Follow beer writer, Troy Burtch, as he explores the wonderful world of craft beer and the pubs that serve it. Great Canadian Beer is a place to come to catch up on beer news, read tasting notes, check out event listings, and for pub previews and reviews.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Driftwood Brewery: Victoria, BC - Driftwood Ale

When the Spring issue of TAPS: Canada's Beer Magazine was released back in March, an article written by a co-contributor, Joe Wiebe, caught my eye, and my attention.

Weibe profiled Victoria British Columbia’s newest craft brewery, Driftwood, and did a small review of some of their beers. The article captured my attention because as involved as I am with keeping tabs on the Canadian brewing scene, I had not heard of Driftwood until only a couple of days before I read Weibe’s column.

I was at a tasting and a bottle of Driftwood’s Brother Bart’s Belgian Brown Ale was being served. It was closer to the end of the night and my taste buds had already been annihilated, but I remember enjoying it immensely. A Canadian brewery doing a Belgian style Brown ale?

So when I got home I headed to their website to check them out. Turns out they brew and bottle a number of other popular styles with craft beer fans, popular because not many others are doing them on a regular basis. I needed, and wanted, more information, and along came Weibe’s article, in about a week no doubt.

The brewery is situated in Victoria and had been operating since August, yet the vision was laid out in the Spring of 2008. The brewery’s goal is to produce beers targeted at craft beer drinkers while winning over individuals looking, and wanting, change. No generic lagers or golden blonde ales will be found at the brewery. Their current line-up consists of the aforementioned Brother Bart’s Belgian Brown Ale, White Bark Belgian Wit, Farmhand Saison, Old Cellar Dweller Barley Wine, Blackstone Porter, and Driftwood Ale – their flagship session ale. Pretty impressive array of styles, and they’ve only been open for less than a year.

Not satisfied with just six, Driftwood just released their Crooked Coast Amber Ale to bring the number of their bottled products to seven.

I was lucky enough to score some bottles from the brewery recently and I had the Driftwood Ale while watching Crosby destroy the Capitals.

Driftwood Ale
650ml Bottle
5% alcohol

The label on the 650ml bottle of the session beer is attractive, simplistic, yet attractive, paying homage to the West coast. The poured product is just as attractive. A very clear, almost completely transparent pour that produced a nice fluffy layer of head. The nose is full of sweet fruits, tangy sharp hops, and a medley of freshly picked flowers. The bottle states the German and Northwest hops in the ale are balanced with cotton candy malt notes, and I find myself trying to search for it, but after a quick shake I’m back to fresh flowers and hops. Sweet on the tongue with a sharp bitterness in the follow through, which eventually subsides with each following drink. I want more. It’s light to medium bodied that is nicely balanced and ends with a nice dry finish. This beer would definitely earn a spot in my fridge should I ever come to live in Victoria. The Driftwood Ale is a beer that was brewed for people like us, but any newbie could drink it, and enjoy it. You know, more than one.

A terrific beer - one that you need to try.

Click here to see where you can find some in BC.


Joe Wiebe said...

Thanks for the mention, Troy. I'm sure you will enjoy the rest of Driftwood's brews, too.

For some other West Coast beer stories, check out my new site:

- Joe

Rob said...

You should enjoy the saison - me and the missus thought it was spectacular. Its nice to see a Canadian brewer start off with an adventurous lineup, and have the quality to back it up.

david said...

if you see the blog I write for the spirit and new ideas appear

Troy Burtch said...

David - not sure what you mean dude.

Troy Burtch said...

Joe - no problem. I'll be adding your site to the blogroll.

Rob - I have a couple of the saison's in the fridge. Maybe this weekend.

Eric said...

They are definitely an exciting new Canadian brewery. All of their beers are solid if not bordering on terrific - which is not easy for a new brewery! Excited to see how the barleywine is going to age.

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