BC Beer Baron #51 – Maple Meadows Vanilla Porter

On our recent Fraser Valley craft brewery crawl, we made sure to stop into Maple Meadows Brewing to sample their wares.

Among the tasters I tried, the Vanilla Porter was my favourite and would rank highly when compared to all 86 different beers I sampled over the Family Day long weekend. The porter was smooth and not too complex, letting the vanilla aroma and essence shine.

Maple Meadows Brewing

I’m finding that I really like the flavour of vanilla in my dark beers and thankfully, this is a common ingredient in stouts, porters and other varieties. I look forward to exploring this new passion in the future.

This was our second visit to Maple Meadows and the brewery has grown substantially since our last stop, back when the operation had only been open for a few weeks and was in its infancy stage. Maple Meadows is owned and operated by Carlo Baroccio, who originally comes from Mexico and decided to set up shop in Maple Ridge after other cities turned down his application to set up shop in their area.

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BC Beer Baron #48 – Old Abbey Ales Belgian Tripel

Over the Family Day long weekend, the Sip Alliance traversed the BC Lower Mainland, hitting a number of breweries we had yet to visit previously. Among those stops was Old Abbey Ales in Abbotsford.

One of the brewery’s flagships is their Belgian Tripel, which although we didn’t select a taster of, Mrs. Sip had to grab a bomber for the road, being a huge fan of the style. Old Abbey Ales actually focuses on the Belgian style, with their logo featuring a Belgian lion, complete with chalice and wheat sheaf. Their dedication showed, with this strong (9% ABV), complex and flavourful release.

Old Abbey Ales Belgian Tripel

The Belgian Tripel is at optimum serving temperature between 8-12 degrees Celsius. Suggested food pairings include Cajun dishes, game meat, pork and roast, and curries, while blue, gorgonzola, triple crème, goat and light feta comprise cheese accompaniments for the brew.

I didn’t know what to expect as the Sip Alliance pulled up to Old Abbey Ales. The Growler BC beer guide listed only two of the company’s beers and even their own website only contains info on a half dozen brews. Once we got inside though, I was blown away. They had 25 different beers on tap, which is helped by the fact they’re one of the few breweries Mrs. Sip and I have seen outside of Portland to adopt a fill-out-your-own tasting form system. We came for the beer, but stuck around for the free popcorn, peanuts and pretzels and will return soon!

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BC Beer Baron #43 – Mission Springs Spirit Bear Spiced Chocolate Imperial Stout

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 Valentine’s Day fast approaching, this month’s feature week will look at beers of a chocolate nature, perfect to celebrate the occasion.

On our recent beer travels around BC’s Lower Mainland for the Family Day long weekend, we stopped in at the Mission Springs Pub for a snack and to try some of their brews.

Over a platter of pulled pork nachos, we ordered a couple tasting flights. My favourite beverage among my samples was the Spirit Bear Spiced Chocolate Imperial Stout. The beer has a nice spice aroma and taste to go along with the always enjoyable chocolate flavour. At 8% ABV, the Spirit Bear is on the stronger side, as implied with its ‘Imperial Stout’ moniker.

SpiritBearStout_Sticker

Spirit Bears (also known as Kermode Bears, named after former Royal BC Museum director Francis Kermode) can be found in parts of BC and are even the official provincial mammal. The white or cream-coloured bears feature heavily in the stories of BC’s native population.

I liked the Mission Springs Pub and could see why it’s a popular local watering hole. Brewpubs are my favourite places to go for food and drink and when I venture out this way in the future, I’ll make sure to pop in for another round.

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Sip Trips #57: In the Name of Science

After taking a week off from Sip Trips articles, I’m back with a vengeance. Mrs. Sip and I shelled out the big bucks to attend the Science of Cocktails charity event at Science World and had a fantastic night, albeit a fuzzy one for myself.

Tickets were $145 each (and no, that wasn’t even VIP pricing… those tickets went for $250 a pop), which had Mrs. Sip and I approaching with caution while friends of ours instantly balked at the price. We decided that if tickets were still available in late January, after our credit card rolled over to a new bill cycle, we’d commit. That is sound financial planning, my little sippers!

managing finances

What initially got me excited about the event was the list of alcohol sponsors, including Jack Daniel’s, Chambord, Ardbeg, El Jimador, Hennessy, Ciroc, Tanqueray, Remy Martin, Belvedere, and so many others. Just looking at the list again has me licking my chops. Even Parallel 49 Brewing was there, but this was a rare night in 2016 where beer took a backseat for the Sip Advisor.

Featuring some of the city’s top bartenders, working 25 beverage stations, Science World was transformed into a booze lovers paradise… all in the name of science. Each of the booths set up provided a lesson in molecular mixology, from smoking Ardbeg Scotch fumes to the three different way to consume a Mai Tai, including smoking, eating (jellybeans) and drinking.

The food on hand was pretty good, but some of it ran out very early into the evening. I enjoyed the sushi and poutine booths, while Mrs. Sip feasted at the meat and cheese table. The sushi was too popular, though, and was gone by 10pm, despite the event ending at midnight.

adult lunchables

We didn’t get to check out any of the presentations going on throughout the night, as the general game plan was comprised of receiving a drink at one station and enjoying it while lined up at the next one. My goal of hitting each and every station was moderately successful. We thought we’d hit them all, until referencing the map we were given at the start of the night and realizing we missed a couple of the more hidden booths. We’ll just have to do better next year.

Proceeds from the gala will go to help fund school field trips to Science World, which hosts thousands of students each year. I personally remember attending as a high-schooler and having a really good time, so I’m happy to pay the experience forward.

For the Family Day weekend, the Sip Alliance hit the road for a two-day, 12-brewery expedition, which was a wonderful way to spend a long weekend, while staying local. Our experiences on this journey will largely be documented in upcoming BC Beer Baron articles (tried 86 different beers over the span), but if anyone out there wants itinerary ideas for their own excursions, feel free to hit me up for our routes.

BC Beer Baron #42 – Ravens Hot Chocolate Porter

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 Valentine’s Day fast approaching, this month’s feature week will look at beers of a chocolate nature, perfect to celebrate the occasion.

On our recent beer travels around BC’s Lower Mainland for the Family Day long weekend, one of our stops was at Ravens Brewing in Abbotsford.

There, the highlight of the visit was tasting their Hot Chocolate Porter. You know the chocolate taste you get with the remaining liquefied powder at the end of a glass of hot cocoa? That’s exactly what this brew tasted like and the Sip Advisor loved it.

Ravens Hot Chocolate Porter

Unfortunately, the beer isn’t even listed on their website at this time, but they do have it available for sampling, growler fills and bottle purchase. Mrs. Sip and I made sure to take a bomber home with us, so we could recreate a snuggly night in front of a roaring fire (or as roaring as a gas fireplace gets), complete with cold-brewed cocoa to enhance the experience.

The theming at this brewery would thrill Sis-in-Law Sip and any other bird fans. The set-up at Ravens was charming and comfortable and they have some seasonal beers I’d love to go back and try, such as their White IPA, which is highlighted by elderflower. While I’m not a bird fan, I do love their slogan: “Grab life by the wings!”

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