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

Just Posted

District looking for public input on cycling plan

Survey is open to the public until May 25

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Flooding highly unlikely this year throughout Skeena watershed

Region’s snowpack among lowest in the province

Cameras and convoys: Graduation in the age of COVID-19

Schools in Terrace and Kitimat are thinking outside the box to give students a graduation ceremony

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for Canadian workers, says talks are ongoing

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

Still a lot of work to do to fully connect regional district

Draft strategy shows dependence on on single fibre optic cable route, poor cellular service on roads

Vancouver Island hasn’t seen a new homegrown case of COVID-19 in two weeks

Island’s low and steady transmission rate chalked up to several factors

Eight people arrested in Victoria homeless camp after enforcement order issued

Those living in tents were given until May 20 to move indoors

Andrew Weaver says he was ready to defeat John Horgan government

Independent MLA blasts B.C. Greens over LNG opposition

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

44% fewer passengers flew on Canadian airlines in March 2020 than in 2019

COVID-19 pandemic has hit airlines hard as travel remains low

Commercial rent relief applications open as feds encourage landlords to apply

Program would see government cover 50 per cent of the rent

COVID-19: B.C. park reservations surge as campgrounds reopen

Keep trying, many sites not reservable, George Heyman says

Most Read