About Daniel Wilson

I love making drinks for my friends and family, and, of course, sampling my concoctions myself! Finding and playing around with recipes is a favourite past time of mine and I hope to share that passion with all my readers.

Sip Trips #167 – Festival Follies

One day removed from returning from our Alaskan cruise, Mrs. Sip and I attended the 10th annual Vancouver Craft Beer Week (VCBW) Festival last weekend. While we enjoyed ourselves, I think my festival days may be done.

Permit me to go on a bit of a rant here: I used to love beer festivals, but view them with such disdain now. When they pop up in my email or on social media, I quickly review the details then often yell at my phone “Ha, I’m not paying that much for so little.” Yeah, I’m THAT guy on public transit!

festival 1

My issue with most festivals stems from how much it costs to get in and how little you get up front. For the VCBW Festival, most people paid $39 for basic entry (VIP tickets were also available) and received absolutely nothing with this price. Tokens were $2 each on top of admission.

To be fair (“to be faaaaaaaaiiiiirrrr” for all the Letterkenny fans out there), I know there are costs associated with renting a venue, licensing, facilities, staff, etc., but throw people a bone here. You don’t have to give them the world, but a few tokens is nice. Or have an all-inclusive wristband option available for purchase.

So why did we go, given those specs? Well, if I’m being frank, we only did this festival because we were one of the first people to buy tickets and because it was the event’s 10th anniversary, we got ours for a smoking deal of only $10 each, plus transaction fee. In that case, you can justify then having to pay another chunk of money on beer sample tokens.

festival 2

By comparison, we will be attending – for the second straight year – the Battle of the Brews in August. For the same price it cost to get into the VCBW Festival, we will be treated to all-inclusive beers and food. For my money (and it literally is), I’d rather not worry about additional costs once I get to the venue. No, my little sippers, I’ve become an all-inclusive guy and I’m too stubborn to change my ways.

Also, transport to Surrey City Hall trumps that which is available to the PNE grounds. Not to go off on a rant within a rant, but how does such a major attraction not have a better transit set up? Every time we go to an event at the PNE (Coliseum or otherwise), we get screwed over with the return trip home.

As I said above, I enjoyed the festival, but that was partly based on not feeling cheated pricewise. What I liked about the event was there were so many breweries on hand and each company brought staples and unique beers to share. Every time we explored one area of the venue, I pointed out to Mrs. Sip that we still had others to venture to. I also liked that you could buy tokens before entering, cutting down on wait times at the event’s commencement.

festival 3

My advice for those who still want to go to the festival despite – or in spite of – my rant, is to go on the Sunday of the weekend-long event. According to a number of the breweries, the crowds on day two were much lighter and we only waited in line for beers once all day and that was for the uber-popular House of Funk Brewing.

Moving on, upon returning home from Alaska, I purchased the Red Racer Across the Nation beer case, which features a collaboration beer with a brewery in each province/territory (except Nunavit). By buying directly from the brewery, rather than a BC Liquor Store, I saved a few dollars, so I’d recommend going that route to anyone who is near Central City’s Surrey location. The case has a number of interesting brews, with my favourites so far being the Kermode Kiwi Saison and Narcisse Smoked Amber Saison. I will probably buy the case a second time, as I’ve shared much of it and the variety is very alluring to me.

This weekend, the Sip Family celebrates my second Father’s Day, where we’re hoping to finally pop into the recently-opened Another Brewing Company (ABC Brewing), as well as visits the acclaimed Bauhaus Restaurant in Downtown Vancouver for a friend’s birthday.

 

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Sip Trips #166: The Last Frontier

The Sip Family is back from our Alaskan cruise and what a time it was. We managed to visit eight breweries, two distilleries and three saloons (a goal I had outlined prior to the trip). With so much to cover, let’s get right to it:

Our journey started in Anchorage, where after settling into our hotel, we walked to the nearby Humpy’s Great Alaskan Alehouse, an eatery suggested to me by Ma and Pa Sip. There, I ordered a pint of King Street Hefeweizen to go with my delicious Crabby Patty Melt. The restaurant has over 50 beers on tap and is known for their halibut fish and chips meal, but I was intrigued by the Crabby Patty, partly because of my fondness for SpongeBob SquarePants.

krabby patty

After dinner and not quite ready to pack it in for the night (and with the sun nowhere near ready to set), we popped into Midnight Sun Brewing, which seemed appropriate. Our pints included the I’ll Have Another Belgian Wheat (with Alaskan blueberries) for me, while Mrs. Sip went with the Panty Peeler Belgian Tripel (with orange peel and coriander). We also split an order of their Soft Pretzel Sticks and were provided a sample serving of the Sockeye Red IPA from the very nice server.

