Over the Christmas break, the Sip Family returned to a familiar destination: Leavenworth, Washington. That said, it had been about 10 years since we last vacationed in the Bavarian-themed town for the holidays and so much has changed since.
The journey started with a trip to BevMo, shortly after crossing the Canada-US border. Here, I picked up a collection of mini liquor bottles to give out as part of our stocking stuffer exchange, where each person was responsible for a small gift – around $5 – for each of the other 10 family members. I tried to select a perfect spirit for each person, including Jameson Whiskey for Father-in-Law Sip, Sailor Jerry’s Spiced Rum for Pa Sip, Peach Schnapps for Cousin Sip, and Chambord for Mrs. Sip.
We arrived late Friday night in Leavenworth, allowing us a full day to explore on Christmas Eve. We began by popping into a couple of the wine tasting rooms that line the very busy Front Street, before taking refuge at Icicle Brewing at the end of the road. Although we could only find seating outside, this was a definite highlight of the vacation for the Sip Advisor, as it made me feel as if we were enjoying a true European Christmas market.
As for drinks, I started with the Bootjack IPA, while Mrs. Sip enjoyed a serving of their Christmas Spiced Altbier. I then moved on to what would become my favourite beer of the trip: the Dark Persuasion German Chocolate Cake Ale. I mean, does it get much better than sitting in a Bavarian-inspired town, drinking beers outdoors, and having one of them be of the German Chocolate Cake variety!? On another visit on Boxing Day, we also ordered pints of the brewery’s Colchuck Raspberry Wheat and Timbertown Brown.
For celebrating in the room, I picked up New Belgium Brewing’s Folly Pack. Included in the set was their Fat Tire Amber Ale, Citradelic Tangerine IPA, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ale (a collaboration with Ben & Jerry’s), and 2-Degree Below Ale. I really liked each of the brews in this collection and particularly enjoyed the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ale, which had the neat aftertaste of both chocolate chips and cookie dough.
Our stocking stuffer exchange was a lot of fun, including such gifts as a can of Big Rock Winter Spice Ale, can of Iron Horse Cozy Sweater Ale, flashlight, photo frame, lotto scratchers, Pez dispenser, mug, shot glass, and Starbucks gift cards. I look forward to doing this again in future years. As far as Christmas gifts with a boozy spin goes, Ma and Pa Sip provided me with a BC Liquor Stores gift card, while Mrs. Sip stuffed a bomber of Barkerville Demi-Mondaine Dunkelweizen in my stocking.
For Boxing Day, we did a bit of a drink crawl, which included another wine tasting room and the aforementioned secondary visit to Icicle Brewing. As we left Icicle, we serendipitously were approached by a family looking for Blewett Brewery. We decided to help them out in finding the place we didn’t know even existed and ended up at another great tap house.
While at Blewett, I tried their Winter Warmer Ale, while Mrs. Sip opted for the Belgian Wheat Ale. Ma Sip even grabbed a glass of one of the cider’s they had available. We also tried a taster of their Cinnamon Vanilla Bean Imperial Stout and chatted with one of the co-owner’s, Kyle, who mentioned the operation had only been open for a few months.
The vacation provided a wonderful way to get away from the usual Christmas pressures, while also allowing for a great deal of family time in one of the most amazing settings to enjoy the winter season. I would recommend anyone check out the area at some point in their life and particularly if you want a genuine Christmas experience.