Bon Voyage


I’ll admit it, this is another bottle I bought at least 50 per cent for the label.

The Specs: Central City and Four Winds Brewing Co.’s Maiden Voyage
6 per cent ABV, 650mL

If there was any kind of storyline to Bad Rider’s beer section in 2014 (other than the bit where an election somehow made me too busy too drink) it was the slow erosion of my ‘I’m not into hoppy beers’ claims.

While I’m still not one to reach for an IPA, with Maiden Voyage I think I have to admit I enjoy hops.

And for this beer, you’d have to.

Maiden Voyage starts off with hops, then hits you with a bitterness that lingers. And lingers. While the hops are sharp and bright to start, it’s the bitterness that stuck with me most through drinking this.

I suspect this makes it “challenging,” or at least, that’s how I’d describe it to the many avowed hop-haters I talk beer with on a regular basis. But I’ve gone through a couple bottles of this now and for some reason I can’t stop going back to the well.

It might be the woodsy notes — to me it’s got a taste reminiscent of pine, though everyone else I know who’s tasted it says that’s because I apparently don’t know what cedar (which the beer was aged in) tastes like. The spiciness of the wood rounds out the beer’s other flavours, though since it’s not exactly subtle I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s just as challenging for some drinkers as the rest of what’s going on with Maiden Voyage.

It’s also got good carbonation, and after a month of mainly porters, stouts and winter ales with the heft of molasses it’s nice to drink something a little lighter for a change that nonetheless feels like a cold-weather beer.

The story of Maiden Voyage itself is pretty cool: according to the Georgia Straight, the B.C. Craft Brewers Guild paired up a larger craft brewer (Central City) with smaller Four Winds Brewing Co. to produce a beer that would have been out of reach for the smaller partner.

It wasn’t immediately clear for the guild’s website if this kind of teamwork is going to become a regular occurrence, but count me in for future iterations, should that be the case.