Sip Trips #198: June Jubilations

It would be an understatement to say June was an insane month. We did a ton of stuff and had our first vacations since last summer. There’s lots to cover, so let’s get right to it:

To begin the month, we took the Sipplings to Science World, finally getting to return to the playground that was shutdown for much of the COVID emergency. Following a few hours of play, we hopped onto one of the Aqua Buses and made our way to Granville Island. There, we had lunch at Popina, where I ordered a Crispy Chicken Sandwich and Fries, paired with a Hoi Polloi Lager (made by Powell Brewing for Popina), which was a happy hour special.

While in the area, we also visited Granville Island Brewing for a beverage. Having tried almost everything on the menu, I went with the Fancy Pants Pale Ale (from the brewery’s Taproom Series). On our way out, we purchased bombers of the Granvillator Doppelbock and Quad 2020 (Cellar Series), along with a tall can of Flamingo Mango Hibiscus Sour.

cat flat tire

My last day of parental leave was partially spent at Another Beer Company, where I had servings of The Roark Revival Hazy Triple IPA and Hermanos Dark Lager. Mrs. Sip took advantage of bartender Nique being there, ordering a pair of his specialty cocktails (Bourbon-Mango and Mezcal-Aperol-Grapefruit). As we tried to leave to pick up Girl Sip from playschool, I realized I had a flat tire. Mrs. Sip quickly booked an Uber to get to the playschool, while I was left behind with Boy Sip and a wait for the tire to be changed. That’s when a beer rep for Deep Cove and Bad Tattoo, among others and the marketing manager for Locality Brewing in Langley swooped in to save me. They changed the tire, as I kept Boy Sip entertained, and wouldn’t accept any offer for me to buy them some beer to go, to show my appreciation. Thank you again to these thoughtful folks!

With the stress of the day out of the way and restaurants opened up again to serve groups of friends, a few of us met at Piva Modern Italian for a decadent meal. I enjoyed The Dinner Burger, along with a couple servings each of the Steel & Oak Red Pilsner and Royal City Blonde Ale. Much thanks to Ma and Pa Sip for looking after the Sipplings, while we celebrated the end of my work freedom.

Later in the month, we finally got to travel again, spending a handful of days in Whistler. On our way to the resort community, we stopped at Container Brewing to pick up packs of Bak’d Cookies for Father’s Day gifts to our respective dads. When in Rome, we decided to try some beers from this new-to-us brewery. Our two flights were comprised of the Origin NEIPA, Daydreamer Fruit Sour, Juggernaut Wee Nitro Imperial Stout, All Season Nitro Stout, Forty Footer West Coast IPA, Panamax ESB, Heavy Wallet Rye Saison, and Destination DIPA. The place had a nice outdoor area and cool vibe, so I’d like to go back.

cookies

Since we were out that way, we reasoned that we just had to pop into Storm Brewing, one of our all-time favourites. I had a cup of the Arnold Palmer Ale, while Mrs. Sip tried the Purple Rain Ale. Both were as creative as we’ve come to expect from the brewery. For the road, I also grabbed a tall can four-pack of the Dill Pickle IPA, which has a fantastic label of Storm’s mad scientist looking like Rick from Rick & Morty.

For dinner on our first day in Whistler, we went to Dubh Linn Gate. Ma Sip and I split the Crispy Cajun Chicken Sandwich, which was just enough for the two of us. I paired my meal with a serving of Slackwater Idleback Amber Ale, which I would ironically get when we visited the brewery a couple weeks later. I do really like Amber Ales, so I’m not surprised I went with this choice both times. Our meal was followed by the Vallea Lumina attraction, which even on a second visit is so visually and aurally stunning that I fully endorse people checking it out.

Ma and Pa Sip offered to look after the kids one of the nights we were in Whistler, so Mrs. Sip and I could enjoy a date night. I planned the occasion, starting at Coast Mountain Brewing for a pint each (Hope You’re Grapefruit IPA and Bloem Saison), to get us into the mood for our activity at Forged Axe Throwing next door. The axe throwing was a lot of fun with our guide doing his best to teach us how to properly throw and getting us to play some games while learning. Best of all, we were able to enjoy a couple drinks while throwing, each going with a tall can of Whistler Hazy Trail Pale Ale. Before heading back to the Village for dinner, Mrs. Sip ducked back into Coast Mountain to grab two tall cans of Zut Zut Chili Chocolate Stout to go.

axe throwing

With a little time to kill before our dinner reservation, we walked over to Basalt Wine & Salumeria for pre-dinner cocktails. Mrs. Sip had the Alpenglow (Bombay Gin, St. Germain, rosemary, lime, cranberry bitters), while I went with the Smoke Show (Montelobos Mezcal, Aperol, Luxardo Originale, lime juice). Both drinks were very good and we would have stayed to sample more of the menu if we didn’t have our reservation.

Our meal took place at Stonesedge Kitchen, where we opened with the Baked Camembert and a side of Truffle Fries. My main dish was the Fried Chicken Sando with Kale Caesar Salad (ugh, I hate kale so very much, but we’d already ordered fries as an appy), while Mrs. Sip went with the Pacific Halibut. For drinks, we ordered a bottle of Laughing Stock Chardonnay, a winery we would visit by the end of the month.

On our journey back to the hotel, we stopped into a nearby liquor store, buying some tall cans, which included a quartet from Ile Sauvage Brewing (Tropique Sour with Pink Guava & Vanilla, Nordique Rye IPA with Juniper Berries, Abricot Golden Sour with Apricots, Achtung Berliner Weisse with Passion Fruit and Hibiscus) along with the Bad Tattoo Zen Out Chai Stout.

sour beers

The next day, we checked out the Train Wreck hike, where a number of train cars that derailed in 1956 have been colourfully painted. Following that trek, we popped into Whistler Brewing. I had the Sunny Daze Yuzu IPA, which was only $5 for a 20-ounce pint. Mrs. Sip had the very interesting Be Kind Butterfly Flower Lager, which was purple and had a very unique taste.

Father’s Day was our last full day of vacay and we began the annual salute to dads with lunch at the High Mountain Brewhouse. I went with the Traditional Poutine with Beef, paired with servings of the Grizzly Brown Ale and Farmhouse Ale.

On our walk afterwards, we found ourselves at the Bearfoot Bistro for a pair of cocktails in the Off Guard (Don Julio Tequila, Cachaca, passion fruit, condensed milk, lime nutmeg) and Bed of Rose’s (Ketel One Grapefruit & Rose Vodka, Lemon Vanilla syrup, rhubarb bitters). Again, the drinks were very good and had we been without kids, we may have had a couple more, but it was time to get the Sipplings into the very fun resort pool, complete with water slide.

water slide

It should also be noted, Mrs. Sip spoiled me with a trio of Father’s Day gifts. These included bottles of Bumbu X0 Rum, Aviation Gin and Lagavulin Distillers Edition Scotch. Ma and Pa Sip also gifted me a case of Vancouver Island Brewing’s Summer Outpost Mix Pack, complete with Islander Lager, Broken Islands Hazy IPA, Twisted Stalk Blackberry Helles and Beachcomber Hefeweizen.

The following week, we were on our way to Penticton (which means “a place to stay forever”). En route, we stopped at Mountainview Brewing in Hope, giving the kids a chance to get out of the car for a bit. We tried the First Blood Orange Imperial Wheat Ale and Bokeh Hazy IPA, grabbing a tall can four-pack of the Wheat Ale to go, which by name alone is an amazing brew. First Blood (the first movie in Sylvester Stallone’s Rambo franchise) was filmed in the small town, which doubled as Hope, Washington. I also finally got to see the Rambo statue at Memorial Park.