Our last stop before returning to the hotel was Brown Jug Downtown Wine & Spirits. Interestingly, at this liquor store, your ID is checked both at the door and when making your purchase. I bought a bomber of Kassik Brewing’s Morning Wood IPA for a night cap beverage. The beer’s tagline is “Never let a Morning Wood go to waste!” Amen to that!

Speaking of mornings, upon waking up, we went for breakfast across the street at the Glacier Brewhouse. My Biscuits and Gravy were very good and quite filling. We also ordered a flight of beers, consisting of the Bavarian Hefeweizen, Passion Fruit Wheat, Imperial Coconut Ale, Pomegranate IPA, and Blood Orange Double IPA, to go along with our meal.

biscuits-and-gravy.png

Afterwards, we walked to 49th State Brewing, enjoying a seat on their patio, which overlooks the water. Here, we split another flight of beers, including the Fallen Comrade Red Ale, Belgian Pale Ale, Vagabond Saison, Moose Joose IPA, and Kingslayer Braggot. The brewery’s Smoked Marzen Glazed Popcorn was actually good, according to this anti-popcorn curmudgeon.

After travelling from Anchorage to Whittier – which included a close call, where a driver going the opposite direction crossed into our lane and around our vehicle at a decent speed, driving through the road shoulder to our right before returning to their own lane – we finally boarded our cruise. We came packing, bringing aboard three bottles of wine, a handful of mini liqueur bottles and a bottle of Lemon Hart Blackpool Spiced Rum, which was so very tasty. I used the rum in the cruise-offered lemonade and hot chocolate, as well as with mixers I bought during port stops.

Proving that miracles do occur, the Sip Advisor only purchased one cocktail onboard the ship through the entire cruise. It was a good drink, but my original choice was denied because they were doing a menu that could only be ordered at select times. I had narrowly missed the window and the bartender wasn’t willing to help a brother out. My paid for beverage was the Mint Divine (gin, ginger beer, mint, cucumber, lime juice, simple syrup), which reminded me of a Mojito and Gin Buck rolled into one.

mojito smoothie

Our first port stop was Skagway, where I had outlined two breweries to visit, as well as the infamous Red Onion Saloon. As we explored, we also learned about a new distillery in the town, so added that to our itinerary. Up first was Klondike Brewing, where a flight of their five beers set you back a whopping $17. This is also where we first learned Alaskan law allows folks to only purchase 36oz of beer per person, per day at locations. At distilleries, the limit is 3oz of spirits. Up next was Skagway Brewing, where we order a 4oz sample of each of their 10 beers on tap for $2 apiece. The Spruce Tip Blonde was particularly good and is a style that must be tried in Alaska.

Moving on, we walked what seemed to be the length of the town to end up at Skagway Spirits. After sampling their vodka and gin, we ordered some finely-crafted cocktails in their Rhubarb Collins, Rosemary & Grapefruit, Fireweed Cosmopolitan and Bloody Mary. I typically don’t like Bloody Mary’s, preferring the Canadian Caesar, but this was a good rendition of the Caesar’s American cousin. Our last stop was the Red Onion Saloon, a former bordello that was built in 1897. Along with a shared plates of Nachos with Chicken, I enjoyed a pint of Alaskan Icy Bay IPA, while propositioning the gorgeous Mrs. Sip.

The next port was Juneau, where we began our day at the Alaska Fish & Chips Company for pints, as the bartender was very helpful with directing us to some attractions around the city. While Mrs. Sip drank an Alaskan Blonde Ale, I had the Alaskan Hazy Bay IPA (only available on draft). We never made it to the Alaskan Brewing Tasting Room, as it cost $25 each (including guided tasting) to take the shuttle there and back, with Baby Sip being charged full fare.

expensive poor

Instead, we stuck to touring downtown Juneau, popping into Devil’s Club Brewing. Mrs. Sip went with a three-beer flight (Mile 37 Belgian Tripel, Silt Milk Stout, Tangerine Dream), while I ordered a 12oz serving of Princess Peach Milkshake IPA. The server also provided us with a taste of their Summer Lights Cucumber Berlinerweisse Sour Ale, which was light and refreshing.

