Christmas Craft Beer Show 2016 Preview, including Beer and Cider List

Updated to reflect responses from more breweries

This Friday and Saturday, beers will be flowing, cheers will be toasted, and local (and some not so local) breweries, brewpubs and cideries will be celebrated.

The first (hopefully annual) Christmas Craft Beer Show will be taking place at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre, put on by RG Entertainment, a division of the arena operator. Being on home ice, literally, as the ice will be covered for the event, should make for a well planned event with very few issues.

I will get to the selection of beverages shortly, but one of the big questions showing up on the event’s Facebook page is regarding food. Many of these events in town have been served by local food trucks and caterers, but for this event, the arena’s in-house chef will be putting together a selection of food for attendees to enjoy.

For those attendees, $40 ($46 including service charges and taxes) will get you into the event for one day, and upon entry you will receive the souvenir tasting glass (4 oz pours), a lanyard, and two beverage tokens to get you started. $70 ($79 with taxes and fees) will get you in for both days, in case you need to pace yourself or just need to try that many more of the different drink options available. Drink tokens are $1.50 each, and are valid for both days of the show.

As for drinks, there is supposed to be a selection of 45 breweries, brewpubs, and cideries available at the event, and most if not all are bringing at least two or three different options to choose from, meaning you can expect more than 80 beers and 13 ciders different drinks to choose from.

With the event coming up in just a few days, I contacted the breweries that were listed as attending. Most, but not all, managed to let me know what they would be bringing and provided tasting notes, so while the information below is detailed, there may be some surprises when you get there. The list below is not exhaustive, and may be updated if new information comes to light.

Beers

Starting alphabetically, lucky 4 Mile Brewing Co. gets first call. The local brewery based in View Royal has only suggested one possible beer, but there may be more coming. In fact, there may be a combination of three or four beers, including Tangerine Dream, Rice Pudding Porter, Cactus Grapefruit IPA, or Zeppelin Pilsner as below.

Zeppelin Pilsner: (5.2% ABV, 24 IBU) Our Pilsner is brewed using only selected Pilsner and Munich malts from Bamberg, Germany to create a deep golden appearance. We used Bavarian grown Hallertau hops and aromatic Czech Saaz hops to create a pleasant hop balance. Slow, cold fermentation using a Bavarian monastery brewery yeast strain and extensive cellaring makes a highly quaffable beer.

Axe & Barrel from Langford will also be in attendance, and have cleared up the mystery surrounding what beers they will be serving, with three beers to be tapped.

The Axe Stout: (4% ABV, 20 IBU)

Winter Weizen: (7.8% ABV)   A dark Weizenbock. Weizen yeast gives this beer an aroma of bubblegum and spice. Bready-grainy wheat aroma. Strong malty- fruity ale with secret spices added during conditioning.

Coconut Porter:  No Information

Beau’s All Natural Brewing Co. all the way from Vankleek Hill, Ontario, a small town an hour west of Ottawa, and the furthest travelled of all the vendors, is the first brewery with a fully confirmed list of three beers.

The Tom Green Beer: (5% ABV, 27 IBU)  First, The Tom Green Beer (Yes, THAT Tom Green) is a Milk Stout that seems quite sessionable, which is always handy for a festival. The aroma is a complex array of roasted malt character featuring notes of espresso, and chocolate. Roasted elements also dominate the flavour, giving way to subtleties like slightly burnt caramel, and hints of nut(s). The strength of both the flavour and aroma is contrasted by an approachable mouthfeel. The initial dryness of the beer is subdued by a gentle flourish of increased body and sweetness in the finish. The end result is a sessionable, flavourful, and robust stout.

Lug Tread Kolsch Style Lagered Ale: (5.2% ABV, 21 IBU) Lug-Tread displays interwoven malt and hop flavours, subtle fruit notes, and a crisp, lingering finish. A satisfying Graham cracker malt character mingles beautifully with notes of freshly cut hay. A perfect year-round beer with satisfying, chewy malts to warm in the colder months, and a refreshing, crisp finish to quench a summer’s thirst. This beer has also won numerous gold medals at the Canadian Brewing Awards.

Wag The Wolf Hopfenweisse:  (6.8% ABV, 20 IBU) Wag the Wolf is a weissbier (wheat beer) that has been generously “late-addition” hopped with organic New Zealand varieties to provide abundant aromas of citrus and tropical fruit. Fermented with a traditional Hefeweizen yeast, expect pleasant fruit and spice flavours with a restrained bitterness on the finish.

Bomber Brewing from Vancouver has hinted at a couple of beers, going with a couple of dark options.

Russian Imperial Stout: (9.5% ABV, 62 IBU) BRONZE MEDAL WINNER – IMPERIAL STOUT –  CANADIAN BEER AWARDS 2016. Originally brewed to impress Czars, Russian Imperial Stouts needed to be high in alcohol to prevent freezing on the long journey to the Russian courts. Brewed with 14 different malts to create a complex, deceptively drinkable, giant of a beer, trip to the old country not necessary.

