BC Beer Baron #242 – Phillips Solaris White Peach Ale

One of my final drinks of last month’s Tip N’ Taste in Langley was this summer pleaser from Phillips Brewing… and to think, I almost passed up the opportunity.

The Solaris White Peach Ale is light in almost every way imaginable: colour, alcohol (4.3% ABV), hops and malts. That makes the unfiltered beer very friendly to all drinkers with a refreshing peach flavour. For a comparison, Cousin Sip equated the beverage to being like Stanley Park’s SunSetter Summer Ale. As the brewery states: “Life’s a peach, drink it up!”

Phillips Solaris White Peach Ale

Featuring a pyramid as part of its label design, Phillips dares customers to “crack the code of the summer heat and unlock the secrets of the Beeramid”. Part of the Phillips seasonal lineup, the beer is perfect for summer drinking (available in 473ml tall cans) and was released alongside the Electric Unicorn White IPA.

Phillips recently ran a great media campaign (even getting attention from the New York Daily News), involving the delivery of beer by a bald eagle. Unfortunately, this got them into some hot water with the BC government, but they figured out a creative way to finish the promotion.

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BC Beer Baron #211 – Phillips Short Wave West Coast Pale Ale

A family friend will often bring over a six-pack of beer when visiting Ma and Pa Sip’s place and whatever is left over, is often gifted to me. Through this, we’ve developed a bit of an unwritten beer trading deal, with our latest swap resulting in a couple bottles of this Phillips Brewing beverage.

The Short Wave West Coast Pale Ale is citrus-infused with a refreshing, balanced finish. Part of the Phillips full-time lineup, the 5.2% ABV product is available in bottled six-packs, as well as 473ml tall cans.

Phillips Short Wave West Coast Pale Ale

The beer’s name is an homage to short wave radio frequencies. Phillips writes of the brew: “Scan through static and tune in to the Short Wave.” They also hope that drinkers will the frequency frequently.

I first sampled this beer back at the Tapped Vancouver event earlier this year. With a full dosage and a better understanding of the brew, I think it works better in the summer months.

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BC Beer Baron #81 – Phillips Blue Buck Ale

Phillips Brewing is one of the bigger players in BC’s craft beer scene and so it comes as no surprise that many of their products are viewed in high regard by the general community.

With that in mind, it would not be a stretch to name Blue Buck Ale the most popular and accessible craft beer in BC. This English-style pale ale turns up all the time for the Sip Advisor and I have enjoyed the brew on countless occasions. Plain and simple, it’s just good drinking! No wonder then, that the beer has won a number of awards, most notably gold and silver medals at the 2007 and 2012 Canadian Brewing Awards, respectively, in the North American Style Amber category.

Phillips Blue Buck Ale

Originally known as Blue Truck Ale (in honour of the blue 1965 Chevy delivery truck employed by the company during their earlier years), the name change was forced upon Phillips through legal action from Red Truck Brewing, in 2007. Phillips ran with the new name (selected from an online contest), though, eliciting thoughts of a mythological character, which the company writes of: “The Blue Buck is a legendary beast known to grant those that see him good fortune and safe travels! Certainly seeing the Blue Buck on bottle grants the drinker a great experience!”

Food pairing suggestions include: chicken, burgers, and mild to medium cheeses. Some recipes Phillips has come up with, which incorporate the ale, include: Bucked Up Pulled Pork and Buckin’ Good Chili. Blue Buck is available in everything from six packs to tall boy cans and at countless restaurants and bars across the province. It’s popularity has resulted in the beer being available as far east as Ontario.

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BC Beer Baron #44 – Phillip’s Longboat Chocolate Porter

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 Valentine’s Day fast approaching, this month’s feature week will look at beers of a chocolate nature, perfect to celebrate the occasion.

Phillips Brewing is popular amongst craft beer aficionados both on Vancouver Island and the mainland and they have another winner on their hands here.

