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.