Barley Mowat 

Feature Beer: Dageraad Blonde

with 10 comments

From Burnaby comes a new Feature Beer. Ben Coli’s new Dageraad Brewery caught some local beererati attention with the release of Beta, an aborted batch of their Belgian Amber that was too good to throw out. For the outcome of an “oh shit, oh shit, oh shit” moment it was a pretty good beer. Heck, even if it was the outcome of a carefully measured and executed brewing process it would still be considered a pretty good beer.

Beta, alas, has come and gone, never to return. Replacing it are the first of Dageraad’s permanent lineup: Blonde and Amber. Amber isn’t quite as good as Beta was–frankly it could use a bit of dialling in–but that’s not the beer I want to talk about today. Today I’m talking about Blonde.

Oh right. That’s what happens when you Google “Blonde Beer.”
There actually is a beer in there somewhere, I’m told.

And ho boy is this a good Belgian beer. I should know; I was just in Belgium, and honestly this beer could slide into a Bruges café and no one would be the wiser. It’s not perfect, but its faults are subtle.

In addition to just being a lovely beer, I picked Dageraad Blonde as a Feature Beer for two additional reasons. First, the brewery is a true micro. Ben, Mitch and Erin are literally the whole show, and Erin’s only working part time. Second, this is the first honest-to-Gord Belgian brewery in BC.

Sure, others have flirted with Belgian-style beers here and there, but mostly via buying a vat of Belgian yeast from Wyeast and then cramming the kettle full of hops. Sure, I like a hoppy Belgian, but they’re not exactly authentic, now are they?

Enter Dageraad and their balanced, round Blonde. Buy some, drink some, and cellar some. This beer will improve with time, much like its Old World ancestors.

APPEARANCE Pours bright cloudy yellow with a thin, persistent white head.
NOSE Standard Belgian yeast esters: banana, lots of clove
TASTE Good mouthfeel. Sweet start and a balanced dry end, some citrus/lemon. Perhaps every so slightly overhopped on the finish, but really splitting hairs here.
STATS 7.5% ABV / <20? IBU / Belgian Blonde
SHOULD I BUY IT? Yes. Absolutely. Ignore the lumpy label and buy the damned thing.

Brewery Dageraad
From Burnaby
Name Blonde
Style Belgian Blonde
SOA Now Silver
SOA Potential Silver
Drink Now-2017
Bottles of this you could buy instead of a ticket to Belgium 156
Availability Most LRSs
Cost ~$8-10+ per 650ml
Similar Beers None locally


Seriously, let’s all go to Bruges and do a blind taste test… then just go drink Quads until we’re blind.

Written by chuck

June 20th, 2014 at 3:12 pm

Posted in Beers

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10 Responses to 'Feature Beer: Dageraad Blonde'

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  1. Nice to read about this brewery. I’m excited to try its beers, as well. I think, however, in your exuberance you may have brushed with some very broad strokes re: other BC breweries “flirting” with Belgian styles. Driftwood actually has A LOT of experience with numerous Belgian styles, none of which are particularly hoppy.

    Brewtal Truth

    20 Jun 14 at 15:38

  2. @Adem – Yeah, I glossed over things a bit there. The main reason I was excited is that Ben is doing Belgian and only Belgian beers, which should let him perfect all the subtleties that make those beers great, rather than push out one or two and call it a day.

    Driftwood’s thrown out a few tripels and the old Belgian Strong (as has P49), but they always go back to making that next giant vat of Fat Tug…


    20 Jun 14 at 15:41

  3. Hey Chuck,

    I saw you have Blonde listed as cellerable, which caught a bit off guard as I didn’t think it would be a suitable style. Care to cure my ignorance?



    20 Jun 14 at 15:53

  4. Seriously? I hope you can edit your comment because it reveals how little you apparently know about Driftwood’s beers. Two of their *everyday* beers are as Belgian as it gets. White Bark is a witbier and their Farmhouse Ale is a saison.

    You visited Belgium, right? Did you have any sours while you were there? Driftwood has spent a lot of time brewing sours. They’ve also done a dubbel, a tripel, an Abbey ale and probably others I can’t recall at the moment.

    Brewtal Truth

    20 Jun 14 at 15:54

  5. Heh. Chuck knowing “very little” about Driftwood’s beers.


    20 Jun 14 at 16:06

  6. @Adem – True, and that was one of the things that impressed me about Driftwood initially (and many things have since). However, they’re fairly light Belgian styles, and hybrid-y North America/Belgian takes on those styles at that.

    I don’t get all Belgian-a-tingly until you get that big yeast punch on the nose that makes them stand out, and to get there you’re talking dubbels, tripels, quads, abbey ales, and strong ales.

    The sours from driftwood generally are what I’d call North American Wild Ales (except maybe the first Bird of Prey). All great beers, but not “straight off the plane” in terms of style.

    Lastly, it’s the making Belgian ales their sole focus that makes Dageraad stand out. No hoppy IPAs and their weighty profits to distract them.

    (Also, I never edit comments. I stand proud by my idiocy 🙂

    @Andy – Yup. I’m not 100% certain HOW this beer will develop, but there’s enough going on there for a few years in the tank to be worth trying.


    20 Jun 14 at 16:07

  7. Driftwood’s Belgian beers have indeed been pretty good but I would tend to agree with Chuck that it’s still very noteworthy that Dageraad is committed to the style. It’s not rocket science to make a decent Belgian style beer, but the amount of tinkering to get from decent to magnificent is a major undertaking, and this level of commitment is basically required to get there.

    J Fuller

    20 Jun 14 at 17:57

  8. I wasn’t here to argue how “Belgian” Driftwood’s Belgian-style beers are (which is pretty ridiculous, actually), I just thought it should be noted that they have been brewing Belgian beer’s since they started. I’m totally excited to see this new brewery, as well, but let’s not pretend that no one has been brewing Belgian beers in BC.

    Brewtal Truth

    20 Jun 14 at 19:29

  9. I see what Chuck is doing here. He’s encouraging/promoting what will (possibly) blossom into something we will be to be proud to take down to Oregon (or Belgium) one day, while discouraging new breweries from creating more of what we’ve already got (see his previous post).

    I don’t often agree with him (cellaring hermannator/a lager?) but somebody’s got to encourage risk taking right from the day the doors open on a new brewery, otherwise you’ll end up with 15 variations of fat tug and not much else at your local taphouse. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that?) 😉


    20 Jun 14 at 23:32

  10. I’d say this one has a life of about 5 years due to bottle refermentation, might be pushing it at 5 years but done right and kept at a cellar temperature it should be fine for that long and develop nicely.

    @rob – Hermannator Eisbock is perfect beer to age so it mellows and balances out.

    I tried Dageraad Blonde for the fist time at VCBW’s Belgian Showcase and it stood up nicely against all of the other Belgian Blonde ales quite nicely whereas a lot of the local “Belgian” styled beers aren’t very close to their reputed counterparts in Europe. Dageraad feels like you have been transported across the world for a moment in time!


    22 Jun 14 at 23:05

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