A Time To Reflect: Enjoying Beer + Music While Tofino is on Hold

Last October, the world was a little simpler. We lived our adventures out with purpose and passion in Tofino with little worries. And while the animals are still here chilling out, and the horizon is still simply majestic, the world has become a bit more complicated. COVID-19 has shut us down worldwide, and social distancing is keeping us responsibly bored and a little thirsty for interaction. We can’t help you with the intimacy, but we can keep you curious.

In Autumn, our cocktails + music list delighted spirits lovers, so we decided to do it again. We’ve compiled a list of (mostly) craft beers from Vancouver Island, and then paired them with music to reflect on. Stay home, sit back, enjoy a frosty one, and remember the good times…they’ll be back soon. Oh, and strap in, it’s gonna get emotional.

TOFINO BREWING CO. BLONDE ALE, paired with Hero, by Family of the Year

Let’s start with this fantastic headliner tune from Richard Linklater’s 2014 film, Boyhood. Much like the film, the song is a heartfelt plea to be left alone to become the person we want to be. Life asks a lot of us as individuals, and it can be difficult to rise to new challenges when we already have so many to face. But know this; you have it in you, and we can get through this. Go easy on yourself during the next few months. Crack an easy-drinking beer, crank up the music, Skype a friend and have a virtual party. Life isn’t easy, and it’s not meant to be, but once this is over the simplest pleasures will seem like a dream.


HOYNE DARK MATTER paired with First Day of My Life, by Bright Eyes

What better than a global pandemic to remind us of our mortality?  And who better to sing about it than Bright Eyes lead singer and songwriter Conor Oberst, the emo prince of the ’00s? This song—and accompanying happy tear-jerker of a video—recall the tiny details that form the great relationships in our lives. And like dark matter (the space stuff, not the beer) it’s this intangible dust that forms unknown importance in our lives. Why do we do the things we do? Why do we love the people we choose? Do we choose anything or everything? Does it matter as long as we find love?

In the grand tradition of philosophers the world over, it’s not the answers that deliver the truth, but the questions and our eternal quest to re-question them. We’ve had pandemics before. There will be more. But what will we learn in this temporary darkness that will help us in the forthcoming light? Chew on that, dear quarantiner. Just remember, we can smile and laugh even when we are sad as f@*#. Isn’t that what emo music taught us?

And you said
“This is the first day of my life
I’m glad I didn’t die before I met you
But now I don’t care, I could go anywhere with you
And I’d probably be happy”
So if you wanna be with me
With these things there’s no telling
We just have to wait and see
But I’d rather be working for a paycheck
Than waiting to win the lottery


PHILLIPS AMNESIAC DOUBLE IPA, paired with Everything is Free, by Father John Misty

Originally penned and performed by one of folk’s greatest songwriters, Gillian Welch, this ode to record industry greed and the underappreciation of artists was recently covered by Father John Misty. With his infamous cynicism, the song takes on a new slant in these times where the grace of social isolation meets the arrogance of selfish freedoms. “Every day I wake up. Hummin’ a song. But I don’t need to run around. I just stay home.” he sings, which contrasts with the lyric, “Someone hit the big score. They figured it out. That we’re gonna do it anyway. Even if doesn’t pay.”

What they bastards don’t know is that we will shoulder this responsibility in the interest of saving our communities. Tofino—and the world—will be stronger after this. And to use a clumsy segue into our chosen strong ale, Phillips Amnesiac Double IPA, we will not forget the sacrifice nor the flavour of Tofino and its people. We got this.


TOFINO BREWING CO. DIMENSION ASCENSION, paired with The Best of Everything (Alternate take), Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

Nothing I can say will add to the simple beauty of what Tom Petty calls “one of the best songs I have ever written.” Crack a Dimension Ascension from Tofino Brewing Company and revel in it, remember, and reflect on all that has ever been, and all that could be. Love, love, love.  In other news, Tofino Brew Co. is delivering beer in the Tofino area. Good people.

She prob’ly works in a restaurant
That’s what her momma did
But I don’t know if she ever really
Could put up with it
Or maybe she sings in a nightclub
‘Cause sometimes she used to sing
But I don’t know if it ever
Amounted to anything
But listen honey
Wherever you are tonight
I wish you the best of everything, in the world
And I hope you found
Whatever you were looking for
Yeah and it’s over before you know it
It all goes by so fast
Yeah, the bad nights last forever
And the good nights don’t ever seem to last
And man, we never had the real thing
But sometimes we used to kiss
Back when we didn’t understand
What we were caught up in


CATEGORY 12 EPIPHANY Barrel-Aged Red Sour, paired with The Trapeze Artist, by Gregory Alan Isakov

Whatever you are doing now, stop it. Find a comfortable seat. Crack a cold beer—something complex if you can find it in these times—and settle in. Turn the lights down and adjust whatever you need to in order to give this song your full attention for the entire eight minutes. And then give yourself a half hour afterwards to just soak up the stunning beauty and knowledge captured in this Iron and Wine original.

Isakov brings another dimension to this simple ballad, an exploration of a life remembered. How will we be remembered when we are gone? Heartbreaking, bittersweet, and uplifting, this version is a balm for the soul in hard times. We will lose some loved ones in the coming months. Make sure you tell everyone important to you that you love them. And we mean right now. When this song is over, call them.


CORONA, paired with Rock n’ Roll Never Forgets, by Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band

Yeah, yeah, we know. It may come across like a bad joke but let’s be honest; Corona pale lager (with lime of course) has played a pivotal role in some of our BEST DAYS EVER. This is the beer we drank on the beach that one time we got to make out with that beautiful girl. It’s the cerveza we celebrate Cinco de Mayo with. And it’s just a damn good—if watery—sunny-day, blue-sky, “Today rules” kind-of-beer.

And now the less-intelligent of us are somehow linking it to COVID. Crack one open and turn up the Bob Seger. In this tune, Seger (who is still the reigning king of rock n’ roll) reminds us that we ain’t dead yet, man. We can still rock. We can still roll with the punches. And he’s right. Keep your chins up, friends. We are going to get through this. And sometime, somwehere, on the other side of it, we’d like to look you in the eye and shake your hand with confidence. Come back baby. Rock n’ Roll never forgets.

So you’re a little bit older
And a lot less bolder than you used to be
So you used to shake ’em down
But now you stop and think about your dignity
So now sweet sixteen’s turned thirty-one
You get to feelin’ weary when the work day’s done
Well all you got to do is get up and into your kicks
If you’re in a fix
Come back baby, rock and roll never forgets


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