Whoa. 2016 sure… was a thing that happened, wasn’t it? However, despite the popular meme of 2016 being the worst year in recent memory, there was quite a lot of goodness in it as far as BC Beer goes.
So in what is quickly becoming an annual tradition, enjoy your hammering hangovers with this here list of things I liked in the past 12 months. Save your complaints for later today, though, as I’m still asleep. I wrote all this yesterday afternoon, and thanks to some advanced social media magic liberated from my day-job employer, automated its publication. Ain’t technology grand?
So let’s get to it!
Disclaimer: There was no voting as part of this process. This is not a democracy. This is me, in my underwear, telling you what is good and what sucks. I reserve the right to break, change, and re-write on the fly what few rules might conventionally exist for this sort of award system. That’s sort of how this website works.
This past year I got myself an electric bike. It’s pretty skookum. It also takes the reality that Strange Fellows is the closest brewery to my house, and converts that 2km of distance from a fun fact to share at parties to a practical reality for every day growler fills. Combine that with my work keg’s never-slacking thirst, and the result was inevitable.
I’m specifically calling out Callister here, as their brewery incubation program has the potential to launch a steady stream of new breweries. The recent growth of Machine/Superflux from incubator brewery to contract brewery really drives home this potential. As well, the safety of an incubator lets Adam Chatburn produce his niche-filling, delicious, low ABV cask sessionals which–let’s be honest–wouldn’t likely exist otherwise.
While there are potential contenders in this space, no one can match the regularity and quality of product flowing steadily out of Tilbury. About the only negative thing I can think to say here is that some of these releases are bleeding out of the speciality lineup and into the regular lineup, reducing the appeal of those corked bottles of nirvana. Yes, I just somehow framed Nectarous being available year round in a 650ml bomber as a bad thing. I’m confused, too.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Chuck’s hopping on the trend bandwagon with this one. Yes, they’re trendy AF, but they’re also damned tasty, and don’t contribute to hop-derived palate fatigue quite as much as NW IPAs. As an added bonus, the hop bill in NE IPAs is sufficiently complex that everyone’s take on the style is just a wee bit different.
If the spirit of this award is shining a light on someone in the BC Beer Industry willing to help new breweries come into existence, then it’s a damned shame I haven’t be-knighted Callister before now. Helping new breweries find their legs is basically the WHOLE POINT of the operation on Franklin Street (well, that, and pissing off the neighbouring longshoremen with their basic hipster-y existence).
I’ll be honest: I was not a fan of Twin Sails a year ago. I didn’t find their beers particular innovative, nor were they executed with the precision that a German-heavy lineup required. “Oh great,” I thought to myself, “another source of myriad, variable Doppelbocks and Hefeweizens. Just what the world needs.” I didn’t scream that opinion from the rooftop, though, because I like to give a brewery six months or so to adjust to their new equipment.
That was a year ago. Fast forward to today, and here you find me frantically refreshing their Twitter feed in anticipation of their latest juicey beer drop, and lamenting the relative unavailability of Space Armadillo. Thanks guys, another hot-shit brewery that I can’t stop thinking about. Just what the world needs.
Okay, fine, I know: they opened in 2015. See above re: rules. Besides, they didn’t really start cranking out beer until early in the New Year and, even then, didn’t start making great beer until sometime after that.
And, yes, handing out awards for “best new brewery” and “most improved brewery” to the same damned place is bordering on stupid. Hell, I mean, marketing something as “New And Improved” is one of my personal pet peeves yet here I am doing that exact thing.
So, to grammar-Nazi Chuck (and the rest of you lot) I say: suck it. Twin Sails is just that good.
And now, the grand prize of the 2016 Beerdies (aka the Golden Beerdie):
Yup, Dave’s got a beard. Good on him. It’s quite a nice beard, even, but Best in BC? “Chuck, you’ve gone mad!” you must be thinking. Well, it’s not the beard that Dave has what’s important, but rather the beard he could have.
You see, just recently he posted this picture as a beard-growing goal. This award is based entirely on potential. You grow that beard, Dave, and you’ll get two in a row. Sure, the odd batch of Mt Arrowsmith beer might have some beard-hair in it as a result, but that just makes the beer better, man!