After that, we moved on to the Amalga Distillery. Following samples of their gin, we got their Sixth & Seward (gin, lilac, lemon, simple syrup) and Rosemary Collins (gin, rosemary, lemon, simple syrup, soda water) cocktails. A gentleman at the bar, who owned a distillery in Indiana, ordered a specially made drink, comprised of rhubarb, mint and other ingredients, which he shared with us.

Our crawl continued with the Red Dog Saloon, the oldest man-made tourist attraction in Juneau. Here, I enjoyed the Alaskan Husky IPA, completing my trifecta of the company’s IPAs. Mrs. Sip had a glass of wine, which seemed a little out of place given the setting, but she’s a classy broad.

classy

We then returned to Barnaby Brewing, which we had stumbled upon earlier in the day when it was closed. I had The Goods from the Woods Spruce Tip Pale, which was satisfying. On the way back to the ship, we briefly stopped at the Pier 49 beer garden for a can of Kenai River Brewing Spruce Tip Double IPA. This was recommended to us back at Alaska Fish & Chips Company and was a very good beer.

Our final port was Ketchikan, where we visited Bawden Street Brewing to begin the day. I had a 16oz serving of their Hooktender Saison, while Mrs. Sip went with a 12oz serving of Berliner Weisse. After some touring of the town, including the scandalous Creek Street, we wrapped the day at the First City Saloon, enjoying a Single Engine Red and Twister Creek IPA, both from Denali Brewing.

Finally, the last day of our cruise was upon us, which typically means finishing off whatever bottles still remain. We began our activities with the Pub Lunch, where Fish & Chips were combined with a bottle of Piraat Belgian Ale. Next up was a wine tasting, featuring a champagne, one white, two reds, and a dessert wine. I was largely dealing with Baby Sip during the tasting, so didn’t get to spend much time savouring the vino.

wine tasting

In the evening, we used the new cruise ship app to order a couple free cocktails. I went with a Manhattan, which was disappointing in both taste and presentation, while Mrs. Sip had a Mai Tai, which wasn’t drank until we had Baby Sip in bed, so had become watered down by that point. My Duty Free bottle purchases for this vacation were the Edward Gunpowder England Spiced Rum and Anchorage Distilleries Ghost Pepper Vodka. I look forward to using both in future recipes.

In closing, I would recommend cruising Alaska to anyone interested. It was great to get off the ship in each port and not have to travel too far to explore the area. People were very friendly and helpful and enjoyed talking to visitors to their state. Mrs. Sip and I are looking forward to returning one day and doing some of the sites we didn’t get to this time around, but feel we made a pretty good dent into the last frontier.

Sip Trips #165: European Escape (Part 2)

After stops in London and Sicily to start our European vacation, we made our way to Malta for the final leg of the getaway. Promptly upon arriving in the country, we collected our rental vehicles and drove to the ferry, transporting ourselves to the sub-island of Gozo. After boarding the ferry, Mrs. Sip retrieved a can of Hopleaf Pale Ale for me, as I waited with a sleeping Baby Sip.

For dinner that evening, we went to the Zebbug Rovers Bar & Grill. Here, I enjoyed the Zebbug Rovers Special pizza (topped with chicken, bacon, ground beef, pepperoni, sausage and BBQ sauce drizzle) with a large serving of Paulaner Weissbier.

The next day, after checking out some of the sites around Gozo, we stopped for lunch at the seaside Churchill Restaurant. For our meal, I enjoyed a Grilled Angus Burger, along with a glass of House Rose. Afterwards, upon being challenged, I performed a near-perfect cannonball into the adjacent Xlendi Bay!

cannonball

Our big stop the following afternoon was a visit to Lord Chambray Brewery. Thanks to a group effort, we all got to try everything they had on tap, with my pint selection being the Sun Blas English IPA. Other favourites included the Fungus Rock Stout and Blue Lagoon Belgian Wheat.

That evening, we managed to finally get our hands on the final two episodes of Game of Thrones – as well as a TV we could view them on – and sat back to enjoy the spectacle. My enjoyment was enhanced by the addition of beers such as the 8.6 Original Intense Blonde Beer, which I became a big fan of during the Maltese portion of our trip.

