Cocktail Corner – Quick Decision

Great Debates

Since the dawn of time, there have been certain arguments that have divided families, torn apart lovers, and broken up friendships. Yes, my little sippers, we’re talking about issues as important as peanut butter: crunchy or smooth and toilet paper: over or under. Here are some of society’s most crucial concerns:

#5: Marvel vs. DC

I prefer the Marvel Universe, in general, but there are some DC characters I love, such as Batman (does any superhero have a better rogues gallery?). This argument is no longer isolated to the world of comic books. It has spread to movies, TV shows, video games, and pop culture in general. Despite being competitors, the companies have co-existed for some crossover projects, including a number of comic book battles and alliances. After all, the scent of money can make for strange bedfellows.

Marvel & DC

#4: Boxers vs. Briefs

There are boxer briefs, but I don’t want to take the easy, harmonious route out of this conundrum. I’m a steadfast boxers man and have been since a young age. I suppose I like to have breathing room for my buddies. Us boxers guys have been buoyed by evidence that sperm count is enhanced when packages aren’t all bunched up. There is, of course, a third option in going commando, but I’m always weary of zippers when practicing complete freedom.

#3: Android vs. iPhone / PC vs. Mac

Personally, I’m not a fan of Apple products and refuse to use them whenever possible. Of course, when they have the market cornered with something like the iPod, my decision is practically made for me. While I haven’t ever used an iPhone or iPad, save for taking the odd photo for someone while travelling, I do have ample experience with Mac computers and much rather be sitting in front of a PC, regardless of potential capabilities.

Android vs. iPhone

#2: Coke vs. Pepsi

Many don’t like soft drinks at all, but for those who do, this rivalry has existed for eons, reaching its peak in the 1980’s. The companies (Coca-Cola and PepsiCo) also wage war with their other products: Sprite vs. 7-Up, Barq’s vs. Mug, Minute Maid vs. Tropicana, Nestea vs. Lipton Brisk, Powerade vs. Gatorade, Dasani vs. Aquafina, and so on. The two entities even compete to be major event sponsors and get their lines into various restaurants. Coke has McDonald’s, Subway, and Dominos; while Pepsi has KFC, Quiznos, and Pizza Hut. Personally, I side with Pepsi, but I’m actually more of a Dr. Pepper-Snapple Group man.

#1: Cats vs. Dogs

I’ve never been all that comfortable around dogs. I don’t know from where exactly this unease stems, but perhaps it has something to do with all that crotch sniffing. Plus, while it’s rare for a dog to pose a danger to people and fellow animals, you’ve never heard of a cat killing anything other than vermin (they can barely stay awake long enough to feed themselves!). No, my little sippers, I’ll take a cuddly kitty any day of the week over big, drooling, can’t clean themselves dogs.

Cocktail Corner: Quick Decision

Quick Decision

  • 1 oz Bourbon
  • 0.75 oz Bailey’s Irish Crème
  • 0.5 oz Dark Rum
  • 0.5 oz Coffee Liqueur
  • Garnish with Whip Cream

Honourable mentions include East Coast vs. West Coast, Cities vs. Suburbs, Burgers vs. Hot Dogs (the great barbecue dilemma), Coffee vs. Tea, Star Wars vs. Star Trek, Glasses vs. Contacts, Ovens vs. Microwaves, Disneyland vs. Disneyworld, and T vs. A! What great arguments have you witnessed?

Love & Hate: Holidays/Observances

There are some days that mark the calendar that we greatly look forward to. Others, we’d rather not come to pass and perhaps even disappear entirely. The Sip Advisor is going to look at these occasions, some of which I’m a fan of and others I loathe. Let’s start with days to love:

Christmas

Christmas reminds me of the sentiment about pizza: even bad pizza is still pizza. For example, our COVID Christmases have somehow turned out to be good, despite restrictions and a general lack of holiday cheer. As a kid, Christmas is everything. Once Boxing Day hits, preparation for the next Christmas – and the presents that come with it – move into full gear. As an adult, there is still a lot of fun to be had with a series of days off and when you become a parent, you get to live the season through the kids’ experience. It can be a hectic and stressful time, but worth it all.

Halloween

Great as a kid, perhaps even better as an adult. When you’re young, with candy on the line, you would walk for miles to get your hands on the sweet stuff. To quote Garfield: Candy! Candy! CANDY!!! Adult Halloween parties are fantastic or at least an excuse to continue the Halloween extracurriculars when you can no longer justify trick-or-treating. Now, as a parent, I’ve come to greatly enjoy the night out with the Sipplings, although that is probably bolstered by my love of drinking outside and having a stroller to hold my wares.

halloween

Easter

Four days off for the rebirth of Jesus? Um, yes please. We’ve used the break to go to Vegas, Seattle, Disneyland, Portland (for back-to-back Beer and Wine Festivals) and other getaways. Plus, who can turn down all the chocolate eggs, jelly beans and other sweets that come with the holiday? Even that fake grass that’s used to fill out Easter baskets has become an item of fondness for many. My only complaint about Easter would be there’s not a lot of obvious viewing choices connected with the holiday, which is different than Christmas and Halloween.

So, those are the holidays the Sip Advisor particularly loves. Not let’s see the other side of the ledger and the days I hate:

New Year’s Eve

Every year, there’s this pressing need to have an epic plan for the occasion and it never goes off accordingly. Events get cancelled, people get lame and bail, etc. Among our NYE duds was when Mrs. Sip and I got engaged at Christmas and planned to announce it to a group of friends on New Year’s. Thanks to it being a mid week December 31st and there being a light snowfall, our guest list dwindled down to three people. We still gave our good news, but it felt anticlimactic. I will say, we’ve had some good New Year’s Eves, but they often consist of taking things easier, staying at home or going for a meal.

New Year's Eve

Valentine’s Day

Mrs. Sip and I actually prefer to celebrate Valentine’s Day before or after the actual date. Why pay double for things like flowers and chocolates? I prefer to get the same items for their regular price, or in the case of chocolate, at a discounted price, as stores try to move the items after February 14th. And hell, you really shouldn’t need a specific day to show that special person in your life just how important they are to you. That’s a year-round commitment. Lastly, there’s the folks who find Valentine’s Day to be a real downer because of relationship issues. All-in-all, V-Day is meh.

Daylight Saving Time

It’s absolutely ridiculous that we still go through this changing of clocks twice each year. Many professionals have debunked the whole reasoning behind its beginnings and point to how unnecessary the whole ordeal is. It’s even worse as parents of young kids, when you have no clue how the change will affect them and for how long. Will they wake up an hour earlier than usual, which means you’ll lose sleep as well? The stress of what will happen just isn’t worth it. Let’s just agree to finally kibosh the whole thing.

Before wrapping this post up, here are some quick thoughts of mine on other holidays and observances (in chronological order):

Lunar New Year: I will never turn down a good Chinese meal.

Groundhog Day: What a ridiculous thing to highlight on any calendar.

Family Day: This was an awesome addition to the calendar when we were childless. Now it just means I have to spend time with the fam!

Family Day

St. Patrick’s Day: Green beers and banishing snakes… what’s there to complain about?

Cinqo de Mayo: Tacos and margaritas… what’s there to complain about?

Mother’s Day/Father’s Day: After fours years as one, parents deserve all the praise they can get.

Labour Day: I’m split here. It signifies the end of summer, but also inspires you to have one last big bash before the season is out.

