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Six Vancouver Island Beers to Get You Through Fall

Six Vancouver Island Beers to Get You Through Fall

There’s a chill in the air, the leaves are starting to drop, and there’s hardly a tourist to be seen, which can mean only one thing: it’s time to drink dark, malty beers. Malt-forward beers are perfect for when the weather turns—full-bodied, flavourful and slightly boozy, they’re both comforting and delicious. Here are six Vancouver Island beers to keep you cosy this autumn, preferably consumed in a dimly lit room in front of a fireplace. 

Nitro Ember Red Ale by Beach Fire Brewing 

This crimson-coloured Scottish ale is smooth and silky, with notes of caramel, roasted barley and chocolate. Easy-drinking with a creamy mouthfeel, this beer was made for sweater weather.

Where to find it: On tap at the brewery | Beach Fire Brewing, 594 11 Ave, Campbell River

Nanaimo Bar Porter by Vancouver Island Brewing

A decadent dark ale that combines all the flavours of this classic Vancouver Island dessert: there’s roasted coconut, chocolate, vanilla and a touch of caramel to bring it all together. But unlike its inspiration, which I find to be too rich and sugary, Vancouver Island Brewing’s take has a restrained sweetness that complements the Nanaimo bar flavours without being cloying, allowing to you to drink pint after luscious pint. 

Where to find it: B.C. Liquor stores, private liquor stores everywhere, and on tap at the brewery | Vancouver Island Brewing, 2330 Government St, Victoria

Octodog Apocalypse by Bad Dog Brewing 

This deep, dark stout from the depths of the sea is made with squid ink, imparting it with an abyssal blackness, as well as a lovely briny note, not unlike a traditional oyster stout—which if you didn’t know was a thing, is definitely a thing. Octodog Apocalypse is actually quite light bodied and well-balanced, making it an ideal session stout.

Where to find it: Private liquor stores | Bad Dog Brewing, 7861 Tugwell Rd, Sooke

Mitchell’s ESB by Spinnakers Brewpub

The concept of “moreish-ness” is quintessentially English, and perhaps no beer better embodies that than Spinnakers’ classic Mitchell’s ESB. A beer is said to be moreish if you want to drink more of it, and it’s the driving principle behind most English ales, with their rich nuttiness, subtle roastiness and low carbonation. Mitchell’s ESB is a love letter to the ales of B.C. craft beer pioneer John Mitchell’s native England—it should be served from the cask in Spinnakers’ tasting room and given a few minutes to warm up for the full effect. 

Where to find it: Private liquor stores and (preferably) on cask at the brewery | Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub, 308 Catherine St, Victoria

Dancing Linebacker by Cumberland Brewing

This oatmeal stout is anything but heavy, and is as light-footed as its name suggests. Bold and malt-forward with notes of cocoa and roasted barley, but with a surprisingly light body and a nice dry finish, so it goes down easy. This approachable stout offers the best of both worlds!

Where to find it: On tap at the brewery | Cumberland Brewing, 2732 Dunsmuir Ave, Cumberland

Festbier by Gladstone Brewing 

Ales are great and all, but just because it’s chilly outside doesn’t mean we should give up on lagers entirely. Far from it! Gladstone’s Festbier is an ode to the malty, golden autumn lagers of Bavaria that tend to appear around Oktoberfest time. The malt character is rich and bready with a spicy, refreshing hop character that cleans up the finish, and begs you to have another.

Where to find it: On tap at the brewery | Gladstone Brewing, 244 4th St, Courtenay

Find other great beers to drink and breweries to visit here.

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