Once in Penticton, a beer run was necessary to stock up for the weekend. We dropped into Riverside Liquor Store, which had a massive selection of all types of libations. I walked away with packs of Neighbourhood Sunshine City Passion Fruit Wheat Ale, Tin Whistle Coco Galore Coconut Hopfenweisse and Russell Belgian Split Pack (comprised of the Dark Belgian Single and Belgian Tropical IPA).

beer run

Trying to stave off the oppressive heatwave the entire province was suffering through, we headed to the hotel pool, where the bar was serving up reasonably-priced double cocktails. Mrs. Sip and I shared a trio of drinks, which were all good. Sadly, the pool bar closed earlier than planned the rest of our stay, as the extreme heat caused some employees to quit and the bar became understaffed. That said, we were able to go into the nearby The Station Public House to grab drinks and return to the pool with them. More on the pub in a moment.

On our last full day of vacation, our crew went to do wine tastings at Van Westen Vineyards and Laughing Stock Vineyards. At Van Westen, the tasting took place in the winery’s freezer, which provided some great relief from the heat. The staff also provided kids with chalk and allowed them to create art around the space. Laughing Stock had a nice outdoor setting for us, but it was almost too hot to enjoy the views. I really like the theme Laughing Stock has fully jumped into, using stock-themed wine names, calling club members investors and other fun tactics to separate themselves from other wineries.

That evening, the guys got to spend some time without kids, as was our deal when we let the ladies have a wine outing the day before. Not wanting to head into town to check out the breweries, we had dinner and drinks at The Station Public House. We had ordered takeout from there the day before, with the Sip Advisor enjoying a Louisiana Chicken Sandwich with Sea Salt and Parm Garlic Fries. On this occasion, I went simple but satisfying with the Chicken Fingers and Fries. My drinks over our lengthy stay, which also included a foray to their Cornhole playing grounds, was two cocktails – a Cranberry Dark N’ Stormy and Summer Mule – and a pair of beers, including Fernie Hit the Deck Hazy IPA and Bad Tattoo Juice Bomb IPA.

cornhole

Prior to making the long drive back home, Mrs. Sip and I dragged the Sipplings to a couple breweries in the downtown core. We started at Neighbourhood Brewing, trying servings of their Way of Life Hazy IPA, Finesse Belgian Blonde and Dark Magic Horchata Milk Stout. We also took advantage of the brewery’s food menu, with orders of Tatchos and the Mooana Carne Asada and Piggie Smalls Al Pastor Tacos.

Next up, was Slackwater Brewing, where Mrs. Sip went with a flight (Nautical Nonsense Pineapple Sour with Pink Sea Salt, Pool Party Margarita Session Ale, Surfcaster New England IPA with Mango, Apricots and Galaxy, Totally Pitted Smoked Peach Sour), while I drank that second pint of Idleback Amber Ale mentioned earlier. The neat thing here, was they offered a Kids Juice Flight, allowing younger ones to get in on the fun. Girl Sip isn’t much of a juice junkie, but she got to sample apple, orange, cranberry and grapefruit juices, of which she really liked the apple.

Our final stop of the day was at Chilliwack’s Farmhouse Brewing, where we shared a delicious Pepperoni Pizza and Farmhouse S’more dessert. My beverage of choice was the Hazy Session Ale ISA, which completed our meal.

That was the month. It went by in a blur, as you can see from all our activity. Will July live up to the high expectations June set? Time will only tell.

What I Missed Most During the Pandemic – COVID-Ninetini

As the light at the end of the tunnel approaches and we begin our long-awaited return to normalcy, I spent some time reflecting on what I missed most during the last 15 months of pandemia. In no particular order, here’s what the Sip Advisor is craving:

Beer/Cocktail Events

Mrs. Sip and I love a good booze bash, going to many throughout each year. I can’t wait for a few festivals to start dotting the calendar again. Some I eagerly await returning are Battle of the Brews in Surrey and Caskival events at Vancouver’s Craft Beer Market.

Sports

To start seeing live audiences at games again almost brings a tear to my eye and highlights how much the atmosphere has been missed as leagues forged ahead in empty arenas and stadiums. Boy Sip, born right as the pandemic was taking effect around the globe, has yet to see a live game, while his older sister had been to a handful of hockey and soccer games well before she could even walk.

Crowds

Movies

We didn’t go to many movies after having children, but we managed to get to the odd film here and there. I’ve also found that with theatrical releases on hold, the offerings on streaming services have suffered in quality and quantity. Typically, each week, I would find a bevvy of new items to add to our watch lists, but those additions have dwindled as the pandemic has crawled along.

Seeing Friends

While it was nice for a time to focus inward on family, especially with a newborn and toddler, nobody wants to spend THAT much time with your home unit! Seriously, though, I feel some periphery friendships have suffered irreparable harm with not being able to keep in contact over this extended time.

Concerts

Mrs. Sip and I had began going to concerts more regularly leading up to the pandemic, seeing acts from our younger years (Bush, Stone Temple Pilots), as well as before our time (Tom Petty, Lynyrd Skynyrd). Seeing who was coming to town was something I was quite enjoying and I was working my way through a bucket list of sorts of groups/musicians I wanted to see.

Concerts

Comedy Shows

Much like with the concerts, I always had on my radar which comedians were coming through Vancouver and its surrounding suburbs. Now that clubs are able to start booking acts again, I’ve already identified a show or two which we will try to be at.

Travelling

From simple trips across the border and within our own province, to crossing oceans and continents, Mrs. Sip and I definitely felt the sting of a year without travel. As tourism within our province opens up again, we already have two upcoming vacays to look forward to and even more in the early planning stages.

COVID-Ninetini

COVID-Ninetini

  • 1.5 oz Vanilla Vodka
  • 1 oz Coconut Rum
  • Splash of Pineapple Juice
  • Garnish with a Mask

What have you missed throughout the state of emergency? On the flip side, there are many things I will happily bid adieu to as we return to normal life. Among them, I will definitely not miss people using the pandemic as an excuse for behaviour they were known for before COVID-19. Also, I can’t wait for a day where the words pandemic and COVID-19 are no longer part of our daily language and conversations.

Sip Trips #197: May Mania

May was my last full month on parental leave and with pandemic restrictions likely to lessen after the May long weekend, we were hoping to capitalize on the improving weather as much as possible. Let’s see what the month had in store for us:

Early in May, a friend and I visited Camp Brewing, where I enjoyed pints of their Cherry Brut Ale and Anorak IPA. We were impressed with how quickly we were able to get a seat at the popular brewery and it was nice to see the additions they’ve made to expand their outdoor space.

That week, Mrs. Sip took a couple days off from work to join me and the Sipplings. Each day, we stopped somewhere local for lunch, with our first eatery being Burger Heaven in New West. I had a very interesting and tasty Thai Beef Burger, which I paired with a pint of Steel & Oak Shiny Things IPA. The restaurant’s Potato Wedges were also good.

potato wedges

The next day, we went to Central City Brewing, taking advantage of their new patio area. From the onsite food truck, I ordered a Nashville Chicken Burger, which I really liked. My beverage of choice here was the Mango Ale, which was quite juicy and flavourful.

For Mother’s Day, I created the Mother’s Little Helper cocktail, featuring Bayou Pink Rum, Lime Juice, Lemonade, Club Soda, and finished with a float of Galliano. It all came together quite well taste and scent wise, but the pink colouring I was going for was lost once the yellow ingredients took over. Still, the final product was enjoyable, so I made peace the presentation concern.