The Longboat Chocolate Porter is smooth and flavourful. The beer hits you with chocolate first and then finishes with the traditional coffee aftertaste that porters are known for.

Phillips Longboat Chocolate Porter

The brewery believes (and the Sip Advisor agrees) that one of the world’s classic historical pairings is that of chocolate and beer. Phillips goes so far as to associate their beer with the duos of “Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney, Super Dave Osborne and Mr. Fuji, cheddar cheese and pickles, Bob and Doug McKenzie, Mork and Mindy, [and] Bonnie and Clyde!”

The smallest size the Longboat comes in is as a bomber because “341 mL just isn’t enough!” Suggested pairings for the brew are with vanilla ice cream and chocolate. Phillips also provides a few recipes using the Longboat Chocolate Porter, which customers can try. These include, Funky Gingerbread Cakes and Hammer Brownies.

I’ve managed to get over to Phillips on a couple occasions for growler fills (in fact, the Sip Advisor’s first growler ever was from Phillips – a nice souvenir from a weekend jaunt to Victoria) and tastings. Sadly, our most recent visits to the island have been too short to fit in a stop, but we honour the brewery from home, when we can.

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Sip Trips #56: Tapping and Tasting

While many would hesitate to be out at an all-inclusive beer and cider event on a Thursday evening (especially one where you’re supposed to play Urban Rec volleyball that same night), that’s not a theory Mrs. Sip and I follow. Rather, along with members of the Sip Alliance, we checked out Tapped Vancouver at the Yaletown Roundhouse.

I probably would have balked at the event’s $66 regular entrance fee; however, when the activity came up on Groupon for $30, it was a pretty easy decision to make. For the price, we had unlimited access to all vendors and a souvenir tasting glass (which Mrs. Sip and I have a growing collection of). We did find it odd that this event would be taking place on a Thursday, rather than over the weekend, but the old “it’s for charity” argument won out.

Donate-A-Quarter-To-Charity

The breweries and cideries featured at the gala included: Black Kettle, Parallel 49, Bomber, Driftwood, Howe Sound, Lonetree Cider, Phillips, Whistler, and Russell. To be honest, I think the $30 entrance is just barely justifiable and I feel for anyone who paid the full price. There was absolutely no food – save for one food cart outside – and some beer vendors only brought one option with them, while others gave half pours, even though the event was all-inclusive (ie. fill my damn glass, homey!).

The MVP of the night would have to be Black Kettle Brewing, which had numerous bombers of three different beers and never went stingy with their pouring. Whistler Brewing would have ranked highly too, but their selections were from the brewery’s Winter Party Pack, which I had just purchased days before. I can’t fault them for that… or can I!?

I have to say that I’ve enjoyed both booze events I’ve attended at the Yaletown Roundhouse, having also relished the 2014 Made with Love cocktail competition hosted there. It’s a fun venue and its close proximity to the Sip Advisor offices is much appreciated. Too bad volleyball at the Richmond Olympic Oval didn’t go nearly as well as Tapped Vancouver!

Volleyball Balloon

On Saturday, to celebrate Mrs. Sip’s recent birthday, we put together our own blind wine tasting. Each couple was tasked with bringing a bottle of wine (white or red), which would be concealed in a BC Liquor Store paper bag. Then, the group would sample at will until notes and scores had been entered on each selection, before the final reveal.

We ended up with five whites and three reds, which I think was the perfect balance. My favourite bottle of the tasting was the Pinotage Mrs. Sip and I brought home from South Africa’s Groot Constantia winery. The overall winner was Cappo Shiraz, which Mrs. Sip’s parents won in a raffle through their curling association, of all places.

Wine Tasting Today

The event was a lot of fun for all and gave typically white drinkers a chance to try some reds. If you have a wine lover in your close circle, I suggest doing this for a birthday event. They will love the effort you put into it, as well as getting everyone together to celebrate.

