An ale as old as the hills – Burton Ale from VIB & Gladstone

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On a cold November day in the Cariboo, keeping warm is an exciting activity to pursue. While this often takes the form of stoking a wood fire (or cosying up to the fire pit outside), beverages often begin to reflect this too. When I found this collab offering from Vancouver Island Brewing and Gladstone Brewing, the description of a 1920’s style (Although the origin seems to date back to the 1600s). Whatever the case, a 7.5% rich malty beer felt a safe bet to bring to the ranch.

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While the snapshot above doesn’t do it justice, it poured with little carbonation and head. Nicely viscous (I absolutely hate heavy beers that pour like water), it was a dark amber that smelled rich and almost syrupy. I’m no expert on my malts since I drink malty beers during a fairly short window of the year, but VIB lists Maris Otter, Superior Pilsner, Crystal, and Black malt in the recipe. And this combo delivers some liquor luxury.

Side note – while everyone loves a cold beverage (even if in a solid state like below), I recommend tempering this just a little to allow some of those flavours out. I left the bottle on the counter and drank from a tumbler and found that worked well.

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This is a limited release collaboration beer from 2 breweries on Vancouver Island and I felt fortunate to locate a bottle in North Vancouver. I think it’s not much of a stretch to imagine that I am the first person in history to enjoy this historic (specific) beer in all of the Cariboo. Just being a pioneer in my own way.

Kool it with the Ks

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My Kölsch awakening moment came years ago at the mighty Black Frog in Gastown where they were pouring Mount Begbie‘s offering. Amazingly I’d never had an authentic German version first, so my understanding of how this beer should be was determined by that BC craft beer. And it was amazing – my gold standard. I learned that it’s a hybrid beer that uses a lager technique with ale yeast. And that can taste really good, or also really bad. When I found Begbie’s Kölsch, there weren’t many others on the market from B.C. In the last 24 months there have been many new arrivals, with mixed results. So when I found Red Arrow Brewing‘s offering on Vancouver Island, I figured it deserved a chance to be test driven in the Cariboo.

Being that my first experience with a Kölsch was on a Summer day in Vancouver, I figured it best to try it on a hot day to give it a real chance. And add in that feeling when there is no way anyone within 500 km has access to one of these bad boys and I was standing there holding the only bottle of this quaffable quart, a gentle feeling came over me. That sensation that no one has yet had this experience up here, and that as the first one to do so I am incredibly privileged. If it doesn’t suck.

And fortunately on many levels, it doesn’t suck. It was a little sweet, but still Cariboo-thirst quenching and went down easy. It had a slight maltiness that wasn’t familiar with this style in my experience, but it was interesting.

My only dislike was the name, using a K in place of a C on a word felt very American, or maybe it hearkens to Chopper culture of which I know nothing. But other than that, I kant komplain about it at all.