Barley Mowat 

Best of the Mundane

with 6 comments

Let’s face it: winter’s basically over. I know, I know, there might be the odd cold front or, shudder, even snow yet. But for the most part, it’s just clear sailing from here on out. Every day it gets a bit warmer, the sun stays up a bit longer, and the siren song of the mountains gets a bit stronger.

Eventually (in a month or two), you’ll find yourself sending awkward emails on Facebook to that guy you sorta-maybe know from high school, but whom also happens to own a really nice boat/cabin/island/ranch. Then, inevitably, they’ll send you an invite for a long weekend in cottage country, and you can thankfully ignore them until the set date.

And this presents us with the question of beer. How so? Well, said vacation place is not only owned by a staunch conservative-voting rural-ite who thinks OK Springs is “adventurous beer,” but it’s also inconveniently located in the middle of freaking nowhere, and the local LDB has very likely not even heard of beers that you and I would consider “meh.” And, let’s face it, this sort of activity needs lubrication.

Oh sure, throw the WHOLE redneck on the fire. Fine, but you have to stay up until it dies down.

At least the nearest town isn’t so remote the best you can do is Canadian, but honestly, when was the last time you had OK Springs, or GI? Is it still awful?

Don’t worry, my friends, I will help you out. Between now and that fateful weekend, the intrepid staff over here at Barley Mowat will taste test those widely-available-but-not-quite-as-bad-as-Molson brews, and let you know which ones to get.

I plan to do this in two stages. First up are amber ales, and secondly we’ll look at lagers.

But before we can get into those details, I need a shortlist for each category. My first draft is below, but the whole point of this article is to solicit beers I might have overlooked. In order to qualify, beers must be:

  • Brewed in BC. This is a BC blog, after all.
  • Be available in six packs. While I don’t condone drinking from the container, taking glassware on a long hike is awkward.
  • Be widely available in the LDB, or at least commonly available in a given region with known outback-type activities on offer.
  • Not have fruit, honey, or any other adulterants.
  • Not be considered a “macro” or a shadow brand there-of, or for that matter be an attempt at a macro-style beer.

Each beer selected will be compared on a broad variety of attributes, and drinking situations, against a reference beer that I feel exemplifies the style for BC, but isn’t likely available near the cabin. So here’s my shortlist.

Amber Ales

Reference Beer: Driftwood Crooked Coast

Lighthouse Race Rocks
GIB Gastown (assuming they still make this)
Cannery Anarchist
Stanley Park
Tree Thirsty Beaver
Vancouver Island Sea Dog


Reference Beer: Hoyne Pilsner

Lighthouse Fisgard 150
Bowen Island
Granville Island Island (no that’s not a typo)
Big Surf Laid Back
OK Springs 1516
Phillips Phoenix
Tree Beach Blonde

Let me know if I’ve missed anything obvious here, and also if you’d like to sacrifice your taste buds for the greater good (The Greater Good).

Written by chuck

February 9th, 2012 at 6:40 pm

Posted in Beer and You

6 Responses to 'Best of the Mundane'

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  1. What about…shudder….Cariboo? Or is that macro?


    9 Feb 12 at 22:01

  2. On the glassware front, MEC has a good line of collapsable or packable glasses that can come in handy.


    10 Feb 12 at 09:16

  3. Also, Red Racer does a lager that is available most places.


    10 Feb 12 at 12:39

  4. @Mike Yeah, anything PacWest is clearly aimed at the Macro market. The intent here is to find the best bland style beer what’s popularly available, but still keep things firmly on the “I would drink that” side

    @PeeSeeGee Actually, the CC Lager isn’t really that broadly available outside of Vancouver and Victoria (or the other large cities). Believe me, I’ve looked 🙂


    11 Feb 12 at 12:06

  5. As long as this little experiment doesn’t last until the *actual* summer, I wish you the best of luck.


    13 Feb 12 at 11:57

  6. […] I did one of those. Some time ago I made a promise to review all the readily available Amber Ales at the LDB. It sure seemed like a good idea at the […]

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