Some of the beers recognized at the BC Beer Awards.

Nelson Brewing Company wins BC Beer awards

The annual BC Beer awards were handed out in October with the best of craft beer through out the province being recognized.

The annual BC Beer awards were handed out in October with the best of craft beer through out the province being recognized. Most of the winners came out of the Lower Mainland, but our Nelson Brewing Company brought two first place awards home to the Kootenays.

It’s a nice feather in the cap for our brewmaster Mike Kelly and the whole team at the brewery. The short list coming out of these awards is a great tool if you’re up for sampling new beers, or want to be reminded what old timers are still hitting homeruns! For a full list of winners check out bcbeerawards.com. We’ll highlight a few of our favourites here.

 

Best English Ale

1st: Nelson Brewing Co – Hop Good Organic Session IPA

2nd: Central City Brewers and Distillers – Red Racer ESB

3rd: Powell Street Craft Brewery – Old Jalopy Pale Ale

 

Hop Good is new to the family of craft beers from NBC, first coming out last Spring, and already it’s making waves around the province as one of the best lower alcohol IPA’s in the province. Weighing in at 5.2%, as opposed to most IPA’s that are 6.5% and up, the first thing you’ll catch when you pour this ale into the glass and take a whiff is the delicious citrus aromas. Hop Good is a bright, perfectly balanced and reasonably hopped ale that could be home in a “pale ale” category as well. We knew we had a winner on our hands when we first tasted it, but the actual hardware of a first place finish is a great compliment and we very much appreciate it!

 

Best Session Ale

1st: Nelson Brewing Co. – Wild Honey Organic Ale

2nd: Phillips Brewing Co. – Slipstream Ale

3rd: Parallel 49 Brewing Company – Red Eye

 

This win was a bit of a surprise for us — not that Wild Honey isn’t an amazing beer, there’s a reason why it’s consistently one of our best selling ales. You don’t expect a beer that’s been around for over a decade to win when up against younger, trendier beers, but that’s exactly what it did. Wild Honey was initially brewed for our friends at Whitewater then taken province wide.

A Session Ale is a beer with lower alcohol content allowing working men in England in bygone eras to be able to have a few beers at lunch and return to their duties without being inebriated. Yes that actually started a whole new style of beer, the power of ales!

Our Wild Honey is amber coloured ale with a delicious dry crisp flavour with a hint of organic honey that keeps folks reaching into the cooler or fridge time and time again.

 

Best IPA (India Pale Ale)

1st: Driftwood Brewing Company – Fat Tug IPA

2nd: Driftwood Brewing Company – Sartori Harvest IPA

3rd: Moon Under Water Brewery – Tranquility IPA

 

Our hats off to the Driftwood team on a one-two finish in one of the most competitive styles in the province. Fat Tug is available all around the area year round. The Sartori is a wet hopped IPA that can only be brewed once a year, immediately following the hop harvest, when fresh wet Centennial hops are spirited from the Sartori Cedar Ranch near Chilliwack to the brew kettle in Victoria. As you can imagine this beast always sells out nearly immediately. If you’re up for an amazing IPA experience that’s always consistent, Fat Tug is a must purchase, it’s among the best IPAs not just in BC but North America.

 

Best of Show

Vancouver Island Brewery – Hermannator Ice Bock

 

A limited amount of this just showed up at the Government Liquor Store in Nelson just last week and won’t last long, especially after taking home a “Best in Show” award!

Brewed in limited batches each year, Hermannator Ice Bock was first brewed by Herman, one of Vancouver Island’s original brewers during the holidays as a gift for clients and customers. Crafted using a blend of chocolate and caramel malts, this German Eisbock is cold aged in cellars for over three months. This Winter Ale has hints of plum and raisin followed by a dark nut toast. It’s a great beer and we tip our hats again to Vancouver Island on taking home the Best in Show award!

 

Any and all of the short listed beers deserve to be enjoyed. It really just scratches at the surface of the amazing craft beers we have the luck to choose from in BC. So next time your headed to the store to grab a new batch of ales check the website and see if there isn’t something new on the shelf to try.

 

— Chad Hansen works for the Nelson Brewing Company. His beer column appears monthly in {vurb}.