When I found out there was a beer tasting happening at Whole Foods Victoria, I was understandably a little skeptical. I mean, Whole Foods doesn’t even sell beer, right?
Well, then I found out they have a fully licensed sustainable seafood restaurant at the front of the store called Fin & Pearl, which is where the event would be hosted. Not only that, but the event would be curated by craft beer expert and certified cicerone Jeff Kendrew and that several of the beers would be paired with food. Suddenly this turned from an interesting idea to a “must attend” event.
The event took place on Saturday, January 14 and was completely sold out! The crowd was a mix of the casually curious and hardcore craft beer enthusiasts. This created a fantastic environment with a mix of people wanted to learn and those happy to educate. Jeff was a fanatic host and was incredibly knowledgeable about all of the beers on offer. The whole event was incredibly interactive, with a lots of very lively discussion about the beer industry.
The theme of the event was pale ales, but Jeff guided as through a a selection of ales from the maltier side of pales to the hoppier, then from mild English IPAs to their hop-forward North American cousins.
The food on offer from the Finn & Pearl was delectable. It was all top-quality seafood at affordable prices and their tap list blew me away; they have a wide selection of local beer from Phillips, Driftwood, Category 12, and Hoyne, as well as Todd Creek cider and Blue Grouse Wine! I work at Uptown mall and had no idea this place was here. I will definitely be back often.
The whole event cost just $15, including all beer, food, and entertainment, which makes it one of the best value tasting events I’ve ever attended. They plan to do these about once every six months, and I do not plan to miss the next one.
Thank you to Sarah Wagstaff for organizing this amazing event, Jeff Kendrew for hosting, and Darren from Category 12 for his interesting stories and thoughts on the industry.
Here’s are the beers we tasted (I won’t bored you with my tasting notes):
#1 Okanagan Springs pale ale, paired with clam chowder.
#2 Russel Brewing Blood Alley ESB.
#3 Category 12 Critical Point pale, paired with Fanny Bay oysters
#4 Driftwood New Growth pale ale, paired with fresh Fanny Bay oysters
#5 Wells IPA, paired with Salt Spring muscles.
#6 Driftwood Fat Tug IPA, paired with cheese (I forget what type).
#7 Category 12 Disruption black IPA, paired with blue cheese.
#8 Category 12 rye old ale, paired with poutine.