Sip Trips #81: Restaurant Roundup

While the Sip Advisor hasn’t posted a Sip Trips article for a couple weeks, that doesn’t mean I haven’t kept up my typical level of social activities. I was just saving up a few outings and before I knew it, there was almost too much to report on.

Dressed as my own inner child – seriously, I just couldn’t get inspired to come up with a costume for this Halloween season, so this was a last minute idea that actually worked out fairly well – we attended a friend’s fundraiser at Rusty’s Neighbourhood Pub in Cloverdale. The burger and beer deal didn’t leave much to the imagination, especially as far as beverages went, but through a technicality, we were able to upsize our burgers and I really enjoyed my Doc Holliday variation. Much of their menu looked really good, so next time we’re in the area, we’ll have to drop in again.

bacon-cheeseburger

The next day, we intended to check out Abbotsford’s Craft Beer Corn Maze, before a storm decimated the attraction. Instead, we used the occasion of being out in the Fraser Valley to visit Old Abbey Ales. Here, the Sip Alliance each constructed their own flight of beer and with so many options available at the tasting room, no two boards were the same. I really like that Old Abbey Ales has the customer fill out there selections, rather than recite them. This gives you more time to round out a perfect cross section of brews and decreases the chances your order will get mixed up.

A couple days later, as Mrs. Sip prepared for her ongoing trip to India, we visited Patron Tacos & Cantina for a meal. We typically order their Queso Fundido dish and then use the cheese and sauces it comes with on our tacos. This makes for quite the feast and Mrs. Sip and I both left with overly full tummies.

That weekend, after recently receiving a flyer advertising Milestones new Epic Eats menu, Mrs. Sip and I were looking forward to testing out some of the new additions. While Mrs. Sip ordered the Jiffy Pop Popcorn Shrimp, I had my eyes – and stomach – set on the Hottest Club in Town. This Sriracha chicken and waffles club sandwich was absolutely fantastic and I look forward to crossing paths with it again shortly. We also noted that the restaurant now has a Beers & Bros deal (a pitcher of beer and four appies for $40) to accompany their Girls’ Night Out Bellini promotion.

waffles-pancakes-with-abs

To celebrate Halloween, we decided to check out the Day of the Dead-themed Stanley Park Train. Following that, Mrs. Sip, Sis-in-Law Sip and myself made our way back downtown and popped into Steamworks Brewpub for a bite and beverage. With a $15 pitcher deal on Mondays, we settled on their Pumpkin Ale, while splitting their massive House Baked Pretzel. This was probably the best way to wrap up Oktoberfest festivities, through the month.

Come Friday, I was on the road again. Mrs. Sip and I are members of the Langley-based Backyard Vineyards and as such, are invited to their semi-annual customer appreciation nights. Mrs. Sip always seems to be on vacation when they occur, but that doesn’t stop the Sip Advisor from enjoying. With great live music filing the air, guests were treated to a fantastic meal and other goodies. Prior to arriving at the winery, we had made great time from Vancouver, so decided to pop into Trading Post Brewing for a beer. I liked my serving of their Dear James S.M.A.S.H. Saison and it was a good start to the evening’s entertainment.

beer-and-wine-consumption

The weekend was wrapped up with a visit to White Spot, where I was able to try a pint of Granville Island Harvest Ale. The beer, exclusively brewed for the restaurant chain, was a solid accompaniment to one of my all-time favourites, the Legendary Burger. You are not a true British Columbian if you have never tried this entrée.

Well, I ended up with much more to discuss than I first thought. With Mrs. Sip away in India for the next two weeks, it kind of feels like the calm before the Christmas season storm. I better enjoy my “downtime” while it lasts!

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BC Beer Baron #310 – Old Abbey Ales Scottish Monk

While out in the Abbotsford area recently, the Sip Alliance popped into Old Abbey Ales for a round of beers. There, we all agreed that this selection was perfect for the season and just right for our session of drinks.

The Scottish Monk is a nicely constructed Scotch Ale, with flavours of caramel, toasted malts and a hint of smoke. At 6.5% ABV and 22 IBUs, the beverage is strong and flavourful, resulting in a great winter warmer option.

Old Abbey Ales

Part of Old Abbey Ales Tavern Series, the brew is available in bomber-sized bottles from the brewery and at private liquor stores. It is only around for a limited time, so don’t delay if this type of beer is on your favourite list.

Every trip to the brewery’s Abbotsford tasting room has offered a whole new collection of beers to try. The choices range across the board and there’s something for everyone, regardless of preferences.

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BC Beer Baron #247 – Old Abbey Ales Sour Raspberry Ale

When Mrs. Sip and I visited Chilliwack’s Chaos & Solace Brewing recently, we enjoyed a tasting flight that was rounded out by this guest tap from Old Abbey Ales.

