Sip Trips #101: Hop Circuit

This weekend, the Sip Alliance made our way to Yeast Van Brewery District for the 2nd annual East Van Brewery Open House. The event ran from 1-5pm, featuring 14 breweries. Although we got off to a late start, we managed to hit a handful of places and had a fantastic time in doing so.

Our journey began at Coal Harbour Brewing, which I’ve never been inside, as they don’t traditionally operate a tasting room. While they are in the process of changing that, it was great they opened the doors to the public and joined the rest of the neighbourhood for this event. While at Coal Harbour, I enjoyed free samples of their Rye Pale Ale, Mango Saison Cask and Smoke & Mirrors Imperial Smoked Ale, which is a favourite of the Sip Advisor. Drinkers could also pay $5 for a glass etched with Coal Harbour’s logo and a pour of beer.

Beer Glass Not Going to Work

Moving on, we travelled to Andina Brewing. This was another inaugural visit for me, as the company is one of the newest additions to the landscape. Hard to miss given it’s bright yellow exterior, we’d like to return and enjoy some South American food in their tasting room. On this stop, we tried their Session Ale, which was available in 12-ounce pours for $3.

Next up was Bomber Brewing, which came with a brief lineup, as they have a very limited capacity. The wait was worth it, though, as I was able to enjoy a pint of their Super Pest Double IPA with Pomegranate (7.5% ABV, 80 IBUs). They were also selling Girl Guide Cookies, so you can bet we snagged a box and feasted on the treats.

After finishing our drinks, we crossed the street to check out Off the Rail Brewing. There, you could buy drink tickets, good for either the SMASH Pale Ale or Raj Mahal India Ale. Mrs. Sip also purchased one of the cheese twists that are popular icons of BC craft breweries and pair ever so nicely with beer.

Girl Guide Cookies Box

Our final brewery stop was Luppolo Brewing, yet another first time seating for yours truly. We split a flight of their wares, comprised of the Agreste Wild Farmhouse Ale (which has recently become the company’s first bottled release), Belgian Blonde, Pale Ale and West Coast Farmhouse. Each variety brought something else to the game and was enjoyable to drink.

To sum up, we particularly liked the places that opened up their brewing spaces to accommodate more visitors. I know serving laws likely hindered some locales, but we weren’t willing to wait outside any operation that had a long lineup. This included some of our favourite places within the industry. While it was busy, we liked seeing so many people out and enjoying the neighbourhood. Of particular note, was how many babies were out with their parents, something Mrs. Sip and I will likely be doing when the 3rd annual Open House occurs in 2018.

Beer of the Week #18 – Bomber Superpest Double IPA

This past weekend, the Sip Alliance took to the streets of East Vancouver for the 2nd annual East Van Brewery Open House. Among our stops, was Bomber Brewing, where I sat down to a pint of this beer.

The Superpest Double IPA was very enjoyable. The edition I had was infused with pomegranate, turning up the recipe a couple notches. At 7.5% ABV and 80 IBUs, the beverage was far from an annoyance.

Bomber Superpest Double IPA

This seasonal release is available on tap at the brewery’s tasting room and in bomber-sized bottles. The Superpest took home a bronze medal at the 2014 BC Beer Awards in the Imperial IPA category.

I wish I’d kept up on Bomber’s Monday movie lineup, as April featured such hockey classics as Slapshot, Goon and Youngblood. Just in time for NHL playoff season, I would have loved to attend.

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BC Beer Baron #322 – Bomber Marzen Amber 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!

Lager Week steams along with yet another German-inspired treat. This Bomber Brewing selection is a favourite of Cousin Sip’s husband and after having my own servings over time, I can see why.

The Marzen Amber Lager is smooth and refreshing with a decent alcohol content (5.5% ABV) and just enough bitterness (20 IBUs) to satisfy the hopheads. The beverage is perfect for drinkers of all types for all occasions.

bomber-marzen-amber-lager

Marzen” translates to March or March beer, but Bomber suggests the brew can be enjoyed throughout the year, despite typically being a summer seasonal release. The product is available in canned six-packs, as well as bomber-sized bottles at private liquor stores.

The style originated in Bavaria and dates back to the 16th century, when by decree, beer could only be manufactured between September 29th and April 23rd. Marzen’s were brewed in March and the recipe let it survive until production could begin again in the fall. Remaining cellared bottles were served at Oktoberfest celebrations.

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BC Beer Baron #243 – Main Street/Doan’s Roggenweizen

On a recent craft beer crawl through the Brewery Creek region of Vancouver, we made our final stop at Main Street Brewing, where I was able to order a pint of this collaborative effort with Doan’s Brewing.

