white head.  The aroma consists of banana, bubblegum, clove, yeast and wheat.  The flavour is of banana, wheat, citrus, yeast and bubblegum.  The alcohol content comes in at 4.5% with an IBU of 20.  I am not sure what the Red Fife Wheat adds to this beer but it is an enjoyable one.

Commercial Description:  Red Fife Wheat, Canada’s first contribution to Slow Food International’s Arc of Taste, incorporated into this classic Bavarian style symbolizes brewing in the new world, blending old world techniques with new world opportunities.

 

Blue Bridge Double Pale Ale – Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub


From Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub in Victoria BC comes the “Blue Bridge Double Pale Ale”.  The beer pours a cloudy copper colour with a white head with lots of lacing.  The aroma consists of floral hops, citrus and some sweetness.  The flavour is of orange, citrus, toffee, candied sugar, resin, medium bitterness and some alcohol.  The alcohol content comes in at 8.2% with an IBU of 36.  I have not had this one in a while and I don’t know why I waited.  Well worth picking up some the next time your at the liquor store.

Commercial Description:  An emerging new world style, this double pale blends north-west and noble bittering hops and finishes with old world noble aromatic hops to create a complex and floral hop profile. This beer is superbly balanced, masking its strong body and making the beer very drinkable. Beware!

Whistler Village Beer Festival 2015 (Saturday Festival) – Whistler BC


Last September I attended what turned out to be one of my favourite beer festivals in BC in the Whistler Village Beer Festival.  The weather was beautiful and the beer was amazing!  Here is last years official festival video.

Last year was such a success that this year Gibbons Events Co decided to make the Main Festival happen over two days with many satellite events that ran over 5 days.  The main Festivals took place on September 19th and 20th 2015.

While last year had epic weather this year we did not get so lucky!  But hey this is BC and we all own rain jackets so a little rain didn’t stop an epic party!  I was only able to attend the Saturday Main Event which was lucky for me as the rain was not quite as bad.  The festival was held at the Whistler Olympic Park in the Whistler Village once again.  The event started for average attendees at 1pm (opened at 12 for gatecrashers) and ran until 5pm (last call at 4:45).  I got into the grounds before the festival opened to the public and gate crashers and was to take lots of photos of the booths as they set up.

This year the Resort Municipality of Whistler gave the green light to increase the festival grounds by 40% to increase the amount of breweries to around 80.  This is impressive as 2013’s event was half the size of 2014!

Breweries involved included the following (Ordered by booth Number)

Muskoka Brewing, Steam Whistle Pilsner, Steamworks Brewin, Persephone Brewing, Big Rock Brewery, Off The Rail Brewing, Moody Ales, Russell Brewing, Red Truck Beer Company, Glutenberg, Bomber Brewing, Phillips Brewing, Howe Sound Brewing, R&B Brewing, Steel & Oak Brewing, Postmark Brewing, Lighthouse Brewing, Shacksbury, Lagunitas, Deschutes Brewing, Sierra Nevada Brewing, Double Mountain Brewing, Scuttlebut, Stone Brewing, New Belgium Brewing, Ninkasi Brewing, Strongbow, Maui Brewing, North Coast Brewing, Crabbie’s Ginger Beer, Czechvar, High Mountain Brewhouse, Yaletown Brewing, Big Ridge Brewing, Bowen Island Brewing, Fuggles & Warlock Craftworks, Parallel 49 Brewing, Fernie Brewing, Prohibition Brewing, Rider Cider Company, Whistler Brewing, LoneTree Cider, Stanley Park Brewing, Old Yale Brewing, Hoyne Brewing, Goose Island, Okanagan Springs, Unibroue, Tofino Brewing, Black Kettle Brewing, Central City Brewers & Distillers, Scandal Brewing, Cannery Brewing, Yellow Dog, Dead Frog Brewery, Strange Fellows Brewing, Deep Cove Brewers & Distillers, Doan’s Craft Brewing, Mt Begbie Brewing, Beverage Concepts, Pilsner Urquell, Spinnakers, Coal Harbour, Main Street Brewing, BC Tree Fruits Cider, Four Winds Brewing, Off the Rail Brewing, Granville Island Brewing, Hearthstone Brewing, Mission Springs Brewing.

Last years attendance came in around 3,500 for the festival and this year even with bad weather beat that with around 3,000 people on Saturday and 1,300 on Sunday with a total over the five day of around 5000 people (numbers from here).  Craft Beer fans are tough (and own rain gear) and we don’t stop for rain.  I could only imagine how big Sundays numbers would have been on a sunny day.

 

Like at all festivals I attend I took photos of many of the samples I drank while enjoying the event.

Even with awful weather this year everyone in attendance had a great time!  I still think this is one of the best festivals I have attended (even this year) as even though there are tons of people there are little to no lines and everyone is just having a great time!  The only issue was a lack of washrooms probably made worse with all the rain.

I am excited to see what Gibbons Events has in store for us next September!

This years top three breweries as voted by Festival Goers won 1 year tap or bottle contracts at multiple pubs in Whistler Village which is a very lucrative prize!

First Place
Parallel 49 Brewing – Longhorn Saloon, Dubh Linn Gate Irish Pub, Garibaldi Lift Co

Second Place
Fuggles & Warlock Craftworks – Tapley’s Pub, Merlins Bar & Grill, Amsterdam Pub

Third Place
Whistler Brewing Co – FireRock Lounge, Dusty’s Bar & Grill

Full sized photos here
Whistler Village Beer Festival