With a reddish-pink hue and tart finish, the Sour Raspberry Ale is very juice-like in taste and colour. That’s not a bad thing in this case. The beer does come with a strong alcohol content of 7% ABV, which works in its favour. The brew’s low bitterness of 7 IBUs allows the drinker to focus on the flavour, making for a refreshing drinking experience.

Old Abbey Ales Sour Raspberry Ale

Made with local Abbotsford raspberries, brewmaster Steve Black notes: “The Fraser Valley is Canada’s top raspberry producer, and now we have the beer to go with it.” The beverage is perfect for enjoying on hot summer days, preferably with a body of water close by.

Part of Old Abbey Ales’ Innovation Series, the Sour Raspberry Ale is available in bomber-sized bottles. The beer received a gold medal earlier this year, at the 2016 Canadian Brewing Awards, in the Fruit Beer category.

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BC Beer Baron #209 – Old Abbey Ales Dry Hop Saison

The Sip Advisor first tried this Old Abbey Ales release earlier this year and enjoyed it then. Thankfully, I was graciously reintroduced to the drink at the recent Tip N’ Taste event in Langley, where I spent my final ticket on a serving.

The Dry Hop Saison is everything you’d expect from a company that prides themselves on making quality Belgian brews. Tastes of citrus and pepper come together for a refreshing experience. While many of Old Abbey’s beers can only be found on tap at their tasting room, this is one of the few that has been moved to bottling.

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Part of the brewery’s Innovation Series (where each batch produces a new beer), the 6.5% ABV, 35 IBUs beverage was inspired by classic saisons, which were constructed to be enjoyed by seasonal workers in the summer. These workers were called ‘les saisonniers’, thus the name of the beer variation.

Suggested food pairings include quiche, pizza, garden salads, and BC trout or salmon dishes. Among recommended cheese pairings are salty goat cheeses (soft or hard), as well as Comte and Appenzeller varieties.

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BC Beer Baron #199 – Hathi Mango Bango Hefe

While my original selection from Hathi Brewing was tapped out at the recent Langley Tip N’ Taste event, I was more than happy to try the other offering they had available.

The Mango Bango Hefe was a decent wheat beer, with a hint of mango flavour. At 6.1% ABV, it’s stronger than your typical hefeweizen and the cloudy nature of the beer’s appearance and flavour profile will make it a fun summer beverage.

Hathi Brewing

Mrs. Sip had a good chat with the rep from Hathi, who said the brewery was founded by a pair of guys with Indian heritage and their aim is to produce beers in line with that. Thus, they have a mango-flavoured hefeweizen (inspired by the popular mango lassi drinks) and the Coriander Pale Ale (capitalizing on eastern spices) I had hoped to sample.

Located in Abbotsford, Hathi has been releasing beers commercially for the last three months. They can currently be found on tap at the Old Abbey Ales brewery and tasting room. The company hopes to eventually open a brew pub and has worked hard to develop their brand and brews, in the meantime.

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BC Beer Baron #111 – Field House Salted Black Porter

One of the highlights of our recent run through the Fraser Valley brewing region, was stopping at Field House Brewing. Despite only recently opening, the place was packed and better yet, the beers were good.

Among those, was the Salted Black Porter, which had a fair bit going on with it. There was some sweetness, some spiciness and, of course, some saltiness. The salt wasn’t overwhelming, though, if that is a concern to any folks out there.

Field House Brewing Logo

The 7% ABV, 25 IBUs beverage gets its feature flavour from salted black licorice drops, which complete this easy-to-drink porter of the Baltic variety.

Abbotsford has a burgeoning craft beer industry, with Field House joining the already established Old Abbey Ales and Ravens Brewing. If beer isn’t your thing, Field House also offers vino from Mt. Lehman Wineries.

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BC Beer Baron #110 – Ravens Farmers Ale

While the Sip Advisor will never be a fan of birds of any type, I can make peace with those companies that choose to use fowl in their name/logo… especially when they put out great beers. Such is the case with Ravens Brewing.

The Farmers Ale is a solid and complex beer, highlighted for me by the spicy notes the beverage holds. In their first year of operation, Ravens and their Farmers Ale took home a third place finish at the BC Beer Awards in the Belgian/French Farmhouse class.

Ravens Farmers Ale

Just recently, Ravens announced that the 5.75% ABV, 27 IBUs Farmers Ale (as well as their West Coast Pale Ale) will now be available in four-packs of 473ml cans. The Farmers Ale could already be found in bomber-size bottles, at the brewery’s Abbotsford location.

Like other operations, Ravens is proud to brew based on “European inspiration and West Coast innovation.” They describe their beers as ‘ground to glass’, thanks to ingredient partnerships with their neighbours throughout the Fraser Valley.

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