BC Beer Baron #182 – Main Street/Powell Street Scottish Golden Ale

While perusing new releases at the BC Liquor Store recently, this craft beer collaboration from Main Street Brewing and Powell Street Brewing instantly caught my eye.

The Scottish Golden Ale is light at only 4% ABV and 20 IBUs, but packs a punch with its taste. Although I picked the brew out for a friend who loves Scotch Ales, I probably enjoyed the drink more given its peaty smoky flavour finish. The colour of this beer is incredibly bright, or as the makers put it: “As blonde as the East Van Sun in Spring!”

Main Street & Powell Street Scottish Golden Ale

Dubbed ‘The Streets’ collaboration, thanks to the two breweries monikers, the beer is available in bomber-sized bottles. Each brewery made their own batch of the recipe, before combining the two later. I’m not sure if it was the glassware we were using or some other factor, but the beer poured with a lot of head, although it evaporated quickly.

It seems every visit to the liquor store nowadays – even if only a few days apart – provides at least a couple new treats for consideration. It’s truly a wonderful time to be a craft beer connoisseur in this province and I can’t see the good times ending anytime soon.

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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 #145 – Powell Street Witbier

Looking to relax and enjoy what was left of the weekend on a recent Sunday evening, Mrs. Sip and I sat back and cracked open a bomber of this Powell Street Brewing spring seasonal to share.

The Witbier (with ginger and cardamom) was a fantastic beer that we sipped our way through quickly. At 4.8% ABV and 16 IBUs, the Belgian-inspired brew was light and delicious with a ginger bite and a spicy finish.

Powell Street Witbier

The brewery writes of the product: “Complex and refreshing, this beer will pair beautifully with spicy foods or sunshine.” I tend to agree, but it also worked well with a quiet night in, watching movies and TV on Netflix!

Mrs. Sip and I can’t wait for our next bike brewery crawl of the East Vancouver region. Powell Street is a top stop amongst the many companies working out of that area and it’s always fun taking out-of-town friends through ‘Yeast Van’.

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BC Beer Baron #6 – Powell Street Old Jalopy Pale Ale

The Central City Brew Pub on Beatty Street has a very unique item on their tap menu: a mystery pour. Always game for trying something adventurous, Mrs. Sip ordered it and waited anxiously for the results.

When the beverage arrived, we got to play the guessing game of “What’s in my Glass” and the answer was Powell Street’s Old Jalopy Pale Ale. The beer is quite good, having been named the Canadian Beer of the Year at the 2013 Canadian Brewing Awards.

powell street old jalopy

On our last visit to Powell Street Brewing, during the summer, I ranked it as one my favourite stops of our day, which included popping into eight different locations around Vancouver. We will certainly be back again soon.

Mrs. Sip’s Take:

It may not have been our favourite brew of the night, but you can’t beat paying $3 for a full serving of an award-winning beer at a restaurant. Much thanks to the server who encouraged us to give it a shot.

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

Sip Trips #48: Amazing Advent (Part 3)

This month has been rolling along and I think my craft beer advent calendar has played a substantial role in that. Each morning, I look forward to revealing that day’s brew and popping it into the fridge to be enjoyed that evening. On that subject, let’s look at what the rest of this week brought me:

Day 7: R&B Auld Nick Winter Ale

This beer packs one hell of a punch and the brewer’s at R&B are proud of that, tweeting back to me on Twitter: “It’s one of our faves for just that reason.” To be honest, I like it too, although each sip brings a slap to the face that will have beer amateurs backing away from the brew. The R&B crew are also quick to note that this is not your typical winter ale, lacking the spices one would normally experience. The logo is great with Saint Nick himself pouring beer for an eclectic group of tavern visitors.

R&B Auld Nick

Day 8: 4 Mile English Strong Ale

This is another beer that I had the luxury of trying at the Hopscotch Festival Grand Tasting Hall and it was one of my favourite samples from that day. The brew comes exactly as advertised: It is a strong style ale, but it is incredibly smooth. The website description for the beers flavours is very entertaining: “There’s a bit of a wrestling match going on to see who’s nuttier, but they decide on a harmonious truce, and call for an alliance of flavours where no one is the conqueror and everybody wins.”

4 Mile English Strong Ale

Day 9: Steamworks Blitzen

After a couple more dark seasonal beers, it was nice to venture into other territory again. Despite being on the market for a few years, I’ve never tried the Blitzen Belgian Tripel until now. I did enjoy it and it did not taste like a 9% brew. The bottle features lines from classic Christmas songs, geared towards the brewery, like “Let it steam, let it steam, let it steam!” If this beer doesn’t interest you (although it should), new to the Steamworks arsenal of brews this year is the intriguing Winter White Stout.

