Sip Trips #188: Sea to Sky

Taking the last week of August off to celebrate my and Mrs. Sip’s wedding anniversary and make a short getaway to Whistler with the Sip Family, was a perfect way to end the summer. We crammed a lot of stuff into a limited time, so let’s get right to the action:

Prior to our little vacation, we had a bit of activity that should be documented. A couple recent purchases included a six-pack of Spectrum Strawberry Ice Cream Pale Ale, which may be the best beer I’ve had all summer. It’s not too strong on the strawberry flavour, but just enough that you can enjoy it. I also picked up the Nude Vodka Soda Pride Pack for Mrs. Sip to try. It included six flavous (Cran Raspberry, Raspberry Lemon, Lime, Black Cherry, Mango, Peach), giving her a chance to sample a good variety of the brand’s offerings and decide if she wants to do more vodka soda products in the future.

Vodka Soda

We also dropped into Steamworks Brewing in Burnaby one evening. There, I had a delicious Imperial Red Ale, while Mrs. Sip ordered a flight, which included their Refresh Raspberry and Lemon Ale, Killer Cucumber Ale, Hazy Pale Ale and Black Angel IPA. We both particularly liked the Cucumber Ale, which I’ve had before, but never on tap.

The first portion of my week off was a night without kids, enjoying an overnight stay in Downtown Vancouver. We began with some happy hour snacks at 131 Water Kitchen & Bar. Our food included Crispy Chicken Bites and Veggie Spring Roll, which I paired with a 131 Lager. The beer went down like juice, while the food was good and enough to tide me over for our upcoming dinner.

To stock our hotel room, we picked up a tall can four-pack of Barkerville Sluice Juice Hazy Pale Ale, a bomber of Fuggles & Warlock Valkyrie Belgian Vineyard Ale and a bottle of wine. Unfortunately, our room’s fridge wasn’t really much of a cooling device, so we didn’t get to enjoy our treats as we had originally hoped.

Hotel Fridge

For dinner, we went to Lift Bar Grill View in Coal Harbour. Arriving just in time for a quick happy hour order, we each got a glass of house rosé, an appetizer of Humboldt Squid and an Oyster each (for aphrodisiacal reasons!). Mrs. Sip then went with the Halibut for dinner, while I elected to have the Burger. With my meal, I had a pint of Parkside Dusk Pale Ale. The restaurant also kindly gave us each a glass of dessert wines on the house, as a little anniversary delight.

The next morning, we had brunch at Bellaggio Cafe, where Mrs. Sip had Eggs Benedict and I went with the Chicken & Brussels Waffle. I also enjoyed a 3-ounce Caesar, which got the day off to a good start. Our activities while in the area, included the Dimensions Art Gallery, where visitors can become part of the art installations and solving a cold murder case with Vancouver Mysteries. I would recommend both to anyone looking for something to do in Vancouver.

After a brief respite, we were on the road to Whistler, which I hadn’t visited since New Year’s 2012-2013. On our way up, we stopped at the Howe Sound Brewpub in Squamish for lunch. There, I ordered the Hopraiser West Coast IPA, while Mrs. Sip went with the Alpine Traverse New World Tripel. To eat, we shared the Brewer’s Select Pizza, topped with pepperoni, bacon, and chorizo. We also received a taster of the Pamplemousse Pale Ale and grabbed tall cans of King Heffy Imperial Hefeweizen and Jam Session Raspberry Cream Ale to go.

Summer Vacation

Before leaving Squamish, we also went to A-Frame Brewing, which only had a few of their own beers on tap. We put together a flight of their Okanagan Lake Cream Ale, Sproat Lake Pale Ale, Shuswap Lake West Coast IPA and finished the set with guest tap House of Funk Atomic Jam. The brewery had a food truck onsite, which allowed us to get Toddler Sip a Churro treat for dessert.

Our dinner that night was at The Keg, since we desired a slice of Billy Miner Pie. Our food selections included Prime Rib Sliders for me and a Lobster Tail for Mrs. Sip. I paired my meal with a Chili Mango Margarita that really hit the spot. Of course, that decadent Billy Miner Pie capped the meal, which the restaurant generously comped since it was our anniversary.

Our main event for the night was checking out the Vallea Lumina Light Walk. Words and photos can’t really describe how neat of an attraction this is. Set on a dark mountainous trail, you travel through some amazing light and sound experiences that make you feel connected to the surrounding nature. I’d love to revisit in the winter, if possible.

The next day, we left the village to explore a couple nearby breweries. First up, was Whistler Brewing, where we put together a flight of their The Blonde Spruce Goose, Wayside Apricot Wit, Chestnut Ale and Black Tusk Ale. It was a solidly built flight, if I don’t say so myself. The Sunny Daze Yuzu IPA, which I had wanted to try, wasn’t on tap, so I grabbed a tall can of it for the road and really enjoyed as a breakfast beer the next day.

Coast Mountain Brewing was our second stop and we ordered two flights to be able to try eight of their 11 brews. Our boards consisted of the Day Dream IPA, The Surveyor IPA, Forecast Pale Ale, Green Run Session IPA, Vanilla Bean Stout, Woodnutt Brown Ale, Sunbreak Saison, and Drink the Rainbow (made with Skittles). I feel like doing flights is a great way to try as much as possible, but a full serving is the best way to truly appreciate a beer, as palate fatigue seems to set in when we go the flight route.

