For 18 years, Victoria’s Phillips Brewing has been at the cutting edge of craft beer in this province. Beers like Longboat Chocolate Porter, Raspberry Wheat and, of course, Blue Buck, helped change the landscape of craft beer in B.C., popularizing the concept of beer with, you know, actual flavour. Close to two decades later, there’s more competition for craft beer shelf space than ever, but Phillips has emerged as one of the largest craft breweries in the province, thanks to a strong brand identity, decent beer and enough variety and experimentation to keep even the most jaded of beer snobs interested.
So to celebrate it’s 18th birthday, Phillips took a road trip to Alberta to buy beer looked to its past for inspiration, with a classic West Coast IPA, but with a typical Phillips twist: Grainbow is made with a whopping 18 different grains, some of which I’ve never even heard of. Teff? Freekeh? Kamut? I think they might be making some of this stuff up. As if that wasn’t enough, there’s six different varieties of Pacific Northwest hops, too.
I’m not sure if Phillips just grabbed all the leftovers from the pantry, but the result is actually pretty damn delicious. This being the year 2019, Grainbow is naturally hazy as anything, but with a decidedly West Coast hop profile of grapefruit, citrus, melon and pine, as opposed to the more tropical East Coast style. There’s some real hop bitterness here, but it’s well-supported by that wacky grain bill, offering notes of cereal, cracker, grain and a bit of spice and a lovely silky mouthfeel. Grainbow is actually very well-balanced, which is quite the feat considering all the variables at play in this beer.
Phillips is only turning 18 once, so grab this one while you can.
Grainbow by Phillips Brewing & Malting Co.
West Coast IPA • 6.3% ABV • 473 mL tall cans
Appearance: Hazy straw gold with a thick-ass white head that just won’t quit.
Aroma: Grapefruit, citrus, pine, passion fruit, bread dough.
Flavour: Grapefruit, citrus, melon, pine, stone fruit, passion fruit, grain, cracker, bread.
Body/Finish: Medium bodied with a dry finish and moderate hop bitterness.
Pairs with: Fried chicken, pork carnitas, lottery tickets and voting.