Hands Up Red Ale – Tin Whistle Brewing


From Tin Whistle Brewing in Penticton comes their “Hands Up Red Ale” their newest seasonal release.  The beer pours a deep red colour with a small brownish head.  The aroma consists of raisins, fruit, molasses, malts and some rum.  The flavour is of raisin, rum, fruits, molasses, oatmeal, mild roast, bitterness and a hint of earth.  The alcohol content comes in at 6.5% with an IBU of 20.  This is a tasty red ale that sits on the sweeter side of the spectrum.

Commercial Description:  A raisin oatmeal red ale to commemorate Bill Minor, the Gentleman robber.

Backstory:  Bill Miner (1847-1913).  Bill Miner, the first train robber in Canada was known as the “Gentleman Bandit” because of his good manners during a hold-up.  He was also the originator of the phrase “Hands Up!”.  On May 8, 1906, he held up the C.P.R near Kamloops making him a local folk hero.  He was later arrested by the Royal North West Mounted Police and sentenced to 25 years in the New Westminster Penitentiary.  The 1982 Canadian film The Grey Fox was based on Billy Miner’s life.

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Burly Wine 2014 – Half Pints Brewing


From Winnipeg Manitoba’s Half Pints Brewing Company comes their seasonal brew the “Burly Wine 2014″ a beer that has not been released in a few years.  The beer pours a cloudy brown colour with a small head.  The aroma consists of a sweetness with dark fruits and an overall malty background.  The flavour is of raisins, dark fruit, candied sugar, malts, some bitterness, sweet caramel and mild alcohol.  The alcohol content comes in at 10.5% with an IBU of 75.  This is a seriously good Barleywine and Half Pints really needs to make this more often!

Commercial Description:  At Half Pints, we live by our motto: small brewery, BIG FLAVOR. Nothing proves this more than when we brew this extra strong ale. It is packed with five different malts for a strong dried fruit character and is hopped with UK Fuggles and Goldings for a woody, herbal aroma. This Barleywine is meant to be shared fireside with friends. Try it with a cheese plate of sharp Cheddar, Stilton, and Gorgonzola or a slice of rum soaked fruit cake. It will continue to improve with careful aging in a cool dark place, so try to save a bottle to compare with the new vintage. Serve at 12 degrees celcius in a brandy snifter. Unfiltered and unpasteurized. 75 IBUs Decoding Vintages:(2006 – Tan Beeswax) (2007 – Burgundy) (2008 – Green) (2009 – Blue) (2010 – Tan Wax, New Label) (2014 – No Wax, New Label) As seen in “World’s Best Beers” by Ben McFarland.

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Dubbel Trubbel Rum & Raisin Belgian Dubbel – Central City Brewing (Dec 24, 2014)


Beer Advent Calendar 2014

The last beer in the Mystery Gift Holiday Countdown Craft Beer Advent Calendar was a collaboration between Parallel 49 Brewing and Central City Brewers & Distillers.  This collaboration was brewed at Central City Brewers & Distillers (Red Racer Brewing) and was a “Dubbel Trubbel Rum & Raisin Belgian Dubbel”.  The beer pours a brown colour with very minimal head.  The aroma consists of rum, raisins, malts, sweet sugar and an earthy finish.  The flavour is of rum, raisins, dark fruit, chocolate, malts, semi sweet and some earthy finish.  The alcohol content came in at 6.5%.  I was happy to find this collaboration to be a very tasty and interesting beer.  The rum and raisins really added a nice touch to this one.

Mystery Gift Holiday Countdown 2014

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Hermannator Ice Bock – Vancouver Island Brewery (BC Beer Bloggers Local Winter Favourites Part 2, #2)


BC Beer Bloggers Local Winter Favourites – This special review is part of a multi-blog collaboration between five BC Beer Bloggers (including a guest from over the mountains in Alberta) where we each chose our top three local winter releases and are blogging about them. Please take a look at the bottom of this review for the other links to see all the beers we chose in no particular order and bookmark these sites so you can check them often.
West Coast Beer Geek

I do not usually run out to buy 6 packs of beer.  I usually want to be trying as many different beer as possible but this is one beer that breaks the mold.  “Hermannator Ice Bock” from Victoria’s Vancouver Island Brewery is just that good!  This ice bock is cold aged in a cellar for over 3 months to help build the flavour.  The beer pours a deep chestnut brown colour with a small brown head.  The aroma consists of brown sugar up front with toasty malts, dark fruits, chocolate and an overall sweetness.  The flavour is of brown sugar, molasses, dark fruits like raisins, milk chocolate, roasted malts, nuts, mild bitterness and a pretty prominent alcohol warming at the end.  Much like many winter ales this is a great one to age for a year or three to lessen the alcohol warmth while building the malts.  This beer is a huge 9.5% alcohol but you would not guess it when you drink it!  This is one dangerously easy drinking beer and must be taken seriously!