Later in the month, after riding the SeaBus to North Vancouver, we ate at Tap & Barrel: Shipyards. Enjoying a seat on their back patio, I had a pint of Superflux Happyness IPA, to go along with an order of Chicken Strips and Fries. Both were delicious and the strips were served in Mrs. Sip’s preferred light breading style, so she was happy to steal from my plate.

chicken strips

For the May long weekend, I did a fair bit of liquor shopping, making sure we’d be well-stocked for our stay at Ma and Pa Sip’s place. For Mrs. Sip, I grabbed the Unibrou Mix case (two each of six different beers). For myself, I picked up the Four Winds Notus Series 8-Pack (two each of four different 4.5% beers), as well as the Spinnakers Peach Paradise Hefe tall can four-pack. The Hefe also comes with a 4.5% ABV, which is a summer sweet spot for me.

The month ended with me getting to enjoy a day off from everything, as Mrs. Sip and I gifted each other one kid-free, spouse-free day for Mother’s/Father’s Day. In preparation for my day, which had to be used early because of other plans each weekend leading up to Father’s Day, I bought a bottle of Sailor Jerry’s Spiced Rum, which has been missing from my bar for far too long.

rum

My day off began with watching a Ron White comedy special on Netflix, over Burger King lunch and a pair of Spiced Rum and Cherry Cokes. Next up, was time spent on our balcony, listening to music and sipping a set of Bramble Gin and Tonics. This was followed by watching the Toronto Maple Leafs-Montreal Canadiens playoff game with Chinese dinner from Chan’s Garden and a Fernie Session IPA. With the game over and me elated the Canadiens extended the series (or at least that the Leafs lost), it was back onto the balcony for sunset. Once the weather got a little chilly, I hunkered down on the couch to watch a couple episodes of Dark Side of the Ring, with a couple Mandarin Orange Dark N’ Stormys. Selfishly, I can’t wait to have another of these respites.

I’m now back at work, but June has a few vacations on the schedule to look forward to. Exploring Whistler and Penticton should provide many drinking opportunities, all of which you’ll hear about in the next Sip Trips!

Sip Trips #195: March Milestone

We ended February needing to get Baby Sip to 11 more breweries to hit 52 (one per week) in the first year of his life. Did we achieve the feat? Read along and find out, as we look at the Sip Family’s March madness:

Things all began with a trip out to Steveston and Britannia Brewing. I took advantage of their Dine Out Vancouver menu, with my selections being Crispy Buttermilk Chicken, Crab & Chili Spaghettini and Sticky Toffee Cake. Mrs. Sip started with some Truffle Popcorn, followed by a bowl of Clam Chowder. All of the food was delicious, which we paired with the Sirens Chai Saison and Blackberry Saison, split between the two of us.

On our way back home, we dropped into Fuggles & Warlock Brewing for a flight. Our board included the Mountain View Black Currant Sour, Plasma Blaster Pale Ale, Mexican Saison and The Dark Cow Chocolate Hazelnut Belgian Stout. Of the bunch, I particularly liked The Dark Cow.

Flight of Beers

Our next outing took us through Abbotsford, Chilliwack and even Hope. The day started with a visit to Ravens Brewing and a flight consisting of their Target Practice Wheat Ale, Three Monks Belgian Triple, Jackalope Kviek IPA and Corvus Lingonberry Lime Gose. Had we not had a long day ahead of us, I could have stuck around to try a few more things, but we were on the road again quickly.

Next up was Bricklayer Brewing in Chilliwack. Mrs. Sip and I built a flight of the Burnin’ Down the House Smoked Table Beer, 20/20 Till Infinity Gin DIPA, I’ve Been Thinking Raspberry Brut IPA, 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover Date Doppel Bock, and added the Guava Coconut Hazy IPA (a collab with Mountainview and Farmhouse for International Women’s Day). We also tried their Focaccia-Style Pepperoni Pizza, which hit the spot. For the road, we grabbed a crowler of the DIPA.

Our final stop of the Journey took us all the way out to Hope and Mountainview Brewing. Our flight here included the Sweethearts IPA, Dark Side Schwarzbier, Gentle Giant Mint Chocolate Stout and Staycation Guava and Coconut Hazy IPA. We also ordered a couple snacks, such as an Everything Bagel Pretzel with Mustard and Queso and a Spinach & Feta Roll. The only downside of the entire trip was the Rambo statue in Hope (where the first movie was filmed) was put away for the winter.

Flight Attendant

The next day, we were back at it, heading out to the Tri-Cities area. We began our day on Port Moody’s Brewers Row and a stop at Twin Sails Brewing for pints of the Would Crush Raspberry Wheat Ale and Stiff Peaks Double Milkshake IPA with Cherry. Next up was Mariner Brewing in Coquitlam for a flight consisting of their Blueberry Sour, Mystery Pale Ale, Belgian Strong Ale and Salted Caramel Stout.

After many months of silence, I finally received another BevTri sample, in the form of Canadian Club Rye. Arriving along with a bottle of Fever-Tree Sicilian Lemonade, this allowed for making a CC Whiskey Sour, which was tasty. I really like when a mixer and suggested recipe are included with the liquor sample, as has happened for two of three received mini bottles.

With only a few more breweries needed to get Baby Sip to his 52, we took another trip out to the Mission and Chilliwack areas, starting our day with lunch at Mission Springs Brewing. Ma Sip and I shared the pub’s Teriyaki Gourmet Fries, which I paired with a pint of White Owl Pale Ale. I love these fries and get them anytime I’m at Mission Springs or one of the other eateries owned by the Springs Group.

Fries

After lunch, we made our way to Farmhouse Brewing in Chilliwack. They have a beautiful space, particularly their outside picnic area. As this was my first visit there, I put together a flight to try a cross-section of their offerings. My board included the Marzen (a collab with Old Yale), Mandarin Ginger Sour, Grove Dry Hopped Lemon Wit and Nightfall Dark Lager. One of the brews I had hoped to order was sold out, but that just means a return trip is necessary.

Our last stop was Old Yale Brewing, where I had a pint of their Tropical Coconut IPA. At this point of the day, the kids were a little tired of being stuck in cars and breweries, so most of my attention (along with Ma and Pa Sip’s) was spent keeping the little ones happy and the visit was a little quicker than I would have liked.

Brewery #52 came the next day, as we dropped into Dogwood Brewing for lunch. Mrs. Sip and I shared yet another flight, comprised of all of their available brews: Honey Lager, Coffee Amber Ale, Coconut Chai, Just Chai Golden, London Fog, and Woodstock IPA. We also ordered the Meat Lovers Pizza and a pair of Samosas, all of which was scrumptious.

Pizza

Not content to stop at 52 breweries, we also checked out the newly-opened Studio Brewing in Burnaby. It looks like it will be a great new space with a patio for nice days. We sampled a trio of their brews, including the Daisy Chain Saison, Embarrassment of Riches IPA and Sleeveless Errand Hoppy Table Beer.

On Baby Sip’s first birthday, part of our celebration was a stop at Dead Frog Brewing. I enjoyed a pint of the Five Frogs Imperial Brown Ale (a collab with Five Roads Brewing), while munching away at Mrs. Sip’s Brewer’s Popcorn. Remember, the Sip Advisor is not a popcorn guy, so it has to be really good stuff for me to indulge in it.

That weekend, we were afforded some time without the kids (thanks Ma and Pa Sip!), so Mrs. Sip and I ventured to Glass House Winery in Langley. Over a meal of their delicious Glass House Burger, I had pints of the Stanley Park Parkbeer Pinot Gris Pils (a collab effort with Glass House), Field House Dutch Pale Ale and Field House IPA. I really liked the set up at Glass House and being able to have a few beers at a winery was a welcome win for me. More wineries should do this, as many breweries offer wine, but reciprocation seems to be rare.

Drinking

Before heading home, we also popped into Backyard Vineyards, where I built a flight of their 2019 Pinot Gris, 2019 Rosé, 2018 Syrah and 2017 Reserve Syrah. I particularly liked the Rosé and Reserve Syrah, so we bought a bottle of each for future drinking.

