Howe Sound has one of the longest and most impressive histories in BC craft breweries. They have my utmost respect. Further respect for using the 1L swing-top bottle, part of their own mandate to use re-usable packaging. I have plenty of respect for companies willing to go the extra mile in this regard. Also, their beer tends to be rather delicious.
Out of all the Howe Sound beers that I enjoy though, only two stand out to me as personal must-haves. There are just a whole lot of awesome beers out there. Even if I were to stick to only BC beers my whole life, I know I wouldn’t be able to try them all. So I pick and choose based on who does the best what. Those two Howe Sound beers that make the cut for me? Gathering Storm and King Heffy.
King Heffy is probably my favourite hefeweizen, though it’s not a style I particularly like anyway. But that’s not the subject of this post. Gathering Storm is a CDA or Cascadian Dark Ale (hey, I’m glad they can still say that), which can also be called a dark IPA. Most CDA’s I’m familiar with carry the hops profile of an IPA but with a bit of roast or chocolate, and a slightly maltier feel. Gathering Storm takes the malt profile further than most. The aroma is very sweet, candied even. Sugary dark fruits, red licorice, a bit of spice and some citrus fruits too. The taste is also sweet though not as strongly as the nose. The citrus hops add their bitter influence the whole way through, though I find a lot of darker fruits like fig, plum, and raisin are in there too. Sweet and rich malts really fortify the texture.
I’m convinced this is my favourite CDA right now, though it’s been a few months since I’ve had another – so I could be biased by my recent experience. Regardless of whether it’s the best, it’s definitely a great beer.