Another year another set of BC beer awards. Now I’ll admit I like awards they are fun a serve as a guide line to picking beers…BUT… These beers are not what a group of people subjectively decide taste the best these beers are the beers that people think closest to the guidelines as created by the BJCP.
This means if you hate Stout don’t bother having the top awarded stout because it is not the best tasting stout according to a group of people but the stout that tastes most like the style guidelines here:
Aroma: Coffee-like roasted barley and roasted malt aromas are prominent; may have slight chocolate, cocoa and/or grainy secondary notes. Esters medium-low to none. No diacetyl. Hop aroma low to none.
Appearance: Jet black to deep brown with garnet highlights in color. Can be opaque (if not, it should be clear). A thick, creamy, long-lasting, tan- to brown-colored head is characteristic.
Flavor: Moderate roasted, grainy sharpness, optionally with light to moderate acidic/sourness, and medium to high hop bitterness. Dry, coffee-like finish from roasted grains. May have a bittersweet or unsweetened chocolate character in the palate, lasting into the finish. Balancing factors may include some creaminess, medium-low to no fruitiness, and medium to no hop flavor. No diacetyl.
Mouthfeel: Medium-light to medium-full body, with a creamy character. Low to moderate carbonation. For the high hop bitterness and significant proportion of dark grains present, this beer is remarkably smooth. The perception of body can be affected by the overall gravity with smaller beers being lighter in body. May have a light astringency from the roasted grains, although harshness is undesirable.
Overall Impression: A very dark, roasty, bitter, creamy ale.
So with that understood here is my annotated list of winners where I tell you what I think about the winners in terms of my own subjective taste. In other words do i like the beer or not. My thoughts in Italics
BEST IN SHOW
Steamworks Brewing Company
This is the 3rd time Steamworks has won BIS and Brewer Julia Hanlon is the first female brewer to win!
–Solid beer no complaints, and I like that it is a year round beer to boot
DAN SMALL HOMEBREW AWARD
Sho Ogawa & Novia Chen (2nd year in a row!)
I know Sho and Novia and they make great beer!
RICHARDS BUELL SUTTON LLP – ROOKIE OF THE YEAR AWARD
Field House Brewing Co.
I think this is a brand based award personally, I didn’t have a lot of beers i’ve loved from them, But I can’t think of anyone more deserving… so
CBC PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD
Pablo Esco Gnar IPA – Boombox Brewing Company in collaboration with Machine Ales
I’m kicking myself for missing out on this one.
TIMBER BREWER’S CHALLENGE
Old Money Mild – Brassneck Brewery
INTERNATIONAL LAGER – 32 ENTRIES
1: 33 Acres of Darkness – 33 Acres Brewing Company
2: Vienna Lager – Moody Ales
3: Red Racer Pils – Central City Brewers + Distillers
I’m not necessarily upset by what I see here, but personally I’d grab a Twin Sails or a Steamworks pilsner over all but Moody’s offering.
GERMAN PALE LAGER – 22 ENTRIES
1: Red Racer Old School Lager – Central City Brewers + Distillers
2: Keller Pilsner – Persephone Brewing Company
3: Steamworks Pilsner – Steamworks Brewing Company
Oh wait here’s steamworks… it should have won in terms of taste, Twin Sails in the mix too.
KOLSCH – 19 ENTRIES
1: Steamworks Kolsch – Steamworks Brewing Company
2: High Country Kolsch – Mt. Begbie Brewing Co.
3: Arctic Kolsch – Swan’s Brewery
Kolsch can be fairly boring so I barely even care, but it is a shame that a dry hopped kolsch wouldn’t have a chance in this category.
GERMAN AMBER BEER – 21 ENTRIES
1: Gladstone Altbier – Gladstone Brewing Co.
2: Vienna Lager – R&B Brewing Co.
3: Potts Pils – Moon Under Water
Vienna is in Austria, Lager is blonde but a Vienna Lager wins silver the German Amber Beer category… Yellow dog makes a good Alt, and Doans.
EUROPEAN DARK BEER – 15 ENTRIES
1: Dark Lager – Steel & Oak Brewing Co.
