Granville Island Brewing’s core beers may be brewed at the big Molson brewery down on Burrard (for the time being at least), but the original brewery nearby on Granville Island is still very much in operation and pumping out some quality small-batch brews.
There, brewer Kevin Emms has free reign, and his production of late has been mighty impressive.
If you don’t recognize Emms’ name, you’ll likely recognize his beer. During his time at Coal Harbour Brewing he was the brewer responsible for coming up with the recipe for their award-winning 311 Helles Lager, arguably B.C.’s most popular craft lager. So, yeah, he’s legit.
So while people may pooh-pooh GIB since it was bought by MolsonCoors, claiming it’s no longer craft—you can’t argue with the quality of the beers they are putting out. To be honest, I don’t really care who’s cashing the cheques, so long as the beer is good. And it is very good.
Case in point, GIB’s latest release in their Small Batch Series. The Pacific Northwest Porter really captures the essence of the West Coast with big, piney aromas and roasted coffee flavours. I’m starting to get the feeling this bloody rain will never end, but that’s OK, because the thought of hunkering down in some dark, dingy bar with a pint of this stuff makes me feel warm and tingly inside.
There are some bold flavours here, but they are all expertly balanced. The hop bitterness keeps the residual sweetness in check, helping to clean the palate of any lingering malt flavours. It’s creamy without being viscous, sweet without being cloying and hoppy without being puckeringly bitter.
The perfect beer for a rainy day, or week, or month…
Pacific Northwest Porter by Granville Island Brewing (6.0% ABV, 32 IBU)
Appearance: Black and opaque with a dense coffee brown head.
Aroma: Coffee, pine, chocolate.
Flavour: Coffee, roasted malt, pine, chocolate, caramel, toast, moderate hop bitterness.
Body: Medium bodied with a creamy, coating mouthfeel, but a dry finish that finishes clean and doesn’t linger.
Pairs with: Barbecued beef brisket, peanut butter and jelly burgers (according to the bottle), rubber boots and a walk in the forest in the pissing rain.