Thanksgiving: A perfect excuse to eat and drink to excess.

Love & Hate: Bah Humbug!

Bah Humbug

  • 1 oz White Rum
  • 1 oz Peach Schnapps
  • 1 oz Orange Liqueur
  • Top with Orange Juice
  • Splash of Lemon-Lime Soda
  • Garnish with a Lime Wheel

Agree or disagree with my holiday assessments? Think I’m just a bitter man, who needs to take a chill pill? Let me know in the comments below. Just remember, I’m always right and that’s a position I’m not willing to budge from!

Alberta – Angry Canadian

Each month, the Sip Advisor will alphabetically travel Canada, discovering the best each province has to offer in a variety of subjects. We will also featuring a drink the area is known for. Today, we begin our journey in Alberta, sometimes called the Texas of Canada. Does this comparison hold true? Let’s find out:

Nicknames: Alberta is known as the Wild Rose Country, based on its provincial flower. The wild rose appears on licence plates in the province. The moniker has also been adopted by Wild Rose Brewing, based out of Calgary.

Motto: “Strong and free” – Typically, when you’re strong, you’re free!

Food: While Alberta is known for its beef industry (used in Canadian McDonald’s burgers, among other products), it should be noted Chinese restaurant staple Ginger Beef was invented in Calgary. Silver Inn chef George Wong is said to have created the dish of deep-fried beef strips in a sweet and spicy sauce in the mid 1970’s. Since then, it has spread to other Asian eateries.

Drink: The Caesar, Canada’s far superior cousin to America’s Bloody Mary, was created in Calgary, in 1969, at the Calgary Inn. Although similar recipes predate this variation, this rendition, made by restaurant manager Walter Chell, was the first time the cocktail was comprised of the unique recipe we know today, with the Caesar name. May 13, 2009 was proclaimed Caesar Day in Calgary.

Caesar

Site to See: For outdoorsy types, the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks are a must-see destination. The World Heritage Site is comprised of four National Parks (Banff, Jasper, Kootenay and Yoho), offering stunning landscapes. For indoor entertainment, there’s West Edmonton Mall, complete with indoor amusement park, water park, ice rink and more. Finally, for young and old alike, Dinosaur Provincial Park allows people to embrace their love of dinosaurs.

Street: The Icefields Parkway (also known as Highway 93) runs through both Banff National Park and Jasper National Park, connecting the two. The route allows access to glaciers and lakes, including such picturesque sites as Lake Louise, the Athabasca Glacier and Athabasca Falls, Peyto Lake, Bow Lake and Maligne Canyon. Along the way, people can also spot various wildlife.

TV Show: Heartland, based on a series of 26 novels by Lauren Brooke (although the books are set in Virginia), ran for 15 seasons and 234 episodes, becoming the longest running one-hour scripted drama in Canadian TV history. The show centers around Amy Fleming and the activity on her family Ranch in Alberta. Most filming for the series was done in High River.

Movie: The majority of the Disney movie Cool Runnings – loosely based on the real-life story of an unlikely Jamaican bobsled team competing at the 1988 Winter Olympics – is set in Calgary, which hosted those games. Starring John Candy (in one of his final roles) as disgraced bobsled coach Irving Blitzer, the film was a hit and a personal childhood favourite of mine.

Cool Runnings

Book/Author: Todd McFarlane is one of the most well-known comic book artists/writers in the world. His work on Spider-Man in the late 80’s and early 90’s led to great success and McFarlane forming his own publishing company, Image Comics, which released McFarlane’s Spawn property. Outside the comic world, McFarlane has popular businesses in McFarlane Toys and Todd McFarlane Entertainment.

Fictional Character: X-Men wildcard Wolverine was born in Cold Lake in the 1880s, according to the mutant’s backstory. Wolverine is among the most popular super heroes of all-time, having appeared in numerous comic iterations, as well as other media, such as the X-Men movie franchise (portrayed by Hugh Jackman), which led to a trilogy of solo films for the character.

Fictional City: Adult animated cartoon Crash Canyon is about a society of people who have all wound up stuck in an Alberta canyon and are unable to return to their regular lives, due to the canyon’s high walls. The series lasted two seasons and I wish, like the show, that golf tees were currency, as it would justify my brief golf phase as a teenager.

Actor/Actress: Nathan Fillion, star of shows such as Firefly, Castle and The Rookie, was born in Edmonton. Fillion’s role in Firefly, as ship captain Malcolm Reynolds, earned him cult favourite star status. In his hometown, the Edmonton City Hall was renamed the Nathan Fillion Civilian Pavilion on August 7 and August 8, 2021, resulting from a fan petition with over 27,000 signatures.

Nathan Fillion

Song: Alberta Bound, originally performed by Gordon Lightfoot, is about being en route to Alberta, with the singer heaping great praise on the province. Lyrics include: “I’m Alberta-bound, This piece of heaven that I’ve found, Rocky Mountains and black fertile ground, Everything I need beneath that big blue sky”. The song has been covered by other artists such as Bryan Adams and Paul Brandt.

Band/Musician: Alberta has produced a number of female artists who have gone on to great careers domestically and internationally. Singers/songwriters include Joni Mitchell, k.d. Lang, Jann Arden, Tegan and Sara, and Feist. Among them, Mitchell has been described as “one of the greatest songwriters ever” and one of “the most important and influential female recording artist of the late 20th century”.

People: I was surprised to learn that actor and marijuana activist Tommy Chong was born in Edmonton. Chong is best known for his stoner comedy duo, Cheech & Chong, with Cheech Marin. The two released several popular movies and albums together, but my favourite role for Chong was as baked hippie Leo Chingkwake on That 70s Show.

Animal: Charlie was a mule that survived the 1903 Turtle Mountain landslide, which killed 70-90 people who called the mining town of Frank home. The mule managed to endure underground for more than a month by eating bark and drinking available water. Sadly, Charlie was overfed oats and brandy by his joyful rescuers, resulting in the mule perishing.

Leo

Invention: The SMART Board was developed Calgary husband and wife team David Martin and Nancy Knowlton in 1991. No longer would teachers and instructors alike have to struggle with chalkboards, overhead projectors or whiteboards. By 2016, the tandem’s company, SMART Technologies Inc., was purchased by the Foxconn Technology Group for $200 million.

Crime: Known as the Edmonton Shooting, in 2014, 53-year-old Phu Lam killed his wife, stepson, in-laws, a family friend and a neighbour. His victim count totalled eight people, making it the deadliest mass murder in the province’s history. Lam would take his own life following the homicides. In 2021, Lam threatened to do exactly what he later carried out. At the time of the crime, he was in heavy debt due to a gambling addiction.

Sports Team: Calgary, with the Flames (NHL) and Stampeders (CFL), and Edmonton, with the Oilers (NHL) and Elks (CFL), host all of the province’s professional franchises. The rivalry between the two cities is dubbed the Battle of Alberta for games between the NHL teams, while the Labour Day Classic is contested each September between the two CFL squads.

Athlete: Figure skater Jamie Salé was born in Calgary. Salé became internationally recognized when she and partner David Pelletier were awarded Olympic gold medals following the 2002 Salt Lake City figure skating scandal, which saw a brided French judge fix scores leading to a Russian team victory. Other top Alberta athletes include Alphonso Davies, Grant Fuhr, Jarome Iginla and Mark Messier.

