BC Beer Baron #102 – Russell Punch Bowl IPA

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. It may have taken some time, but IPA’s now rank among my favourite styles of beer. Let’s take a look at some of the best BC has to offer, among this acquired taste.

While researching which beers to feature as part of IPA week, I began licking my chops when I came across this Russell Brewing option. And that was before I learned it was a gold medal winner at the 2015 Canadian Brewing Awards, in the American Style IPA category.

The Punch Bowl IPA takes flavours such as stone fruit, berries, and melon and hops them up for a perfect blend of beer goodness. Part of the brewery’s Specialty Series, this Northwest IPA has all the right stats in all the right places, with a 6.5% ABV and 65 IBUs.

Russell Punch Bowl IPA

Russell has some interesting logic that went into the creation of this beer, writing: “India Pale Ale was a beer created to make the trip from England to India, Punch was a fruit drink introduced to England from India. So as tribute to full flavoured beer and to party drinks that can be spiked, may we present the Punch Bowl!”

On top of the typical 650ml bomber format, the Punch Bowl IPA has just been released in new 341ml bottled six-packs, available at BC Liquor Stores and other private locations. If you’re big into India Pale Ales (and who isn’t!), Russell also has the IP’eh!, which is about as Canadian as you can get with a beer.

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BC Beer Baron #101 – Driftwood Fat Tug IPA

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. It may have taken some time, but IPA’s now rank among my favourite styles of beer. Let’s take a look at some of the best BC has to offer, among this acquired taste.

This Driftwood Brewing beverage has to be one of the most popular IPA’s in the province and is a beer that has introduced many drinkers to the variety, holding them there as fans for life.

The Fat Tug IPA is a northwest style IPA, full of tropical flavours to go along with its 7% ABV and 80-plus IBUs. It’s so hoppy, they can’t get a definitive reading on the beer… or so the Sip Advisor assumes!

Driftwood Fat Tug IPA

Not surprisingly, the beer won a gold medal at the 2013 BC Beer Awards for top India Pale Ale. This has largely led to the IPA’s popularity with the public and it can be easily located throughout the province.

Suggested pairings include spicy Asian and Mexican cuisine; shellfish or sashimi; or strong cheeses, such as Roquefort, Romano, cheddar, or washed-rind varieties. Driftwood even suggests drinking Fat Tug as an aperitif to help fuel your appetite and aid in digestion.

For more BC Beer Baron articles, please visit our main page…

BC Beer Baron #74 – Dead Frog Nutty Uncle Peanut Butter 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. Since March features St. Patrick’s Day and many of us largely associate the celebration with Guinness beer, the Sip Advisor thought it would be a prime month to highlight some of B.C.’s best stout beers.

On our recent beer adventures in the Fraser Valley, we popped into Aldergrove’s Dead Frog Brewing for a flight of tasters.

Among the beers we sampled was the Nutty Uncle Peanut Butter Stout, which I had also gifted to Mrs. Sip last year as part of her annual advent calendar. We liked it then and we still do. The stout has a nice nutty finish to go with flavours of chocolate and coffee that we’re accustomed to experiencing from this style. I could have enjoyed even more of a peanut butter flavour, as I am a PB junkie!

Dead Frog Nutty Uncle Peanut Butter Stout

Originally released in late 2014, the Nutty Uncle won a gold medal at the 2015 Canadian Brewing Awards in the Experimental Beer category. The brew is available in bomber format at liquor stores around the province.

I can’t help but notice a troubling trend amongst BC breweries to take shots at all the uncles out there in the world. On top of this beer, you also have the Creepy Uncle Dunkel from Moon Under Water (a beer which will certainly be covered as part of this project at a later date). While Dead Frog claims the beer is an homage to ‘nutty uncles’ everywhere, I have my suspicions!

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BC Beer Baron #58 – Category 12 Disruption Black IPA

My recent trip to Craft Beer Market for a friend’s birthday was capped off with a serving of this Category 12 Brewing release and it was a strong finish to an already solid visit to the restaurant.

The Disruption Black IPA is good. I mean really, really good. Great even. I’m not surprised it won a gold medal for Best American Black Ale at the 2015 Canadian Brewing Awards. I do wonder why it wasn’t a contender in the IPA category, though. Some mysteries are better left to true detectives, I guess.

Category 12 Disruption Black IPA

Category 12 hopes to challenge drinker’s view of dark beer with the 6.7% ABV, 77 IBU IPA. Their description states: “This black IPA is a calculated anomaly. It looks big and scary like a stout, but it drinks like an IPA. Close your eyes, you’ll never guess how far into the dark you’re sinking. With its fresh hop aroma and roasted malt flavour, Disruption is a whole new beast.”

