BC Beer Baron #347 – Fernie Black Mammoth 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.

The Sip Advisor loves a good ‘winter warmer’ and this selection may be one of the best of the bunch. Fernie Brewing calls it their “most decadent brew yet,” which is a very strong start.

The Black Mammoth Winter Ale features flavours of chocolate, cocoa and even citrus, provided by Seville orange peels. While no food pairings are suggested, the brewery notes that the 8% ABV, 25 IBUs beverage combines well with any cold winter day… that’s good enough for the Sip Advisor to crack a bottle open!

Fernie Black Mammoth Winter Ale.png

First brewed in 2012, this limited edition winter seasonal is available in bomber-sized bottles in BC, Alberta and Manitoba (too bad, so sad Saskatchewan!). Make sure to grab one while you can as the product can only be had while supplies last through December and January.

The Black Mammoth was created to commemorate Fernie Brewing’s 10th anniversary in January 2013. The beer’s popularity brought it back in following years and now it’s a staple of the holiday season, throughout western Canada.

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BC Beer Baron #287 – Fernie Pumpkin Head Brown 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. The season of pumpkin-spiced everything is upon us… and things are no different in the craft beer world. Let’s see what BC has to offer for fans of the flavour.

Fernie Brewing has become a pretty solid contributor to this BC Beer Baron project, a sort of revelation brewery for the Sip Advisor. That trend continues with this fall seasonal release.

The Pumpkin Head Brown Ale uses the brewery’s First Trax Brown Ale as its base, before adding organic pumpkin and spices to the mix. The 5% ABV, 13 IBUs beverage was first conceived back in 2010 and now returns each year to haunt drinkers… in a good way, that is.


Available in bomber-sized bottles at BC Liquor Stores, the product can also be found at Alberta booze retail locations. According to the brewery, suggested food pairing include fall favourite dishes, which I can only assume means heaps of candy from strangers and a full bowl of gravy.

The Pumpkin Head Brown Ale took home a silver medal at the 2014 Canadian Brewing Awards in the Fruit Beer category. Pumpkins are technically a fruit, so well done by Fernie to sneak this drink into consideration for the class.

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BC Beer Baron #264 – Fernie Big Caboose Red Ale

In preparation for our annual Sip Syndicate camping excursion, the Sip Advisor was on the lookout for a good mixed case of canned beers, perfect for beach drinking. That was found thanks to Fernie Brewing.

Part of the company’s Summer Craft Collection, Mrs. Sip and I generally enjoyed the entire set (no duds to be found); however, we were particularly fond of the Big Caboose Red Ale. The 5% ABV, 25 IBUs beverage took home gold and bronze medals at the 2012 and 2013 BC Beer Awards, respectively, in the Scottish/Irish brew category.


Originally released in 2011, the beer is also available in six-packs and can be found as far east as Manitoba. Suggested food pairings include burgers and nachos… what more could one ask for?

Also joining the Red Ale in the summer mixer (available between April and September) are the Project 9 Pilsner, Griz Pale Ale and Lone Wolf IPA. The Winter Craft Collection is nearly identical, save for the First Trax Brown Ale subbing in for the Project 9 Pilsner.

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BC Beer Baron #233 – Fernie Slow Drift Witbier

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. Mrs. Sip and I are huge fans of hefeweizens and witbiers. I mean, is there a better summer beer style? Let’s take a look at what BC has to offer in the field.

Although the Sip Advisor most recently enjoyed this Fernie Brewing drink under its previous name (at St. Augustine’s in Vancouver), the flavour and spice is still just as nice.

The recipe of the Slow Drift Witbier is unchanged from its predecessor. Seville oranges and coriander are added during the brew’s kettle boil, giving the beverage the traditional flavours of the beer type. The Belgian-style Witbier comes with stats of 5% ABV and 10 IBUs and it is recommended you garnish a serving with an orange slice.

Fernie Slow Drift Witbier

Available in bomber-sized bottles, this year-round release first debuted in 2008 and was formerly known as the Ol’ Willy Wit. Despite being a popular core brand, Fernie wanted a moniker that better represented the “light and spicy citrus flavours of this refreshing beer”.

The brewery settled on the new name after holding a contest with the winner receiving a $250 credit with the company, a one-night stay for two people in Fernie, and the opportunity to brew a batch of the newly-renamed beer.

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BC Beer Baron #204 – Fernie Last Cast Summer IPA

Our recent jaunt to St. Augustine’s in East Vancouver provided a great opportunity to try a number of new releases to the BC craft beer scene, including this offering from Fernie Brewing.

