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Popular Vancouver Island brewery serves up new 4/20 beer

Co-owner Isaiah Archer speaks to BrewGas, anchovy hops and the fun of concocting new gimmicks
Whistle Buoy brewer Lukas brews up a terpene-infused hazy IPA for 4/20, a date to celebrate cannabis. (Isaiah Archer)

It was looking a little like a mad scientist lab in the back of Victoria brewery Whistle Buoy as the crew prepared to celebrate 4/20 with innovation.

Their latest beer, Buds Hazy, is a terpene-infused hazy IPA made in partnership with Vancouver’s Superflux and there are a few things worth knowing about it.

While drinkers won’t get high from this weed-beer hybrid as there’s no THC in it, explains Whistle Buoy co-owner Isaiah Archer, this creation works since hops and cannabis are very closely related (and terpene is derived from cannabis).

Terpenes bring out fruit flavours and emphasize dank flavour – that pungent odoriferous quality that comes from weed and very hoppy IPAs.

The brewers got a good whiff of it when they opened the bottle of BrewGas, a liquid brewing solution consisting of botanical terpene-derived cannabis flavour compounds without the THC or CBD.

“Opening a bottle of BrewGas is like sticking your head in a big bag of weed and inhaling, which is wild because none of the compounds used were extracted from the Cannabis plant. SCIENCE,” Archer said in a post on the Whistle Buoy website.

READ MORE: Victoria’s Whistle Buoy Brewing uses AI to generate latest beer recipe

Whistle Buoy is widely known in Victoria to be a fun and creative brewery. It’s part of their brand and Archer said when they opened, they saw the opportunity to appeal to a young consumer base.

On April Fool’s Day this year, for instance, they released their 500th brew; the Hazy Kale Ale. The special ingredients? Powdered kale, liquid chlorophyll and anchovy hops.

The Hazy Kale Ale from Whistle Buoy Brewing. (Courtesy Whistle Buoy Brewing)

The anchovy hops was admittedly a gimmick from Seattle brewery Fast Fashion, who bought a new hop strain and named it ‘anchovy hops’ for kicks. Despite that, it tastes more like watermelon Jolly Ranchers.

“At the end of the day, we’re making beer; it’s about bringing people together, celebrating and taking it easy, so we thought it was a fun hop that represented how we feel about beer,” Archer said.

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The crew at Whistle Buoy also like to lean into the fact that they are a taproom-based business and innovation serves that well.

“If someone orders a beer that’s bright green – or we make a blue spirulina beer, or bright pink, red and purple sour beers with fruit – and someone sees that glass going across the room, it often starts to create an effect,” Archer said.

But experimentation mostly comes from a place of having fun and loving what they do.

“We want to have fun with it and express our personalities. This is a passion,” Archer said.

Isaiah Archer, Whistle Buoy co-owner holds up the Hazy Kale Ale (Samantha Duerksen/Black Press Media). Head brewer Matt. (Isaiah Archer)

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Sam Duerksen

About the Author: Sam Duerksen

Since moving to Victoria from Winnipeg in 2020, I’ve worked in communications for non-profits and arts organizations.
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