The Roggenweizen (which basically translates to Rye Hefeweizen) combines two of the Sip Advisor’s favourite things in rye/whiskey and hef beers. The 5% ABV, 15 IBUs beverage is a limited edition beer, so drinkers may want to track it down sooner than later.

Main Street & Doan’s Roggenweizen

Doan’s seems to like experimenting with Rye, as earlier this year the Sip Advisor enjoyed a serving of their Rye Stout. They have also concocted a Rye IPA and Rye Pilsner (in collaboration with Bomber Brewing).

As for Main Street, I’ve always been a fan of their beer label work, which is featured on banners that hang at their location. It also remains one of my favourite breweries to pop into while touring out-of-town visitors around Vancouver.

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BC Beer Baron #180 – Bomber/Moody Ales Tam O’ Shanter Scotch Ale

When the Sip Alliance last visited Bomber Brewing’s tasting room, we grabbed a couple bottles of this Bomber Brewing/Moody Ales collaboration beer to enjoy later.

The Tam O’ Shanter Scotch Ale is perfect for the winter season and even though we finally cracked the beer open on a sunny spring day, the experience was still magnificent. The brew features sweet flavours of caramel and toffee in the 7.8% ABV, 29 IBUs concoction, as well as a strong overall roasted malts taste.

Bomber Brewing & Moody Ales Tam O' Shanter Wee Heavy Scotch Ale

The beer’s name is a reference to a poem by Robbie Burns, which was later used to describe the classic Scottish cap or bonnet – worn by military men and bagpipers – that many of us are familiar with. If that doesn’t prove the name belongs on a Wee Heavy Scotch Ale, nothing else will.

Going with the theme of the beverage, I love how the two breweries called it a ‘Bomber McMoody Ale’. Available in 650ml bottles, the beer is best paired with sharp cheese, game bird, grilled meats, or English trifle. Include some haggis in the meal and Mr. Burns would be quite proud!

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BC Beer Baron #108 – International Women’s Collaboration Brew Kettle Sour Gose

While it’s becoming more and more common to see two breweries combine their collective talents for a beer release, you don’t often see five different entities (Dogwood Brewing, Bomber Brewing, Moody Ales, R&B Brewing, and Big Ridge Brewing) coming together to support women in beer.

That’s what happened with the release of the Kettle Sour Gose at Central City’s Vancouver Brew Pub. Full disclosure: The Sip Advisor isn’t the biggest fan of light sour brews, but I thought this 3.5% ABV, 10 IBUs beverage was actually pretty solid.

International Womens Collaboration Brew Kettle Sour Gose

The recipe for this year’s beer was shared around the world and includes organic coriander, sea salt, and Goldings and Magnum hops, resulting in a tart, yet refreshing beverage. $1 from every glass sold will go to the Pink Boots Society, which is working to help women achieve success in the brewing industry, across the globe.

Up until now, I was unfamiliar with this movement, but as long as good beers keep getting put out, all the power to it. My thanks and appreciation goes out to all the ladies out there who play a role in something that I enjoy so much in my life.

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BC Beer Baron #86 – Bomber Park Life Passion Fruit Ale

With spring and summer rapidly approaching, Bomber Brewing has brought back this seasonal release, perfect for the time of year.

The Park Life Passion Fruit Ale is light (only 4.5% ABV) and refreshing with a powerful punch of passion fruit flavour. Although I’m only recently getting more into sour beers, the tart finish here was quite enjoyable and did not detract from the rest of the drinking experience.

Bomber Park Life Passion Fruit Ale

The American Blonde Ale is available in canned six-packs, which makes it easy to pack along for camping or otherwise hanging out in the great outdoors. Plus, with it being so light, you can throw back a whole bunch of them with relative ease.

On our recent journey to Yeast Van, we had to stop into Bomber Brewing, where Cousin Sip’s husband is a diehard fan of their Marzen amber lager. I’m only happy to oblige another destination being added to our itinerary and more beers being enjoyed.

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BC Beer Baron #39 – Bomber Choqlette Porter

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 Valentine’s Day fast approaching, this month’s feature week will look at beers of a chocolate nature, perfect to celebrate the occasion.

Today’s selection comes from Bomber Brewing, which adds chocolate three separate times to the brewing of this recipe, resulting in the Choqlette Porter. As the brewery puts it, this beer is a perfect blend of “chaos and balance” and given its stats of 5.5% ABV and only 18 IBU, I can kind of see what they’re getting at. Bomber even goes so far as to say the beverage is “London and Paris at home in one drink.”

