BC Beer Baron #363 – Brassneck Sticks & Stones Rye Saison

On a recent outing to the Brewery Creek district of Vancouver, a friend and I were looking for one more beverage as last call approached. We both settled on this Brassneck Brewing option, thanks to its combination of styles.

The Sticks & Stones Rye Saison spoke to both of us for its rye content (through the addition of rye malts), while saisons have become a favourite brewing family for the Sip Advisor. The 6% ABV beverage was a good nightcap choice.

brassneck-sticks-stones-rye-saison

First brewed in April 2014, the company has a number of saison options that are rotated through the taps. Some of these alternatives include the Sunny Disposition Single Hop Saison and Loose Agenda Wheat Saison.

One of the things I love about Brassneck Brewing is how varied their lineup is every time I visit. No two stops at their Vancouver tasting room are the same and this makes the popular brewery worth the wait to get seating.

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BC Beer Baron #333 – Brassneck Fantasmagoria Horchata Milk Stout

For whatever reason, on a recent visit to Brassneck Brewing, this beverage option caught my eye. I’m glad I left my comfort zone with this one, as it ended up being my favourite beer of the evening out.

Although the name is a bit of a tongue twister, the Fantasmagoria Horchata Milk Stout was a very good brew. I wasn’t sure I would like the stout, given the use of Horchata in its recipe, but I appreciated the cinnamon spice that resulted.

Brassneck Fantasmagoria Horchata Milk Stout.png

First brewed in October 2016, the 7% ABV drink features a nice blend of the cinnamon spice and roasted malts a stout is typically known for. The inspiration for this product came from Brassneck’s brewers trying a Horchata Cold Brew Coffee.

Horchata, of course, is a milky beverage that is popular in Latin American countries. The drink is often made with ground almonds or rice and cinnamon and sometimes also contains vanilla and other spices.

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BC Beer Baron #276 – Brassneck Stockholm Syndrome

You never know what to expect when you pop into Brassneck Brewing’s tasting room in the Brewery Creek region of Vancouver. Their lineup of beers is quite eclectic and changes regularly.

On our most recent visit, their Stockholm Syndrome was among the Sip Advisor’s favourite. This 6.5% ABV Farmhouse Saison was first brewed in December 2013 and I can understand why it has returned to the brewery’s rotating taps routinely. The strong and flavourful brew is perfect for the more experienced drinkers out there, looking to try something unique.

brassneck-stockholm-syndrome

Brassneck has some really great material for describing their beers and the brewing process it takes to make them, but this has to be one of their finest: “We kidnapped a Saison, held it hostage for several months in our Foudre, letting it sit and condition on Brettanomyces. The more time passed the more it started to like us. It rewarded us by tasting delicious. Stockholm Syndrome can be a beautiful thing.”

As previously eluded to, I have to give credit to Brassneck for having one hell of a Beer Archive. Just scrolling through it has my mouth watering and makes me wish I could fill a glass straight out of the computer. Seriously, some scientific research money should go to a cause like this an venture capitalists should get behind this invention pronto!

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BC Beer Baron #255 – Four Winds Sovereign Super Saison

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. Saisons have quickly become a favourite style of the Sip Advisor. I’ve even gone so far as to call the summer of 2016 my ‘Summer of Saison’. Let’s see what BC has to offer.

With Saison Week coming up quickly, I knew a trip to Four Winds Brewing would be necessary. I just had to include the Delta-based operation, given the saison is a style they experiment with often. Luckily, they are conveniently located in Delta, en route to and from treks to Ma and Pa Sip’s home.

The Sovereign Super Saison features tastes of elderflower and spice, with a tart, fruity finish. The 8.5% ABV, 20 IBUs beverage is an award winner, taking home a People’s Choice Award at the 2014 BC Beer Awards and a gold medal at the 2015 Canadian Brewing Awards, in the Belgian Style Strong Specialty Ale category.

four-winds-sovereign-super-saison

Four Winds have also previously released a year-round Saison, as well as collaborated with Brassneck Brewing to launch the Honeymoon Baby and Quebec’s Le Trou du Diable Microbrasserie for the Exil D’eden saisons. Of particular note is the La Maison Wild Saison, Wildflower Saison, and Operis Brett Saison, all available on limited runs.

Each of these latter products (including the Sovereign Super Saison) comprise the brewery’s Eurus Series, which features beers with European heritage. Eurus, after all, was god of the east winds in Greek mythology. As part of this series, bottles come in 750ml format, complete with cork. Stay classy, Four Winds!

