Long ago during my year in Belgium I fell in love with Flemish sour ales, both the oud bruins of East Flanders, and the Flemish reds of West Flanders. When I returned to Canada, I was ecstatic to discover the existence of Storm Brewing’s Imperial Flanders Sour Red Ale in Vancouver. After many years of sampling it, but never taking notes, things finally reached critical mass when Ian became aware of its existence and offered to bring a squealer (32oz bottle) back to Vernon for a tasting notes session. Not only did he come back with the beer, but he also provided me with the following narration of his outing.
“Granville to Hastings: Quest for Imperial Flanders Sour Ale
Monday June 19th 2017
I have been on the coast since Wednesday the 14th, staying at my girlfriend’s for a visit. She lives around South Granville, which is a swanky area, and I’m sitting in her apartment realizing it is my last chance to grab a squealer fill at Storm before I hit the road tomorrow. I had previously planned to bring home a squealer of Storm’s Imperial Flanders Sour Ale, so Riley and I could get some tasting notes. I had to get moving.
I hopped on the 16, which is a great bus to take as it stops right near Hastings and Commercial (where Storm is located) but also goes through east Vancouver. Vancouver is a diverse city. The difference from Granville to Main Street is really something. Granville is clean and feels all done over, like it has too much make-up on. As the bus crosses the divide between east and west Van, not only do the buildings change (less make-up) but you enter into some of the poorest neighbourhoods in Canada. I read in the book In The Realm Of Hungry Ghosts by Gabor Maté that Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside is the poorest postal code in Canada. While I am out trying to sample one of the more eccentric breweries in BC, folks are selling all manner of goods on the side of the road, trying to make a buck. What a world to be alive in.
The bus took me right at the intersection of Hastings and Commercial, and Storm was no more than half a block away. I figured that since I had arrived right after opening (1pm) I would be the only person in for a sampling. Boy was I wrong. There was one group already in the midst of their six samples. I can’t remember what selection they had in their brainstormers that day, as they are always changing, but their Pineapple Paradise Pilsner is well worth a taste. I had planned on staying there for maybe a half hour to have some samples, fill my squealer, and then leave, but Storm has a casual environment, and you just end up chatting with people about the crazy flavours going on in your cup! An hour and a half later I finally made it out of there with my own take home of their Imperial Flanders Sour Ale.”
Storm’s incredibly strong experimental take on brewing inspired us to turn our latest batch of homebrew pilsner into a rhubarb mint pilsner. Hopefully it rocks!
Appearance: reddy brown, 11%
Nose: sweet, sour, apples
Palate: sour apples, plums, Christmas spice
Finish: very tangy, cloves
Overall: best beer in BC? definitely top two!
Rating: 5/5 Fucking Excellent
“Really fun to drink” -Ian