Steamworks Blitzen

Day 10: Powell Street Dunkelweizen

I have become a fan of dunkelweizens this winter season as it puts a spin on my favourite type of beers – wheats and weizens – and darkens them up for the holidays. That does beg the question why many winter beers are dark, when we’re trying our best to lighten everything up and avoid Seasonal Affective Disorder? Anyway, with flavours of chocolate, clove, and banana, this brew has me thinking of traditional German Christmases and celebrating the holiday in July.

Powell Street Dunkelweizen

I can’t thank Mrs. Sip enough for putting this together for me. If you’d like to look back at the rest of the advent calendar beers, so far, you can find those articles here: Amazing Advent (Part 1) and Amazing Advent (Part 2).

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 #17: All Around Town

With weekends as busy as the ones Mrs. Sip and I have, we almost need the work week to catch up on rest… but that time is even crazier. Clearly, there is no rest for the wicked, so let’s get this recap started:

The weekend began with Fuse at the Vancouver Art Gallery. This event – run four times per year – allows adults to peruse the exhibits in a more sophisticated setting. Translation: no kids running around! I have to admit that I am not an art lover and have found this event frustrating in the past, partly due to set-up and execution and partly due to my fellow attendees. Add on top of that, the fact that you can’t even have a drink with you as you explore and you have one grouchy Sip Advisor. If you want to enjoy a beverage, you are confined to the cafeteria or lounge. Even worse, friends of ours bought a couple drink tickets they couldn’t use, as the lounge was shutdown early, due to capacity issues.

artgallery

On Saturday, we took our new bikes out for their first spin, journeying to Legacy Liquor Store in the Olympic Village. There, we stopped for their tasting event, featuring Les Trois Mousquetaires (The Three Musketeers) Brewing from Quebec. Two of their beers were available for sampling, including the Dopplebock and Baltic Porter. Both brews were strong, but delicious and complex. Apparently, they come in and out of the B.C. market, so keep your eyes peeled for them.

After returning our bikes back home, we walked over to Long Table Distillery, which we had heard good things about from a number of folks, before finally getting the opportunity to visit. Saturday is their Cocktail Hour, which means they’re making wonderful drinks from 3-9pm and we took full advantage of this occasion. Our selections included the Anthos , Winds of Arakkis, and their daily unnamed special. The bartenders were very attentive and I think their most interesting ingredients are their infused syrups.

Sunday provided an opportunity to do an East Vancouver craft crawl, with Mrs. Sip’s little sister in tow. The area was formerly known as Cedar Cove, but now goes by the name East Village and features a plethora of stops for beer and cocktail enthusiasts. We started with Powell Street Brewing (the lone location on our route that we had no prior experience with) and I have to say that all their beers were good. I particularly liked their Hopdemonium IPA and Seasonal Stout. The atmosphere of the place was also great and very relaxed.

bar-crawl exercise

Up next, was Odd Society Spirits. After previously writing about the distillery in another Sip Trips article, Mrs. Sip and I were invited back to do a tasting of their liquors. This included their Vodka, Gin, Oaked Gin, Crème de Cassis, and Bittersweet Vermouth. I loved how each alcohol had its own glassware. We also purchased a selection of their cocktails, with each more delicious than the last.

Afterwards, it was back to beers, with Parallel 49 Brewing. This company has a wide selection of beers, so figuring out what we had ordered (one of everything), with no guide provided by the bartender, was both fun and frustrating at the same time. I understand that they were pretty busy, but it would have been nice to have some kind of labelling. We figured things out with a little trial and error, but it caused Mrs. Sip and I to fondly reminisce about some of the places we had been to recently in Portland, where the customer writes out their own flight selections and then there is no mystery. My favourite beer here was the smoky Kellerbier, a collaboration between Parallel 49 and Steel & Oak.

collaboration opportunities

We wrapped things up with Storm Brewing, which has some of the most unique beers you will find anywhere, let alone the Vancouver scene. For a donation, you can try up to six of their creations. The three of us sampled about 10 brews total, including flavoured stouts, IPAs, and sour beers. The place is constantly changing their menu, so every visit is a completely different experience.

I have to caution anyone looking to replicate out trip, as parts of the area can be sketchy. Mrs. Sip thinks at one point on our walk home, that a rough-looking woman was being advised by a man to steal her and her sister’s purses. There are routes that allow you to avoid much of the dodgier sections of East Van, so make sure you stick to them.

This weekend, we are off to B.C.’s Okanagan region for the Bacchanalia Food & Wine Festival. This all-inclusive evening promises to be an extraordinary experience, so guess what all you little sippers will be hearing about next week!