Sip Trips #49: Amazing Advent (Part 4)

Mrs. Sip has advised me that as we enter the second half of the craft beer advent calendar, some of her selections aren’t based on the beer having a winter or Christmas theme, but being intriguing brew styles that she knew I’d enjoy trying. So, let’s get right down to it!

Day 11: Hale’s Ales India Session Ale

Coming to you live from Seattle, this fall seasonal was a really awesome beer with hops that didn’t completely blow you away, but were prevalent enough to really be relished. At only 4.7%, this has been one of the lighter beers to come from the advent calendar, but that’s another fine change to have as the month progresses. This is the first beer I’ve had from the Washington company, but it advertises itself as the Northwest’s longest running independently owned brewery. I’ll have to find more selections.

Hale's Ales ISA

Day 12: Parallel 49 Sahti Claus Finnish Sahti

I don’t think I’ve ever had a Finnish Sahti style beer, but if they’re anything like Parallel 49’s version, it’s a pretty good variety. Traditionally, Sahtis are characterized by the flavor of juniper berries, sometimes used instead of hops. Apparently, Parallel 49 first released this beer in 2013 and it has somehow slipped under my radar these past few years. Like Phillips Brewing, Parallel 49 has some really unique labels and this is among them, featuring what can best be described as a European Santa Claus/bigfoot cross.

Parallel 49 Sahti Claws

Day 13: Phillips Thorny Horn Sour Raspberry Brown Ale

Speaking of Phillips, the Victoria brewery makes a second appearance in the advent calendar, thanks to another variety that I’ve never come across before. In recent times, I’ve enjoyed some really good brown ales and the addition of sour raspberry had me salivating after pulling this bottle from the calendar. I think the brown style ale gave the sour raspberries a perfect balance and this beer went down very easy. This may be one of the brewery’s tamest labels to date, though.

Phillips Thorny Horn

Day 14: 4 Mile Sweet Potato Harvest Spiced Ale

This was another very unique brew that had me excited from the moment it was revealed. I’m very impressed with Mrs. Sip’s choices for the advent calendar and her pushing me to experiment with many of these beers. After previously enjoying 4 Mile’s English Strong Ale, this brew had a fair bit to live up to and while it wasn’t as good as the Strong Ale, I still liked it. After looking more into 4 Mile’s seasonal brews, I’m looking forward to trying their Prickly Pear Cactus Wheat Ale and Tangerine Dream Ale, due out this spring.

4-Mile-sweet-potato-harvest-spiced-ale

I’m kind of sad to be halfway through the craft beer advent calendar, having really enjoyed it being part of my late evenings, revealing the next brew shortly after the clock turns over to start a new day. Mrs. Sip may have created her own monster here!

Sip Trips #48: Amazing Advent (Part 3)

This month has been rolling along and I think my craft beer advent calendar has played a substantial role in that. Each morning, I look forward to revealing that day’s brew and popping it into the fridge to be enjoyed that evening. On that subject, let’s look at what the rest of this week brought me:

Day 7: R&B Auld Nick Winter Ale

This beer packs one hell of a punch and the brewer’s at R&B are proud of that, tweeting back to me on Twitter: “It’s one of our faves for just that reason.” To be honest, I like it too, although each sip brings a slap to the face that will have beer amateurs backing away from the brew. The R&B crew are also quick to note that this is not your typical winter ale, lacking the spices one would normally experience. The logo is great with Saint Nick himself pouring beer for an eclectic group of tavern visitors.

R&B Auld Nick

Day 8: 4 Mile English Strong Ale

This is another beer that I had the luxury of trying at the Hopscotch Festival Grand Tasting Hall and it was one of my favourite samples from that day. The brew comes exactly as advertised: It is a strong style ale, but it is incredibly smooth. The website description for the beers flavours is very entertaining: “There’s a bit of a wrestling match going on to see who’s nuttier, but they decide on a harmonious truce, and call for an alliance of flavours where no one is the conqueror and everybody wins.”

4 Mile English Strong Ale

Day 9: Steamworks Blitzen

After a couple more dark seasonal beers, it was nice to venture into other territory again. Despite being on the market for a few years, I’ve never tried the Blitzen Belgian Tripel until now. I did enjoy it and it did not taste like a 9% brew. The bottle features lines from classic Christmas songs, geared towards the brewery, like “Let it steam, let it steam, let it steam!” If this beer doesn’t interest you (although it should), new to the Steamworks arsenal of brews this year is the intriguing Winter White Stout.

Steamworks Blitzen

Day 10: Powell Street Dunkelweizen

I have become a fan of dunkelweizens this winter season as it puts a spin on my favourite type of beers – wheats and weizens – and darkens them up for the holidays. That does beg the question why many winter beers are dark, when we’re trying our best to lighten everything up and avoid Seasonal Affective Disorder? Anyway, with flavours of chocolate, clove, and banana, this brew has me thinking of traditional German Christmases and celebrating the holiday in July.

Powell Street Dunkelweizen

I can’t thank Mrs. Sip enough for putting this together for me. If you’d like to look back at the rest of the advent calendar beers, so far, you can find those articles here: Amazing Advent (Part 1) and Amazing Advent (Part 2).