Bomber Choqlette Porter

I first had the Choqlette Porter at last year’s Toast to the Coast at the Vancouver Aquarium. I think I went back to their booth on four separate occasions for a refill. I guess you could conclude that I liked it! I had it again a couple weeks back during the Tapped Vancouver event at the Yaletown Roundhouse. It was just as I remembered it and this time I was able to share the experience and advocate for the beer with Mrs. Sip and other members of the Sip Alliance.

Bomber has a nice, intimate little home in ‘Yeast Van’, located across the street from Off the Rails Brewing and soon to be joined in the neighbourhood by Luppolo Brewing. It’s a fun place to visit, but unfortunately, the Choqlette Porter may have run its seasonal course and might not be seen again until the fall. If that’s the case, at least we have the memories!

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Sip Trips #56: Tapping and Tasting

While many would hesitate to be out at an all-inclusive beer and cider event on a Thursday evening (especially one where you’re supposed to play Urban Rec volleyball that same night), that’s not a theory Mrs. Sip and I follow. Rather, along with members of the Sip Alliance, we checked out Tapped Vancouver at the Yaletown Roundhouse.

I probably would have balked at the event’s $66 regular entrance fee; however, when the activity came up on Groupon for $30, it was a pretty easy decision to make. For the price, we had unlimited access to all vendors and a souvenir tasting glass (which Mrs. Sip and I have a growing collection of). We did find it odd that this event would be taking place on a Thursday, rather than over the weekend, but the old “it’s for charity” argument won out.

Donate-A-Quarter-To-Charity

The breweries and cideries featured at the gala included: Black Kettle, Parallel 49, Bomber, Driftwood, Howe Sound, Lonetree Cider, Phillips, Whistler, and Russell. To be honest, I think the $30 entrance is just barely justifiable and I feel for anyone who paid the full price. There was absolutely no food – save for one food cart outside – and some beer vendors only brought one option with them, while others gave half pours, even though the event was all-inclusive (ie. fill my damn glass, homey!).

The MVP of the night would have to be Black Kettle Brewing, which had numerous bombers of three different beers and never went stingy with their pouring. Whistler Brewing would have ranked highly too, but their selections were from the brewery’s Winter Party Pack, which I had just purchased days before. I can’t fault them for that… or can I!?

I have to say that I’ve enjoyed both booze events I’ve attended at the Yaletown Roundhouse, having also relished the 2014 Made with Love cocktail competition hosted there. It’s a fun venue and its close proximity to the Sip Advisor offices is much appreciated. Too bad volleyball at the Richmond Olympic Oval didn’t go nearly as well as Tapped Vancouver!

Volleyball Balloon

On Saturday, to celebrate Mrs. Sip’s recent birthday, we put together our own blind wine tasting. Each couple was tasked with bringing a bottle of wine (white or red), which would be concealed in a BC Liquor Store paper bag. Then, the group would sample at will until notes and scores had been entered on each selection, before the final reveal.

We ended up with five whites and three reds, which I think was the perfect balance. My favourite bottle of the tasting was the Pinotage Mrs. Sip and I brought home from South Africa’s Groot Constantia winery. The overall winner was Cappo Shiraz, which Mrs. Sip’s parents won in a raffle through their curling association, of all places.

Wine Tasting Today

The event was a lot of fun for all and gave typically white drinkers a chance to try some reds. If you have a wine lover in your close circle, I suggest doing this for a birthday event. They will love the effort you put into it, as well as getting everyone together to celebrate.

That about wraps January up for the ol’ Sip Advisor and it’s been one hell of a month. When you have a brewery complimenting ‘how you weekend’, you know you’re doing well! Next month doesn’t let up however, as we have a bunch of great activities already lined up, such as the Science of Cocktails and the Family Day long weekend will no doubt include some sort of hijinks!

Sip Trips #34: Beer Baron

Well, this was a beer-soaked weekend if there ever was one – and there have been many! With a self-guided bike and beer tour, as well as a brews cruise on the docket, there’s much to discuss, so let’s get right to it.

With friends visiting from Toronto this weekend, I wanted to show them as much of Vancouver’s amazing craft beer scene as possible. I settled on a bike and beer tour of the affectionately named ‘Yeast Van’ area, which is home to numerous breweries.

Our first stops of the day were Bomber Brewing, followed by Off the Rail Brewing, located right across the street. Both locations offer some good beers and a totally different vibe. With so many stops planned on our itinerary, we largely split tasting flights between couples. My favourite beer at each stop was the Dunkelweizen and Raj Mahal IPA, respectively.

bike and beer

Next up was a short ride to Callister Brewing, which features a number of Real Cask brews, as well. With 10 beers on the menu, our crew ordered one of everything, providing many opportunities to find the perfect beer. I particularly enjoyed the Seshuinox and Apricot Resurrection varieties.