Smart Board

Famous Home: A mecca for professional wrestling fans, the Hart Family home in Calgary is where such stars as Bret Hart and Owen Hart were born and raised, while other world famous grapplers were trained in the home’s basement, affectionately known as the Dungeon. The list of legends to graduate from the Dungeon include Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho, the British Bulldog, and Jim and Natalya Niedhart.

Urban Legend: The Banff Springs Hotel, in scenic Banff National Park, is known as one of Canada’s most haunted locations. Opened in 1888, the resort is home to a number of ghosts, including a bride (famous enough to have her own coin and stamp) and bellman, based on former employee Sam McCauley, who passed away in 1975, but is said to still help hotel guests.

Museum: Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame can be found in Calgary. The museum highlights Canada’s role and history in the sporting world, as well as the many athletes that have represented the country. Opened in 1955, close to 700 inductees have been enshrined into the Hall of Fame, split between athlete and builder categories. The building is hard to miss, painted in Canadian flag colours of red and white.

Firsts: In 1916, Alberta’s Emily Murphy, a women’s rights activist, was the first female judge in Canada and the British Commonwealth. Thereafter, in 1917, fellow activists Louise McKinney and Roberta MacAdams were the first and second females elected to a legislature in the British Empire. MacAdams would go on to be the first woman to pass a piece of legislation.

Hart Foundation

Company: A favourite eatery of the Sip Family, Boston Pizza was founded in Edmonton, in 1964. The chain was originally known as Boston Pizza and Spaghetti House, ironically established by four Greek (not Italian) immigrants. One of the first Boston Pizza franchisees and one of its current owners is Jim Treliving, best known for being one of the investors on Dragons’ Den.

Events: The 1988 Winter Olympics were hosted in Calgary, with skiing events taking place in Kananaskis Country and Canmore. Canada failed to win any gold medals as host country, but the facilities built for the event resulted in Calgary becoming a hub for Canadian winter sports training development. These Olympics also produced the aforementioned Jamaican bobsled team and Michael ‘Eddie the Eagle’ Edwards.

Miscellaneous: The Calgary Stampede, one of the world’s largest rodeos, is known as the “Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth”. Numerous free pancake breakfasts and barbecues are served throughout the 10-day long event, hosted every July since 1923. One million visitors are estimated to attend the event each year and it’s on the Sip Advisor’s bucket list to attend one day.

Angry Canadian

Angry Canadian

  • 2 oz Canadian Rye Whiskey
  • Dash of Maple Syrup
  • Dashes of Angostura Bitters
  • Garnish with a Maraschino Cherry

This Old Fashioned variant was invented by Calgarian Steve Johnston in 2013. I liked the hint of maple syrup you could smell with each sip of the cocktail. I could have used the drink being a little more complex, but it’s a good start to this journey across Canada.

Top 21 of 2021

I’m always surprised that as this list grows each year (ie. Top 19 of 2019, Top 20 of 2020, etc.), I still struggle to narrow down the list of events to highlight, even in another COVID-affected year. No point delaying any longer, let’s get right to it:

Polar Bear Plunge

We got the year started off in style, as I attempted to appease the gods with a quick dip into Ma and Pa Sip’s frigid pool. Despite my parent’s having a pool my entire life, this was the first time I took advantage of a winter swim, which was helped along with shots of Fireball, spiced rum-spiked hot chocolate and other body-warming beverages.

Bon Appétit

As part of Mrs. Sip’s birthday celebrations, we finally cashed in a gift card we had for Dirty Apron in Vancouver, where we cooked a four-course meal, each dish paired with a B.C. wine selection. The evening was full of delicious food and drink, as well as the laughter that comes with preparing decadent culinary items with limited experience.

Lover’s Delight

Our Valentine’s Day celebration was two-pronged, with part one being a blind wine tasting at Township 7 Vineyards in Langley and the second portion being dinner at The Keg, taking advantage of their Dine Out Vancouver special menu. With two young kids, keeping our relationship flame aglow is challenging, but I’d like to think we’re doing okay.

Valentine's

Hidden Valley

For this entry, I’m combining two separate trips that took us out to Abbotsford, Mission, Chilliwack and even Hope, trying to achieve the same feat for Boy Sip, as we had for Girl Sip: 52 breweries visited before they turned one. Thanks to these expeditions, we surpassed our goal with days to spare and had a lot of fun doing so.

Boy Sip’s Big Day

While the day wasn’t as boozy as others on this list, how could I not include our little guy’s first birthday. Born on the day British Columbia announced their state of emergency due to the COVID virus, it was an interesting year for us all. Boy Sip had a great day, tentatively enjoying some cake and diving into his first McDonald’s Happy Meal.

Time to Myself

For Mother’s and Father’s Day this year, Mrs. Sip and I exchanged days without kids and spouses, allowing us to do whatever we wanted with our free time. I spent the day enjoying food, drink and relaxation. There was absolutely nothing on my schedule for a full 24-hour period, which sadly, has become a completely rare occasion.

Resort Life

Our first of three trips to Whistler this year was spent celebrating Father’s Day, with Ma and Pa Sip and the Sip-in-Laws. Highlights included hitting all three Whistler breweries, a date night out with Mrs. Sip, where we tried axe throwing and had a wonderful meal together, and quality time spent with the kids (we do enjoy that!) and family.

Father's Day

Hot, Hot, Hot

Soon, we were off again, this time to Penticton. One downside of the trip was it occurred during our heat wave bubble, but we made the best of the situation with lots of time spent hydrating with cold drinks and swimming in the hotel pool. We also got a guy’s night, spent at the hotel’s restaurant, since the temperature was so stifling.

Luck of the Irish

It’s funny how some nights completely go off script. Plans to meet a friend at Kelly O’Bryans in New West started off innocent enough, with said friend saying he’d probably only do dinner and then call it a night. Hours later, we were still at the restaurant, having moved from outside to inside, and ended up staying well past closing time.

Very Merry Unbirthday

To finally celebrate Boy Sip’s first birthday with family and friends, we hosted a Very Merry Unbirthday party for him. Part of the festivities were my cocktail menu, featuring a handful of drinks that kept guests refreshed and delighted. After his initial shyness wore off, Boy Sip seemed to enjoy having the spotlight on himself for an afternoon.

Wet and Wild

To end the summer, Mrs. Sip and I joined Cousin Sip and her husband for the Sip n’ Dip event at the Otter Co-op Outdoor Experience waterpark in Aldergrove. Floating around the lazy river with drinks was a lot of fun. Mutual friends of ours were also at the event and it was one of their birthdays, so the evening continued at the Townhall Pub in Langley.

Lazy River

Birthday Buddies

With me and Girl Sip’s birthday being back-to-back, there’s usually a lot of fun going on. This year, I got a nice free lunch and Chinese dinner, while Girl Sip’s special day was My Little Pony-themed and featured another Sip Advisor original cocktail lineup. This year, we’ll hopefully get to finally do the Disneyland trip we were supposed to do in 2020.

Like a Kid Again

For my birthday this year, Mrs. Sip organized a gathering of friends to check out the Industry Arcade in Sapperton. Beginning with beers at the adjacent ABC Brewing, we then moved over to the arcade, where we had two hours of unlimited play. Following our gaming session, we hit the Sapperton District Taphouse for dinner and even more drinks.

