Howe Sound Inn and Brewery ( is located in Squamish, British Columbia. Located on  its    namesake Howe Sound an hour’s drive north of Vancouver. Established in 1996, Howe Sound Brewing is one of British Columbia’s most well known craft breweries. Their signature 1L pot-stopper bottles are very unique and also recognizable in stores with hundreds upon hundreds of craft beers.

Howe Sound’s Winter seasonal, Pothole Filler, is a “Russian” Imperial Stout by style with 9% alcohol by volume. Pothole Filler is brewed with roasted barley, black malt, flatted barley as well as Warrior, Green Bullet and Willamette hops. The addition of these hops give Pothole Filler an impressive 65 IBU’s (International Bitterness Units).

Pouring this brew into my snifter, I admire the nearly pure black body with a foamy finger of tan head. Light brown tints along the edges of the glass. The head dies rather quickly leaving a thin tan coloured head and a few thin lacing rings. A whiff of intense roasted malts and alcohol wafts off the top of the glass after the pour. Notes of chocolate, roasted espresso, toffee, a hint of licorice and the warmth of alcohol are all present. The nose is a bit too sweet overall, but the roast and the hint of licorice make up for that shortfall. My first sip is sweet in the middle with a bit of a coffee note and a dry, astringent roast concluding with a mild alcohol burn. The notes of coffee and licorice are present with a bit of a lactic chocolate sweetness in the middle. Roasted malts encroach upon these notes and leave a dry, alcohol present finish. In general, the hops are not tasted in this brew, but rather add a modest hop bitterness on the finish.

Overall, Pothole Filler has a smooth, creamy mouthfeel with a bit of soft carbonation. While not the best Imperial Stout, Howe Sound did not disappoint with this offering. Pothole Filler could have had a more intense roast and giving this brew a bit more of the licorice I noted would be truly delactable. Regardless, this is a fantastic Imperial Stout.

Grade: A-