Choqlette Porter: (5.5% ABV, 18 IBU) Great taste is more than the beer in this bottle. It’s classy and quirky and vibrant and subtle. It’s chaos and balance, inately in sync. It’s not something you learn, it’s a second instinct. It’s old worldly charm with a modern day spin. Rich roasted malts with chocolate a l’ancienne. London and Paris at home in one drink. It’s just a few of our favourite things. 3 chocolate additions are done to build flavour and aroma, with French Aramis hops giving it a mild floral aroma beneath the roastiness and chocolate. Light-medium body with medium high carbonation. Colour is dark brown with hints of red and purple.

Bridge Brewing Co., also from Vancouver is another confirmed list, bringing two options to choose from.

Bourbon Blood Orange Wheat Ale: (5.5% ABV, 20 IBU) This American wheat ale is a crisp, refreshing brew. Pouring a hazy straw colour, this beer was brewed with the addition of fresh blood oranges and bourbon. Zesty and floral, with clean citrus flavours and a moderate bitterness this beer is ideal for any day.

Grinch Winter Ale: (6.5% ABV, 26 IBU) ’Tis again the season – the time of the year,
Where the brewers at Bridge create Christmas beer.
But the pressure was on, they felt in a pinch,
Could they create a good Mr. Grinch?
They stewed and reviewed about the brew to debut,
then finally approved, this beer just for you.
It pours a dark brown, with a slight hint of red,
It’s a rich winter warmer that will leave you well-fed,
Notes of caramel and treacle – all things good!
There’s even a hint of Granny’s plum pud’.
With ho-ho-hops from New Zealand to add notes of pine,
And some soft Christmas spices, it’s truly sublime.
So if it’s some true Christmas cheer you seek in a cinch,
Simply place an order today for the very limited, Mr. Grinch.

Category 12 Brewing, coming down the Pat Bay for the event, and recently having celebrated their 2nd anniversary, have confirmed three beers, with a nice balanced selection.

Excitation Cacao Nib Espresso Stout: (6.4% ABV, 30 IBU) Going around in circles along the same well-worn path? Break away from the mundane and elevate yourself to the next level of flavour with our rich, bold stout. Enhanced with cold pressed, organic espresso and raw cacao nibs, this beer may just incite bonding in ways only previously imagined.

Wild IPA: (6.9% ABV, 68 IBU) Our Wild IPA is fermented with an untamed wild yeast called Saccharomyces trois. This imparts an enticing tropical fruit aroma with a slightly tart finish that complements our hop profile. The result is an assertive IPA with layers of luscious fruit, citrus and spicy character.

Simplicity Ale: (5% ABV, 16 IBU) Showcasing organic spelt grain, this straw coloured, pearlescent ale starts with a lightly fruity and floral nose that leads into a subtle body with a crisp, dry finish. Clean and slightly bittered – with just a hint of European sass – Simplicity reminds us all to step back, relax and appreciate the finer details.

Coal Harbour Brewing Company, from Vancouver, has only hinted at one, but they may have more arriving with them.

Blackwing Baltic Porter: (7.5% ABV, 30 IBU) Inspired by the thousands of Still Creek Crows that fly over our brewery to their nightly roost, this Eastern European style beer is as dark as their wings. With balanced notes of dark chocolate, caramel and dried fruit, this complex beer is sweet, yet crisp and quaffable thanks to a cold lager fermentation.

Dogwood Brewing, again from Vancouver, has confirmed an all-organic lineup of three beers, also providing a nicely balanced ranged from a lighter lager to a nicely timed stout.

Organic Fest: (6.9% ABV, 20 IBU) Inspired by a 300 year old recipe for a German festival beer and brewed with Weihenstephan yeast, the oldest brewery in the world. Full-bodied maltiness and a touch of caramel sweetness makes this Marzen style beer smooth drinking with a clean finish.

Organic Honey Lager: (4.5% ABV, 15 IBU) Bees go to the end of the earth twice (roughly 100,000km) to produce the honey for our beer.  Crisp, clean and refreshing with just a touch of honey sweetness.

Organic Stout: (4% ABV, 20 IBU) This is not your typical stout. Refreshingly light and crisp, this stout boasts bold flavours of cold brew coffee, chocolate and a hint of molasses. Popular all year round.

Driftwood Brewery, situated in Rock Bay, has two options that they have confirmed for both days, but as a twist, they will also be bringing a cask of one of their specialty beers on one of the days. They wouldn’t tell me which day, although personally I hope it’s Saturday.

Blackstone Porter: (6% ABV,  IBU) A drinkable platform to explore dark malt! The Blackstone Porter has ample body to support the flavours of chocolate and coffee derived from dark specialty malts. A surprisingly-quaffable session Porter, and the perfect companion to good conversation when the rain is lashing at the windows. Blackstone Porter is available seasonally during the colder months.