The Last Cast Summer IPA is a good beer with nice flavours and a refreshing finish. Debuting in 2013, the IPA returned this June and comes with stats of 6.7% ABV and 70 IBUs. So, it’s hoppy, but lighter than some options in the IPA family.

Fernie Last Cast Summer IPA

Available in 650ml bomber bottles, the beer is a limited release, so track a serving down while you can. The beverage can even be located in Alberta and Manitoba, as well as throughout BC.

The brew is part of Fernie’s IPA Bucket List collection, which also includes their Rockpile Red IPA, Snowblind Belgian IPA, Quiet Rye’t Rye IPA, Eldorado Single Hop IPA, and Real Peel Grapefruit IPA (due out in August).

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BC Beer Baron #171 – Fernie What the Huck Huckleberry Wheat 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. Fruit beers may have some traditionalists up in arms, but if they only them a chance, they would see how good the beverages can be. In putting together this feature week, I tried to incorporate as many different fruits as possible, so let’s see what BC has to offer in this realm.

You don’t see huckleberries being used in too many products, but thankfully that leaves more available for Fernie Brewing to experiment with.

Their What the Huck Huckleberry Wheat Ale is a 5% ABV, 15 IBUs beverage that was first released in 2008. Using huckleberry juice and blending that with wheat, the result is a smooth and refreshing beer, with one of the best names on the BC brewing landscape.

Fernie What the Huck Huckleberry Wheat Ale

Part of Fernie’s ‘Core Brands’, the What the Huck earned a bronze medal at the 2013 BC Beer Awards in the Fruit Beer category. The beer can be found year round in 650ml bomber bottles, throughout BC and Alberta and also in Manitoba during the summer.

Similar to a blueberry in shape, colour and taste, huckleberries are easily found in the Rocky Mountains region, close to Fernie, BC. Suggested food pairings include desserts, salads or pastas. The brewery also notes that cheeses such as chevre, mozzarella and gouda play nicely with the flavour of the beer.

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BC Beer Baron #163 – Parallel 49/Fernie Spirit in the Sky Havana Club Stout

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.

The fine folks at Fernie Brewing (how’s that for alliteration – although I’m sure they are actually fine folks!) travelled a fair distance to make this collaboration with P49 work and their efforts definitely paid off with a delicious beverage.

Parallel 49 & Fernie Spirit in the Sky Havana Club Stout

The Spirit in the Sky Havana Club Stout combines two of my favourite things in this world: Havana Club Rum and stout beers. Using oak spirals that have been aged in seven-year-old Havana Club Rum, this stout is potent (6.5% ABV), but also enjoys the traditional attributes of a smooth, mellow, flavourful stout.

Each beer is named after a classic rock song and the Havana Club Stout meets its match with Norman Greenbaum’s Spirit in the Sky. An interesting note about Mr. Greenbaum, was that at one time, he was a member of the psychedelic jug band Dr. West’s Medicine Show and Junk Band. I don’t know why, but that has me incredibly intrigued… and a little scared!

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BC Beer Baron #139 – Fernie Sap Sucker Maple 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. I used to be hesitant about drinking porters, believing them to mostly be coffee-based in the flavour department. Once I realized that was only half true, a whole new world was opened to me and that’s a world I want to share with others.

As Porter Week continues to roll along, we get to this award winning product from Fernie Brewing, which I saved to review during this special time.

The Sap Sucker Maple Porter incorporates a touch of maple syrup to achieve a rich and unique drinking experience. This 5.5% ABV, 35 IBUs beverage is flavourful with a hint of smoke on the finish. The porter won gold and silver medals at the 2011 and 2014 Canadian Brewing Awards, respectively, in the Special Honey/Maple Lager or Ale category.

Fernie Sap Sucker Maple Porter

Suggested food pairings include dark meats and hearty dishes. The winter seasonal, first released in 2010, can be found on tap at some locations around the province, as well as in bomber-sized bottles in BC, Alberta and Manitoba, from September to March (I found bottles as late as mid-April).

I have never been to Fernie Brewing’s location in – you guessed it – Fernie, BC, but would love to visit and spend some time in their tap room. As their motto states: “Good Beer in a Good Town”.

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Sip Trips #35: All You Need is Love

This week got off to a bit of a rocky start, as Mrs. Sip and I (along with a crew of friends) were supposed to meet at the Pacific National Exhibition (PNE) and visit the Craft Beer Festival that the fair is hosting for the first time this year. Mrs. Sip and I hadn’t attended the PNE since our first year dating, 13 years ago, so we were excited to return. Sadly, as we arrived, we were informed that the park was closing due to inclement weather and would not reopen.

