Sip Trips #106: Northern Exposure

This week was another busy one, with Mrs. Sip and I joining her family for a wedding in northern BC/Alberta. Along the way, we made sure to have some good food and beer. What else would you expect for your friendly neighbourhood booze pusher!

Leaving Thursday morning, we stopped for lunch in 100 Mile House at the Firehouse Diner. There, I enjoyed a Whistler Powder Mountain Lager with a Pickle Burger that was overflowing with deep fried pickle chips. The place had a number of other burgers and sandwiches that caught my eye, so I will keep it in mind for future passes through the city.

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Our first day of driving ended with us arriving in Quesnel, home to Barkerville Brewing. I have always enjoyed beers from the company, so a visit – brief as it was – was definitely in order. I downed a pint of their High Stakes Imperial IPA, while Sis-in-Law Sip had the White Gold Witbier. The tasting room was bustling with locals and we enjoyed the ambiance of the place, wishing we had more time to play one of their available games and try some of the other ales.

That evening, we walked to the town’s BC Liquor Store, where I discovered the Three Ranges Brewing Orientation Kit six-pack. The set features two each of their Up Swift Creek Pilsner, Tail Slap IPA and seasonal Snowdance Porter or Swamp Donkey Brown Ale, depending on time of year. I really like this new trend of 2×3 six-packs, also having come across similar products from Cannery Brewing and Bridge Brewing, while Steamworks Brewing offers a 2×4 tall can eight-pack. After all, variety is the spice of life.

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The next day, we were on the road again, stopping at CrossRoads Brewing in Prince George for lunch. We really liked their space, complete with great eats and drinks. Sis-in-Law Sip and I shared a couple flights, in order to try each of their beers. Among my favourites were Old Westie Amber Lager, English Summer Ale and Mother Heffer. On special was a BLT Pizza, which was fantastic and really hit the spot for me.

The weekend concluded with a post-wedding family barbecue, where the Sip In-Laws picked me up a bomber of Dead Frog Furious Friar Belgian IPA. The brew was perfect for sitting back outdoors in the shade, but unfortunately, Mrs. Sip and I couldn’t stay long and were off to the airport to fly back home.

This weekend, Canada celebrates its 150th birthday and there will certainly be hijinks to report on in the next edition of Sip Trips!

Beer of the Week #9 – Barkerville Demi-Mondaine Dunkelweizen

For Christmas, Mrs. Sip picked up this Barkerville Brewing beer for me, as a stocking stuffer. We only recently got around to drinking it, though, and I wish I had cracked it open and enjoyed it long ago.

The Demi-Mondaine Dunkelweizen features flavours of banana, clove, vanilla and biscuit. A slightly tart finish gives the 5.2% ABV, 12 IBUs beverage a bit of complexity, while still remaining very refreshing.

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Demi-mondaine refers to a woman supported by a wealthy lover or a woman of the demi-monde, which translates to a group of people who live obviously indulgent lifestyles. Sounds like Mrs. Sip to me!

This dark, yet mild beer is available in bomber-sized bottles at private liquor stores. The Dunkelweizen earned Barkerville a gold medal at the 2016 BC Beer Awards, in the German Wheat Beer category.

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BC Beer Baron #357 – Barkerville Sternwheeler Scotch Ale

“Silky, stubborn, rich.” That’s how Barkerville Brewing describes this seasonal release, which I was lucky to come across recently. Good timing, too, since it’s the Sip Advisor’s belief that this style of beer is best enjoyed in front of a fire, whether camping or hibernating for winter.

The Sternwheeler Scotch Ale is dark, yet mild, featuring the toffee, caramel and hint of smoke flavours and finish that Scotch Ales are known for. The 7.7% ABV, 19 IBUs beverage is a little sweeter than some of its contemporaries, but that doesn’t detract from the overall experience.

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The beer is available in bomber-sized bottles at BC Liquor Stores. Drinkers should be careful to check their bottle cap for a chance to win merchandise from the brewery or the grand prize of a real gold nugget. Don’t miss out like the Sip Advisor may have recently.

This product is meant as a tribute to sternwheeler’s (particularly one called Barnard’s Express) that made shipping possible during the BC gold rush. The story of the ship didn’t end happily, however, as it sunk carrying 100 tons of cement, after crashing into Woodpecker Reef.

