BC Beer Baron #324 – 33 Acres of Darkness

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!

While visiting the Salt Tasting Room in Gastown for the very first time, the Sip Advisor selected this 33 Acres Brewing product to accompany my charcuterie plate. I must say the drink paired well with my meat and condiment platter (no cheese for this guy!).

The 33 Acres of Darkness is a Schwarzbier, meaning black beer, and is a term often used for dark lagers. While lagers in general seem to have been forgotten by many craft brewers, this 5% ABV, 30 IBUs beverage is a fantastic example of what can be achieved if the style is utilized. Flavours of chocolate and coffee highlight this refreshing creation.

33-acres-of-darkness

One of the brewery’s flagship releases, the beer is available in bottled six-packs at the brewery, as well as at BC Liquor Stores and private retailers. If you want to try the brew before purchasing a larger quantity, check out 33 Acres ‘quarry’ tasting room and get yourself a rare 24-ounce serving.

The Schwarzbier style comes to us from Germany, where it was first conceived in the Middle Ages. In fact, the oldest known black beer, the Braunschweiger Mumme, dates back to 1390. The variety is similar to stout beers in that they get their colour from dark and roasted malts.

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BC Beer Baron #323 – Okanagan Spring 1516 Bavarian 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!

Any look at craft lagers within BC wouldn’t be complete without mention of this Okanagan Spring Brewing staple. It is, after all, one of the most common beers to find on tap at bars and restaurants around the province.

The 1516 Bavarian Lager is the brewery’s signature offering and is as easy-drinking as you will find on the market. The 5% ABV product is light and refreshing – the type of beer that converts many young drinkers to the world of beer.

okanagan-spring-1516-bavarian-lager

Debuting in 2002, the beverage pays homage to the infamous 1516 German Beer Purity Law, which outlined the four ingredients – water, yeast, barley, hops – that were to be used in beer production. That Duke Wilhelm IV was onto something.

The beer can be found is a multitude of forms, including six- and 12-packs, as well as playing an integral part of any mixed case. The brewery’s current Winter Craft Pack also features a Pale Ale, Brewmaster’s Black Lager, and Big White White IPA.

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BC Beer Baron #322 – Bomber Marzen Amber 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!

Lager Week steams along with yet another German-inspired treat. This Bomber Brewing selection is a favourite of Cousin Sip’s husband and after having my own servings over time, I can see why.

The Marzen Amber Lager is smooth and refreshing with a decent alcohol content (5.5% ABV) and just enough bitterness (20 IBUs) to satisfy the hopheads. The beverage is perfect for drinkers of all types for all occasions.

bomber-marzen-amber-lager

Marzen” translates to March or March beer, but Bomber suggests the brew can be enjoyed throughout the year, despite typically being a summer seasonal release. The product is available in canned six-packs, as well as bomber-sized bottles at private liquor stores.

The style originated in Bavaria and dates back to the 16th century, when by decree, beer could only be manufactured between September 29th and April 23rd. Marzen’s were brewed in March and the recipe let it survive until production could begin again in the fall. Remaining cellared bottles were served at Oktoberfest celebrations.

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BC Beer Baron #321 – Howe Sound Howe Sound 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!

A couple months back, at the Tip N’ Taste event in Langley, the Sip Alliance had a good long chat with the representatives from Howe Sound Brewing. As the evening ended, they gifted us with a few cans of this beer, which came in handy for the planned after party.

The Howe Sound Lager is a solid, refreshing beer. You know, the kind that even the pickiest of drinkers can enjoy. We all have them in our life, so pay it forward and give them a good option. With the word ‘BRILLIANT’ incorporated in the beer’s label design, the beverage has a lot to live up to, but will leave most more than satisfied.

howe-sound-lager

This Dortmund-style lager comes with stats of 5.5% ABV and 18 IBUs. It’s available in canned six-packs, including at BC Liquor Stores for the low, low price of $10.99 (before taxes and deposit). The beer was recognized with bronze medals at the 2011 and 2013 Canadian Brewing Awards in the Kellerbier category.

The Sip Advisor finds it funny that many of us likely had our first beer in the form of a lager, but this style of brew is largely absent from the craft beer scene. Some have gone so far as to call the variety “endangered”, but hopefully that will change with time and experimentation.

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BC Beer Baron #320 – Coal Harbour 311 Helles 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 has enjoyed this Munich-style release from Coal Harbour Brewing on a number of occasions, making it a perfect selection for Lager Week. Most anything coming from German heritage is pretty good… such as Mr. Sip, himself!

The 311 Helles Lager – 311 stands for 11/11/11, which was the date of the company’s first creation – is brewed in accordance with the Reinheitsgebot (also known as the German Beer Purity Law) which outlines which ingredients should be used in beer production. The 5% ABV, 19 IBUs beverage is available in a unique eight-pack of cans for the rockin’ price of $12.49, plus taxes and deposit, at BC Liquor Stores.

coal-harbour-311-helles-lager

The product has earned Coal Harbour some accolades, such as a gold medal at the 2014 Canadian Brewing Awards in the North American Style Premium Lager category and a third place finish at the 2013 BC Beer Awards in the Session Lager class.

I really wish Coal Harbour would open a tasting room at their East Vancouver location. I enjoy a bunch of their wares (their Smoke & Mirrors being among my favourite brews) and they could ease the Parallel 49 Brewing congestion.

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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.

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BC Beer Baron #318 – Big Rock Mosaic 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!

In recent weekends, Mrs. Sip and I have been spending time looking after at Ma and Pa Sip’s place, while they are on vacation. There, I’ve been enjoying a few cans of this Big Rock Brewing product, left behind by a guest at the Sip Advisor’s recent annual beer pong tournament.

The Mosaic Lager is of the India Pale variety and is very refreshing. The 5.5% ABV, 70 IBUs brew is made using Mosaic hops – didn’t see that coming, did you? – which provides flavours and aromas of grapefruit and citrus. Suggested food pairings include an eclectic assortment of dishes, such as burgers, bratwurst, roast chicken, sushi, and hard and aged cheeses.

big-rock-mosaic-lager

This is yet another release from Big Rock Urban Eatery brewmaster Jody Hammell, whose hard work has made the company’s foray into BC a smash success. Of the beer, Hammell says: “I ferment it low and slow, then age it until the beer tells me it’s ready. I don’t put a time frame on it, it puts a time frame on me.”

The Mosaic Lager is available from BC, as far east as Manitoba, in canned and bottled six-packs, as well as in Big Rock’s Variety Pack. The lager is joined by the Purple Gas Fruit Ale, Rhine Stone Cowboy Kolsch, and Grasshopper Wheat Ale.

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