PEI Brewing - Vic Park Pale Ale

Originally posted in the Brandon Sun, May 27, 2016.

The past month has been crazy for new beer releases in Manitoba. Some great American beers such as Deschutes Fresh Squeezed Hop IPA, Stone’s Arrogant Bastard Ale and two beers by up and coming BC Brewery Fuggles & Warlock has made it quite difficult to try every single beer release that’s coming out lately. In the next few weeks, the popular Coast to Coaster Beer event will be returning to Liquor Marts and beer vendors throughout Manitoba, just in time for Flatlanders Beer Festival in Winnipeg. This year’s Coast to Coaster event is going to be more staggered than last year - instead of releasing an insane amount of beers all at once, the releases will come out every few weeks so that people aren’t overwhelmed. Looking back, thanks to Coast to Coaster and MLCC’s desire to bring in new beers from all over Canada, and this week we see Prince Edward Island Brewing (Gahan House) out of Charlottetown, PEI making an appearance in Manitoba. As of now, every province and territory except for Newfoundland & Labrador, Northwest Territories and Nunavut have had their beer featured at Liquor Marts in Manitoba. One day we will see beer from Nunavut in Manitoba as the Nunavut Brewing Company has been approved by Nunavut legislatures back in the fall, so time will tell!

I’ve tried PEI Brewing before thanks to a buddy who did a true cross-Canada road trip visiting breweries and brewpubs in almost every major city in Canada back in 2012. I was lucky enough to get to try their Gahan Iron Bridge Brown Ale and Sir John A’s Honey Wheat Ale. The Iron Bridge was quite reminiscent to a Fort Garry Dark and the Honey Wheat Ale was a light sweet ale with just a hint of honey. For the most part, their beers were mostly British style, which isn’t bad at all because 95% of Canadian breweries prefer to brew American or Belgian style recipes, so it’s good to have a traditional British style ale once in a while.

Vic Park Pale Ale is the first PEI Brewing beer to be available in Manitoba. it's described as being a bold yet easy drinking American Pale Ale with a silky malt profile, clean bright hop flavours, and just the right amount of bitterness to finish. So.. as I said, 95% of Canadian breweries brew American or Belgian styles, so of course PEI Brewing isn’t excluded!

Vic Park pours a golden orange ale with an incredibly light amount of snow white foam on top, good amount of carbonation inside the beer itself, but what surprises me is that this beer has a good deal of sediment, so you can tell that this isn’t a filtered pale ale! The aroma is frankly.. delicious smelling! It’s a tropical hoppy aroma that has notes of pineapple, grapefruit and lemon that’s consistent with Deschutes’ Fresh Squeezed Hop IPA that I had the other day, and surprisingly fresh hop vibe! The flavour is pretty much a hop forward Pale Ale, when they described it as an American Pale Ale, they weren’t kidding. The notes of pineapple, grapefruit, lemon and pine are very present. The malt profile in the beer is simply overpowered by the hops, but the malt I do get is a bit of a grassy/grainy prairie barley flavour to it. Surprisingly minimal aftertaste, just a hint of pine on the tongue.

For a brewery that I remembered for brewing mostly British-style ales, they also know how to make a great American Pale Ale as well. Vic Park is sweet and tropical, good presence of pine and is a great summer style Pale Ale. Surprisingly only 5% ABV, I expected 6.5% from the hop presence alone. 4/5 Pints

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