The next day, we were off to the main island of Malta, staying in the marina area. On our first night, we had a late dinner at the nearby Mamma Mia, known for their Chicken Dippers meal, which was very, very good and really hit the spot after another long day of driving and sightseeing. A pitcher of Cisk Lager was a nice, if not underwhelming, accompaniment to the feast.

pitcher longer

Our next attraction was the walled city of Mdina, where we had lunch at the Palazzo de Piro Café. My Clubhouse Sandwich was unique in that it included boiled egg, but that didn’t detract from the meal. We also split a bottle of Medina Sauvignon Blanc to wash down our food.

Next up, was a visit to Meridiana Winery, where for 12 Euros, we received a four-glass tasting, including the vineyard’s Isis Chardonnay, Fenici Rose, Nexus Merlot, Melqart Cabernet Sauvignon & Merlot. With a bottle of the rose coming home with us, we can recreate the serene experience anytime we want.

To celebrate the return of our rental cars and no longer having to drive, we had another late dinner at Uncle Matt’s Kitchen. There, I had another meaty pizza with the Chicken Farm option. A tall can of Blue Label Amber Ale and glass of house rose completed the feast.

car rental.jpg

We next explored Valletta, the capital of Malta. Our day of exploring ended with drinks at the 200-year-old Caffe Cordina, where I drank a bottle of Farsons Double Red Ale. Baby Sip liked the stop, as she got to chase birds in the small square, as well as receive numerous packs of cookies from the servers.

On our last day, we bought tickets for Malta’s hop-on, hop-off bus. Our main stop was the Marsaxlokk Fishing Village, where we explored and dined at Carrubia, along the waterfront. Mrs. Sip and I weren’t very hungry, but shared a really good breaded cod and chips plate. The restaurant also offered free bruschetta for the table. A bottle of Green Label Delicata made the picturesque spot a perfect ending to the journey.

As mentioned earlier, Alaska is up next, a cruise I’ve been wanting to do for some time. I’m hoping to get some breweries in while there and the typical cruise ship shenanigans are bound to occur. I’ve made it my goal to hit at least one saloon in each port, so that should make things interesting!

Sip Trips #164: European Escape (Part 1)

The Sip Family has wrapped our seemingly annual trek to Europe and have a few days to recover and repack for our next adventure aboard an Alaskan cruise. With so little time at hand, let’s get right to the wrap-up of our most recent crossing of the pond. Part one, will look at our stops in London and Sicily:

Our group of three couples, three babies and two grandmas began our travels in London. On our first evening, weary from the journey, we ventured to The Spencer Pub, located near our Airbnb. Despite the rest of the group each ordering Fish & Chips, I was craving a beef burger. It was delicious and a good choice, although no one was complaining about their meal. To pair with the dinner, I ordered a pint of Watney’s Sarcasm Citrus Pale Ale, which was tasty.

proper pub

After a night’s rest, we visited Windsor Castle. Following a self-guided tour of the grounds, we popped into the Tower Tea Room at the Harte and Garter Hotel & Spa, as the ladies wanted to enjoy an afternoon tea. Being the only guy in the group, I didn’t have much choice, but made the best of the situation, ordering a bottle of Windsor & Eton Guardsman Best Bitter.

With all our group finally amassed, including friends living in London, our next endeavour took us to Hampton Court. The day began with a meal at The Bishop Pub, where I enjoyed a Buttermilk Chicken Burger and pint of Meantime London Pale Ale. I always marvel at how low the alcohol percentage is on beers in London with it being rare to see something surpass 5%. Certainly not what I’m used to at home.

With babies in tow and the girls wanting to see a theatre production, the guys spent a night in on the Saturday, while we would get our turn out on Sunday (on Mother’s Day of all days). We took full advantage of our evening though, stocking up on beers to be enjoyed. My brews included Camden Hells Lager, Gipsy Hill & Yeastie Boys Bogan Bogan Double IPA, Drygate Disco Fork Lift Truck Mango Pale Ale, Drygate Gladeye IPA and Vocation Pride & Joy Pale Ale.

babysitting.jpg

To celebrate Mother’s Day, we convened at Ting in the infamous Shard building for their Shangri-La Royal High Tea. To start, Mrs. Sip and I ordered one of each of their cocktails, which included the Little Miss Royal (vodka, ratafia, isake classic and egg white) and The Little Prince (gin, blue curacao, pineapple, lemon and pastis glacial mint). These drinks were very boozy, which turned some of our group off, but that’s just the way I like my libations.

