Sip Trips 153: Market Madness

Christmas is rapidly approaching and the Sip Family has been busy. From Vancouver to New West to Langley, we’ve been all over the place in recent times, taking in as much of the holiday season as we can. Here’s what we’ve been up to:

We’re now a couple weeks into Storm Brewing’s 12 Fills of Christmas and the lineup thus far has been delicious and diverse. Week one combined the Must Be Christmas Grape Lambic and Christmas Tree Pilsner, followed by the Dark! The Herald Angel’s Sing CDA and Santa’s Christmas Spiced Ale for week two. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the month has in store. On one of my visits to get my fills, I also sampled their Eggnog Latte Stout, which was quite interesting.

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As for events, a couple weeks back we attended the Vancouver Christmas Market, where I enjoyed some liqueur tastings from Okanagan Spirits. I wasn’t really into the market this year, with us no longer living nearby. We get free tickets annually, so still checked it out, but I don’t know if that will be enough to draw me back next year.

What I enjoyed more, was our visit to Mahony & Sons prior to the Christmas Market. There, I ordered a couple pints of Stanley Park Layer Up Winter Wheat Ale – a wonderful beer for those who haven’t tried it yet – along with the pub’s very tasty Poutine. Everything was on happy hour pricing, making for even more merriment.

The next night, we participated in Disney Trivia at The Pint. Having had dinner at Chronic Tacos beforehand (I adore their Al Pastor Burrito), I was looking to get my drink on and that came in the form of a trio of pitchers, including two of the Whistler Chestnut Ale. The pitchers were on special at $16 each, but were only 50-ounce pours, rather than the traditional 60 ounces. As for the trivia, we didn’t fare so well, but it was still a fun evening.

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We wrapped the work week by visiting the New West Christmas Market. What was nice about this market is that there was no entry fee and it was largely housed under an overpass, keeping folks dry in the case of rain. That said, it got really busy by the time I arrived to join Mrs. Sip and the live band was loud, so chatting was difficult. We left a short time later, after downing a selection from Steel & Oak Brewing, which Mrs. Sip tells me she thinks was their Dark Lager.

The next night, Mrs. Sip and I hosted a group of friends for a classic turkey dinner. This was the first time we’d ever cooked a turkey on our own and I have to say the experience was mostly positive, save for a few rookie mistakes and a lot of Google searches. It also gave us a whole new respect for the work our families have done when preparing dinners in the past. For the party, we shared our latest Storm fills, as well as the Whistler Winter Dunkel four-pack I picked up. This is the first time I’ve seen the scrumptious beer that tastes like a Terry’s Chocolate Orange in any format other than a bomber-sized bottle.

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We closed the weekend with a visit to Township 7 Winery in Langley for their Member Open House. I spent most of the time chasing Baby Sip throughout the tasting room, but did note the event provided a very generous serving of snacks and wines for the members.

The Sip Advisor is now on holiday break and there will be much mischief to get up to, as we have a Canucks game this weekend and then all the fun that Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day usually offer up. It’s gonna get boozy!

Sip Trips #95: Long-Haul Trucking

Last weekend, the Sip Advisor did more driving over Friday, Saturday and Sunday than I have comparatively done for the rest of 2017. This included trips across the border to Bellingham, out east to Mission and Maple Ridge, and stops in between. Of course, beverages were also part of the weekend considerations.

To celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, we ended up in a Mexican restaurant of all places. Travelling to Bellingham, Washington to enjoy comedian Lewis Black perform at the Mount Baker Theatre, we decided to dine at the nearby Taco Lobo eatery. There, I paired a massive Al Pastor Burrito with a refreshing Boundary Bay Bellingham Blonde (no green beer for the Sip Advisor this year), while Mrs. Sip tried a trio of tacos and a serving of Horchata. I guess when Cinco de Mayo rolls around, we’ll have to visit an Irish pub, in exchange.

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Dinner was very tasty and the show that followed was a lot of fun. The Mount Baker Theatre is a beautiful venue, reminding me of Vancouver Orpheum Theatre. We had planned to do some grocery shopping or pop into a craft brewery before heading home, but the daylight savings time hour change really affected us this year and we were pretty exhausted after the long work week, so unfortunately had to ditch those plans.

Later in the weekend, we were in Maple Ridge to visit a friend. She suggested having lunch at the Billy Miner Pub, which is located in a prime position along the water. Here, I ordered their Teriyaki Fries (pulled pork, smothered in teriyaki sauce and covered in cheese, crispy onions and diced green pepper), which were absolutely delicious. For my beverage, I had a tough choice to make, selecting from the pub’s extensive beer menu, but settled on a pint of the delightful Pfriem Family Citrus IPA.

Somewhere in all that indulgence, we also managed to have pizza dinners, breakfasts and coffee stops with various family members. How I will ever get into swimsuit shape for upcoming vacations to Las Vegas and our cruise from Rome to Dubai, I don’t know… but I’m willing to give it my best shot!

Sip Trips #92: On the Prowl

With Mrs. Sip out and having a girl’s sleepover, I took full advantage of the situation and put together a guy’s night out of my own:

The evening started with dinner at Chronic Tacos. I love this place, but don’t often get to eat there, as the location that was walking distance to me shutdown a couple years back. I paired my Al Pastor Burrito with a serving of Parallel 49 Jerkface 9000 IPA and it was a good base to start the evening’s festivities.

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Moving on from our meal, we made our way to 33 Acres Brewing, where their 33 Acres of Resin Double Red Ale caught my attention, as I always lean towards trying whatever new release the brewery has available. 33 Acres is the only place I know of that offers 24 oz servings, which is quite the amount of beer to down when you’re drinking a 7% ABV, 70 IBUs concoction.

After encountering long lines to get into Faculty Brewing and the R&B Ale & Pizza House (not to mention the usual horde of folks trying to get into Brassneck Brewing), our next stop was Main Street Brewing, which has always been a reliable watering hole for the Sip Advisor. Here, we quickly got seats and I started the visit with their Harlot Red Rye Tart Saison, which was a little more sour than I prefer, but it did grow on me with each sip.

Electing to have one more brew before the place closed for the night, I went with an item that had caught my eye as we chatted. As a fan of the brewery’s Naked Fox IPA, I just had to try the Hyper Fox Double IPA, which was also available in cask form and was suggested by the server that I go that route.

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As we lost one of our group to the rigors of a night out following a work day, the remnants of our party stopped into Craft Beer Market for a nightcap. As soon as I saw the Boneyard RPM IPA on their menu, I promptly ordered a pint. Boneyard has quickly become one of my favourite breweries and I’m saddened it’s located in Oregon and not in my own backyard. Their Bone-A-Fide West Coast Pale Ale may be my favourite beer of 2017, thus far.

Deciding that the previously mentioned nightcap was going to turn into yet another drink, the bartender suggested pints of Vancouver Island’s Hermannator Ice Bock. My drinking partner wasn’t a fan of the beer, which meant I ended up with a pair of the 9.5% ABV beverages… because that’s what friends do for each other!

Our little bar crawl ended with a hazy cab ride home and the devouring of a Double Decker chocolate bar. The next day, I jokingly accused Mrs. Sip of finally eating the treat without sharing, only for her to point out that I was in fact the guilty party. Ah, good times!