Star Travel guy Adrian Brijbassi soaks up the hops in Victoria, B.C....
Star Travel guy Adrian Brijbassi is taking some time away from the office, and good for him. He's supposed to be on vacation, I think, but likely will be reporting in from time to time. Here's his first posting.
VICTORIA, B.C. - Jason Meyer's workspace looks like a secret room in every university kid's dream
residence. It's loaded with vats of beer and large kegs ready for tapping.
This stuff isn't your typical dorm room kegger, though; it doesn't taste like cardboard and you don't want to ruin the experience with a chug.
Meyer is the co-owner of Victoria's newest brewery, Driftwood, and the beer he produces has already gained a reputation in town for being the good stuff: carefully crafted light and dark ales that you drink for the taste, not the effect. He talks with passion about the sensation of coriander and cloves in his light ale, and the citrusy flavour of his delicious White Bark wheat ale.
"I want to cap it because I want to make sure we can maintain the quality of the product," the brewmaster said while preparing a keg of ale for ah, um, er,
With the addition of Driftwood, Victoria has four microbreweries, in addition to three brewpubs that produce their own beer. Meyer, who started his career nearly 20 years ago in Montreal, says Victoria
microbreweries find success in part because Vancouver Island is eager to support local businesses.
Driftwood, which started operating in 2008, also benefits from North America's growing craft beer
industry, which continues to take market share from the mega-producers who spend more attention on their marketing initiatives than improving the taste of their beverages.
The beer industry is one of the few in which an inferior product sold for a similar price as a superior
one receives more sales, but, as Meyer said, that's changing.
"People want authenticity. More and more consumers are likely to look at large marketing campaigns and think cynically about them," he said, pointing out that microbreweries as a segment have increased revenues while the overall beer industry has shrank in recent years.
Whether it's Driftwood's White Bark, Mill Street Brewery's excellent Tankhouse Ale, or any number of the beers from Quebec's Unibroue (Canada's most acclaimed small brewery and the maker of La Fin du Monde and Blanche de Chambly), it's a no-brainer for a beer drinker, or should be. The craft beer selections have moved us far beyond the Blue, Canadian or 50 lineup we were limited to in decades past, and they're innovating the taste and experience of beer.
Meyer says that in 10 years he'd like to have Driftwood reach its maximum output and then turn his focus on creating a gastropub/bed-and-breakfast in the Victoria area that produces food from what's on its land.
Such an establishment may not appeal to the university kid drinking straight from the spigot, but that, um, friend of mine who's eager to tap a freshly purchased keg of Driftwood's finest would definitely stop