BC Beer Baron #196 – Bridge Elderflower Kettle Sour

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. With so many brewery options out there, a game of one-upmanship sometimes occurs and from that, the world is treated to some very unique experimental releases.

The Sip Advisor is finding himself getting more and more into sour beers. It may have taken some time, but now that I’m finally there, I’m liking what I see – and taste – including this release from Bridge Brewing.

Part of the brewery’s Ironworkers Series (along with the Dark Rye Sour Saison and Imperial White IPA), the Elderflower Kettle Sour featured a nice mix of elderflower and sour to make for a good sweet/tart balance. The 4.9% ABV, 18 IBUs beverage is lightly hopped with two different hop variations, resulting in flavours of nectarine and citrus.

Bridge Elderflower Kettle Sour

The sour was inspired by the mother of the Bridge brewmaster, which is quite the tribute. It is available in bomber-sized bottles, but availability is limited, so get yours while you can.

Ironically, I enjoyed this beverage in Calgary, Alberta of all places. While roaming around the city, Mrs. Sip and I popped into the 5 Vines beer and wine store, where we were able to try the ale. We quickly learned that BC brews make up a fair share of the Calgary craft scene. Yeah, we’re that awesome!

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Sip Trips #65: Cowtown Capers

Despite only being back from a month-long vacation in Asia for a week and a half, last weekend found us in Calgary, Alberta for a friend’s wedding. And you better believe Mrs. Sip and I got our craft beer on!

My first impression of the Calgary craft beer scene was that I was amazed by how much BC craft beer has infiltrated the province and comprises their industry. Half of the selection at restaurants, bars, and beer and wine stores are BC beers. This is partly due to taxes being lessened for BC and Saskatchewan products. Sadly, taxes were raised drastically for wares from outside western Canada, which some worry will kill the import of products from the rest of Canada, the US, and abroad.

Cursing Taxes

Our weekend began with a late Friday night arrival in Calgary and we immediately hit the streets to check things out. It didn’t take long for us to get the fun started, as we stopped into the 5 Vines beer and wine store, where we had a great chat with their purchaser. He provided us with samples of the Fahr Fahr Away Hefeweizen and the Dandy Chatty Chappy English Mild, both of which were quite good.

Next up, was dinner and drinks at Bottlescrew Bill’s Pub (also housing Buzzards Restaurant & Bar). Here, we delved into more Calgary based brews, including Wild Rose Electric Avenue, Buzzard Breath Ale (brewed by Wild Rose as the restaurant and pub’s house beer), Tool Shed Flat Cap Stout, and Village Wit. Bottlescrew Bill’s has a really neat beer passport idea where you have one year to complete an 80-beer international challenge, with prizes up for grabs for those who are successful.

The next day, we made our way to one of Calgary’s National Beerhall locations, where we greatly enjoyed hanging out on their Rooftop Beer Garden and throwing back a number of solid beers. Among them, were the Village Squeeze Lemon Berry Helles, Wild Rose Velvet Fog Wheat Ale and Wraspberry Ale, and Big Rock Lucky 13 Femme Wave Red Ale. Our server even offered to get us set up with a game of bowling in their basement, but we had friends to meet, prior to the wedding.

Bowling Ideal Sport

The next pre-wedding stop was Last Best Brewery, where Mrs. Sip and I shared a flight of tasters. On our board was the Dirty Bird Black Lager, Hefeweizen, Caramel Latte Beer, IPA#2 – The Contender, Mandarina Kolsch, and Dunkelweizen. My favourites among the bunch were the Caramel Latte Beer and the IPA #2 – The Contender.

The day after the wedding, we met the newlyweds for lunch at Native Tongues Taqueria, where I paired a mezcal-based margarita with some delicious legit tacos (chicken, pork, and beef). We also shared the restaurant’s salsa sampler, which had some very interesting tortilla chip enhancers.

With a few hours to kill before flying back to Vancouver, Mrs. Sip and I conducted our own crawl of the downtown core. Our first stop was Wurst, which is a haven for drinkers of European beer, as they watch football matches from the continent. We took advantage of happy hour, which offered $5 domestic and import draught. Our bevvy of choice was the Erdinder Weisbier, a favourite of both mine and Mrs. Sip.

happy-hour first responder

Next up, was Ship & Anchor, where legend has it one day the bar got fed up with macro breweries competing with each other and decided to banish them entirely from their menu. Here, Mrs. Sip tried their house beer, the Ship & Anchor Barnacle Pilsner, while I went for the Village Blacksmith, which was a very nice India Black Ale.

We wrapped things up with a stop at Briggs Kitchen + Bar for some food and drinks, having heard good things about the location from our fellow out-of-town friends. While splitting a delicious serving of Newf’s Poutine (that would be lobster, of course), we tried a couple of their interesting cocktails, including the Pepper & Tonic (Beefeater Gin, lemon, simple syrup, jalapeno and pineapple jelly) and The Finch (Jamesons Whiskey, St. Germaine Elderflower Liqueur, cucumber, simple syrup, lemon). Topping the meal off with the eatery’s Warm Chocolate Pot was the icing on the cake for this wonderful weekend away.

Given this was my first visit to Calgary in 15 years (and the first one of legal drinking age), as well as Mrs. Sip’s inaugural foray into the city, we only hope it doesn’t take such a long time to get back to Cowtown!