That wraps a very busy March with visits to 13 breweries in 18 days. April has definitely seen less action so far (even though I’m finally getting this online halfway through the month), which could, in part, be due to the current pandemic restrictions on the province. We’ll have to see if the second half of the month ramps up or not.

Sip Trips #193: January Jubilee

The focal point of this month was Mrs. Sip’s birthday, which we managed to celebrate in a couple different ways, despite ongoing pandemic restrictions. Here’s what we got up to in the first month of 2021:

Part one of celebrating Mrs. Sip’s birthday was attending a cooking course at Dirty Apron in Downtown Vancouver. We arrived early, so dropped into the neighbouring Devil’s Elbow for a couple happy hour pints first, including the Townsite Savary Beaches Witbier and Faculty Centennial Red Ale. Both 20oz beers were ordered under the restaurant’s $6 happy hour and Mrs. Sip also got the Mac N’ Cheese Cornbread for a snack.

As for our dinner, our cooking course featured a four-course meal, each paired with a B.C. wine selection. While it would have been more relaxing to not have to cook the meal ourselves, we learned a few new tricks and enjoyed the experience. Our courses included Prawn Gyoza with Wild Goose Riesling, Salmon and Potato Cake with Arrowleaf Pinot Noir, Duck Breast with Hester Creek Character Red and Apple Almond Tart with Clos de Soleil Saturn for dessert.

Cooking

Later that weekend, we went to Moody Ales in Port Moody, enjoying pints of their Intrepid Matcha Saison and Chocolate Mint Stout. We also took home bombers of the Saison and Sublime Pineapple Hefeweizen and the putting provided an opportunity to take Toddler Sip to the park nearby.

Leading into the following weekend, Mrs. Sip and I took Baby Sip out for brunch (or as I prefer to call it, Blunch, since I only order lunch menu items) at Angelina’s Dutch Corner, where I had a great Clubhouse Sandwich and Mrs. Sip enjoyed an Eggs Benny. Following our meal, we walked along the New West boardwalk to Steel & Oak Brewing. There, we tried a few new releases, including the Roggenweizen Rye Wheat Ale and the sister brews S&O ♡ Dageraad Imperial Stout with Cacao and Almond and Dageraad ♡ S&O Imperial Stout with Cacao and Miso.

Later that day, after picking up Toddler Sip from playschool, we ventured out to Pitt Meadows to visit Foamers’ Folly. Unfortunately, the brewery had a long lineup to get inside, so after another playground stop for the kids, we settled for a growler fill of their Golden Ears Golden Stout.

Brunch

Afforded a date night by Ma and Pa Sip, we enjoyed a very good meal at Hart House in Burnaby. Over the evening, I had a pair of Strange Fellows Guardian IPAs, while Mrs. Sip enjoyed wine. To start the dinner, we shared a serving of their Stuffed Meatballs and Crispy Pork Belly BLT Salad, with our mains being the AAA Blue Goose Beef Burger with Rosemary Parmesan Fries for me and Seared Trout for Mrs. Sip. Our dessert was a slice of Mascarpone Cheesecake, paired with some Tawny Port.

This past weekend, after a visit to Science World, we walked over the Craft Beer Market for lunch. Our beers included the Wildeye Into the Trees IPA and Coronado Pineapple Farm Hazy IPA, while I had the Classic Burger with Fries and Mrs. Sip had another brunch combo. Even Toddler Sip got in on the action with some Mini Burgers, making for a good meal for the whole family.

That wraps the month, but I should mention, while some were experimenting with a “dry” January, my own version was vowing to not buy anything from liquor stores over the month. Instead, I opted to work my way through some of our large collection. A true “dry” month is simply unrealistic in the Sip Family!

Top 20 of 2020

Given most of the year was affected by pandemic considerations, meaning almost all my favourite events were cancelled, I figured I would finally have to drop to a basic Top 10 of each year list, rather than my usual number of highlight events matching the year (ie. Top 19 of 2019, etc.). That said, we still managed to fill the calendar with fun and coming up with 20 great experiences was easy:

Whiskey Wins

For the third straight year, I attended a friend’s whiskey tasting event, which featured a handful of bottles I would likely not get to experience without an event such as this. The evening was filled with alternating drams of whiskey and pints of beer, just the way the Sip Advisor likes things.

Love and War

My Valentine’s Day was not spent with Mrs. Sip, but with a friend attending WWE Smackdown Live at Rogers Arena. Thankfully, our respective loves were cool with us checking out the TV broadcast and making a night of it with drinks afterwards. Had we known the pandemic shutdown that was looming, we probably would have stayed out for a few rounds more.

All You Need is Love

To make it up to Mrs. Sip that I had been out without her for Valentine’s Day, the next day we journeyed to Downtown Vancouver for lunch at Glowbal, followed by a Beatles tribute concert featuring the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. The only downside was a pregnant Mrs. Sip couldn’t join in on some beverages.

Late Valentine's Day

Pandemic Baby

While March 18, 2020 will go down in the lives of most people in our neck of the woods as the day we officially went into a pandemic lockdown, it was also the day Baby Sip was born, arriving at 12:45am. The next days and weeks were filled with a mix of emotional ups and downs, and not just because we added to our family.

Proud Papa

For Father’s Day, we planned a poolside beer tasting at Ma and Pa Sip’s place, with attendees bringing beers they wanted to share with the group. Our compilation of beverage options was quite impressive and while I couldn’t swim as I was recovering from my vasectomy, I enjoyed a different style of liquid relief.

Lazy Sundays

Throughout the summer, Ma and Pa Sip’s pool was the site of a number of small gatherings, with drinks flowing and the summer heat soothed by dips into the crystal-clear water. The meetings allowed for all our little ones to play together and gave us all a break from being stuck at home 24/7, working remotely for some of us and not getting to experience our typical daily lives.

Grilled to Perfection

An annual summer highlight is my aunt’s barbecue, which has had a different theme each year. With most of the guests pining for some sort of vacation – which was unlikely to happen – this year’s BBQ had a tropical theme, complete with Hawaiian shirts and dresses and similarly inspired food and drink.

BBQ

No Kids, No Worries

To celebrate our eighth wedding anniversary, Mrs. Sip and I spent our first night away from both kids since Baby Sip entered the picture in March. Our one-night stay in Downtown Vancouver was bookended with fun activities including the Dimensions Art Gallery and a Vancouver Mysteries cold case. In between, we enjoyed dinner at Lift Bar Grill View.

Whistler Bound

Our actual wedding anniversary day was spent driving to the resort town of Whistler. With the kids in tow, we spent three nights in the area, visiting a bunch of breweries (including those in Squamish and Pemberton), eating some very good meals and exploring the village. It was our only getaway this year, which if you’ve followed this site for any period of time, you know is rare.

Will You Still Need Me?

Pa Sip is a massive Beatles fan and with him turning 64, we figured why not have a British-themed “When I’m 64” party. Between British beers and gin-based cocktails, it was a fantastic time and a perfect way to end the summer.

The Happiest Place on Earth… Sort Of

For Toddler Sip’s third birthday, we were supposed to be in Disneyland, enjoying a big family holiday. Well, the pandemic scuttled those plans, so we turned Ma and Pa Sip’s home into a version of the magical resort instead. Best of all, I compiled a themed cocktail menu for the occasion.

Disneyland

Birthday Blues

With my actual birthday largely spent preparing for Toddler Sip’s special day the next day, I was feeling a little bummed about my own celebrations. Little did I know, Mrs. Sip had planned to surprise me with an outing to Port Moody’s Brewers Row with a couple friends. Despite inclement weather, we enjoyed the evening without responsibilities.

Das Ist Gut

The last time we were allowed to gather in a big group, was to do a late Oktoberfest celebration. Between German beers Ma and Pa Sip accrued, along with drinks I compiled for the event, it was quite the boozy night. Given we have not been able to assemble since, I’m glad we got this occasion in under the wire.

