Beer of the Week #10 – Russell Root Beer Milk Stout

With my trusty BC Liquor Stores gift card in hand (thanks again Ma and Pa Sip) I recently grabbed this Russell Brewing new release. Always a root beer fan, since I was a wee little sipper, how could I pass the opportunity up?

The Root Beer Milk Stout instantly caught my eye as a unique and must-try beverage. I was not to be disappointed, as the drink has just the right level of root beer (sassafras) flavour, mixed with the chocolate taste you’d expect from a milk stout.

Russell Root Beer Milk Stout

With the recent explosion of hard root beer drinks, why shouldn’t the brewing game get in on the action? The 6.5% ABV, 30 IBUs beverage is available in bomber-sized bottles at the aforementioned BC Liquor Stores, for a decent price.

Russell believes this product is perfect to “Celebrate the winter months… with the best, feet-up-by-the-fire-job-well-done feeling a brewer could dream up.” I tested that theory while we were recently away and they nailed it!

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BC Beer Baron #345 – Russell Naughty & Spiced Porter

Things have become increasingly festive at the Sip Advisor headquarters and release such as this certainly help. This Russell Brewing small batch has been exchanged between Mrs. Sip and I a few times, over the years.

The Naughty & Spiced Porter is perfect for winter, with a strong alcohol content of 6.5% ABV to warm the soul and 30 IBUs to tantalize the taste buds. The beverage features spices such as cinnamon, all-spice, ginger and nutmeg, as well as vanilla beans.

russell-naughty-spiced-porter

Available in bomber-sized bottles, if the beer itself doesn’t get your motor running, the product’s label surely will. I don’t know what it is about attractive women in Santa caps, but it definitely works for the Sip Advisor! The heels, nightie and sack of beers helps!

Although the brew is only around for a limited time each holiday season, for the Sip Advisor, it has become a sign that Christmas is upon us. It is often one of the first yuletide-themed treats I see pop up at liquor stores.

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BC Beer Baron #284 – Russell Happy Jack Pumpkin Ale

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. The season of pumpkin-spiced everything is upon us… and things are no different in the craft beer world. Let’s see what BC has to offer for fans of the flavour.

The days are getting shorter and waking up to darkness is getting all too familiar. It’s that time of the year and the pumpkin beers continue to take over the Sip Advisor’s fridge with this fall release from Russell Brewing.

The Happy Jack Pumpkin Ale is brewed in a single batch with spices and then aged with oak. At 5.5% ABV and 25 IBUs, this beverage is stronger and hoppier than many of the other pumpkin-flavoured offerings out there, which is refreshing.

russell-happy-jack-pumpkin-ale

Available in bomber-sized bottles at BC Liquor Stores, as well as private locations, this seasonal release is well-balanced, allowing the flavours to tackle the tongue, but not pin it down. Then again, spices can hold me down anytime.

Also fit for the season, Russell has a Marzen Oktoberfest Lager, which will have drinkers strapping into lederhosen and filling steins to the brim with the elixir. There aren’t many Oktoberfest brews on the BC landscape, so check this one out.

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BC Beer Baron #232 – Russell White Rabbit Hoppy 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.

If, like the Sip Advisor, you appreciate both hoppy ales/IPAs, as well as delicious hefeweizens/wheats, has Russell Brewing ever got the perfect hybrid for you.

The White Rabbit Hoppy Hefeweizen has become a favourite of the Sip Advisor. The beer is perfect for hanging around Ma and Pa Sip’s pool, enjoying the summer sun with ice cold brew in hand. This 6% ABV, 65 IBUs beverage is not your typical hef. Sure, the flavours are reminiscent, but the potency and bite are game changers.

Russell White Rabbit Hoppy Hefeweizen

Borrowing from the White Rabbit character from the classic Alice in Wonderland story, Russell writes of the beer: “Brighten up your summer season with a White Rabbit! Let our White Rabbit lead you to golden wheat fields where the hops burst with flavour.”

This year’s version includes new packaging for the brew available in 650ml bomber-sized bottles. Although best enjoyed in summer (in my opinion), the beer is now available year round and can be found primarily at private liquor stores.

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Sip Trips #69: Tasting Tipsy

One of my favourite events of the summer, Langley’s Tip N’ Taste, took place last Friday and it was another very fun time with family, friends, and random strangers. Mrs. Sip and I first attended the annual beer fest in 2008 and while we haven’t returned every year, it’s definitely an occasion I look forward to each July.

While I won’t go into reviewing the brews I tasted, saving that for the BC Beer Baron project, I will say that I managed to score over a dozen tastings from breweries, including Be Right Back, Trading Post, Phillips, Mission Springs, Old Yale, Cannery, Howe Sound, Hathi, Kwantlen Brewing Program, Dead Frog, Lighthouse, and Old Abbey.

