Sip Trips #16: Patio Play

Well, patio weather has officially returned to the city (ironically, the wet stuff is falling as I post this) and the Sip Advisor couldn’t be happier. There’s just something about drinking in the great outdoors, breathing in fresh air, which is so rewarding. May patio season be as kind to you and yours as I hope it will be to me and mine!

outdoorsy-patio

To unwind after the long work week, last Friday, Mrs. Sip and I split the Crème Brulee Stout she recently picked up. It was a little sweet, but certainly tasty; a perfect dessert beer. I’ve been finding myself really getting into stouts, porters, and darker ales of late. Perhaps they will one day give wheat beers a run for their money.

On Sunday, we joined friends for brunch at The Boathouse in White Rock, providing a wicked view of Semiahmoo Bay. To pair with our food, Mrs. Sip ordered a Strawberry-Watermelon Mojito, while I enjoyed the Crown Smash (combining whiskey, ginger liqueur, muddled oranges, and mint). My cocktail wasn’t bad, but I think Mrs. Sip’s was better.

From there, we were off to return home and meet friends for patio drinks at Romer’s Burger Bar. This was our former trivia home, thanks to a great grand prize ($50 gift card) and a bit of a winning streak. Sadly, they stopped their trivia nights, but it’s still a good place to go, with daily $5 drink specials and a menu of $4 cocktails, available every day of the week. I ordered the Mason Jar Caesar (complete with pickle and pepper garnishes), followed by a pint of the Hoyne Dark Matter beer, which has to be my favourite dark brew right now.

The main event of the week was a visit to Prohibition Bar, at the Hotel Georgia. This is one of the places I had thought to hit for my and Mrs. Sip’s dating anniversary last month, as it’s supposed to be a swingin’ experience (like stepping back in time to the days of speakeasy joints) with amazing drinks and funky music. While we didn’t end up at the lounge then, we were keen to get there sooner, rather than later.

Posted @ Funny-Picks.com

We enjoyed a few drinks over the course of the evening. I started with the Forbidden Sip (a potent mezcal and tequila-based libation), which the server warned me was smoky and earthy, prompting an emphatic response of “Bring it on!” Mrs. Sip meanwhile tried the Hotel Georgia Cocktail, a great pick on her behalf, with its gin portion nicely hidden behind flavours such as orgeat, orange, and nutmeg.

My next drink was the L’Air de Panache, which grew on me with each sip. The ladies at our table particularly liked its apple taste. Speaking of our table, my favourite cocktail of the night wasn’t even ordered by me. The Tennessee Highball provided a nice mix of bourbon and ginger beer and just the right bite I like from my beverages. I finished with the Breakside Wanderlust IPA, which was quite nice and flavourful. At 6.6% it was also strong enough to make for a good last call. I’m becoming a fan of Breakside beers, having previously tried their Tropicalia offering.

To sum up, I’ve found over time, that you know you’re in a good cocktail bar when half the ingredients they serve are unfamiliar to you, despite your knowledge in the realm. Everything about the place screams high class… and that includes drink prices. That said, if you want a beautifully crafted cocktail around Vancouver, you’ll be paying at least $12 and at least at Prohibition, they deliver the goods.

Lastly, the big news of the week was that we finally grabbed the bicycles we had promised to gift to each other for Christmas. This will allow us to organize bike and brew tours across Vancouver, as well as other adventures that may have previously eluded us, due to distance. Our first Sip Trip will likely happen this weekend (weather permitting), as we break in our new rides!

Flavour Revolution – Donut

Pastry Perfection

Donuts are a pretty big deal around the world, but I’m personally curious as to how some of the globe’s biggest chains got their start in the industry. If you are too, you’re in luck. Here are some of those tales!

