The narrow span of saltwater separating us Mainlander’s from Vancouver Island is lovingly referred to as “The Pond”. This thin sliver of H20, and the isolation of being accessible only via the preposterously expensive BC Ferry system, has created a unique culture, foreign to us landlocked souls.
Woven into the Island’s fabric is the hero of our story Red Arrow Brewing – a relative youngster to the brewing scene, having only opened its doors in 2015. Located in the southerly island City of Duncan, they are nestled smack dab between Nanaimo and Victoria (the capital city of our fair province).
Does this make any difference to their products? Don’t rightly know, and don’t really care. Maybe the water they use is more Island-ish?
Whatever the case, their Old Style Lager is our beverage de jour, and it is certainly something any Islander can take pride in.
A fine European style lager with character
We are truly blessed here north of the 49th parallel to have so many fine breweries, churning out world class beverages. Having tried my fair share of them, I have to give full marks to Red Arrow for having done an exceptional job with their Old Style Lager.
At first blush it looks a bit murky (I have no issues with that), building up a nice head along the way. Given some time to settle, there are a few floaties (I have no issues with that either), and everything seems to balance out quite nicely.
I was pleasantly surprised by the almost European overtones, and perfectly balanced light hoppieness. It has a whole lot of character for a 20 IBU beverage, and whole lot more character than you’d ever hope to get from a bland big domestic brewery.
It reminds me quite a bit of R&B Brewing’s Stolen Bike, but yet different enough to be its own person.
Being a light, crisp brew, it would go with any food choice. Settling in nicely in the mid afternoon at the ballpark with a bratwurst and sauerkraut on a kaiser, or at dinner time with a medium rare cut of prime rib (both Panda favourites).
Excuse me while I wipe up the drool….. okay we’re good.
Anyway, if you like a lager that doesn’t hit you up side your head with an 80′ scotch pine, you’ll really appreciate the effort put into this beer.
Well done Red Arrow, and I am really looking forward to trying out your Heritage River Hefeweizen – Panda loves a good hefe!
The important stuff
It’s all well and good to have a fine beer in the bottle, but about the packaging? After all, you may not be able to read a book by its cover but, gosh darn it, I like me some good packaging. Creates a bit of excitement.
I really like the retro look to this label, and the matching bottle cap. The brownish red, and light blue colouring go nicely together, while the odd tidbit of entertaining information keeps it light. Really like the log, reminds of an old motorcycle for some reason.
The only things lacking were the IBU rating for bitterness, and SRM for colour. Both are super handy when determining what you’re getting under the cap – especially when it comes to craft beers.
Even without the IBU and SRM, based on style points, this one is going to make the Panda Top 25.
That’s it for now, gonna go quench that panda sized thirst… cheers eh!