Friday, January 18, 2013

1/18: Howe Sound Rail Ale Nut Brown

Today's beer is my first Canadian beer of the year. Howe Sound Brewery is located in Squamish, BC, a 45 minute drive north of Vancouver on Howe Sound, the southern-most fjord in North America. Besides the brewery, they have a brew pub and a 20 room inn. I don't know how comfortable their beds are, but they make a good brown ale. The brown in the ale comes from roasting the malted barley, and they want people to know that this beer's malt is 100% barley. The roasting imparts a coffee and caramel flavors to the beer. The label mentions hints of chocolate and licorice as well, but I guess I didn't take the hint. I did find it smooth, creamy and flavorful. A 3 in my book.

British Columbia and the American Pacific Northwest is a prime hops growing region and with good mountain water, local hops and barley the brewery strives to have "zero effect on the environment."  As part of their Eco Push initiative they get their spent grain to local farms for animal feed and composting, but what the beer buyer will notice is their 1 liter sized resealable and reusable bottles.  It is big enough to share, but resealable so you don't have to share.  All of their beers seem to come in this type of brown bottle.  Speaking of their other beers - they make 17 - 7 year round, and 10 seasonals.  The Nut Brown ale is a year-round variety.  I need to look for their King Heffy Imperial Hefeweizen this summer, because their description of it mentions banana. 

Another thing to like about this brewery is that the tout their relationship with John Mitchell, a man they call "the grandfather of micro-brewing in Canada."  They say that Mitchell was one of the initiators of the craft brewing renaissance in 1980.  A chart I was sent yesterday by a reader, shows that 1980 was indeed the start of this trend.  In the late 1970s their were only 89 breweries in the entire United States, and now there are over 2,100.

Jim from Milwaukee

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