Day three was my negotiated “don’t have to drive anywhere day”, so we spent the day exploring the village. For lunch, we ate at the High Mountain BrewHouse, where between Mrs. Sip and I, we had pints of their Belgian Tripel, Belgian Wit, Alta Lake Ale and Grizzly Brown Ale. Food seemed like a good idea with all those drinks, so we ordered the Four Cheese Pizza.

Pizza

Sadly, our stay in Whistler came to an end, but we weren’t ready to go home yet. We journeyed to Pemberton to hit a couple breweries there, starting with The Beer Farmers. Following our flight, made up of the Locals Only Lager, Farmers Daughter Biere de Table, Cover Crop Hazy IPA and Dunkelweizen, we completed the farm’s sunflower maze, which was a lot of fun, particularly for Toddler Sip.

Next up, was Pemberton Brewing, for a quick flight (U-Pick Strawberry Pale Ale, Cream Puff NE Pale Ale, Upside Down Brut IPA, Barb’s Nice Pear Rhubarb Pear Sour). We also brought home a bomber of Cream Puff NE Pale Ale, which will be a nice way to bring up memories of the journey, when we finally get around to enjoy it.

Road Trip

On our drive home, we stopped in Squamish again, to hit Backcountry Brewing. There, we had a fantastic Fig & Prosciutto Pizza (as well as an appetizer of Hushpuppies), to go along with a flight of beers. The flight included the Go Get Yourself Some Cheap Sunglasses IPA, Living in a Van Down By the River ISA, I’ll Take You to the Candy Shop Peach Sour and Patches O’Houlihan Porter. To go, Mrs. Sip grabbed a tall can four-pack of I’ll Take You to the Candy Shop Peach Sour and single tall can of Case of the Mondays Peach-Pineapple-Guava Sour.

Eight breweries over four days, completes to checklist for Squamish, Whistler and Pemberton. The expedition brought Toddler Sip’s number up to 96 breweries visited and Baby Sip up to 27. Parenting done right!

Sip Trips #173: Annual Activities

This past week was incredibly busy for the Sip Advisor. Two of my favourite yearly events sandwiched my and Mrs. Sip’s wedding anniversary, which is always highlighted by some unique activity. There’s a lot to cover, so let’s get right to it:

The week began with a trip across the line to Washington State. We decided to pop into Bellingham’s Aslan Brewing for dinner, where I enjoyed a pint of their Ginger Rye Ale, paired with a host of food items, including Mac Bites, Bacon Bison Burger with Waffle Fries Poutine and Pepper Chicken Taco. The beer was tasty, with a nice spice to it and each culinary item was downright delicious. Even Baby Sip was into much of the meal, chomping down on the mac n’ cheese balls and beef from the burger.

On Saturday, we attended the Battle of the Brews in Surrey for the second straight year. I love this event, as our $40 early bird ticket allows unlimited beer and food over the four-hour runtime. Over 20 breweries and a handful of restaurants participated. While each brewery offered some great variety, Russell Brewing brought a spectacular and unique lineup, with three fruit-flavoured beers: Cucumber Sour, Triple Berry Milkshake IPA and Strawberry Hibiscus Milkshake IPA. As for the food, everything I had from Pulled Pork Sliders from Benny’s Texas BBQ to Double Chocolate Brownies from Brown’s Social House hit the spot.

cat bbq

Not content to end the day after the event, we ventured to ABC Brewing, where they were hosting a pop-up patio party. Here, I tried their Bradburied Australian Pale Ale and I continue to be impressed with the company’s releases and experimentation with different styles, many of which you don’t come across very often.

Sunday marked seven happy years of marriage for me and Mrs. Sip. To celebrate the occasion, I booked us a surprise Taste Vancouver Food Tours route, wandering through the Gastown neighbourhood of the city. I felt the $90 fee was reasonable, as we learned a lot of history for the area, while stuffing our faces with a number of savoury and sweet selections: Chicken Kara-Age at Guu Izakaya, Tortellini at Brioche Urban Eatery, Fish & Chips at 131 Water Kitchen & Bar, Pulled Pork Sandwich at Peckinpah, Ice Cream at Soft Peaks, Cheesecake at Trees Organic Coffee, and Chocolate at Rogers’ Chocolates. The tour also included a sample of Summer Ale from Steamworks Brewing and taste of wine at Brioche.

After a day of rest, I was back in Vancouver to attend Caskapalooza 2019 at Craft Beer Market. This was my third time taking in this event ($25 for 12 tokens), featuring the wares of over 30 breweries. The experimentation for this year’s Caskapalooza was amazing, highlighted by ingredients such as yellow watermelon, caramelized cinnamon and pequin peppers, among many others. With so much variety, it’s hard narrowing down my favourite beer of the day, but it may have been R&B Brewing’s Tart Strawberry Rhubarb IPA. This year’s Caskapalooza included no food, which may have been for the best as it was usually a frenzy anytime a tray came out of the kitchen. Better to not offer and therefore not disappoint, than leave people upset that they missed out.

disappointed cat

After using up all our tokens, we travelled to the nearby Brewhall for dinner and further drinks. My Korean Chicken Burger with Curly Fries was tremendous. The burger included a sumptuous gochujang sesame sauce and any place that offers Curly Fries will also be tops in my books. To wash the meal down, I enjoyed pints of Brewhall/Dageraad Citriplicate Belgian Blonde Ale and Brewhall Neon Lights Pale Ale, both of which were very much in my wheelhouse.

Next up, is the Labour Day long weekend, which I’ve taken an extra day off for, to help offset how busy we’ll be. We have 1st birthday parties and family barbecues to attend, as well as take Baby Sip to the Vancouver Aquarium and check out the newly-opened Stanley Park Brewing location.