Here we have yet another brewery that’s been right under my nose for years. And wouldn’t you know it, I’ve sampled most of their beers over the years. Fortunately, I managed to procure some samples a few weeks ago and began resampling them, one by one, to discern their distinctive characteristics.
But first, a little background on this fine brewery. Located in Penticton, BC, the Cannery Brewery is named in honor of the Old Aylmer Fruit and Vegetable Cannery where it is located. Since it first opened in 2001, they’ve graduated from selling growlers and single liter bottles to exporting a regular lineup of cans and tall boys and their lineup has become quite respectable. Thus far, here’s what I’ve managed to sample:
One of Cannery’s first creations, this beer is a fitting example of a smooth and malty West Coast pale ale. Light, reddish and clear in hue, this amber boasts a subtle malty aroma. It comes on smooth and tawny with a slight syrupy feel and then finishes with a hop bite that is slightly bitter and lingering. 7.5/10
Well, this beer is about what one would expect from one bearing its description. But given what that is, this is a good thing! For starters, it combines the smooth, mellow and slightly bitter taste of a porter with a subtle, sweet tang of blackberries. These also linger on the tongue long after the hop bitterness and tawny malts have faded, leading to an all-around pleasurable drinking experience. 8.5/10
One of two IPA’s to be produced by Cannery in recent years, this one is rather unique, blending the characteristics of a strong ale and and India Pale. For starters, it is a clear and amber in color, similar to an IPA, but has a sweet nose that is reminiscent of a barley wine. The flavor is rich and malty, boasting a heavy, syrupy and viscous profile that contains a touch of sweetness, again reminiscent of barley wine. This gives way to a bitter after taste, due to the combination of four Northwestern hop varieties, which help accentuate the malts and give it a floral, citrusy finish. 8.5/10
Brewed in tribute to the S.S. Sicamous, which was in operation from 1914 to 1935, this vessel is one of Penticton’s historical landmarks and the largest of four steam-driven stern wheeled lake vessels that have been restored in Canada. What’s more, it is a fitting example of a light golden lager, one that boasts some discernible Munich-style yeast and hops and some slight notes of apple. It manages to finish quite clean, with some lingering hop flavor. 7.5/10
Naramata Nut Brown:
Another one of Cannery’s original creations, this beer was also the silver medalist in the 2010 Canadian Brewing Awards. It’s also one of the smoothest browns I’ve had to date, and was a personal favorite of my darling bride! Dark and almost stout like in color, this brown is very smooth, does the tawny dance on the tongue and rounds out the hop finish with some well-placed chocolate notes. And consistent with its name, it also has a slight nutty profile that calls to mind the taste of cashews. 9/10
And last, but certainly not least, we have the Wildfire IPA, a black India Pale that honors BC’s firefighters and which is fittingly black as night. Alongside Tree Brewery’s own Black IPA, this is fast becoming a trend with BC brewers, and I’m happy to be getting in on the ground floor! In short, this black IPA combines the characters of an IPA, being heavily hopped and stronger in alcohol content, with a dark ale’s smooth profile and rich, tawny flavor. The end result is a beer that comes on with smooth malts, has a good hop kick, then lingers between the sweet and tawny and bitter for some time to come. Definitely a worthy combination! 8/10
Well that’s one more BC brewery down. Who’s next? Well, I actually have that planned. In honor of the summer season which appears to be on us, I intend to dedicate the coming weeks and months to summer brews and hot weather appropriate beers. And if there’s time and I’m not too hungover, maybe I’ll cover Phillips, Dead Frog and a few others I’ve been meaning to cover. Happy Summer Season to all!