New Growth Pale Ale: (5% ABV) New Growth Pale Ale celebrates the return of locally-crafted beer brewed with regionally-harvested ingredients. Driftwood Brewery and Sartori Cedar Ranch have combined their savvy to craft this unquestionably British Columbian pale ale. Sartori’s Centennial and Newport hops shine through in this refreshing session beer.

Specialty Cask: I’m not going to divulge what this one is, to spare the disappointment of those that miss out, but I will say that this year’s version of this extra strong beer has recently been released, and if you know what I’m talking about, you’ll want to make this an early stop.

Fernie Brewing Co, obviously from Fernie, have made the trek to share two beers with us, and both should be a nice way to warm up

Black Mammoth Winter Ale: (8% ABV, 25 IBU) To mark our 10th Anniversary in January 2013, we celebrated with a new limited release darkly delicious winter brew. Our most decadent brew – a rich, strong winter black ale. A healthy addition of chocolate malt, plus infusions of dark organic cocoa and Seville orange peel provide unique flavour. Extra aging on oak adds smoothness and complexity. It since returns as an annual Limited Release Winter Ale.

Sap Sucker Maple Porter: (5.5% ABV, 35 IBU) Our deliciously dark & robust Porter, with a delicate but flavourful touch of maple syrup, it’s a popular product with consumers, beer bloggers and judges. Popular with the educated craft beer drinker, who’s looking for a uniquely rich & flavourful product. Made with 7 Malts including Chocolate, Black, Carmel & Crystal. Maple Syrup added post fermentation that adds a slight maple smoothness to the finish. A British/Canadian Hybrid Beer Style – Traditional London Porter with a hint of Canada! Silver Medal Winner – 2016 Canadian Brewing Awards, Silver Medal Winner – 2014 Canadian Brewing Awards, Gold Medal Winner – 2011 Canadian Brewing Awards

Fuggles and Warlock Craftworks, always a favourite when they cross the water from the mainland for a festival, have three confirmed beers on their way for us.

Ryegar Rye IPA: (6.8% ABV, 68 IBU) Rye IPA with Mosaic, Columbus, Cascade, Nugget, Centennial, and Citra hops.

Dark Side Russian Imperial Stout: (9.9% ABV, 40 IBU) No information provided.

Pixel Pils: (5% ABV, 30 IBU) A crisp Czech-style pilsner with a pleasant hop bite that is refreshing with every sip!

Granville Island Brewing will also be taking the ferry over, and have confirmed three beers on the way.

Lions Winter Ale: (5.5% ABV, 22 IBU) Winter is coming—and you’re going to like it. With complex layers of vanilla, cocoa, and caramel, our Lions Winter Ale gives you plenty to get warm and cozy with. This brew is nicely balanced so the sweeter flavours don’t overwhelm. You could call it the ultimate winter comfort brew, perfect with cream-based soups and other winter comfort foods.

Small Batch Mocha Porter: (6% ABV, 25 IBU) JJ Bean coffee meets rich cocoa nibs in our tasty Mocha Porter. Accompanied by subtle caramel notes, this cozy fireside brew serves up a slightly roasted bitter finish.

Cypress Honey Lager: (4.7% ABV, 15 IBU) A soft malt flavour. A dash of locally-sourced honey. This mild, well-balanced brew hits the sweet spot, without being too sweet. Try it whenever you’re visiting the lighter side of the menu.

Hoyne Brewing Company, another local brewery in Rock Bay, have three beers that they have confirmed, although there were posts that suggested they were bringing Dark Matter and Off the Grid instead of Helios and ESB. Time will tell.

Appleton ESB: (5.2% ABV) Frank Appleton started it all.  He dreamt up, then engineered and built B.C.’s very first Craft Brewery, the Horseshoe Bay Brewing Co.  On that early system he brewed the very first batch of Craft Beer in B.C.  He went on to build numerous other breweries, and along the way he taught many brewers how to become Brewmasters, Sean Hoyne included.  He has passed the time-honoured craft of brewing fine beer onto a whole generation, so please, let us all raise a glass to Mr. Frank Appleton, and say Thanks!

Pilsner: (5.5% ABV) On the third night, I handed my sweetie a tall slender Pilsner. Perfectly poured. While holding it up and gazing either at it, or through it at me, she said softly, “you are so fine to me.” It was hard to tell if she meant to be heard. “Ambiguity, thy Name is Woman”, I nearly uttered. Whether she was speaking to me, or to the beer, it was merely semantics. The deal was sealed.  I would make it my life”s work to make fine beer.

Helios Dortmunder Golden Lager: (6% ABV) “A hearty brew for a hardy people!” In the tradition of the robust beers of the Ruhr district, this export golden lager is malt forward and moderately hopped.

Lighthouse Brewing Company, with the short drive from Esquimalt, will be bringing some big guns, with three confirmed beers.

