February 25th was a great day for beer lovers in downtown Victoria, as a large crowd gathered in Distrikt Nightclub for the 8th Annual Island Beer Festival. With a selection of 17 breweries and plenty of beers, craft beer lovers were able to get their fill of a wide range of brews.
You would think the major highlights would start with the beers, but in this case it was the food. The selection of dishes was amazing, and to fit the theme, most were prepared with beers available at the event. A personal favourite was the hot dog braised in Phillips Odyssey Nitro Porter. The caramelized roastiness and sweetness just added to the savoury flavours from the meat and sweet bun.
Going in with a list of must-have beers, the standout was definitely Strange Fellow’s Goldilocks Belgian Golden Strong Ale. The banana and clove notes from the Belgian yeast did not disappoint in this rich, warming beer. This brewery has always impressed, and it was no different with the offerings they brought to this event.
Also an amazing brew, the seasonal Stuck in the Mud Coffee Porter from Sooke Oceanside Brewing, brewed with coffee from Stick in the Mud Coffee. This is a beer that most people were raving about, with rich, roasted notes and a hit of coffee flavour and aroma that was a definite wake-up call, so if you get a chance to try it, do so quickly as it might be hibernating for a bit.
Finally, Twa Dogs’ Holy Willie’s Robust Porter was definitely a nice classic take on the style with a little more warmth, and the only sour beer of the event, Stanley Park Brewing’s Feeling F’whiskey Barrel Aged Sour was a well balanced beer with hints of brettanomyces, some woodiness, and a tart almost tropical sourness.
All in all, a fantastic event with a fantastic turnout, and definitely one to look forward to when the 9th version makes its return.