I remember when the Granville Island Brewing Co. began its production (1984) … or near to it as it was 1986 that I moved to Vancouver for a year . I remember when it was one of the first microbreweries in country that was still either “Do you drink Canadian or Labatts?” I remember that it emerged in an era which saw the rebirth of Granville Island from a run down post-industrial piece of property to one of the trendiest areas in Vancouver — a rebirth that was intrinsically linked to the growth of the brewery itself. I really remember when it was all just beginning, when you had to be on the Island to actually sip this beer and in the brewery from whence it came.
Today, Granville Island is more a tourist attraction than a thriving centre of renaissance. Vancouver has been born, it has matured, and it has taken its name to the international stage. Likewise, the Granville Island Brewery is no longer burgeoning and cutting edge, it is established … and it too has taken itself main stage. Indeed, it’s mass produced product is now readily available coast-to-coast — and most telling of all, it is available in Costco (where Costco sells beer).
The question is whether it could defy the stereotypical fall that besets most pioneering (beer) producers that start out as edgy and innovative and then get stuck in a rut of irrelevance as their competitors, nutured by the once proud ideas of the old, blow past them.
If I could utter my judgment with a single word, it would be “watery” which would be synonymous with “oh-hum” … or to simply answer the question, “No.”
Despite some lovely west-coast hop aromas that escaped when the cap was set free, I knew there was going to be a problem when I couldn’t get the beer to pour with any appreciable head … a head that disappeared without really any trace of lacing. The light apricot brown colour was nice but I dare say it looked a bit contrived as well, perfectly clear, but lacking anything that really grabbed the attention. And that first taste? Trouble personified ….
Don’t get me wrong, this is far from a horrible beer – but it’s far from a wow’zer of a beer too. Perhaps the word might not be so much “watery” (which it is) as it is “ordinary.” The first taste is less about the hops as it is about the “robust malt,” German if I were to guess. There is a slightly sour taste, not unappealing but not what you’d expect in a true west-coast IPA. That first taste is apricot, a bit of jammy sweetness to follow, and then that slightly sour, slightly bitter, and very watery ending.
It really is the mouthfeel of this beer that kills it for me – watery, yes, silky smooth, yes, but nothing else. There is no character on the tongue and the whole beer tastes rather mono-syllabic.
I wouldn’t say no to bottle if it were handed to me but would I go out and buy it again? No … and nor should you unless you’re doing historical research on a bygone era.
Stats: American IPA. 6% ABV. Vancouver, BC.
Colour: light amber; golden orange.
Mouth Feel: Low carbonation, creamy, but very thin.
Purchased: As part of mix pack .
Pairing Notes: n/a