2: Baltic Porter – Cannery Brewing Company
3: Red Racer Dopplebock – Central City Brewers + Distillers
HM: Brewmaster’s Black Lager – Okanagan Spring Brewery
Fine beers but how can 33 acres of darkness not be in this category and win in another? ugh who cares.
GERMAN WHEAT BEER – 14 ENTRIES
1: Demimondaine Dunkelweizen – Barkerville Brewing Co.
2: THIS IS HEFEWEIZEN – Moon Under Water
3: Weizenbock – Steel & Oak Brewing Co.
By far one of the weakest categories, Steal & Oak can take my money but the other offering, despite being good examples of the style are boring.
BRITISH BITTER – 20 ENTRIES
1: English Bitter – Foamers’ Folly Brewing Co.
2: Red Devil Ale – R&B Brewing Co.
3: Beacon ESB – Lighthouse Brewing Company
As someone who cut their teeth on english ale I’m completely lost. I’d argue that none of these are stylistically good examples of the style, and that the winner is arguably the worst bitter i’ve ever had! How Real Cask did not win this blows my mind.
BRITISH PALE ALE – 17 ENTRIES
1: Clover IPA – Big Ridge Brewing Co.
2: Paddywhack Organic IPA – Nelson Brewing Company
3: English IPA – Strathcona Beer Company
My only complaint here is the English IPA from Strathcona, i thought it was wretchid when i had it. I guess i will have to try again.
BRITISH BROWN ALE – 30 ENTRIES
1: After Dark Ale – Nelson Brewing Company
2: Tall Timber Ale – Mt. Begbie Brewing Co.
3: Aethelred the Mild – Foamers’ Folly Brewing Co.
Needs more Moody Ales.
SCOTTISH AND IRISH ALES – 12 ENTRIES
1: Classic Scotch – Steamworks Brewpub Gastown
2: Irish Stout – Raven’s Brewing Company
3: 1880 Export Stout – Moody Ales
No issues here
BRITISH STOUT – 10 ENTRIES
1: 52 Foot Stout – Barkerville Brewing Co.
2: Perfect Storm – Townsite Brewing Inc
3: 710 Oaked Stout – Faculty Brewing Co.
Can’t speak to these unfortunately.
STRONG ALE – 17 ENTRIES
1: Thor’s Hammer – Central City Brewers + Distillers
2: Wee Heavy – Persephone Brewing Company
3: Wobbly Bob – Red Collar Brewing Company
I’d drop the most recent Wooly Buggar from Howe sound into second spot and drop the Red Collar offering straight out.
FRUIT BEER – 50 ENTRIES
1: Pinot Noir Raspberry Blonde – Tin Whistle Brewing Company
2: Red Truck Raspberry Ale – Red Truck Beer Company
3: Tropic Vice – Dead Frog Brewery
Tropic Vice I find very artificial tasting, My personal Favourite is Berried Alive from Longwood Brewery.
SPICED BEER – 35 ENTRIES
1: Jackline Rhubarb Grissette – Lighthouse Brewing Company
2: Spruce Tree Ale – Tofino Brewing Company
3: Hibiscus Wit – Brassneck Brewery
I hate the category altogether
SMOKE AND WOOD AGED BEER – 22 ENTRIES
1: Entropy Series No. 1 – Dageraad Brewing
2: Inertia II – Brassneck Brewery
3: Thor’s Hammer Bourbon Barrel Aged – Central City Brewers + Distillers
No complaints when i see Brassneck and Dageraad winning.
SPECIALTY BEER – 28 ENTRIES
1: Roggen Weizen – Steel & Oak Brewing Co.
2: Londen – Dageraad Brewing
3: Sour Wheat Gose – Field House Brewing Co.
As someone who has had Gose from Leipzig I can’t believe Field house’s offering won anything-its simply a sour wheat beer.
NORTH AMERICAN LIGHT BEER – 19 ENTRIES
1: Hooligan Organic Pilsner – Nelson Brewing Company
2: Jerkface 9000 – Parallel 49 Brewing Co.
3: Cypress Honey Lager – Granville Island Brewing
Hey personally i’d take a Cariboo over the GIB but that’s just me.
NORTH AMERICAN BLONDE ALE – 17 ENTRIES
1: Organic Wild Honey Ale – Nelson Brewing Company
2: Postmark Blonde – Postmark Brewing
3: Dutch Pale Ale – Field House Brewing Co.
