Sip Trips #187: August Arising

To kick off August, along with its traditional long weekend, the Sip Family got out and about, hitting five breweries over the break. That put Baby Sip at 18 breweries visited and Toddler Sip at a whopping 87. It helped that I took a few days off from work to extend the time away. We were busy, so let’s get right to the program:

Once worked wrapped up on the Friday before the long weekend, we set off to Patina Brewing in Port Coquitlam. Opened earlier this year, they don’t have many beers yet, but that is secondary to their delicious menu of barbecue foods. We gorged ourselves on pulled pork, beef brisket, skinny fries, and corn bread, with Mrs. Sip also ordering their seasoned popcorn. To drink, we put together a flight of Patina’s Stout, Double IPA and Juicy IPA, finished with Wildeye Brewing’s Hazy Pale Ale.

Cat BBQ

On the holiday Monday, we returned to Port Coquitlam to visit Northpaw Brewing. Our flight there, consisted of the Howay the Lads Brown Ale, Jamaican Pale Ale, C.R.E.A.M.-Sicle Orange Cream Shandy and Blueberry Kettle Sour. We worked our way through the flight by the time our order of Jamaican Patties (veggie, chicken, beef) arrived, so also got a pint of the Love Movement Milkshake IPA. This pairing was very good, as the patties were delicious – my favourite was the beef one – and the beer was quite refreshing in the hot weather.

Next up, was Foamers’ Folly Brewing in Pitt Meadows. I’ve always wanted to go here and now that I know it’s actually closer than I believed it to be, want to return very soon. Mrs. Sip and I elected to have two flights, given the expansive choice of beers. Our sets included the Uncultured Belgian Ale, Yarrow Hefeweizen, Lavender Earl Grey ESB, S’morter Porter (Nitro), Culeko Cucumber Lemongrass Kolsch, Rosemary ISA, Smoked Apiary Dunkelweizen, and Blackberry Lemoncello Sour Ale. My favourites were the Kolsch and ISA, both of which had nice notes of their advertised flavours. To go, we picked up a bomber of Amaretto Wild Sour Ale and a tall can of Wide Mouth Watermelon Wheat Ale.

The next day, we ventured to North Vancouver. First up, was Bridge Brewing, where another flight was in order, comprised of their Blueberry Pie Sour, Bourbon Blood Orange Wheat Ale, Side Kick Hazy Pale Ale and White Water Belgian IPA. Looking to have lunch, as well, we got the Taco Trio (pork, veggie, chicken), with the pork taco being a highlight, thanks to its pineapple accompaniment.

Tacos

Deciding to make our way back closer to home as it was a very hot day, we popped into the nearby Wildeye Brewing and really enjoyed our stop there. Another brewery, another flight, resulted in trying their Strawberry Cardamom Gose, After the Rain Hefeweizen, Choppy Waters Hazy IPA and Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Stout. The Gose was my preferred brew here, with the Hef being a close runner up.

If that was just the start of the month, the rest of it should surely bear some great fruit. Mrs. Sip is hard at work planning a mini vacation for our clan, likely to Whistler, where we will enjoy breweries both there and en route to/from in Squamish. We will also celebrate our wedding anniversary in Downtown Vancouver and with the Sip Kids with Ma and Pa Sip, there will surely be some shenanigans.

Sip Trips #107: Canadian Carousing

This past weekend was spent celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday and that meant a fair bit of liquor shopping and time spent enjoying all the splendors this country has to offer. Let’s see how the Sip Advisor and company saluted the nation:

My first order of business, as it is with every Canada Day, was to stock up on supplies. Earlier in the week, I had focused my attention on the Big Rock Canada 150 Variety Pack, which I thought would be an ideal set to enjoy on Canada Day. For whatever reason, the set wasn’t available at BC Liquor Stores, so I had to go a little out of my way to find it. Each of the brews is meant to highlight a different region of the country and is comprised of a Hibernation Ale, Peach Pilsner, Maple Lager, Oak Aged Rye Ale, Oyster Stout, and rounded out by their Signature Series Grasshopper Kristallweizen.

Canada Day Drunk

Among my other shopping finds was the Bridge Brewing Bridge Builder Variety Pack. This six-pack features two each of the Bourbon Blood Orange Wheat Ale, North Shore Pale Ale and Wunderbar Kolsch. Although I haven’t tapped into the bottled six-pack yet, I foresee many opportunities ahead.

Ever the amazing wife, Mrs. Sip also pointed out the Red Truck Hand Built Series Mix Pack, which contains eight tall cans, two per of their Blackberry Bourbon Ale, Golden Ale, Saison and White ISA. Usually I want more from Red Truck’s in-store releases and this one has the potential to be quite special.