Another short jaunt and we arrived at Powell Street Brewing. When originally constructing the plan for the day, I had marked Powell Street as a stop that was optional. I’m very glad we made it there, though, as each of the four beers I sampled were quite good. This included the Wayne Grisettesky (awesome name!), Amarillo Sour, Right Kind of Crazy Double IPA, and Ode to Citra Pale Ale.

After a few tasting rooms to loosen us all up, it was time to visit what I considered would be our main event: Storm Brewing. Mrs. Sip and I love this place for its great staff (the Heathers!), funky atmosphere, and amazing beers. I really enjoy trying the brewery’s  ‘Brainstorms’, an ever-changing list of creative and unique beverages. On tap this time was a Pineapple Upside Down Cake Ale, Gin and Tonic Pilsner, Cream Soda Pilsner, Iced Mocha Stout, Raspberry Berlinerweisse, Dry Hopped IPA, and Vanilla Whiskey Stout. I gave high rankings to each of these options and can’t wait to go back and try the next batch of conceptions. Perhaps best of all, doing a tasting at Storm is by donation and with that, you get up to six samples.

Our last stop of the beer and bike tour was Doan’s Brewing, another first visit for the Sip Advisor. Here, we tried each of the four beers available, including their Kolsch, Alt Bier, Rye IPA, and German IPA. Nothing against Doan’s (their brews were decent), but the stop was a little anti-climactic after Storm.

anticlimatic

We had also hoped to get into Parallel 49 and Strange Fellows, but by the time we hit either place, later in the day, they both had long waits to get in and those in our group who had rented bikes, had to return them. The day was long from over, though, as after dropping off our rides, we walked over to Big Rock Urban Eatery in the Olympic Village area.

For this trip to Big Rock, I was more enamored with the food than the beer. I ordered what I describe as the ‘Eric Cartman Special’: crispy fried chicken skin, called Chickeronnes. The waitress pointed out to me that there was no meat involved in the dish and I told her that’s exactly how I wanted it! They didn’t blow my mind or anything, but now I can say I tried them. One of our party was celebrating their birthday, so the restaurant brought her a serving of their Fiasco Smores. I thought this dish was fantastic, with boozed up ingredients, including chocolate stout gelato, rauchbier ganache, and bourbon vanilla marshmallow.

We finished the day at Craft Beer Market, a must for any visitor to the city, as far as the Sip Advisor is concerned. Sadly, a few of the beers I wanted to try were already tapped out. We also tried to order some samples of beers we were curious about, only to receive a full serving. Despite that, the beer (Hoyne Dark Matter, Dieu Du Ciel Rosee D’Hibiscus, Hilliard’s Chrome Satan) was still good and it seems they improved on their Fast Food Sushi appetizer.

As if that wasn’t enough beer for a lifetime, we had purchased a Groupon earlier in the week for the Vancouver Craft Brew Cruise. Thanks to an additional discount, the originally priced $50 tickets only cost $24 per person. The cruise featured 17 craft breweries and with entry, you got five drink tickets. Each additional ticket was only $1, which is cool with the Sip Advisor. Through my own choices, sharing, and a couple freebies, I managed to try 16 different brews (or at least that’s what I recorded). I gravitated towards options I hadn’t experienced before and there were many available on the boat. My favourites included the Black Kettle IPA, Hoyne Summer Haze, Dageraad Burnabarian, and Phillips Short Wave.

female boat

Following the cruise, we were on the hunt for food and conveniently came across some reps for Central City, who advised us of their new downtown location on Beatty Street. What luck, as they were featuring half price burgers. Our group ordered five different options and all were good. My choice was the Crispy Crunch chicken burger, which was absolutely delicious and paired very nicely with my Steel & Oak Smoked Hef.

As if the week wasn’t busy enough already, Mrs. Sip and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary on Tuesday. To commemorate the day, we had dinner at the Pan Pacific Hotel, which was special because that’s also where we stayed on our wedding night! Sadly, Mrs. Sip wasn’t feeling well, but I have largely recovered from a similar cold and ordered their Caliente cocktail, which mixes tequila, smoked serrano peppers, cilantro, and pineapple juice. It was muy bueno!

Next week looks busy again, with a visit to the Pacific National Exhibition and their craft beer fest scheduled for Saturday and one of my favourite events of the year, the Made with Love cocktail competition, on Monday.