Drinking Friends Assemble

In past years, event attendees received five drink tickets and five food tickets. This year, the food was all-inclusive, which came with some ups and downs. On the plus side, there was great little meals from Dublin Crossing Irish Pub (mini Yorkshire puddings); Sammy J’s (short rib tacos); Brown’s Socialhouse (cauliflower mac n’ cheese, chicken rice bowls, and even chocolate brownies for dessert); and Original Joe’s (pulled pork sliders). Some food vendors even passed out gift cards or discount vouchers.

On the flip side, unfortunately, the meatballs from Rendezvous Pub ran out within the first hour, even though they brought 300 meatballs. That said, they handed out two to each person (perhaps a rookie mistake) and the ravenous crowd demolished their provisions. The group was long gone by the time I got to that side of the Convention Centre. I remember Original Joe’s, in their first year, generously giving two pulled pork sliders to each person before stock ran low, resulting in one slider for each person, until the restaurant was cleaned out.

And while they didn’t necessarily run out of supplies, it was very tough to get any pizza from Me-N-Ed’s Pizza Parlor. Massive lines would form anytime their pies were soon to arrive (they have a chain located near Langley’s Cascades Casino) and would be gone before most could get their hands on a slice.

Personal Pizza

Another disappointment was White Rock Beach Brewing and Russell Brewing not showing up. I was looking forward to trying the wares particularly offered by White Rock Beach and while I don’t know the circumstances of their absence, they missed a prime opportunity to share their beverages with a wide, thirsty audience.

One last con was there wasn’t as much available for wine drinkers as there has been in past years, which narrowed the options for Ma and Pa Sip. I realize that Tip N’ Taste is predominantly a beer tasting event, but it’s nice to have a bit of a mix for those who steer towards grapes.

Okay, enough of the griping and onto some positives. First, the breweries that did attend brought some really neat stuff with them and most companies had an array of products for sampling. Second, the organizers were able to pull together quite an impressive field of breweries (spreading from across the Lower Mainland to Vancouver Island), including a number of first-timers. Third, two folks from our extensive group won door prizes (which all looked pretty cool), so you can’t beat that.

prize or punch

A side note, Mrs. Sip and I had good chat with one of the Howe Sound reps about all the difficulties R&B Brewing is going through to set up their tasting room/restaurant. They were supposed to open on St. Patrick’s Day and are still in limbo thanks to the bureaucracy approving their license and launch. This has included being told to separate the growler station from the kitchen with a glass divide, then being told on a follow-up visit the glass had to be smoked, among other nitpicking. We hope things turn around for the project quickly.

To sum things up, tickets were $35 this year, which I believe is a $5 jump from 2015. That said, the event was fun with plenty of beer and food to go around. Sure, there are a few areas that could be improved, but all-in-all, Tip N’ Taste remains a favourite activity for the Sip Advisor!

BC Beer Baron #133 – Russell Angry Scotch Ale

Out for dinner with Ma and Pa Sip the other night, we took our appetites to The Flying Pig in Vancouver’s Yaletown district. Amongst a meal of pulled pork poutine and Caesar salad, the Sip Advisor enjoyed this award-winning offering from Russell Brewing.

The Angry Scotch Ale (why do brewery’s always assume us Scots are so angry!?) is a dark and strong Scottish-style ale with a hint of smokiness, thanks to being made with Scottish peated malts. At 6.5% ABV and 30 IBUs, the beer will lift your kilt in no time.

Russell Angry Scotch Ale

From Russell’s ‘Brewmaster Series’ (small batch releases for the “unconventional beer drinker”), the beer has received numerous accolades, with 2010 being a very successful year for the brew. That year, it took home a bronze medal at both the World Beer Cup and BC Beer Awards and silver finish at the Canadian Brewing Awards. Not content to settle for silver, four years later, the Angry Scotch Ale grabbed the elusive gold at the Canadian Brewing Awards.

Available in bomber-sized bottles, as well as six-packs of regular bottles, the beer can be found at BC Liquor Stores and private retailers.

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BC Beer Baron #102 – Russell Punch Bowl IPA

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. It may have taken some time, but IPA’s now rank among my favourite styles of beer. Let’s take a look at some of the best BC has to offer, among this acquired taste.

While researching which beers to feature as part of IPA week, I began licking my chops when I came across this Russell Brewing option. And that was before I learned it was a gold medal winner at the 2015 Canadian Brewing Awards, in the American Style IPA category.

The Punch Bowl IPA takes flavours such as stone fruit, berries, and melon and hops them up for a perfect blend of beer goodness. Part of the brewery’s Specialty Series, this Northwest IPA has all the right stats in all the right places, with a 6.5% ABV and 65 IBUs.

Russell Punch Bowl IPA

Russell has some interesting logic that went into the creation of this beer, writing: “India Pale Ale was a beer created to make the trip from England to India, Punch was a fruit drink introduced to England from India. So as tribute to full flavoured beer and to party drinks that can be spiked, may we present the Punch Bowl!”

On top of the typical 650ml bomber format, the Punch Bowl IPA has just been released in new 341ml bottled six-packs, available at BC Liquor Stores and other private locations. If you’re big into India Pale Ales (and who isn’t!), Russell also has the IP’eh!, which is about as Canadian as you can get with a beer.

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