The Sip: Bench Brewing Brings its Wine-Inspired Beers to B.C.

The Ontario brewery is coming out west, and that’s a very good thing.

It can be hard keeping track of all the breweries in B.C. alone, never mind the rest of the country. 

But Bench Brewing is a name any discerning beer drinker will want to know.

The Niagara, Ontario-based company is firmly situated in that province’s wine country and as such has committed to making creative beer that often borrows from the techniques and flavours found in the vineyard.

Case in point: the brewery’s Rosé Wildwood golden sour ale, a beautiful, barrel fermented concoction infused with strawberries and Twenty Valley Pinot Noir wine grapes.

Barrel-aged sours can tend to have a dark, musty aspect to them, but this one is light enough that it shows off the sweetness of the grapes and strawberries (an admittedly strange addition, but it works) without being too overbearing. There’s a nice tang and a full-bodied finish at 6 percent alcohol.

And there’s the Henry on Cherries, a brett saison that smacks of sour cherries and features a dry finish.

Bench has also proved more than capable at traditional style beers, like its Short Hills East Coast IPA and the Jordan Harbour Belgian Pale Ale. Both are interesting, somewhat fruity takes on classic beers. 

Last week, the brewery announced that, for the first time, it’s offering its product in select stores across B.C., enabling west coast drinkers to partake in all four brews listed above.

And while we always love to champion B.C. beers, a little competition is healthy, right? The excellent Hamilton-based Collective Arts Brewing has already kicked the door down in B.C., and it won’t be long before the rest of the provinces come calling. Let’s hope that the ones that become widely available here continue to push the envelope.

Bench representatives weren’t able to pinpoint exact locations in which their beers are currently available (super helpful guys), but that makes it more fun, right? Get treasure hunting.