Vancouver Craft Beer Week has once again come and gone, and with a number of well attended events, it’s fair to say that 2016 may have been the event’s best year yet. That certainly goes without saying for the quality of beer available, with more breweries than ever showcasing their unique brew.
While individual tastes may differ, we found seven of the best beers available from VCBW that you definitely should search out.
This list heavily features sour/tart beer: why? Because that’s what many brewers are pouring their concentrated efforts into these days, and it certainly shows in the quality and distinctness of each.
Four Winds – Nectarous
Starting with Four Winds is their absolutely amazing Nectarous. This is a dry-hopped sour with hints of peach, nectarine, citrus and passionfruit. This is usually a limited series but is headed to regular rotation, and that’s a great thing considering it’s the 2016 Canadian Beer of the Year.
Field House – Sour Wheat Gose
Field House from Abbotsford is a relative newcomer, having just opened this year, but they have absolutely nailed the Gose category. An 18th century German salted sour wheat ale, the Gose is flavoured with coriander, elderflower and salt harvested by the Vancouver Island Salt Company. It strikes the perfect balance of sour and salty, something many brewers struggle with.
Storm Brewing – Basil IPA
No list would be complete without a mention of Storm Brewing. While Storm was pouring a few of their more creative efforts like the cucumber jalapeno pilsner, the best of the batch is the Basil IPA which rarely comes around but always manages to impress.
Dageraad – Burnbarian
Dageraad’s Burnbarian is like the gateway beer into Belgian beers. Lightly spiced with coriander and brewed with oats for a silky mouthfeel, this is a highly sessionable Belgian table beer that goes down far too smoothly.
Red Collar – Cherry Sour
Yes, another sour on the list. This cherry stout from Kamloops’ Red Collar pours lighter than you’d expect and the cherry is subtle, not overpowering. A nice entry into sour beer, if your tastebuds haven’t adapted to the tart flavours yet.
Trading Post – Three Bears Breakfast Stout
Trading Post was one of the few that were brave enough to be pouring stouts in the blistering heat, so you’d be forgiven if you missed this. However, that’s no excuse not to search out this excellent stout brewed with dark roasted malt, Centennial hops and Republica Roasters coffee. This jet black oatmeal stout features notes of chocolate and espresso.
Strange Fellows – Coup de Foudre
Finally, Strange Fellows Coup de Foudre, which in my opinion was the single best beer at the show. For those unfamiliar, a Foudre is a giant oak tank typically used for aging sours. This is the very first batch a sour red ale, and as more beer cycles through the tank, it’s only going to get better.