Sunshine Coast Ale Trail

At the end of September, we travelled to the Sunshine Coast for a weekend getaway. Over our stay, we visited all the breweries we could in Gibsons and Sechelt and also had a lot of fun in our Gibsons holiday home (Girl Sip’s term for all our accommodations), especially when the young’uns mercifully went to bed without issue each night.

Osoyoos Wine Country

A couple weeks later, we were in Osoyoos for the Thanksgiving long weekend. While this venture was largely spent at wineries during the day, each evening saw the extended Sip Family doing a lot of hotel drinking, enjoying each other’s company and an array of food and snacks. Sadly, we only hit one of the areas breweries, so will have to return.

Hotel Bar

Halloween Happenings

I’ve come to really enjoy Halloween with the kids. While they travel around our neighbourhood, stocking up on candy, I get to enjoy drinking outdoors. This was Boy Sip’s first Halloween where he participated and Girl Sip ranks the occasion among her favourite holidays. Topping off the night, was a meal of scrumptious Chicko Chicken.

Return to Whistler

Trip number two to Whistler in 2021, was with friends and their kids. Over the course of the weekend, we had some good meals in the village, while also enjoying downtime at our Airbnb home. We even managed to use the place’s hot tub one of the evenings, sipping beers while basking in the serenity of the area and watching snow fall.

Celebrating in Style

In between Whistler getaways, we celebrated a friend’s 40th birthday, who went all out in the planning of his milestone. Entertainment included dueling pianos and karaoke, while an open bar, food and snacks were all offered. Going all out ourselves, Mrs. Sip and I spent the night at a Downtown Vancouver hotel, allowing us much rest.

Return to Whistler: The Returnering

Our final adventure to Whistler was sans kids, for another friend’s 40th birthday celebrations. It was so nice to have a couple full childless days, allowing us to go at our own pace and not have to worry about our responsibilities. We managed to hit a number of new locales in the village, so have even more ideas for future visits.

40th Birthday

Feliz Navidad

Held at El Santo in New West, Mrs. Sip’s work Christmas party was a lot of fun. I got to see some old friends and meet some of her new coworkers, all while eating a delicious meal and ordering a series of creative cocktails. They weren’t able to have spouses/partners involved in 2020, so this was a welcome change, right before restrictions returned.

Christmas Day

Christmas Day was its typical mix of chaos and merriment, with multiple present openings and other activities. For Christmas dinner, I served up my most impressive cocktail collection yet, enjoyed by all. I love Christmas (in spite of how crazy the season can be) and it has become even more enjoyable with kids to watch experience the season.

While 2021 never produced the full return to normality we all hoped for, perhaps 2022 can provide us with that. If not, the Sip Family has seemingly found a way to continue having prosperous years and I imagine that will continue to be the trend!

Sip Trips #204: December Dynamics

Well, the merriest month of the year has come and gone and as we settle into the melancholy that January can often bring, it’s time to look back on how the Sip Family enjoyed December. There’s a fair bit to cover, so let’s get right to it:

We began the month with a trip to ride the Stanley Park Christmas Train. En route, we dropped into Storm Brewing, as I had wanted to pick up their Christmas themed tall can four-pack, including one can each of Christmas Orange Ale, Eggnog Latte Stout, Turkey Dinner IPA and Xmas Tree Pilsner. While there, Mrs. Sip and I shared a series of samples, comprised of the brewery’s Pineapple Paradise Pilsner, Strawberry Shortcake Ale, Chocolate Strawberry Stout and Mrs. Claus Pilsner (brewed with winter spices). It was an enjoyable stop, highlighted by the most unique beers the local scene has to offer.

beer-christmas

Prior to our train ride, we had dinner at the Stanley Park Brewpub. There, I enjoyed a Red Rye Session IPA and Master Chicken Sandwich. We had great service for our large group and the food and drink were very good.

The next week, for a Christmas party with friends, I picked up the Red Racer Dozen Donuts Mix Pack, composed of three each of Honey Crueller Lager, Chocolate Dip Stout, Raspberry Jelly Sour and Boston Cream Ale. Among the set, my favourites were the Stout and Cream Ale.

Although we had a couple Canucks games scheduled for the month, only one contest ended up going ahead (thanks a bunch, COVID!). Prior to the match, we met with friends at the Hotel Georgia 1927 Lobby Lounge, where I had a liquid dinner of their Hotel Georgia cocktail (Botanist Gin, orgeat, lemon, orange blossom water, egg white and nutmeg dust). It was a very nice drink, but I found the lounge to generally be more expensive than I was planning for.

Expensive

At the game, I enjoyed servings of Hoyne Dark Matter, Parkside Dreamboat Hazy IPA and Stanley Park 1897 Amber Ale. This was the Canucks game where they were down 3-0 early, before storming back and scoring the winning goal with minutes left in the game, coming away with a 4-3 victory. If COVID keeps scuttling games for us, that memory will last a while.

A couple nights later, Mrs. Sip and I took the kids to the Surrey Holiday Lights display. The free event was very well done and offered some drink options for adults. While Mrs. Sip had a spiked hot chocolate and a glass of wine, I went with a can of the Stanley Park Shadow Play Dark Ale. Afterwards, we went for dinner at the nearby Boston Pizza, where I sipped a double Spiced Rum and Coke, along with the Sriracha Garlic Chicken Pizza. It was a good meal and even came with a free Toblerone bar, as it was part of the special seasonal menu.

Next up, was Mrs. Sip’s office Christmas party, hosted at El Santo. Among a very filling set menu dinner, I ordered a number of cocktails, including the El Antijito (pulparindo-infused Cazadores blanco, Aperol, green apple, lime, guava, house-made chamoy and tajin rim); Grito de Delores (estancia raicilla, Cointreau, Green Chartreuse, verdita); El Bosque Nuboso (Avua cachaca, Bacardi 8, Sombra mezcal, Campari, pineapple, lime, passionfruit, Narrative fortified); and the El Padrino (Charred corn husk infused mezcal, Sons of Vancouver amaretto, house mole bitters) for dessert. I also had sips of Mrs. Sip’s Tepache Spritz (house-made tepache, cava, pineapple, cinnamon, soda).

Chips

Unfortunately, our Canucks vs. Leafs game (the reason we select the quarter season package we do) was cancelled due to Omicron concerns. To take advantage of the break in our schedule, Mrs. Sip and I decided to tackle our Christmas shopping, decorating and wrapping. To console ourselves, we began the day of errands with lunch at Milestones. My 1989 Burger was very good and I loved that the server suggested I do half fries and half Caesar Salad, when I struggled to decide on my side dish. More places should offer this option. To drink, I had a pint of the Twin Sails Dat Juice Pale Ale.

After our shopping was done, we dropped into Steel & Oak Brewing, where we shared a flight including B-Jamz Cherry Apricot Pale Ale, Nightcap Cranberry Orange Belgian Ale, Baltic Porter and Phonograph Maple Smoked Porter. Mrs. Sip also grabbed bottles of their Woodland Dark Lager and Velvet Thunder Barrel-Aged Wild Ale, before we returned home for a night of drinks, snacks and Home Alone movies, while wrapping gifts and doing some decorating.

Our last event prior to Christmas was Lumagica in Cloverdale. The weather was really windy, but we enjoyed the light displays and walk. The kids absolutely loved the outing, which is really what the season is about. As we traversed the route, I enjoyed a 2 Pals Cuffing Season Winter Ale.