Tim Hortons

This Canadian classic was started by professional hockey star Tim Horton in 1964. Does it get any more Canadian than combining hockey and donuts!? When Horton passed away in 1974, his business partner Ron Joyce bought out the Horton family’s remaining shares of the company for only $1 million. On the plus side, one of Horton’s daughters married one of Joyce’s sons, bringing the Horton family back into the fold (and company fortune!). With Joyce at the helm, the chain slowly spread across the country and eventually outnumbered McDonald’s locations. Now owned by Burger King, Tim Horton’s franchises can be found throughout the United States, parts of the U.K. and even in the Middle East. As of 2015, Joyce has a net worth of $1.2 billion.

Canadian Crime Scene

Krispy Kreme

One of the oldest donut chains (establish all the way back in 1937) in existence, Krispy Kreme started out as a uncle and nephew operation, first in Paducah, Kentucky and next in Nashville, Tennessee. The franchise even had delivery trucks at one point and hopefully they dropped by right after the daily milk drop off! When Krispy Kreme first came to Canada, line-ups stretched for hours, just to get a bite of the tasty treat. While folks are mostly familiar with the company’s glazed donuts, they also offer a number of other varieties… but everyone knows what brought Krispy Kreme to the dance. Aside from the Great White North, Krispy Kreme has also made its way to countries like Mexico, Australia, India, Colombia, Taiwan, the Dominican Republic, South Korea, China, Japan, and so many more.

Voodoo Doughnut

Voodoo Doughnut is one of the most unique pastry companies around, with their array of interesting offerings, including the Captain My Captain (with Captain Crunch cereal bits), the Marshall Mathers (with M&M minis), and the Old Dirty Bastard (with Oreo cookies and peanut butter). We’ve now stayed twice at a hotel across the street from Voodoo’s downtown Portland location and have been mesmerized by the constant line that forms in front of the store. Their donut creations are on the edgier side of the ledger, with a couple selections even being banned because they included medication as toppings. The chain currently has four locations, with the first opening in 2003. Although they are relatively young, they have grown in fame quite rapidly.

Dunkin’ Donuts

Established in 1948 as Open Kettle and later Kettle Donuts, founder William Rosenberg finally settled on Dunkin’ Donuts in 1950. His concept came from the success he saw in selling food and drinks at factories and construction sites. Like many other donut enterprises, coffee sales also make up a huge portion of Dunkin’ Donuts popularity and success, despite coffee’s grossness.  I can’t recall ever going to a Dunkin’ Donuts throughout my travels around the world, but it is on my ever-growing “To Do” list. Today, you can find Dunkin’ Donuts in 30 different countries (outside the U.S.), which will help in me crossing a visit off my bucket list. One thing that gives me pause, though, is the website DunkinDonuts.org, which allowed customers to complain about the company… before they bought and shut the site down.

steal-a-donut-truck

BeaverTails

Returning north of the border, BeaverTails are flattened donuts topped with a variety of garnishes, such as Nutella, cookies, chocolate, fruit, cinnamon sugar, whip cream, and much more. They are meant to salute one of Canada’s most treasured animals, the noble beaver (I’ll allow you little sippers to make your own dirty jokes here). The first BeaverTails location opened in 1978, in Killaloe, Ontario of all places. The chain can now be found in other parts of Canada, the U.S., South Korea, and Japan. The company enjoyed international attention when U.S. President Barack Obama made it a point to stop at the chain when visiting the Canadian capital. They even created an Obama Tail for the occasion, comprised of cinnamon sugar, maple-flavoured eyes, and a Nutella ‘O’.

Donut King

Adding some international flair, this franchise, founded in 1981, is based in Australia and has hundreds of outlets across the country. With the Australian market conquered, the Donut King chain has grown into China, which doesn’t seem like the most natural of expansion choices, but I’m not the one who has to explain decisions to shareholders. In 2007, Donut King took part in constructing the world’s largest donut, to celebrate the release of The Simpson Movie on DVD. The project combined 90,000 regular size pastries, a half tonne of pink frosting, and 30kg of sprinkles. The end result weighed 3.5 tonnes and stretched six meters. The effort took 40 people working for nine hours. I only wonder who got to eat the treat at the end of the project!