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BC Beer Baron #237 – Brassneck Hibiscus Wit

While recently showing off BC’s craft beer scene to a friend visiting from the U.S., we popped into the wildly popular Brassneck Brewing for a couple drinks.

Among our selections, Mrs. Sip ordered their Hibiscus Wit, which was a neat and unique beer. Made using Brassneck’s Belgian Wheat recipe, the addition of hibiscus provides a tart finish to the 5% ABV beverage. Coriander and orange peel are also among the ingredients, so the beer is spicy and tangy.

Brassneck Hibiscus Wit

First brewed in November 2013 (the Belgian Wheat, that is), Brassneck sometimes replaces the hibiscus with chamomile for a different result. The beer is only available from Brassneck’s tasting room, but the company has more fillable container options than I’ve seen anywhere else in the province.

When Mrs. Sip and I were touring Egypt in 2008 – you know, before all hell broke loose there – we fell in love with fresh hibiscus juice, which could be had at many locations. We even brought home some hibiscus flowers to make some of our own concoctions.

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BC Beer Baron #206 – Brassneck Ambiguation

While Mrs. Sip and I are very happy to take visiting friends around Vancouver’s beer scene, when we’re rewarded for our efforts, it makes the ventures that much more memorable. Recently, we were gifted a pair of Brassneck Brewing’s refillable 473ml growlers, containing this beer.

Ambiguation is a Belgian Wheat Ale that has been ‘Brassneck’d up’ with the addition of wild Saccharomyces during fermentation and the brewery’s own house lacto culture, providing a level of acidity.

Brassneck Ambiguation

First brewed in 2014, this 5% ABV beverage seems to always be available at Brassneck’s popular tasting room, despite how regularly their menu changes. The Sip Advisor found the drink to pair well with a Mexican burrito meal.

The brewery suggests that Ambiguation might be perfectly paired with “a summer evening….on Third Beach….at sunset…. skinny dippin’,” before insisting they “would NEVER endorse public nudity whilst drunk on delicious beer!” They even provide what I assume is a fake email address to send pictures to, for those daring enough to complete the feat.

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BC Beer Baron #127 – Brassneck Cherubesque

Trips to Brassneck Brewing are often met with disappointment. To be clear, that’s not the beer’s fault. It’s just so difficult at peak times to get into their uber popular tasting room. Sometimes you get lucky, though, as Mrs. Sip and I did on a recent tour through the Brewery Creek region of Vancouver.

During that visit, we tried the Cherubesque. This Belgian Strong Ale was first brewed in November 2013. At 8% ABV, it’s nice and strong and right up Mrs. Sip’s alley. For the record, I enjoyed it too.

Brassneck Cherubesque

In their description of the beer, Brassneck takes some shots at “beer nerds” everywhere, including themselves: “Beer nerds think they can get away with throwing a pair of e’s at the end of their adjectives to describe beers so why the heck can’t we. (After all, we are beer nerds!!). Bubblegum-ee, Stone Fruit-ee, Raisin-ee, Booze-ee, Chew-ee. We’d describe it as an Abbey Style Ale. We ferment with a mysterious blend of yeast strains to maximize the Belgian-ee-ness, then we hurl in some dark candy sugar to twist up the ‘je-ne-sais-quoi’ knob. Tastes good. Drink some.”

That last little bit sounds like a motto the brewery should be printing on their merchandise… so long as that doesn’t make getting into their tasting room even more challenging!

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Sip Trips #59: Creek Crawl

Waking up Saturday morning, the sun was shining and Mrs. Sip and I decided to take advantage of that sneak peek at spring… at least after I let her sleep in just a little longer!

My plan for the day, was that if weather cooperated, we’d tour the brewing companies that comprise the Brewery Creek region of Vancouver. After making our way across the Cambie Bridge, en route to our first stop of the day, we noticed that a new wine tasting room had opened. Given she was about to visit a handful of breweries for me, I indulged Mrs. Sip’s interest in this impromptu discovery.

Wineorexia

Upon entering the City Side Winery, featuring wines from Mystic Pearl, we sampled four different styles (Semillon, Riesling, Merlot, and Cuvee – a Cab Sauv blend), with Mrs. Sip liking their Semillon so much that she purchased a bottle and put it aside for pick-up later. Staff at City Side said they’ve been quite busy on weekday evenings, thus far. Given their aren’t many Vancouver options for wine tasting, I can understand why.

