BC Beer Baron #308 – Boombox/Machine Ales Pablo Esco Gnar IPA

One of the friends I attended the BC Beer Awards with had a simple game plan going in, with sampling this Boombox Brewing and Machine Ales beverage at the top of his list. After having a taste myself, I can totally understand why.

The Pablo Esco Gnar IPA (awesome name!) is a northeastern version of the India Pale Ale. The 7.2% ABV drink is produced using oats and lactose and has instantly become a hit on the BC craft beer scene, thanks to being available at various Lower Mainland pubs.


Boombox Brewing is currently working out of the Callister Brewing location, Canada’s first collaborative brewery. Machine Ales is a graduate of this system, where upstart operations can use the space for a year, before moving forward with their development.

The Pablo Esco Gnar IPA earned the two breweries some hard-earned recognition at those very BC Beer Awards, taking home the coveted CBC People’s Choice Award. That award was voted on by attendees of the event.

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BC Beer Baron #295 – Lightheart Purple People Pleaser Blackberry Wheat Ale

While the summer may have come and gone, many wheat beers were still on display at last weekend’s BC Beer Awards. That included this release from Lightheart Brewing, providing the Sip Advisor’s first opportunity to sample suds from the company.

The Purple People Pleaser Blackberry Wheat Ale was an intriguing offering, given its colour and taste. The 5.4% ABV beverage should not be confused with Urban Dictionary’s definition of a Purple People Pleaser, which I’ll leave to your own imagination to figure out… sicko!


The beer’s production is in line with the Halloween season, playing on the Purple People Eater character from Sheb Wooley’s 1958 classic tune of the same name. Hey, if it was good enough to reach #1 on the Billboard pop charts, it can certainly be a beer, as well.

Lightheart is one of the collaborative partners occupying space at Callister Brewing’s location. The company’s website is still in the development stage, so those looking for updates on their wares may want to keep an eye on their Twitter account.

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BC Beer Baron #277 – Boombox/Real Cask GoldenRye

Prior to heading out for a night on the town to celebrate a friend’s birthday recently, we met up for a drink at the hotel where they were staying. That’s where I got to try a serving of this Boombox Brewing and Real Cask Brewing collaboration release.

The GoldenRye is a very good beer. A Rye Pale Ale, it comes in at 7% ABV and uses Idaho 7 hops, also known as 007 hops, perfect for the theme of this product. The rye content brings the alcohol up a few notches, which the Sip Advisor has never shied away from.

boombox-brewingReal Cask Brewing

The beer’s name, of course, is a play on the classic James Bond movie and even better video game, GoldenEye. Most guys my age spent countless hours hunting down their friends, settling minor squabbles in the virtual world thanks to this awesome first-person shooter.

While this brew is the first product I’ve had from Boombox, I can say without hesitation that it’s the best thing I’ve had from Real Cask. Both companies operate out of the Callister Brewing space in East Vancouver, which is the first collaborative brewery in Canada, offering space to tenants on a yearly basis.

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BC Beer Baron #98 – Callister Axis & Allies Rye Pale Ale

On a recent trip to St. Augustine’s, one of Vancouver’s finest craft beer restaurants, the Sip Advisor ordered a paddle of tasters to sample. Among them, was this release from Callister Brewing.

The Axis & Allies Rye Pale Ale was decent. I’m finding the addition of rye to any brew to be quite enjoyable, as it adds an element of strength to the recipe. The beverage comes in at 5.5% ABV and features notes of citrus and spice (and everything nice!) for a well-balanced drink.

Callister Brewing

Somewhat unique to Callister is that they also makes sodas. Their current menu includes Ginger Mint, Blueberry Lemongrass and Traditional Tonic. These sound like fun options for all my fellow mixologists out there.

I’ve only been to Callister Brewing’s collaborative facility once before and really need to get back there. The space is shared between Callister, Real Cask, Machine Ales, and Brewery Creek, which means lots of available beers. With spring arriving and summer just around the bend, bike season has also come upon us and a Yeast Van brewery crawl is definitely on the horizon.

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BC Beer Baron #97 – Real Cask India Porter

Given the word ‘Cask’ is in the brewery’s name, of course you would expect Real Cask Brewing to participate in the latest Yaletown Brewery Caskival, featuring Irish stouts and porters.

Brewed with traditional English-style exports in mind, the India Porter is made with East Kent Goldings hops, resulting in a beverage that hits you with some bitterness upon sipping, before mellowing out into more traditional porter tastes.

Real Cask Brewing

At 6.3% ABV, the beer has some strength to it, to go along with flavours of chocolate and roasted malts. It’s definitely an interesting twist on the porter genre.

Working out of Callister Brewing’s East Vancouver facility, Real Cask’s focus seems to be on more experimental releases. The India Porter is available on tap at Callister, along with a couple other Real Cask options.

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BC Beer Baron #20 – Real Cask Burnley Bastard Mild

At the Winter Beer Hall that Mrs. Sip and I recently attended at Big Rock Urban Brewery, this was Real Cask Brewing’s contribution to the festivities.

I wasn’t a big fan of the Burnley Bastard Mild. At only 3%, it’s incredibly light and I’ve come to expect stronger flavours and profiles from my craft beers. I believe, though, that others will appreciate the brew for what it is. It just wasn’t in my wheelhouse. I do have to say, it has a hell of a name.

Real Cask Burnley Bastard Mild

Callister Brewing, which houses Real Cask, has a very interesting set-up in that it provides space and equipment for a number of independent brewers (both professional and amateur alike) in a collaborative effort to get their products out to a larger audience. Currently operating out of the space are Callister, Real Cask, Machine Ales, and Brewery Creek.

The one time Mrs. Sip and I have been able to get to Callister Brewing, we put together a sampler of every beer they had available and ended up with 13 different selections to choose from. It was fun going through each one, some of which were quite diverse from anything else on the market.

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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.


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.