Beer of the Week #39 – Hoyne Voltage Espresso Stout

In need of a stout beer for a recent Mixer Mania cocktail, I picked up this release from Hoyne Brewing. Surprisingly, I had never tried this offering, despite the brew being on the market seasonally for a handful of years.

The Voltage Espresso Stout is a fantastic beer, full of the rich flavours you’d expect. Although I’m not a coffee and definitely not at espresso drinker, I do like the flavour in my ales and this 5.6% ABV beverage did not disappoint.

Hoyne Voltage Espresso Stout.jpg

Described by the brewery as a rich and electrifying breakfast beer, the stout is available in bomber-sized bottles at BC Liquor Stores. Amongst other options, I went with Hoyne because they make some spectacular products.

The story behind this beer is that some of the Hoyne crew would alternate between stouts and espressos at beer events. So, they decided to combine the two into one magnificent concoction and Voltage was born.

For more Beer of the Week articles, please visit our main page…

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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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!

BC Beer Baron #319 – Hoyne Off the Grid Vienna Lager

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 all the crazy brewing options out there, lagers sometimes get lost in the shuffle. That’s why the Sip Advisor is giving them their own feature week. After all, we should support and give thanks to the beers that brought many of us to this craft beer dance!

The Sip Advisor is a big fan of Hoyne Brewing, but I haven’t been able to highlight their work for some time. Lager Week affords me that opportunity with this very tasty and unique release.

The Off the Grid Vienna Lager is a redhead and a fine one at that. Featuring Noble German Tettnang hops, as well as Munich and Vienna malts, the beer is distinctly European. At 5.3% ABV, the drink is also a little stronger than your typical lager.

hoyne-off-the-grid-vienna-lager

The brew is available year-round in bomber-sized bottles. Hoyne describes the Off the Grid as: “Perfect for your trip into the wild.” Thus, it’s not surprising the beverage was bestowed a silver medal through Vancouver Magazine’s Craft Beer Awards in the Other Lager category.

During Lager Week, we’ve seen a number of Munich-inspired products, so what’s the difference with a Viennese option? Well, being amber or copper in colour seems to be the most distinguishing factor. The style dates back to 1841, before brewers brought the recipe with them to North America.

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

BC Beer Baron #190 – Hoyne Summer Haze Honey Hefe

Back for another summer, this Hoyne Brewing selection is one of the handful of bombers I picked up while the Sip Syndicate was recently terrorizing the Kelowna wine region and I’m very glad I did.

The Summer Haze Honey Hefe is not as sweet as you’d expect, which is a good thing. All too often, I find beers that include honey to be overly sugary and off-putting. The 5.1% ABV, mildly hoppy beverage features flavours of wheat, citrus, and honey, of course. It’s very easy drinking and perfect for beach days, as Hoyne advises.

Hoyne Summer Haze Honey Hefe

The brewery has some pretty wacky descriptions for their products and the Honey Hefe is no different: “On a sunny summer day, just like today, the Great and Wonderful Oz set sail in his hot-air balloon. As ballast, some say, his basket was loaded to the brim with Hoyne Hefeweizen. After lift-off, his thirst gathered like a summer storm. Quenching it, he lightened his load, and found himself carried delightfully away. The rest, as they say, is his story.”

Interesting (perhaps bizarre is a more apropos term) accounts aside, the Sip Advisor is a big proponent of Hoyne and their lineup of brews. Their Dark Matter is among my favourite BC beers, while their Devil’s Dream IPA is also a solid release.

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

BC Beer Baron #105 – Hoyne Devil’s Dream 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.

As we continue IPA Week, we travel to Victoria’s Hoyne Brewing for this devilish treat.

The Devil’s Dream IPA is a perfect example of a fine BC IPA. The 6% ABV offering is made with three different types of hops and is a bold, flavourful drinking ecperience.

Hoyne Devil's Dream IPA

I absolutely love the name of this beer, which includes a label that features a faceless (possibly horned) entity darkly playing a violin. The beer’s description completes the chilling experience: “Here’s to Daniel Lapp, Oliver Schroer, ELH, and all great fiddlers. Libation and music, like the tumultuous marriage of malt and hops, stand waiting with us at the crossroads. And look: here comes the Devil, whistling past the graveyard, singing in the midnight choir, bottle in one hand, a fiddle in the other, and that crazy smile…”. That statement gives me goosebumps and makes me want to down that beer even more… if only to calm the nerves!

I first had this brew at The Flying Beaver in Richmond. I figured I’d give it a try since I was so enamoured with Hoyne’s Dark Matter release. I’m very glad I gave it a shot and I looked quite the drinker with my 650ml bomber bottle, while others had mere sleeves in front of them!