Commercial Description:  Brewed in limited batches each year, Hermannator Ice Bock was first introduced by Hermann, one of our original Brewmasters, during the holiday as a unique gift to his closest friends and customers. Crafted at 9.5% abv, using a signature blend of chocolate and caramel malts, this German Eisbock is slowly cold aged in our cellar for over 3 months.

Having a six pack if you don’t want to age a few bottles maybe you want to cook with it!

Hermannator Cookies
Hermannator’s Famous Chili

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This is an old photo of mine as I seem to have lost the photo that I took a few days ago.

Participating Bloggers: be sure to check them daily, I’ll add in their links as they go up!

West Coast Beer Geek – A beer geeks perspective on craft beer, beer events, beer pairings and more.

Mike’s Craft Beer – Not for the weak of taste buds. Lots of great beer reviews, brewery reviews and events on this site.

Dennis the Foodie – Weaving a personal story of food and beer in Vancouver, BC. Very thorough food reviews, great photos and beer pairings.

Western Suds – An Alberta craft beer blog written by a craft beer enthusiast and ambassador for the growing Alberta craft beer scene.

Beer Rater – A beer guide without all the fluff, just some straight forward drinking advice.

How to stay tuned into what we are doing? Look for the hashtag #bcbeerbloggers as we will be using it a lot. Please engage us in conversations, enjoy our posts, try these beers and share our work if you like it.

BC Breweries 30th Anniversaries


This year was the 30th Anniversary for three different BC Breweries.  First off there is Spinnakers Brewpub in Victoria BC the very first Brewpub in Canada.  The other two breweries that are celebrating their 30th are Vancouver Island Brewery in Victoria and Granville Island Brewing in Vancouver (Owned by Molson).  The craft beer boom may be going strong but these are some of the real pioneers for craft beer in Canada.  I would like to congratulate the breweries on fighting the good fight all these years!

All three breweries released a beer to celebrate this occasion.  Granville Island Brewing released a new 6 pack offering as the start of a new series of beers called the Under The Bridge Series and the beer was called Swing Span Amber Ale.  Read the review here.

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Both Spinnakers and Vancouver Island Brewery released special one off bomber releases.  Spinnakers Brewpub released “30th Anniversary Grand CRU” while Vancouver Island Brewery released a “Thirty Years Imperial Red Ale”.  In great BC tradition both beers were very big imperial ales with tones of flavour that packed a punch.

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Because Spinnakers and Vancouver Island Brewery brewed special one off releases I wanted to honor them together with a combined review.

Spinnakers Brewpub – 30th Anniversary Grand CRU

The beer poured a dark amber almost brownish colour with an off white head short lived head.  The aroma consisted of sweet dark fruits, caramel, candied sugar, wine, spices and some yeast notes.  The flavour was of sweet dark fruits such as raisins, earthiness, candied sugar, spices, Belgian yeast, tartness, some herbal notes, mild bitterness and some alcohol warming.  The alcohol content comes in at 8% with an IBU of 20.  This beer although a little thin was very full of flavour and a really good commemorative brew.  I would like to see Spinnakers play around with this style more and untap the possibilities.

Commercial Descripiton: In celebration of our 30th Anniversary, we present our Grand Cru as a token of thanks. Brewed with UK Marris Otter Pale malt, Belgian yeast and dark candi sugar, our Grand Cru is a medium-dark, malt-forward, complex ale best enjoyed with friends.

Cheers to the next 30!

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Vancouver Island Brewery – Thirty Years Imperial Red Ale

The “Thirty Years Imperial Red” poured a ruby red colour with a tan head.  The aroma consisted of sweet fruits, dark fruits, anise, sweet caramel malts, molasses which is very reminiscent of barleywines.  The flavour was of fruity with good notes of dark fruits (rasins), sweet Caramel malts, orange, citrus, rum, mild hops bitterness and an alcohol warmth at the end.  The alcohol content came in at 8.5% alcohol.  Other than Vancouver Island Brewery’s Hermannator Ice Bock this is their most complex and exciting beer to date (That I have tried that is).

Commercial Description:  For over 30 years we’ve lived the belief that one trend is here to stay – true craftsmanship and quality. With this in mind we decided to pay tribute to our long standing Piper’s Pale Ale and ramped up the recipe to create a big, bold and robust beer. This malty, well-hopped Imperial Red Ale is our way of saying thank-you for your support. Cheers!

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Both of these beers are extremely well crafted brews and well worth being commemorative 30th anniversary beers.  I would like to congratulate all three breweries on 30 years of brewing and look forward to the next 30+!

Congratulations from Mike’s Craft Beer!

I was lucky enough to go over to Victoria and celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Spinnakers Brewpub with the Brewery and locals.  Click here to check it out!