Beer of the Week #19 – Big Rock Kiwi Fruited Blonde Ale

Our recent travels with the Sip Syndicate led us to Big Rock Brewing’s Urban Eatery, where I selected this off-menu product. Given what I’ve seen so far this year, kiwi may be the experimental flavour of 2017 for BC breweries.

Despite not being my usual go-to beer style, I picked the Kiwi Fruited Blonde Ale because it was unique and something I had not tried before from the brewery. I was rewarded with a refreshing drink that went down easy and had a light kiwi tartness.

Big Rock Kiwi Fruited Blonde Ale

At 5.2% ABV and 30 IBUs, this beverage is another hit coming from the BC-based portion of Big Rock’s operations. Perfect to go along with a beer that features the kiwi bird on its bottle, the brew uses Southern Hemisphere Topaz Hops.

Available only in British Columbia, this limited edition beer (advertised as “an adventure unto itself”) can be found at the brewery’s Vancouver tap house. It can also be located in bomber-sized bottles at a liquor store near you.

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BC Beer Baron #348 – Big Rock Winter Spice 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 last month’s Chowder Chowder, hosted by the Vancouver Aquarium, Big Rock Brewing was my choice for MVP of the evening, highlighted by this offering. Thanks guys, for the good time and being the last group to close up shop at the event.

The Winter Spice Ale is like Christmas in a bottle, as Cousin Sip put it. The 6% ABV, 12.5 IBUs winter warmer features flavours of caramel, ginger, cinnamon and cloves. The beer was created to help Canadians get through the long, dark and cold season.

Big Rock Winter Spice Ale.png

First released last winter, the Sip Advisor was very happy to see the Winter Spice Ale return to store shelves, along with the brewery’s Midnight Rhapsody Dark Ale. The Winter Spice Ale can be found in bottled six-packs, throughout western Canada.

Suggested food pairings include ginger beef, braised duck, gingerbread cookies, pumpkin pie, and chocolate. Meanwhile, Big Rock’s staff suggest listening to Wintertime Love by The Doors or watching the movie Fargo, while enjoying the beer.

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BC Beer Baron #318 – Big Rock Mosaic Lager

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 all the crazy brewing options out there, lagers sometimes get lost in the shuffle. That’s why the Sip Advisor is giving them their own feature week. After all, we should support and give thanks to the beers that brought many of us to this craft beer dance!

In recent weekends, Mrs. Sip and I have been spending time looking after at Ma and Pa Sip’s place, while they are on vacation. There, I’ve been enjoying a few cans of this Big Rock Brewing product, left behind by a guest at the Sip Advisor’s recent annual beer pong tournament.

The Mosaic Lager is of the India Pale variety and is very refreshing. The 5.5% ABV, 70 IBUs brew is made using Mosaic hops – didn’t see that coming, did you? – which provides flavours and aromas of grapefruit and citrus. Suggested food pairings include an eclectic assortment of dishes, such as burgers, bratwurst, roast chicken, sushi, and hard and aged cheeses.

big-rock-mosaic-lager

This is yet another release from Big Rock Urban Eatery brewmaster Jody Hammell, whose hard work has made the company’s foray into BC a smash success. Of the beer, Hammell says: “I ferment it low and slow, then age it until the beer tells me it’s ready. I don’t put a time frame on it, it puts a time frame on me.”

The Mosaic Lager is available from BC, as far east as Manitoba, in canned and bottled six-packs, as well as in Big Rock’s Variety Pack. The lager is joined by the Purple Gas Fruit Ale, Rhine Stone Cowboy Kolsch, and Grasshopper Wheat Ale.

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BC Beer Baron #279 – Big Rock Citradelic Single Hop IPA

When Mrs. Sip and I recently enjoyed a Vancouver Canadians baseball game, I took great advantage of their Craft Beer Corner, which serves up brews from five different BC breweries. There, I downed a few servings of this Big Rock Brewing mainstay.

The Citradelic Single Hop IPA uses Citra hops, of course, to deliver a citrus and tropical fruit-flavoured experience. The 6% ABV, 67 IBUs beverage was the first to be brewed exclusively at the Vancouver-based Big Rock Urban Eatery and proved so successful that it has been rolled out to Alberta and Saskatchewan drinkers.

big-rock-citradelic-ipa

Suggested food pairings include game birds, spicy Thai and India curries, and fried foods including fries, corn dogs, potato chips and mixed nuts. Urban Eatery executive chef Alex ‘Beer Belly’ Newton has also created a Crunchy IPA Kimchi recipe, using the brew.

Big Rock staff suggestions for movie and music accompaniments to the Citradelic IPA include Dazed and Confused on the screen and House of the Rising Sun by The Animals on the record player. Colorado’s New Belgium Brewing also has a Citradelic IPA, but I suppose both companies are cool with that.

