Beer of the Week #31 – Spinnakers Juice Monkey IPA

On a recent liquor shopping trip, this product from Spinnakers Brewing jumped out at me thanks to its flashy label. The clincher was its very palatable price.

The Juice Monkey IPA is as one would expect: juicy and hoppy. At 6% ABV and 45 IBUs, the beverage does go down easy and is a perfect summer sipper for IPA fans.

Spinnakers Juice Monkey IPA

Available in tall can four-packs at BC Liquor Stores, the set sells for about $10, before taxes. The release is only available for a limited time, so get on it ASAP.

The brewery advises to drink this beer young, savour it, not cellar it, due to the “volatility of the hop aromas”. As Spinnakers warns, “please juice responsibly”!

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BC Beer Baron #362 – Spinnakers Jolly Hopper Imperial IPA

Perfect for the holiday season and all the celebrations that come with it, this Spinnakers Brewing product was quickly scooped off the shelf by the Sip Advisor. To boot, the beer is fairly red in colour, making it more than festive!

The Jolly Hopper Imperial IPA comes exactly as advertised, with a hearty 8% ABV and a whopping 100 IBUs. Despite the strong hops content, I didn’t find the brew to be too bitter and even Broski Sip (a less experienced beer drinker) liked the taste.


The release is available in bomber-sized bottles at BC Liquor Stores. The Sip Advisor’s process for purchasing drinks includes weighing alcohol percentage and cost, with beverage IBUs and style also playing a smaller role in my decision making.

I really enjoyed the pirate theme of this selection.  The beer’s label states: While the Jolly Roger is flown to identify that pirates are about to attack, our Jolly Hopper signifies an imminent attack on your tastebuds… Surrender or walk the plank.”

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BC Beer Baron #332 – Spinnakers Lion’s Head Cascadia Dark Ale

In search of new beers to get me through the Remembrance Day long weekend (saluting the troops and our freedom in my own way), I ended up with a couple Spinnakers Brewing selections. That included this gem.

The Lion’s Head Cascadia Dark Ale uses English pale and roasted malts, as well as northwest hops to achieve its look and taste. The 6.5% ABV, 55 IBUs beverage is right in my wheelhouse and I enjoyed its chocolate and coffee notes.


First released in 2009, the brew is available in bomber-sized bottles, as well as regular cans. I found my bottle at a BC Liquor Store location and the chain seems to routinely stock Spinnaker’s products, at very decent prices.

The beer is named in honour of the Lion’s Head Pub in Robson, BC, which was the Kootenay region’s first craft beer-focused watering hole. The place also offers a number of smokehouse meal options on its diverse menu.

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BC Beer Baron #285 – Spinnakers Spiced 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.

Given I’ve always been impressed by beers from Spinnakers Brewing, I was curious to see how they’d fare in the pumpkin ale world. As usual, I was left pleased with the results from Canada’s oldest brewpub.

The Spiced Pumpkin Ale utilizes locally grown Kabocha squash and the typical seasonings related to pumpkin treats. The 5% ABV, 15 IBUs beverage is on the lighter end of the spectrum, but that allows the varying flavours to enjoy the spotlight.

Spinnakers Spiced Pumpkin Ale.jpg

The product is available for a limited time in bomber-sized bottles at BC Liquor Stores, as well as private establishments. Drinkers can also go directly to the source and enjoy a serving at the Spinnakers Brewpub in Victoria.

Spinnakers has also produced a Spiced Pumpkin Porter in the past, but that doesn’t seem to be part of their lineup this fall. As the brewery writes: “For some, the beginning of September means back to school. For us, it means Spiced Pumpkin Ale!”

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BC Beer Baron #251 – Spinnakers Orange Karma Oatmeal Cream Ale

Recently, the Sip Advisor found himself in unfamiliar territory, returning some personal items to a friend. But hey, at least there was a liquor store as part of the complex that I could use as a meeting point. That’s where I found this tantalizing release from Spinnakers Brewing.

The Orange Karma Oatmeal Cream Ale instantly caught my eye, thanks to its intriguing mix of ingredients. At 5.3% ABV and 50 IBUs, the result is a creamy fruit ale, with touches of spice and a smooth, hoppy finish. The orange flavours isn’t overwhelming, which lets the other elements shine, as well.

Spinnakers Orange Karma Oatmeal Cream Ale

Named after the Spinnakers brewery dog, Karma, the beer is available in bomber-sized bottles at private liquor stores. The product was first released in the fall of 2015, before making a summer return this year. I’m just happy I was able to track a bottle down.

