BC Beer Baron #353 – Hoyne Appleton ESB

At last month’s Chowder Chowdown, hosted by the Vancouver Aquarium, one of my top beer picks for the night was this offering from Hoyne Brewing. It paired very nicely with my chowder serving at the time, which is always a good start.

The Appleton ESB was smooth and hoppy, with a nice roasted malts/caramel element to the recipe. ESBs (standing for Extra Special Bitter) are not among the Sip Advisor’s favourite styles of beer, but the type has grown on me in recent times.

hoyne-appleton-esb

The 5.2% ABV beverage is available in bomber-sized bottles at private liquor stores. Hoyne touts that the brew is “free of any pernicious ingredients”… which a thesaurus search tells us means there are no malicious, evil or wicked elements.

While most would conclude the beer is named as it is because of the inclusion of Appleton Rum, it’s actually an homage to Frank Appleton. Appleton conceived BC’s first craft brewery, the Horseshoe Bay Brewing Co., and inspired many.

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BC Beer Baron #348 – Big Rock Winter Spice 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.

At last month’s Chowder Chowder, hosted by the Vancouver Aquarium, Big Rock Brewing was my choice for MVP of the evening, highlighted by this offering. Thanks guys, for the good time and being the last group to close up shop at the event.

The Winter Spice Ale is like Christmas in a bottle, as Cousin Sip put it. The 6% ABV, 12.5 IBUs winter warmer features flavours of caramel, ginger, cinnamon and cloves. The beer was created to help Canadians get through the long, dark and cold season.

Big Rock Winter Spice Ale.png

First released last winter, the Sip Advisor was very happy to see the Winter Spice Ale return to store shelves, along with the brewery’s Midnight Rhapsody Dark Ale. The Winter Spice Ale can be found in bottled six-packs, throughout western Canada.

Suggested food pairings include ginger beef, braised duck, gingerbread cookies, pumpkin pie, and chocolate. Meanwhile, Big Rock’s staff suggest listening to Wintertime Love by The Doors or watching the movie Fargo, while enjoying the beer.

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Sip Trips #82: Chowder Chowing

While the Sip Advisor managed to make it to four Vancouver breweries over the Remembrance Day long weekend, those exploits will largely be covered in BC Beer Baron articles. So, let’s get right onto the main event of the week: the Chowder Chowdown at the Vancouver Aquarium.

Presented by Ocean Wise, the occasion offered participants 14 seafood chowders to try, each paired with a BC craft beer (save for the Steam Whistle Brewing partnership). While I love the concept, I’m not sure massive servings of chowder should be paired with carbonated beverages. There definitely came a point where I reached my chowder max, although it quickly subsided.

One other issue was that it wasn’t easy to juggle a cup of beer and piping hot serving of chowder, as you moved through the venue. At least there were a fair number of tables to stand or sit at, which helped with the risky maneuvering.

cat-clam-chowder

My favourite chowder of the evening came from The White Whale Restaurant, which also took home the people’s and judge’s choice awards. My MVP pick for best beer/brewery definitely went to the guys from Big Rock Urban Brewery, who brought with them their Winter Spice Ale. Some honourable mentions should go to Hoyne Brewing, whose Appleton ESB was paired with The White Whale Restaurant entry and The Vancouver Fish Company for their chowder poutine spin on the competition.

After the awards were announced, the event seemed to die quickly. By this point, a number of the chowder stations had run out of their wares and many of the breweries that attended had packed up their contributions. This left folks scrambling for final servings wherever they could be found.

This event probably wouldn’t have gone over too well for those who don’t like beer. There was a Caesar station, Gin & Tonic table and one wine vendor available, but that probably wouldn’t have been enough for people needing options to the breweries.

catch-of-the-day-bear

Ticket were $60 (plus tax) and we felt the event was more than worth it. We paid more than double that for last year’s Toast to the Coast (also at the Aquarium) and the Chowder Chowdown provided a far better bang-for-your-buck experience.

After being dropped off back downtown by the Vancouver Trolley Company, we finished the evening with a visit to Steamworks Brew Pub. Here, I finally got my hands on a beverage that has eluded me for much of the year: their Salty Caramel Ale. I first heard about the beer last February on Twitter, but when I arrived at the brew pub, there was none to be had. Most recently, when Mrs. Sip and I stopped in on Halloween night, it was on their menu, but again wasn’t yet being poured. All I can say is the wait was worth it!

Mrs. Sip returns from India this weekend and that will likely signify the start of the Christmas rush. Join us for all the fun and adventure that’s sure to occur over the holidays!