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BC Beer Baron #185 – Barkerville 18 Karat Ale

On a recent Friday night drinking session – because why the hell not! – Cousin Sip brought over a bomber of this flagship beer from Barkerville Brewing.

The 18 Karat Ale plays on Barkerville’s history of being a former gold rush hub, although the brewery actually operates out of nearby Quesnel. Given the brew’s name, you’d expect a golden-hued beverage, but the beer is, in fact, an Amber Ale. We’ll let that pass, though, as the 5% ABV, 33 IBUs product is solid.

Barkerville 18 Karat Ale

The beer received silver and bronze medals, respectively, at the 2014 and 2015 Canadian Brewing Awards in the North American Style Amber/Red Ale category.

As you can probably tell, the Sip Advisor is a fan of the gold rush theming and I like Barkerville’s description of this release: “Known as underground savages, prospectors of the BC gold rush were rewarded handsomely for their toil. Rumour has it that, in the saloons of Barkerville, there was so much gold dust shed from miner’s clothes that a profit could be made just by sweeping the floor. Cash in with 18 Karat Ale, a smooth and balanced blend of malted barley and hops that will lure you back for the mother lode.”

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BC Beer Baron #155 – Parallel 49/Barkerville Run to the Hills Golden Strong Ale

For the second consecutive year, Parallel 49 Brewing has joined forces with 12 different BC craft breweries to release a package of unique beers, dubbed Brews Brothers Volume 2. The Sip Advisor figured spending the first chunk of June reviewing these releases would be a great idea. So, let’s get on with things.

Today, we look at Barkerville Brewing’s collaborative efforts with P49. To date, the Quesnel-based operation hasn’t received nearly the amount of coverage it deserves on this site, but that will surely change in the months to come.

Parallel 49 & Barkerville Run to the Hills Golden Strong Ale

The Run to the Hills Golden Strong Ale was another hit for the Sip Advisor, mixing a robust base with a surprisingly fruity finish. The 8% ABV beverage is reminiscent of Belgian tripels and quads and these have become among my and Mrs. Sip’s favourites. My chivalry knows no bounds, letting my better half enjoy a taste of the beer, although I could have easily hogged it all to myself.

Each beer is named after a classic rock song, with Iron Maiden’s heavy metal anthem Run to the Hills playing that role, here. I recently saw this song top a list of the best songs to run to. That’s all fine and good, but it’s far better to laze around and drink to!

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BC Beer Baron #45 – Barkerville Promise to Sophia Valentine Ale

For Valentine’s Day, featuring a love-themed beer as part of this 366-day BC craft beer project seemed like the perfect idea. My research, however, proved that there weren’t too many obvious options to choose from. That was, until I stumbled across the press release for this Barkerville Brewing product.

This is the second year that Promise to Sophia has hit the market before Valentine’s Day. It is a strong (6.9% ABV) and dark milk stout, flavoured with vanilla and anise. As the brewery writes, “Smooth and slightly sweet, this winter warmer is sure to inspire everlasting devotion.”

Barkerville Promise to Sophia

Promise to Sophia is the only Valentine Ale the Sip Advisor knows about and it has a hell of a story behind it. During the Cariboo Gold Rush of the 1860’s, John and Sophia Cameron staked their claim to riches, but sadly Sophia didn’t survive their first brutal winter, succumbing to typhoid fever.

On her death bed, Sophia asked her husband to return her body to their native Ontario. Three caskets, four funerals, and two burials later, John lived up to that promise and got Sophia to her final resting place. Now that is true love and dedication!

Barkerville, BC was the epicenter of the Cariboo Gold Rush and most of the brewing company’s beers are named with this is mind. There’s the 18 Karat Ale, Paydirt Cascadian Dark Ale, and White Gold Witbier, for example. Even when you pop a Barkerville Brewing bottle cap, you will be greeted with a message stating: “No Gold – Keep Digging!”

Only available at select private liquor stores, this beer wasn’t easy to track down and I have to give a special thanks to the Brewery Creek Liquor Store for having it in stock. When I succeeded in my mission of finding the Valentine Ale yesterday morning, there was only two left in stock. That’s another story of true love that will one day be told to future generations!

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