Ghost of beers past


I thought about calling this review ‘Younger Tusk’ but figured that maaaaybe a pun on a Japandroids song was a little out there, even for this hipster.

The Specs: Whistler Brewing Co., Black Tusk Ale
5 per cent ABV, 650mL, year-round


It’s interesting the difference a couple of years can make.

When Whistler’s Black Tusk Ale and I last met, I was pretty new to craft beer’s more interesting forms.

In fact, the purple-labeled bottle might have been one of my first bomber purchases, besides all those pumpkin beers back in the halcyon, pre-Pumpkindrome days of 2013.

While pretty much every local craft beer snob I know gives me shit for liking Whistler (which, the newest edition of Craft Beer Revolution* reminds us, is mostly brewed in Kamloops, funnily enough), they’re the brewery who really made me take note of the more interesting things you can do with beer, and for that I owe them a debt of gratitude.

And while Black Tusk doesn’t match up to the nostalgic taste in my head – I’d remembered something just a bit more plush, a little richer, a little more flavourful all-round — it’s still pretty ok.

Like your average darker beer, Whistler hits the usual notes: Chocolate? Check. Coffee? Also check. It’s on the fizzy side and straight out of the fridge I found it a bit more acidic than I’d remembered — which isn’t actually my thing with beer so much, so I’d suggest waiting for it to warm up a few degrees. At its coldest, it seemed to retain a little bit more of a bitter, slightly hoppy edge than some dark beers, like a less pronounced version of some of the English-style mild beers I’ve had.

It’s not bad. Just, not as exciting as it was in 2013 and not quite as delightful as similar beers I’ve tried since then. There’s probably some kind of metaphor about nostalgia in there, isn’t there?

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to spend several months paranoid that Whistler Grapefruit, summer beer of my heart, is not as good as I remember. Tastebuds, you better not.

*The new edition drops this weekend, but an advance copy showed up at the KTW offices this week, so more on that front to come.