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BC Beer Baron #50 – Hoyne Dark Matter

I figured for my 50th post of this 366-day BC craft beer project, I should share with all you little sippers one of my favourite brews on the local landscape, this excellent selection from Hoyne Brewing.

The Dark Matter has been described as both a brown ale and a porter and perhaps it’s a hybrid of the two styles. It is mild on hops, but high in roasted malts, so if that’s your thing, this beer will be right up your alley.

Hoyne Dark Matter

While the company’s description for the delicious dark brew has nothing to do with beer, it’s worth reading any: “Deep inside the Hadron Collider physicists hurtle sub-atomic particles with lightning speed on a collision course with each other. They do so in the pursuit of pure science, in the hope of one day being able to unlock the mystery of the elusive unseen fabric upon which our universe is embroidered: Dark Matter.”

If that doesn’t get you jazzed and make you want to crack this beauty open, not much will. Admittedly, this is one of my favourite beers on the market and I’ve advocated for it with friends and strangers alike. This is a perfect introductory beer to the darker side of the industry and those that stick to lighter lagers and ales should at least give this beverage a go.

The one time Mrs. Sip and I were able to get to Hoyne’s tiny tasting room, we hadn’t fallen in love with this beer yet and I don’t remember much from the experience other than the size of the place and Sis-in-Law Sip buying a bomber or two. Since it has gone on to become one of my breweries, I believe another visit is in order.

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

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.

anticlimatic

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.

Sip Trips #32: Boats, Baseball, and Beer

Wow, this weekend was so insanely busy that I can only mention in passing that Mrs. Sip brought back from Las Vegas bottles of Viniq Ruby Liqueur and Bacardi Arctic Grape Rum (a future Flavour Revolution feature). Let’s get on to the meat and potatoes of this wrap up, which includes a voyage to Galiano Island for their Beer and Wine Festival and a Vancouver Canadians baseball game sandwiched by two Main Street bars!

We left for Galiano very early on Saturday, in order to make sure we made it to the festival on time, as the later ferry of the day didn’t jive with the event. For $45, we had all-inclusive access to about 15 breweries and wineries, while volunteers served finger foods to the attendees. Each guest also received a wine and beer glass with their entry.

finger food

The lineup of breweries and wineries attending were a nice mix of ones I have tried and enjoyed and others I was experiencing for the first time. I didn’t really do the wine stops, except for getting a tasting pour of the Mad Housewife Cabernet Sauvignon, in order to justify holding a wine glass most of the day. I hope in future years, that some more craft distilleries from around the province join in on the island fun.

My favourite beers of the festival were the Lighthouse Race Rocks Ale, Yukon Amber Ale, and Bomber Passionfruit Ale, of which I spent the last chunk of the event running around getting refills. Most companies brought just enough stock to last the duration of the festival and very few tents shutdown shop early.

One thing I noted, as a festival strategy, was that the wine booths had massive lineups, while the beer booths usually had none at all. What we found, was that people going for the wine would stay at the front, trying each of the companies offerings before moving on – and there could be a lot – while for beers, people would get a pour, walk away and enjoy, then return for the next option.

queue spelling

Upon returning to the mainland and not ready to let the party stop early, we hit the liquor store and picked up mixed cases of Lighthouse and Vancouver Island beers. Mrs. Sip also grabbed a bomber of Driftwood White Bark Wit, while I snagged the Russell Smokey the Beer.

The next day, we were back home, but only to head out again and meet some of our fellow CAMRA members at The Main on Main Street, prior to our Vancouver Canadians baseball game. There, I ordered pints of Hoyne Dark Matter and 33 Acres of Life, which were both very enjoyable, as we met new people.

While the Canadians lost the game, we scored a major win with the overall experience. The organization has made great strides to include craft beer in their stadium, even building a ‘Craft Corner,’ with five rotating taps, which we were conveniently seated near. Together, Mrs. Sip and I went through four of the five beers, which included Big Rock Citradelic IPA, Howe Sound You’re My Boy Blue Blueberry Wheat Ale, Bomber Passionfruit Ale, Steamworks Pilsner, and Whistler Grapefruit Ale (the only brew we neglected). These paired nicely with our ballpark snacks of popcorn and a foot-long hot dog. Apparently, aside from Whistler Brewery (a prime sponsor of the Canadians), the breweries serving draft changes regularly.

baseball thoughts

Following the game, we met up with a friend at Portland Craft, which I’ve wanted to visit for some time. Every once in a while, despite the abundance of options on the B.C. market, I thirst for something I can’t typically find, and this outlet, which largely features brews from the Portland region, was perfect for providing some new blood into my system.