Seaport Vanilla Stout: (5.5% ABV) The addition of pure Madagascan vanilla beans perfectly complements the rich roasted malt notes of chocolate and coffee in our easy-drinking stout. Well-balanced, with a hint of sweetness.

Nightwatch Coffee Lager: (5.1% ABV)  Light drinking, but full of pep! Victoria’s Discovery Coffee produces a cold brew concentrate for us that we use in Nightwatch.

Depth Charge Barrel Aged Scotch Ale: (9% ABV) Our first barrel aged beer is a great fireplace sipper. We aged the beer in whiskey and bourbon barrels to create this single tank, very limited run beer.

Longwood Brewpub, from up in Nanaimo, will be bringing three confirmed beers over the Malahat to tempt us, including a cask collaboration with Arbutus Distillery.

Island Time Lager: (5% ABV, 18 IBU) Longwood Brewery’s latest offering is a uniquely crafted lager. All ingredients for this beer have been sourced within 20km of the brewery. Locally grown and craft malted barley, along with fresh whole hops from our local suppliers have created this clean and crisp session beer. Sit back, relax and reset your clock with Island Time Lager, an “Obsessively Local Brew”.

Super G ‘Ginger Ginseng’ Cream Ale: (6% ABV, 20 IBU) With this beer we pay homage to a true Victoria classic. Generous amounts of ginseng give this velvety cream ale its virility and wood like character. Fresh ginger teases your senses with a quiet spiciness in this arousing ale. This is a blast from the past! Debut Release for the Season!

Ol’ Iron Tooth Stout: (Cask): No information provided

Mill Street Brewery, with locations ranging from Calgary all the way east to St. John’s, will be in attendance, and while they have a few winter beers that would definitely fit the bill at this event, they have yet to even tease us with any information.

Moody Ales, from Brewer’s Row in Port Moody have confirmed three beers, although one will only be available Saturday.

Vienna Lager: (5.5% ABV, 22 IBU) 2016 BC Beer Award – Silver – International Lagers Robyn, who created our Vienna lager recipe, likes to pair this beer with bratwurst. Sho, another Moody Ales brewer, prefers it with carnitas. Makes sense—this style, originally developed in Vienna in the 1840s, lost popularity in Europe over the nineteenth century but thrived in Mexico with Austrian emigrant brewers. So, as you enjoy our malt-forward yet clean amber lager, remember that from Austria to Mexico to Canada, pork and beer unite us all.

Sociable Pale Ale: (4.8% ABV, 28 IBU) A session beer with just enough of a citrusy hop bite to know you’re still on the West Coast, our Sociable Pale Ale hits all the right notes. It’s malty but light; it’s hoppy without the bitterness; and it pairs well with just about anything. It’s the beer equivalent of one of those people that gets along with everybody. Grab your friends and get Sociable!

Smouldering Smoked Porter with Vanilla Bean: (Cask – Saturday Only)  (6.9% ABV, 19 IBU) Ever wanted to drink the char marks on a steak? Now you can! Our Smouldering Smoked Porter contains copious amounts of beechwood smoked malts and is fermented with a clean yeast to showcase the smoky aromas of barbecued meats and wood fire. It is equally well suited to the summer, where it pairs well with charred red meat and the winter where it pairs well with the fireplace.

The Moon Under Water Brewpub, another Rock Bay staple, has confirmed that they will be treating attendees with a new offering, along with two more of their Belgian inspired beers.

Oranje Maan: (8.2% ABV) Imperial Mandarin Wit releasing  at the show and have
a limited quantity available.  It can be purchased as of December 1st by
gift pack only with a matching glass.

Creepy Uncle Dunkel: (5.4% ABV, 15 IBU) Pilsner’s creepy uncle. Dark and complex. The most misunderstood of all lagers. Maybe it’s the long decoction mashes, or the long lageringtime he spent in the cold…or perhaps he’s just a complicated dude.

Lightside of the Moon: (4.2% ABV, 15 IBU) Unfiltered craft lager brewed with rice malts and sweet orange peel for a dry, refreshing finish. Welcome to the Lightside of craft beer.

Parallel 49 Brewing Company, from Yeast Van, has confirmed two beers, plus a special treat with a cask on Friday.

Ugly Sweater Milk Stout: (5% ABV, 30 IBU) A North American take on a classic English style of beer. This beer is brewed as a smooth tasting stout and sweetened using milk sugar (lactose). The sweetness plays an integral part in balancing the roasted malts that give the beer it’s dark colour.

Wobbly Pop Pale Ale: (5% ABV, 30 IBU) A pale, refreshing and hoppy beer with supporting caramel malts that keep the beer balanced. The Northwest hops showcase flavours of oranges and grapefruits while the yeasts provide a juicy peach flavour during fermentation.

Cinnamon Chai Scotch Ale: (Friday Cask) Undosed salty with chai tea, cinnamon and cardamom.