First impressions are everything and given this is the first beer I’ve ever had from Category 12, it’s a very good first impression. I look forward to more from the Victoria-based brewery, which has a great scientific formula that they live by: (Sound Science + Good Taste)4 × Art8 = (Great Beer)12… makes sense to the Sip Advisor!

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Ukraine – Fireball Martini

Brotherly Brawlers

It’s not often that a country can lay claim to one heavyweight title fighter, but a pair of brothers that are equally adept in the ring is a truly rare feat. Ukraine’s Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko are both champions and give the Ukraine an image to be feared. Let’s take a look at the brothers and their rise to international stardom:

Vitali (born July 19, 1971) is nearly five years older than his brother Wladimir (born March 25, 1976). Both men made their debut on the same night (November, 6, 1996) in Hamburg, Germany. Not surprisingly, each brother was victorious, with Vitali KO’ing Tony Bradham at 1:14 of the second round. He was bested by Wladimir, who beat Fabian Meza by knockout at 1:35 of the first round.

Klitschko Jab

Prior to entering the professional ranks, Wladimir competed at the 1996 Olympics, winning gold in the Super Heavyweight division. Vitali was a member of the same team, but was booted off for testing positive for a banned substance. This opened the door for Wladimir, who was intended to compete in the Heavyweight Division and was struggling to make the weight limit, thus bumping up to Super Heavyweight, taking Vitali’s spot.

Vitali was also quite successful before his pro boxing career began, but in the discipline of kickboxing, where he was a six-time World Champion (twice as an amateur and four times professionally) with a record of 34-1, including 22 knockouts.

Vitali took four years off from the sport from 2004 to 2008. When he returned, he defeated Samuel Peter to win back the WBC World Heavyweight Championship. At the same time, Wladimir was in possession of the WBO, IBF, and IBO heavyweight titles (the longest reigning champion for each of those belts), marking the first time two brothers held world championships at the same time.

Klitschko Belts

When Wladimir added the WBA World Heavyweight Championship to his collection in 2011, the broskis held every world title (and continued to do so for the next 2 years, 5 months, and 13 days). Vitali forfeited his title in 2013, in order to enter the political realm in the Ukraine.

Vitali is extremely well-educated, having earned a master’s degree in social development and a doctorate in sport science, which netted him the nickname Dr. Ironfist. He was chosen as the leader of the Ukrainian Democratic Allice for Reform Party and has twice sought to be elected as the mayor of Kiev. Vitali has been awarded Germany’s highest civilian honour, the Federal Cross of Merit for his achievements. Not to be unmatched, Wladimir also garnered a doctorate in sport science, changing his nickname from The Steel Hammer to Dr. Steel Hammer.

Outside of the ring, the Klitschko’s operate K2 Promotions and K2 East Promotions. They are also active in the philanthropy world with their Klitschko Brothers Fund, which works to help children around the world. The brothers have agreed to work with UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), as of 2002.

Klitschko Fight Mode

Wladimir auctioned off his 1996 gold medal at an event in 2012, hoping to raise money to help Ukrainian children. The winning bid came in at $1 million, with the buyer immediately returning the medal to the boxer, not out of fear, but because he believed the treasure should remain with Wladimir and his family. Really gives you the warm fuzzies!

Wladimir appeared in the movie Ocean’s 11, fighting Lennox Lewis during the great heist and starred in the music video for ‘Part of Me,’ by Chris Cornell of Soundgarden and Audioslave fame. Regardless of all the bragging rights that come with being a boxing champion, Wladimir can also claim to be engaged to actress Hayden Penettiere from the TV shows Heroes and Nashville. The couple announced in 2014 that they are expecting their first child.

Combined, the sibling’s all-time record is 107 wins and 5 losses, with 93 knockouts. Vitali is 45-2-0 with 41 KOs, while Wladimir is 62-3-0 with 52 KOs. Vitali may not have as many knockouts as his little brother, but his KO percentage of 87% is the highest ever in the history of heavyweight champions. Despite his two losses, Vitali rarely lost a round and was never knocked down or out in competition. When he hasn’t come out as the winner, it’s because injuries suffered during a bout have caused him to concede defeat.

Ukraine: Fireball Martini

Fireball Martini

Although an encounter between the two siblings would be highly marketable, Vitali and Wladimir have both insisted that they would never fight each other. The Sip Advisor and his broski didn’t follow this mantra and faced off on pay-per-view in what has been viewed as the least watched sporting exhibition in history!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
When I first heard of this Vodka, I knew it would be a perfect addition to the Sip Advisor collection. I’m a fan of drinks that offer a little burn and this was no different. I could have used a little more heat, but that’s just me. I dared Mrs. Sip to take a bite of the Hot Pepper garnish and when she turned it back on me, I was game… I took my bite and let the flames fly for the next few minutes!