I love that B.C. craft breweries seem to be so committed to giving back to the communities that they’re a part of. While the cynic in me knows that’s it’s probably all just marketing, I also know there are probably cheaper and more effective ways to market your brand than donating tens of thousands of dollars to a good cause.
But having spent a lot of time with craft brewers, I can attest that, by and large, they genuinely seem to give a shit about the world they live in, and are always looking for ways to give back. Regardless of their motivations, if breweries want to partner with community groups, help the environment, raise awareness about mental health or whatever cause is close to them, then power to them!
Which brings me to Vancouver Island Brewing’s new Pod Pack. Featuring collaborations with four other Vancouver Island breweries—Île Sauvage (Victoria), White Sails (Nanaimo), Twin City (Port Alberni) and Land & Sea (Comox)—one dollar from each tall can four-pack goes to the Pacific Salmon Foundation’s efforts to save the endangered Southern Resident killer whales by helping replenish their main food source: wild B.C. salmon. Killer whales are featured on VIB’s logo, so good on them for doing something to help the poor buggers. Also, check out the packaging—the box actually has a pop-out dorsal fin and each can features a different black-and-white design based on an actual individual orca’s markings. How cool is that?
Anyways, let’s talk about the beer. I enjoyed all four of the collabs, but the Rainshadow Blackberry-Raspberry Sour with Port Alberni’s Twin City Brewing stuck out for a few reasons. Firstly, it’s delicious. Secondly, Twin City never packages its beer, and it’s not exactly an easy brewery to get to, especially if you live in Vancouver (that said, I highly recommend making the trip, the beer is incredible and pizza might be the best on Vancouver Island).
As for the beer itself, it’s so damn good. The nose on this is all jammy fruit and berries. On the palate, blackberry and raspberry flavours lead the way with notes of cranberry, cracker and a bit of lemon, as well.
The really interesting thing about this Rainshadow is that the acidity is very balanced and complementary for a sour ale—there’s even a bit of residual sweetness to even it out and accentuate the fruit flavours. This is not a puckering beer, and would be a great gateway beer for those who don’t normally like sour beers.
At any rate, you can get a warm, fuzzy feeling knowing your beer money did some good in the world. Or maybe that’s just the alcohol.
Rainshadow by Vancouver Island Brewing (collab w/ Twin City Brewing)
5.5% ABV • 473 mL tall can
Appearance: Brilliant ruby red with a fleeting pink head.
Aroma: Blackberry jam, cranberry, fruit.
Flavour: Blackberry, raspberry, cranberry, tart fruit, lemon, balanced acidity, mild cracker-like malt character.
Body/Finish: Light bodied with a tart, dry finish.
Pairs with: Beef short ribs, moules frites and grilled wild B.C. salmon steak (sorry, killer whales!).