Lunchmeat and I had just spent a few hours wandering the banks of the Chilliwack/Vedder River, casting a variety of juicy flies but catching only low lying branches and snaggs on the riverbottom. With a lack of fish on the horizon we headed over to the Old Yale Brewing Company’s tasting room for an inaugural visit.
This isn’t going to be a Michelin review so we won’t get too stuck up on ambiance or the menu. Suffice it to say the gal at the counter was pleasant, the glass walls providing a view into the brewery was uber cool, there were TVs for sports, and some good tunes. Making for a real nice space.
Of note, however, they brag on having Jim’s pizza on the warmer, and that’s really all it is – pizza under a warming lamp. If you’re hungry, might I recommend tipping a pint or two in the tasting room, and saving your appetite for later with a fresh growler and some take out. I’m not too hip to the by-laws which may restrict the menu, but a bowl of warm nuts or maybe kettle chips would have worked a whole lot better… just saying.
Onto the stars of the show
Lunchmeat chose an exotic flight of Moondance Mango Wheat, BC Back Yard Lager, Kettle Sour Plum Porter, and Sasquatch Stout.
Choosing second, Panda went for a West Coast IPA, Off Trail Pale Ale, the Double Double Amber Ale, and a Moondance Mango Wheat.
The IPA was an IPA. Sorry folks, there really needs to be something special about an IPA for me to write anything more than it was an IPA. This is an IPA. If you like an IPA you’ll like the OBY West Coast IPA. Not over the top, it’s just a nice IPA.
The Off Trail Pale Ale was smoother than the West Coast, better balanced and would pair up nicely with any meal. Nothing extraordinary, the Cascade hops, with two row pale and crystal malt make for a clean enjoyable beverage. This was a good choice.
The Double Double Amber Ale, however, is worth spending a few words on. As part of their Canada 150 series (celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday). OYB took a base ale, and created 4 “Canadian” flavoured ales.
If I say “Double-Double” and you are Canadian you will get it. If you are not Canadian (and that just sucks to be you eh!) a double-double is probably meaningless. To translate, a Double-Double is a coffee from Tim Horton’s (international chain of coffee / donut / other food restaurants) with two cream and two sugar.
Spinning off of this oh so Canadian terminology, OYB created an ale with hearty coffee overtones couple with lactose (not for the intolerant). At first blush it was more like a liqueur without the sweetness. It took a few sips before I warmed up to it, but it turned out to be a pretty nice beverage.
Unfortunately this is part of their “Experimental Lineup”, which kind of means it’s “good while supplies last”. If you want to get yourself a growler to take home I would suggest calling the tasting room and making sure it’s still available.
Lunchmeat’s flight was a bit of an adventure, starting with the Kettle Sour Plum Porter. For starters neither of us have warmed up to the whole “sour” movement, and I’m sure when paired with the right food it is a fine beverage. By itself however it was rather lonely. Yearning for a companion to spend time in your mouth with. Perhaps a ploughman’s lunch would go nicely.
The Sasquatch Stout is a hardy drink with deep rich chocolaty-malty-mocha flavours. The sampler in the flight did not do it justice, and it got beat up pretty badly by the other selections. It really needed to be enjoyed in a pint, all by itself. Other people I’ve talked to really enjoy this award winning stout so I’m going to leave any further thoughts for a later date when I can sit down and savour it with a clean palate and a respectable mound of smoked meat.
The BC Backyard Lager was fresh, simple, and effervescent but nothing extraordinary. It had a healthy hoppy presence, and would go well with pretty much any food. It was a fairly mindless beverage that honestly left me without much of an opinion. We both kind of just liked it for what it was.
Lunchmeat really liked the Mango Wheat, appreciating its fruitiness and overall refreshing demeanor. While I’ll agree it was fruity and fresh, I found the carbonation to be a bit off-putting. I’m not really sure what I was expecting, but I guess I wanted it to be a bit smoother. It sort of reminded me of pop you get from the soda fountain where the syrup is running out and it’s mostly soda water. Loved the bright orange colour though – maybe my mind was telling me one thing and my palate was telling me something else?
Again one of the problems with flights is that you’re not getting a whole lot of time to spend with any given flavour. This is not the best way to truly evaluate beers but we were limited for time and it was enough of a kick starter to bring us back. Next time I’m sticking to one pint at a time, coupled with a jar of nuts smuggled in under my jacket.
That’s it for now, gonna go quench that panda sized thirst… cheers eh!