Parkside Brewery, another Brewer’s Row resident in Port Moody, have also not confirmed any beers, but have suggested two that will likely be available.

Dawn Pilsner: (4.9% ABV, 25 IBU) A refreshing and sessionable Pilsner that pays homage to traditional German style with sublime balance between malt and hop.

Dusk Pale Ale: (5.3% ABV, 35 IBU) A relaxed West Coast Pale Ale with an emphasis on hop flavour rather than bitterness. Subtle malt combined with hop aromatics create a highly satisfying pale ale for any occasion.

Persephone Brewing, coming down from the Sunshine Coast, have one unconfirmed beer, and potentially more.

Black Lager: (4.5% ABV, 31 IBU) A full bodied dark lager. Roasty, clean and chocolaty with a graham cracker finish. Best Dark Lager (2nd place) 2016 Canadian Brewing Awards

Phillips Brewing & Malting Co., a short walk down the street from the arena, has three confirmed beers, including two recent releases that should be popular.

Anxiety Belgian Quad: (8% ABV) Incessent Christmas songs, the throng of the crowd, or the wild card of relative relations–whatever your challenges this Holiday season we hope that this big, bold, malty Belgian quad helps deliver some sweet relief. Anxiety is medium in body, pours a deep amber colour, and features aromas of sweet raisins and freshly baked bread.  Crafted with real Belgian Candi sugar and authentic Abbey yeast, phenolics and esters are slightly muted in this expression that showcases rich malts and a warming finish.

Missile Toad Imperial IPA: (9% ABV) ‘Tis the season to chill back at the pad with one of these toad-ally hoppy brews.  Missile Toad is loaded with fruit forward Ella hops from across the pond (New Zealand), to create a double IPA worth croaking about. Tropical fruit, citrus, floral and spicy—this brew covers most of the range of hoppy flavours in one bottle.  Though “balanced” is not usually associated with the IIPA style, Missile Toad drinks extremely easily with a dry finish and a bitterness that doesn’t hang around.

Solaris White Peach Ale: (4.3% ABV) This is no mirage…crack the code and unlock the secrets of the Beeramid. Solaris White Peach Ale is brewed with wheat and unfiltered to be hazy. It’s bright and crisp with big juicy fruit notes.  Life’s a peach…drink it up!

Red Arrow Brewing, from just over the Malahat in Duncan, has confirmed three beers will be on tap this weekend.

Idle Hands Oaked Orange Ale: (6.66% ABV, 35 IBU) We try to keep busy. It helps keep us out of trouble. That’s why we put as much time as possible into doing what we do best. Brewing quality, craft beer. Idle Hands pours chestnut brown and has aromas of orange blossom and vanilla. The head is bone-white and reveals flavours of toffee malt, candied orange peel and a dash of vanilla bean.

Sweet Leaf IPA: (6.3% ABV, 65 IBU) Distinct, pungent and floral, Sweet Leaf is an essence of the Island. This IPA is balanced by a medium malt profile and has aromas of stone fruit followed by a tropical, floral hop flavour.

Lager: (5% ABV, 20 IBU) Brewed with the finest ingredients we can get our hands on. This Lager is aged for an extended time in horizontal tanks to ensure the smoothest taste and utmost clarity. Brewed to highlight the subtle nuances of a quality craft lager, reflecting our west coast take on a true classic. All signs point towards a delicious taste experience.

Red Truck Brewing, from Vancouver, will be bringing over three of their core beers for a nice balanced lineup.

Northwest IPA: (6.3% ABV, 69 IBU) Ready to send your tastebuds into overdrive? This bright IPA is brimming with floral, pine and citrus flavoursthat give it a perfect dry fresh finish.

Ale: (5.2% ABV, 28 IBU) A blend of premium Belgian malts, plus Pacific Northwest hop varieties gives this luscious, copper-hued ale a wonderful complex aroma, a rich depth of flavour, and smooth drinkability

Red Pilsner: (5% ABV, 25 IBU) A dark amber with a light body and subtle malt start that finishes with sessionable refreshing pilsner dryness.

Riot Brewing Co., one of the newest breweries in the province, from up in Chemainus, have three beers ready to pour, definitely looking forward to seeing what the new kid on the block has.

Life Partners Pale Ale: (5% ABV, 32 IBU)

Junk Punch IPA: (6% ABV)

Working Class Hero Dark Mild: (3.8% ABV, 14 IBU)

Russell Brewing Company, from Surrey, has one beer that will likely be here, although there might be more.

Eastern Promises Czech Pilsner: (5% ABV, 35 IBU) EASTERN PROMISES ALWAYS RINGS TRUE and this beer is no exception. A classic Bohemian Czech-style pilsner. Golden hue, rich and complex malt backbone from superior Pilsner, Caramel Vienna and Munich Malts. Spicy bitter and floral finish from noble Saaz hops. Expertly crafted using Czech brewing traditions aiming to make the town of Pilsner proud.

