Best of the West 2-BC & Saskatchewan

This article is a continuation of The Beer Maven's Best of the West 1. A feature with some of the best breweries in Western Canada.

Black Bridge Brewery- SK

Bronze medal winner for their milk stout at the Canadian brewing awards, small Husband and Wife owned brewery in Swift Current, Saskatchewan with surprisingly big tastes.

Top Picks

Milk Stout – I looove creamy Stouts, I could almost taste it before it hit my lips. And BAM! I was blown away. I was sad they only sent me two cans so I grabbed a six pack at the LC. Smells of smoky chocolate and malts. Tastes of roasted barley and intensely deep chocolate linger on my tongue. This brew fills my mouth with a heaviness that I search for in a stout. BlackBridge really hit a home run with this black beauty.

Rye Ale Bright – Amber color, hop scented with citrus aromas. I feel like you can taste the quality, Cheers to you BlackBridge I hope you keep growing strong!

Arrowhead – BC

Image By: Sondra Baker

Purveyor of fine extremely unique BC Craft, these guys have some of the coolest beer names and labels I’ve ever seen. Ex, I’ve been thinking about getting the band back together Ale, RedRum Rhubard Rye and Loud Mouth Soup double IPA.

Top Picks

Loud Mouth Soup – Warning this barley soup is for hopheads only. With an IBU of 80 I knew I was in for a hop explosion and I was right. The scent is strong hop and malts, the taste is vibrantly hoppy with a lovely bitter aftertaste.

Kick Ass Coffee Cream Ale – Pour is a deep brown, you can smell the strong coffee immediately. The lactose added to the beer gives it a creamy feel in your mouth. I wish there was a little sweetness factor but overall I very much enjoyed the coffee kick and this brew.

Bowen Island Brewing – BC

Image By: Sondra Baker

One of British Colombia’s oldest Craft Beer Breweries, they like to focus on brewing great beer and not on self promotion. If you haven’t heard of them they need an intro into your beer fridge. Their beers pass the 1516 Bavarian purity law. Non-pasteurized, pure natural beer.

Top Pick*

Moontide Winter Ale – The first winter ale I’ve had with berries. And it’s a winner. The pour is a dark Amber and the undertones of vanilla play beautifully with the strong notes of berries. This is thoughtfully crafted ale. *(I was only sent the one)

Category 12 Brewing (C12) – BC

Image By: Sondra Baker

Their Breaking Bad meets Mad Men labels kick some creative ass. With a Doctorate in microbiology and biochemistry Michael Kuzyk cooks up some mad genius in the beer lab. And we will give his wife Karen the credit for those sick labels. Gold Medal winner at the Canadian Brewing Awards for their Disruption Black IPA.

Top Picks

Induction Dubbel– 7.5 % A liquid brown sugar boozy goddess with slight fruity notes pouring a rich red colour.

Disruption Black IPA – 6.7% Loved it, even with a 77 IBU it is not overpoweringly hoppy. The roasted malts add a perfection of balance, I can see why this won Gold.

Main Street Beer – BC

Main Street Beer focus on brewing high quality craft in the mecca of Canadian Craft Beer, Vancouver BC. Just opened its doors in 2014 but is already well known with the locals and with brews like (Westminster Brown & Stag and Pheasant Imperial Stout) Its no wonder at all why their popularity has grown so fast.

Top Picks

Westminster Brown – The strong malts meet your taste buds first, followed through with hints of caramel and brown sugar and finished off with the featured triple hops.

Stag and Pheasant Imperial Stout – Pours black as night, rich roasted malts, strong chocolate flavor and a lingering smokey kiss. Beautifully done. I was sad I only had one!

Mt. Begbie Brewing – BC

Image By: Sondra Baker

Founded in beautiful Revelstoke BC by a Nuclear Physicist and a Biologist. I know, I love their story all ready. Bart (the former Physicist) was drawn into the craft beer world by trying his hand at home brewing which is how a lot of Canadian Craft Breweries get their start. In the genius of Canadian home brewers brains. Currently expanding into a much larger brewery because of high demand for such beer Einstein brews as their Mt. Begbie Cream Ale and Mt. Begbie High Country Kolsch.

Top Picks

Mt. Begbie Cream Ale – This beer quickly made its way onto my top 10 list after the first sip. It truly is a genuine Cream Ale, smooth, luxuriously full bodied but honest. I need a lifetime supply of this beer please. Mt. Begbie?

The Darkside of the Stoke Stout – Pours dark like a black coffee and the aroma and taste is the same. I love coffee so I loved this coffee stout. If you like your coffee black and strong this stout is for you.

Pacific Western Brewing – BC

Rich in history this Brewery has a lot to be proud of. It was originally named Caribou Brewing as was established way back in 1957! In the year 1965 PW Brewing made the first canned beer in BC. And more recently in 2005 they won the Canadian Gold Medal at the Industry International awards in Munich.

Top Picks

Schwarzbock – Pours a beautiful deep Amber brown with undertones of chocolate and coffee. Lightly hopped with complimenting malts and creamy off white head.

FestBier – A commemorative beer for the City of Prince George.