Trivial Times

With Halloween around the corner, we put together a crack trivia team and rendezvoused at the Rendezvous Pub in Langley to exercise our minds and taste buds. Our team did very well, but did not hit the podium on this occasion. Still, we enjoyed the pub’s blend of challenging, but not overly difficult trivia.

All Hallows’ Eve

The Halloween season was a lot of fun, as Toddler Sip was really into the holiday this year. It was all capped off with the big night, which highlighted the efforts of so many people who wanted to make the occasion special for kids, in spite of pandemic concerns. Seeing Toddler Sip enjoy Halloween, as we sipped road beverages along the way is now a treasured memory.

Cereal-Killer

Scavenger Hunt Spoils

Taking advantage of the gift card we won during the Quest New West weekly scavenger hunt in the summer, we finally enjoyed our outing to Piva Modern Italian. It was one of those meals you wished would last forever. Alas, we had to return to reality eventually.

Zooming Together

While we couldn’t gather for Ma Sip’s birthday, we did our best to make the occasion special, sharing a Chinese dinner, while being joined virtually by family. It was a nice surprise for Ma Sip, who was sad about not getting to see her beloved relatives, but thrilled by the turnout for this socially-distanced dinner.

Along the Water

Afforded another date night in early December, Mrs. Sip and I had a lovely meal at The Boathouse in Port Moody. We each had the restaurant’s Holiday Feast three-course dinner, compiling different combinations for a smorgasbord of eats. My Honey Sriracha Salmon was very memorable.

Dates

‘Tis the Season

Christmas this year was definitely different, but we made the most of the day, beginning with a relaxed Christmas Eve, where we put together a buffet of different appetizers and joined family members for a Zoom chat. Christmas Day was largely spent watching the kids open their many presents, which is always fun, if not exhausting.

Auld Lang Syne

With the kids put to bed early, Mrs. Sip and I enjoyed a number of beverages, while recounting the year that was and saying farewell to 2020. It wasn’t all bad, but I’m happy to put the year in the rear-view mirror.

I marvel at the fact that we were able to accomplish all this in a pandemic-dominated year. If 2021 provides some relief to the virus and we’re able to return to some semblance of normality, I can only imagine what fun this year will offer.

Sip Trips #192: Awesome Advent

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.

Advent Calendar

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.

Date Night

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.

New West Glass

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.

Butter Chicken

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!

Wyoming – Old Faithful

Each week, the Sip Advisor will alphabetically travel the United States, discovering the best each state has to offer in a variety of subjects. We wrap our tour with a visit the Wyoming, otherwise known as the Cowboy State or Equality State. Which one fits best? Let’s find out:

Motto: “Equal Rights” – Yeah, that’s probably a good thing!

Food: Perhaps Wyoming’s biggest local chain is Taco John’s, a fast food Mexican joint founded in Cheyenne in 1969. Originating as a taco stand by John Turner, the business specializes in West-Mex dishes and has expanded to over 400 locations across 27 states. Their most notable dish is Potato Olés, which is deep-fried potato nuggets in a secret blend of spices.

Drink: Wyomingites are pretty proud of inventing the Sloshie, which is a boozy slushie, for those not in the know. It’s particularly popular in Jackson Hole, where it can be found everywhere from liquor and convenient stores to ski resorts. Flavours consist of anything a drinker can dream of. Additionally, Wyoming took a long time to outlaw drinking and driving, which they finally did in 2002, and passengers could imbibe until 2007.

Taco John's

Site to See: Yellowstone National Park was the first national park in both the U.S. and the world. The vast majority of Yellowstone sits in northwest Wyoming, while parts of the park stretch into Montana and Idaho. One of the park’s top attractions is Old Faithful, the geyser you can basically set your watch to, going off every 45 minutes to two hours. Yellowstone is also known for its wildlife, including bears, bison, wolves and coyotes.

Street: Wyoming has a number of scenic byways, including the Beartooth Scenic Byway (Wyoming’s only National Scenic Byway, winding through Shoshone National Forest, leading to one of the entrances of Yellowstone National Park) and the Wyoming Centennial Scenic Byway (which follows the routes of explorers such as John Colter and David Edward Jackson).

TV Show: A number of westerns have been set in Wyoming, most notably the series Longmire, based on the Walt Longmire Mysteries book franchise by Craig Johnson. The show is about a sheriff (played by Robert Taylor) investigating major crimes in the fictional Absaroka County. The series ran for six seasons and 63 episodes between the A&E network and Netflix.

Movie: Again, westerns rule the category here, including Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight, starring Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell and Jennifer Jason Leigh. The film is about eight strangers, each with their own interesting backstory and motives, who are stuck together waiting out a snowstorm in Wyoming. The night evolves in typical Tarantino fashion, with interesting developments and lots of bloodshed.

Old Faithful

Book/Author: Before it was a controversial film, Brokeback Mountain was a short story by Annie Proulx, first appearing in The New Yorker in 1997. The story earned Proulx her first of back-to-back O. Henry Prizes, awarded each year to the country’s best short story. The tale centers on a romantic relationship between two seasonal cowboys and how that develops over a 20-year period in Wyoming’s fictional Brokeback Mountain area.

Fictional Character: Yogi Bear, picnic basket master thief of Jellystone National Park (based on Yellowstone), began his iconic career as a side character on The Huckleberry Hound Show. His popularity earned him his own series The Yogi Bear Show a few years later. Yogi hit the big screen in 1964 with Hey There, It’s Yogi Bear! and again in 2010 with a live action/animated film, voiced by Dan Aykroyd and with Justin Timberlake as Boo-Boo Bear.

Fictional City: Many of the westerns set in the state have been given a fictional setting. Perhaps the top locale among them would be Big Whiskey, where the 1992 film Unforgiven largely takes place. The movie starred Clint Eastwood as a former outlaw who has gone straight, but takes on one last job before riding off into the sunset. The movie won four Oscars, including Best Picture, and has been added to the National Film Registry.

Actor/Actress: It was fairly slim pickings for this category, so I’ll go with Matthew Fox, who was raised in Crowheart. Fox starred in the TV shows Party of Five and Lost, along with leading roles in films such as We Are Marshall, Vantage Point and Alex Cross. Playing Dr. Jack Shephard on Lost, earned Fox Emmy and Golden Globe nominations.

Yogi Bear

Song: Paint Me Back Home in Wyoming by Chris LeDoux is a favourite song within the state, telling the tale of a cowboy who just wants to be riding back home. LeDoux moved to Wyoming as a teenager and later began a rodeo career, earning a posthumous induction into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame. Following his rodeo days, LeDoux became a country musician, awarded a Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award by the Academy of Country Music.

Band/Musician: Aside from the aforementioned Chris LeDoux, fellow country musician and rodeo competitor Chancey Williams is probably Wyoming’s top musical export. Williams, born in Moorcroft, is a member of the Younger Brothers Band, which he formed with his childhood friend Travis DeWitt when the two were in high school. The group has sold more than 40,000 records, one of which made the Billboard charts.

People: Painter Jackson Pollock was born in Cody. The modern artist is best known for his drip technique/action painting, which saw him pour or splash paint onto  horizontal canvas and letting the substance form and settle where it may. Some critics loved the style, while others hated it, but don’t most artists get similar treatment!? Pollock, who died at the age of 44 in an alcohol-fueled single vehicle accident, had the last laugh with one of his works selling for $200 million.

Animal: Wyoming’s State Emblem – which adorns license plates and the state quarter, as well as being the University of Wyoming logo – is the image of a bucking horse and rider. While the rider is thought to be cowboy Clayton Danks, the bronco is said to be Old Steamboat, one of the most famous rodeo horses of all-time. The logo was brought in to oppose license plate counterfeiting and is the longest-running license plate symbol in the world.

