There’s a lot of great beers being served at this year’s GCBF. With such a wide variety of brews on offer it can be a little overwhelming to chose what to try in the limited time available.
I realize that not everyone is like me with the alcohol tolerance of a Norse god and a replaceable liver, so I thought it would be a good idea to make list of what I think will be this year’s unmissable beers.
In addition to the below, make sure to check out The Drake cask tent, where they will have tons of interesting and unique one-off beers on offer.
Four Winds Brewing– Quadrennial
Four Winds is by far the best brewery in BC and a contender for the best in Canada. I got a chance to try Quadrennial at Farmhouse Fest this year and I still have dreams about it. It’s a four-year barrel aged dark American-style sour ale, conditioned on blackcurrants. OMFG!
Twin Sails Brewing – Dad Jokes
I might have a little bit of an obsession with Twin Sails. There… I said it. These guys just make fun beers and love to play around and experiment. To that end they make almost-weekly small batches of test beers that are only available in their tasting room and this 100% El Dorado hopped DIPA is one of those! Hopefully they are kind enough to bring me a can for my ever-growing collection. Hint! Hint!
If you haven’t tried them yet, also try Con Leche and Dat Juice—I love those beers.
Faculty Brewing – 713 Balsamic Stout
This one is definitely not for the casual beer drinking. Faculty loves to experiment with their beers and the numbers assigned to the beers indicate how challenging they are—713 is pretty up there.
For this one they infused their award-winning Oaked Stout with balsamic reduction. I’m imagining a maltier and less sour version of Duchesse De Bourgogne.
Steel & Oak Brewing – Steinbier
Steel & Oak specializes in traditional German-style beers. For this unique lager, they collaborated with Germany’s Freigeist Bierkultur.
Steinbier which translates to “stone beer” in German was created by pouring the wort over hot granite rocks, instantly bringing it to a boil, causing the malt sugars to caramelize and creating clouds of piping hot hot steam—resulting in a lager with a malt-candy-like finish.
Moon Under Water Brewery – 4 Year V (cask)
Moon Under Water just release their 5th year anniversary wheat wine, but as a special treat for this year’s GCBF they’ve taken this year’s release and blended it with barrels of last year’s 4th year anniversary wheat ale, which has been aging for 12 months. Beware though, it’s 11.5%!
Field House Brewing – Field House X Brassneck – Wild Brett Wasp Ale
Inspired by a Brassneck beer called Buzzkill, this beer was fermented with yeast harvested from a wasp’s gut and finished with Brettanomyces. It was then left overnight in Fieldhouse’s Copper Coolship with elderflower and hops, allowing the beer to collect micro flora and fauna from the cool pacific night air, while naturally bringing it down to fermentation temperatures.
Brassneck Brewery – Red Currant Changeling
Brassneck’s Changeling is a very tart kettle sour that is brewed using a different fruit every time. This new variant is brewed with red currants and if it’s like any of the previous iterations, it should be divine!
Moody Ales – Boss Juice Double IPA
I’m a sucker for my hazy NE IPAs, especially DIPAs. They even added Saccharomyces Trois to this one to this one to give it a little tartness and funk. They say it has notes of pineapple, mango, and citrus—sounds amazing!
Salt Spring Island Brewing – Apple Belgian (cask)
I got to try this one up at the Cowichan Beer Festival last month and was really impressed. It is brewed with Begian yeast, crystal hops, specialty malts, and 100% pure BC apple juice to create a crisp summer ale with subtle hints of spice and malt sweetness.
Lighthouse Brewing – Ryujin
This plum-infused tripel is a special collaboration with Fuggles & Warlock and is said to have aromas and flavours of spice, clove, and plum. I can’t wait to try it.
While you are there, also make sure to try the new Ahtanum hop variant of their Numbskull IIPA.
Fuggles & Warlock Craftworks – Last Strawberry-Guava Wit (cask)
This special cask of their Last Strawberry wit has been infused with extra strawberry puree, guava puree, and honey!
Also check out their Gin & Lime pilsner. That stuff is legit!
Townsite Brewing – Bois Savauge (cask)
This unique barrel-aged ale was fermented with wild yeast found in the Townsite barrel room. Expect farmhouse funk and tart acidity with notes of cherry and stonefruit on the palate.
Hoyne Brewing – Dark Side of the Farm (cask)
It’s very rare that Hoyne puts on a special cask for this sort of event, so I’m very curious to try this one out. They say that it is dangerously dark, mysteriously light, and magically infused with Sea Bluff Farm’s blackberries.
Sooke Oceanside Brewery – High Tide Rye – Imperial Rye Ale (Friday cask)
I’m a big fan of rye in beer. It just gives beer such a dry spicy character that I love! This imperial ale is brewed with unmalted rye and a big dose of North American hops.
Vancouver Island Brewing – Burton Ale
This is a special collaboration with Gladstone Brewing. The Burton ale is an amber ale that originates in 16th century Burton-on-Trent, England and acted as the inspiration for modern IPAs.
Category 12 Brewing – Brett Pale Ale (cask)
C12 always brings a great unique cask to GCBF. This year they are bringing a pilot-brewed Brett pale ale that is said to be deliciously fruity with a smooth, subtle finish.
Beau’s All-Natural Brewing – Buenos Dias Gruit Ale
Buenos Dias is a gruit, which is centuries-old style of ale that uses bittering agents other than hops—in this case, organic lime juice, organic orange, lime peel, and sea salt. This refreshing summery ale has pronounced citrus notes with a touch of salt and hints of coriander. The finish is clean and dry.
Brasserie Dunham – Berliner Mango Weisse
This non-traditional Berliner weisse from one of Canada’s best breweries was brewed with mango puree. They say that it is dry and sour, with an exotic and spicy character. It sounds like a perfect beer to drink on a warm summer day.
While you are there, also try their Saison du Pinacle and Tropicale IPA. They are to die for.