Beer for December

A brewing update with Mathieu Poirier

  • Dec. 17, 2021 7:30 a.m.

As we reach the end of 2021, we can look back on an interesting year, to say the least. The local craft beer industry has seen some changes and some growth, as well as acknowledgment of opportunities to improve.

One of those opportunities has been surrounding inclusivity, which is something that could probably be addressed everywhere, but which has been a hot topic in the beer world for a few years. As part of the effort to ensure safe spaces and inclusive environments in brewhouses and taprooms through open and transparent policies, several breweries around the world have collaborated on a beer that is meant to bring attention to what can be done better. Breweries taking part are required to post their code of conduct for staff and customers, as well as make a donation to a relevant charity or non-profit.

Locally, Herald Street Brew Works will be releasing its version of the beer on December 11. Working with industry advocate Jake Clark, brewers Alex Miller and Tessa Gabiniewicz from Herald Street and Comox’s Land & Sea Brewing respectively, this pale ale is a beer with purpose. And as much as it will be something to enjoy, it’s also something to provoke thought about how we can all do better.

For more information on the collaboration beer, go to bravenoisebeer.com

On a more holiday-themed note, seasonal beers continue to show up on shelves and some always tend to make waves. Lighthouse Brewing’s annual barrel-aged release is out, and this year’s variation is an oak-aged brandy wheatwine coming in at 10.7% ABV. Notes of caramel, warming alcohol, oak, brandy and honey all come together for a fantastic sipping beer that will be a hit around the table, especially as dessert is served.

Vancouver Island Brewing’s Hermannator is back this year after 2020’s hiatus, but fear not, last year wasn’t a total loss. Concerns about stability meant that they stored it for the year for quality control, and have been able to release both 2020 and 2021 concurrently, and there’s a vintage package of both years together. So if you’re looking to see what aging a beer like this classic style can do, pick some up and try them out side by side.

Finally, I wanted to wish everyone a very happy holiday season and a fantastic new year, and we’ll see where things go in 2022.