Jackson Pollock

Invention: Who doesn’t love ‘Taco Tuesday’? Well, Wyoming claims to be the birthplace of that concept, and as someone who has taken advantage of it, I have to thank the state for the promotion. We go back to Taco John’s for this fantastic creation, with the business being given a trademark to it in 1989. While Taco John’s trademark extends through much of the country, most avid eaters believe the phrase shouldn’t be owned by anybody.

Crime: Polly Bartlett was Wyoming’s first (and worst) serial killer. Her family ran an inn in South Pass City, located along the Oregon Trail. 22 bodies were found at the inn, poisoned by arsenic and relieved of their money. The family fled, but were shortly captured, with Polly’s father killed in the arrest. Polly was dubbed the Murderess of Slaughterhouse Gulch. While awaiting trial for her numerous crimes, Polly was shot to death by a vigilante.

Law: Wyoming has a number of laws that discriminate against being drunk. These include not being able to ski, buy junk, or mine, while being intoxicated. Even worse, women are prohibited from standing within five feet of a bar, while enjoying a beverage.

Sports Team: There are no professional teams located in Wyoming, making the University of Wyoming Cowboys and Cowgirls athletic programs the top game in town. Squads from the school compete at the NCAA Division I level in sports such as football, basketball, track and field and golf. Aside from that, rodeo is very important in Wyoming, being designated as the State Sport.

Kitty Rodeo

Athlete: Greco-Roman wrestler Rulon Gardner was born in Afton. He won gold and bronze medals at the 2000 and 2004 Olympics, respectively. Gardner’s gold medal win was particularly special, as he defeated Russian Aleksander Karelin in the finals, despite Karelin not suffering an international competition loss for 13 preceding their match. Following his wrestling career, Gardner became a NBC Sports analyst for the 2008 Olympics.

Famous Home: The Fossil Cabin, found near Medicine Bow, is a home comprised of dinosaur bones that were found at Como Bluff. The popular roadside attraction was built in 1932 using 5,796 fossils. Weighing 102,116 pounds, the bones were collected by creator Thomas Boylan over a 17-year period. Ripley’s Believe It of Not once promoted the place as ‘The World’s Oldest Cabin’. The National Historic Place used the slogan ‘The Building that Used to Walk’.

Urban Legend: The Jackalope, a mythical animal (half jackrabbit, half antelope) created by the taxidermy skills of the Herrick brothers, was first put on display at a hotel in the city of Douglas. Many tall tales regarding the jackalope have circulated since. In recent years, the fictional animal has twice been nominated to be Wyoming’s State Mythical Creature. Jackalope hunting licenses can be purchased in Douglas and are valid for only two hours on June 31… a day which doesn’t exist!

Museum: The Buffalo Bill Center of the West is located in Cody. The complex combines five museums, including the Buffalo Bill Museum, Plains Indians Museum, Whitney Western Art Museum, Draper Natural History Museum, and Cody Firearms Museum. Founded in 1917, the Center has been described by The New York Times as “among the nation’s most remarkable museums.”

Jackalope

Firsts: Wyoming was the first territory to give women the right to vote, doing so in 1869. This is why the state proudly uses the nickname the Equality State. There is speculation that the move to allow women to vote was done to bring more women to Wyoming, where males outnumbered females at a six to one ratio. Others believe the change was made to strengthen the conservative vote or simply to reap some good publicity.

Company: Department store chain JCPenney was founded by James Cash Penney in Kemmerer, as a Golden Rule store in 1902. Today, the brand’s “Mother Store” (the second ever opened) can still be found in Kemmerer. The chain has 840 locations across the U.S. and in Puerto Rico, although in May 2020, JCPenney filed for bankruptcy, eventually purchased for $800 million.

Events: The U.S. National Parks system was established when Yellowstone National Park was made the world’s first such attraction in 1872. In 1891, Shoshone National Forest became the country’s first National Forest, while in 1906, Devils Tower (also known as Bear Lodge Butte) became America’s first National Monument.

Miscellaneous: A number of legendary outlaws have ties to Wyoming. Butch Cassidy’s Wild Bunch crew, as well as the Hole-in-the-Wall Gang (a term used for various outlaws and groups) inhabited the Kaycee area, hiding out from lawmen. Also, Harry Longabaugh received his ‘Sundance Kid’ nickname after serving time in jail for stealing a horse in the town of Sundance.

Old Faithful

Old Faithful

  • Muddle Mint Leaves
  • 2 oz Bourbon
  • 1 oz Elderflower Liqueur
  • Top with Grapefruit Soda
  • Garnish with a Mint Sprig

The recipe I found for this drink was definitely for a punch, so I did my best to narrow it down to a single serving. Much like the geyser the beverage is named after, this will reliably get you drunk, given its three ounces of alcohol.

Wisconsin – Brandy Old Fashioned

Each week, the Sip Advisor will alphabetically travel the United States, discovering the best each state has to offer in a variety of subjects. Today, Wisconsin is on the agenda, nicknamed the Badger State, not for the animal per se, but because early miner settlers either lived in mines or dug homes in the side of hills, like the animal. Let’s find out more:

Motto: “Forward” – I’m more of a backwards kind of guy!

Food: Another nickname for Wisconsin is America’s Dairyland. Some items one would have to try when visiting the state include Cheese Curds, a Butter Burger and an Ice Cream Sundae, since it was invented there. Another dessert that caught my eye was the Kringle (the State Pastry), which is an oval-shaped flaky dough pastry typically filled with fruit/nuts and iced on top.

Drink: America’s Brewery would be another fitting moniker for Wisconsin, as it has been home to a number of major players in the industry, including Schlitz Brewing, Miller Brewing, Pabst Brewing and Blatz Brewing. Beer production and consumption is so important in the state that the TurboTap was invented there, by University of Wisconsin student Matt Younkle.

Pabst Blue Ribbon

Site to See: A top attraction in Wisconsin is Noah’s Ark Water Park, the country’s largest water park. Found in Lake Delton, the park features 51 water slides, along with other highlights, including lazy rivers, wave pools and amusement rides. Noah’s Ark uses two million gallons of water each day and its lifeguards have earned the highest safety rating possible.

Street: Today, Road America is a motorsport race course located near Elkhart Lake. However, when racing first gained popularity in the late 1940’s, a series of public streets were used to create the course. Most of this original route, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, can still be driven. It was copied for the now private course, which is used by a number of racing series.

TV Show: Happy Days and spinoff series Laverne & Shirley were both set in Milwaukee. Happy Days ran for 11 seasons and 255 episodes, while Laverne & Shirley enjoyed a run of eight seasons and 178 episodes. The shows shared a universe, which included various guest appearances from characters on either program. Both series were created by industry legend Garry Marshall.

Movie: Bridesmaids, starring Kristen Wiig, takes place in Milwaukee and tells the tale of a woman who is asked to be the maid of honour at her best friend’s wedding, while her life is in financial and romantic unrest. Rounding out the cast is Maya Rudolph as the bride-to-be and Rose Byrne, Melissa McCarthy, Ellie Kemper and Wendi McLendon-Covey as fellow bridesmaids.

Bridesmaids

Book/Author: Satirical publication The Onion was created by University of Wisconsin students Tim Keck and Christopher Johnson in 1988, originating as a weekly print newspaper in Madison. The Onion is now one of the most recognized satirical news websites in the world, offering humorous views on international, national and local issues.

Fictional Character: Originally intended to be a minor character, Arthur ‘The Fonz’ Fonzarelli became so popular as the personification of cool, that Happy Days moved to focusing on him, rather than the Cunningham family. Played by Henry Winkler, Fonzie is also infamous for helping to create the ‘jump the shark’ idiom. The Fonz has been immortalized in statue form in Downtown Milwaukee.