Those finds accumulated, I didn’t have to worry as much as first thought about my beer cache, as Ma and Pa Sip picked up an amazing set for me, while they were vacationing in Portland, Oregon the weekend before.

Canada Day-4th of July

The Sierra Nevada Across the World Beer Camp features 12 very unique collaborative brews, six from stateside and six from overseas. The pack contained nine bottles and three tall cans, with such intriguing options as a Ginger Lager (brewed with Ginger and Cayenne, fermented on oak) and Thai-Style Iced Tea (brewed with lactose, orange peel, black tea, tamarind and star anise). I will have to chase down future installments of this wonderful product.

While I could have lounged around poolside all weekend, Mrs. Sip and I had to return to reality and start setting up our baby registry. I will say the baby registry was a lot more fun than our wedding registry, but paled in comparison to drinking and floating in the great outdoors.

Returning home to attend the Queen with Adam Lambert concert, we dropped into Patron Tacos & Cantina for dinner, prior to the show. Mrs. Sip and I shared our usual order of Queso Fundido and collection of four tacos, which I paired with a Goose Island IPA, a tasty rotating tap for the restaurant. As for the show, the drink selection was quite limited, with nothing on tap available in the arena; therefore, no craft beer options. I settled for a generously-poured rum and coke. The show itself was amazing, as the band played for more than two hours straight.

Oh Canada Beer

The next day – and last of the glorious long weekend – found us on the patio at Jimmy’s Tap House. This used to be my neighbourhood haunt, but I hadn’t visited for some time. After a pint of Main Street Brewing’s Naked Fox IPA, which went very well with my Southern Fried Chicken Sandwich, I was reminded of how good the place was and will return more regularly. Best of all, their Monday daily special was 50 per cent off each second entrée, so our bill was quite reasonable.

Now we have to return to work and push through the holiday hangover. At least we know there will be plenty more fun over the course of the summer, all of which will be highlighted here!

Beer of the Week #20 – Bridge Bourbon Blood Orange Wheat Ale

If you’re looking to “enjoy the deep south way up north”, then this Bridge Brewing release may be the perfect fit for you. I remember when I first saw it on menus a couple years ago, I had to order a few pints and satisfy my curiosity.

The Bourbon Blood Orange Wheat Ale is a good beer that can be enjoyed year round, but is especially perfect on a hot summer day. The 5.5% ABV, 20 IBUs beverage combines many of the Sip Advisor’s favourite alcohol elements, including bourbon, wheat beers, and fruit.

Bridge Bourbon Blood Orange Wheat Ale

Originally brewed solely for Tap & Barrel locations, the beer has grown from a seasonal release to being part of Bridge’s year round lineup. Given its popularity and availability, I’m surprised I didn’t get around to profiling it during last year’s BC Beer Baron project.

The product can be found in bomber-sized bottles and tall cans. I also recently spotted it in a variety six-pack from Bridge, which included two bottles each of the Bourbon Blood Orange, North Shore Pale Ale and Hopilano IPA.

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BC Beer Baron #346 – Bridge The Grinch Winter 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.

Just like the character of the Grinch experienced his heart growing three sizes thanks to the Whovillians, perhaps the same happened with Bridge Brewing, given their bevvy of seasonal releases for Christmas. Of course, that’s not to say the folks at the brewery were bad to begin with…

The Grinch Winter Ale is a limited edition beer, providing the elements one would expect in a winter warmer, such as flavours of caramel, plum pudding and spices. Bridge has created a great Seussian poem for the 6.5% ABV, 26 IBUs beverage that really should be read before enjoying the brew.

bridge-the-grinch-winter-ale

There is also a barrel-aged version of The Grinch, which I have yet to try. This variation features the recipe being aged in bourbon and Sherry Wood Single Malt Whiskey barrels. Apricots also used by Sons of Vancouver in their amaretto have also been added to the mix.

As far as Christmas-themed beers go, Bridge also has the Sleigh Booster Imperial Red Ale, which comes with stats of 9% ABV and 71 IBUs. Mrs. Sip gave me both The Grinch and the Sleigh Booster in a self-made beer advent calendar last year and it resulted in a wonderful Christmas!

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BC Beer Baron #316 – Bridge Hopilano IPA

On our recent visit to Bridge Brewing’s new tasting room, the Sip Alliance tried everything the company could throw our way. Amongst more than a dozen options, was this diamond in the rough… not to say the rest of the lineup isn’t smooth, as well.

The Hopilano IPA is of the northwest variety, made with Cascade, Centennial and Columbus hops. The 6% ABV, 59 IBUs beverage is heavy on citrus flavours, such as lemon and grapefruit, while also mixing in a distinct bitterness that balances the rest of the recipe.

bridge-hopilano-ipa

I like what Bridge did with this beer’s name, taking the Capilano region of North Vancouver and changing it to Hopilano. Capilano is home to the Capilano Suspension Bridge, a major tourist attraction in the province, which is prominently featured as part of this brew’s logo.

