In early October, Vancouver Island beer blogger “Leapbeer” visited Portland. We planned on meeting up to enjoy some beer and beer conversation and also took the opportunity to do a beer exchange. This is one of the Victoria beers he brought for me. I was excited to try some of the new beers coming out of Vancouver Island. I’d visited Victoria several years in a row for the Classic Wooden Boat Festival. At that time, about the only really solid beer to be found was Spinnakers, which was only available at their brewpub. Most of the other beers I’d tried were mediocre at best. My last trip to Victoria was probably 3 years ago. Looks like times have changed. Since I’ve been blogging, I’ve been reading several beer blogs from the British Columbia area and learned that the craft beer scene in this part of Canada is now thriving. I was very excited to get an opportunity to try some beers from this growing community of craft producers. This is my first review from that exchange. Each will be labeled as part of that exchange.
Lighthouse Brewing started operations in 1998. I’m sure I’ve tried some of their beers when I’ve visited Victoria, but don’t remember them now. I’m a big fan of Belgian Whites and was very curious to try this beer. Lighthouse Brewing’s Belgian White is part of their “Big Flavour Series.” They’re calling this an Imperial Belgian White.
Appearance: Straw blonde with a white head. Good head retention.
Aroma: Citrus, coriander, phenolic with clove and pepper notes. A touch of funk that is sometimes present with an interesting Belgian Wit yeast strain.
Taste: A good spice flavor with a spritzy citrus finish. The oats and yeast added a nice viscous mouthfeel that is also typical of a Belgian white.
Overall Impression: This was a very enjoyable beer. I’m not sure the beer needed to be an “Imperial.” The alcohol level was high enough for this status, but the point of a Belgian White is to be flavorful but light. This beer is definitely flavorful with the alcohol being well hidden. The other thing I like to see from a Belgian White is a higher carbonation level. I think this is an area that many North American brewers miss when they produce Belgian styles. They make a beer with good “Belgian” flavor but under-carbonate the beer. This is part of what adds the amazing balance to Belgian beers. The carbonation cleanses the palate and carries all the flavor into your olfactory sensors. I would have liked to see a higher carbonation level with this beer. Overall, I think this is a really good beer. If you see this beer, don’t hesitate to give it a try. However, I would love to see them attempt a 4.5%-5% Belgian Wit with a higher carbonation level. I think it would be a great beer.
Availability: Vancouver Island, British Columbia (contact brewery for more information Lighthouse Brewing Contact Information).