Whistler Brewing Hat-trick: Black Tusk Ale, Classic Pale Ale, Premium Export Lager

Thursday night (last night) I was out at the bar with the wife watching the Bruins lose in game 1 of the eastern conference quarter-finals. Had a great time watching, drinking, and playing Keno. Tonight we’re being taken out to dinner by my wife’s grandparents in celebration of my birthday (actually on the 24th). So, long story short, I’ve been out of the swing of things for getting brew-reviews done. Lucky for me, today a surprise guest review appeared in my inbox courtesy W.L. Wittstruck. W.L. Is becoming somewhat of a regular here on LIBA, and you probably now recognize the name. Everybody have a great weekend!

During the NHL’s final weekend of regular season games, I decided to give a trio of beers from Whistler Brewing a try. I’ll just get this out on the table, my wife and I are huge Vancouver Canucks fans and usually have a frosty Canadian barley pop or two during their games. We thought this would be a good time to try some selections from this British Columbia brewery. We found this 24 pack, made up of 3 different styles, at our local Costco and decided to give it a try. Hopefully you will find this review helpful in the event you run across it someday.

Black Tusk Ale
This one looked dark and mysterious on the outside and guessing it was probably the heaviest of the three, I decided to try it first. So I grabbed my trusty review mug (a souvenir from the NASA space center in Florida) and opened the first bottle. It had a nice aroma, somewhat sweet, but nothing overwhelming. I poured it into the glass and a dark head formed on top. Aside from the color it was extremely underwhelming and it disappeared moments afterward. Fearing that perhaps the glass had some soap residue on it or something else killed the head I took a drink. Nope. The glass was fine. It was flat. No sense of carbonation at all. On top of that it tasted like a porter not an ale, which would’ve been alright if it had some carbonation or something else to catch your attention. It was a bit malty, but not impressive. Wow, what happened, where did everything go wrong? Maybe it was a bad bottle, so I tried another and was met with the same result. This was not going as I had hoped, so it was time to move on.

Classic Pale Ale

After rinsing my review mug and cleansing my palette, it was time take on the next challenger. I opened the bottle and poured it into my mug. I was treated to a rich golden color beer that formed a nice head, about 2 fingers for those keeping score at home, and I could tell that things were better already. Before taking my first sip I let it sit another minute or so to see if the head would disappear as it did with the Black Tusk Ale. I was in luck, the head stayed. It was now time for a taste. This one had a sweet flavor that was nicely balanced with the malt and hops. The hops had a nice bite to them that served to compliment the sweetness and not steal the show. As I worked my way through the glass a nice layer of Brewers lace formed on the inside of the glass, another sign that things were turning around. While not spectacular, this was a good middle-of-the-road beer that would be perfect after mowing the lawn on a hot summer’s day.

Premium Export Lager
It was time to try the final selection and I was hoping I saved the best for last. I poured the lightly golden brew into the mug and watched as a nice head, about 2 fingers, formed on top. Just like the pale ale, this had a sweet aroma and taste. While not overly malty, the hop presence in this beer was the strongest of the three. Hallelujah! It had good carbonation to it and the Brewers lace remained on the glass all the way through. While it’s true this is a pretty typical lager, I think it was better than any mass-produced American lagers I have ever had, and would be another perfect beer for those hot summer days. This one was definitely my favorite of the three and I am really glad that I saved it for last.

Even though this review ended on a positive note, I won’t be rushing back to buy this collection anytime soon.

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Author: Joshua Dion

I write about beer in an un-intimidating way, welcoming beer lovers of all experience levels.