Then, it was time for the guys to take off and watch the end of the English Premier League season. My two comrades are Liverpool supporters and picked The Comedy Pub to watch the games amongst fellow fans. There, we drank quite a bit, remaining at the bar well after the crowds cleared. Over the session, I tried pints of the Camden Pale Ale and Doombar Amber Ale.

Our next stop was Waxy O’Connors, which is a very cool place with multiple levels and nooks buried underneath the city. After a few more rounds, we decided some food was in order and stopped at the nearest Pizza Hut (cause we’re classy like that) for a couple pies and, you guessed it, even more beers!

pizza hut

The next day, we were off to Sicily, Italy for the second leg of our journey. After a day of travel and some settling in to our place, we went for a late dinner at Ristorante Borgo dell’Etna. There, I enjoyed a serving of their Pasta al Ragu, while a few of us split an 8-Euro litre of house white wine. Gotta love Italian vino pricing!

On day two, we visited the city of Taormina. Unfortunately, it rained pretty heavily that day (as it did nearly every day of our Italy stay, despite our friend’s guidebook saying it rarely rained in Sicily), so we took refuge at La Cisterna del Moro. With a great view, I dined on a scrumptious Calzone Saporito (tomato sauce, mozzarella, ham, mushrooms, artichoke), paired with a half-litre Moretti Rossa beer.

Day three in Sicily finally brought mostly good weather, so we partook in wine tastings at both Firriato Winery and Gambino Vini. Both places had their own charms and we very much enjoyed this day, which offered some easier road circumstances for us drivers. Baby Sip also liked running around the ground, collecting corks and pinecones.

wine more room.jpg

On our final day in Sicily, we booked a Godfather Tour, as a number of scenes from the trilogy were filmed around the island. Getting off to a rough start, due to more inclement weather and traffic gridlock, a portion of our tour was altered from an outdoor wine tasting to a meal at Il Padrino Restaurant. There, we were served about 15 different seafood dishes, with my favourites being shrimp in thousand island dressing and breaded mussels. The desserts were also nice, accompanied by homemade Limoncello, Grappa and Amaro, which you could pour as much as you wanted for yourself. The tour wrapped with a stop in the village of Savoca, where we enjoyed a couple beers to end the day.

Taking advantage of our beautiful Airbnb property, we did a few meals in, enjoying a number of Italian beers and wines to unwind after each busy day of sightseeing. My selection included: Cavaliers Birra Speciale Rossa Artigianale; Arcana Golden Ale, Red Ale and White Ale; Patronus Weissbier; Birotti Weissbier; and Briere De Haute Fermentation La Blonde De Ch’nord, which was my favourite of the bunch.

Upon leaving Italy for Malta (part two of this Sip Trips review), I bought a bottle of Fuoco dell’Etna at the airport, lured in by the bottle’s design which looks like a volcano has erupted (complete with a rocky texture), as well as the liqueur’s 50% alcohol percentage. The booze is supposed to include flavours such as strawberry, citrus and Sicilian herbs, so I’m looking forward to experimenting.

Sip Trips #163: Sudsy Events

The past week in Sip AdvisorLand started with a bang as we attended our much-anticipated Mucha Lucha beer pairing dinner at El Santo in New Westminster. Working with Steel & Oak and Four Winds breweries, El Santo’s chef concocted a delicious six-course meal, featuring grilled rhubarb; chocolate-crusted elk; flaked salmon; bison flank; charred cinnamon ling cod; and lemon cheesecake for dessert. These were paired, respectively, with Four Winds Pequeno Cabo; Steel & Oak Hideaway IPA; Four Winds La Maison Saison; Steel & Oak Marzen; Four Winds IPA; and Steel & Oak Kviek Ale.

I started the evening with the restaurant’s La Condesa cocktail (orange peel-infused Pisco, Amaro Montenegro, lemon, epazote syrup, cascabel chili-sugar rim), which was beautifully presented and quite refreshing. Tickets were $75 (with partial proceeds going to the Canucks Autism Network) and while each beer was only tasting-sized, we left very full and satisfied.

beer pairing

The very next day, we participated in the Craft Cask Clash at One20 Public House in North Delta. For the price of one 12oz serving ticket ($4), participants got a 5oz sample of each cask from six breweries. Vying for a tap line at the bar, the companies brought some interesting casks, including: Russell Lemon Meringue Sour; Fuggles & Warlock Pineapple Destiny IPA; Big Ridge Oatmeal Stout; Old Yale Mango Wheat (with orange peel, lemon, lime, coriander and rum); Parkside Pineapple Jalapeno Pale Ale; and Red Racer Mango Passionfruit ISA.