Lights

Our Christmas Eve, Christmas and Boxing Day were all fun, if not hectic, but that’s par for the course. Liquor-related gifts I received included bottles of Wayward Distilleries Krupnik Spiced Honey Liqueur and Raspberry Gin Liqueur, as well as Havana Club Cuban Smoky Rum. I also got a BC Liquor Stores gift card for future adventures and The Unofficial Disney Parks Drink Recipe book for inspiration for those adventures.

Some notable boozy gifts I had for Mrs. Sip, included some neat new beers: tall can four-packs of Granville Island Cheeky Monkey Chocolate and Vanilla Hefeweizen, Russell Cinnamon Bun Brown Ale and Twin Sails These Pretzels Are Making Me Thirsty Stout (Chocolate, Peanut, Pretzel, Marshmallow). Also, single tall cans of Granville Island Prometheus Belgian-Style Golden Strong and Seawall Saison. We spent some of Boxing Day trying a few of these offerings.

For Christmas dinner, hosted at Ma and Pa Sip’s abode, I finally got to serve the Christmas cocktail menu I created for last year’s festivities. My theme was cocktails from around the world, with names that translated to Merry Christmas, featuring ingredients from those places. This resulted in the Mele Kalikimaka (Toasted Coconut Rum, Macadamia Nut Liqueur, Mango-Pineapple Juice, Lime Juice), Feliz Navidad (Cinnamon Tequila, Kahlua Vanilla, Milk/Soda Water), Joyeux Noel (Grey Goose Le Melon Vodka, Elderflower Liqueur, Lemon-Lime Soda) and Buon Natale (Limoncello, Amaretto, Ginger Beer).

Gifts

Our last outing of December was to Patina Brewing. Mrs. Sip and I shared their Smoked Meat Bunwich (pulled pork in Memphis BBQ sauce) with fries and coleslaw, Pulled Pork Tacos and Southern Cornbread. Our beverages included an excellent Horchata Cream Ale (also bought a tall can four-pack) and Blueberry Wheat Ale. I loved seeing horchata used in a cream ale, as I typically only see it used in dark, heavier beers, such as stouts.

That’s a wrap for the month and the year. I hope to get my Best of 2021 out there soon. As for no mention of New Year’s on this article, it’s because the night was a dud, inspiring a future article on the best and worst holidays. Lots to look forward to as we begin 2022!

Sip Trips #203: November Nostalgia

Another month is in the books and with two trips to Whistler and the celebration of two friends turning 40, there was a fair bit going on. Here’s what the Sip Family got up to throughout November:

The month began with me and a friend meeting up for a Vancouver Canucks game. Our night started at Original Joe’s, where we took advantage of their Tuesday 49-cent Wings special. I enjoyed servings of their Teriyaki and Salt & Vinegar varieties, paired with a couple of their own Red Ales. I liked that the wings at Original Joe’s were quite meaty, which you sometimes don’t get, especially when the item is on special.

Wings

As for the game, the Canucks pushed the Anaheim Ducks to overtime, but eventually lost. Over the course of the contest, I enjoyed a large Parkside Dreamboat IPA upon arrival, followed by a Captain Morgan Spiced Rum and Coke picked up during each intermission.

Not content to head home just yet – and happy to let the Skytrain rush dissipate – my evening finished with a visit to Devil’s Elbow Ale & Smoke House. Here, I ordered a guest tap pint of Container Three Legged Mare English Brown Ale, which was very good.

Our first trip to Whistler of the month was a family expedition. Our adventure started with having a late lunch at Howe Sound Brewpub in Squamish. I paired my delicious Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich with a pint of Howe Sound’s Habanero Fudge Robust Porter. I would have welcomed a little more heat with this beer, but I understand not going overboard on the spice makes the brew easier for some to handle.

Hot Chicken

Once in Whistler, we had one meal each day in the village. First up, was the infamous Longhorn Saloon, where despite a DJ being on site and blasting loud music, Boy Sip managed to sleep through the visit. I ordered The Cowboy Brisket Wrap and a Deep Cove Hazy IPA, which provided a good meal. That said, I was disappointed by Longhorn’s beer and cocktail offerings and their prices are a little tough to swallow, seemingly inflated so people will buy a membership to the Gibbons network of restaurants there, allowing them discounts on food and drink purchases.

The next day, we enjoyed dinner at High Mountain Brewhouse. I began the feast with a tasty (and fragrant) Pomegranate Basil Smash cocktail. For food, I went with the Wild Sockeye Salmon Burger, which was very good. I had originally glossed right over the menu item, but a second look revealed a number of components that piqued my interest: spicy teriyaki glaze, tempura vegetables and wasabi mayo. I was very satisfied with the order, which went quite well with my 5 Rings IPA.

The following weekend was highlighted by a friend’s 40th birthday bash, which he planned more extravagantly than some weddings I’ve attended. Before we get to that, though, Mrs. Sip and I decided to stay overnight at Downtown Vancouver’s Fairmont Waterfront for the night. We began our stay with cocktails at the hotel’s Arc Restaurant. There, Mrs. Sip and I split a trio of cocktails, including the Rum & Winter Spice (winter spice-infused Bacardi 8, Grand Marnier, orange juice, lemon juice, simple syrup); Blackberry Mule (Grey Goose Vodka, ginger beer, lime juice, simple syrup, blackberries) and Rosemary Gimlet (Wayward/Waterfront Gin, Green Chartreuse, honey syrup, lime juice, sprig of rosemary).

Mini Bar

Those built a good base buzz for the events of the evening, which included ordering room service from Arc. For this dinner, I had a delicious Char-Grilled Angus Cheeseburger and Caesar Salad. Their fries were also very good, which Mrs. Sip had with her enormous Smoked Turkey Sandwich serving (like seriously, there was two full sandwiches part of this platter).

The birthday was held at the Croatian Cultural Centre, with about 160 guests in attendance. Along with an open bar, entertainment included dueling pianos, followed by karaoke. Mrs. Sip and I had a fantastic night, returning to our accommodation at 3am. Thank god for the Fairmont’s late checkout!

The month wrapped with another visit to Whistler. After settling into our Airbnb condo, we ventured to Joe Fortes for après hour. Mrs. Sip and I split the Joe’s Chilled Seafood Platter, along with an order of Truffle Parmesan Fries. The fries were scrumptious and consuming the platter (filled with oysters, mussels, clams, prawns, two types of tuna, and scallop ceviche) felt decadent. To drink, I had a pair of Coast Mountain Hope You’re Happy IPAs.

Seafood

As we paid the bill, our server suggested checking out The Raven Room cocktail bar. That advice did not disappoint, as we split a trio of libations, comprised of: the Paper Crane (gin, sake, Aperol, lemon juice, yuzu, sesame oil); Mom Wants the Pool Boy (sugar snap pea-infused tequila, cucumber liqueur, lime juice, agave syrup); and I Want S’more (graham cracker-infused bourbon, Frangelico, Crème de Cacao, espresso, salted chocolate). Of the three, I liked the Mom Wants the Pool Boy best, thanks to the cucumber liqueur.

Later that night, we met up with the rest of our group, including the birthday girl, at Tapley’s Pub. There, we shared a few pitchers of beer, but Mrs. Sip and I weren’t up to eating anything, following our indulgence at Joe Fortes earlier.

The next afternoon, we all finally reconvened at Caramba!, taking advantage of their happy hour. Mrs. Sip got the Jumbo Caesar, which came with two sliders and some other goodies mixed in, while I had two Strange Fellows Pale Ales.