Fictional City: Point Place was the setting for That 70’s Show. The series, which ran for eight seasons and 200 episodes, centered on a group of teenagers from May 17, 1976 to December 31, 1979, making stars of much of its cast, including Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis. Actor Kurtwood Smith, who played gruff dad Red Forman, was the only cast member actually from Wisconsin.

Actor/Actress: This category was a tough choice, narrowed down to Gene Wilder and Chris Farley. The edge goes to Gene Wilder, star of movies such as Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein and Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, as well as his long partnership with Richard Pryor. Maybe things would be different had Chris Farley enjoyed a full career and not tragically died at the age of 33.

Fonz

Song: While the only reference to the state is the screaming of “Hello Wisconsin” at the end of the track, In the Street by Cheap Trick (the theme song for That 70’s Show) has the ideals I believe Wisconsin would like to be associated with. It’s all about hanging out, listening to loud music and staying out late. The tune was originally created by rock band Big Star and is also known as That 70’s Song.

Band/Musician: Steve Miller, frontman of the Steve Miller Band, was born in Milwaukee. The band, formed in San Francisco in 1966, is known for a string of classic/psychedelic rock hits, such as The Joker, Rock’n Me, Fly Like an Eagle, Take the Money and Run, and Jet Airliner. Miller was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2016.

People: Famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright was born in Richland Center. His 70-year career produced more than a thousand structures, including many notable homes across America. Wright built and lived in the Taliesin estate in Spring Green, which is now a museum in his honour, offering tours of the home and grounds. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Animal: Samson the Gorilla was so popular, he was featured on Milwaukee bus passes. Samson was gifted by Pabst Brewing to the Washington Park Zoo in 1950, before being moved to the Milwaukee County Zoo. He was an instant hit with visitors and even had toys made in his likeness. The zoo has a bronze bust of Samson’s head near their gorilla exhibit, as well as a recreated model of the primate.

Frank Lloyd Wright

Invention: Among some other notable inventions, I have to highlight Les Paul and his work in inventing the electric guitar. Known as the ‘Wizard of Waukesha’, Paul enjoyed a career as a jazz, country and blues musician, prior to his guitar building. He also developed a number of recording advancements. For his creations, Paul has a permanent exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Crime: Two of the world’s most notorious serial killers called Wisconsin home, Ed Gein (the Butcher of Plainfield/Plainfield Ghoul) and Jeffrey Dahmer (the Milwaukee Cannibal/Milwaukee Monster). Gein’s crimes inspired characters in films such as Psycho, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and The Silence of the Lambs, while Dahmer murdered and dismembered 17 males over a 13-year period.

Law: In Wisconsin, margarine was once illegal. This lasted for almost 75 years and was done to protect the butter industry. Apparently, a bootleg operation of sorts began in opposition to the law, with people getting margarine from Illinois, risking a maximum fine of $6,000.

Sports Team: Milwaukee has two professional teams with the Brewers (MLB) and Bucks (NBA). Rounding out Wisconsin franchises is the Green Bay Packers (NFL), who play at the famous Lambeau Field and have some of the most unique fans in the sports world, known as Cheeseheads (a term sometimes used to describe Wisconsinites in general), as they wear cheese-shaped foam hats.

Electric Guitar

Athlete: Speed skater Eric Heiden (born in Madison) owned the 1980 Winter Olympics, winning five gold medals, while setting one world record and four Olympic records. His individual gold medal total would have ranked him third amongst all nations. As a result of his success, Heiden is considered by many to be the greatest speed skater of all-time.

Famous Home: The House on the Rock in Iowa County is quite the attraction, as each room, street, garden and shop is designed differently, all built atop Deer Shelter Rock. Created by architect Alex Jordan Jr., the complex is highlighted by the 3000-window Infinity Room, world’s largest indoor carousel and Japanese Gardens. The site was used in the novel and TV series American Gods.

Urban Legend: The Hodag is a folklore creature inhabiting the city of Rhinelander, where a statue of the beast sits outside the Chamber of Commerce. Reportedly, it can only be killed using chloroform, dynamite and… lemons. The character features in many Paul Bunyan myths and has been used in an episode of Scooby Doo, as well as being listed in J.K. Rowling’s book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Museum: The Hamburger Hall of Fame can be found in Seymour, which claims to be where the first ever hamburger was served and calls itself ‘Home of the Hamburger’. The Hall of Fame celebrates this culinary delight and also hosts the annual Burger Fest, where in 2001, the world’s largest hamburger ever was made, weighing more than four tons.

Burger

Firsts: The first automobile in the U.S. was created by Racine’s Dr. J.W. Carhart. His invention inspired Wisconsin in 1875 to offer a $10,000 reward to any vehicle that could complete a 201-mile course between Green Bay and Madison. Amon seven entries, two vehicles started the race, with one completing the course in 33 hours and 27 minutes. Only half the prize was awarded for the first U.S. auto race.

Company: Harley-Davidson is headquartered in Milwaukee, where it was founded in 1903. The motorcycle manufacturer also has a production plant in the city, as well as the Harley-Davidson Museum, which is a popular tourist destination, with an estimated 300,000 visitors each year. The company has been integral in the establishment of biker culture since its inception.

Events: When the Kansas-Nebraska Act was passed in 1854, giving the new territories the right to choose whether to adopt slavery or not, a Wisconsin man named Alvan Bovay hosted a meeting in the city of Ripon. It was there that the basis for the Republican Party was formed, with the group’s main goal being to stop the expansion of slavery.

Miscellaneous: A couple other notable athletes from Wisconsin should be mentioned. Danica Patrick (born in Beloit) broke gender barriers in the racing world, becoming the only woman to win an IndyCar Series race. Also, quarterback Colin Kaepernick (born in Milwaukee) is best known for his anthem protests against racial inequality, which may have resulted in an early end to his career.

Brandy Old Fashioned

  • 2 oz Brandy
  • 1 Sugar Cube
  • Top with Lemon-Lime Soda/Grapefruit Soda/Club Soda
  • Splash of Cherry Juice
  • Splash of Orange Juice
  • Dashes of Angostura Bitters
  • Garnish with an Orange Slice and Maraschino Cherry

Thanks to Wisconsin’s drinking culture, there were a number of beverage options available, with the Old Fashioned being an unofficial State Cocktail. It is the drink of choice for a number of fictional characters, including Don Draper (Mad Men) and ‘Hot Lips’ Houlihan (M*A*S*H). In Wisconsin, they prefer Brandy in their recipes, so I’m happy to honour that.

West Virginia – Copperhead

Each week, the Sip Advisor will alphabetically travel the United States, discovering the best each state has to offer in a variety of subjects. Today, we visit West Virginia to see which of the Virginias is best. Will the Mountain State take the title? There’s only one way to find out:

Motto: “Mountaineers are always free” – Great, a prisoner once again…

Food: Pepperoni Rolls are a popular snack in West Virginia, sold at convenience and grocery stores. It is a white bread roll, with pepperoni baked inside. It should also be noted, Golden Delicious Apples (West Virginia’s State Fruit) were cultivated in the state in 1905. It is among the most popular apple types in the country, featured on a 2013 commemorative stamp.

Drink: Hatfield & McCoy Moonshine, named for the famous family feud, is made in Gilbert. The small batch liquor is made from a recipe concocted by Hatfield patriarch Devil Anse Hatfield, on land that belonged to the Hatfield family. Aptly nicknamed the ‘Drink of the Devil’, the booze can be enjoyed neat, on the rocks or in a collection of cocktails.