Punch Bowl Northwest IPA:

Salt Spring Island Ales, a short ferry ride away, will be bringing a selection of three beers, including their Creme Brulee Vanilla Stout that will be on my list of beers to try.

Heather Ale: (5% ABV) An ancient brew dating back over 4000 years, Heather Ale is most often attributed to the Picts of ancient Scotland, who are said to have drunk Heather Ale for courage before going into battle. Infused with local heather flowers and a sparing amount of hops, our Heather Ale has a mild floral & honey aroma, a slight mead or cider-like character & very light hop notes to produce a crisp finish. A light beer, best paired with fresh & delicate foods such as scallops, prawns, ceviche, goats cheese or fresh fruit. This is the ideal beer for those who prefer a lighter, more delicate brew with very little bitterness.

Dry Porter: (5.5% ABV) An unusually dry and refreshing take on the Porter style. Notes of espresso and dark chocolate make this beer dark & delightful, while its crisp hop ‘snap’ keeps it from being too heavy. Enjoy this beer on its own, or with deep flavours such as roasted lamb, blue cheese & dates or anything chocolatey.

Creme Brulee Vanilla Stout: (8% ABV) Rich flavours of organic ground vanilla combine with roasted barley tones hinting at chocolate and coffee in this flavour packed milk stout. Creamy mouthfeel and a huge aroma complete the sensory experience. Tastes like dessert and packs a punch – a great sipper for a cold winter evening.

Spinnakers Brewpub, after the unfortunate fire recently will still be on site pouring three beers, all new, and below they also have a cider listed.

Dark Sour Plum: Brown ale barrel aged for a year on sour plums

Belgian Tripel: A strong Belgian golden ale, malty and sweet brewed with Belgian candy sugar

Fresh Hopped Sooke Bitter: (4.5% ABV, 40 IBU) This ‘special bitter’ was brewed with fresh local hops grown at Spinnakers’ own hop farm in the Sooke River Valley putting a modern, West Coast twist on the classic English style.

Stanley Park Brewing are bringing along one beer at least, with a seasonal twist on a brown ale and and IPA.

Foghorn India Brown Ale: (6% ABV, 50 IBU) FEATURE INGREDIENTS: Golden Naked Oats, brown malt, Amarillo hops. APPEARANCE: mahogany with ruby undertones. AROMA: toasted malt, roast nuts , & west coast hops. TASTE: crisp hop character, balanced / smooth finish

Steamworks Beer coming off a big win at the BC Beer Awards for both Best in Show and North American IPA for their Flagship, will also be bringing along a stout variation and their pale ale.

Flagship IPA: (6.7% ABV, 65 IBU) At last this steam-powered flagship has sailed into port. This Northeast style IPA is generously hopped with Mosaic, Galaxy & Citra and pours cloudy with an intense juicy, tropical fruit aroma that gives way to a balanced bitterness. Steamworks Flagship IPA is a confident and powerful brew perfect for discerning hop-heads and casual drinkers alike.

White Stout: (5.1% ABV, 33 IBU) Steamworks White Stout takes the rich typical stout flavours and body imparted from oats and barley, but without the dark coloured, roasted malts traditionally used in a stout.  Instead, these roasted notes come from first aging the beer with whole espresso beans from East Vancouver’s Pallet Coffee, and then with whole cacao beans from East Van Roasters.  The result is a deliciously unexpected brew that pours light gold with a thick white head.

Pale Ale: (5.2% ABV, 40 IBU) This northwest style pale ale combines hints of lightly toasted malts with a beautiful  floral & citrus hop aroma that tingle the senses. Undertones of malt sweetness & a balanced hop bitterness make for a very refreshing finish.

Strange Fellows Brewing, coming off a recent collaboration with Modern Times out of San Diego, will be bringming three wide ranging beers, including the big Boris Russian Imperial Stout.

Talisman West Coast Pale Ale: (4% ABV, 29 IBU) The Siren of the Seas is a fickle creature: benevolent or spiteful, she can bestow a safe passage & a bountiful catch, or provoke storms & shipwrecks. Sailors have long cast gifts of flowers, food or trinkets into the sea in exchange for good fortune. Talisman – our delicately dry-hopped & golden-hued ale with its tropical & citrusy aroma – may be just the thing to encourage the Siren’s blessing.

Nocturnum Dark IPA: (6.5% ABV, 65 IBU) With his insatiable appetite, the Wolf is guilty of devouring livestock & little old ladies, & is even thought to be able to swallow the sun. People of the old country observe strange rituals to appease his hunger, & never leave the house after dark for fear of being eaten. Maybe we’re not all superstitious, but it wouldn’t hurt to stay indoors with friends & share a glass of Nocturnum – our robust & balanced dark hoppy ale – brewed to keep evil at bay.

