Debrief: Winterbrau 2016

img_20161112_142600Last weekend I went to Winterbrau 2016 at the Canoe Brewpub. This is one of my very favourite tasting events. Not only is the setting nicer than most other tasting events, but you pay just $60 for the ticket, which includes as much food and drink as you can stomach, which believe me, is a lot!

There were 18 breweries at the event and a few were serving two beers each, making for a total of 22 beers. I tried every beer and went back for seconds of a couple of the really good ones. This made for a pretty hazy afternoon and an early night, especially as they were 7oz pours.

The star of the show was the delicious New Kids on the Bock, which was a special one-time cask from Sooke Oceanside Brewery. The Smoked Honey Dopple Bock from Steel & Oak was also fantastic, as was the Barrel-Aged Belgian Red IPA from Bridge, and Driftwood’s Singularity, and… oh god, there was a lot of good beer!

Here is a full list of what was on tap, click through to see more details on Untappd, including my ratings:

4 Mile Brewpub: Bourbon Barrel-Aged English Strong

Category 12: Wild IPA

Axe & Barrel: Dry Irish Stout

Phillips: Citricity Grapefruit IPA

Howe Sound: Father John’s Winter Ale

R&B: Dark Star Oatmeal Stout

Moon Under Water: Black Currant Copper Kettle Sour

Tofino Brewing: Dark Lager

Tofino Brewing: Dawn Patrol Coffee Porter

Hoyne Brewing: Gratitude Winter Ale

Trading Post: Three Bears Breakfast Stout

Trading Post: Dark Tart Farmhouse Ale

Driftwood: Singularity Russian Imperial Stout

Bridge Brewing: Barrel-Aged Belgian red IPA

Steel & Oak: Smoked Honey Dopplebock

Steel & Oak: Roggen Weizen

Lighthouse Brewing: Seaport Vanilla Stout

Sooke Oceanside Brewing: New Kids on the Bock

Spinnakers brewpub: Bier de Noel

Canoe Brewpub: Abbey Session Ale

Canoe Brewpub: E.S.B.

Canoe Brewpub: Lager



Debrief: Stein & Dine and Oktoberfest at The Strathcona

Last night I attended Victoria’s premiere Oktoberfest celebration: Stein & Dine, hosted by Victoria Beer Week. The event was held at the Hudson public market and treated guests to great beer from Driftwood, Phillips, Hoyne, and Bridge. Naramata cider also made a showing and the event was catered by Roast meat & sandwich shop.

Prior to that, last weekend I decided to check out the Strathcona hotel’s Oktoberfest celebration. Now, I was very hesitant about this event, because I’ve always seen the Strath and its multiple bars as a bit of a trendy hangout, so expected the event to be filled with beer bros. However, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised.

Now, there’s now denying that Stein & Dine had the greatest ambiance. The market was packed with craft beer aficionados, there was German music and dancing, there was a giant Jenga game, and fluorescent beer pong. By comparison, the Strath event was held in Distrikt night club, which looked weird with the lights on. There was music, but it was just two guys with acoustic guitars singing silly songs. The place was also pretty sparsely filled and there were a few sad drunks there.

Stein & Dine also won on the food. The bratwurst and schnitzel balls were relatively authentic, and the Parachute ice cream dressed in Driftwood Black Stone porter was delicious. The portions were pretty tiny for $5, though. The food at the Strath event was done by their kitchens and while good wasn’t all that authentic—there were dutch pancakes and some Polish dishes thrown in there, but the food only cost $2-4, which is pretty cheap.

In terms of value, Stein & Dine probably won, as the $45 ticket got you entry, three 12 oz beers, a glass stein, and one food item. The Strath event was $15, which got you entry and two 4 oz samples.

The Strath event won on one major point, though: the beer (which for an Oktoberfest event is a pretty major point). Stein & Dine had four beers and one cider available to drink. The Strath had eight breweries serving three beers each, as well as a stand from the Strath liquor store serving three authentic German beers. Not only that, but each brewery had a unique cask on, many of which were German-style beers.

I would have loved to see some casks on at Stein & Dine, but sadly this was not the case. Not that the beers were bad, but it’s  just that I’d tried them all many, many times before.

Both were fantastic events and I’d highly recommend checking them out next year!

Check out the beer list below:

Stein & Dine


Pilsner – 5%


Entangled white IPA – 7%


Wolf Vine pale ale – 5.%


Hopilano IPA – 6%


Dry apple cider

Oktoberfest at The Strath


Toothless pumpkin sour – 4.3%

Green Reaper fresh hopped IPA – 6.5%

Cask – unnamed

A Northwestern take on an Oktoberfest style beer. This golden larger was aged with oak chips in the cask, giving it a full body and rounded finish. Slightly provocative, yet eminently palatable.


Seaport vanilla stout – 5.5%

Numbskull  imperial IPA – 9.1%

Cask – Backdraft smoky ale – 9.75%:

Strong, smoky, and smooth

Van Isle

Hermann’s dark larger – 5%

Storm Watcher red pilsner – 5.5%

Cask – Dark & Stormwatcher

Inspired by the dark and stormy cocktail, we used our new Storm Watcher red pilsner as the base beer, but gave it a surge of dark rum and bold ginger beer flavours. Rounded out with hints of lime, orange, and espresso, this cask is wild like the stormy westcoast seas

Stanley Park Brewery

Fog Horn India brown ale – 6%

Tangerine IPA – 7.1%

Cask – Pepper lime Helles larger

Featuring a healthy dose of the citrus-like pink peppercorn, we also blend in black, Sichuan, and Malabar peppercorns to give you a bit of spice and heat to back it up. Finished up with limes and dry hopped with citra, you’ve got a refreshing beer with complex citrus, well rounded spice, and a touch of lime


Off the Grid Vienna larger – 5.3%

Wolf Vine wet-hopped pale ale -5.3%

Cask – Irish stout

Hoyne’s voltage espresso stout without the coffee. Rich and dark.

Moon Under Water

Potts Pils unfiltered – 5.2%

Creepy Unkle Dunkel – 5.4%

Cask – Waldmeister Berliner Weisse

A very traditional Berlin-style sour wheat beer infused with waldmeister (woodruff).

Parallel 49

Schadenfreude pumpkin larger – 4.6%

Wobblypop pale ale – 5%

Cask – Prange ginger turf war 5%

Undosed Schadenfreude (no pumpkin puree or spices) with fresh ginger and orange juice.

Red Truck

Red truck red pilsner – 5%

Northwest IPA – 6.3%

Golden ale – 4.8%

The Strath liquor store

Weihenstephan Weissbier – 5.4%

Schneider Weise Aventinus – 8.2%

Hacker-Pschorr Munchener Gold – 5.5%


Stein & Dine: