There was a lot to celebrate Saturday night at the 2019 B.C. Beer Awards, and one of the breweries that managed to turn some heads was Victoria’s Île Sauvage Brewing. This modest barrel-aged sour focused brewery picked up the coveted Rookie of the Year award for best new brewery, as well as a gold medal and a bronze for its beers.
If you haven’t had a chance to sample Île Sauvage’s beers yet, you need to change that immediately. Despite barely being a year old, brewer/co-owner Stephane Turcotte (who happens to be one of the only three Advanced Cicerones in the province) is already putting out some accomplished beers, and the tasting room is one of my favourite spots in Victoria. Whether its beers like the Loral Brett Saison (which picked a bronze medal) or the Tropicale pineapple ginger gose, Île Sauvage isn’t afraid to swing for the fences, and they were rewarded for that on Saturday.
Shiro Shiro won Île Sauvage a gold medal at the BCBAs, taking the top spot in the European Sour category. A collaboration with fellow Victoria newcomer Whistle Buoy Brewing (which won bronze for its Scandinavian golden ale, Gulagubben, in the Specialty Beer category), this Berliner weisse (basically, a low ABV sour wheat ale, for uninitiated) was dry-hopped with Nelson Sauvin hops and aged on shiro plums harvested from local backyards through Victoria’s LifeCycles’ community Fruit Tree Project, which makes sure local backyard fruit doesn’t go to waste.
The beer itself is bright and tart, with a lovely fruit character and minerality, with notes of plum, apricot, gooseberry and citrus. The combination of plum and Nelson Sauvin hops, along with the beer’s acidity, creates an almost white wine-like quality.
Shiro Shiro is absolutely a gold medal-worthy beer and is further proof these two breweries are ones to keep an eye on.
Shiro Shiro by Île Sauvage Brewing (collab w/ Whistle Buoy Brewing)
Berliner weisse • 4.0% ABV • 473 mL tall cans
Appearance: Translucent gold with pillowy white head.
Aroma: Stone fruit, citrus, white wine, lactic acidity.
Flavour: Tart, fruity, stone fruit, plum, apricot, gooseberry, citrus, balanced acidity.
Body/Finish: Light-bodied with a tart, dry finish.
Pairs with: Goat cheese, barbecued oysters, green salad with vinaigrette and smashing home runs!