Expedia recently released its list of Best Beer Towns in Canada, and the interwebs are abuzz with controversy as a result. Naturally, Vancouver was named numero uno, and for good reason. You can’t swing an empty growler in this town without hitting a craft brewery, and, by and large, they’re all pretty fantastic. Some are downright exceptional.
But as you look down the list there are some interesting inclusions and some glaring omissions. While Penticton took home silver—followed by Abbotsford at sixth and Nelson at the 11th spot—Victoria was nowhere to be found (neither was Port Moody, for that matter). The city that gave us the modern brew pub, inspired the craft beer revolution and continues to produce cutting edge beers from the likes of Phillips, Driftwood and Hoyne, got nary a mention.
Understandably, the city is crying foul.
If you want proof of the Victoria beer scene’s creativity and relevance, however, look no further than the recent collab between Category 12 Brewing and Abbotsford’s Field House Brewing Co.
(Field House, it should be noted, is undoubtedly a large part of why Abbotsford made Expedia’s list.)
The Experimental Brett Pale Ale is fermented with an interesting mixture of yeast strains, including funky Brettanomyces and Field House’s own wild Fraser Valley yeast that the brewery, itself, has isolated. The hops are equally interesting; the beer features an experimental strain simply called ADHA-527. Two thirds of the beer was aged for seven months in French oak barrels, resulting in a fascinatingly funky brew.
The nose is complex with Brett earthiness, tropical fruit and spicy herbal notes. Fruit and floral citrus dominate the palate, with mild tannin and oak complementing the complex yeast character. Despite the many elements competing for attention, the result is surprisingly well balanced.
This experiment is indeed a success.
Experimental Brett Pale Ale by Category 12 Brewing and Field House Brewing Co. (6.4%, 35 ABV)
Appearance: Translucent deep gold/amber, with a thick, pillowy white head.
Aroma: Brett funk, tropical fruit, herbal spice, citrus.
Flavour: Earthy, funky, tropical fruit, floral, citrus, oak, slightly bready malt character, slightly tannic.
Body: Medium bodied with a dry, hoppy, slightly tannic finish.
Pairs with: Stinky cheese, sourdough bread, lab coats and not taking everything you read on the Internet too seriously.