Flavour Revolution: Apple Fritter Martini

Apple Fritter Martini

  • 1.5 oz Glazed Donut Liqueur
  • 1 oz Apple-Cinnamon Vodka
  • Top with Apple Juice
  • Dash of Maple Syrup
  • Garnish with a Donut

There are some other popular chains around the world, such as Churromania in Venezuela, Go Nuts Donuts in the Phillippines, and Mister Donut in Japan, but they had never come into my consciousness before researching this piece. Still, you have to give credit to all those making doughy snacks across the globe!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
While this recipe doesn’t call for it, I added a dash of Mrs. Sip’s recently-purchased Apple-Cinnamon Vodka and it was a really nice touch. All the other ingredients came together nicely and although I was worried the martini would be too sweet, it wasn’t. All in all, it was quite delicious and a crowd pleaser!

April 18 – High Five

Playing Peeves

Earlier this season, the Toronto Maple Leafs got into trouble for not doing their typical salute to the crowd, following a win. They were accused of snubbing the audience that had recently gone so far as to throw jerseys on the ice, when disgusted with the team’s play. Really, it’s their fault for being Maple Leafs fans in the first place, but I digress. While I don’t have any issue with the salute, one way or the other, here are some other player traditions that should be outlawed:

#5: Staged Fights (NHL)

While this pet peeve bothers me less than others that did not make this list, I figured I’d be fair and try to include as many different sports as I could. I’m not the biggest advocate of fighting in hockey, but I do like the odd tilt, usually between two light/middleweights who are chucking knuckles for a reason. Staged fights between two super heavyweights, only fighting because that’s all they can provide to the game, is a waste of roster spots. With the demise of the hockey enforcer, this happens rarely in today’s NHL. You still see the occasional bout off the opening draw, but it’s usually based off of something that happened in the team’s last contest.

hockey fights

#4: Slapping Helmets (NFL)

Given all the concussion concerns and lawsuits being launched by former players, it blows my mind when I see entire football squads viciously slapping each other on the helmet, in order to CELEBRATE a play. Talk about friendly fire! It almost makes you wish they went back to the days of smacking each other on the ass, as all that might do, is produce a bruise. I think every football player loses credibility in the whole concussion argument, given they’re likely seeing stars after successful plays, with injuries caused by their own teammates. Hmmm, perhaps the NFL should hire me onto their legal team!

#3: High-Fives After Each Free Throw Attempt (NBA)

Okay, so the fouled basketball player steps up to the free throw line, which basically means a take-your-time, unobstructed shot from a mere 15 meters away from the hoop and if he makes the shot, everyone on his team must give him a high-five… hell, they even high-five for a missed shot! There is some debate whether the exchange of pleasantries after each shot helps keep a player loose, or disrupts their technique or needed alterations for the follow-up shot. I think the whole process is ridiculous and I think some players do as well; given there have been instances of hoop stars mocking it.

free throw high fives

#2: Elaborate High-Five Routines (MLB)

What do you do when you’re sport is slower than watching paint dry and you have to play 162 games each season? Develop an elaborate high-five routine, of course! I don’t understand why sports highlight shows are so enamored with this trend and feature the choreographed hand-slapping and fist-bumping performance in their replay packages. Sometimes the act goes on for minutes at a time and yes, I guess that does make it more exciting than the game itself. You would never see this ridiculousness in faster-paced sports, because if a hockey player, for example, tried it, they would be body checked through the boards before they could finish!

#1: Complaints About Running Up the Score

I’ve largely only seen accusations of this in football circles, but the other major leagues will take measures to quell landslide victories. In hockey, you might see the winning team rest its scoring lines, in favour of checking players, while in baseball, bunting and stealing bases may be discouraged. Basketball games are usually too close to call and in football, teams may run shorter plays and not go for big scores. The problem with this is if I paid my hard earned money to go to a contest and my team was obliterating the opposition, why would I want that experience to stop? All fans want to see the stars of the sport do what they are paid millions to do: perform at the highest level, not take a game off.

