After a busy June and July I’ve finally escaped for a weekend in the woods. Figured the perfect accompaniment is Happy Camper Summer Ale from Nelson Brewing Company. Light bodied and refreshing, finishing with bright fruit flavours and just enough bitterness to balance things out. At 4.2% it’s also a good choice for lazy afternoons! (Camper pictured is our friend’s, we are in the OG Coleman tent ⛺)
Hey! I’ve been slacking off on my beer reviews, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been drinking! This past weekend I toured all 5 of Kelowna’s current breweries, including Boundary Brewing Company, who are making some AMAZING beer right now! As Kelowna’s youngest brewery they are making better beer than some of the places that have been established there for decades. This is the Falconer’s Flight Pale Ale, made with a light touch on the hops which results in a very flavourful yet balanced beer. I also really enjoyed the Rauchbeer, sometimes this style can wind up as a smokebomb but again balance seems to be something Boundary is focusing on in their beers. The location is a bit out of the way, but trust me, it’s worth it!
I am a big Saison fan, the more into beer I get the more I appreciate the funky, spicy and complex flavours from this style. I’m also a big fan of Steamworks and Dageraad, so imagine my excitement when this collaboration, East of East Van, was released! A mild spring evening seemed like the perfect time to crack this open! I’m not sure if it’s the additions or the beer itself but this is one of the best Saisons I’ve had in a while; nice creamy body with a hint of citrusy tartness blending into spicy complexity. I can pick out the white pepper addition, it blends in nicely with the yeast, but leaves a lingering spice behind. The other addition is black lime, which I looked up and is basically a dried lime. I’m not confident I know what that tastes like, but there does seem to be a citrus element that is over and above what I’d expect from a Saison. It’s the kind of beer I immediately want more of… Good thing I remembered seeing a bottle or two hanging out at the local shop, I’m gonna get a few more to enjoy later on this summer!
I love cassis and I also love a nice Saison, so this bottle from Powell Beer was already looking like a winner even before I cracked the bottle. An aroma of deep black currant leads, followed by a peppery note from the Saison yeast. I really enjoyed the fact that while the cassis flavour is definitely present, the spicy Saison character is also given room to express itself and the beer remains quite dry despite the fruit addition. I’ve also had their Mango Saison, which was great but doesn’t quite hit the striking balance between fruit and yeast complexity that is present in the Cassis Saison
First craft beer back in Canada just had to be the experimental tap at Cannery Brewing. Hella Melons is a German-style IPA with, you guessed it, an aroma of melon, and a hint of sweetness in the body. Very flavourful and interesting, but I’m not sure I’d have more than one glass in a sitting. Nice to be back at the local watering hole, Friday night this is the place to be in Penticton!
I’m writing one of the last papers ever for my degree (yay!) and needed to take a procrastination break. Luckily I had a can of Hop Chowdah, the newest release from @cannerybrewing . Penticton has finally joined the rest of the continent on the hazy, juicy, New England IPA trend! Amarillo and Mosaic hops give lots of tropical and stone fruit flavour and aroma. A bit soft in carbonation with a full, smooth body, bitterness is moderate and lingering but not in a dry-your-mouth-out way. I had this as a grapefruit radler this weekend and it was equally delightful as well as easier to tolerate as at 6.5% this beer packs quite a whollop. It’s apparently only a seasonal but if you can drop by and tell Patt you love it maybe we can get them to keep it around!
I had given up hope on tracking down Twin Sails special releases in the South Okanagan, so imagine how thrilled I was when I discovered Lush Crush Pale Ale at my local CB&W, Riverside, while on a random beer run this week! I had no idea this was only 3.8% ABV until I grabbed the 2nd can. The aroma and flavour is full, bright and citrusy, courtesy of Citra and Apollo hops. Malted Oats contribute a smooth mouthfeel and cloudy appearance. A light beer doesn’t skimp on flavour or body is much appreciated by someone who is a fan of big, bold flavour but can’t handle more than a couple 7%ABV IPAs without becoming a total goon. Wish this one was a regular offering, I could see this being delightful for cooling off on hot afternoons!
I haven’t had any beer reviews up for a while because my poor phone was killed by an errant pint of beer, which I suppose that although untimely it was the best death it could have had. The bright side is my new phone takes AMAZING photos and in excels in low light too so expect the standards on my feed to go way up! 📸 👍. This particular beer, the Surveyor IPA from Coast Mountain Brewing has been waiting for its turn since I picked it up from Mike (of Mike’s Craft Beer) at the end of February. Gorgeous amber color with minimal head it is a malt-forward IPA that rings in at 7%. Hop aroma is citrusy with a hint of the tropics and a touch of resin – Coast Mountain lists it as containing Columbus, Chinook, Eukanot and Citra. Flavour is grainy with a moderately bitter finish.
