Hoyne and Tofino Brewery’s outdoorsy offerings
By Taylor Pitt, Production Assistant
It’s been a while since my last review, hasn’t it? If you’ve been enjoying these reviews, I apologize—I got caught up in the early summer weather and spent more time than I normally would putting off responsibilities and enjoying my time with friends. However, only so much time can be wasted, and there’s always room for a little bit of work, so how about a pair of reviews to help you get into the spirit of July? This issue, I cover Hoyne Brewery’s Off the Grid red lager, a perfect around-the-campfire beer, and Tofino Brewery’s Kelp Stout, which is great for the beach!
Off the Grid pours a medium red-amber in colour, creating one to two fingers of fluffy head that clings to the side of the glass. It smells lightly of honey and caramel, with subtle smoky notes and some hops. My first impressions are highly positive—this lager carries a warm, welcoming taste of light-toasted caramel that practically gives you a written invitation to try more. Its smooth, sweet flavours of the honey and caramel build up and then give way to a contrasting finish of hops, which, although mildly bitter, makes up for how sweet the first tastes can be.
If you’re not interested in a beer that tastes almost like a candy bar at first, I can understand why you’d pass on this red lager. However, perhaps give it a second thought before leaving it behind on the liquor store shelf, where it can be purchased for around $7 a bottle. Its mild, hoppy, bitter flavour provides a unique contrast to the taste and creates a very special drinking experience, especially if you’re sitting around a campfire waiting for the s’mores to finish cooking.
The campsite isn’t the only spot where you might find yourselves enjoying your summer vacation, so it’s off to the beach with Tofino Brewing Company. They’ve created a very interesting tasting Kelp Stout, which was a lot more pleasant than I was expecting at first, and is an absolute delight with fresh halibut and chips. It pours dark brown, nearly black in colour, and leaves a fluffy, oak brown head that should be two to three fingers high. If held up to the light, you should notice a slight redness throughout. It smells spot on as a kelp stout, of salt and seaweed, with a slightly nutty note. At first I was overwhelmed by the salty flavour; this didn’t set me up for the bizarre mixed flavours of kelp and chocolate, which stuck around until the finish. It took some getting used to, but with fish and chips, I did find myself enjoying it.
I wouldn’t recommend this beer without something to eat. Purchase it alongside something you’d usually put salt on, and then don’t put salt on it. Instead, drink this extremely unique brew by the Tofino Brewing Company. It can be purchased for around $8 at certain craft retailers, such as Firefly in Maple Ridge.