Super Saturday Shot Day: High Five

High Five Shot

  • 0.3 Grand Marnier
  • 0.3 oz Rum
  • 0.3 oz Passion Fruit Liqueur
  • 0.3 oz Orange Juice
  • 0.3 oz Pineapple Juice
  • Garnish with an Orange Wedge

I can’t believe how many of these items are based on high-fiving. Narrowly missing the list was female tennis players screaming and grunting their way through matches… although, it is kind of hot! Next up, the Sip Advisor should take a look at the greatest pet peeves I have towards sports fans. This would include such gems as dorks leaving a game before it’s over and the completely unnecessary wave.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
This is actually a cocktail recipe, but was easy to convert to a shooter, since all the ingredients were in equal portions already. It’s an incredibly fruity shot, so you know the flavours are going to be nice. The booze quotient could be upped a little so you know you’re drinking a shooter, but the taste is quite enjoyable as it is.

Sip Trips #15: Back to Basics

This last week wasn’t as jam-packed full of events as the last month or so has been, which has allowed for some rest and rejuvenation, as well as a chance to catch up on some recent developments. This may be a briefer than usual Out and About than most, but that doesn’t mean the quality won’t be there!

Our big trip of the week was to visit the Big Rock Urban Brewery and Eatery location, which is finally open. We first heard about this project last July at the Langley Tip N’ Taste event and it has at last come to fruition. Although the place had been opened a couple weeks already, this was to be the “grand opening” weekend, but there wasn’t a whole lot of action going on. Even the live music that was supposed to be playing that night never started up.

Grand Opening Fail

That said, Mrs. Sip and I each found beers we really enjoyed. I liked the smoky flavour of the Rauchbier, while Mrs. Sip enjoyed the richness of the Chocolate Malt Stout. We also tried a couple of the eatery’s appetizers and generally had a good time at the place. I can see the potential for the Urban location, as a great hangout and place to enjoy live music, and hopefully another visit will provide these additional elements.

The Out and About week ended with splitting a couple pitchers of Russell Pale Ale, while scarfing down a feast of smoked meat and other goodies at Dunn’s Famous, along with Ma and Pa Sip and Cousin Sip. Sadly, my Vancouver Canucks lost their opening playoff game in the dying seconds of the third period, but there is much more hockey to be played in the coming days.

Onto some news items, late last week, the schedule of events for the Vancouver Craft Beer Week in late May-early July was released and there were so many great options to choose from. Mrs. Sip and I were quick to grab tickets to the “What the Hop?” Beer Trivia, This Sandwich That Beer Throwdown (pairing sandwiches and beers together), and the Beer Cocktail Competition. We may make even more plans, but tickets to some events have sold out already, so we’ll have to be quick on the uptake.

Cocktails Super Glue

Observant booze shoppers have likely noticed recently that BC Liquor Stores are touting their new extended hours and, for many, being open on Sundays. These are wonderful changes and one can only wonder why it took so long for the government-operated stores to catch up with the times. I mean, who wants to live in a world where alcohol is harder to locate on one of the few days most of us don’t have to drag our asses to work!?

Speaking of the weekend, this one looks a little crazier than the last one, so look forward to next week’s more robust Out and About. Maybe we`ll even pick up some Sunday liquor, just for the heck of it!

Flavour Revolution – Strawberry

Decreased Desires

Nothing beats a plate of chocolate-covered strawberries to celebrate a romantic occasion. There’s also a tradition in France of giving strawberries and cream to newly married couples, as an aphrodisiac. Normally, in this case, we’d take a look at aphrodisiacs out there, but I’ve already written an article on that subject. Therefore, we’re going to flip the script and look at the aphrodisiac’s lesser known (and lesser liked) sibling, the anaphrodisiac… translation: things that will kill your mojo!

Graham Crackers – I’ve mentioned in a previous article how Graham crackers were invented by Sylvester Graham, a Presbyterian minister, who believed that the crackers would suppress sexual urges. Then, some genius got the great idea to throw marshmallows and chocolate on top, funkifying them into smores and the rest of campfire loving is history!