Wore my Big Boy Pants tonight. Thanks to Mike’s Craft Beer for the trade! I love Twin Sails for their creative IPAs and this Double IPA holds its own against solid line up. Nice tropical tropical aroma with notes of pineapple and guava. Flavour follows suit, with a nice balance between the hops, malts and a hint of booze from the higher ABV. At 8.7% its a great way to kick off the weekend!
Summerland finally has local craft beer! Detonate Brewing, owned and operated by Nathan Rosier, had their Grand Opening on February 4th. I dropped by and the place was jam-packed (This actually isn’t too hard to do considering it is a fairly small space). While I was there people were in and out filling growlers and getting flights. Clearly I’m not the only local happy to welcome Detonate to town! I tried a tasting flight of the Call the Hops IPA, Pale Ale and IPA, and found them all to be well executed and balanced.
I came back the following weekend to check in with Nathan after he closed up shop for the day. The hours are currently Friday evenings and Saturday and Sunday afternoons. He says business has been steady since he opened, and he is pleased at the turn out so far. This is pretty impressive given that it is February, which is a slow month in the Okanagan, plus the brewery is tucked away in Summerland’s sleepy industrial area. Clearly there is a thirst for craft beer in the area, and as far as I’m aware there hasn’t been much marketing aside from Facebook posts, so word is travelling fast. As well some members of the other breweries in the area have dropped by to check out the place and offer their support. He already needs to order some new growlers, as they have been flying off the shelves. He is more worried now about keeping up with demand, rather than having difficulty moving product!
Nathan lives with his wife and two children in West Kelowna, and works full time in Kelowna as a civil engineer. The price for space was prohibitively expensive in the Central Okanagan, which led him to Summerland: close enough to commute and far away enough to be affordable. He had his start as a home brewer in college, and started thinking about doing it on a professional level about 5 years ago. He had been collecting bits and pieces for a brewery for a while, and eventually reached a point where he either had to get serious, or get rid of the collection. DIY appears to be a guiding principle to the construction of the brewery – Nathan has been able to source many items used or re-purposed. 2 Former milk tanks and a dairy chiller were quite easily repurposed into a fermentor, hot liquor tank and a mash-tun. Nathan chuckled telling me “I nearly died getting my cooler off Craigslist”, when a sketchy Craigslist deal in Rutland almost went wrong. He has also invested in a few brand-new items as well, such as his brew kettle made by Ripley Stainless across the street.
Nathan’s had his current space since May, and his engineering background came in handy as he was able to do much of the renovations and set up himself. There is a lot of ingenuitive DIY happening in the space as well, and he shows me around with pride over the hard work he has put into getting the large brewing system running! You can see shades of home brewer throughout, for example, we share the same finicky grain mill (although he does have a new Monster Mill waiting to get set up). Nathan figures that as he settles into his new routine he’ll be more aware of what works and what doesn’t and can be more strategic in adapting the space, but for now he has everything he needs to make beer. The space is certainly limited, and once he starts doing bottled product it will be even more so. He recognizes that the retail/tasting space is a bit tight and is considering expanding over into the brewing space slightly to better accommodate his visitors.
For sales he hopes to do both kegs and bombers, as well as growler fills. He’s already identified a few places to get his beer into, but says the main issue right now will be production. Right now Nathan figures that between his day job and Detonate he is working 80-100 hours a week. He hopes to eventually transition into brewing full time, saying his wife and kids would probably also like to see him at some point too. Eventually he may need to hire someone to help out at the brewery as well, but for now it’s pretty much a one-man show.
Nathan has achieved every home brewer’s dream and started his own Brewery. You can see the enormous amount of work that he has put into getting this project off the ground. This is not a glitzy marketing project backed by wealthy investors, no this is creative DIY at it’s finest driven by pure passion for brewing beer! Welcome to Summerland, Detonate Brewing!
Oh yeah… and this is the part where I would post some pictures and review the beer, but I have to admit… I enjoyed the growlers I took home with me so much I totally forgot to do a formal review! I have now tried the IPA, Pale Ale, Call the Hops IPA, Citra Pale Ale and the Stout. I really enjoyed all the hoppy beers, but the Stout really took my breath away. Rich, deep cocoa and coffee flavour with a very mild bitterness. I will be back for a refill of that for sure!