When I first met the people behind Gladstone Brewing Company, they were in Vancouver to attend the BC Business Business of Craft Beer event. I had the good fortune of being invited to screen Brew Love with Joe Wiebe hosting the event. They were a cool husband and wife duo with big hopes for their soon-to-open brewery in Courtenay on Vancouver Island (by way of a garage brewing setup in Victoria on Gladstone St). Somehow we were discussing generosity amongst the craft beer community and how people literally will give the shirt off their backs to help another brewer. And then, as if on cue, I was given the shirt off Daniel’s back. And then we went to the opening of Main Street Brewing which was of course happening the same night. Because Vancouver.
But back to Gladstone. Their thirsty community gets much of their production, and then a bit trickles to the outlying communities who lap it up. I happened to be visiting Qualicum Beach when a neighbour mentioned buying up the Gladstone Pilsner from a local cold beer and wine, The Shady Rest. Hoping to strike gold, I swung by the shop and found the IPA in my fav format – the tallboy. I packed a couple of these into the back of my fridge at home for the next month and had to avoid staring at them when choosing a beer du jour. Flash forward to our May trip to the Cariboo and I stood there cradling the can, feeling that there was not likely another can like it for hundreds of miles. In fact, it was likely the only can in the entire Cariboo and I was about to relish that pioneering moment of being the first to ever drink this beer here.
Don’t judge me for my choice of glassware. When I’m the first to ever try a beer in the Cariboo, there are no established rules yet. I’m in fact making up all conventions as I blaze the trail forward, and at this moment a tumbler was what was called for. Also it was probably the only clean option.
But let’s get to the beer and stop questioning why I’m right. This IPA is a very classic specimen – nicely hopped, not too strong (6.6% ABV), an appealing colour, great nose and smooth going down. It’s not as much of a hop kick to the face that many West Coast styles offer up, showing a practiced restraint on the brewers part.