Barley Mowat 

A Little Perspective

with 3 comments

As anyone who reads this blog can attest, I like Driftwood Brewery. I like them a lot, in fact. Their regular line up of five ales ranges from good to excellent, and they keep on popping out new and interesting seasonals just because they can. Well, that and they have a large pile of old bourbon barrels just lying around cluttering up the place, and what else are they going to do with those things?

Bet you figured I’d go with planters. In your face, boring blog reader!

In many (most) ways, they’re the current best brewery in BC. Will that last? I hope not. I don’t say that because I hate the guys at Driftwood (anything but), but after meeting them the one thing I do know for sure they won’t suddenly start producing worse beer. And a province in which they’re the 10th best brewery means there’s nine better breweries. I want to live in that province.

That scenario isn’t impossible. The playing field has changed since 2008 when Driftwood opened their doors. Other breweries are taking interesting ale more seriously, like Phillips, Lighthouse and Russell. There’s even been rumours of Vancouver Island getting in on the good beer action. As well, new guys like Tofino have cropped up, and they’re here to play.

But, for now, they’re the best. That must mean they’re one of the best on the continent, right? Well, uh… no. Not even close. Again, don’t get me wrong. I love their beer, and it is very, very good. However, it’s not even cracking the top 50 best breweries in North America.

Take, for instance, this short list:

Three Floyds, Founders, Bells, AleSmith, Cigar City, Stone, Russian River, Surly, Great Divide, Hair of the Dog, Firestone, Bruery, Jolly Pumpkin, Dogfish Head, Cascade, Deschutes, Full Sail, Upright, Goose Island, North Coast, Boulevard, Green Flash, Ballast Point.

And many many more; those listed are just the ones I’ve tasted personally in the past few years. What does that say? Well, for starters it says I might want to reign in the drinking a bit, but it also speaks to the amazing depth and complexity of the US craft beer scene.

So what’s my point? Just that, as awesome as we think we have it, it’s good to pop our heads up once in a while, look around, and realize just how much further we can go.

Written by chuck

February 6th, 2012 at 7:00 pm

Posted in Beer and You,Breweries

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3 Responses to 'A Little Perspective'

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  1. Great Post. I feel the same way about Driftwood; I always say they are my favourite Canadian brewery but somehow this caveat weighs heavily in my mind. Their beers are great but somehow safe compared to our neighbours to the south. I feel like they could go so much further and they need the competition to drive them -and all Canadian craft brewers- to the next level.


    6 Feb 12 at 19:56

  2. @Sara — Oh they want to. They’ve been known to say that they’d like to be “the Russian River of the North” and ho boy do I ever want them to try.


    6 Feb 12 at 20:39

  3. As a Vancouverite transplanted to the US of A, I can agree with both of your statements here: first, that Driftwood is a very good brewery. Second, that it isn’t (yet) a great brewery.

    I wonder what it takes to level up in this case. Better facilities? Better ingredients? More creativity on the part of the brewmaster? A combination of the three?


    13 Feb 12 at 11:56

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