That about wraps January up for the ol’ Sip Advisor and it’s been one hell of a month. When you have a brewery complimenting ‘how you weekend’, you know you’re doing well! Next month doesn’t let up however, as we have a bunch of great activities already lined up, such as the Science of Cocktails and the Family Day long weekend will no doubt include some sort of hijinks!

BC Beer Baron #28 – Phillips Phoenix Gold 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. For the opening month of this project, I wanted to look at some of the flagship and original offerings from breweries around the province.

The Phoenix Gold Lager literally rose from the ashes, as a collection of the bottles was rediscovered in 2003, two years after Phillips began making beers. It’s a solid brew that the brewery suggest pairing with spicy Asian foods, seafood, and medium cheeses.

Phillips Phoenix Lager

Originally located in Esquimalt, B.C., Phillips began creating beers in 2001. I love the story behind Phillips and if you visit the brewery’s website, you can read a poetic version of the tale. To sum up here, though, brewer Matt Phillips risked his financial future on the success of the brewery, maxing out numerous credit cards (no bank would give him a loan) in order to get the operation up and running.

Obviously, things worked out, as the brewery moved into their current facility, in Victoria, in 2008 and are regarded as one of the province’s most popular brewing companies. For example, their Blue Buck Pale Ale (which will eventually be featured as part of the BC Beer Baron project) has often been credited for successfully introducing drinkers to craft beer.

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Sip Trips #49: Amazing Advent (Part 4)

Mrs. Sip has advised me that as we enter the second half of the craft beer advent calendar, some of her selections aren’t based on the beer having a winter or Christmas theme, but being intriguing brew styles that she knew I’d enjoy trying. So, let’s get right down to it!

Day 11: Hale’s Ales India Session Ale

Coming to you live from Seattle, this fall seasonal was a really awesome beer with hops that didn’t completely blow you away, but were prevalent enough to really be relished. At only 4.7%, this has been one of the lighter beers to come from the advent calendar, but that’s another fine change to have as the month progresses. This is the first beer I’ve had from the Washington company, but it advertises itself as the Northwest’s longest running independently owned brewery. I’ll have to find more selections.

Hale's Ales ISA

Day 12: Parallel 49 Sahti Claus Finnish Sahti

I don’t think I’ve ever had a Finnish Sahti style beer, but if they’re anything like Parallel 49’s version, it’s a pretty good variety. Traditionally, Sahtis are characterized by the flavor of juniper berries, sometimes used instead of hops. Apparently, Parallel 49 first released this beer in 2013 and it has somehow slipped under my radar these past few years. Like Phillips Brewing, Parallel 49 has some really unique labels and this is among them, featuring what can best be described as a European Santa Claus/bigfoot cross.

Parallel 49 Sahti Claws

Day 13: Phillips Thorny Horn Sour Raspberry Brown Ale

Speaking of Phillips, the Victoria brewery makes a second appearance in the advent calendar, thanks to another variety that I’ve never come across before. In recent times, I’ve enjoyed some really good brown ales and the addition of sour raspberry had me salivating after pulling this bottle from the calendar. I think the brown style ale gave the sour raspberries a perfect balance and this beer went down very easy. This may be one of the brewery’s tamest labels to date, though.

Phillips Thorny Horn

Day 14: 4 Mile Sweet Potato Harvest Spiced Ale

This was another very unique brew that had me excited from the moment it was revealed. I’m very impressed with Mrs. Sip’s choices for the advent calendar and her pushing me to experiment with many of these beers. After previously enjoying 4 Mile’s English Strong Ale, this brew had a fair bit to live up to and while it wasn’t as good as the Strong Ale, I still liked it. After looking more into 4 Mile’s seasonal brews, I’m looking forward to trying their Prickly Pear Cactus Wheat Ale and Tangerine Dream Ale, due out this spring.

4-Mile-sweet-potato-harvest-spiced-ale

I’m kind of sad to be halfway through the craft beer advent calendar, having really enjoyed it being part of my late evenings, revealing the next brew shortly after the clock turns over to start a new day. Mrs. Sip may have created her own monster here!