A BC pumpkin beer for people who don’t like pumpkin beers? This isn’t it, but it’s close.

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Welcome back to On the BC Beer Stump (ARCHIVE) where I feature and rate British Columbia craft beers available in bottles and cans.

Today on the stump we’ve got Whistler Brewing Company‘s Valley Trail Chestnut Ale which actually got here by accident. See, I don’t particularly like pumpkin beers but I was hoping to feature one that’s “for people who don’t like pumpkin beers” on Halloween. I asked the followers of our @VIAwesome Twitter account if they could point me in the direction of one that met that criteria and the consensus seemed to be in favour of Parallel 49‘s Schadenfreude. However when I arrived at Legacy Liquor in the Olympic Village I learned that the pumpkin beer season is shorter than I thought and the only one they had left was one from Shocktop, an American beer that’s the alternative to Budweiser served in many sports stadiums… so I had to pass. I decided to pick up a fall favourite I knew I could endorse which is fairly close to a pumpkin beer because it’s kinda weird and sweet and it tastes like fall.

whistler-chestnut-ale

Whistler Brewing Company’s Valley Trail Chestnut Ale – 5% ABV
QUALITY/TASTE: 8.5/10
PACKAGING/BRANDING/STORY: 8.5/10
TOTAL SCORE: 17/20

Much like pumpkin beers, this is a seasonal ale that I’ve been looking forward to tasting again since I tried it last winter, and unlike pumpkin beers it’s actually available from October all the way until April. As you’d expect it’s got a nutty flavour due to the actual roasted chestnuts they use in it, and it has an interesting vanilla finish. I imagine it’s the caramel and crystal malts they use that give it a sort of spicy sweetness that’s hard to describe. I can picture enjoying one on the porch handing out Halloween candy and in front of the fire at Christmas, but I wouldn’t drink more than one in a sitting as it’s fairly hearty.

Whistler Brewing’s branding is excellent and consistent across the board, something I obviously appreciate. And as someone who travels the Sea to Sky (and veers off of it) this beer and their Paradise Valley Grapefruit Ale (another one of their brews I’ve enjoyed recently) speak to my senses and my desire to explore the area. Hang a left off the highway heading to Whistler at the entrance to Alice Lake Provincial Park and you’ll find yourself in the Paradise Valley. Keep going all the way and sooner later you’ll be on the Valley Trail which winds through every neighbourhood in Whistler. The story that threads itself throughout this brand is authentic and awesome.

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Bob Kronbauer is the founder and editor-in-chief of Vancouver Is Awesome and loves everything about the craft beer movement in BC. In his former life he worked as a creative director and graphic designer on projects for companies such as Nike, Threadless Select, Stussy, Livestock, Girl Skateboards, Electronic Arts, Palm Pictures, and others. This series is meant to encourage excellence in packaging design and branding as well as the production of the beers themselves.

If you work with a BC beer company and would like to be featured on the stump email bobk@vancouverisawesome.com to arrange shipping. Please note that if he really doesn’t like it, he won’t write about it.

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