Boris Russian Imperial Stout: (9% ABV, 80 IBU)  Aged 1 year in bourbon barrels, A collaboration with Brasserie Trois Dames in Nov 2014, this was one of our very first brews and has aged in bourbon barrels ever since, developing a deep, dark, rich smoothness and leathery aroma. First brewed for the Russian Czar Peter the Great this beer style is as rich in history as it is in character. A huge roast barley and dark chocolate flavour give this 9% stout and assertive backbone. Suggestions of dark and dried fruits add complexity and peat smoked barley lends a scotch like nose.

Strathcona Beer Company have not indicated any of their potential beers, but if their offering at Fresh to Death is any indication, swinging by their station to see what’s available is not a bad idea.

Tree Brewing, coming from Kelowna, are bringing a couple of seasonal brews, and below are also offering a cider.

Vertical Winter Ale: (5% ABV, 20 IBU) Medium bodied Ale with nut and caramel flavours. Finishes smooth, with a subtle hint of Vanilla.

Red Lager: (5% ABV, 20 IBU) The 6th entry in our Raw Series. A light bodied lager, red in colour with a clean finish and a balance of spice and malt notes.

Twin Sails Brewing, our third offering from Brewer’s Row in Port Moody, has yet to confirm their beers, but they will likely have at least their doppelbock.

Doppelbock: (7% ABV) Twin Sails Doppelbock is a traditional strong, dark Bavarian Bockbier. Full bodied and exceptionally malty with a low bitterness. It pours a dark amber colour and has strong notes of chocolate, coffee and roasted fig.

Vancouver Island Brewery, one of the standbys in town, and a short walk away from the venue, they’ll be serving something new, something old-ish, and something you’ll want to get your hands on.

19 IPA: (6% ABV, 60 IBU) Named in honour of the path that thousands of powder chasers travel to get to Vancouver Island’s favourite slopes, 19 IPA has notes of citrus and tropical fruits with a refreshing finish and is described as a “tropical West Coast IPA featuring Centennial, Ahtanum and Mosaic hops.”

Storm Watcher Red Pilsner: (5.5% ABV) The all-new flavour of Storm Watcher Red Pilsner features biscuit and caramel notes with hints of dried fruit, a mildly resinous hop finish, and ends with a balanced, crisp pilsner taste.

Hermannator Ice Bock: (9.5% ABV,  IBU) Brewed in limited batches each year, Hermannator Ice Bock was first introduced by Hermann, one of our original Brewmasters, during the holiday as a unique gift to his closest friends and customers. Crafted at 9.5% abv, using a signature blend of chocolate and caramel malts, this German Eisbock is slowly cold aged in our cellar for over 3 months.

Victoria Caledonian Brewery & Distillery (Twa Dogs Brewery), another recently opened brewery just a short drive from the arena in Saanich, is likely to have at least a couple of their 5 offerings, although I do hope they bring out the pilsner for a try.

Whistler Brewing Co., coming from the mainland, will be bringing two beers, just confirmed this afternoon.

Chestnut Ale: (5% ABV, 25 IBU) Our Chestnut Ale is a true reflection of the fall. We’ve blended robust caramel and crystal malts to give the brew deep brown amber hues, for a warming and inviting appearance. But it’s the roasted chestnuts that impart a unique and bold nutty character, complemented by a high level of hops, for a clean but crisp finish.

Lost Lake IPA: (5.9% ABV, 70 IBU) Bronze Medal Winner at the World Beer Awards 2016. Bold and hoppy, this Northwest IPA has lively notes of grapefruit and passion fruit. It’s naturally carbonated and unfiltered for an au naturale experience.

White Sails Brewing, down from Nanaimo, is definitely one to watch for, 3 confirmed beers, including a World Beer Award winning Snake Island Cascadia Dark Ale.

Gallows Point Chocolate Porter: (5% ABV, 30 IBU) This delicious dark brown ale has a prominent malty profile, loaded with chocolate and caramel notes. There is restrained roastiness, balanced with a light handed hopping, allowing the malt flavours to shine through.

Mount Benson IPA: (7% ABV, 60 IBU) Medium bodied. This beer offers a well balanced clean malty flavour characterized by its distinguished hop bitterness. Delicious aroma of fruit and citrus.

Snake Island CDA: (6.5% ABV, 80 IBU) Medium bodied. Full flavoured with hints of chocolate and coffee. A healthy dose of Pacific NW hops to balance the dark malt
character. Dark colour profile that drinks like an IPA….delicious!

Wolf Brewing, also from Nanaimo, has only suggested one beer, but more could be coming along with that.

Porter:  (6.04% ABV, 30 IBU) Slick, suave, smooth: Our Dark Malt Porter is a seducer, overflowing with dark instincts. Featuring notes of espresso and cocoa with a subtle, dry finish, the Porter is a favourite for customers, connoisseurs, beer reviewers and writers. Robustly rich, creamy and smooth, Porter pairs just as well with a steak dinner or a triple-chocolate cake.

