Beer Buzz: Main St. Brewing's Before the Fall a welcome reminder of a time the rain wasn't falling in black sheets

    1 of 2 2 of 2

      As a valuable public service, we taste the latest in Lower Mainland beers and then give you a highly opinionated, pocket-sized review.

      On Tap

      Main St. Brewing Before the Fall Fresh Hop Hommelbier.

      Their Words

      “Pride cometh before the fall, and so too does our end-of-summer, fresh-hop, Belgian-inspired ‘hommelbier’. This saison combines Pahto, Czech Saaz and fresh BC Saaz hops with Belgian pilsner, Canadian wheat, German Carafoam and rye varieties of malt & farmhouse yeast for a brew that conjures up flavours of chamomile, spring flowers and light herbal spice. Hop on board for a one-of-a-kind ’bier that truly deserves to be lionized.”

      Taste Test

      Good lord, this has been an ugly one, even by Wet Coast standards. If Vancouver’s fall of 2021 has proven something, it’s that there’s a price to be paid for everything. The summer brought endless days and months of blazing heat—the kind of almost-tropical weather that we normally hop on a plane to Mexico, the Caribbean, or the Canary Islands to get a taste of.

      And then, sometime around the second or third week of September, that came to a screeching halt, flipping overnight to a fall that’s been like an unholy Mother Nature mashup of SE7EN, Blade Runner, and Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon. Remember when, in The Crow, Brandon Lee says “It can’t rain all the time?” Well, he was wrong.

      So, for its name alone, Main St. Brewing’s Before the Fall gets huge points for taking us back to happier times. Specifically a before-the-fall-of-2021 summer when it wasn’t tombstone grey with black sheets of rain eight days out of seven.

      Before the Fall’s backstory starts with a trip to Pemberton Valley, where 150 pounds of fresh Saaz hops were sourced from the impossibly scenic Myrtle Meadows farm. The key word there—in case you’ve already forgotten what’s printed on the can’s label—is “fresh”, rather than dried or compressed into pellets. Flash forward a bit and Main St. Brewing has given us a subtly fruity beer you’d order at À la Mort Subite in Brussels when you’ve had enough of cherry krieks, strawberry lambics, and peach hefeweizens, but don’t want a heavy Black Forest Charcoal Porter.

      Before the Fall clocks in at 6.3 ABV, but doesn’t come on heavy or boozy. Instead settle in for a Belgium-brewers-inspired saison where the pleasantly heady floral notes will bring back memories of hoofing it through the alpine meadows surrounding Tenquille Lake and the Marriott Basin. Memories where, halfway through the hike, all you wanted was a beer. There’s a whisp of bitterness and a bit of white-pepper bite, along with an undercurrent of ripe bananas and toasted cloves. Which, at the risk of stating the obvious, is better than wet umbrellas, soggy sneakers, and mountains of dead leaves on the dirty ground.

      Deep Thoughts

      If Accuweather, the Weather Network, and the national treasure known as Frankie MacDonald are to be believed, it’s going to rain every day for the next week. Enough already—somebody, anybody, make it stop. That, of course, isn’t going to happen. So you can sit around and complain, or you can pop the tab on Before the Fall and think back to the summer that was. A summer so glorious you even managed to get your hands on an oscillating fan at Canadian Tire before the shelves were stripped bare. Too bad you missed out on the golf umbrellas, but there’s always next year, not to mention the rain-soaked Wet Coast years and decades that await us.