Caesar

Up next, was El Furniture Warehouse across the way, for their Power Hour. This gives customers one hour to buy 8-ounce beers for $1.95. Over the hour, I downed six Dam Amber beers, while we also partook in a round of shots, with Mrs. Sip and I choosing to do Burt Reynolds (Spiced Rum and Butterscotch Schnapps) shooters. For eats, I went with the Fingers & Fries, which while tasty, was more fries than fingers. What can you expect, though, for the low price of $5.95? All menu items here are between $5.95-$7.95, thus making it a very popular place.

That was it for the month. December promises to be its usual insane sprint to the finish. The calendar is already filled with outings – both adult and family-friendly alike – with Mrs. Sip always finding space to shoehorn in another activity!

Sip Trips #202: October Ovations

Well, the Halloween month has come and gone and it wasn’t actually as active as I thought it would be, at least when it comes to boozy activities. Perhaps, that’s because much of the latter half of the month was spent doing family activities at community centers and the like and sadly, liquor doesn’t flow on these occasions. Here’s what the Sip Family got up to:

October began with my first trip to Rogers Arena since March 2020, to watch a pre-season NHL contest between the Vancouver Canucks and Winnipeg Jets. To celebrate the return – and also to not have to wear a mask for the entire game – me and Pa Sip took turns paying for rounds of Captain Morgan and Coke beverages. I went with Spiced Rum, while Pa Sip selected the Dark Rum. The Canucks won the game too, so it all made for a pretty good way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Later that week, Mrs. Sip and I met up with a friend on Port Moody’s Brewers Row. On this visit, we achieved a new feat, by doing the entire Row (which I had only done twice before), including the distillery for the first time ever. We began our adventure at Yellow Dog Brewing, where I had the Flora & Fauna Gin Botanical IPA, while Mrs. Sip chose the Octoberish Festbier (a Neighbourhood Brewing guest tap).

Walk

Next up, was Twin Sails Brewing, where Mrs. Sip and I shared a flight comprised of the Blue Crush Blueberry Wheat Ale, Would Crush Raspberry Wheat Ale, Cookie Jar Oatmeal Fudge Stout and Low Life Festbier. Our following stop was Rocky Point Spirits. I elected to have a Moscow Mule and we each imbibed in one of their Vaccine shots, celebrating another pandemic era gathering.

From there, we moved on to Parkside Brewing for pints of their Dreamboat Hazy IPA for me and Pleasantside Mixed Berry Ale for Mrs. Sip. With time running out, we quickly moved on to The Bakery, where I enjoyed their Fresh Hop Amber Ale. The night ended with a last minute stop into the about-to-close Moody Ales, completing the Brewers Row circuit. Here, I enjoyed a celebratory London Red (Cask) Red Ale.

For the Thanksgiving long weekend, the extended Sip Family travelled to Oliver/Osoyoos for a getaway that included a number of winery stops. Our first sojourn of the vacation was Covert Farms, which offered an animal tour and other options geared towards kids. I did manage to have a glass of their Sauvignon Blanc Semillon, as the ladies in our group enjoyed an extended tasting experience.

thanksgiving

Following the winery, where I largely chased the Sipplings around, I was owed a little brewery time, so we popped into Firehall Brewing. The visit wasn’t as relaxed as I would have wanted, but the kids were understandably done with sitting patiently, following a long drive and getting to play at Covert Farms. I did enjoy my Stoked Ember ESB and also got to try Mrs. Sip’s White Hat Witbier.

The next morning was spent hitting a few more wineries in the Oliver area, including Gehringer Brothers, Hester Creek and Castoro de Oro. Again, I was mostly on child care duty and only had a few sips of vino along the way.

For lunch, we went to the District Wine Village, which will be a really neat destination once they work out a few kinks. There’s basically a large central courtyard, surrounded by various winey tasting rooms. One of the issues is a lack of food options. We ordered a couple pizzas from the Trading Post Brewing location there (along with an Amber Ale), but a few other eating choices would be great, such as a burger place. It was also weird to not be able to take your drink with you to your table and have to be escorted by an employee, but it must have something to do with their liquor license.

pizza

En route back to our hotel, I picked up a tall can four-pack of Highway 97 Mountain Man Cranberry & Orange Witbier, which I enjoyed quite a bit during our nightly happy hours. The next morning, we started at Intersection Vineyards. I was stuck in car with a napping Boy Sip, so also enjoyed a little snooze myself.

Sadly, the one brewery we wanted to visit in Osoyoos, North Basin Brewing, was unexpectedly closed when we tried to hit it. We knew they would be shutdown on the holiday Monday, but when we tried to go there on the Sunday, there was a closed notice on the door. Had we known it would work out that way, we would have made more of an effort to get there on the Friday or Saturday.

After some hotel pool time for the kids, we got an adult afternoon out and went to the nearby Tumbleweed Spirits. While they weren’t serving cocktails during our visit, we did try a series of their libations. My set included the Fireweed Whiskey as well as Blueberry, Cherry, Raspberry and Maple Moonshines. Following the tasting, we bought bottles of the Raspberry and Maple Moonshines, which I look forward to experimenting with soon.

moonshine

Not content to return to our little monsters just yet, we also did a tasting at Lakeside Cellars. This sitting was comprised of their 2020 Bubbles, 2020 Sauvignon Blanc, 2019 Portage White, 2020 Rose, 2017 Portage Red, and 2016 Provenir.

In the middle of October, we began binging Squid Game on Netflix. To fully embrace the Korean spirit of the show, I picked up a couple bottles of Soju (Strawberry and Mango), a bag of Korean BBQ potato chips and we picked up dinner from Chicko Chicken. We enjoyed the chicken so much, we ordered it again following trick-or-treating on Halloween night.

Near the end of the month, we finally got to enjoy a portion or Mrs. Sip’s January birthday gift, which was unfortunately originally cancelled due to pandemic restrictions. Prior to our fun magic show at the Hidden Wonders Speakeasy, we had a small meal at El Santo, sharing orders of the Enchiladas Suizas and Al Pastor Tacos. My beverage of choice was the Batanga (tequila, Ancho Reyes verde, lime, cola, salt rim), which I liked. As for the show, my only complaint was not being able to have a speakeasy cocktail, but perhaps these are offered when outside of pandemic restrictions.

speakeasy

Our last event of October was attending the Vancouver Canucks vs. Philadelphia Flyers. This would be Boy Sip’s first live hockey game, given he was born right as the pandemic was sweeping the world. After a mix up regarding us bringing in Boy Sip’s diaper bag, Mrs. Sip calmed her frustration by grabbing us some brews, which for me consisted of the Stanley Park 1897 Amber Ale.

The calendar for November is already filling up, with two trips to Whistler (including a much-needed vacay sans kids) and a friend’s 40th birthday. All of which should be a ton of fun as we also gear up for another crazy Christmas!

