Barley Mowat 

Whistler Valley Trail Chestnut Ale

with 7 comments

I am very rarely surprised by beers. I’ve tasted hundreds, if not thousands, of beers, ranging from simple swill to divine amber liquid. If you can name a BC beer, then I’ve probably had it. Unless, of course, you name one of the more recent beers to be produced by Whistler Brewing (a shadow brand of Kamloops-based Northam Brewing).

The reason is simple. I don’t want to generalize here, but every beer Whistler Brewing has ever made is simply awful. And the public tends to agree with me… except this one. People seem to like it. People whose beer opinions I respect like it (well, people whose beer opinions I will actually read seem to like it).

Not being willing to ever completely write off a brewery, I decided to have a go and see what the fuss is all about. My thoughts? Wow. This beer has definitely made an impression on me. Sure, this brewery has a solid reputation for making awful beer, but to go out and make this beer takes talent.

Folks, this beer is–quite simply–one of the worst beers I have ever had. Top ten, if not better. It’s a thin, barely perceptible pale ale that’s had a fucktonne of hazelnut extract dumped in it, and then a few bittering hops thrown in randomly because, well, why not? (Note: I know what the label says; the aroma is 100% hazelnut)

The nose is HAZELNUTS punching you in the face, not the rich toasty roasted chestnuts promised by the label. Instead, imagine you did a headstand and your friendly Starbucks barista double-pumped your nostrils full of hazelnut syrup (or, hey, walnut, because once you have that many chemicals in something it’s not about the flavour). This beer has all the subtlety and grace of Mike Tyson on a PCP binge, and tastes just as chemically.

Balancing out that massive syrupy hit is… I’m teasing you here, there’s nothing balancing that wall of sweetness out. A pale bit of hops finishes the taste, but this more serves to seriously underline the awfulness of what you just swallowed rather than to cut the sweetness by any appreciable amount.

Did it get any better with my fifth sip? No idea. Drain pour.

Coles notes:

Brewery Whistler Brewing
From Whistler, BC
Name Valley Trail
Style Nut Ale
SOA Now No seal awarded
SOA Potential No seal awarded
Drink Never; don’t even look at it. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Minutes until you no longer taste the artificial flavour 20 and counting
Availability Widespread LRS & LDB
Cost $5.75-7.00 per 650ml bottle
Similar Beers OK Spring Pale Ale with a triple pump of hazelnut syrup.
Chuck says Ugh. I want to untaste this.

Written by chuck

October 30th, 2012 at 8:07 pm

Posted in Beers

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7 Responses to 'Whistler Valley Trail Chestnut Ale'

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  1. Wow, for a second I was wondering if Chuck was going a little soft on me but Boom! 4th paragraph. Haha. Great post.


    30 Oct 12 at 20:15

  2. Wow. I guess whistler brewery really pissed you off at somepoint!


    1 Nov 12 at 10:14

  3. @Geoff – While I am a loudmouthed, ill-educated rant-a-holic, I don’t do politics when it comes to beer. I try my damnedest to not let the brewery of origin influence my opinion. I let the beer speak for itself, and I’d like to think that’s what I’ve done here. This beer is simply that bad.

    Sure, Whistler isn’t renowned for producing great products, but I’ll still give them a chance. If they produced a decent beer I would call it out as such; in fact, I’d make more noise about it than usual, as it would represent a significant change for the better at the brewery. For these reasons, I’d much rather see an amazing beer from Whistler than from Driftwood.

    Take Dead Frog. I’m not a fan of their beers, which are similarly horrible to Whistlers in general. However, Dead Frog’s new Fearless IPA is simply great, and I’ll be talking about that in the near future to make sure everyone else knows it too.


    1 Nov 12 at 11:20

  4. Remarkably, this is one of my favourite seasonals. Like you I thought everything Whistler did up to this point was forgettable at best. But I was first in line to get this when it came out this time around. I even emailed them to find out the delivery date and ensure I got some before they sold out (because they do – I don’t think I am alone here).

    I’ve always found it to be a creamier, less cheap-tasting, more vanilla version of Granville Island’s Winter Ale.

    Darryl Wright

    20 Nov 12 at 13:21

  5. […] you may recall, I’ve had some history with Whistler Brewing’s beers on this blog. As a result of that, I’m surprised that Whistler hasn’t posted pictures […]

  6. […] has a new bomber out there: The Chief Chipotle Red Ale. If you need a refresher, I’ve been rather harsh on WBC in the past, but I’ve also given props where props are […]

  7. Like Darryl said, its better than Granville Island’s Winter ale in terms of seasonals.

    I like to think there are no bad beers, just bad opinions. I may not like every beer, but then thats my own opinion.

    I’ve had every craft beer in bc, and beyond. I don’t like them all. But to say this beer is bad, and that the company is bad, rings a little hollow.

    You loose crediblity as a critic with your review as it is presently stated.


    28 Nov 14 at 16:00

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