Pepperoni Roll

Site to See: The Greenbrier Hotel and Resort in White Sulphur Springs, calls itself ‘America’s Resort’. People have visited the areas springs since 1778, hoping to cure what ails them. The resort was built in 1913 and boasts that 26 presidents have stayed there. An expansive bunker exists under the hotel, which was meant to host the U.S. Congress in the event of a Cold War emergency.

Street: When the New River Gorge Bridge was completed in 1977, it was the highest bridge to support a regular road in the world. Each October, Bridge Day is celebrated, with the road being closed so thrill seekers can climb the structure and even jump off it, by rappelling or base jumping. Bungee jumping used to also occur, but was banned from 1993 onwards.

TV Show: Outcast, a horror drama, ran for two seasons and 20 episodes. The series is based on a comic book and is about a man who has been surrounded by demonic possession throughout his life – particular with his mother – in the fictional town of Rome. One of the comic’s authors, Robert Kirkham, co-created The Walking Dead franchise.

Movie: Tucker & Dale vs. Evil is a very funny movie about misunderstandings. Set in West Virginia, the plot involves a group of campers mistaking two men for being backwoods killers. The film starred Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine as Tucker and Dale. Potential sequels have been proposed, with one described as “Good Will Hunting meets Texas Chainsaw Massacre”.

Book/Author: Pearl Buck was born in Hillsboro. Her book The Good Earth, won the Nobel Prize for Fiction in 1932 and contributed to her being awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1938. Buck was the first American female to win the latter. The Pearl S. Buck Birthplace is a museum dedicated to the writer and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Fictional Character: Clarice Starling is as tough as they come. The FBI agent has had to deal with psychopaths such as Hannibal Lecter and Buffalo Bill, all while remaining composed and focused on her assignments. The character originated in Thomas Harris’ novels and was played by Jodie Foster in The Silence of the Lambs and Julianne Moore in Hannibal.

Fictional City: Silent Hill is the setting of a long-running popular survival horror video games series, which was also adapted into a 2006 movie, starring Radha Mitchell and Sean Bean, and 2012 sequel. I never played the games myself, but remember friends giving them glowing reviews, getting the crap scared out of them. There’s also a series of novels for the franchise.

Actor/Actress: Don Knotts enjoyed long TV and film career. After winning five Emmy Awards as Deputy Barney Fife on The Andy Griffiths Show, Knotts transitioned into movies. He returned to TV as landlord Ralph Furley on Three’s Company. He later rejoined Andy Griffiths with a recurring role on Matlock. A statue of Knotts is outside the Metropolitan Theatre in his hometown of Morgantown.

Barney Fife

Song: Take Me Home, Country Roads by John Denver is among four State Songs for West Virginia. The song is about taking a drive through the state and includes Denver calling it “Almost Heaven”, which became a slogan for the state, appearing on license plates and in tourism marketing. The Mountain State Brewing Company has an amber ale called Almost Heaven.

Band/Musician: R&B musician Bill Withers was born in Slab Fork. He is best known for the hits Ain’t No Sunshine, Lean on Me, Lovely Day and Just the Two of Use. Withers won three Grammy Awards during his brief career, choosing to leave the music industry, unhappy with his treatment by record label executives. He was inducted into the Songwriters and Rock and Roll Hall of Fames.

People: Mathematician John Nash Jr. was born in Bluefield. He won the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 1994, for his work with chance and decision-making within complex systems. Nash’s battle with mental illness throughout his career was documented in the 2001 film A Beautiful Mind, which was based on the Pulitzer Prize-nominated biography of the same name.

Animal: A new species was discovered in West Virginia in 1796, when soldiers came across the bones of what they thought were of a lion. Thomas Jefferson examined the skeleton, determining it belonged to a giant sloth, which he dubbed Megalonyx (aka Large Claw). Scientists named the species Megalonyx Jeffersonii and the remains became the State Fossil of West Virginia.

Bill Withers

Invention: While in West Virginia in the late 1870’s, dentist and inventor Mahlon Loomis developed theories that would eventually lead to wireless communication, including radio and telegraphs. His experiments involved using kites as antennas from high hills and mountains, further stretching how far communication could occur without physical connections.

Crime: In July 2012, teenager Skylar Neese went missing from her home in Star City. Her friends Rachel Shoaf and Shelia Eddy were later convicted of killing Neese, who had been stabbed more than 50 times and her body disposed of. Shoaf confessed to the crime, resulting in Neese’s body being found in January 2013. Both girls are now serving jail sentences in West Virginia.

Law: In West Virginia, fines can be doled out for public swearing and drunkenness. Looks like the Sip Advisor will be short some singles if I’m ever able to get to the state!

Sports Team: The West Virginia University Mountaineers and Marshall University Thundering Herd sports programs play in Division I of the NCAA. Marshall University may best be known for the 1970 plane crash that claimed the lives of 37 football team members, which was documented in the 2006 film We Are Marshall, starring Matthew McConaughey.

Wireless

Athlete: Fairmont’s Mary Lou Retton became one of the most popular U.S. Olympians of all-time, when she won the all-around gymnastics competition at the 1984 Summer Olympics, making her the first American woman to do so. She was only 16 at the time and performing just weeks after knee surgery. Retton was the first female athlete to be featured on the cover of Wheaties cereal boxes.

Famous Home: Blennerhassett Mansion was used by a group led by former U.S. Vice President Aaron Burr, as they planned an unknown military mission, for which Burr, owner Harman Blennerhassett and others were arrested on suspicion of treason. The estate, resembling George Washington’s Mount Vernon home, burned down in 1811 and was reconstructed in the 1980’s.

Urban Legend: A major figure in West Virginia folklore is the Mothman, a half-man, half-moth creature. It was first seen in Point Pleasant, which now hosts an annual Mothman Festival, as well as having a Mothman Museum, marked outside by a statue of the being. The Mothman gained notoriety from the book The Mothman Prophecies, which was adapted into a 2002 movie, starring Richard Gere.

Museum: Two West Virginia museums that also offer haunted tours are the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum and West Virginia Penitentiary. The Asylum operated from 1864 to 1994, often overrun with patients, who were receiving experimental treatments such as labotomies. The Penitentiary was the site of 94 executions, from 1899 to 1959 and also experienced notable jail breaks and riots.

Moth

Firsts: The first modern Mother’s Day was celebrated in 1908 in West Virginia. It was achieved through the efforts of Anne Jarvis, whose mother desired such a holiday. Jarvis later took offence to the commercialization of Mother’s Day and tried to have it ended. The greeting card and flower industries paid for her care in her final years. The International Mother’s Day Shrine can be found in Grafton.

Company: I didn’t find much to go on for this category, but there is the Gesundheit! Institute in Pocahontas County. The Institute was created by Hunter ‘Patch’ Adams, the doctor who inspired the Robin Williams movie Patch Adams, and blends traditional hospital protocols with alternative medicine treatments. Gesundheit! offers free care to patients.

Events: Leading up to the Civil War, Virginia seceded from the Union, choosing to be a Confederate state. Those who opposed this decision, namely those in northwest corner of the state, separated from the rest of Virginia, forming what would become West Virginia (although the name Kanawha was considered). West Virginia was granted Union statehood in 1863.

Miscellaneous: The largest family reunion in the world, as recorded by the Guinness Book of World Records in 2009, takes place annually (except for 2020) in West Virginia. Members of the Lilly family have been gathering in Flat Top since 1929. The now three-day event includes live entertainment, loads of food and other activities, with tens of thousands guests attending.

Copperhead

Copperhead

  • 2 oz Vodka
  • Top with Ginger Ale
  • Garnish with a Lime Wedge

Copperheads, also known as Peace Democrats, were people who opposed the Civil War and wanted a quick settlement with the Confederates. The Copperheadism movement was strongest in the Ohio River area, which includes West Virginia. The drink, similar to a Moscow Mule, may be simple, but it’s delicious.