Sip Trips #201: September Celebrations

Well, September was a busy month, as it usually is, filled with numerous birthdays and other activities as the summer comes to a close and we try to eke out the last bits of outdoor fun. Let’s see what the Sip Family did to wrap up the season:

September began with a visit to the Great Canadian Brewhouse in Abbotsford, as we returned home from a day with the kids at Cultus Lake Adventure Park. We may have been pushing our luck after a really good but long day, as both young’uns were in no mood for us to enjoy a restaurant meal. We tried to make the best of it, but the restaurant was also out of a few of the Feature Menu items Mrs. Sip wanted to try and a beer I had hoped to have. Mrs. Sip did join their app/rewards club, which gave us access to a free order of Golden Garlic Fingers, which were very good. She also ordered the Triple Eh! Peppered Angus Steak Bites, along with a Same Team Soda, while I paired the Brewhouse Hoser Club with a Stanley Park Windstorm Pale Ale. Despite any of the issues, we returned to their Richmond location later in the month to try more of their menu.

Club Sandwich

The next week, we popped into Steel & Oak Brewing, since they had food and drink Mrs. Sip was interested in trying. While I enjoyed my Turned Out Spruce Tip Ale, Mrs. Sip finally got to try the Berliner Weisse flight with three different syrups (orange and saffron, ginger and turmeric, and spruce tip) she had been curious about for much of the summer. The Mr. Arancino food truck was also on site, so we grabbed a set of Risotto Balls from it, Arancini being one of Mrs. Sip’s favourite appetizers.

En route to visit some friends in Langley, I popped into the Clayton Liquor Store and picked up tall can four-packs of Vancouver Island Watermelon Hibiscus Blonde (Tidal Series) and Russell Strawberry & Kiwi Milkshake IPA. Both beers were perfect for a late summer outing. I had originally stopped at the store, hoping to track down the Phillips Twenty Point Buck (Barrel-Aged Blue Buck) 20th Anniversary Gift Set with commemorative glass. I was unlucky here, but did eventually find the product at the Central City Bridgeview Liquor Store.

The next day, after taking advantage of advanced voting in the Canadian federal election, we celebrated with dinner at Brown’s Social House in Sapperton. We took advantage of a few Social Hour deals, including Parmesan Garlic Fries, Crispy Cauliflower and beverages including the Social Palmer for me and Summer Social Soda for Mrs. Sip. For my meal, I went with the Florida Special (crispy chicken, avocado, bacon, Swiss cheese, tomato, and coleslaw on a toasted baguette) with Caesar Salad. For Girl Sip, we ordered a Kids Dragon Bowl, the leftovers of which became my yummy lunch the next day.

Leftovers

That weekend, The Bakery Brewing was advertising Nitro Pumpkin Spice Porter Floats, which caught the attention of Mrs. Sip. Since we were gathering with friends at a park in the area anyway, we decided to pop in for the float. We also ordered taster glasses of their Amber Ale, Strawberry Farmhouse Ale and Bavarian Hefeweizen. Once again, though, the kids were not into the prospect of hanging out at a brewery… at least until we bribed them with some ice cream!

To celebrate my birthday, we started with lunch at Kelly O’Bryan’s, taking advantage of their free birthday meal offer. I went with the Chicken Lips N’ Fries, with a Black Currant Mojito and Fernie Hit the Deck Hazy IPA to wash the food down. It was a great start to the celebrations, which would also include a Chinese dinner feast with family in the evening.

I received a number of alcohol-based gifts for my birthday, including four-can tall packs of Camp Fall Camp Smoked Amber Ale and Lazy River Watermelon Gose from Cousin Sip; the Central City Summer Weekender 24 Pack from Ma and Pa Sip; a bottle Havana Club Añejo Rum from the Sip-in-Laws; and a bomber of Barnside Heavy Horse Blueberry Milkshake IPA from Mrs. Sip and the Sipplings.

Birthday Gifts

The next day was Girl Sip’s birthday and with a My Little Pony theme, I compiled a cocktail menu for the occasion (for the adults, of course). Drinks included: Twilight Sparkle (Crème de Violette, Bubbly); Pinkie Pie (White Rum, Peach Schnapps, Pink Lemonade, Whip Cream, Garnished with Sprinkles); Applejack (Southern Comfort, Jack Daniel’s Winter Apple, Iced Tea); and Rainbow Dash (Arctic Grape Rum, Blue Curacao, Club Soda).

We continued my birthday celebrations on the weekend, getting together with a group of friends for an evening out. The expedition started with gathering at ABC Brewing for some bevvies. Between Mrs. Sip and myself, I tried their Festbier, Water Frolic Small IPA, Fest IPA and Imperial Stout. Next up, was a couple hours at the Industry Arcade next door. Here, we could play a host of pinball and arcade games, as well as Skee Ball. It was a lot of fun, with highlights for me being playing The Simpsons and Bubble Bobble arcade games.

From there, we moved onto the Sapperton District Taphouse, where I had a pair of beers, consisting of the Parkside Dreamboat IPA and Tin House High Knoll Hazy IPA. I also took the time to refuel a little, with an order of the Chicken Sliders. My night gets a little foggy here, as one would expect after drinking all afternoon, but I remember having fun with what was left of our group.

Arcade Games

With our friends all done for the evening, returning to their respective kids, but with Mrs. Sip and I free of such obligations, thanks to Ma and Pa Sip, we decided to try to take in a movie at the New West Landmark Cinemas. I say try, because the Sip Advisor ended up crashing and sleeping throughout our viewing of Free Guy. What can I say, dark theatres are my kryptonite. Thankfully, the movie has since made its way onto Disney+, allowing my to absolve the guilt I felt for missing out.

The next morning, after picking up the Sipplings, we ventured out to Richmond and the Great Canadian Brewhouse there for our aforementioned return to the chain. Meeting up with a friend, we shared an order of the Birthday Nachos we were offered through their app. I paired the giant order with a tankard of Central City Super Solar IPA, which my friend picked up the tab for, so all in all, it was a pretty inexpensive meal.

The following weekend, we travelled to the Sunshine Coast to spend four nights at a beautiful Airbnb home in Gibsons. On our first day, we had lunch at Tapworks Brewing, where Mrs. Sip and I split servings of the One Sailing Wait IPA and Backwoods Hazy Pale Ale. To eat, I selected the Crispy Chicken Bao, which was overflowing with delicious hoisin-drizzled fried chicken.

Nachos

Our next outing was a late lunch at The 101 Brewhouse & Distillery. We had a nice outdoor table, which allowed the kids to roam a little bit, as we ate and drank and supervised… well, mostly supervised! Split between our trio of parents, we ordered the Poutine, Hot Fried Chicken Sandwich and Chicken Quesadillas, which provided quite the spread. To drink, I had the Tall Faller Hazy IPA. As The 101 is also a distillery, Mrs. Sip made a point of trying one of their cocktails, selecting the 101 Coast Sour (gin, bourbon, lemon juice, mint, simple syrup, bitters, topped with Brickers Cider).

Afterwards, we hit the Persephone Brewing farm where Mrs. Sip and I had servings of the Brett Saison and Oktoberfest Lager. If not for our collection of kids, I could have stayed at the location longer, enjoying another pint or two. Even the occasional whiff of typical farm smells wouldn’t have deterred us!

For our last full day, we journeyed to Sechelt, to visit Batch 44 Brewery & Kitchen. Mrs. Sip put together a flight of their Lonely Giant IPA, The Village Altbier, Happy Wanderer Hefeweizen and an Earl Grey Cider, so I elected to go with a brew she didn’t choose, in the Frosty Morning Scottish Ale. My only complaint about the beer is it came in at a 4% ABV and I would have liked that a little higher.

