There are many cans of great beer out there that never see the light of day. Not that they go un-consumed, but rather it’s easy to just drink them straight from the can and miss the complete experience – aesthetic pleasure, aroma etc. Often with beer I’m familiar with, I skip the complete presentation aspect when I’m up here or if it’s just too dark to appreciate around the camp fire I don’t bother decanting. Spinnakers Raspberry Lager was one of my recent purchases where I wanted to know just how pink it would be. Knowing that all good craft brewers use pure ingredients and that this one would never use artificial colourants in their products, I figured I’d be able to tell by looking just how much raspberry would be in the beer. I like fruited beer when it’s subtle, but too much fruit and I feel you’ve ruined the beer. So it was with a little excitement and worry that I decanted my first tallboy of this offering and stood back to examine it.
Let’s back up a step and ask me why I bought pink beer in the first place. A 4.5% lager with some pink fruit additive. I’ve been spending time in the Cariboo for several years now, coming up in every season. And if there’s one thing you can count on up here it’s a pretty high, dry heat on the July long weekend. Like 35C on a hot one. It was 33.8C at the peak today, which was around 4pm. So down in North Vancouver at Toby’s Liquor Store, I was trying to imagine that perfect, early hot evening, thirst-quenching kind of beer when I chanced upon this 4-pack from Spinnakers. I knew I had several IPA iterations from Port Moody’s Twin Sails Brewing, a new IPA from Steel & Oak, and a whole mess of random bombers, some old stuff left over from New Years (the cellar at the ranch house keeps a uniform temperature year-round), but not much in the light/sessionable category.
So pulling a chilled can of raspberry lager at 4:45 PM and sitting some in shade at 29 degrees, this felt like the right 8 IBU hit at the right time in the right place. Because context is everything. It would not taste the same at -19C while I was stoking the wood stove.
The entire premise of this blog is staking claim to be the first person to enjoy a specific craft beer in British Columbia’s Cariboo region. Partly because most of these beers are so hard to find and consumed so fast upon release, I doubt many ever travel far. And Partly because the liquor stores that I’ve come upon up in the Cariboo carry a lot of Bud and Kokanee. But mostly because it’s a fun claim to stake and until I’m proven wrong, I’m the first. So here it is – I’m the first guy to drink Spinnakers Raspberry Lager in the Cariboo. Live with it.