Another great year for beer drinkers in Victoria. There were almost monthly new releases, or almost new, from Phillips. Category 12 seemed to put out a new beer quarterly, all of them good. Again this year I was not able to review all the new releases from Victoria brewers. There were a couple of reasons for this. The first is that Spinnakers didn't always publish when they had new beers. Also some were draught only; I'm not going to take detailed notes over dinner. Secondly, some of Moon Under Water's sours I did not drink, but put directly in the cellar. And lastly I sampled very few from the Four Mile; this was on purpose. Now on the the list.
1. Raised by Wolves from Driftwood. This was no surprise to most people. I wish I had purchased more bottles to see how it evolved. Hopefully we will see this one again.
2. Induction by Category 12. This was a solid Belgian-style dubble made properly. I think this one is going to be released again very soon
3. Obscuritas by Driftwood. A great beer in a great bottle.
4. Barque by Lighthouse. I love me a good Belgian strong
5. Insubordinate Session IPA by Category 12. A sessionable IPA and didn't taste sessional.
6. Jackline Rhubarb Grisette by Lighthouse. This was the only beer in 2015 to score a 5 in taste, and well deserved.
7. Master Blaster by Swan's. This first brett beer from Swan's was a tropical fruit funky delight.
8. De Auras Wheat Sour by Driftwood. Need I say more?
9. Waveform Wit by Category 12. It hit all the wit flavour check boxes with a new twist.
10. Legacy Ale by Swan's. It is nice to have a barley wine that is a pleasure to drink upon release. Sadly this leads to not great aging.
Honourable mentions in no particular order.
Discover Coffee Lager by Lighthouse. This did not get a formal review due to it's keg only release. The coffee flavour was subtle and had no harshness.
The sour line up at Spinnakers. Individually they would not hit the top ten list. But as a group, it was an impressive lineup for the small brew pub.
The sours at Moon Under Water. These were included because they are in the cellar, but the one's I sampled at bottle shares were stellar. I also felt bad that Moon wasn't mentioned despite all their great beers this year.
Thorn Horn from Phillips.
Black Sam Licorice from Lighthouse.
Simplicity Ale from Category 12
Pacific Sunset from Lighthouse
Accelerated Transmission by Category 12
The best packaging of the year goes to Obscuritas by Hired Guns. With the runner up Scarfface by Phillips.
Any predictions or resolutions?
I resolve to visit the Four Mile this year. Never went last year. Still never went on that brewery tour. This year will be even harder to try every new release, as a brewery, or two, is opening in Sooke in 2016. And there might be two more production breweries in Victoria this year.
Other top 10 beer lists
Beer Me BC