With wine out of the way, we were off in search of suds, starting with Steel Toad Brew Pub and Dining Hall. It had been sometime since Mrs. Sip and I had visited the location and we were impressed with our tasting flight. From what we remembered, they have added some new beers to their line-up and improved on previously brewed recipes.

Next up, was R&B Brewing, which allowed us to sample each of their beers on tap at their growler fill station. In the very near future, R&B will finally open their long-awaited tasting room. We were lucky enough to peek inside and see what it will look like. There was still some rough edges to sort out, but it looks like it will be a prime spot for beer enjoyment, very shortly.

Moving on, we next popped into 33 Acres Brewing, which is a very popular spot, thanks to their wide array of beers, to go along with coffee, ice cream, and other treats. We lucked out and didn’t have to wait to enter the spot that often reaches its capacity. Our luck continued when we were able to snag a couple seats at the bar. Here, we tried a set of four samples and even got a bonus offering of their 33 Acres of Four Belgian Quad, after Mrs. Sip explained how much of a fan she is of Belgian-styled brews.

Belgian Beer

Our fourth stop of the self-guided tour was Brassneck Brewing, another extremely popular site in the area. After a short wait, we were able to get a spot and try a selection of Brassneck’s wares. I found it interesting that Brassneck has 473ml (good for a pint) containers for refillable beer, a size I have yet to see anywhere else on the market. They sell for only $3 and cost another $3.25, on average, to fill.

We wrapped up our crawl with our first trip ever to Red Truck Brewing’s beautiful facilities. Here, you can sample more experimental beers (as well as traditional releases) from the brewery, while also enjoying food and live music. Over our tasting flight, we munched on some very good garlic fries, while enjoying some tunes.

On this journey, we neglected Big Rock Urban Eatery and Main Street Brewing, which are also part of the Brewery Creek region. This wasn’t done out of malice, but we were tight for time and I wanted to focus on breweries that I hadn’t been able to feature so heavily in the BC Beer Baron project.

Will we be back to Brewery Creek in the future? Oh, you better believe it!

BC Beer Baron #70 – Brassneck Passive Aggressive Pale Ale

Stop number four on our Brewery Creek crawl brought us to one of Vancouver’s most popular beer destinations, Brassneck Brewing.

There, we enjoyed a flight of beers, highlighted (for myself at least) by the Passive Aggressive Pale Ale. And really, that’s no surprise as it’s the first beer one of the company’s brewers and founders tested and later became an original release and flagship for Brassneck.

Brassneck Passive Agressive Pale Ale

First brewed in September 2013, Brassneck says this beer falls somewhere between a pale ale and an IPA. If Passive Aggressive isn’t enough for you, the brewery still has you covered. Their Double Pale Ale is dubbed Massive Aggressive!

Brassneck is a hard place to get into sometimes. Mrs. Sip and I have been turned away by massive lines and long waits before. Part of that success was having their One Trick Pony named Best in Show at the 2015 BC Beer Awards. If you wish to check the place out, we were advised that Sunday through Tuesday results in shorter waits.

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BC Beer Baron #13 – Main Street Westminster Brown

The Sip Advisor has been getting more into darker brews – including browns – in recent times and I welcomed the opportunity to grab a bomber of this beer from Main Street Brewing.

I thought the Westminster Brown was good, but wondered if the ale could have been a little more complex. That said, this is an international incident type of beer, with malts coming from Canada, England and Germany. At only 30 IBU, I didn’t get the hoppy finish the ale is advertised to contain.

Main Street Westminster Brown

Mrs. Sip’s Take:

I’m not a big brown ale fan, but this one was okay. I agree with the Sip Advisor’s assessment that it could have been more complex in taste, but perhaps this is exactly what true brown ale fans want in their beers.

I’d like to return to Main Street Brewing sometime soon. The only time I’ve been able to get to their facility was last June after doing a Beer Trivia event. I remember the setting being quite nice and comfortable, but at that time, I was lucky to remember anything at all. Let’s just say that the Beer Trivia provided ample opportunity for drinks and the Sip Advisor was imbibing.

For those that have never been, you should check out that entire beer district, which also includes Brassneck Brewing and 33 Acres Brewing, among a host of great bars and restaurants all the way up Main Street.

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