Note: This is the start of a new series on YADBB, listing the best beery things about the place I live. It's not in any order, which is why I'm starting at #6 with Phillips. Doing things out of order like this virtually ensures that I'm going to get muddled and end up with two #3 spots. So be it.
Today is the third week since I started this blog, and we're sitting at 1500 pageviews. Not bad! Pass the link around, as always. I'm also happy to announce that a version of these meandering and beer-soaked writings will soon be appearing in the North Shore News periodically, right up until they start getting too many letters of complaint. Which shouldn't take too long.
But enough self-congratulatory fiddle-faddle, let's talk beer.
Possibly the greatest thing that happened as a result of my wife Katie and I moving from Vancouver to Victoria is that we increased our proximity to Phillips brewing. Not that we couldn't find their excellent beers in the big Smoke; in fact, I fondly remember the days when you could still get Phoenix Lager in stubbies and the cases were stamped "Imported From Esquimalt".
But now, the Phillips brewery is a scant 10 minutes away, and we can pop in and have a 2L growler filled with fresh-drawn, draft-style beer for all of ten bucks. Bargain.
So, thinking to celebrate the steady flow of traffic to YADBB (what, are you people all brain-damaged or something? Oh, that's right, you're probably all just drunk) I selected and rinsed a likely pair out of our growler collection, chucked 'em in the Soob and booted it.
Empty growlers. Sad panda. Yes, that is a growler cozy. What, you don't have one? *tsk*
Matt Phillips is basically the Kevin Smith of brewing. Both couldn't get financing to follow their dreams, so both maxed-out credit cards and cut corners to create masterworks. Matt slept in his brewery and made deliveries in an old Subaru, and to be honest I don't see what all the fuss is about because I'd be perfectly happy to sleep in a brewery and I drive an old Subaru now, and it's not in any pursuit of some damn dream.
Anyway, thus was born Clerks and the original Phillips beer lineup including Phoenix and some other ones which I'm too lazy to look up right now. However, then Kevin Smith went on to make Jersey Girl, and up until Phillips releases a Hobo-Urine seasonal, I'm going to say their careers have diverged somewhat.
Roll into the parking lot at the Government Street brewery, and your nostrils are immediately tantalized by the smell of the mash tuns. It's twice as good as the smell of baking bread, and quite frankly, I'm not sure why real-estate agents don't set up homebrew equipment when they're having an open-house.
Step in the door and again you'll find something special. The front retail part of the brewery is set up as a kind of art studio, and functions from time to time as a space where you can rub elbows with artists and brewers and beery guys like me. They're launching some new beers tomorrow, don't miss it.
You'll also notice a coupla taps and a chalkboard showing what's growling today. Talk to Bill, a guy who's as nice as he is hirsute (which is a lot, fyi), and he'll be happy to fill yer bucket with some of Victoria's finest suds.
I picked myself out a Hop-Circle and a coffee stout for those late night deadlines, and bumped into Deebs, the brewer. He was absconding with an interesting-looking 12-pack, and when I checked the fridge, I found even more booty.
Check out this haul:
What noise? Oh, that's just my liver, screaming. Quiet, you!
Any road, for a hop-head like me, this beery cornucopia was akin to checking your phone and unexpectedly getting naked texts from Jessica Alba. Or from Brett Farve, if you're into elderly micro-peen. Either way, score!
Here's the bombers, a triumvirate of Hoppy Tripel, Malty Imperial Red and Ginger Beer (the replacement for Gentleman Jim):
But what about the contents of that inscrutable cube? Not since the Borg has a square object been more filled with dangerous mystery....
What a lineup! It's the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition for hops. We've got the ever-popular Hop-circle and Skookum, the fresh hop ale Grow-Hop (which Deeb says will be rotating with whatever is the current seasonal hop, so centennial right now) and the "guest" beer, a rye IPA called Krypton, which I'm currently drinking. It's as tasty as Lex Luthor is villainous (not the lame Gene Hackman version). My house now has more hops than a Texan rabbit sanctuary.
So let me just recap: local, fresh beer readily available and basically the same price as the corporation's swill; a strong community presence and sponsorship of local events; friendly, hairy staff; a dedication to brewing great beer; and last but not least, a plethora of seasonals, experimental beers and a general willingness to try new things. Plus, they like My Little Pony.
Phillips, we salute thee. Bottoms up!