As we wrapped not only the year, but also the decade, the Sip Advisor was doing a fair bit of reminiscing. It was another fantastic year, filled with shocking developments, explosive action and more twists and turns than a Hollywood blockbuster. Here is the Sip Advisor’s Top 19 of 2019:
Whiskey In the Jar
A new tradition for the Sip Advisor is to attend a friend’s annual whiskey tasting event. In my second year going, I put together a good crew of drinking buddies and we had a great night going back and forth between whiskeys and beers. It was such a good drinking session that some friends have declined joining for 2020.
Cerveza Por Favor
In February, the Sip Family travelled to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for a week at an all-inclusive resort. After breakfast and a few hours of swimming, the drinks usually began flowing at happy hour and throughout the night. Another highlight was visiting the two craft breweries in the area.
For the second straight year, Mrs. Sip and I attended the NHL grudge match between the Vancouver Canucks and Toronto Maple Leafs (the hatred likely more so between the fans than the players) and were rewarded with a Canucks overtime victory. There is nothing sweeter than seeing Toronto lose.
Sweet Home Abbotsford
In our younger years, a fair bit of time was spent playing Guitar Hero, with one of our favourite songs from the series being Free Bird by Lynyrd Skynyrd. With the band in the area for a concert, we had to check it out. Hearing favourites like Sweet Home Alabama, Simple Man and an encore of Free Bird made for a rocking night out.
Say It Ain’t So
Next up was another concert, as Mrs. Sip and I, along with friends, attended the Weezer concert at Rogers Arena. The evening began with an excellent chef’s choice meal at Wildebeest and the good vibes continued right throughout the concert. To close the night, we even ended up in another friend’s private suite for encore time.
Emerald City Easter
Over the Easter long weekend, we took a road trip with Ma and Pa Sip to Seattle, Washington. While there, we got to take Toddler Sip to the Woodland Park Zoo and ride the Great Wheel located in the Seattle Waterfront. Each night of our stay also featured many drinks at the hotel’s cocktail reception.
A six-course Mexican-fusion meal, paired with beers from two of my favourite breweries? It was not hard to commit to the Mucha Lucha Dinner at El Santo in New Westminster. The night was a lot of fun, as the two breweries (Steel & Oak and Four Winds) took turns serving up their wares, paired with a tasty dish from the restaurant.
East End Boys, West End Girls
While in London, the girls in our group wanted a night out at the theatre. In exchange, the guys got an afternoon of watching football, while pouring copious amounts of beer and booze down our gullets. Seemed like a fair trade for all. Heck, even our night in looking after the little ones was a lot of fun, filled with good food and drinks.
Other highlights from our European escapade included wineries in Sicily, Italy; somehow watching the Game of Thrones series finale in Gozo, Malta, after an afternoon of beers at our countryside home; and watching the sunset and chaos on the streets below from our apartment in Vallata, Malta.
The Last Frontier
An Alaskan cruise was up next, starting with one night in Anchorage and three craft breweries. Another memory from the journey was scenic cruising of glaciers, made all the more enjoyable with my concoction of spiced rum and hot chocolate. We also made a point of having a drink in an infamous saloon in each port we stopped at.
For the first time over its 10-year run, Mrs. Sip and I attended the Vancouver Craft Beer Week Festival on the PNE grounds. There were so many good beers to sample, with each brewery bringing more than just flagship options. And boy were there a ton of breweries to choose from, a sign of the success of the industry in these here parts.
Combining two of my favourite things: beer and wrestling, a friend and I attended Parallel 49’s Brawl at the Brewery, where the looks of a wet, rainy day turned into a fun evening of drinking and mat action. After the event, we hit some other local watering holes to wrap the outing.
Mrs. Sip and I first attended the Battle of the Brews in 2018, as a wedding anniversary celebration. We returned in 2019 with a group of friends, which amped up the fun. The last hour of the event was spent racing around the venue, while double fisting our souvenir glasses.
I’ve been to the annual Caskapalooza at Craft Beer Market three years in a row and it’s one of my favourite events on the summer schedule. With so many breweries in attendance, selection is in abundance and it’s a lot of fun trying all the different concoctions the brewers have dreamed up.
To celebrate my and Toddler Sip’s birthdays, we boarded a cruise from Vancouver to Los Angeles, finishing with a day in Disneyland. The entire journey was full of fun and even though not a single drink was drank during our Disney stay, watching Toddler Sip enjoy the park was sweet perfection.
Get Your Dirndl
A new brewery to the scene in 2019, and one in which I am a member of, ABC Brewing threw one heck of an Oktoberfest party. There was a large selection of German beers, from breweries around the Pacific Northwest. The festive atmosphere made for a wonderful afternoon of boozing.
Mrs. Sip’s Mother’s Day gift was tickets to Cirque du Soleil: Luzia, which we attended in October. Prior to the show, we had a fantastic dinner at Coast (part of the Glowbal Group restaurants), dining on lobster and other seafood dishes. The show afterwards was simply a cherry on the sundae.
Looking to get away from the winter weather for a week, we booked a trip to Honolulu, Hawaii in early November. The days were spent swimming, while nights were filled with good food, drinks and long walks around Waikiki. Family memories to last a lifetime.
Our last getaway of 2019 had the family travel to Leavenworth, Washington for the town’s Christmas Lighting Festival. Watching Toddler Sip experience snow for the first time was wonderful. We also had the chance to have a couple drinks outdoors, which is something the Sip Advisor is a bigtime fan of.
‘Tis the Season
For our family Christmas dinner, the Sip Advisor painstakingly put together a menu of cocktails for all to enjoy. The night was spent doing something I really enjoy, tending bar and drinking my own creations. It’s a win-win situation.
There are a lot of honourable mentions that just missed the cut this year (anyone notice I slipped 20 items in, instead of 19!). What does 2020 have in store for this site? A new project begins next week, with the Sip Advisor travelling the United States of America, in search of a cocktail each state is known for!
Confirming the festival meme is 100% accurate.