Year Opened: 2014
Flights of Four: $6
BC Beer Award Wins: 2016 – Wood Aged (Entropy Series), Specialty IPA (Blonde IPA), Belgian Strong Ale (Blonde), 2015 – Abbey Ale (Blonde)
Canadian Beer Awards Wins: 2016 – Belgian Style (Burnabarian)
The patron saint of brewers, St Amand, is a Belgian whose immortal exhortation, “Don’t drink the water, drink beer”, while being less life-or-death than in the days before sewage treatment, is still good advice for a good night out.
The good folks at Dageraad have taken their inspiration from early Belgian pioneers of the craft, taking cues from the styles developed over centuries by Trappist monks and other brewing enthusiasts of Wallonia and Flanders, and given them a distinctly West Coast spin.
If you like Belgian beer, you should check out Dageraad. Their three standards, the Blonde, Amber, and Burnbarian, are all complex, delicious, and distinctively Belgian. But they show off their skills in their more limited releases where – for example, their Sri Lanka, a dubbel brewed with tamarind and kithul treacle, is one reviewer’s favourite beer, bar none.
Dageraad’s beers are excellent, and rated fourth highest for quality, so it is impossible to write this review, at this juncture, without pangs of guilt. Our rubric does not, unfortunately, reward the pursuit of excellence in a narrow field, and no brewery suffered more because of this than Dageraad.
If your mission is to create the best of a particular type, marks are naturally harder to award for diversity. And because many of their beers are bottle conditioned (a good thing), the selection at the tasting room is limited. And because their tasting room itself, northeast of Production Way/University Station, is about as small as humanly possible (if there are more than five people there, I hope you like sitting on a bench surrounded by brewing vats!), it’s hard to drag somebody out to enjoy the experience unless they love Belgians.
(Note: Members of our group visited several months before the recent accident that caused the brewery to lose a large amount of some upcoming releases, and that accident is not considered in the scoring.)
There’s hope on the horizon, as the introduction of a witbier to their permanent selection is coming soon and they’re currently building an expanded tasting room. Rest assured, we’d love to find an excuse to rank them higher.
At any rate, buy some Dageraad. They are delicious.
Quality: 16.4/20 (4th)
Standout: 3.5/5 (17th)
Diversity: 4.5/10 (36th)
Innovation: 4.0/5 (4th)
Experience: 5.8/10 (33rd)
TOTAL: 34.2 (14th)