For craft beer fans out there, my best advice for finding new and interesting stuff to try is to mix things up. BC Liquor Stores are great, but private shops can offer more selection and the price difference isn’t too bad. Also, some bars can have fantastic brew lineups.

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BC Beer Baron #198 – Spinnakers Hollie Wood Oyster Stout

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 so many brewery options out there, a game of one-upmanship sometimes occurs and from that, the world is treated to some very unique experimental releases.

When I first came across this Spinnakers Brew Pub release last summer, I was hesitant. The adventurous side of me prevailed and I grabbed a bottle. Then I let it sit for some time, as I tasted another brewery’s (which shall remain nameless) Oyster Stout and figured my purchase had been a huge mistake.

I should have had more faith, as the Hollie Wood Oyster Stout was actually quite good. Brewed with three additions of fresh oysters from Fanny Bay (BC’s Hollie Wood Oysters), the beer has the usual roasted malts of traditional stouts, but features a light briny finish, thanks to the sea creatures. For those doubting the recipe, Spinnakers writes: “The world is yours. And yes, there really are oysters in this beer!”

Spinnakers Hollie Wood Oyster Stout

The stout maxes out on the dark side of Spinnakers colour scale and features stats of 7.6% ABV and 20 IBUs. The brew is available in bomber-sized bottles at BC Liquor Stores and I personally prefer the aphrodisiac in liquid essence form, rather than swallowing them whole. I wonder how pairing the two would work out…

This was the first Spinnakers beer I had ever tried and it instantly made me a fan of their wares. My reasoning? If they can make a good beer out of oysters, then everything else has to at least be decent! I’ve since tested this theory and found myself (as usual) to be quite accurate.

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BC Beer Baron #181 – Spinnakers Dragonfly Rye Spring Saison

One of my favourite things about doing this 366-day BC craft beer project has been discovering places I either never knew about or had only had a brew or two from previously. One company that would fit in that category would be Spinnakers Brewing in Victoria, BC.

Most recently, I picked up a bomber of their Dragonfly Rye Spring Saison, which I shared with Mrs. Sip. She enjoyed the beer, noting it went from creamy to a slightly bitter finish. I had to echo her sentiment about the 6% ABV, 25 IBUs beverage.

Spinnakers Dragonfly Rye Saison

The seasonal release is available at BC Liquor Stores and I was pleasantly surprised at how inexpensive the product was, coming in at under $5, before taxes. Good deals can still be had, if you know where to look.

I’ve found that I really like rye in my beers, which give the drink an extra boost of booze on each sip. Saisons have also shot up the charts for me (I’ve dubbed this the ‘Summer of Saisons’), as I like their blend of spice and fruit, reminding me of a more potent hefeweizen.

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BC Beer Baron #92 – Spinnakers Chocoholic Chocolate Milk Stout

Taking me back to the good ol’ days of grocery shopping with Ma Sip and being allowed to select a treat for my good behaviour, Mrs. Sip gave me the same opportunity on a recent trip to a BC Liquor Store location. My choice was from Victoria’s Spinnakers Brew Pub.

With the store getting ready to close up for the night and with a friend’s place to be, I hurriedly selected the Chocoholic Chocolate Milk Stout. I’ve really come to like Spinnakers line-up and wanted to dip once again into their work.

Spinnakers Chocoholic Chocolate Stout

The stout was not as chocolatey as I hoped it would be, but was still a good beer. At 7.75% ABV, it was just right for sitting back on the late Friday evening and letting a well-constructed brew bring me into the weekend. As I relaxed, Mrs. Sip and her girlfriends had to stress pack for a weekend away in Las Vegas.

I really like what Spinnakers have to say about this product, so I’m sharing it with all you little sippers: “There is more to the relationship between chocolate and beer than tastes and indulgences, both being prehistoric from an ancient past. It is impossible to know which came first but here we present these two fermented foods in a modern relationship, designed to last until the last drop.”

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BC Beer Baron #37 – Spinnakers India Pale Ale

I have great faith in Spinnakers Brewing. After all, they managed to make a good Oyster Stout, so anything else must be great.

Their India Pale Ale is modeled after Northern England’s take on the beer, which many moons ago was prepared this way so it would survive arduous sea voyages and still be drinkable by the ship’s crew. With stats of 7.1% ABV and 55 IBU, this beer isn’t for lightweights and newbies, but hardened veterans of the IPA scene. And that’s just the way the Sip Advisor likes ‘em.

Spinnakers India Pale Ale

The brewpub mentions that this beer is a favourite among their regulars and you can add the Sip Advisor to that growing list.