Farm

The only Sunshine Coast brewery we weren’t able to visit was Powell River’s Townsite Brewing, so I picked up a tall can four-pack of their Savary Beaches Wheat Ale (Shoreline Series) from a BC Liquor Store. It helped me complete the Brewers Coast collection.

That was a wrap on a wild and eventful month. October has already started out busy and with a trip to Osoyoos in the cards, along with a number of Halloween events on the calendar, there will surely be much to write about!

Sip Trips #200: August Awe

Wow, I can’t believe this is the 200th Sip Trip post. We’ve documented so many adventures since I started doing them, with the best still yet to come. Typically, I’ve been posting Sip Trips monthly, but an event we attended this week is being run twice more before the end of August and I want to get my thoughts out there to anyone who may want more info on it. So, here’s what we’ve been up to for most of the month:

Our first journey took us to the Langley Farmers Market, which was featuring a Craft Beer Crawl. In attendance from Langley’s burgeoning craft beer scene was Camp, Dead Frog, Smuggler’s Cove, Five Roads, Locality, and Farm Country. We bought tall can four-packs from four of the breweries, which has stocked us well for the last couple weeks. We also enjoyed some neat ice cream from Rolled West Coast, going with the Cookie Monster offering.

farmers market

Following the market, we went for dinner at the newly-opened The Barley Merchant. I targeted a serving of Dead Frog Big Melon, Little Berries Watermelon Blackberry Imperial Pilsner, which was very good. It also paired well with my The Dirty Bird fried chicken burger with fries. I look forward to return trip to the eatery, which offers 50 taps of beer and ciders.

The event I want to highlight for this Sip Trips was the Sip n’ Dip (aka Sip & Swim) at the Otter Co-op Outdoor Experience waterpark in Aldergrove. $15.75 plus tax paid for admission and one drink ticket, with additional tickets costing $5 each. There was only 200 spaces available for the event, with registration opening a week prior. Folks should get there early, as you have to sign in and buy your extra drink tickets before entering. We picked up an extra six tickets, with me theory that we would go through a drink each half our portion of the two-hour event. I used my tickets on Trading Post Helles Lagers and Farm Country Everyday Ales. They also had two flavours of White Claw Hard Seltzers, a cider and wine available.

I thought the event was pretty well run, but three hours instead of two would have been great. As Mrs. Sip put it, three hours is not long enough for people to get too messed up and long enough for people to pace themselves better, not that I saw any issues with that over the course of the evening. A Triple O’s food truck was on site for those who wanted to eat. One issue was that only small “wallet size” lockers were available to those who wanted to secure their items. Other than that, I can’t think of any other problems.

livin the dream

Following the Sip n’ Dip, we went to the Townhall Pub in Langley for some late night happy hour treats. I had an order of Chicken Tenders with fries, while also sharing some of Mrs. Sip’s Pulled Pork Hushpuppies. It was a decadent meal, with multiple $3 highballs and finished with slices of Oreo Cheesecake.

That wraps this mid-month report. Despite our wedding anniversary coming up soon, I’m not sure we’ll get to do much for it, as Ma Sip is scheduled for hip replacement surgery the day after, along with Mrs. Sip celebrating a friend’s 40th birthday over the occasion and going away on a girl’s trip. I want to wish Mrs. Sip a fun time away and Ma Sip all the best in her recovery.

Sip Trips #199: July Joys

Well, July was busy (what’s new), but not nearly as crammed full of outings as June had been. I guess that’s what happens when you stay close to home and don’t take two trips out of town. Here’s what we got up to over the first full month of summer:

BC Liquor Stores is currently celebrating their 100th Anniversary, featuring some unique products made exclusively for the occasion. One of these items, a tall can four-pack of Strange Fellows Moon Rabbit Szechuan Saison, caught my eye to begin July and I just had to pick it up. I love spice and I love saisons, so it was a no-brainer to give the release a shot. There’s some other goodies that look neat too, so I’ll have to try some more of them.

100th Anniversary

One big night of the month saw the Sip Advisor and a friend meet at Kelly O’Bryan’s for a debaucherous night of drinking. We met at about 6pm and while the original plan was to have dinner and a couple drinks, then go our separate ways, we ended up at the pub until 1:30am, half an hour after the place had closed. Over the course of the night, I believe I had 10 brews, comprised of many Red Truck Pale Ales and a few Whistler Grapefruit Ales (thank you late night happy hour!). To sustain this drinking session, I enjoyed my order of Chicken Lips N’ Fries, which is their version of chicken fingers – the joke being that chickens don’t have fingers, much less lips.

Another notable day was when we finally got to hold Boy Sip’s first birthday, four months after it occurred. For the occasion, I produced a trio of cocktails, along with a mocktail punch. The drinks for the Alice in Wonderland-themed Very Merry Unbirthday party included the Mad Tea (Hey Y’All Black Tea Vodka, Yuzu Liqueur, Club Soda), Off with Their Heads (Crown Royal Vanilla Whiskey, Blackberry-Blueberry Juice, Ginger Beer) and Through the Looking Glass (Aviation Gin, Strawberry Lemonade, Tonic Water), while the mocktail punch was called Futterwacken and consisted of equal parts White Tea Lavender, Watermelon Juice and Lemon-Lime Soda. We also had beer, wine, vodka sodas, and other non-alcoholic beverages available for guests.

A few days later, Mrs. Sip and I received our second COVID-19 vaccinations. To celebrate, we went across the street to Hops Pub, which had Burt Reynolds shots on special, so we each imbibed with one. Spiced Rum well drinks were also being featured, so I went with a Spiced Rum and Coke, while Mrs. Sip had a Spiced Rum and Ginger Ale. To eat, we split an order of their Loaded Italian Fries with Meat Sauce. It was our first trip to this local pub and we enjoyed the stay on their patio.

Rum

To end the month, the Sip Family headed to White Rock/South Surrey for a pair of first visits, starting with the newly-opened Galaxie Brewing. Mrs. Sip and I shared two flights, allowing us to try each of the brewery’s eight beers. These included the Atomic Bomb Hazy Ale, Nebulous Hazy IPA, Zero Gravity Lime Radler, Lite Year West Coast IPA, Blue Moon Blueberry Ale, Haileys Comet White IPA, Black Hole Chocolate Stout, and Interstellar Pale Ale. Galaxie is really taking advantage of their space theming, with neat decorations inside the tasting room and I especially love their bottle cap planet logo. While we didn’t have anything to eat this time around, they do offer pizzas, paninis and charcuterie boards. Galaxie also has wine, cider and craft sodas available.

Next up, was the Mainland Whisky tasting room, where we were drawn in by the prospect of craft cocktails, live music and most importantly, Po Boy sandwiches. Mrs. Sip and I shared Blackened Chicken and Blackened Shrimp Po Boys, to go along with a trio of cocktails, comprised of the Iced Normando (Cherry Whisky Liqueur, Amaretto, Dr. Pepper), Cocorita (Corn Whisky, Triple Sec, Lime, Pineapple, Coconut) and Strawberry Mint Julep (Time Machine Whisky, Strawberry, Mint, Soda). The food was fantastic, the drinks delicious and the live music provided the perfect finish to our visit. Next week, they’re cooking up barbecue chicken and ribs and if we didn’t already have a family barbecue to attend, we may have returned for another enjoyable evening.

So, that was the month. Not a ton going on, but what did happen was very memorable. If August can provide the same blend of occasional events, mixed with good times with friends and family, I will be one happy Sip Advisor!