Each month, as part of this 366-day BC craft beer extravaganza that I will be sharing with you throughout 2016, I will highlight a specific style or theme of beers for a whole week of articles. I used to be hesitant about drinking porters, believing them to mostly be coffee-based in the flavour department. Once I realized that was only half true, a whole new world was opened to me and that’s a world I want to share with others.
Always on the lookout for new and different beers, this Okanagan Springs Brewing release instantly caught my eye when it first hit the market last fall.
The Chili Porter is a winter seasonal limited release that I really enjoy thanks to its higher alcohol content (6.5% ABV) and spicy finish. This beer may not be for everyone, but it’s right up my alley. OK Springs dares drinkers to “Warm up your winter,” but they also have a more traditional porter option, if chili heat just isn’t your thing.
I first tried this beer at the Grand Tasting Hall (beer only portion) of last year’s Hopscotch Festival. Luckily, I knew one of the reps running their booth and was able to score a few samples of this brew… for research purposes, of course.
The beer is available in its own six-pack, as well as part of Okanagan Springs Winter Craft Pack, which includes two bottles each of six different beer varieties. If you only want to sample the brew and are worried you may not like it, you may want to go with the latter option.
Mrs. Sip and I have returned to our Urban Rec multi-sports (each week is a different gym class classic) careers again and with that comes our regular trips to The Flying Beaver pub and restaurant, near the Richmond Olympic Oval. There, Okanagan Springs Brewing products are often on special.
One of my recent favourites at the bar has been the OK Springs Brewmaster’s Black Lager, which I have only seen at this establishment. As far as I know, it can’t be found in BC liquor stores or at least not the ones I’ve been to and it doesn’t feature into the brewery’s Winter Variety Pack. I’m not sure why that is, as it’s one of the better beers I’ve had from the company. The Black Lager is easy drinking, but the darkness adds a different flavour profile than their 1516 Lager.
Speaking of the Winter Variety Pack I like that it includes two bottles of six different beers, which is a change from the typical 3×4 and 4×3 combos (not that there’s anything wrong with that!). That said, I haven’t picked up a case of the beer yet and should remedy that soon, especially with their Chili Porter onboard.
Some may give Okanagan Springs some flak for growing too big (owned by the Sleeman conglomerate of breweries before that company was acquired by Sapporo), but they are one of the original craft breweries in this province – established in 1985 – and they continue to churn out interesting beers that are worth a taste.