Year Opened: 1999
BC Beer Award Wins: NA
Canadian Beer Awards Wins: 2013 – BEER OF THE YEAR (Sasquatch Stout)
Rank in Chilliwack: 1st place (out of 2)
Rank in Fraser Valley: 8th place (out of 11)
Rank in Southwestern B.C.: 55th place (out of 77)
Head towards Chilliwack, ditch the highway, come across a small industrial area surrounded by farmland, and you’ll find Old Yale. The Fraser Valley institution can be found in cans at liquor stores throughout the region, its bright colours sticking out in many a liquor store, but it’s harder to find elsewhere.
Which is probably because its beer is just sort of there.
Which isn’t to say its bad! Old Yale does plenty of Acceptable Stuff, from its Screaming Banshee Irish Cream Stout to its Knotty Blonde Ale to its Kettle Sour Plum Porter: drinkable beers that are good for cans and somewhere between five and six per cent in ABV.
Yet there’s nothing about their output that’s absolutely necessary to seek out (though we did enjoy that Plum Porter), their tap lineup leans heavily on porters and stouts (even in the summertime) and their tasting room is very cookie-cutter, which is disappointing for a place so out of the way..
That’s not to say there aren’t interesting things from time to time — at this writing, they currently have an oak aged beer and mead blend in rotation — but Old Yale is like many breweries that are decades old: content in what they do, consistent in their output, and with a market reach that discourages huge evolutions as time goes on.
But go in with the right expectations, and there’s certainly enough to enjoy.
Quality: 13.0/20 (39th)
Standout: 2.7/5 (58th)
Diversity: 5.7/10 (48th)
Innovation: 2.2/5 (57th)
Experience: 5.4/10 (69th)
TOTAL: 29.0 (55th)
Categories: Brewery Rankings