Barley Mowat 

Barkerville Brewing

with 4 comments

Okay, I’ll admit it. I’m a bit of an urban snob. At least I came upon this trait honestly, though. You see, I grew up on the island, and I’m not talking Victoria. Nope, I’m talking “The Island” as in thinking “let’s all drive our trucks into the woods, build a giant bonfire, and chug Lucky Lager until we pass out” to be the height of societal discourse.

You see, I’ve had to discover and appreciate urban culture for myself rather than have it handed to me as my birthrate like some bloody hipster. Heck, if I hadn’t come to Vancouver for school just in time for the craft beer revolution, I’d likely still be there today. Maybe even with a bigger truck. Definitely with a bigger gun.


Sure, I mock this, but the inner redneck in me
thinks this is pretty sweet.

So when we start talking about beer what’s made in small towns, I get a bit skeptical as to quality. If the general populace of that small town don’t know shit about good booze (as I certainly didn’t way back when), then they’ll buy whatever crap is brewed locally and talk a good streak about how awesome it is.

In short, small town brewers have a tendency to put out mediocre beer and never know better, because no one knows enough to tell them. Eventually, they get big enough to ship a few bottles down to Vancouver, then they get panned, and subsequently go out of business, leaving Smithers brewery-less again… uh… you know, in general. I’m not talking about anyone specific here.


It’s okay to kick ‘em while they’re down, right?

Thus, when I spied a screen-printed bottle of Barkerville Brewing’s 18 Karat Pale Ale in the local LDB a few months back, I reluctantly bought it expecting it to be bottled shit, or something even worse, like DMS-laden shit. Even though the brewery isn’t actually located in Barkerville, calling Quesnel home doesn’t exact get you big city cred.

Imagine my surprise, then, when the beer turned out to be pretty damned good. No, not just good, great. Now double the surprise you’re imagining when I stumbled over a bottle of their 52 Foot Stout and found it equally great. Well, crap, there just might be something here.

So I set out to get the rest of their beers into my mouths. The chaps up in Quesnel were nice enough to send along their Golden and Brown ales, and luckily my local Rogue Wetbar had a keg of their Wandering Camel IPA on tap.

Five beers brewed; five beers consumed. Are they all great? Nope, but they are much better than anything I’d expect to come out of Quesnel, and honestly better than about half the beer us Lower Mainland beer snobs are drinking on a daily basis. Are they worth driving to Quesnel for? Fuck that; nothing’s worth that. However, they are worth making some poor schmuck drive a delivery truck from Quesnel to Vancouver for. Heck, if I hadn’t moved to the city, that schmuck might be me.

Prospector’s Peril Golden Ale

APPEARANCE Clear as a bell golden colour. Likely highly filtered.
NOSE Thin cara malt (some Pilsner?). Simple light hops.
TASTE Smooth round mouthfeel, some diacetyl, gives way to a tad too heavy hopping.
STATS 5.4% ABV / 24 IBU / Blonde Ale
SHOULD I BUY IT? Meh. There are better local Blondes around.
RATING 3.5/5.0 (Above Average)

Hound of Barkerville Brown Ale
APPEARANCE Rich, beautiful, opaque, auburn; tight off-white head.
NOSE Light nose, some caramel/rye? Pepper.
TASTE Sweet malt, with metallic finish and slightly chemically hops.
STATS 5.9% ABV / 17 IBU / Brown Ale
SHOULD I BUY IT? Decent example of a brown, a style lacking popularity. So sure, buy it.
RATING 3.5/5.0 (Above Average)

Wandering Camel IPA

APPEARANCE Light aromatic hops. Citrus, light pine.
NOSE Pours cloudy orange/yellow. Thin tight head. Long persisting.
TASTE Little bit watery but good hops integration. Nice jackfruit citrus freshness. Creamy mouthfeel.
STATS 6.5% ABV / 48 IBU / English IPA
SHOULD I BUY IT? If fresh, yes. This guy goes over a serious cliff after about a month.
RATING 3.5/5.0 (Above Average)

18 Karat Pale Ale

APPEARANCE Light caramel. Some slight c-hops.
NOSE Pretty much perfect bitter/pale body with a tight persistent head.
TASTE Bam. Great slight roast malt. Well matched hops. Good finish. Great stuff.
STATS 5.0% ABV / 33 IBU / American Pale Ale
SHOULD I BUY IT? Some bottle variation, but I’ve had some killer samples.
RATING 4.0/5.0 (Excellent)

52 Foot Stout

APPEARANCE Dark with an eye-pleasing tight tan head.
NOSE Mild roast malt. Some booze.
TASTE Big roast malt. Some booze tinge (7% ABV). Tight and tasty.
STATS 7.0% ABV / 52 IBU / Imperial Stout
SHOULD I BUY IT? Damned straight. Might be my favourite.
RATING 4.0/5.0 (Excellent)


Not bad for a new brewery.
Now make me some Barley Wine.

Written by chuck

October 23rd, 2014 at 4:16 pm

Posted in Beers,Breweries

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4 Responses to 'Barkerville Brewing'

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  1. Haven’t tried the IPA or stout, but have been happy enough with the other three, especially the 18 Karat. Planning a big trip up and around the north and interior next summer, might have to swing by.

    Contrasoma

    23 Oct 14 at 21:20

  2. Destination breweries are fun and tasty. I draged my family up to sorrento for some camping just for a stop at cranog ales. So worth it! And tofino is so much more than a surf town. There’s a brewery there too!

    Forbiddenales

    23 Oct 14 at 22:27

  3. Awesome to see your thoughts on new breweries. I was fearing your next installment on the continuing saga of Dead Frog…

    ;o)

    Brent

    24 Oct 14 at 10:44

  4. Yeah, I know, I feel it too. While DF is an interesting story as a craft brewery that’s trying to reinvent themselves, it does get a bit played out.

    My next review will be of a beer that is NOT from DF, I promise. It’s from another local brewery trying to reinvent themselves.

    Oh, who am I kidding? I don’t play those games. It’s Stanley Park Windstorm. I’m reviewing that next.

    chuck

    24 Oct 14 at 11:28

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