The Great Canadian Beer Fest (less than two weeks away now) has been on my mind and it has got me to thinking about Victoria, the city some have called more British than Britain. What to springs to mind when you think Britain? Why the Queen of course. So what would the Queen most likely drink on her visit to the colony? I came up with two Island options Spinnakers Fog Fighter, there’s lots of fog in London, and Driftwood’s Spring Rite, well Rite of Spring is technically Russian but I am sure there are many rites held in the UK what with stone henge and all. Now on to the beer…
First up I tried Fog Fighter from Spinnakers Brewery a fairly strong, 8% ABV, blonde Belgian ale. For the more discerning of you out there this particular bottle came from batch 21. Fog Fighter pours a coppery gold, slightly hazy with a minimal amount of head. There is no real nose to speak of and the mouthfeel is somewhere between sweet and sticky. Interestingly this ale has an almost sour lambic taste to it but at the same time it is very tepid with no effervescence to speak of. The taste tends to linger at the back of your mouth. Sometimes I feel like beers should not put Belgian on their labels because it sets me up with great expectations that few New World beers seem to meet; not that this is a bad thing but rather the beer over here has a taste all its own just not a Belgian taste. It is kind of like French fries that needed to be covered in gravy and cheese curd before they became a truly Canadian experience. Oh well c’est la vie!
Overall I would give Spinnakers Fog Fighter 3 out of 5
Next up, Spring Rite from Driftwood, abbey ale brewed with malt grown on the Saanich peninsula. This 7% ale pours a golden to slightly copper colour with a nice citrus hop nose. There is a little cloudiness to this beer and an average amount of head. Nice balance of bitter hop and sweet malt in the mouthfeel but sadly the taste is pretty fleeting. Okay, so here is the ‘thing’ for me again I am not sure I would call this a strong ale per se. What really characterizes a strong ale for me is an almost liquor like quality to the beer; that slight heaviness you get when you swirl it in your glass and it lingers on the sides, the kind of ale that needs to breathe and improves in taste when it is warmed by your hands. I know, I know picky, picky, picky but like I said in the former review it is really tough to capture that Belgian quality after all they have been brewing beer since the Middle Ages.
Overall I would give Driftwood’s Spring Rite 3.5 out of 5 (edging into a 4 for the creative name)
BTW If the Queen were to imbibe on a regular basis she may acutally swig Duchy Originals Oragnic Ale brewed with barley from Prince Charles’ own farm but you know you have to be able to count on support from your Mum.