From Sooke Oceanside Brewery in Sooke on Vancouver Island comes their “Renfrew Red Ale”. The beer pours a copper colour with a tan head. The aroma consists of caramel, fruity with a floral finish. The flavour is of caramel, mild roasted malts, resin, grassy, mild bitterness and some fruity notes. The alcohol content comes in at 5.1%. While fairly standard this is a good red ale and you will enjoy it.
Commercial Description: Port Renfrew has many names. Some for love, as only the sea could be loved. Some for the ships she has taken, wrecked over rock and wave, where dangerous waters run red. This Red Ale is the namesake of that love and danger. I prefer to call her Renfrew.
From Nanaimo’s Longwood Brewery comes their “Barley Wine” a barrel aged beer from the 2017 Vintage. The beer pours a deep chestnut colour with a brown head. The aroma consists of roasted malts, dark fruits, brown sugar, vanilla and sweetness. The flavour is of dark fruits, roasted malts, treacle, syrupy, brown sugar, sweetness, earth and some bitterness with some alcohol in the finish. The alcohol content comes in at 11.5% with an IBU of 45. This was an interesting English Barley Wine and I look forward to trying it again sooner than later.
Commercial Description: Steeped in lore and tradition, this special annual brew can be enjoyed now or cellared to futher mature. Mahogany brown with a vast shattering attack of malt, hints of raisin, vanilla and a bitter sweet chocolate finish. This well aged ale (8 months in oak) is a great finish to any dining experience or simply by itself. Best enjoyed at cellar temperature.
From Vancouver Island Brewing in Victoria comes their “Barrel Aged Hermannator”. The beer pours a deep brown colour with a red tinged head. The aroma consists of dark fruits, red wine, oak, anise, toffee, caramel, bready malts and sweetness. The flavour is of red wine, dark fruits, cherry, caramel, chocolate, toffee, earth, citrus rind and bitterness. The alcohol content comes in at 8.5% with an IBU of 25. This was a very interesting beer but it had little left of what Hermannator was sadly. I hope in future versions of Barrel Aged Hermannator they let the original beer shine thought a little more.
Commercial Description: Our original Brewmaster Hermann Hoerterer designed Hermannator as a seasonal gift to friends & family in 1987. It soon became our flagship brew, the most anticipated beer of the year. 2017 marks the 30th anniversary of Hermannator. To celebrate we’ve aged Hermannator in red wine barrels, leaving it with beautiful notes of red wine, sherry, and plum that will only get better with time. Hermannator Ice Bock is a well loved and established beer. By aging it in red wine barrels the plum and sherry notes are added upon to create a wholly different experience. Fruitier, brighter, and dangerously easy to drink. The additional 2 months of barrel aging leaves an aggressive red wine note that is sure to age beautifully for those that can resist drinking it all right away.
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.
From Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub in Victoria BC comes the “Holliewood Oyster Stout”. If you have a shellfish allergy you will want to skip this beer as it used Ocean Wise Oysters in the brewing process. The beer pours a deep black colour with a brown head. The aroma consists of roasted malts, chocolate, salty and some sweetness. The flavour is of roasted malts, chocolate, toffee, earth, mild bitter, ash and some salt. The alcohol content comes in at 7.6% with and IBU of 20. I don’t know if this would pair well with Oysters as I do not like them but I sure as hell liked this brew.
Commercial Description: Oysters and stout have a rich history as food for the masses. With a creamy rich texture and briny finish from the oysters and a roast bitterness from the malt, this heavyweight stout was brewed with three additions of prime fresh oysters from our friends at Hollie Wood Oysters in Fanny Bay BC. The world is yours. And yes, there really are oysters in this beer!