When it comes to legendary craft breweries in this province, there are dozens that have had a significant impact on shaping the B.C. beer scene. Victoria’s Driftwood Brewery has undoubtedly earned a place in that pantheon with its lineup of trendsetting Belgium-meets-West Coast beers. Fat Tug IPA quickly set the standard for West Coast IPAs in this province when it was released in 2010, and still does today. Sartori Harvest pioneered local fresh hop beer. Farmhand Ale was the first saison many B.C. beer drinkers ever tried—as was White Bark the first witbier.
Craft beer has changed immensely in the 10 years since Driftwood first opened, but the brewery has managed to stay relevant thanks to consistently fantastic beer, sharp packaging (including a new tall cans for its core lineup), and interesting one-offs and highly anticipated seasonals.
So how to celebrate 10 years, then? How about cracking open the best barrels from Driftwood’s barrel room and blending them to perfection. The result is Windcatcher, a sour ale that pays tribute to the brewery’s Belgian roots.
This isn’t some kettle-soured, toss-the-yogurt-in-and-wait-48-hours kind of sour ale. This beer is soured the old fashioned way, in wooden barrels, over months and years. The microscopic mélange of Lactobacillus, Pediococcus and Brettanomyces like to take their time, and we’re rewarded for Driftwood’s patience with Windcatcher.
There’s a lovely balance of acidity and tannin that complements the complex flavours of funk and fruit. Notes of pear, apricot and citrus are right up front, followed by a mellow barnyard character—damp hay, leather and wood.
Delicious and approachable, this well-balanced Belgian-style sour perfectly encapsulates everything Driftwood does well. Happy birthday!
Windcatcher 10th Anniversary Sour Ale by Driftwood Brewery (7.3% ABV)
Appearance: Deep translucent copper with a thin, fleeting off-white head.
Aroma: Lactic acidity, citrus, earthy funk, damp hay, tart fruit.
Flavour: Moderate acidity, stone fruit, pear, citrus, apricot, oak, wheat, Brett funk, damp hay, leather, mild tannin.
Finish: Medium bodied with a tart, semi-dry finish.
Pairs with: Birthday cake, piñata candy and the excruciating wait for everyone to stop singing.
- The Fall 2018 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.