Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Howe Sound Brewing Visit - Time for a 4 Way Right from the Source

We’ve made trips this year to Seattle and Portland to visit breweries and partake in a couple of beer festivals, but we haven’t spent time discovering what’s in our own backyard. Howe Sound Brewing is situated in picturesque Squamish, BC. The backdrop is the Stawamus Chief, which is a popular hiking destination, mountains and water – truly a beautiful location to visit. Us locals refer to Squamish as Squish (probably to their chagrin)...

Howe Sound also has an inn and two restaurants at the brewery so we packed up the dogs (yes, you can reserve a pet room!) and headed up to Squish for the night.

The Chief

Before checking out the tasty beers, we took the dogs for a walk around town. Turns out, you can get from one end of downtown to the other in about 10 minutes. Hmm. Plan B. Along our journey, we encountered three kids playing in the driveway. All came running over to pet the dogs (I’m so happy to have friendly dogs) and the best part was when the little boy asked if he could pet Murphy’s teeth. Que? Uh, no, probably not. Mom, Dad, take note. Your kid should be a dentist. Or a lion tamer. Eventually, we tired out the dogs and made our way to the restaurant for a late lunch and beers.

I started with the Baldwin & Cooper Best Bitter and next up, the High Tide Hemp Ale. The owner also graciously sent us over a paddle when she saw my tweet that we were enjoying their brews. So kind! The paddle consisted of the 4 Way Fruit Ale, Devil’s Elbow India Pale Ale, King Heffy and the Rail Ale Nut Brown. Later that night, I tried the Diamond Head Oatmeal Stout. Here are my tasting notes:

Baldwin & Cooper Best Bitter – ABV: 5.5%; Colour: Dark copper; Aroma: plum, toffee, raisins; Taste: sweet turns to medium bitter taste, malt, hops - well balanced

High Tide Hemp Ale – ABV: 5.5%; Colour: Red/amber; Aroma: caramel, light fruity hops; Taste: malty, slightly sour, bitter finish – nice English-style bitter

4 Way Fruit Ale – ABV 4.4%; Colour: Cloudy golden hue; Aroma: fruity! (surprise) mango, passion fruit, raspberry and pomegranate; Taste: mango and passion fruit were the most predominant – dry and refreshing summer beer. You could definitely drink this one on a hot summer day – cider drinkers would probably also enjoy this ale. This keg was the best I've had on tap and I've drank it at a few establishments this summer.

Devil’s Elbow India Pale Ale – ABV:  5.7%; Colour: Deep, hazy amber; Aroma: Malty, caramel, citrus; Taste: Citrus, malt, not a heavy hop taste, smooth finish

King Heffy – ABV: 7.7%; Colour: cloudy/golden; Aroma: banana, cloves, orange peel, spices; Taste: banana, cloves, hides alcohol content. I’m not a huge hefeweizen fan, but this was a pleasant wheat beer.

Rail Ale Nut Brown – ABV: 5.0%; Colour: dark brown; Aroma: roasted nuts/grains, malts, coffee; Taste: Similar to aroma with caramel notes and maybe a hint of chocolate

Diamond Head Oatmeal Stout – ABV: 5.0%; Colour: Dark brown; Aroma: roasted grains, coffee, chocolate, light smoke; Taste: Similar to aroma slight bitter chocolate finish, nutty

All of the beers on tap were sessionable and other than the Heffy, none were high alcohol content. Some of their seasonal beers have higher ABV (Total Eclipse of the Hop 8%, Pothole Filler Imperial Stout 9%, Megadestroyer Imperial Licorice Stout 10%) and are great beers so grab them when they’re released!
Awards Case

The food at the hotel was good, service was attentive and they had a blues band on Saturday night. From the flyers we saw, it looks like they often have live entertainment on the weekend.

The only downside to the visit was the non-air conditioned hotel room. The rest of the hotel/restaurants are fully equipped, but not the rooms and it was unbearably muggy to endure. The small fan in the room helps a bit but we won’t be back in the summer unless the rooms get an upgrade. Our poor dogs were suffering!

Off to the Great Canadian Beer Festival in Victoria, BC in September so we hope to visit a few more local breweries on that trip. Until next time, enjoy great beers!

My kind of souvenirs

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