BC Beer Baron #170 – Off the Rail Raybuck Red Ale

As previously mentioned, on a recent visit to the Olympic Village Craft Beer Market, I ordered their six-beer flight featuring local brews. Another tasty treat among that sextet was this release from Off the Rail Brewing.

The Raybuck Red Ale was created as an homage to some of the favourite Irish Ales of the Off the Rail crew. Caramel notes highlight the brew, which is constructed using both Cascades and Willamette hops, for a medium level of bitterness (40 IBUs).

Off the Rail Raybuck Red Ale

The 5.4% ABV beverage is available in bomber-sized bottles, as well as in packs of four pint-sized cans. This was the first packaged release from the brewery and it was a good one to kick things off (the rail) with.

This trip to Craft Beer Market was highlighted by my six-pack order, which I also encouraged our visiting American friend to try. As this was his introduction to BC’s craft beer scene, he was rightfully blown away and our ensuing mini-brewery tour may have been more than he could handle!

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BC Beer Baron #169 – Powell Street Ode to Citra Pale Ale

On a recent visit to Craft Beer Market in the Olympic Village, I ordered their six-beer flight featuring local brews. Among those tasters was this beauty from Powell Street Brewing.

The Ode to Citra Pale Ale has long been a highlight for the Sip Advisor of any of our visits to Powell Street’s tasting room. As the name suggests, the beer is a tribute to Citra hops, which are known for their tropical fruit scents and flavours, including mango, passionfruit and citrus.

Powell Street Ode to Citra Pale Ale

This West Coast-style pale ale is full of flavour, while coming in at a medium level of hoppiness (35 IBUs). The beer has an ABV of 5.5% and is available in bomber-sized bottles at BC Liquor Stores and other fine purveyors of booze.

With summer right around the corner, Mrs. Sip and I have big plans for taking a number of visiting friends through the Yeast Van area on Sip Advisor-guided bike and brewery tours. I’m licking my chops at the mere thought of these adventures!

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BC Beer Baron #130 – Red Collar Tripel

The Sip Advisor is working hard to be all-inclusive and try to incorporate as many BC breweries into this 366-day project as possible. With that in mind, on a recent visit to Legacy Liquor Store, I was looking to highlight another first timer and Mrs. Sip’s selection of this Red Collar Brewing product satisfied that.

The Tripel (of the Belgian variety, of course) is a ‘Special Edition’ release and comes in at 9% ABV and only 12 IBUs. Therefore, it has all those characteristics Belgian Tripel lovers (Mrs. Sip included) expect from their beers, such as the scent and taste of bananas and spice.

Red Collar Tripel

I like Red Collar’s warning with this beer: “It is deceivingly smooth and should be consumed with care and respect as the alcohol content can sneak up on you.” That’s pretty good advice no matter what you’re drinking!

The rest of Red Collar’s line-up is highlighted by many Belgian and German-inspired brews, such as a Dubbel, Marzen, Doppelbock, Dunkelweizen, Patersbier, Witbier, and Hefeweizen. I hope to stop by when Mrs. Sip and I are in the Okanagan region this summer.

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BC Beer Baron #129 – Tree Knox Mountain Brown Ale

It could have simply been the beautiful weather… or the buzz we’d already built enjoying drinks at a nearby location. Either way, when the Sip Advisor recently sat down to a flight of beers at Tap & Barrel in the Olympic Village, it seemed as if everything was going right and that included this Tree Brewing beverage.

The Knox Mountain Brown Ale was very good with a sweet, nutty taste and slight hoppy finish. It’s called a strong beer, but at 5.6% ABV, it’s not something that will knock you on your ass or anything.

Tree Knox Mountain Brown Ale

Part of Tree’s Raw Series of limited releases which are unfiltered and dry hopped, it sounds like I was lucky to get a taste of this brew, as while it can often be found in six-packs and bombers, according to Tree’s website, the product is currently sold out.

Mrs. Sip and I will be in the Kelowna area sometime this summer and I have designs on hitting as many of the breweries out that way as possible. That desire should make for some interesting travels!

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BC Beer Baron #128 – Red Truck Midnight Run Dark Lager

When the sun vanquishes the winter darkness (even briefly), you can expect every single Vancouverite to declare that patio season has arrived. Mrs. Sip and I are among those fine folks and so we recently found ourselves at Tap & Barrel in the Olympic Village, enjoying the first glimpses of spring. There, I enjoyed a flight of beers that was highlighted by this Red Truck Brewing release.