This event was extremely good value and for all the festivities we attend where we shell out large sums of money, I felt this was one where we leveled that plane out a little bit. Following our beers, we stuck around for dinner at the One20 Public House. I enjoyed a serving of Chicken Strips, while Mrs. Sip went with the Stuffed Yorkies. This was the first time One20 had done an event like this and I hope to see them do similar activities in the future.

beer tap

Over the weekend, I came up with a new concept for my drinking enjoyment. When it comes to BC craft beer cases, I’ve virtually had them all. So, to mix things up, I’m going to do exactly that and create my own mashups. My first attempt came by combining Stanley Park Brewing’s Trail Hopper IPA and Sunsetter Peach Wheat Ale to create what I’m calling the Sunset Hopper. The hybrid was very good, with the bitterness one would expect from an IPA softened by the peach flavours of the wheat ale. I will report on my other developments in the future.

Things will probably be pretty light this coming week, as the Sip Family concentrates on preparing for our vacation to Europe. That said, Cinco de Mayo is around the corner and my collection of various tequilas are itching for some attention. We’ll see if anything occurs that needs to be documented!

Sip Trips #162: Seattle Story

For the Easter long weekend, the Sip Family travelled to Seattle for a few days of good eating and drinking, while also taking in some of the city’s top attractions. Here’s a look back at how we celebrated the break:

Leaving Friday morning, we stopped at Railroad Pub & Pizza in Burlington for lunch. There, Ma Sip and I shared the Reuben Pizza, while I enjoyed a pint of Triplehorn Folkvang Irish Red Ale. I’m really into red ales at the moment, as you’ll see again later and this was one very fine brew. I liked that the restaurant served beer samples in condiment cups, which was a unique twist to the concept.

personal pizza.jpeg

After our meal, Mrs. Sip and I briefly popped into Farmstrong Brewing, where we tried samples of a couple of their beers and purchased a bottle of their Steer You Right Imperial Stout for the road. We have yet to crack the drink open, but look forward to doing so soon.

Next up, was a visit to Walmart to stock up on Easter goodies and other supplies for the hotel. I found a bottle of Caliber Spiced Rum (only $6!!!), which when paired with a case of Dr. Pepper, meant I was drinking all weekend for about $10.

We stayed at the Embassy Suites in Tukwila and I can’t say enough good stuff about the staff at this hotel, particularly the weekend bartender, who immediately made a connection with us and memorized our favourite drinks. What we love most about the Embassy Suites chain is their amazing manager’s reception happy hour (it’s actually two hours), which allows guests to enjoy free drinks and snacks. The breakfast each morning is also very good and an impressive spread to say the least. Between the two, you don’t really need to eat a whole lot when out and about. During the happy hours, I didn’t want to look like a total lush (although I was capable of this), so I paced myself to four drinks each night, or one per half hour. After all, the Sip Advisor is a man of moderation.

moderation cat

As long time readers know, the Sip Advisor is a potato chip connoisseur and I brought along a few recent finds to be enjoyed on this vacation. Walmart in Canada has released a line of chips that are inspired by countries around the world, including India (Tandoori BBQ), Korea (Red Chili BBQ), Thailand (Red Curry) and Portugal (Charcoal Roasted Chicken). My favourites were definitely the Thai and Portuguese varieties, with the former having a butter chicken flavour and the latter just being straight up delicious.

One of the main reasons for the journey to Seattle was to check out the Woodland Park Zoo, which has some fun Easter events for kids and adults alike. Throughout the day, animals around the park are given Easter treats in the form of snacks they enjoy, while there are also egg hunts for various ages. Baby Sip loved running around and collecting the plastic eggs just about as much as she liked seeing all the animals.

Following the zoo, we grabbed a late lunch at Red Mill Burgers where I had the Red Mill Deluxe, while we shared orders of their fries and onion rings. Mrs. Sip also got a Chocolate-Peanut Butter Milkshake, which was thick and tasty.

cats-with-milkshake

On Sunday, we ventured to Pike Market and the Seattle Waterfront. One of our first stops was Cloudburst Brewing, which had some neat beers, but we weren’t able to stay long, as they don’t allow minors into the tasting room. This is something we have found to be unique to Washington, although it may be an issue in other parts we haven’t visited yet. We did partake in a quick 7oz serving each, with Mrs. Sip ordering the Grandma Take Me Home Coconut Imperial Oatmeal Brown, while I selected the Burst Ultra Pure Platinum Hoppy Session American Wheat. Both were quite good.

