The power outage inspired the gang at Riot Brewing Co. in Chemainus to concoct a new sour outage beverage. (Photo by Don Bodger)

‘Sour outage’ beer commemorates B.C.’s big power outage

Riot Brewery in Chemainus finds a unique way to make the powerful wind storm memorable

There’s no need to be feeling sour about the recent extended power outages from the Dec. 20 wind storm.

Riot Brewing Co. in Chemainus on Vancouver Island has concocted a beverage to mark the occasion in a favourable light.

READ MORE: BC Hydro calls December storm ‘most destructive in history’

“As most of you are aware, Chemainus and the Cowichan Valley were some of the hardest hit areas in the massive wind storm that hit the coast just before Christmas,” noted Megan Calwell, Riot Brewing’s events manager and vice-president of miscellaneous stuff.

“Not only did Riot Brewing Co. have to close its doors on some of the busiest days of the year, we were also in the middle of a brew when we lost power which could have resulted in the loss of close to a thousand dollars worth of ingredients.”

But the braintrust behind Riot seized the opportunity to create the Sour Outage Passionfruit Plum Dark Sour after the most damaging storm in BC Hydro history. It will be available by the end of January.

When the wind started to blow on Dec. 20, 2018, Riot was in the middle of both canning and brewing. The power went out and the storm strengthened, with the brewery staying dark for more than 80 hours. A half-finished beer seemed like it would be lost, but was saved by the power of sour.

Quick-thinking staff members at Riot waited for the beer to hit the right temperature, added just enough lactobacillus to get the souring process going, then held their collective breath for the results.

Two weeks later and this improvised concoction of malts and fruits has become what the Brewery terms “one of the happiest accidents to come out of these tanks.”

With time on their hands during the outage, the brewery employees also reworked a traditional Christmas classic with a poem to fit the situation, as follows:

Twas five nights before Christmas

When all through the trees,

The wind came a-whistling

Like the gods had a sneeze.

The power lines fell

Though the beer was pre-boil,

But the brewery workers

Would not let it spoil.

They pitched lots of lacto

And hoped for the best,

That this tart funky beer

Would pass the taste test.

O sour! O fruity! O malty and hops!

We love this weird beer

From the bottom to tops.

And so this new year

Would you please help us out,

By buying a keg (or case)

Please give us a shout.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Bottle Depot volume doubles following closure

Judy Hofsink says she’s never seen it so busy

Stage at Bovill Square defaced

Town crews cleaned up the graffiti as soon as they were notified.

Thursday’s blackout likely caused by vandalism

Power was out for 10,000 customers from Quick to the Hazeltons for almost 11 hours

Horrifying video shows near head-on collision on Trans Canada

The video was captured on dash cam along Highway 1

Fraser Valley woman complains of violent RCMP takedown during wellness check

Mounties respond that she was not co-operating during Mental Health Act apprehension

B.C. sees 12 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths

Three outbreaks exist in health-care settings

Lost dog swims Columbia River multiple times searching for home

The dog was missing from his Castlegar home for three days.

COVID-19: B.C. promotes video-activated services card

Mobile app allows easier video identity verification

ICBC to resume road tests in July with priority for rebookings, health-care workers

Tests have been on hold for four months due to COVID-19

Would you take a COVID-19 vaccine? Poll suggests most Canadians say yes

75 per cent of Canadians would agree to take a novel coronavirus vaccine

Budget officer pegs cost of basic income as calls for it grow due to COVID-19

Planned federal spending to date on pandemic-related aid now tops about $174 billion

Most Read