The Midnight Run Dark Lager is a limited release of the brewery with stats of 4.9% ABV and 23 IBUs. There was a nice smoky finish, on top of this solid beer, which is available in bomber-sized bottles. I’ve become a big fan of dark lagers (sometimes called schwarzbiers), as they provide a welcome change to your typical brew.

Red Truck Midnight Run Dark Lager

Sticking with Red Truck’s theme of naming beers after vehicles and driving, this may be one of their best brandings and there’s even a story to go with it: “The stakes were high but the risk was even greater, and it went well, very well! We smuggled it out of the brewery right under our brewers’ watchful eyes and noses as they were saving this exceptional Dark Lager for their own personal stash… A Midnight Run was the only way to get it out without being apprehended. We took extremely high risks so you could enjoy our Dark Lager!”

The next time I’m able to visit Red Truck’s very cool facility in the Brewery Creek region of the city, I hope that this selection is on their menu, as I’d love to sit back and enjoy a full serving.

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BC Beer Baron #117 – Hearthstone Chocolate Milk Stout

While they weren’t part of our North Vancouver brewery crawl a couple months back, I was able to recently sample a few Hearthstone Brewing products at Legacy Liquor Store in the Olympic Village.

While sampling, I really enjoyed the brewery’s Chocolate Milk Stout, which has a bold chocolate taste from the cocoa nibs from East Van Roasting Company, used in its recipe. The 5.5% ABV, 19 IBUs is “perfect to cuddle up next to a ­fire with,” according to the beer’s description.

Hearthstone Chocolate Milk Stout

It sounds like the stout is quite versatile and can be combined with two other Hearthstone products for unique beertails. First, it can be mixed with the previously reviewed Graham Cracker Ale to manufacture a s’more flavoured beverage and second it can be paired with the Wyld Raspberry Berliner Weisse for a chocolate-berry treat.

As for an update on Hearthstone’s tasting room, it should be open soon and will feature woodfire pizzas, straight from ovens imported from Italy. Mrs. Sip and I can’t wait for our maiden voyage there!

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BC Beer Baron #67 – Steel Toad Kermode West Coast IPA

Taking advantage of the gorgeous weather over the weekend, Mrs. Sip and I did a self-guided crawl through the Brewery Creek region of Vancouver, hitting five different locations. Our first stop was at Steel Toad Brew Pub & Dining Hall, where we sat down for a flight of their beers.

Among our tasters was the Kermode West Coast IPA. I thought this beer was quite good and had a tough time picking a favourite between this and the brew pub’s Farmhouse Double IPA. I gave the edge to the Kermode because it’s a favourite among patrons of the dining hall and Steel Toad has recently began bottling it (a first for the company), advising us that it should be hitting store shelves shortly.

Steel Toad Kermode West Coast IPA

Already, this is the second beer I’ve sampled as part of this 366-day BC craft beer project that has adopted the Kermode or Spirit Bear name. Well, I’m more than happy to drink in honour of the official provincial mammal of BC and you should be too.

This was our first visit to Steel Toad since the summer. I can’t really explain why we’ve neglected the place for so long, but we were impressed by the line-up we sampled, including some beers that have gone through a recipe change, resulting in a better product. Our very first visit was all the way back when the restaurant opened and due to a liquor licensing snafu, we ended up with free tasting flights!

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BC Beer Baron #57 – Hearthstone Graham Cracker Ale

Recently, the Sip Advisor visited Craft Beer Market in Vancouver’s Olympic Village, where I was lucky enough to stumble upon their $5 BC craft beer special. With such a nice price point, how could I not try this Hearthstone Brewing selection.

My only issue with the Graham Cracker Ale was that I didn’t taste Graham crackers like I thought I would. Don’t get me wrong though, the beer was still good, but I went into it with high expectations, believing it might be the alcohol version of a Teddy Grahams treat. The last sip from my serving was the best, so maybe the beer benefited from a little warming up.

Hearthstone Graham Cracker Ale

Hearthstone’s winter warmer uses spices, vanilla, and real Graham crackers to try and achieve its unique taste. It’s 8% ABV is noteworthy and should it still be available come summer, it might be a good product to have while sitting around a campfire.

On our recent trip to the North Vancouver brewing region, we were hopeful to pop into Hearthstone Brewing, but they have yet to officially open their tasting room. Too bad, as we had been lured in by some of the beers listed on their website, such as the Chocolate Milk Stout, Wyld Raspberry Berliner Weisse, McCool’s Hazelnut Porter, and, of course, the Graham Cracker Ale.

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