I first encountered White Bark Wheat Ale about 5 years ago, the last time I visited Victoria, BC. I had the excellent ales at Spinnakers, but had found the rest of the local beers pretty wanting. This was the first local BC beer that I’d tried that really jumped up and said: “We can really brew here.” Unfortunately, I haven’t been back to Victoria since then and thus hadn’t encountered any of the newer craft beers.
Until a blogging friend, Heavy CF, came down to Portland on vacation. He brought beer for a trade. This was my first encounter with the new wave of BC beers. This was 4 years after my last visit. Boy things had progressed! British Columbia beers have come a long way, and leading the pack is Driftwood Brewing. Since the initial trade, Heavy CF and I have swapped beers several times and I’ve come to the conclusion that Driftwood has the best portfolio across the board. While other breweries may have something great here or there, so far the Driftwood beers I’ve tried have universally been well made, flavorful, and interesting.
However, I couldn’t remember what that beer was I’d had 5 years previously…was it White Tree? I finally stumbled upon it while looking through Driftwood’s website: “White Bark Witbier!” White Bark is a traditional Belgian-style Wit or Blanche wheat ale brewed with coriander and orange peel.
Appearance: Hazy pale blonde, white head, solid retention.
Aroma: Light funk, light citrus, orange peel, coriander, white pepper
Taste: Wheaty, lightly tart, dry, earthy notes, white pepper/coriander in the finish.
Overall Impression: White Bark is crisp and fresh tasting with a nice level of yeasty funk and complexity. This is another outstanding version of a Belgian Wit. My only complaint, and this is a fairly common complaint I have with non-Belgian versions, is that the carbonation is just a little too low. This beer should be extra spritzy on the palate. The CO2 level is solid on this one, but would only get better if it were cranked up a bit. Still, I’d highly recommend this if you’re looking to learn about Belgian Whites or if you’re already a fan of the style.
Availability: British Columbia, Northwest Washington & Seattle.
You can read more of my Driftwood Brewery reviews on my page dedicated to the brewery.
Ah, there’s a familiar label!
Are you saying that the BC beers you tried weren’t up to snuff four years ago?
I think closer to 5 years ago, but yes, that’s what I’m saying. The scene there has grown in leaps and bounds and is really dynamic now, with a goodly amount of nice beer being brewed.
Naw, I think you just had a bad experience.I’ve been here way longer than that and can tell you that despite some recent developments, there’s been a great beer scene for a few decades.
It’s a great Summer staple in BC. But Driftwood is doing a ton of great things locally. I think it’s about time you made it back to BC and hit up Vancouver though. Vancouver is the new engine pushing the craft beer industry in BC.
I would love to sometime! It’s a city I’ve driven through, but not one I’ve explored. It’s on my list, for sure.
Let me know when you do. If it’s a weekend I will drive you will drink! We will hit as many as humanly possible lol.
Driftwood Fat Tug IPA is my favourite IPA from BC!
It’s a really nice ipa.
Fat Tug is a nice IPA but I don’t understand why it is so revered here in BC. Half the breweries make a nicer IPA now. Maybe it’s nostalgia.