Sip Trips #102: True North Strong and Free

To celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, Central City Brewing has released the Red Racer Across the Nation case, featuring collaborative beers from 12 of the country’s provinces and territories (only newest territory Nunavut is left out). Always a fan of collaboration beers, I just had to pick up the set, going straight to the source to do so, before it was even rolled out to liquor stores. Each 330ml beer was brewed at Central City’s Surrey facility and was inspired by the province or territory it comes from. Here’s the lineup of the pack:

  • Left of the Divide IPA (with Four Winds Brewing from Delta, British Columbia)
  • Berry Light Berliner Weisse (with Last Best Brewing from Calgary, Alberta)
  • Wide Open Spaces Kellerbier (with Black Bridge Brewing from Swift Current, Saskatchewan)
  • Land of Rice and Honey Saison (with Half Pints Brewing from Winnipeg, Manitoba)
  • Upper Reaches Pale Ale (with Beau’s Brewing from Vankleek Hill, Ontario)
  • Bouclier Canadien Pilsner (with Le Trou Du Diable from Shawinigan, Quebec)
  • Restored Hop(e) ESB (with Picaroons Traditional Ales from Fredericton, New Brunswick)
  • “New” Scottish Ale (with Garrison Brewing from Halifax, Nova Scotia)
  • Bière d’ici Honey Ale (with PEI Brewing from Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island)
  • Hop To The East Hefeweizen (with Quidi Vidi Brewing from St. John’s, Newfoundland)
  • Swift Currant Dark Ale (with Yukon Brewing from Whitehorse, Yukon Territories)
  • Miner’s Refresh Grissette (with NWT Brewing from Yellowknife, Northwest Territories)

Central City Across the Nation Case

Hitting store shelves in early May, the beer sets were released in two formats: a 12-pack of the entire collection and two six-packs, featuring the East and West releases bundled together. Tasting events in each province have been arranged for the case’s launch. Sadly, the Sip Advisor will be out of town for both BC occasions. For a full listing of upcoming tastings, please view Central City’s press release.

The price tag of just under $35 (with tax and deposit) is quite a bit more than one would pay for the average case of craft beer, but this is a special release. I’m looking forward to trying a number of these beers and getting to know some of the breweries from across the nation.

“There is a great sense of comradery amongst us craft brewers in Canada, and what better way to show our pride in our country than to bring together some of Canada’s best breweries on a celebratory mix-pack to commemorate this huge Canadian milestone,” said Gary Lohin, brewmaster of Central City. “We all know Canada is renowned for our great beer and it has been such an honour to work with each of the breweries. We can’t wait to showcase some spectacular beers and the brewing talents of all 12 breweries.”

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Sip Trips #32: Boats, Baseball, and Beer

Wow, this weekend was so insanely busy that I can only mention in passing that Mrs. Sip brought back from Las Vegas bottles of Viniq Ruby Liqueur and Bacardi Arctic Grape Rum (a future Flavour Revolution feature). Let’s get on to the meat and potatoes of this wrap up, which includes a voyage to Galiano Island for their Beer and Wine Festival and a Vancouver Canadians baseball game sandwiched by two Main Street bars!

We left for Galiano very early on Saturday, in order to make sure we made it to the festival on time, as the later ferry of the day didn’t jive with the event. For $45, we had all-inclusive access to about 15 breweries and wineries, while volunteers served finger foods to the attendees. Each guest also received a wine and beer glass with their entry.

finger food

The lineup of breweries and wineries attending were a nice mix of ones I have tried and enjoyed and others I was experiencing for the first time. I didn’t really do the wine stops, except for getting a tasting pour of the Mad Housewife Cabernet Sauvignon, in order to justify holding a wine glass most of the day. I hope in future years, that some more craft distilleries from around the province join in on the island fun.

My favourite beers of the festival were the Lighthouse Race Rocks Ale, Yukon Amber Ale, and Bomber Passionfruit Ale, of which I spent the last chunk of the event running around getting refills. Most companies brought just enough stock to last the duration of the festival and very few tents shutdown shop early.

One thing I noted, as a festival strategy, was that the wine booths had massive lineups, while the beer booths usually had none at all. What we found, was that people going for the wine would stay at the front, trying each of the companies offerings before moving on – and there could be a lot – while for beers, people would get a pour, walk away and enjoy, then return for the next option.

queue spelling

Upon returning to the mainland and not ready to let the party stop early, we hit the liquor store and picked up mixed cases of Lighthouse and Vancouver Island beers. Mrs. Sip also grabbed a bomber of Driftwood White Bark Wit, while I snagged the Russell Smokey the Beer.

The next day, we were back home, but only to head out again and meet some of our fellow CAMRA members at The Main on Main Street, prior to our Vancouver Canadians baseball game. There, I ordered pints of Hoyne Dark Matter and 33 Acres of Life, which were both very enjoyable, as we met new people.

While the Canadians lost the game, we scored a major win with the overall experience. The organization has made great strides to include craft beer in their stadium, even building a ‘Craft Corner,’ with five rotating taps, which we were conveniently seated near. Together, Mrs. Sip and I went through four of the five beers, which included Big Rock Citradelic IPA, Howe Sound You’re My Boy Blue Blueberry Wheat Ale, Bomber Passionfruit Ale, Steamworks Pilsner, and Whistler Grapefruit Ale (the only brew we neglected). These paired nicely with our ballpark snacks of popcorn and a foot-long hot dog. Apparently, aside from Whistler Brewery (a prime sponsor of the Canadians), the breweries serving draft changes regularly.

baseball thoughts

Following the game, we met up with a friend at Portland Craft, which I’ve wanted to visit for some time. Every once in a while, despite the abundance of options on the B.C. market, I thirst for something I can’t typically find, and this outlet, which largely features brews from the Portland region, was perfect for providing some new blood into my system.

I was hoping for a bit more variety from the bar (there weren’t many typical summer options available), but they did offer 16 beers on tap and others in bottle. I enjoyed two IPAs, the Alameda Yellow Wolf Imperial IPA and the Worthy IPA, both of which I would order again.

We also had events at Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Club and a birthday boat trip through Vancouver’s beautiful harbour on Accent Cruises, which I just can’t get into without making this article super long. The busy schedule doesn’t let up this weekend, as we’re off to Disneyland, where drinking has become a large part of the park routine!