Vancouver Craft Beer has ended once again. The week comes with much anticipation and then in a blink of an eye, it’s over, not to be seen for another year.
Year over year the festival gets bigger and better, and this year was no exception. With beautiful weather over the two day festival program, drinkers were able to not only enjoy the sunshine but also sample from 100 craft breweries and cideries pouring more than 300 beers and ciders.
We are now going to attempt the impossible and reduce those 300 brews down to a handful of the best of the best. Keep your eyes peeled for these in your local liquor store, or make the trek out to the breweries themselves to snag them before they are gone, as some of these are limited or seasonal.
VCBW- Double Dry Hopped Pilsner
This year’s festival beer was a three-way collaboration with Beere Brewing, Backcountry and Coast Mountain.
Coming in at a robust 7% ABV with a copious amount of Citra, Mosaic, Vic Secret and Enigma hops, the 2018 VCBW Sea-To-Sky Collaboration Double Dry Hopped Pilsner is not your average pilsner, which means it packs a punch.
Summerland Heritage Cider- Farm Pressed Gose
One of the most surprising things of this year’s VCBW was the ingenuity of the cider offerings. Cider seemed to present a more complex and creative future than what was happening with beer, and this was most evident with Summerland’s gose cider. Two styles I’d never think to pair but compliment each other perfectly. The dry/sweet profile of the apple hits with a hint of salt. It’s delicious and I could have drank it the whole day.
Field House Brewing- Pear Kolsch
Field House is consistently good, and this year proved no different. Bringing their classic salted porter along with a light and refreshing pear kolsch, the pairing worked nicely.
For the kolsch, they’ve supplemented the light fruitiness of the kolsch yeast with 300lbs of fresh anjou pears. This adds a luscious flavour and a boost of body to this crushable German style.
Mt. Begbie- Faux Paw Cherry Saison
I will admit that I have a soft spot for Mt. Begbie. They are one of the most underrated breweries in the province in my opinion, at least from a public consumer perspective. The Faux Paw may have been the sleeper hit of the festival for me.
When Mt. Begbie Brewing was building its new brewery last year, a bear walked across a freshly poured concrete slab, leaving its paw prints preserved in the brewery’s floor. This limited release beer, brewed with cherry purée, celebrates that curious bear’s legacy.
Mount Arrowsmith- Jagged Face IPA
Mount Arrowsmith has only been around for a couple years, but they’ve already made a name for themselves with their BC brewery of the year award at the 2017 BC Beer Awards. The Jagged Face IPA uses canadian pale & munich malt complement select tropical hops including Centennial, Citra & Amarillo to create a flavourful version of a well balanced, but powerful IPA.
Beere Brewing- Imaginary Friend Double Dry Hopped IPA
Beere Brewing out of North Vancouver has done exceptionally well with the limited time they’ve been open. Beere proved that you don’t need to get crazy with fruit infusions or sours to be able to have some great offerings at the festival. Imaginary Friend is jus that, a classic IPA that’s been dry hopped for some extra bitterness, leading to a very well rounded IPA.
Doan’s makes a great kolsch, they’ve been doing it for years. Odd Society Spirits makes great Creme De Cassis, so pair the two together and you get a fantastic beer. Lucinda is well worth seeking out, as the lightness of the kolsch pairs exceptionally well with the sweet and slightly tart cassis. A summer beer if I’ve ever seen one.