Well, 2020 – whatever you want to make of the year – is in the books. In our neck of the woods, the year wrapped with not being able to see family and friends over the holidays, so that was challenging. I’d like to think we made the best of the situation, though. Here’s how we finished the year:
To start December, Mrs. Sip surprised me with the Phillips Brewing Space Case Advent Calendar. It included a great collection of 12 limited edition tall can beers, which the brewery had never released before. I really liked the London Fog Witbier, Toasted Coconut Brown Ale and Strawberry Rhubarb Sour, and there wasn’t a bad brew in the bunch.
For the second half of the advent time leading up to Christmas, Mrs. Sip had gathered 12 other beers for our drinking enjoyment. These selections included: Bomber Oktoberfest, Steamworks Blitzen, Collective Arts Stranger Than Fiction Porter, Tree Raspberry Porter, Vancouver Island Nanaimo Bar Porter, Bad Tattoo Watermelon Gose, Old Yale Mango Hibiscus Hazy IPA, Bad Tattoo Peanutbutter Chocolate Porter, Andina Toasted Coconut Chocolate Stout, Collective Arts Saint of Circumstance Citrus Blonde, Foamers’ Folly Jezibaba Absinthe Stout, and Twin Sails Two Straws Milkshake IPA with Apricot.
We made a couple other neat liquor purchases throughout the month, such as Bayou Pink Rum (which was a special release to BC Liquor Stores), ABC Brewing’s Clean Tracts Cranberry Crumble Sour, and Stiggins’ Fancy Plantation Pineapple Rum, which I used for making Mai Tais and Dark N’ Stormys. Mrs. Sip and I also received a tall can four-pack of Farm Country/Steel & Oak Go West DIPA for St. Nicholas Day.
A week into December, Ma and Pa Sip generously took our little ones for an evening, allowing us to take care of a bunch of Christmas errands and enjoy a dinner out at The Boathouse in Port Moody. We took advantage of their Holiday Feast three-course meal, with our orders being Caesar Salad, Honey Sriracha Salmon and Mocha Ice Cream Pie for me, while Mrs. Sip went with Seafood Chowder, Lobster Ravioli and Crème Brûlée, along with a white wine flight. She also selected a Strawberry Watermelon Mojito upon arrival, with my beverage being a pint of Killer Whale Ale by Central City Brewing.
After eating, we went to Parkside Brewing, hoping to pick up their Spectaaculous Spice Cookie Stout. Unfortunately, it was sold out in cans, but we were able to enjoy a pour of it sitting outside the brewery. It was a chilly night, but worth it for a quick drink.
On Christmas Eve day, we visited Northpaw Brewing, ordering a couple of their seasonal brews, the Ginger Amber Ale and Candy Cane Porter. The beers went perfectly with a trio of their Jamaican Patties (two spicy beef and one curry chicken), which we had been craving since trying for the first time back in the summer.
For Christmas, the Sip Advisor received a few liquor gifts, including Swear Jar Whiskey, a massive 1.75-liter bottle of Captain Morgan White Rum (with two Sliced Apple Rum mini bottles attached), a tall can of Dead Frog Winter Beeracle, and a $100 BC Liquor Stores gift card. As one who prefers to give, rather than receive, I gifted Mrs. Sip a bottle of RumChata, as well as a trio of Steel & Oak beers, to go along with their special edition New Westminster glass, where only a very limited number were made and sold out fast.
One downside of the public health orders were that I had spent a great deal of time planning out some cocktails to serve at our family’s Christmas dinner, but those hopes were scuttled. Hopefully I can serve these at a future date, as we celebrate Christmas-ish. If not, I will save them for next year, when the pandemic will hopefully be a distant blip in our collective rearview mirror.
On Boxing Day, we stopped at Barnside Brewing, enjoying glasses of their Fallow Fields Märzenbier and Bourbon Imperial Oatmeal Stout. For the road, we also purchased a bomber of Harvestfest Blackberry Hefeweizen, which is part of a series where the brewery partners with another local business to make a special release.
The next day, we explored the Downtown New West area, where we bought tall cans of Longwood Cake Chocolate Raspberry Stout, Russell Pumpkin Pie Milkshake IPA and Off the Rail Big Chonk Peanut Butter Brownie Porter at Harbour Wine and Spirits at the River Market. Following that, we had dinner at the nearby Kelly O’Bryan’s Neighborhood Restaurant, where I enjoyed a Double Caesar, while Mrs. Sip elected to go with a couple Mimosas. To eat, I had the Crispy Buffalo Ranch Chicken Burger and Mrs. Sip had a delicious Butter Chicken Poutine.
On New Year’s Eve, we popped into Tinhouse Brewing, as we were in the area doing other errands. We split servings of their Roundhouse Imperial Porter and High Knoll Hazy IPA. Afterwards, we grabbed dinner at a drive thru food truck event at the Centennial Community Centre parking lot, picking up dishes of Pulled Pork Poutine and Meat the Parents Mac n’ Cheese. Then we settled in for the night and said goodbye to 2020.
To wrap, I’d like to wish all my little sippers a wonderful New Year. I hope you all have a happy and healthy 2021 and that you remain strong in the face of tough times!