Phillips Brewing Company – BC

The brain child of Matt Phillips, brewing exceptional quality craft beer in beautiful Victoria BC. Some of the best beer I have had comes from this brewery. And their artist designed labels are stunning. If you’re a hop head you’ve definitely had your fair share of Phillips.

Top Picks

Longboat Porter – It’s a bloody amazing Chocolate Beer, left me speechless. A must try! On my top 10 list

Amnesiac Double IPA – An absolute hophead dream. 8.5 % Full bodied, great carbonation, very earthy. Consistently fulfilling every time I try it. Love you Phillips!

Red Collar – BC

Image by: Sondra Baker

The founder David Beardsell studied brewing in Munich where he learned the art and tradition of craft beer. After brewing in England, India & Western Samoa he returned to BC with his wife and has been creating well loved beers in Kamloops over the past 20 years. Red Collar sent me a dream threesome, their Dubbel, Quad and IPA.(I added their Quad to my beer cellar)

Top Picks

Dubbel 6% – A traditional Belgian Trappist style beer. Mouth watering inducing depths of chocolate and coffee with flirts of toffee.

IPA – Deep red pour, strong hoppy aroma and taste. The Australian hops really take the lead and are complex enough to carry through to the finish. A very well done IPA. IBU 78

Red Truck Beer – BC

Image By: Sondra Baker

Founded in 2005 Red Truck expanded from their original brewery in North Vancouver and is now on the outskirts of downtown Vancouver. They are most well known for their red Truck Ale which is a blend of Belgian malts plus German and Pacific Northwestern hops.

Top Picks

Red Truck IPA – Being a lover of big bold taste I enjoyed their IPA the most, with an IBU of 69 and an abv of 6.3% it’s up there on my top 10.

Swamp Thing – Stout Pours black as nighttime in the Rocky Mountains. This Irish style dry stout is simple with no pretence. The first taste is dark and complex which makes way to a sweeter dark chocolate finish.

Russell Beer – BC

Image By: Sondra Baker

Self professed beer fanatics, they have been sharing their craft since 1995. Their beer is of course 100% natural with no preservatives and unpasteurized, allowing the taste of their high quality ingredients to shine. These guys sent me 7 delicious bombers to try and I was amazed at the distinctive flavours of each one. It was very hard for me to narrow it down to my top 2.

Top Picks

Black Death – This is a beautiful bottle, it’ll be added to my collection. Roasted malts hit your senses first followed through with subtle hop tears. If you belong to the dark side like myself you’ll enjoy Black Death more than you thought you would. Russell you had me at black.

Angry Scotch Ale – (Canadian brewing award Gold medal winner 2014) Dark brown coloring, thick off white head, Angry Scotch is made with strong Scottish malts and it is dominate in both aroma and taste. At 6.5% it’s a stronger ale and brewed to sip.

Steamworks – BC

Image By: Sondra Baker

Founded in 1995. When they moved into a historic building with a rare steam heating system they experimented and created a one of a kind and the only steam generated brewery in Canada. Steamworks was kind and generous enough to send me a plethora of beer samples. The consistency of the quality of beer was the best part and I understood that every Steamworks beer I drank was going to be an enjoyable experience.

Top Picks

Black Angel IPA – This beer is a black angel from colour to taste. Dark and strong malted with a kicker of 7%. Was very fresh and authentic Steamworks quality.

Jasmine IPA – My first Jasmine IPA and a new favorite. The Jasmine was sweet but not overpowering allowing the quality and taste of the IPA to shine.

Whistler Brewing – BC

Image By: Sondra Baker

A BC original craft brewery established in 1989. They love big bold flavour and make some of the best beers I’ve ever had the pleasure of drinking, like their Dunkel and Chestnut Ale. I am dying to try their Pineapple Express Wheat Ale, Grapefruit Ale and Chai Maple Ale.

Top Picks

Dunkel – One of the best beers I’ve ever tried at 4.75/5. Very little if no room for improvement. Tastes like a Christmas chocolate orange. Depth of chocolate layers with orange zest plays beautifully with their choice of Malts. Brewed in small batches in their copper kettles a limited winter edition. I need to meet the Brewmaster behind this genius and shake his hand.

Chestnut Ale – Gorgeous bottle, props for that. Sweet aroma with an even sweeter taste. After drinking their Dunkel I had high expectations and they held up. Blended Caramel and Crystal malts, deep amber color, the roasted chestnuts give it a nutty and unique flavor putting this beer high on my top 10 list.

Thank you to all the Breweries that sent samples my way to review and feature. If you are a brewery and would like to be featured, send me an email at thebeermaven@shaw.ca and follow me on twitter @The_Beer_Maven.

Cheers, Sondra

#BlackBridgeBrewery #ArrowheadBrewing #BowenIslandBrewery #Category12Brewing #MainStreetBeer #MtBegbieBrewing #PacificWesternBrewing #PhillipsBrewery #RedCollarBrewing #RedTruckBeer #RussellBeer #SteamworksBrewing #WhistlerBrewing #TheBeerMaven #BestoftheWest #BCBeers #CanadianBeers #SondraBaker #CraftBeerReview #VictoriaCraftBeer

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