Pints for the Holidays

The impending Christmas holidays means a lot of time spent around the table with friends, family, relatives, in-laws, highschool reunion-mates, and basically every other sort of person imaginable, so it can at times pay to have a trusty pint in hand. The Facing Page has done part of your job for you, and picked out a couple of pints (or bottles) worth trying in the next while.

First off is one from one of my personal favorite breweries, Victoria BC’s own Hoyne. This Holiday release is described on their site as “This lovely lady is luscious and full bodied, and like a Flamenco dancer, she is also a bit spicy.  So be on guard: at 9% she can sneak up and overpower you!” Sounds good, but be warned, Sean Hoyne isn’t joking – the 9% will definitely sneak up on you a bit.

Secondly, the Punk IPA from Scottish brewing geniuses BrewDog is a full-bodied IPA that will fulfill your every IPA need. BrewDog describes it as such: “A beer that spent its formative years Blitzkrieg bopping around India and the sub continent. Quintessential Empire with an anarchic twist. God save the Queen and all who sail in her. Raising a Stiff Little Finger to IPAs that have come before and those it is yet to meet. Turn up the volume Pay the man. Embrace the punked up, fucked up outlaw elite. Never Mind the Bollocks this is the real shit.” An over the top description – yes, but a beer that might just merit it? We think so.

A second Victoria brewery, Phillips, crops up third on this list with their always reliable Blue Buck offering. “The Blue Buck is a legendary beast known to grant those that see him good fortune and safe travels! A deep amber coloured beer, the Blue Buck has a crisp finish featuring a delicate hop aroma. Certainly seeing the Blue Buck on bottle grants the drinker a great experience! Worth searching for.” Blue Buck is a great ale with just a little more to it than most currently on offer, as far as a go-to winter beer goes, this is probably it.

Next, one for those of you in the States, as sadly we can’t get it here, Dogfish Head’s 120 Minute IPA seems to be about the pinnacle of existence as IPAs go. “Too extreme to be called beer? 120 Minute IPA is brewed to a colossal 45-degree plato, boiled for a full two hours while being continuously hopped with high-alpha American hops, then dry-hopped daily in the fermenter for a month and aged for another month on whole-leaf hops! Clocking in at 15-20% ABV and 120 IBUs, 120 Minute is by far the biggest IPA ever brewed! It’s easy to see why we call this beer THE HOLY GRAIL for hopheads!” I’ve never seen or tried a bottle, but they claim that they’re available in New York, so I’ll be sure to report back in January.

For your local – to Vancouver – imbibing pleasure, we recommend checking out two of Vancouver’s newest breweries: Parallel 49 and Powell Street Brewing. Located a block apart in East Vancouver’s burgeoning brewery district (Storm Brewing is just around the corner), both are producing excellent small batch beers. And like Hoyne and Phillips, both offer growlers. For Parallel 49, I’d recommend the Hoparazzi IPL (IPL? Yes. India Pale Lager) and the Gypsy Tears Ruby Red Ale. The Hoparazzi is a flavourful lager with, as the name suggests, a lot of hops. It’s been my brew of choice since I discovered it in the summer and it has been going down well in the winter months too. The Gypsy Tears is a richer, darker beer perhaps more suited to cold nights around a roaring fire. Either way, you won’t be disappointed. As for Powell Street’s offerings, I’d go for the Dive Bomb Porter. As porter’s go it isn’t too heavy, and for me this is a big plus.

But if I were you, I’d set aside an hour to go and taste all the beers being made by these wonderful breweries and then decide which ones to spring for. It’ll be time well-spent.

Merry Yuletide from us here at the Facing Page.

– AP + CK

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