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BC Beer Baron #249 – Big Rock Hollow Tree Red Ale

On a recent trip to Big Rock’s Urban Eatery, I ordered a pint of this fantastic Big Rock Brewing beverage to pair with the restaurant’s BRUeben sandwich and skinny fries.

The Hollow Tree Red Ale was the first release to come out of the Vancouver-based Big Rock location. At 5.8% ABV and 55 IBUs, the beer is well-balanced and refreshing. Notes of caramel and toffee combine with citrus and grapefruit, thanks to the use of whole Cascade leaf hops.

Big Rock Hollow Tree Red Ale

Inspired by “BC’s majestic red cedars,” Big Rock’s BC brewmaster concocted the Red Ale to be enjoyed “after a day exploring our beautiful backyard”. The Hollow Tree won first place at the 2015 BC Beer Awards, in the Amber/Brown Ale category.

It is available in bomber-sized bottles at the Urban Eatery’s beer store, as well as other liquor retailers. Speaking of the Big Rock beer store, they have a great deal of a pizza and growler to-go for $18, on select days and times.

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Sip Trips #70: Brewers Row

With Mrs. Sip away in Las Vegas, the Sip Advisor did not shy away from play and had a very busy weekend that went by way too quickly.

On Saturday, members of the Sip Syndicate attended the annual Deighton Cup at Hastings Racecourse. This is the city’s swankiest event of the year, with folks decked out in their finest threads, hats, fastenators and other duds.

Horse Racing

The day of races started off with a wonderful lunch, where options included a Smoked Bo Ssam Beef Brisket Sandwich or Korean BBQ Shrimp on Grits. I went with the beef brisket sandwich and absolutely loved it.

After a few good drinks and some betting wins and near misses, all seemed well, but the end of the event took a bit of a scary twist. On the home stretch of the final race, the horse I bet on crashed to the ground, injuring its jockey. I haven’t been able to find any info on the jockey, so I can only assume their injuries weren’t too severe. No news, might be good news, in this instance.

Early bird tickets to the Deighton Cup were $65, plus fees. I think the price was worth it just for the spectacle of the event, but a couple weeks prior to the big day, a Social Shopper deal came out that would have been nice to take advantage of. It offered the lunch, two drinks and gifts totalling $25, all for the same price of early bird tickets. It’s hard not to jump on tickets when they first come out, but you always have to worry about these great coupon deals becoming available later.

Early Bird Grumpy Cat

Following the races, we went for dinner at the Big Rock Urban Eatery. This was my second time visiting the restaurant in recent weeks and I have been impressed with their expanded food menu, compared to when the place originally opened. I tried their BRUeben sandwich, complete with scrumptious skinny fries and also shared some chipotle-buffalo wings with the group.

On Sunday, Cousin Sip and I travelled to Port Moody to experience their ‘Brewers Row’. The Row consists of Twin Sails Brewing, Yellow Dog Brewing, Parkside Brewing and Moody Ales, all within a five-minute walk. While I will leave beverage reviews to the BC Beer Baron project, here are some general impressions I had from our day out:

Twin Sails: Offering up Germanic brews (Kolsch, Gose, etc.), this is where Cousin Sip and I started our day. I liked their open garage door setting, with plenty of seats.

Yellow Dog: Here, we sat in the brewery’s backyard patio area, which had an abundance of picnic tables, amongst a serene shady setting (at least until a couple trains roared through).

Early Intoxication

Parkside: The newest addition to the Row also had wine and cider available to customers, as well as two guest taps, to supplement their own lineup. The brewery’s beer flights come on little benches, which are incredibly cute.

Moody Ales: Cousin Sip grabbed some delicious spring rolls from the food truck located outside the brewery, while I sampled a few beers, including a cask serving and a guest tap.

The Row, as a whole, appeared to be very family and child friendly (including pets), with a kid’s birthday going on at one location, while a baby shower was setting up at another. The beer at each establishment was very good and it’s hard for me to pick a favourite stop from the day. One thing is for sure, though: we will be back!

BC Beer Baron #122 – Big Rock Rauchbier

When Big Rock Brewing opened their Vancouver-based Urban Eatery in 2015, Mrs. Sip and I were quick to check out the new addition to BC’s craft beer landscape. On that inaugural visit, the Sip Advisor fell in love with this release and it has since become a highlight of my stopovers, if available.

Rauchbier is German for ‘Smoked Beer’ and anyone that has followed this site or this project knows my affinity for smoky cocktails and brews. This product uses both Beechwood Smoked Malt and Peated Malt to achieve its unique flavour and finish.

Big Rock Rauchbier

The 5.8% ABV, 25 IBUs beverage welcomes you in with the scent of campfire and bacon, which have to be two of the most manly aromas out there. According to the Urban Eatery website, this beer is only available in BC, so we should all take advantage of the west coast treat.

While I haven’t made it to the Urban Eatery since earlier this year, it is a place I try to take friends visiting from out of town. Their unique food dishes and beer lineup provide a bit of everything for everyone and live music is often in the cards, as well.

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