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.

Just Posted

Avalanche control work for Highway 1 this evening

The highway will be closed east of Golden at 4 p.m.

Showdown Throwdown brings two local bands back to back at Riverhouse

Get ready for a night of 90s pop punk and heavy rock… Continue reading

GSS graduate McClean presented with top high school award

Each year, Golden Secondary School gives out an award for the highest… Continue reading

Defiant vigil starts healing in New Zealand after massacre

Police say the gunman in the shooting that killed 50 acted alone

Facebook announces changes to political advertising to meet new federal rules

Bill C-76 bans the use of money from foreign entities to conduct partisan campaigns

National Arts Centre spotlights Indigenous and female artists in upcoming season

Other musical offerings include a salute to Canada’s Indigenous composers

Travel expected to be slowed by fallout from fire at Toronto’s Pearson airport

All U.S.-bound flights from Terminal 1 were cancelled Sunday night after the fire broke out near a security checkpoint

Trudeau fills vacancy in cabinet with B.C. MP Joyce Murray

Murray, 64, was elected in 2008 and served previously as a minister in B.C.’s provincial government

Kootenay Ice close out WHL tenure in Cranbrook with emotional win

The Ice finished their 21-year run in Cranbrook with a 5-4 win against the Red Deer Rebels on Sunday

Leivo nets shootout winner as Canucks edge Stars 3-2

Schaller scores first 2 goals of season for Vancouver

UBC study shows honey bees can help monitor pollution in cities

Scientists analyzed beehives in high density urban areas to those off on Galiano Island

Most Read