With the BC craft beer scene being nearly dominated with young breweries these days, Lighthouse turning 15 was actually a little surprising. 15 years old is not particularly old for a brewery, but with breweries like Driftwood being only 5 years old, it is notable. For BC, 15 years is respectable. Lighthouse is celebrating the occasion with an anniversary ale comprised of a healthy variety of both malt and hops and capped with some English yeast.
I actually didn’t have big expectations for this beer for some reason. I’m not sure why – Barley Mowat’s blog says it’s a “buy and drink”, reviews have actually been pretty positive that I can find now. So when I took my first sip, my reaction was “oooh!”. Labelled as an anniversary ale, this drinks like a fantastic winter seasonal. It has the vanilla, caramel, and other sweet spices that no self-respecting Christmas ale would be caught without. Its smooth, nearly-sticky-sweet malts are countered with a great hops presence that serves to add complexity and perhaps keep the sweetness at bay – but doesn’t add notable bitterness. It lands somewhere between a rich pale ale and a barleywine. I would say the same thing of a winter ale, except the winter / Christmas ales tend to lack the hops presence that really makes this beer stand out.