7 Phillips Seasonal Beers I want to See Again This Winter

We all know the brewers at Phillips pretty much have ADHD when it comes to seasonal beers—they’ll make the most amazing seasonal beer you’ve ever tasted and after a month it gone and they never make it again.

The saving grace for those who love these beers has been the annual Snowcase, but if you weren’t aware, they aren’t making it this year. 😦

However, this year it seems that they have actually decided to re-brew a few of people’s favourite beers, like last year’s Scarface Cranberry Orange Wit and mostly recently the long-running Trainwreck Barleywine.

I hear they will be releasing a lot of seasonals this winter, so here’s the one’s I would most like to see:

Twisted Oak Stillage Barrel Reserve Scotch Ale

This 6.8% barrel-aged scotch ale is one of my favourite examples of the style. It’s  has deep and complex flavours well suited for a winter palate and the barrel aging means you don’t get the harsh boozy edge than many scotch ales have. They even made a rye barrel version of it once. That might be too much to ask for.

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Cabin Fever Imperial Black IPA

Everyone has a black IPA these days (or Cascadian dark ale), but Phillips have been doing them for years. In fact, many believe that Matt Phillips may have been one of the first to brew the style with his Black Toque India Dark Ale. Since then they also had The Puzzler Belgian Black IPA, which was featured in the 2015 Showcase. Those were both amazing beers, but I’d really like them to remake Cabin Fever, which is basically the imperial version (8.5%). What can I say, I like my high ABV!

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Black Jackal Imperial Coffee Stout

I just reviewed the new C12 espresso stout and praised it because the added coffee doesn’t overpower the natural coffee taste of the malt. Well, Black Jackal is the opposite of this. It’s like drinking alcoholic espresso and it’s absolutely amazing. It rings in at 8%, but the alcohol is well concealed, which is dangerous…

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Polaris Milk Stout

This is such a rich and velvety milk stout. Ever since it went out of production I’ve not been able to find anything on par with it. They all seem to have coffee added. Just let a milk stout be a damn milk stout!

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The Hammer Imperial Russian Stout (barrel aged)

I love a good Russian imperial stout and along with Driftwood’s Singularity and Gigantic’s Most Most Premium, this is one of the best out there. The barrel aged version is the better variant, as the process removes some of the harsh aroma and tastes that you can sometimes get and adds a nice bourbon finish to boot.

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Krampusnacht Spiced Seasonal Ale

This decadent holiday beer was spiced with grains of paradise, cinnamon, and  nutmeg and was boozy as hell at 9.5%. It’s also got a pretty sweet Krampus label, which really appeals to the metalhead in me. I think I drank a whole growler last Christmas day!

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Anxiety Beetroot Ale

Sounds weird, I know, but this beetroot ale was actually fantastic. The beetroot flavour was very subtle and was accompanied by some coriander and orange. It was 8% but was very light and easy to drink.

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The 5 Best Liquor Stores for Craft Beer in Victoria B.C.

Victoria has no shortage of liquor stores. We have only slightly fewer than we have marijuana dispensaries and taco joints. I’m kidding, though the dispensaries are getting up there.

While it’s easy enough to find a liquor store, it’s not always that easy to find a good one. Some specialize in wines and spirits, some just carry a line-up of generic beers, and some are just way overpriced.

If you’ve grown tired of the limited selection of craft brews carried by your local BC Liquor Store, then this list might help you out.

Oh, one quick note before we get into things, if you are looking for beers from Phillips, Driftwood, Hoyne, Swans, Spinnakers, Category 12, Four Mile, or Twa Dogs then don’t forget that each brewery has it’s own shop where you can buy the beers at less than retail and also fill up growlers.

#1 Cook Street Liquor – Cook Street Villageop0r70_s

A hidden gem, tucked away in the parking lot behind Pizzeria Prima Strada and Serious Coffee, Cook Street Liquor is a deceptive tiny store that is like the TARDIS of craft beer. The selection of beers available in this place is mind-boggling. As well as local craft beers, they have a huge selection of brews from the East Coast, the U.S., Belgium and more. If you’ve ever been to The Drake and tried an amazing beer that you’ve never seen in stores, then it’s more than likely that Cook Street has it in stock.

The one caveat is that their prices tend to run a little on the expensive side. Mostly this is due to the fact that they are importing these rare beers and then the price has to be converted into Canadian. They also have higher overheads than the chain stores, so there’s that to keep in mind. That being said, I’ve found a couple of random things here at much lower prices than other places, so you might get lucky.

Cook Street also operates an amazing “beer mail” program that allows people in more remote parts of BC to get a curated selection of craft beers shipped right to their door, with a selection that changes every fortnight.

Something I really love about the store is that they list all of the beers they have in stock on their website, with a special section for new arrivals, and also keep a blog with tasting notes for said new products. These guys really love their craft beer!

#2 Cascadia Liquor Store – Six locationsdownload.png

Cascadia Liquor appeared on the scene just a couple of years ago with only the one store in Quadra Village. Since then they have opened locations at Uptown, Colwood, Langford, Courtney and most recently Eagle Creek. They have exploded in popularity and it’s easy to see why: they have a wide selection of craft beers available, both local and non-local, and their prices are fantastic.

While the original store at Quadra is still great, the one at Uptown is gigantic and has a whole wall dedicated to craft beer, as well as a large chiller section. I work directly above the store, so this can prove dangerous when I’ve had a hard day at work.

They host lots of different tasting events and masterclasses and also have a loyalty program that affords members various benefits like 5% off four bombers, no chill charge, first chance buys, and more.

#3 Vessel Liquor Store – Oak Baydownload (1).png

 

Vessel is a newer liquor store located on the crossroads of Oak Bay and Fort. Their mission statement is to support authentic wine, spirits and ales, as well as the people who make them.

They have pretty huge wall of bombers that almost rivals the Uptown Cascadia and they have a few rare barrel-aged beers and lambics in stock. Their prices veer towards the high side, but this is Oak Bay, don’t you know!

The store hosts regular seminars and tastings on wine, spirits and beers, including a monthly workshop hosted by Thirsty Writer Joe Wiebe. I would highly recommend checking these out.

#4 Spinnaker’s Liquor Store – Vic West  and James Bayogimg.jpg

I’d never thought to investigate the Spinnaker’s liquor store till recently, just assuming it would mostly sell mostly Spinnakers products, but I’ve recently started visiting the West Vic one by Save-On foods and have been pleasantly surprised.

Their prices are great (on a par with Cascadia) and they have a pretty good selection of stuff that you don’t find elsewhere. I’ve picked up many rare beers from North Coast, Gigantic, and Deschutes here. They also stock lots of products you can’t find elsewhere from Van breweries like Strange Fellows, Hearthstone, Four Winds, and Howe Sound.

#5 Liquor Planet – Langfordlogo2.png

This place is like a warehouse full of booze. They have a really good selection of beer, and claim to have the largest cold beer fridge in town, but they don’t have too much on the exotic side. Their prices are super-low and their advertising is hilarious. It’s located right next to Axe & Barrel, so you can get a delicious pint and then get some booze to take home.

Honorable mention: Liquor Plus.

Liquor Plus sponsors several local beer events, but they don’t tend to be on my go-to list. Occasionally you can find some really gems here, though. There is one that has several cases of Old Cellar Dwellar in the basement that they bring out every Christmas. I’m not going to tell you which, because I want it all for myself!