We get to sample a lot - it kind of goes with the territory. So it sometimes takes something unique to make us sit up and remember just how innovative, original, and adventurous the craft brewing industry truly is! This blog series explores some of these innovative beers.
We love Old Yale Brewing. In the world of BC's craft brewing revolution, where many craft breweries are only a few years old, Old Yale is, relatively speaking, an industry veteran. Old Yale opened in 1999, and has been a solid Chilliwack fixture ever since. In fact, their Sasquatch Stout was voted best beer in Canada in 2014.
But going beyond their core beers, their unique trailblazer series brings out some true innovation from the brewing team. These beers feature bold flavours and unique ingredients to expand and challenge the palate of any craft beer geek.
Old Yale's most recent offering is no less unique. This beer (or should we say braggot?) is a collaboration with 2 Crows Brewing from Halifax Nova Scotia.
Now, we’ve been huge fans of 2 Crows for a long time, even before they opened, as we were huge fans of brewmaster Jeremy Taylor back when he brewed at Bridge Brewing in North Vancouver. So when we found out that Old Yale was brewing this beer with 2 Crows we got pretty excited.
This beer, however, is technically not a beer. It’s actually a braggot, a blend of beer and mead, which is, effectively, beer blended with fermented honey. This braggot uses local wildflower honey, and is fermented with wine yeast, providing it with a smooth mellow body. If that’s not enough, this braggot is then aged on American oak which provides subtle vanilla notes. Finally, it is dry hopped with German Hallertau Blanc hops to provide a white grape finish.
The nose provides a pleasing aroma - a light and subtle blend of vanilla, wine barrel and floral notes. The oak and the hops come through on first taste with a lingering hop bitterness combined with the residual taste of honey on the finish. In short, we loved it!
This beer is definitely complex and unique. As our first braggot, we don’t have any previous tastings to compare this one to, but we were definitely excited by the potential of this style. We loved the uniqueness and complexity of this great beer and hope it inspires other breweries to take on this unique and delicious style.
This beer clocks in at a boozy 8.0% ABV, so slow sipping is recommended. For music pairing, we highly recommend Van Morrison’s classic Tupelo Honey from 1971. You know, the honey thing and all...
Available in the tasting room at old Yale and in 650ml bombers In most liquor stores.
Photo credits: Old Yale, 2 Crows, John Briner