Who doesn’t love the beach? Warm, golden sand between your toes; cool, ocean breeze in your face; the peaceful sound of mighty waves in your ear; and of course a refreshing stout on your lips, to quench your parched mouth. “Wait. What? Stout? I thought we were done with dark beers, until next year!” I hear you protesting. Well, not quite. While my fellow dark beer lovers and myself have much to lament, as the seasons change, a few, choice breweries have our backs, as the temperature climbs and the layers of clothing begin to shed. One such brewery, Tofino Brewing Company, offers one of the finest year-round stouts in British Columbia. Rising up from the depths of the mighty Pacific, this week’s Flagship Friday beer is Tofino’s Kelp Stout.
When you think of surfing hotspots, Hawaii, California, and Australia, are usually the first few places that come to mind. Canada? Not so much. Maybe it’s the popular misconception that we live in a state of perpetual winter. Maybe it’s the fact that people don’t realize how much beach real-estate the country has, despite its massive size. Whatever the reason, the lack of surf-notoriety (outside of the surf-scene, itself) has helped make Tofino a hidden gem for beach-bums and fans of a slower pace of life. Hand-in-hand with lazy beach days, are cold-ones. Luckily for the good folks of Tofino and those who visit, Tofino Brewing Company has them covered. Crafting small-batch beer that embraces the cool, easy-going lifestyle of their namesake, Tofino Brewing has made a name for itself by using high quality ingredients, such as BC hops and taking advantage of an abundant, local cultivar: kelp.
For seasoned beer drinkers, who are seafood aficionados, there are few better pairings than enjoying oysters on the half-shell, with a nice stout. This pairing is so popular and well-loved, that it spawned a style of beer, oyster stouts. Tofino’s spin on the briny, umami-driven brew is decidedly less fishy, but no less delicious. As dark as the ocean floor, Kelp Stout’s nose belies its featured ingredient, instead imparting a soft sweetness. Don’t be afraid to take a nice, hearty mouthful: you won’t mistake this beer with salt water. Instead, you’ll be greeted with the typically, bittersweet, roasty characteristics of an American stout. As the beer passes over your palate, the kelp lends subtle notes of brine, which adds intricacy to this beer. This ensures that while the beer is heavy enough to satisfy stout-lovers, it is also bright enough to be sessionable, during those lazy, summer days.
If you’re looking for something a little different, than your typical beach beers, Kelp Stout is the ideal choice. Whether paired with a platter of oysters, or a delicious oyster mushroom flatbread, Kelp Stout is sure to be a faithful, summer companion. If the thought of oysters in any format gives you the jibblies, then grab yourself an extra bottle and make your very own Kelp Stout vinegar, to splash over your favourite fish and chips. Then plop your swimsuited derrière in the sand and soak up some rays.