Phillips Brewing has earned a well-deserved reputation over the years for its innovative style and flavours, not to mention a commitment to pushing boundaries while maintaining a healthy respect for brewing tradition.
The Victoria brewery has also made a name for itself by not resting on its laurels. So it should come as no surprise that it regularly launches new products.
But true to form, Phillips doesn’t always do that in a straightforward manner.
On Monday, the brewery decided to unveil a trio of announcements heralding new beers and a new division within the brewery.
“We had three different projects that all seemed to happen to come together at the same time,” said spokesman Matt Lockhart.
Hitting the shelves of beer and liquor stores and Phillips headquarters today are Bottle Rocket, a canned beer known as an India session ale with a hoppy flavour and lower alcohol content; and Leviathan Milk Stout, a large bottle that serves as Phillips’ benefit brew for 2013.
Proceeds from sales of Leviathan are going to support Cetus Research and Conservation Society.
The benefit beer is an annual program that started last year with Ancient Brown Ale that helped raise $10,000 for the Ancient Forest Alliance.
Cetus promotes community stewardship, conducts research and public education and fosters activities that directly preserve marine habitats and biological diversity. It takes part in Straitwatch, the Robson Bight Warden Program and the B.C. Marine Mammal Response Network.
“We put a call out to the public to nominate their favourite charity and from there we select 10 groups and they get put online for a vote,” said Lockhart, noting each group was tied to a specific beer type.
This year, Cetus garnered the most votes so Phillips brewed the milk stout. Its sales should generate $10,000 to help run its marine mammal conservation programs.
Leviathan Milk Stout is available for a limited time.
“We used to link up with a local group and do a charity beer, but what we found was it represented what we wanted to do. Instead, we wanted the folks who enjoy our beer, our community, to have a say in what we support,” said Lockhart.
The Bottle Rocket, which only comes in cans in an ironic twist, is Phillips’ foray into the summer “active” beers that often get carried around golf courses or on camping trips because of their “mobility.”
“It’s a beer that lends itself to summer fun-based events,” said Lockhart.
Phillips also used Monday to launch its barrel program called the Twisted Oak Stillage Series. “It’s been percolating pretty much ever since we started having fun with barrels,” said Lockhart, noting brews such as Hammer Imperial Stout and Trainwreck, which are finished in scotch barrels. “We wanted an umbrella banner so we could begin to group those products for people and they would be more recognizable at the shelf level.”
All barrel products will now fly under that banner.
It launches with the flagship beer, Twisted Oak Scotch Ale, a 6.8 per cent alcohol brew allowed to rest in wood barrels to mature and develop flavours slowly and naturally. The freshly emptied barrels are designed to infuse warm oak and sweet whiskey flavours into the beer.
The Scotch Ale will be available year-round.
© Copyright 2013