Teddy Grahams

Hops – Bad news for IPA beer fans… although I have my doubts about this one, as I know a lot of beer drinkers that don’t really lose their sexual charge after drinking all night. That said, all alcohol can decrease one’s desires, just based on the drug being a depressant. Why hops, in particular, gets such a bad rap is beyond me.

Corn Flakes – If I was to choose a cereal to get down with, it would probably be something along the lines of Cookie Crisp or Count Chocula. Corn Flakes were invented by Dr. John Harvey Kellogg to suppress libido. The good doctor believed that flavourful food led to flamed loins and so he created an incredibly boring product. They should try using this in their advertising material today. That would work real well.

Soy – Used by monks to suppress their naughty feelings – probably a good thing, given their surrounded by only other monks – soy, in large quantities, is said to kill one’s sex drive. I do like using soy in cooking stirfrys and as a sauce for various dishes, but I may have to be cautious with it now. I mean, who wants a sushi outing to not eventually lead to carnal pleasures!

soy-milk

Mint – What’s funny here, is that mints are meant to lead to sexual attraction (or so the ads tell us), as fresh breath is the starting point to any close encounter. Menthol, however, has actually been proven to lower testosterone. Bad breath, it is!

Cilantro – I’ve never been a huge fan of cilantro – if it’s in a dish, fine, but I’m not going to necessarily search it out – and apparently that’s a good thing. It’s ironic that cilantro is used in many exotic dishes and those are the ones the likes of Dr. Kellogg and Minister Graham believed led to unsavoury desires.

Black Licorice – I don’t want to sound like a candy racist, but why do all the worst candies come in the colour black? I’m talking jujubes, jelly beans, licorice, etc. I’ve never been a fan of black licorice, but do like the red variety. I’m just going to pretend that red licorice is a completely separate strain of the plant and is therefore not exempt from the Sip Advisor’s snack drawer.

blacklicorice

Granola – Today’s modern day granola bars, with their phallic shape (don’t forget the optional chocolate covering!), should be changing the way we view granola, but their original intention was much like Corn Flakes and Graham Crackers, meant to keep thoughts pure and wholesome. Then they started adding all the different flavours to the bars and even the cereal and all hell broke loose!

Cheese – I include this one only as a way to shame Mrs. Sip and all her cheese-loving friends. Yes, the Sip Advisor has begun to dabble in some cheese arts, but nowhere near to the degree as my peers. And that’s why the Sip Advisor is the world’s greatest lover… voted this for many consecutive years in popular surveys. It’s all because of the anti-cheese movement, my little sippers.

Flavour Revolution: Thigh High

Thigh High Martini

There’s even a program out there, looking to help folks reduce their sex drive. These monsters believe that they will help users have deeper relationships and a clearer mind. Where’s the joy in all of that!?

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
There are Strawberry Liqueur recipes called Chocolate-Covered Strawberry and Aphrodisiac, but those seemed too easy to use in this post. Therefore, I chose a drink that gets the Sip Advisor’s mojo rising! This martini was a little sweeter than either Mrs. Sip or me would prefer, but it was very tasty and would be perfect as a dessert cocktail and for those in your life that enjoy the sweeter things in life!

April 11 – Penalty Shot

Line Dancing

As hockey fans around the world gear up for the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Sip Advisor thought it might be a good time to look at some of the sport’s greatest line combos. This list was narrowed down by taking into account the success of the line, as well as how awesome the name they were given was. Let’s get the puck rolling:

#5: West Coast Express – Brendan Morrison, Markus Naslund, Todd Bertuzzi

After a string of dismal years, Vancouver Canucks fans finally had something to cheer about again, when this line began filling the back of the net and piling up points. Once put together, each enjoyed the best years of their career, with Naslund and Bertuzzi even finishing second and third in league scoring during the 2002-03 season. Sadly, a long-awaited Stanley Cup never materialized, thanks in part to Bertuzzi’s indefinite suspension, after punching Colorado Avalanche forward Steve Moore in the back of the head. The West Coast Express is actually a commuter train line in the Sip Advisor’s home area, connecting people living in the suburbs of Vancouver to the downtown core.

