Hop to It!

Also available in Monday Magazine, originally posted on October 1st, 2020.

This autumn, freshness is the theme. Fresh crisp weather, fresh new beers, and fresh new breweries are all on tap as the weather cools we all get settled in for the change of season.

One of the great, and necessary changes through this pandemic has been the growth of patio experiences across the Province, and the hospitality industry received great news recently that the temporary patio allowance has been extended to October of 2021. While in previous years, patio season would be wrapping up about now, it looks like Victorians will be able to enjoy a great selection of food and beverage while taking advantage of our typically mild weather (touch wood) throughout the fall and winter.

As the weather cools and the selections change, the thought of enjoying some new beers on some of the amazing patios throughout the region just sounds like a perfect match, so make sure to go out and enjoy this opportunity.

Some of those beers to look out for, at least for the limited time that they are available, are the seasonally appropriate selection of fresh-hopped beers, brewed immediately after harvest. Instead of processed and dried hops, these annual offerings use freshly picked hops and are brewed typically within a day or two of being harvested, providing a great opportunity to see what that milder, fresher hop character can do to a variety of beers. 

The local classic is Driftwood Brewing’s Sartori Harvest IPA, brewed with Centennial hops from the Sartori Farm in Abbotsford, but there are many other options out there to seek out. North Saanich’s Howl Brewing has made harvest time and foraged ingredients a key part of their ever-changing beer lineup, and their Fresh Hopped Chaga Spruce Tip Lager is a great example of that. Combining a variety of ingredients that you wouldn’t normally associate with beer in a light, crisp, yet flavourful result, but, like all their beers, and especially fresh-hopped offerings, they won’t stick around for long, so don’t delay in picking them up.

If you’re looking for a fresh new brewery to enjoy, keep an eye out for Herald Street Brew Works, not surprisingly located on lower Herald Street in Old Town. While not yet open as this is written, and after a handful of what have become common delays in the opening of a brewery, this new venue should be opening quite soon, in a fantastic space featuring a mezzanine overlooking the lower level.

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