BC Beer Baron #358 – Category 12 Unsanctioned Saison

As we near the end of this 366-day BC Beer Baron project, the Sip Advisor is busy accumulating the last few brews to be featured. That includes this Category 12 Brewing release, which a friend was very generous to share with moi.

The Unsanctioned Saison is a nicely spiced drink, containing the brewery’s own Belgian yeast. At 6.9% ABV and 27 IBUs, this beverage is stronger than the average farmhouse ale and that’s just fine with the Sip Advisor, who likes ‘em hard.

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The product is available in bomber-sized bottles at private liquor stores. I like how Category 12 features “standout ingredients” in their recipes. For this beer, that would include “Superior Pilsner and Belgian Caravienne malts and a hint of rye.”

The saison seems to have a secret agent theme, with the beer’s label showing a character holding a briefcase. Its story states: “Exceptional taste is the only thing that will get you through the gate at this point… Keep your cool, you got this.”

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BC Beer Baron #357 – Barkerville Sternwheeler Scotch Ale

“Silky, stubborn, rich.” That’s how Barkerville Brewing describes this seasonal release, which I was lucky to come across recently. Good timing, too, since it’s the Sip Advisor’s belief that this style of beer is best enjoyed in front of a fire, whether camping or hibernating for winter.

The Sternwheeler Scotch Ale is dark, yet mild, featuring the toffee, caramel and hint of smoke flavours and finish that Scotch Ales are known for. The 7.7% ABV, 19 IBUs beverage is a little sweeter than some of its contemporaries, but that doesn’t detract from the overall experience.

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The beer is available in bomber-sized bottles at BC Liquor Stores. Drinkers should be careful to check their bottle cap for a chance to win merchandise from the brewery or the grand prize of a real gold nugget. Don’t miss out like the Sip Advisor may have recently.

This product is meant as a tribute to sternwheeler’s (particularly one called Barnard’s Express) that made shipping possible during the BC gold rush. The story of the ship didn’t end happily, however, as it sunk carrying 100 tons of cement, after crashing into Woodpecker Reef.

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BC Beer Baron #356 – Phillips Anxiety Ale

The Sip Advisor loves it when brewery’s come up with libations specific to a certain season or holiday. Phillips Brewing is probably one of the more consistent breweries in capitalizing on themed beer releases and such is the case with this product.

The Anxiety Ale is of the Belgian Quad variety, so you know it’ll be boozy (8% ABV), which certainly helps with all the “challenges” that Christmas brings us. The beverage is light on hops, which should make it more accessible to the general drinking audience.

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Featuring the classic character of Uncle Lewis, from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation on its label, this beer is meant to “deliver some sweet relief from seasonal pressures”. Last year, the brew featured the iconic Cousin Eddie as part of its artwork.

The beer is available in bomber-sized bottles. Also offered by the brewery for the winter season is the Scarfface Orange Cranberry Wit (in tall cans for 2016-17), which is intended to provide a “welcome break from the heavy winter ales”.

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BC Beer Baron #355 – Parallel 49 Salty Scot Ale

I have long wanted to try this beer from Parallel 49 Brewing, but it always seemed to elude me. Well, I have finally caught up to my prey and while the chase was fun, the spoils of the hunt were even greater.

The Salty Scot Ale leans more towards sweet than salty, but it is a good beer, perfect for the winter season. At 7.5% ABV, you would think the beer would be quite strong, but this element isn’t that noticeable. The suggested serving temperature is between 10-12 degrees Celsius, so you might not want to super chill the brew.

Parallel 49 Salty Scot Ale

With the popularity in sea-salted caramel products, it’s not surprising that a brewery would hop aboard the bandwagon, as the two make such a perfect coupling. Parallel 49 takes the Scottish Wee Heavy style and ups the game with the addition of caramel malts and “enough salt to give it a bit of a bite”.

We recently learned that the logo was designed after the brewery’s accountant (said to be a salty Scot) and that’s why the caricatures’ pouch reads “Scott”. Apparently, the designers of the logo didn’t reveal it to said accountant until the very last moment, offering no opportunity for changes to it.

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BC Beer Baron #354 – Persephone Wee Heavy

With the Christmas party season in full swing, the Sip Advisor has had ample opportunity to share beverages with friends and family. That has introduced me to some very good drinks, such as this Persephone Brewing release.

The Wee Heavy is of the Scotch Ale variety, featuring flavours of rich malts, sweet caramel and dark fruit. At 7.5% ABV, the drink will warm the soul through the winter and its 20 IBUs gives it a nice mild hop content.

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First brewed in 2013, the product can be found in bomber-sized bottles at private liquor stores. The beer took home a well-deserved silver medal at the 2015 Canadian Brewing Awards in the Scotch Ale category.

Among currently available Persephone selections I have recently come across that I would like to try is the Hop Yard Red Ale. This hoppy red ale sounds tasty, with a balance of pine, caramel and toasted notes comprising its recipe.

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BC Beer Baron #353 – Hoyne Appleton ESB

At last month’s Chowder Chowdown, hosted by the Vancouver Aquarium, one of my top beer picks for the night was this offering from Hoyne Brewing. It paired very nicely with my chowder serving at the time, which is always a good start.

The Appleton ESB was smooth and hoppy, with a nice roasted malts/caramel element to the recipe. ESBs (standing for Extra Special Bitter) are not among the Sip Advisor’s favourite styles of beer, but the type has grown on me in recent times.

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The 5.2% ABV beverage is available in bomber-sized bottles at private liquor stores. Hoyne touts that the brew is “free of any pernicious ingredients”… which a thesaurus search tells us means there are no malicious, evil or wicked elements.

While most would conclude the beer is named as it is because of the inclusion of Appleton Rum, it’s actually an homage to Frank Appleton. Appleton conceived BC’s first craft brewery, the Horseshoe Bay Brewing Co., and inspired many.

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BC Beer Baron #352 – Dead Frog Winter Beeracle Winter Ale

Each month, as part of this 366-day BC craft beer extravaganza that I will be sharing with you throughout 2016, I will highlight a specific style or theme of beers for a whole week of articles. Already the best time of the year, the fact it’s Winter Ale season makes it that much better.

At this time of year, everyone is hoping for a miracle and that can be found in liquid form thanks to the folks at Dead Frog Brewing. Despite being a holiday tradition since 2012, this was the first time the Sip Advisor tried the product.

That’s okay, though, as the Winter Beeracle Winter Ale’s recipe changes each time it’s manufactured, creating a new drinking experience every year. The 2016 version features flavours of chocolate and orange to go along with stats of 7.5% ABV and 24 IBUs.

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“A celebration of all the good things winter brings. Complex beers, warm fires, close family, and good friends.” Suggested food pairings include shortbread cookies, Nanaimo bars and turkey dinners with all the sides. Does it get much more festive than that!?

The seasonal single batch release is available in bomber-sized bottles from BC Liquor Stores and can be located annually, starting in November. Dead Frog even has a Museum of Labeology, where previous labels for the beer can be viewed.

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