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 beverage commemorates power outage

Island Brewery 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 has concocted a beverage to mark the occasion in a favourable light.

“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

’We’ve been dealing with racism all our lives,’ says family of Tla-o-qui-aht woman fatally shot by police

Nora Martin joins other Indigenous families in calling for a significant shift in policing

End of an Era: Tofino hair studio closes shop

“We were getting excited to start ramping up and then all of sudden we had to close our doors.”

Vancouver Island’s current COVID-19 case count officially hits zero

Of the 130 recorded Island Health cases, five people have died, 125 recovered

Alberni Valley, West Coast First Nations gather to remember woman fatally shot by police

Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council requests an independent investigation

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

Trudeau offers $14B to provinces for anti-COVID-19 efforts through rest of year

Making a difference in municipalities is a pricey proposition

‘Alarmed’: Health critic calls for more data on COVID-19 in trucking industry

Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec said that level of detail is not being collected

UPDATED: Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park arrested

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

Kelowna Mountie who punched suspect identified, condemned by sister

‘How did he get away with this? How is this justifiable?’

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

No charges to be laid against 22 northern B.C. pipeline protesters

Twenty-two people were arrested in February, but Crown has decided not to pursue charges

Plan in place for BC Ferries to start increasing service levels

Ferry corporation reaches temporary service level agreement with province

B.C. starts to see employment return under COVID-19 rules

Jobless rate for young people still over 20% in May

Most Read