I was hoping for a bit more variety from the bar (there weren’t many typical summer options available), but they did offer 16 beers on tap and others in bottle. I enjoyed two IPAs, the Alameda Yellow Wolf Imperial IPA and the Worthy IPA, both of which I would order again.

We also had events at Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Club and a birthday boat trip through Vancouver’s beautiful harbour on Accent Cruises, which I just can’t get into without making this article super long. The busy schedule doesn’t let up this weekend, as we’re off to Disneyland, where drinking has become a large part of the park routine!

Sip Trips #31: Bomber Blast

The Sip Advisor always aims to start the Sip Trips week with a bang and all I can say is mission accomplished for the past seven days!

Prior to meeting a larger group for dinner, I met a friend at PHAT Sports Bar in Yaletown, which serves up $3 sleeves and $5 pints all day, every day. While their selection is limited, as far as craft beer goes, there’s always something on the menu that is worth ordering. This time, it was the Whistler Grapefruit Ale.

Nearing the end of our beers, we found out we were supposed to meet our wives and the rest of the crew in the Olympic Village, not downtown, so we were on the road.

Taxi Dignity

Dinner was at The Flying Pig, which Mrs. Sip and I have been meaning to visit for some time and finally had the opportunity. To drink, I ordered the eatery’s Bacon Bourbon Caesar, which looked fantastic with lemon, lime, and celery garnishes, accompanying a bacon bit rim. The Caesar was a little different taste wise, thanks to the use of bourbon, over vodka, but the spices were pretty bang on, so the whole meal in a glass was enjoyable.

With the long weekend came two liquor store shopping trips and double the chances of finding the right beers for poolside sampling at Ma and Pa Sip’s abode. Here are the brews I picked up and how they rated on my crack ranking system:

Whistler Pineapple Express Wheat Ale – I’ve enjoyed a pineapple wheat/hef beer before, but couldn’t remember if it was the Whistler offering or not, so why not take another crack at it. This was a good one to have in the afternoon heat, as it was cloudy, refreshing and everything I want in a summer brew.

Pineapple Things

Hoyne Devil’s Dream IPA – Based off of my appreciation of Hoyne’s Dark Matter, I decided to give their IPA a shot and was rewarded with a tasty beer, with an even better name. Hoyne is quickly becoming a favourite brewer of mine and I hope that relationship only continues to prosper.

Old Yale Vanishing Monk Belgian Witbier – This was another fine choice for the great outdoors and much like the beer’s name, it vanished quickly!

Spinnakers You Otter Have Another Nut Brown Ale – In the evenings, I like moving to dark beers, which provide more of a dessert taste. These are the beers that are perfect to watch day turn into night with and relax in your favourite lounger, with You Otter Have Another really hitting the spot.

significant otters

Central City Detective Saison – I hope Central City makes more character-based beers (this is Detective Sarah Saison), such as Professor Peter Porter, Senator Samuel Stout, and others, leading to a Clue-style mystery game, where Mr. Nobody is murdered in the tasting room with the keg tap and players have to drink their way to the killer’s identity! If Central City wants to partner with me in this endeavour, I’d totally welcome it.

Lululemon Curiosity Lager – This Lululemon-Stanley Park Brewing collaboration has been met with much derision, but I figure you can’t rip something until you’ve tried it. I’m saving it for Mrs. Sip’s return from Las Vegas and will have a special Sip Trips post about my experience with the lager in the very near future. Hint: it will involve spandex and a yoga mat!

Spinnakers Hollie Wood Oyster Stout – Yet another brew that I haven’t tapped, hoping to share it with Mrs. Sip. There’s something about a beer that is advertised as having gone through “three additions of prime fresh oysters,” that makes me a little apprehensive. Then again, oysters are supposed to be an aphrodisiac, so maybe we can get our buzz on in more ways than one!

oysters shellfish

Granville Island Brass Knuckles American Brown Ale – Having enjoyed my Nut Brown Ale from the day before, I was looking for another nightcap-style beer and grabbed this GIB offering to fill that role. I didn’t get around to drinking it, however, but that just leaves me extra prepared for the next night of imbibing!

I also finally got to try the Dancing Pines Distillery Brulee liqueur, Ma and Pa Sip picked up in Colorado a couple months back. Good thing, too, as I got the last pour of the bottle. I expected more of a caramel taste, but the spirit was incredibly smooth and enjoyable.

This next week looks incredibly busy for the Sip Advisor, with a beer and wine fest on Galiano Island, a Vancouver Canadians baseball game with my fellow CAMRA members, a night out at Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Club, and a boat booze cruise, and that just covers the first half!