B.C. Beer Blog

The who, what, where, when, why, and how of B.C. craft beer

Posts Tagged ‘BJCP

Building a Bridge

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This is the first guest post from Victoria craft beer enthusiast and B.C. Beer Blog reader, Kris Constable. He is trying to organize a Victoria group to study for the BJCP certification: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=144492600065. We hope to hear from him, from time to time, reflecting on his experiences from an Island perspective.

I just got back from Vancouver Island Brewery’s release of Spyhopper Honey Brown. I’m normally not a big fan of honey browns, as I usually find they don’t have much honey flavour and have a slightly bitter aftertaste. This honey brown surprised me. You can taste the honey, which is from Babe’s Honey Farm here on the Island. Not to mention, it’s got an amazingly smooth finish that leaves you wanting another gulp.

What I realize this beer provides is a craft product that can still be, what I call, a lawnmower beer — a few of which you can easily quaff back while cutting the lawn. This is an essential bridge to build with those who are megaswill drinkers (Labatt, Molson, et. al.), bringing them into the craft brew scene. What people don’t often realize is that if your beer is not a craft beer in Canada, it’s not Canadian any longer. That’s right, Molson, Okanagan Spring, Sleeman — none of these are Canadian. So if you want to support local, there is no better time than now to switch to craft beer.

Often craft brews are geared for beer nerds, those that appreciate a 50+ IBU beer or a wildly exotic flavour profile. Someone trying their first craft beer, though, will often be put off. Spyhopper crosses this boundary. Recommend it to any friends you have that are used to drinking the same old, same old. This, to me, is the bridge that needed to be created. As with anything that is a learned experience, once they learn and appreciate the value of local craft beer, there is no going back.

~ Kris Constable, Victoria.

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Written by BCbrews

April 9, 2009 at 8:52 am

New Brewery Ferments in Victoria

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Third-hand brewing system originally from Flying Monkey Brewery in Olathe, Kansas.

Third-hand brewing system originally from Flying Monkey Brewery in Olathe, Kansas.

Just when you thought Victoria had enough breweries, another one is about to float in on the capital’s wave of craft brewing success. Driftwood Brewery is a new venture of Kevin Hearsum and Jason Meyer, formerly of Lighthouse Brewing. Meyer, Driftwood’s brewmaster, is a BJCP certified beer judge, past President of the Edmonton Homebrewers’ Guild, and Alley Kat’s first employee.

Driftwood will be a production micro-brewery producing draught largely for bars and restaurants in the Victoria area, along with 650ml bottles in select private liquor stores. Some seasonal releases will only be available in bottles. (I think we can persuade Driftwood to send some of their beer over the pond to Vancouver, knowing Nigel Springthorpe at the Alibi Room will want to stop by on his regular trips to the Island.)

What makes Driftwood different? According to Meyer, “We plan on providing an eclectic mix of high quality brews with a continuously changing selection and a decidedly Belgian slant. Expect to see everything from styles familiar to Northwest beer lovers (we love our “C” hops as much as anyone) to wild and brettanomyces-fermented, wood-aged, sour mash, and other adventures in flavour.”

Driftwood brewmaster, Jason Meyer, stands in front of his vented mash tun.

Driftwood brewmaster, Jason Meyer, stands in front of his vented mash tun.

This is welcome news for B.C. We won’t have to import Belgian-style beer from Quebec, the U.S., or Europe to get our fix. There is a building interest in Belgians with many brewpubs and micro-breweries releasing fruit beers, dubbels, tripels, and Wits, Granville Island being just the latest with their limited release Belgian Wit now available. James Walton, brewmaster of Vancouver’s Storm Brewing, has been the most experimental with his phenomenal fruit lambics that were ahead of their time for sufficient acceptance by the local market — unfortunate because he is no longer making them. Spinnaker’s Rob Monk released a saison at the beginning of this year that tasted more like an abbey ale due to the predominant presence of bubble gum in the flavour profile. Nevertheless, I hope he continues to work on this versatile style.

Driftwood is currently under construction; they just received their brewing equipment this week. If you are interested in following their progress, you can track it through their Facebook page. And while Hearsum and Meyer have already made dozens of experimental brews in their pilot brewery, they don’t expect to be in production until the fall. Their goal is to produce 2,000 hectolitres in the first year and 5,000-7,000 hectolitres within five years.

Although they intend on exhibiting at the GCBF, Meyer doesn’t think they will have any beer to offer. Nevertheless, I”m sure they’ll be happy if you stopped by for a chat.

Driftwood Brewery
450 Hillside Avenue, Unit 102
Victoria, BC  V8T 1Y7
Tel: (250) 381-BREW (2739)
Fax: (250) 384-2333