Nope, Dutch Pale Ale is an affront.
NORTH AMERICAN PALE ALE – 45 ENTRIES
1: Chase My Tail Pale Ale – Yellow Dog Brewing Co.
2: One Hop Mind – Callister Brewing Company
3: East Side Bitter – R&B Brewing Co.
Yellow dog is deserving, but how a beer called a bitter (as in english bitter) wins a north american pale ale category (hoppy pale ale) I’m fucking lost. There are so many great pale ales out there quick suggestion? Central City’s Pale Ale.
NORTH AMERICAN AMBER ALE – 23 ENTRIES
1: 33 Acres of Life – 33 Acres Brewing Company
2: Troller Bay Ale – Howe Sound Brewing
3: Thirsty Beaver Amber Ale – Tree Brewing Co.
All cool except the beaver, its mildly offensive.
NORTH AMERICAN BROWN ALE – 13 ENTRIES
1: Bandit Brown – Foamers’ Folly Brewing Co.
2: Slipstream – Phillips Brewing & Malting Co.
3: Kim-Ach-Touch Ale – Tree Brewing Co.
Bandit Brown is more than passible but I’m not sure how it wins the category.
NORTH AMERICAN PORTER & STOUT – 21 ENTRIES
1: Commander Imperial Stout – Dead Frog Brewery
2: Stag and Pheasant Imperial Stout – Main Street Brewing Company
3: Russian Imperial Stout – Moody Ales
They may have nailed this category.
NORTH AMERICAN IPA – 58 ENTRIES
1: Flagship IPA – Steamworks Brewing Company
2: Play Dead IPA – Yellow Dog Brewing Co.
3: The Ultra Deluxe – Boombox Brewing
Haze rules the day!
SPECIALTY IPA – 41 ENTRIES
1: Blonde IPA – Dageraad Brewing
2: White ISA – Red Truck Beer Company
3: YVR ISA – Steamworks Brewing Company
YVR ISA i feel is lacking, i might insert bottle rocket from phillips.
IMPERIAL IPA – 10 ENTRIES
1: 187 On An Undercover Hop – Parallel 49 Brewing Co.
2: Cosmic Wave Double IPA – Tofino Brewing Company
3: Second Anniversary Double IPA – Main Street Brewing Company
Bit of a boring bunch but i can’t think of anything that blew me away until the hazy IPA train started taking off- perhaps a beer like Space Armadillo takes this next year, or a double version of High five from yellow dog or a double version of Flagship from steamworks.
BELGIAN ALE – 16 ENTRIES
1: Jongleur Wit – Strange Fellows Brewing Company
2: Bier de Garde – Old Abbey Ales
3: White Gold Witbier – Barkerville Brewing Co.
BELGIAN STRONG ALE – 31 ENTRIES
1: Dageraad Blonde – Dageraad Brewing
2: Saison #7 – Main Street Brewing Company
3: Old Barn Saison – Fernie Brewing Company
TRAPPIST ALE – 15 ENTRIES
1: 33 Acres of Euphoria – 33 Acres Brewing Company
2: Central City Belgian Strong – Central City Brewers + Distillers
3: 10 Degrees – Dageraad Brewing
HM: 8 Degrees – Dageraad Brewing
NOPE, neither silver or gold are better than pretty much anything Dageraad has put out.
EUROPEAN SOUR ALE – 16 ENTRIES
1: Raynard – Strange Fellows Brewing Company
2: Cantus Fermus – Main Street Brewing Company
3: Bizarro – Phillips Brewing & Malting Co.
I missed out on Raynard but Bizarro was simply a bad beer like most of phillips kettle sours.
NORTH AMERICAN WILD ALE – 60 ENTRIES
1: Bodhisattva – Parallel 49 Brewing Co.
2: Sour Raspberry – Old Abbey Ales
3: Little Red One – Strange Fellows Brewing Company
As I complete another year of complaining about beer awards the theme coming through is although I don’t like the choices i can’t think of many better options. I can’t help but think although beer has been improving for years in BC its not progressing as the same rate it has. Sours were a great breakthrough but now we have a glut of mediocre kettle sours mixed in with a few superb ones. Even so, I’m confident that things will improve as more and more American beers enter the mix and push the bar ever higher!