It’s easy to get stuck in the Vancouver bubble. The city has everything you need, usually within walking distance, so why bother venturing further afield? World-class restaurants? Check! Killer coffee? Cheque! The best dang bunch of craft breweries just about anywhere? Checkity-czeching-check! I mean, have you been east of Boundary lately? I hear people drive pickup trucks and have these things called “yards.” Weird.
This may come as a shock to many bubble-dwelling Vancouverites, but there is, in fact, life beyond the city’s borders. This week I encourage you to embrace the unfamiliar and explore the many delights that exist all over this great big delicious province of ours.
Where better to do just that than the exotic seaside city of Nanaimo! The ol’ Harbour City is going through a bit of renaissance, lately. It doesn’t smell nearly as bad as it used to, and acid wash jeans are back in fashion, so things are really looking up!
Nanaimo’s downtown is actually pretty cool. With some decent restaurants and pubs, lots of historic buildings and a shockingly awesome record store, it’s a far cry from the never-ending strip mall hell you see from the highway. And while much of Nanaimo might still be helplessly clinging to the ’90s, thankfully the beer is legit.
White Sails Brewing has been putting out some pretty decent beers for the past four years now at its hip tasting room on the edge of downtown. It doesn’t seem to get much recognition in the Vancouver bubble, but White Sails has managed to pick up a ton of awards in recent years, including a few gold medals at the World Beer Awards for its Snake Island Cascadian Dark Ale, Mt. Benson IPA and Belgian Witbier.
Streetnames Saison is White Sails’ take on the classic Belgian farmhouse ale, with the addition of kaffir lime and pepper. Saisons are normally a little tart and peppery, so it’s a natural choice, in many ways. Thankfully, they didn’t go overboard with the spices; Streetnames is a well-balanced, extremely refreshing beer that’s perfect for these unseasonably warm days. The citrus and pepper are pronounced, but not overpowering, while the malt character is light with notes of wheat and biscuit.
By the way, the beer gets its name from the many ridiculous street names in and around Nanaimo, like Jingle Pot Road, Dingle Bingle Hill and Tiggly-Wiggly Road. Story goes that former Nanaimo mayor (and part-time amateur pirate) Frank Ney let his young children and his drinking buddies name many of the streets around town. Seriously, check this guy out:
Streetnames Saison by White Sails Brewing
6.0% ABV • 30 IBU • 650 mL bottles
Appearance: Cloudy gold colour with a pillowy white head.
Aroma: Citrus, pepper, wheat, spice.
Flavour: Citrus, pepper, wheat, biscuit, spice, clove, slightly tart, earthy, floral hop notes, mild hop bitterness.
Body/finish: Light bodied with a dry, tart finish.
Pairs with: Tom yum soup, doner kebab, Jordache jeans and a totally bitchin’ 1992 Chevy Camaro with the 350 V-8 and a Bootsauce cassette permanently stuck in the stereo that’s up on blocks in the front yard right now but I’m totally going to get it on the road this summer.
- The Spring 2019 issue of The Growler is out now! You can find B.C.’s favourite craft beer guide at your local brewery, select private liquor stores, and on newsstands across the province.