Barley Mowat 

Sartori Sartori Sartori Sartori!

with 3 comments

To be honest, I was very seriously considering just making this entire update nothing but the word Sartori, but I finally relented when I realized exactly how fucking stupid that would be.

Yes, it’s that most wonderful time of year: the annual release of Driftwood Sartori, BC’s reigning beer champ. If you were following me on Twitter yesterday, you would have seen a series of announcements as I wandered from private craft beer store to store, marched to the counter and demanded “Where is it? WHERE IS IT!?!?”

My multi-location retail-focused adventure was caused not by low stock, but by said stores’ policies to limit sales per customer. Some as high as six. Some as low as two. Sure, these rules ration out the diminishing supplies of the golden elixir so that as many people as possible can get their yearly top up, but they also prevent me from purchasing–then consuming–ALL the beer and are therefore bad (note, similar rules designed to prevent anyone else from such hoarding would be good).

Most stores received about 10 cases of the stuff, and were selling it rapidly even before it made its way onto the shelves. In fact, even though I was in each store only 4-5 minutes total, at every one but Darby’s I was not the only beer geek with as many bottles of Sartori in my hands as they’d let me carry away… yanked right out of the still-open cases not he floor. Translation: if you want some of this delicious brew, you’d best either have it already or be on your way to the store right now. I am very serious when I predict most stock to not last the weekend. Except Darby’s. For some reason that store just doesn’t show up on the beer geek radar. Heck, they still have Spring Rite, but don’t tell anyone.

In the end, a grand total of 20 bottles proved enough to keep myself, my friends, and Sharon happy for a the month or two consuming them will take. Sartori will now become one of my regular beers until I run out. I tried cellaring it last year to discover that the freshness of the hops disappears over the course of 6-8 weeks. If you do wish to enjoy some mid-winter, then keep it as close to 0c as possible. A bottle I found in the back of the food-fridge (3c) was good 6m after the fact.

So, how is it? Is it still the best in BC? Yes, absolutely. This is a fantastic IPA. Is it better than last year? A qualified yes. As always, the hops are fresh and juicy. The switch to local malt has upped the local-ness of it, which is worth something. And I don’t know if it’s the local malt, but there’s also a certain Belgian-ness to it, something it shares with Driftwoods other two local malt beers (CuvĂ©e D’Hiver and Spring Rite). Of course, those are Belgians so take that comparison with a grain of salt.

However, the BC beer scene in general has improved significantly in just the past twelve months. So much so, in fact, that Sartori no longer stands out as the only truly awesome beer I’ve had recently. It’s still a 10, but a 10 surrounded by 9s just isn’t as stand out.

Sure, this is largely due to Driftwood itself (20 pounder, Fat Tug, Spring Rite, etc), but other breweries are improving things also. Heck, the fresh keg of R&B East Side Bitter I have *holds its own* against Sartori. It’s not as good, mind you, but it’s also not bad in direct comparison, sip vs sip. Not bad at all. And that’s a good thing.

Written by chuck

October 14th, 2011 at 11:19 am

Posted in Beers

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3 Responses to 'Sartori Sartori Sartori Sartori!'

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  1. That’s interesting how you pointed out the “Belgian-ness” becauseI noticed a bit of a peppery yeast character myself. Also, good point about how other breweries have stepped their game up and its effect on the Sartori.
    Yeah so it looks like me and you were doing the same thing last night. Someone on twitter said a guy walked into brewery creek asking for 2 cases and I immediately thought it was you. haha.
    BTW a whole posted saying Sartori over and over again would have made perfect sense. haha. Cheers.


    14 Oct 11 at 13:21

  2. I knew it came out yesterday, but for some reason the urgency of buying it just didn’t strike me until I read the first paragraph of your post. I picked the first liquor store I could think of that I knew would get Sartori, but which wouldn’t be immediately mobbed by beer geeks: Toby’s on Commercial Drive. They’re trying to run a nice liquor store, but it’s still kinda sketchy. Not Princeton sketchy, but sketchy nonetheless.

    Haven’t tasted it yet. Looking forward to exploring its Belgian-ness.

    Ben Coli

    14 Oct 11 at 15:13

  3. @Leo: Guilty as charged. They did not, alas, sell me two cases. I thought to try, though, since BC has sold me cases of limited release Driftwoods in the past.

    @Ben: Let us know what you think re:Belgian-y. It’s not clear cut, but it has that sweetness and lightness that is very reminiscent of some of their Belgian beers. And good pick-up on Toby’s. I absolutely would not have figured them to have any beer in stock that did not have “Light” in the name.


    14 Oct 11 at 17:07

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