Friday, 30 January 2015

VICTORIA TRIP! Vancouver Island Brewery + Phillips Brewing Company

Okay, this post comes out a little bit...well, long overdue. I booked a surprise brewery tour at Vancouver Island Brewery for Tammy and I to go on when we went to Victoria. Needless to say, she was just as excited as I was. Being a 20 minute walk away from our hotel room, we grew thirsty as we approached the brewery. Seeing as I love the Hermann, Hermannator, and other brews from them, this seemed like an excellent opportunity to get in on the game. Finally, we arrived at our destination. We snapped a picture of the logo outside, and that's actually one of the highlights.

Vancouver Island Brewery
@ Victoria, BC
Photo: Brewji

Don't get me wrong, we did get a couple of samples, but they're not licensed to serve more than a few samples in their tap room. What did we want? We arrived about 30 minutes early, and were hoping for a pint to sit down and wait with.

After that, we started our tour with a few other people, and got a couple of samples in. No, I don't have any pictures of the samples because the guy who was running the tour sounded like Charlie Brown's teacher, and we moved so quickly between beer samples, there were no photo opportunities. Fast forward through the building and seeing different things that we didn't get to hear about (wah-wah-wah voice), and we ended up back at the tap room. Here is where we had our second helping of samplers (thank goodness).

If only I could be the guy running the tour...

Once the tour wrapped up, we grabbed our VIB pint glasses, and headed next door to Phillips Brewing Company (did I mention that these guys are my FAVOURITE brewery in the whole world?).

We walked into Phillips, explained our situation (and who this special customer was ;) ), and they were more than happy to provide us with a sample of pretty much everything they had on tap!

The Entire Tap Line-up @ Phillips Brewing Company
Victoria, BC
Photo: Brewji
They gave us a sample of everything they had to offer, and seeing as it was Tammy's birthday (yes, the actual day of), they gave her a little gift too! I don't remember what order the pours were in, but I'll go by the tap order above.

Four Delicious Samples @ Phillips Brewing Company
Victoria, BC
Photo: Brewji

Elsinore Czech-style Pilsner (5% ABV)

Finally, this is what a REAL pilsner is supposed to taste like! Tammy wasn't the biggest fan of this one, as she's generally not into Czech-style pilsners. However, if you're looking for something that's a bit light on hops and malts, but still relatively balanced and easy to drink, you're looking for Elsinore.

The Elsinore from Phillips gets an import-style-worth-savouring 8.0 / 10

Slipstream Cream Ale (5% ABV)

Looking for something a little more bodied than a pilsner or a lager? How about this cream ale? It's got a bit of a roasted malt flavour, and gets slightly nuttier as it sits. Definitely a good alternative if you're looking to recommend something different to your average econo-brew.

The Slipstream Cream Ale gets a medium-bodied, malty 8.5 / 10

Phoenix Gold Lager (ABV 5%)

This is a staple of the Phillips line-up. Every brewery needs a solid lager, and this doesn't disappoint. To me, lagers are like practice beers, so I apologize in advance if any of you are turned off. But, this beer does everything right, everything that a lager should. It's smooth, easy drinking, and doesn't taste like rotten corn. If only they had their 78 Kolsch on tap...haha. Still a good beer that I'd pick over most other lagers out there.

The Phoenix Gold Lager gets a you'll-do-in-a-pinch 7.5 / 10

Amnesiac Double IPA (8.5% ABV)

Seeing as I like my IPAs bitter, hoppy, and citrus-y, I figured I might as well grab a sample of the Phillips Amnesiac Double IPA. On the nose, it's quite hop-forward, has notes of citrus peels, and on taste includes a hint of pine as well. It's very taste-heavy, and definitely highly recommended for anyone that's looking to dive deeper into the IPA spectrum. Well done, Phillips. Oh, we got a half-growler of this baby to go after we had our samples.

The Amnesiac Double IPA gets a that's-a-beer-I'm-gonna-take-home 9.0 / 10

Hop Circle IPA (6.5% ABV)

Ready for another IPA? You'd better be. This, compared to the Amnesiac, is much, much more citrus-y. It tastes like many sweet citrus fruits were added to this batch. I get hints of pineapple, maybe some other fruits like apricots. Either way, it's a brew that can be perceived from many directions on each sip. It's a complex, but well-balanced beer. I think that's the key here. It's still a great sipper beer.

The Hop Circle IPA gets a well-rounded 8.5 / 10

Blue Buck Pale Ale (ABV 5%)

Ah, one of my pale ale staples. I've been drinking Blue Buck for years, and I could probably have reviewed this by heart...but Tammy couldn't so I'm glad we both got some input on this. On smell, there are notes of caramel and a slightly nutty smell. On taste, you get a caramel-toffee and chestnut breakdown. It's still bitter enough to balance out the sweetness and nutty flavours, and it just leaves a great after-taste. It's a classic; you can't go wrong with this beer.

The Blue Buck Pale Ale gets a have-we-met-before 8.0 / 10

Longboat Chocolate Porter (ABV 5.2%)

Oh hell yeah. I'm pretty sure most of my friends know that I'm a sucker for porters and stouts. Not only that, I'm a sucker for flavoured porters (especially chocolate and coffee porters!). They gave us the best for last. This is truly a dessert beer. Naw, it can be had any time of year. It's a delicious, chocolate-y sweet breakdown of the most delicious roasted cocoa malts, combined with what I'm guessing is love, and roasted caramel malts and maybe some toffee (or vanilla?). Hands down one of my favourite beers of all time.

The Longboat Chocolate Porter gets a put-a-ring-on-it 10 / 10

Here's another picture of some more samples, just because.

4 More Samples, and Tammy's Birthday Gifts! @ Phillips Brewing Company
Victoria, BC
Photo: Brewji

What did we end off with? Well, I bought a purple "Electric Unicorn White IPA" t-shirt, which I'm wearing as I type this post. Yes, I love the shirt! We also bought a bottle of the "Black Jackal Imperial Coffee Stout" (review on its way).

Overall, buy Vancouver Island Brewery beer from a store. The tour, sad to say, wasn't as good as we'd hoped. Just enjoy the brews and be happy. However, stop by Phillips and taste their beers!! They still are my favourite brewery in the world.


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