Next time Mrs. Sip and I find ourselves in Victoria, I’m making it a priority to visit Spinnakers. Yes, I’m putting it ahead of family and friends who have moved to the island because I need to visit this establishment that is celebrating their 31st year of operation. At the very least, I have to keep a keen eye on lookout for any of their products that come available in local stores, as they have a very eclectic line-up of products that I would love to sample. The brewpub even has guesthouses you can stay in, should you choose. Sounds right up our alley!

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Sip Trips #31: Bomber Blast

The Sip Advisor always aims to start the Sip Trips week with a bang and all I can say is mission accomplished for the past seven days!

Prior to meeting a larger group for dinner, I met a friend at PHAT Sports Bar in Yaletown, which serves up $3 sleeves and $5 pints all day, every day. While their selection is limited, as far as craft beer goes, there’s always something on the menu that is worth ordering. This time, it was the Whistler Grapefruit Ale.

Nearing the end of our beers, we found out we were supposed to meet our wives and the rest of the crew in the Olympic Village, not downtown, so we were on the road.

Taxi Dignity

Dinner was at The Flying Pig, which Mrs. Sip and I have been meaning to visit for some time and finally had the opportunity. To drink, I ordered the eatery’s Bacon Bourbon Caesar, which looked fantastic with lemon, lime, and celery garnishes, accompanying a bacon bit rim. The Caesar was a little different taste wise, thanks to the use of bourbon, over vodka, but the spices were pretty bang on, so the whole meal in a glass was enjoyable.

With the long weekend came two liquor store shopping trips and double the chances of finding the right beers for poolside sampling at Ma and Pa Sip’s abode. Here are the brews I picked up and how they rated on my crack ranking system:

Whistler Pineapple Express Wheat Ale – I’ve enjoyed a pineapple wheat/hef beer before, but couldn’t remember if it was the Whistler offering or not, so why not take another crack at it. This was a good one to have in the afternoon heat, as it was cloudy, refreshing and everything I want in a summer brew.

Pineapple Things

Hoyne Devil’s Dream IPA – Based off of my appreciation of Hoyne’s Dark Matter, I decided to give their IPA a shot and was rewarded with a tasty beer, with an even better name. Hoyne is quickly becoming a favourite brewer of mine and I hope that relationship only continues to prosper.

Old Yale Vanishing Monk Belgian Witbier – This was another fine choice for the great outdoors and much like the beer’s name, it vanished quickly!

Spinnakers You Otter Have Another Nut Brown Ale – In the evenings, I like moving to dark beers, which provide more of a dessert taste. These are the beers that are perfect to watch day turn into night with and relax in your favourite lounger, with You Otter Have Another really hitting the spot.

significant otters

Central City Detective Saison – I hope Central City makes more character-based beers (this is Detective Sarah Saison), such as Professor Peter Porter, Senator Samuel Stout, and others, leading to a Clue-style mystery game, where Mr. Nobody is murdered in the tasting room with the keg tap and players have to drink their way to the killer’s identity! If Central City wants to partner with me in this endeavour, I’d totally welcome it.

Lululemon Curiosity Lager – This Lululemon-Stanley Park Brewing collaboration has been met with much derision, but I figure you can’t rip something until you’ve tried it. I’m saving it for Mrs. Sip’s return from Las Vegas and will have a special Sip Trips post about my experience with the lager in the very near future. Hint: it will involve spandex and a yoga mat!

Spinnakers Hollie Wood Oyster Stout – Yet another brew that I haven’t tapped, hoping to share it with Mrs. Sip. There’s something about a beer that is advertised as having gone through “three additions of prime fresh oysters,” that makes me a little apprehensive. Then again, oysters are supposed to be an aphrodisiac, so maybe we can get our buzz on in more ways than one!

oysters shellfish

Granville Island Brass Knuckles American Brown Ale – Having enjoyed my Nut Brown Ale from the day before, I was looking for another nightcap-style beer and grabbed this GIB offering to fill that role. I didn’t get around to drinking it, however, but that just leaves me extra prepared for the next night of imbibing!

I also finally got to try the Dancing Pines Distillery Brulee liqueur, Ma and Pa Sip picked up in Colorado a couple months back. Good thing, too, as I got the last pour of the bottle. I expected more of a caramel taste, but the spirit was incredibly smooth and enjoyable.

This next week looks incredibly busy for the Sip Advisor, with a beer and wine fest on Galiano Island, a Vancouver Canadians baseball game with my fellow CAMRA members, a night out at Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Club, and a boat booze cruise, and that just covers the first half!