Location: Port Moody
Year Opened: 2015
BC Beer Award Wins: 2017 – North American Dark Beer (Str8 Flexin’), Imperial IPA (Bachelor Bad)
Canadian Beer Awards Wins: NA
Rank in Port Moody: 1st place (out of 4)
Rank in Metro Vancouver: 4th place (out of 48)
Rank in Southwestern B.C.: 4th place (out of 77)
There are many, many things to love about the four tasting rooms on Port Moody’s brewery row, all within 150 metres of each other, but a big one is the fact that all four have a distinctive style from one another.
Or at least that was the case in the first year of Twin Sails’ existence: they were the “German-style beers” place on Murray Street, with a solid Pilsner/Hefeweizen/Roggenwizen/Marzen setlist. No cute names, just a solid option sandwiched between Yellow Dog’s porters and IPAs and Moody Ales, well, ales.
The beers were a cut above average, but between the small number of taps and somewhat generic tasting room, there wasn’t a lot to give Twin Sails a buzz.
Then things changed. And changed. And changed.
In late 2016, Twin Sails transitioned from German beers to IPAs. Dank IPAs. IPAs that (for some of us) remind you of smoking weed in your parents basement. IPAs that taste like the ground the hops are grown in. In short, the most amazing and diverse collection of IPAs from any brewery in B.C. That is a hard statement given how the world over we are perceived as hop-centric, but it is a moniker they earned well over the last 18 months.
But wait, there’s more! In 2017, they expanded even further increasing their stellar selection of IPAs, to take on interesting flavour-forward takes on other beer styles. A saison made with crab = umami + sweet. An incredible stout that they combined with ancho chilies, cinnamon and chocolate to for form a “Flex Mex” 11% easy-drinking stout that’ll have even the hardiest beer drinkers out on their butts.
Then there are their variations on their Dank IPAs: IPAs with Sea Salt (VaporWave), IPAs with Alfalfa Honey (Can’t Even), and doubling and tripling down in the Dank flavour with their Juice Plus and Slam Danke.
Their weekly releases became a Saturday destination over the summer for Lower Mainland beer nerds. A few were duds. Some, in the course of literally one year (Dat Juice pale ale, Con Leche milk stout, Street Legal IPA) went from curiosity to standards across the region.
Now, if you don’t appreciate a lot (and we mean A LOT) of flavour in your beers than Twin Sails is not the brewery for you. We went to Twin Sails many, many times and some merely thought them “pretty good” because of the overpowering, peaty flavours that are their signature.
If that’s the case, you can still like Twin Sails but it’s hard to love them, which does limit them — after all, most other breweries who have niche beers also stock enjoyable IPAs, sours and wits that don’t alienate those not looking for a flavour explosion in their mouth.
In addition, Twin Sails is quite tight on space with their tasting room in the same room as their tanks, so on brewing days the room is steamy and pungent. At night, the lighting is quite dim and creates a bit of a dark, dank, crowded feeling that only gets better by consuming more of their delicious beer. Also, their tap display board is horrifically organized and very very hard to read even before the first beer, so they should maybe switch that up, for the sake of all our sanities.
If not for those issues, they could considered the top brewery in the province, which is an amazing transformation for a place that was known for boring German beers less than two years ago.
Without a doubt, Twin Sails is the MVP brewery of 2017 and Dat Juice was easily the breakout beer of 2017. We only suggest they have dial back the flavour-first approach for a few mainstays, to allow the less diehard beer drinkers out there to truly appreciate what they’ve become.
Quality: 16.1/20 (10th)
Standout: 4.2/5 (6th)
Diversity: 7.5/10 (10th)
Innovation: 3.9/5 (6th)
Experience: 7.0/10 (34th)
TOTAL: 38.8 (4th)
Next in Metro Vancouver/Southwest B.C.: Four Winds
Categories: Brewery Rankings