BC Beer Baron #254 – Ridge Café Morena English Brown Ale

While sitting down for a meal of tacos at Originals Restaurante Mexicano in New West, Mrs. Sip and I were pleasantly surprised to learn of the diverse lineup of brews available on the eatery’s three craft beer taps. Mrs. Sip ordered a serving of this Ridge Brewing release.

Good thing she did, as we both instantly enjoyed the Café Morena English Brown Ale, loving the flavours of coffee, caramel and nuts that came through with each taste. The 5% ABV, 27 IBUs drink was complex and refreshing. While I prefer higher carbonation, this style does call for minimal fizz.


The beer is available in bomber-sized bottles and the brewery notes that the beverage is best enjoyed warm. Our serving was ice cold, so perhaps it works both ways (like an iced coffee). Mrs. Sip and I aren’t even coffee enthusiasts (or fans at all) and we loved this beer.

The husband and wife owners of Ridge Brewing are Mexican, so why not partner with a taqueria. Ridge can also offer other brews that pair well thematically with the cuisine, such as their Gringa Loca Witbier and Ay Caramba! Jalapeno IPA, which I finally got to try recently.

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BC Beer Baron #230 – Steel & Oak Smoked Hefeweizen

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.

Conveniently located just minutes away from Mrs. Sip’s office and the second best reason for travelling to New West (Mrs. Sip being the first!), Steel & Oak Brewing has quickly become one of our favourite spots.

The Smoked Hefeweizen is the first beer I ever tried from the brewery, as we visited soon after the brewery launched. Good thing too, cause based on word of mouth and a spectacular opening line-up, it wasn’t long before Steel & Oak had to temporarily close their doors, as they had run out of sweet suds!

Steel & Oak Smoked Hefeweizen

I love my smoky beers and Steel & Oak seems to specialize in this area. Along with their flagship Smoked Hefeweizen (5.2% ABV, 15 IBUs), they also have special releases including a Smoked Dunkelweizen and Smoked Lager.

Mrs. Sip and I have often brought this beer with us when camping and it’s perfect to enjoy around a roaring fire, out in the fresh air and wilderness. With another trip coming up this weekend, we better get around to stocking up.

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BC Beer Baron #148 – Bridge Side Cut IPA

The Sip Family recently dropped into The Spud Shack in New Westminster. A favourite hangout for CAMRA Vancouver, now we know why, as their beer selection was impressive, including this gem from Bridge Brewing.

The Side Cut IPA was very good, without being an in-your-face version of the IPA style of beer. The 7.3% ABV, 59 IBUs brew isn’t nearly as bitter as some might expect. This can be good and bad. It can turn off true IPA lovers, but can also introduce newbies to the joys of a hoppier ale.

Bridge Side Cut IPA

Featuring flavours of peach, tangerine and tropical fruit, this is the company’s newest beer (as of April) and is a Northeast IPA, which I’m not sure I’ve had before. It can be found at various liquor stores in bomber-sized bottles.

Upon researching this brew, I noticed another Bridge seasonal that I’d love to get my hands on, a Lemon Gin Saison. If successful, I hope to share the experience with all you little sippers!

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BC Beer Baron #61 – Steel & Oak Smoked Dunkelweizen

I like this new tradition of opening the month with a Steel & Oak Brewing product. We’ll just have to see how last month’s Tortuga Wild Ale compares to March’s pick.

The Smoked Dunkelweizen is a very good beer. As written before, Mrs. Sip and I are fans of Steel & Oak and their collection of smoked releases, so when a new one hits the market and we’re lucky enough to come across it, thy will be purchased. The smoky finish, on top of the banana and clove beginnings we’re all used to from hef and wheat beers, is what I love most about Steel & Oak’s style of brewing.

Steel & Oak Smoked Dunkelweizen

As the brewery points out, this is the darker side of their Smoked Hefeweizen, a beer which played a role in bringing so much attention to the brewery upon opening, that they had to shut down and replenish their drained stock. I wonder what other smoked recipes Steel & Oak has up their sleeves for the future.

Unfortunately, on this brief stop into Steel & Oak’s tasting room, all we had time for was a couple bottle purchases. Although Mrs. Sip and I have frequently visited the New West brewery, It’s been some time since we enjoyed a flight of beers there together and this should be a top priority to be remedied.

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BC Beer Baron #8 – Parallel 49 Old Boy Brown Ale

In recent times, I’ve grown quite fond of brown ales, but sadly, the Parallel 49 Old Boy Brown Ale was not one to make my favourites list. The brew just didn’t hit the spot.

I was served the beer at The Hub, in New Westminster, as part of a tasting flight. Perhaps it was overshadowed by my enjoyment of fellow samples, Ninkasi Vanilla Oatis Stout and Fuggles and Warlock Destiny IPA.

Parallel 49 Old Boy

I will say that it’s an easy drinking beer, which might be right up someone else’s alley. The Old Boy is inspired by traditional English brown ales and if provided with another opportunity to try the ale, I probably would.

I have to commend Parallel 49 for their label work on this beer and most others in their portfolio. There isn’t much that beats the image of a proud pint, complete with monocle, cane, moustache and top hat. It’s like a boozier version of Mr. Peanut!

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