West Coast Express Canucks

#4: Capital Punishment Line – Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza, Dany Heatley

Playing in the Canadian capital of Ottawa, the Senators enjoyed their greatest success as a franchise on the backs of Alfredsson, Spezza, and Heatley. The trio took the Senators all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2007, but they were defeated by the Anaheim Ducks in five games. The three stars were also given the nickname ‘The Pizza Line’ thanks to the Pizza Pizza chain offering to give away free slices to ticket holders, anytime the Senators scored at least five goals. With the line racking up points that season, it happened often. Ironically, Canada abolished capital punishment in 1976… I guess this threesome never got the news!

#3: Legion of Doom – Eric Lindros, John Leclair, Mikael Renberg

For a time, Lindros was the most dominant player in the game, utilizing his size, strength, and natural talent. Flanking him on the wings were Leclair and Renberg, who each enjoyed great seasons playing with ‘The Big E’. The line combined for 305 goals and 361 assists over three season, highlighted by a Stanley Cup Finals appearance in 1997. The line’s name was created (or at least borrowed) by teammate Jim Montgomery, before being used and promoted by Flyers announcer Gene Hart. While they weren’t as successful as the Broad Street Bullies of the 1970’s, the Legion of Doom ushered in a new generation of Flyers dominance.

legion-of-doom-flyers

#2: Red Army – Sergei Fedorov, Igor Larionov, Vyacheslav Kozlov, Vladimir Konstantinov, Viacheslav Fetisov

As if three forwards weren’t enough, imagine icing an entire five-man unit that could cohesively work together and dominate the opposition. All hailing from Russia and formerly starring for that country’s national team, the Red Army had been built by Red Wings coach, Scotty Bowman, who had always admired the USSR’s playing style. The gamble worked out well for Detroit, as the team won the Stanley Cup in 1997 and repeated the feat in 1998. Sadly, Konstantinov was not part of the second championship, as just days after the 1997 win, he was involved in a serious auto wreck, which ended his career. The only thing missing was a Russian goaltender to complete the on-ice sweep.

#1: Trio Grande – Bryan Trottier, Mike Bossy, Clark Gillies

When New York Islanders coach Al Arbour combined these three young, highly-touted players in 1977, it’s what would eventually push them over the edge and produce a four-year Stanley Cup dynasty. The line combined for 668 goals and 1498 points, throughout the years, piling up trophies, team records, and other accolades, during that time. Both Trottier and Bossy would win the Conn Smythe trophy as playoff MVP (1980 and 1982, respectively), proving the line was also quite productive in the crunch time that is the playoffs. All three members of the line have had their numbers retired by the Islanders and been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Penalty Shot

Penalty Shot Shooter

  • 0.25 oz Blue Curacao
  • 0.25 oz Gin
  • 0.25 oz Tequila
  • 0.25 oz Citron Vodka
  • Pinch of Cinnamon
  • Garnish with a Cinnamon Stick

Honourable mentions go to the French Connection (Gilbert Perreault, Rick Martin, Rene Robert), the Triple Crown Line (Dave Taylor, Charlie Simmer, Marcel Dionne), and That 70’s Line (Jeff Carter, Tyler Toffoli, Tanner Pearson). While not making up a complete line, one of the most prolific scoring duos in hockey history, Brett Hull and Adam Oates, were given the nickname Hull and Oates, a play on the musical act Hall and Oates… too bad neither of them rocked a great 80’s porn stache!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
This shooter had a nice blue colour until I added the dash of Cinnamon and then it all turned into a fuzzy green hue… I think it still looks okay, though. I used a Cinnamon Stick for garnish to imitate a good ol’ fashioned wooden hockey stick. As for taste, this all came together like a Long Island Iced Tea, just miniaturized. And that’s a drink that goes down easy.

