Tofino Tasting: Random in-situ beer review #184725

By: Richard W. Sharp

Welcome to the first installment in our random series of beer reviews, written when the opportunity arises and as the occasion warrants.1

Opportunities like camping, fishing, cycling, hiking, or any form of sight seeing that makes you thirsty and lends itself to embellishment. We here at Principally Uncertain take it as a truism that good beer * {camping}{beach?} = REALLY good beer (or at least an unimpeachable, objective, unbiased, definitely not sloshed memory of a really good beer).

If our work for the Beer Gazetteer is any guide (and it is), there are somewhere on the order of 255,000 active public breweries in the US and Canada. That’s a lot of potential “research” that we need to dig into. Because you, the people, deserve to know about good beer so that you may partake of it. Also bad beer, so that you may avoid its curse, and mediocre beer, because, meh, why not?

The Brewery: Tofino Brewing Co

It’s Canada Day in BC, eh! We’re coming to you live from Tofino on Vancouver Island where the board and rod are the swords by which they slay, say they.

Well there’s an afternoon to slay in this case and we find ourselves at the Shed, a bar and grill along this surf town’s main drag. In addition to a tasty menu there are several beers on tap from Tofino Brewing Co. The brewery is located just up the road and opened in 2011. Now let’s get down to the beers.

Beer 1: Hoppin Cretin IPA

A good beer and solid representative of the PNW style, though I’ll stick to my favorite south of the border IPAs for now (Reuben’s, Ninkasi, etc., etc.). Very drinkable (in fact if I don’t write faster I’m going to reviewing this hazy glass from hazy memory). It has a nice, lightly vegetative aftertaste (not spruce tips green, just the slightly bitter taste of greens). It has a golden, slightly cloudy color and a nice subtle 7.5% to ease you into the afternoon. Nice.

Beer 2: Limited Edition Golden Ale2

Nice and clean, malty, though no big flavors. Another upstanding citizen of the beer world, good solid and drinkable. It’s going great with the fried chicken lettuce wraps (highly recommended).


We’ll have to come back another time to try a wider range of the offerings from Tofino Brewing. As a stout fan, I’m especially interested in getting a taste of the Kelp Stout. In the end, these beers were nice, if not thrilling, but there’s a hidden treasure to be had here. They are perfect for the place. This is the beach at 49°N. It sits on the ocean. Not Puget Sound, not the Haro Strait, but the Pacific – next stop Japan – Ocean. This beer was made for these beaches and it’s hard to imagine a better time than a day on the water followed by a growler of Tofino’s finest, listening to the surf by the bonfire. 

1  We offer no warranty against the purchase of bad beers made after reading this column.^
2 There is some debate as to whether this is the beer that was actually served. These beers were available on tap at the Shed, and while the menu said “golden”, this beer is not part of Tofino Brewing Co.’s current lineup, but it was in the past. Today, a close cousin “Blonde Ale” is. Our tasting notes and the published tasting notes for both beers are all fairly similar.^

About The Author

Richard is a Seattle area data scientist who builds predictive models and the services that deliver them. He earned a PhD in Applied and Computational Math from Princeton University, and left academia for the dark side of science (industry) in 2010, following his wife to the land of flannel. Fan of coffee, beer, backpacking and puns. Enjoys a day on the lake fishing, and, better, cooking up the catch for a crowd.

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