This was an epic fail, exacerbated given that we knew folks already inside the park who were never asked to leave and were enjoying snacks and such throughout. We didn’t bother to stick around long and although the park did reopen, the Craft Beer Festival did not, and weather remained sketchy the rest of the afternoon and evening. Still, I was really looking forward to trying deep-fried jellybeans!

jellybean flavours

On with the successes of the day! The evening began with meeting friends at Alibi Room, in Gastown, which has an extensive menu of craft beers that is updated daily. It can get very busy as the day rolls along, so my best advice is to arrive early. Here, I ordered one of their Frat Bats (tasting flights), including the Dageraad Randonneur Belgian Saison, Breakside Imperial Gold Ale IPA, Phillips Hazy Daze Apricot Witbier, and Strange Fellows Guardian White IPA. The latter two were most enjoyable for me, while Mrs. Sip liked the Callister Apricot Resurrection from her set.

From Alibi Room, we moved on to the Portside Pub for another flight of tasters. This time, I ordered the Fernie Quiet RyeT (the best of this bunch), Hearthstone Azacca Pale Ale, Persephone Dry Stout, and Delirium Tremens. The flights were more expensive here, which originally had us a little disappointed, but when we discovered this was because they included a shot of Jameson Irish Whiskey, we were all-in! The Lobster nachos also seemed to be a hit with our group, although sitting beside Mrs. Sip meant I didn’t get to indulge too much. I’ve been married long enough to know not to get between Mrs. Sip and her lobster! I’ll have to come back another time for more of the nachos and to try some of the interesting Caesar recipes the pub also offers.

As fun as Saturday was, the main event of the week was unquestionably the Made with Love cocktail competition that I fell in love with (pardon the pun) last year. This time around, the venue switched to the Fairmont Hotel, allowing a little more space than last year’s Yaletown Roundhouse location. After receiving our welcome cocktail of Campari and Tropical Red Bull, our group travelled the room in a counter-clockwise direction. The first few drinks were decent, but weren’t really making an impact with me. I did, however, greatly enjoy the appies that were served, including teriyaki chicken skewers, veggie spring rolls, beef carpaccio, fajita chicken wraps, and pate.

appetizers before food

The second half of the room provided a number of top contenders for favourite drink. The premise of the event is that you’re given a dog tag to bestow upon the bartender of your favourite recipe. They’re also judged by a panel of experts. By the end of the circuit I had a short list of four drinks which I really enjoyed. They included Just the Pits (Disaronno, apple juice infused with ginger and black pepper, peach puree, lemon juice, honey syrup, and cherry bitters); Tequila Mockingbird (1800 Tequila, lemon juice, Jamaica and yellow flower syrup, and plum bitters); Caribbean in the Fall (three different Appleton Rums, peach syrup, allspice syrup, lavender tea, lemon juice, maple syrup, saline solution, pimento bitters, and garnished with a sorrel leaf); and my favourite of the competition (earning my dog tag), the BC Burro (1800 Tequila, “forest fire” flavour, ginger beer, elderflower, and wormwood bitters).

Of most importance was whether the event would still hold up for our sophomore experience and whether the cost ($55 early bird tickets/$65 regular tickets) was justifiable. In the Sip Advisor’s opinion, the event was wonderful again and I can’t wait to go for the three-peat next year. I have to say though, I’d love to go to a cocktail competition where there are no liquor sponsors and bartenders have free reign over what they use. I get that the sponsorship basically makes the event possible, but how cool would it be for the competition to be no holds barred!

We wrapped up the Sip Trips week with a return visit to the new Central City Brew Pub on Beatty Street, where I once again enjoyed the Crispy Crunch burger (combining all my favourites with a crispy chicken breast, bacon, potato chips, onion strings, and pickles), while putting together one of the best tasting flight lineups of my career. I ordered the Longwood Steam Punk Dunkel, Hoyne Off the Grid Red Lager, Fuggles and Warlock Smoked Hefeweizen, Bridge North Shore Pale Ale and I only hope that others get to taste my brilliance! Best of all, the flight only cost $6.50, which is a wicked price for a set of beer tasters.

This weekend, Mrs. Sip and I are away camping and plan to pick up a couple growlers at Storm Brewing, before making our way to the Okanagan. There’s no doubt that some mischief is ahead. Should be a great long weekend!