Sip Trips #14: City of Roses

As if Easter weekend and its four days off from work weren’t good enough, the holidays bring with it one of the Sip Advisor’s favourite drinking events of the year: the Portland Spring Beer and Wine Fest. The 2015 edition did not fail to live up to expectations, so let’s look back at all the fun we had!

The journey began with a breakfast pit stop, en route to Portland, at the Train Wreck Bar, in Burlington, Washington. Ma Sip has wanted to split their Bloody Mary breakfast platter, which combines a number of appetizers growing out of a Bloody Mary beverage, for a while. Despite being more of a Caesar man – and it being very early in the day – I was game for this challenge. We went with Absolut Peppar Vodka in our cocktail, as I wasn’t sure my stomach was ready for Sriracha Vodka in the wee hours of the morning.

Bloody Marys

We arrived in Portland in the afternoon and checked into our accommodation. One of the benefits of staying at an Embassy Suites is the daily happy hour, which allows guests to enjoy some snacks and drinks, on behalf of the hotel. And enjoy, we certainly did, with beer, wine, and cocktails flowing on each of the days of our stay. As for the appies, one odd combo was peanut butter that you could add Nerds candies to, which gave it a sour jelly flavour and made for an intriguing dip for pretzels and Goldfish crackers.

Our first meal in Portland was at Der Rheinlander German Restaurant, which provided me and Mrs. Sip the opportunity to each try and share samplers of German beers while enjoying a schnitzel club sandwich and cheese fondue. We put together a nice mix of wheat and dark beers, which complimented our meal quite fantastically.

Saturday was the big day of the Beer and Wine Fest. Mrs. Sip and I were proudly rocking our CAMRA BC t-shirts (where the province’s outline is depicted as a mug of beer) and received numerous compliments on them, as we made our way around the convention floor. Of all the products I sampled, my favourites included Calapooia Brewing Chili Beer (which I went back for seconds and thirds!), Wild Ride Brewing Maple Brown, and Ambacht Brewing Ginger Farmhouse.

Has the province of British Columbia ever looked better!?

Has the province of British Columbia ever looked better!?

We also love the festival for all of the other things going on, such as the information and tasting sessions. Our favourite involves the combination of chocolate truffles, paired with various spirits. It’s also a pleasure to meet our fellow enthusiasts, from volunteers, to wine makers, to brewmasters, and the general public, who love beer, wine and spirits.

On Sunday, we traversed Portland’s downtown core, taking advantage of a nice day, for a mini pub crawl. Our stops included Rogue Distillery and Public House, Henry’s Tavern, and Fat Head’s Brewery. This was my second time going to Rogue and everything is great there, from the staff, to the beers and spirits, to the food. Henry’s Tavern had a neat Portland beer taster pack, which went well with some massive bar pretzels. Finally, we learned of Fat Head’s the day before, at the festival, where we were told that great beer could be combined with the best fried pickles in existence. Mrs. Sip and I specifically enjoyed the process of writing in our beer sampler choices, rather than reading them out to the server.

A highlight of any trip across the border is the chance to do some serious liquor shopping. On this occasion, we grabbed bottles of Ardbeg Scotch, Viniq Shimmery Liqueur (which may be the most fascinating alcohol concept I’ve seen in some time), Wild Roots Apple-Cinnamon Vodka, Southern Tier Brewing Crème Brulee Stout, and the Shock Top Winter Mixer pack, I previously mentioned wanting to track down. I also nabbed a couple odd sodas for future mixing, including Peanut Butter & Jelly and Bacon flavours.

baking-soda

We wrapped up the vacation with a visit to The Yardhouse in Seattle. With 110 beers on tap, making menu decisions isn’t easy, but I quickly gravitated towards the Avery White Rascal, which was a very good decision, if I don’t say so myself.

After a weekend that featured so many new and delicious brews, you would think that we’re all beer’d out, but another week brings a whole new set of opportunities, such as the opening of Big Rock’s Vancouver location and perhaps a little rest!