Of the IPA, which is now available in canned six-packs, the brewery writes: “Like our West Coast climate, our beer will leave your mouth lush and wanting more.” Well, I’m always wanting more and this is the type of beer I don’t mind getting me there!

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BC Beer Baron #257 – Bridge Lemon Gin 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.

The Sip Advisor is a big fan of gin-based drinks, but you don’t often see that element added to beers. Therefore, my interest was instantly piqued when I first came across this Bridge Brewing selection in one of my many liquor stores hunts.

The Lemon Gin Saison takes French saison yeast and uses juniper berries, lemon peel, coriander, and pink peppercorns to spice up the base. At 5.5% ABV and 24 IBUs, the beverage is very easy to drink, while still delivering a complex taste experience. I will point out the gin factor is light in the brew, which may be preferred by most drinkers.

bridge-lemon-gin-saison

This seasonal release began as an exclusive collaboration with Tap & Barrel restaurants. The beer can now also be found in bomber-sized bottles at BC Liquor Stores and other private establishments.

While I’ve had many good drinking experiences at Tap & Barrel locations, I’ve found my meal occasions to be hit-and-miss. One stop, in particular, produced one of the worst pulled pork poutine dishes I’ve ever had, as the pork was all fatty. That said, I’ve had other menu items that were great, such as a PB&J burger.

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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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BC Beer Baron #159 – Parallel 49/Bridge Bat Outta Hell Dark Helles Bock

For the second consecutive year, Parallel 49 Brewing has joined forces with 12 different BC craft breweries to release a package of unique beers, dubbed Brews Brothers Volume 2. The Sip Advisor figured spending the first chunk of June reviewing these releases would be a great idea. So, let’s get on with things.

An East-North connection brings us this beverage, as Bridge Brewing partners with P49. Both breweries dabble in a number of different styles and aren’t shy about playing around with intriguing combinations, so I was looking forward to their collaborative strength coming together.

Parallel 49 & Bridge Bat Outta Hell Dark Helles Bock

The Bat Outta Hell Dark Helles Bock uses Hallertau Blanc hops, which provide the brew with a gooseberry aroma, as well as black malt to darken the beer’s colour. While I can’t rank the 6.5% ABV drink among my favourites from this awesome pack, it was a solid effort.

Each beer is named after a classic rock song and today we get some good ol’ Meatloaf (or as I’ve always called him ‘The Loaf’) and his Bat Out of Hell. I like how they took the song title and combined it with the popular Helles Bock beer style, resulting in a very catchy brew name.

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BC Beer Baron #148 – Bridge Side Cut IPA

The Sip Family recently dropped into The Spud Shack in New Westminster. A favourite hangout for CAMRA Vancouver, now we know why, as their beer selection was impressive, including this gem from Bridge Brewing.

The Side Cut IPA was very good, without being an in-your-face version of the IPA style of beer. The 7.3% ABV, 59 IBUs brew isn’t nearly as bitter as some might expect. This can be good and bad. It can turn off true IPA lovers, but can also introduce newbies to the joys of a hoppier ale.

Bridge Side Cut IPA

Featuring flavours of peach, tangerine and tropical fruit, this is the company’s newest beer (as of April) and is a Northeast IPA, which I’m not sure I’ve had before. It can be found at various liquor stores in bomber-sized bottles.

Upon researching this brew, I noticed another Bridge seasonal that I’d love to get my hands on, a Lemon Gin Saison. If successful, I hope to share the experience with all you little sippers!

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BC Beer Baron #118 – Bridge Wunderbar Kolsch

Our recent exploration of North Vancouver’s craft beer scene was driven by the redemption of a Groupon at Bridge Brewing. This deal allowed the Sip Alliance to try every beer the brewery had available.

Among those brews was the Wunderbar Kolsch, which was light and refreshing, but far from boring, featuring a complexity that took the product to a different level. This is the brewery’s take on a traditional German Kolsch, perfect for the spring and summer seasons, enjoyed outdoors on a patio, or preferably near a cool body of water.

BRB15-019_Generic Awards Label.indd

Sure, the first thing I hoped for was that the beer would taste like a Cadbury Wunderbar (one of the best chocolate bars in existence), but then it probably would have identified as a stout, rather than a kolsch. I was far from dissatisfied with the experience, though.

Apparently, I’m not alone, as the Wunderbar Kolsch picked up a silver medal at the 2015 Vancouver International Craft Beer Awards, in the Hybrid category. It can be found in bomber-sized bottles, as well as in six-packs. Prost, to all my little sippers out there!

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