BC Beer Baron #364 – R&B Ursos Arctos Russian Imperial Stout

On a recent visit to R&B Brewing’s Ale and Pizza House, the Sip Advisor was able to try this heavy hitter, which immediately caught the eye of myself and my drinking buddy. Much thanks to the server who encouraged us to venture into unchartered territory.

The Ursos Arctos Russian Imperial Stout is perfect for the winter season with its chocolate and coffee flavours and aroma and high alcohol content. At 10.4% ABV and 85 IBUs, this drink is not for the faint-hearted and is probably why it comes in 12 oz. pours.

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The beverage has recently been released in bomber-sized bottles, available for purchase at private liquor stores around the Lower Mainland, as well as at the brewery’s retail store. Suggested food pairings include aged cheeses, dark chocolate and chocolate desserts.

The R&B Ale and Pizza House has quickly become a favourite Vancouver stop for myself and members of the Sip Syndicate. It’s laid back atmosphere, tasty pizzas and diverse beer selection will keep us coming back time and time again.

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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.

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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 #344 – Faculty 241 Minzeweizen

Ever since I first heard about this Faculty Brewing beer, I wanted to experience it. That opportunity finally came recently, as a friend and I toured the Brewery Creek district of Vancouver and took the plunge into the unknown.

The 241 Minzeweizen basically combines a hefeweizen with peppermint. In this case, peppermint tea was added to the recipe to create this unique beverage. The brew comes with stats of 5.2% ABV and 22 IBUs and its recipe (like all Faculty beers) is available to the public.

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Our first sips were great, but the real test would come as we worked our way through our 500ml mugs. Would the beer hold up halfway through? Would it still be okay on the last sip? I’m happy to report it all checked out.

After talking with the brewery staff, we learned that Faculty has bought some space across the street and hopes to expand to bottling products soon. Their launch has been successful so far, with their beers showing up at many nearby locations.

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BC Beer Baron #335 – Main Street Naked Fox IPA

Over the past year, Main Street Brewing has become a favourite stop for Mrs. Sip and myself, along with members of the Sip Syndicate. On a recent visit, the Sip Advisor imbibed with this strong release and I think I may have found a favourite.

The Naked Fox IPA uses hops from both North America and the Southern Hemisphere to achieve a dry, hoppy drinking experience. At 6.8% ABV and 55 IBUs, the beverage is right in the Sip Advisor’s wheelhouse and I love the varying tropical fruit tastes.

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Released in March 2016, the brew is available in bomber-sized bottles at BC Liquor Stores, as well as private establishments. The company has a good rotation of products, but this one should become a flagship, if it hasn’t already.

The brew’s logo features a baller of a fox, with what looks to be a chain and pendant that would put Flavor Flav in his place! Main Street writes: “Born from infamy, our Naked Fox is a sly one.” While I don’t understand the nudity, I’ll take this beer any day!

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BC Beer Baron #334 – R&B Dude Chilling Pale Ale

On a recent outing with a friend through the Brewery Creek district of Vancouver, we stopped into R&B Brewing’s tasting room. There, I spotted this drink on their tap menu and immediately knew I had to experience it.

The Dude Chilling Pale Ale is all natural and unfiltered. The 5.2% ABV, 40 IBUs product is “for those who crave hops” and pairs well “with all styles of simple or exotic foods, tapas and cheeses.” It’s a universal beer, perfect for the brewery’s year-round lineup.

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Although the beverage was only recently released on tap and in bomber bottles, it has quickly become R&B’s top seller, beating out former leaders Stolen Bike Lager and Vancouver Special IPA. Head brewer Rod Hughes was happy to add it to their core brands.

As I enjoyed the beer, my friend informed me there’s actually a Dude Chilling Park (aka Guelph Park) in East Vancouver. The park’s sign, originally installed as a prank, but now considered art, features on the brew’s label.

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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.

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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 #324 – 33 Acres of Darkness

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!

While visiting the Salt Tasting Room in Gastown for the very first time, the Sip Advisor selected this 33 Acres Brewing product to accompany my charcuterie plate. I must say the drink paired well with my meat and condiment platter (no cheese for this guy!).

The 33 Acres of Darkness is a Schwarzbier, meaning black beer, and is a term often used for dark lagers. While lagers in general seem to have been forgotten by many craft brewers, this 5% ABV, 30 IBUs beverage is a fantastic example of what can be achieved if the style is utilized. Flavours of chocolate and coffee highlight this refreshing creation.

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One of the brewery’s flagship releases, the beer is available in bottled six-packs at the brewery, as well as at BC Liquor Stores and private retailers. If you want to try the brew before purchasing a larger quantity, check out 33 Acres ‘quarry’ tasting room and get yourself a rare 24-ounce serving.

The Schwarzbier style comes to us from Germany, where it was first conceived in the Middle Ages. In fact, the oldest known black beer, the Braunschweiger Mumme, dates back to 1390. The variety is similar to stout beers in that they get their colour from dark and roasted malts.

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