The second-best stout in Canada is brewed right here in Smithers.
At the recent Canadian Beer Awards, Bulkley Valley Brewery’s Ullr Oatmeal Stout took the silver medal.
“It’s pretty unreal, really,” said owner Dave Harris. “Lots of breweries go their whole lives without winning something like this, so for us to get this in our fourth year of operation, gives us a lot of recognition in the industry and just shows we can compete on a larger scale.”
The stout is named after Ullr, the nordic god of winter, hunting and safe travel, Harris explained, and is very popular with winter recreation enthusiasts.
“In the winter, it’s definitely one of our top sellers, everyone who skis or boards or has fun in the snow really enjoys this one,” he said.
While the brewery generally does not carry it on tap, Harris said news of the award made them reconsider.
“We always have it in cans, but demand on tap kind of dwindles in the summertime because stouts are heavier beers and people like nice, light, easy-drinking stuff for the hot weather, but just with everybody calling and requesting it we decided to make another batch for summer and hopefully that will get us through.”
Harris gave credit to brewmaster Josh Hostelnyk both for brewing the award-winner, but also for recognizing it had a shot and entering it in the competition. News of the win though came as a bit of a surprise.
“He entered our stout and then we didn’t really get any notification from the awards ceremony because they didn’t live stream and we didn’t go there, so the way I found out we won the award was just through friends and colleagues,” he said.
He also gave credit to Ullr Oatmeal Stout drinkers.
“I just want to thank everybody who supported us throughout the years and gave us feedback specifically on this beer,” he said. “It’s been one of our longest-running beers and it’s just been constantly changing and evolving based on comments and feedback from our customer base.”