Along the Waterfront, we rode the Great Wheel, which we were told did three full revolutions, but we got five. The attraction gives you quite the view of the harbour and other landmarks and provided a safe pod for Baby Sip to roam around in.

For lunch, we visited the iconic Ivar’s Seafood Restaurant, sitting in their lounge, which allowed us Waterfront seating with happy hour prices. Here, we had a fantastic meal, with Mrs. Sip and I sharing the Two-Piece Fish & Chips, as well as the Chowder Sampler. We also ordered a serving of their Bruschetta, which is probably one of the best versions of this appetizer I’ve ever tried. To drink, I had a pint of Silver City Ridgetop Red Ale and it paired really well with the seafood meal.

seafood bad

Sadly, all great trips have to come to an end at some point. On our way home, we stopped at BevMo, which allowed me to pick up a couple treats. I grabbed bottles of Beefeater Pink Strawberry Gin – a product I’d searched for last year in London after seeing ads for it – and Crown Royal Texas Mesquite Whiskey. I love when I can only find Canadian goods in the U.S.

With Easter in the rear view mirror, we make our final push towards returning to Europe in early May. Mrs. Sip and I, along with Sis-in-Law Sip, will be attending a six-course beer pairing dinner tomorrow at El Santo in New Westminster. The brewers on hand will be Steel & Oak and Four Winds and we are greatly looking forward to the occasion.

Sip Trips #161: Crashing and Banging

Last weekend was a busy one, as we had a number of items on the schedule. Without further ado, here’s what we got up to in another tightly-packed set of days:

First up, was the Iron Assassin’s Demolition Derby at the Abbotsford Centre. I have been a big fan of demolition derbies for some time, dating back to when they were a regular attraction at the annual Pacific National Exhibition. If they were doing four shows per day, I would try to catch all four. We enjoyed this event, bringing Baby Sip along, but found it to be a little disorganized. First, after arriving a few minutes late for the noon start time, we found them still setting up the arena. Next, the event simply ran too long. We left after three hours at the place and they still had a handful of events to go. I will always kick myself for missing the minivan derby, but there’s only so much vehicle exhaust and noise (in an indoor setting) I can take before I’m done. While there, we snacked on some very tasty Chicken Strips and Fries, paired with a Sleeman’s beer.

demolition derby

That evening, we attended a friend’s birthday party at the Billy Bishop Legion in Kitsilano. The place was offering karaoke, so Mrs. Sip and I delivered our thought-provoking version of “I Hate Everything About You” by Three Days Grace. We hadn’t performed the song in about 10 years and it showed! Quick note: if you choose to do karaoke, it’s probably best to pick a song where you know ALL the lyrics, and not just the chorus. At least the beer was well-priced and I enjoyed a few pints of Vancouver Island Piper’s Pale Ale over the course of the evening.

On Sunday, we gathered to watch the eagerly-anticipated Game of Thrones season premiere. For the occasion, I concocted a collection of themed cocktails, including: White Walker (Candy Cane Vodka, Hawaiian Punch Berry Blue Blast), King Slayer (PermaFrost Schnapps, Goldschlager, Tabasco), Red Priestess (Fireball Whiskey, Cranberry-Lemonade Juice, Lemon Juice), Mother of Dragons (Orient Apple Vodka, Lychee Liqueur, Club Soda). My favourite was the White Walker, which had this really interesting blend of mint and berry, exactly as I had envisioned it would.

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While prepping for the Game of Thrones return, I visited a BC Liquor Store to pick up some beers for guests. My purchase was the Stanley Park Concession Stand Summer Mix Pack, featuring their SunSetter Peach Wheat Ale, Trail Hopper IPA, DayTrip West Coast Lager and small batch Summer Hefeweizen. I also spotted a couple interesting products in Crown Royal Peach and a 99-Can Pabst Blue Ribbon pack, which screams beer pong tournament or century club challenge.

Upcoming, the Sip Family is off to Seattle for the Easter extra-long weekend. There, we’ll explore a few of the breweries and get up to other shenanigans. We’re also hoping to stop in Bellingham at some point to enjoy their 2019 Beer Week. Should be a fantastic time!