Beer column: A story about seasonals from Whistler (Pt. 1

Whistler Brewing Company is one of the more notable breweries in British Columbia.

Founded in 1989, it’s one of the province’s original craft breweries, but it underwent several ownership changes and even moved out of Whistler for a few years.

However, it was purchased by Northam Beverages in the mid-2000s and moved back to the mountain in 2009, where it’s been a staple of the community in Function Junction ever since.

<who>Photo Credit: Whistler Brewing Company

Given that it’s not a small, independent establishment like so many of the craft breweries featured in this column, Whistler isn’t the type of brewery to have new small-batch releases throughout the year.

But it does mean they have a lineup of several popular beers that have been loved throughout the province for many years.

That includes their two seasonals that some would argue are two of the more sought after beers in all of BC.

Those, of course, would be the Chestnut Ale and Grapefruit Ale.

The Chestnut Ale comes out to play during fall and winter and will be the focus of this week’s column, while the Grapefruit Ale will be featured in part two when it’s released for the spring and summer.

You can count on one of these two beers, depending on the time of year, to be on the shelves of every BC Liquor Store and most private stores around BC for a very good price.

They’re beers you can set your watch to.

<who>Photo Credit: Whistler Brewing Company

The Chestnut Ale, the brewery says, is a “true reflection of the fall.”

Caramel and crystal malts are blended to give the beer deep brown amber hues, creating the warming appearance that you’d expect from a stout or porter in the winter.

But as you might expect, the highlight of this brew is the roasted chestnuts, which impart a unique and bold nutty character.

That’s complemented by a light level of cluster and challenger hops to produce a clean but crisp finish.

It has the aroma of a dessert-like beer, but the first thing to hit your lips is the nuttiness of the chestnuts, followed by a richer flavour of caramel and toffee.

I think you’ll find that the Chestnut Ale from Whistler Brewing is a little sweeter than your typical nut brown ale, which makes it a great change of pace if your taste buds are starting to get a bit bored this winter.

Keep your eyes peeled on this column for a deeper dive into Whistler Brewing’s Grapefruit Ale, a beloved summer drink for many British Columbians, in a few month’s time!

Josh Duncan is the NowMedia news director and a craft beer lover. Reach him at [email protected]. His beer column appears every Saturday afternoon in this space.

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