“There is an ancient Celtic axiom that says ‘Good people drink good beer.’ Which is true, then as now. Just look around you in any public barroom and you will quickly see: Bad people drink bad beer. Think about it.”
– Hunter S. Thompson
The Brotherhood’s motto of “Bacon, beer and fellowship” isn’t just something we intone before feasting or holding dark rituals (although maybe we should, that sounds dope) it’s more like a philosophy. So when I’m looking for a beer recommendation I hit up a fellow member’s Facebook or Instagram ‘cause I know they have good taste. I do my part by drinking gallons of beer and spreading the gospel of good brew as well!
Here in BC the craft beer scene is so packed with choice that I’ve already finished one “Best Of” roundup this summer (you can read that one HERE) and have enough leftovers and new releases to create a new, albeit slightly smaller list. All of ‘em are from BC, all are available at your local liquor store in bombers and all are guarandamnteed to impress your friends, and loved ones with their gonzo flavours.
2016 Late Summer BC Beer List
Atomic Buffalo Smokey Red Saison – Phillips (Victoria, BC)
I’ve only just got into smoked beer recently and wasn’t quite sure what to expect as I cracked open this awesomely-labeled fever dream of a saison. A couple tentative sips later I relaxed, knowing I was in good hands. It is “middle ‘o the road” Phillips after all! *laughs* Big banana bread and saison spice aromas welcome you into a mild, smooth caramel body with just enough smoke to balance out all the sweetness. Great stuff!
Best Enjoyed: Sitting in the Pogo Lounge of the Beverly Heights Hotel, in the patio section of course, chasing Singapore Slings with mezcal on the side, hiding from the brutish realities of this foul year of Our Lord, two-thousand and sixteen…
Cry Me a River Gose – Driftwood Brewing (Victoria, BC)
Speaking of new, I’d never even heard of a Gose-style beer until a month ago! Due to this year’s tsunami of interest in old world wild-fermented beers, many different breweries are trying their hand at this 16th century German style of sour. I think this one’s the best of the bunch! It’s got a grassy ‘n floral aroma with a mad citrusy flavour, subtle spiciness and a really weird (yet authentic!) salty finish that hearkens back to the good ‘ol days when Saxons would brew their beers with the saline-heavy waters of the Gose River.
Best Enjoyed: Before attempting to rent a fire-apple red convertible for a journey across the dessert.
Featherweight IPA – Four Winds Brewing (Delta, BC)
This lazy summer beer seems a bit restrained compared to so many of our ubiquitous overhopped palate-shredding IPAs, but that may be why I love it so much. Sometimes you want something a bit lighter and easier to drink (but not sacrificing complexity!) carry you through the afternoon heat. This one is all that: Citrus on the nose, pine needle and herbs permeate a big bubbly body and a lingering bitter finish not unlike campari, etc. Malt and hops are both very light and the whole package comes off very refreshing.
Best Enjoyed: In the lobby bar of a Vegas hotel waiting to meet a Portuguese photographer named Lacerda and avoiding eye contact with nearby reptiles.
Naughty Hildegard ESB – Driftwood Brewing (Victoria, BC)
Brother Charlie is a bona fide beer expert and has been singing the praises of this particular brew on Facebook so much I had to try it out. Named after a naughty nun from the 12th century and featuring heaps of hops in her honour, this beer walks the line between ESB and IPA with big, huge flavours and unapologetic English-style bitterness. The aroma is all citrus and biscuits while the body rounds out with pineapple, caramel and deep maltiness balanced by a big hoppy finish. In anyone else’s hands, this beer might have come out unbalanced as all hell, but it’s Driftwood… They don’t make bad beers.
Best Enjoyed: From the press tent at the Mint 400, surrounded by the cream of the national sporting press.
Peak to Pier Summer Whit – Whistler Brewing Co. (Whistler, BC)
I’m all about the wheat beers; especially during the summer and Whistler Brewing (haven’t had one from them in a while) has teamed up with Tap & Barrel to produce this summer’s finest, smoothest whit. It’s got big peachy aromas, orange ‘n coriander flavour and a dry, toasted cereal goodbye. It’s like drinking late afternoon summer sunlight filtered through long stalks of golden wheatgrass.
Best Enjoyed: Ploughing through cactus fields and fences towards the airport runway trying desperately to get my attorney to his plane on time… Just kidding, don’t drink and drive!
The top image is via Dangerous Minds where you can mainline their fantastic “Hunter S. Thompson’s typical daily intake of drink ‘n’ drugs” article and the 1978 HST Omnibus from the BBC.