It’s time for Van Mag’s Craft Beer Awards again

Here are some of last year's must-try winners

February 22, 2016

By Jenni Elliott

You might have seen the sun peeking out from behind hordes of grey clouds this week (let’s just say it’s been a long winter). Fortunately, our 2015 Vancouver International Craft Beer Awards gave you the tools you need to navigate such dreary times. Huddled by the fireplace? Try one of our winning porters. Thirsty at the top of a mountain? Here, have a light lager. Showing off at the company Christmas party? Recommend our Best of Show to your beer nerd of a boss.

But last year’s winners are about to pass on their batons to the graduating class of 2016. Entries are now open to any brewery that thinks it has what it takes, and our judging will be taking place at the beginning of March. But for now, here are some winners we think you should try before we release this year’s results. Why not take Friday off work and plow through the list? Go on, you deserve it.

1. Steamworks Brewing Co. Imperial Red Ale
Best of Show
Solid pine and dry, spicy rye balance a building sweetness and more tropical fruit as the alcohol (at 8.5 percent, high for a red ale) and deep bitterness kick in. This year-old beer began as a winter seasonal, but after getting rave reviews it’s now on offer all year.


2. Okanagan Spring Brewery 1516
Best Light Lager
A well-balanced golden lager, named for the birth year of the purity law in the Bavarian tradition.

3. Okanagan Spring Brewery’s Brewmaster’s Black Lager
Best Other Lager
Roasted malts anchor this lager with subtle smoke, dark sweetness, and a touch of bacon.


4. Bomber Brewing’s Pilsner
Best Pilsner
Rich Bohemian-style pilsner shows rich, bready malts and a hint of white grape.


5. Brouwerij Verhaeghe Vichte’s Duchesse de Bourgogne
Best Belgian & Sour
Oak-aged Flanders red ale presents sherry-like aromas and sweet/tart flavours with a biting finish.



6. Persephone Brewing Co. Goddess Golden Ale
Best U.K. Ale
A distinctive aroma settles into a crisp, dry, unapologetically bitter summer ale.


7. Bridge Brewing North Shore Pale Ale
Best North American Ale
A textbook West Coast pale ale: sweet, bright, and zesty, with a big hops and balanced finish.


8. Breakside Brewery Wanderlust IPA
Best North American IPA
A light, lagery IPA with generous herbal notes and flavours of pine, earth, and dried fruit.


9. Scuttlebutt Brewing’s Hoptopia Imperial IPA
Best Imperial IPA
From Everett, Washington, an orange-amber Northwest Coast-style IPA with a passion for citrus.


10. Stiegl Radler
Best Spiced, Herb, Fruit, Vegetable
Conceived to refresh cyclists, this lager/grapefruit blend is low in alcohol (2.5 percent), big in taste.


11. Parallel 49’s Jerkface 9000
Best Hybrid
A hazy, musky American wheat ale goosed with lemon/stone fruit and strong hops.


12. Moody Ales’ The Great Gratzer
Best Specialty
No fence-sitters here. For those who love smoke and peat, this gratzer is perfect in style and technique.


13. Mission Springs Fat Guy Oatmeal Stout
Best Stout
The name isn’t promising, but the flavour manages to mix forest floor and Fisherman’s Friend—and that’s a good thing!


14. Yellow Dog Brewery’s Shake a Paw Smoked Porter
Best Brown and Porter
This porter’s on fire—at least, it’s smoky like a campfire, with nice roasts and chocolate to balance.


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