Yellow Dog Brewing, the last brewery on the list, and also the last brewery from Brewer’s Row, has kept tight-lipped about their offerings, so we’ll just have to wait and see.

Cideries

BC Tree Fruits Cider Co., from the heart of the Okanagan in Kelowna, is bringing their entire lineup of ciders.

Broken Ladder Apples: (5.2% ABV) Our original craft cider, blended from 6 BC Tree Fruits apple varieties.

Broken Ladder Pears: (4.5% ABV) Is easy going and all orchard. Crafted from our own, you guessed it, BC pears

Broken Ladder Apples & Hops: (6% ABV) Is our dry hopped cider, a tip of the hat to our craft brewing friends.

Merridale Ciderworks, taking a quick trip down from Cobble Hill, will be serving two of their core ciders along with their holiday seasonal selection.

Yule Fuel: (9% ABV) Our mulled apple cider tastes just like Christmas! Deep spice notes of vanilla, peach, cinnamon, and nutmeg make this a perfect drink to enjoy hot or cold with turkey dinner or by the light of a crackling fire. This limited release was created in partnership with the Zone 91.3 and partial proceeds support the TLC Fund for Kids.

Traditional: (7% ABV) English-style cider made with the perfect blend of European cider apples grown in our own orchard. A dry effervescent cider with a good balance of body, fruitiness, tannins, and refreshment. A favorite of cider connoisseurs.

House: (6% ABV) A refreshing effervescent cider in true English pub style. Crafted from a blend of English cider apples, it’s the perfect balance between sharps, bitters, and fruitiness. A favorite at local pubs and restaurants.

Naramata Cider from just outside of Penticton, is bringing one of their limited production offerings. Look for them to be with Bridge Brewing.

Cider Makers Select Apple Blackberry: (8% ABV)  A shout out to Naramata’s resident peacock. We’re shaking our tail feathers with this bad boy! Limited production. Ingredients: Not just apples. A few top notch blackberries in the mix. Tasting Notes: Blackberry fresh from the bush. No prickles – just damn tasty. It’s Cider … don’t over think it

Seacider Farm and Ciderhouse will also be making the short trip down, from Saanichton. The ciders they will be bringing are certified organic, with the exception of Rumrunner.

Pippins: (9.5% ABV) Pippins is a “sharp” style cider, thanks to the Yellow Newton Pippin apples we use and cool fermentation from champagne yeast. Off-dry and chapitalized to 9.5%, it is an example of a New England style of cider that was meant to be as strong and robust as North America’s pioneers. Pippins features pineapple and confectionary notes, and is incredibly food friendly.

Rumrunner: (12.5% ABV) Crafted with home-grown heritage apples, Rumrunner’s apples are hand-pressed using our traditional rack and cloth press, slowly fermented with Champagne yeast, then aged in rum-soaked bourbon barrels for a minimum of six months. Aromas of brown sugar and rum show the complexity of this semi-dry sparkling cider.

Wild English: (7.2% ABV) Wild English is derived from the spontaneous wild yeast fermentation of English bittersweet cider apples grown at Sea Cider, including Dabinetts and Chisel Jerseys. This sparkling amber cider is ultra-dry, robust and earthy, with distinctive tannins in the traditional Herefordshire style.

Spinnakers Brewpub

House Dry Apple Cider: (6.5% ABV) Spinnakers craft ciders are made from freshly pressed 100% BC fruit varietals, each individually fermented then blended and back sweetened to taste with freshly pressed juice.

Tod Creek Craft Cider, with a late confirmation, will have three, or possibly four ciders available.

Coastal Blue: (6% ABV) 100% juice, fully fermented, then back-sweetened slightly with apple juice for an off-dry full flavour cider. Not diluted with water, nor any refined sugars added. We then add local blueberry juice for an amazing west coast taste!

Malahop: (6% ABV) This is our triple-hopped craft cider. Like hops? You’ll love our cider that is made with organic hops from a small farm in Lillooet.

Tod Cider: (6% ABV)  100% juice, fully fermented, then back-sweetened slightly with apple juice for an off-dry full flavour cider. Not diluted with water, nor any refined sugars added.

Raft Cove Cranberry: (6% ABV) (Possible, not Guaranteed) Wild fermented cider, aged, then blended with BC cranberries for a crisp, tart, winter flavour.

Tree Brewing

Dukes Cider: (5% ABV) Made with apples from Kelowna. Crisp, clean and refreshing with a subtle apple flavour and a dry finish.

 

I want to take this last moment to thank all the contacts at all the vendors that took time out of their days to get back to me, and to wish everyone a fantastic time at the event this weekend. Events like this don’t run themselves, so appreciate everyone who puts even the slightest effort into making these things happen.

Finally, feel free to share this as much as you want (with proper credit of course), to give everyone a chance to seek out new beers they would like to try or old favourites they’ve had hundreds of times, and once again, Cheers!

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