Granville Island Brewery has made it’s name with popular large production staple beers like their Raspberry Ale and Island Lager. For me, the Lion’s Winter Ale is a personal favourite; I had many a pint there at St. James Corner, which was our local pub in our first four year’s back in Calgary. Every time I have one I think about rushing the two blocks over to that cozy Irish pub on cold winter days, for a belly-warming Lion’s Winter Ale. I have a local pub now, but I just haven’t fallen in love with it like that one, maybe ’cause they don’t serve that beer!
An unexpected treat from this brewery, which the lovely folks at Granville have been sending me lately, are small batch beers. I had the Peach Gose earlier this summer, the BC Bitter, and most recently, the So-Cal Style IPA. Their Brewmaster, Kevin Emms, has brewed over 50 unique recipes since taking on the role. He’s been experimenting with various styles, some brewed one-time only, and some that return as seasonal. They also have a very interesting cellar series, which I have yet to get my hands on.
I have been so busy that it took me at least a couple weeks to crack into their BC Bitter …too busy to sit down and enjoy a beer? It’s ludicrous, I know. But I finally tasted it, and boy does it have some bite! It pours a brilliant golden colour with good carbonation, the flavour developing as it warms up a bit, with an ideal serving temperature of up to 12°C. It’s hopped with both Nugget and Chinook and balanced out with Pilsner malts. I’m not a huge fan of bitters, so this wasn’t one I would pick out normally, but I’m always up for trying something new!
The So-Cal Style IPA has to be their best one yet, hands down, a seriously good job on this beer. This is it’s second time around, back due to popular demand. As the leaves start to fall here in Calgary, this was a welcome burst of citrus, with the West Coast hops really taking center -stage. At a very forward 7.8%, it’s no wonder I had such a great evening vacuuming on a dreary fall day! In all seriousness, they promised a beer that would transport you to the beaches of Cali, and I think they succeeded.
I’ve been really enjoying tasting through the small batch series, and I look forward to each one. Apart from interesting flavour profiles and bold combinations, I really love that they are all made in the original brewery. So, yes Granville is huge now, and you can pretty much bank on an option in every local pub, but there’s still a little magic happening, one small batch at a time.