Sip Trips #160: Weezer & Wagyu

It’s been a steady few weeks for the Sip Family, full of celebrations and events to attend. Here’s what the crew has been up to since I was last able to put fingers to keyboard:

Mrs. Sip and I celebrated the 17th anniversary of our first date a couple weeks back and boy how times have changed. With Baby Sip now in tow, we like to spend the first portion of the day doing a family activity, leaving our evening to just the two of us. Our day started with checking out the Greater Vancouver Zoo in Aldergrove. Baby Sip loved seeing all the animals and running around the park. I liked that you could bring your own bike or rollerblades or even rent one of those two-seater carriage bikes to get around the attraction. My only complaint for the place, is unlike our experience at the San Diego Zoo, you couldn’t explore with a beer or other adult libation in hand.

lions-at-zoo

Following the zoo, while Baby Sip napped, we took care of the beverage absence by visiting Old Abbey Ales. Last time we tried to go here, the door was locked following a change in ownership. This time went a lot smoother. We were very impressed by the brewery’s eclectic beer board, deciding we each needed a flight to cover off all the brews we were interested in trying. We sampled the Beets by Steve, Sippy Chai Aye, Call of Ktulu Squid Ink Stout, Gose Cuervo, Jolly Brewer Watermelon Light Lager, Peanut Butter Jelly Time, Quila Grapefruit, and Fizzical Contradiction Brut IPA.

To finish off the busy day, we had a Vancouver Canucks game to attend. To use up the last of our season ticket membership gift cards, I bought a tall serving of Hoyne Dark Matter, which was a nice sipper through the first period. We also tried to go to Devil’s Elbow after the contest, but wouldn’t be able to be seated for about 25 minutes, so elected to return home and relieve our babysitters. We remedied this with a quick stop there a few nights later prior to our last game of the season, each enjoying a serving of the Howe Sound Wee Beastie Scotch Ale.

As an anniversary gift, Mrs. Sip signed us up to be ‘original patrons’ of Another Beer Company (ABC), which should be opening soon in the Sapperton area. Our $250 investment in the brewery is returned to us with a gift card in that amount, as well as other perks such as merchandise and invites to special events. I was already excited for another brewery (no pun intended) to open so close to our home, but now I’m super amped to see this operation take off.

anniversary flaws

This previous weekend, we joined friends to attend the Weezer/Pixies concert at Rogers Arena. Prior to the show, we had dinner at Wildebeest, enjoying their Omakase (Japanese for “trust the chef” or “let us order for you”) menu, which lets diners set a menu price per person and then sit back and enjoy whatever concoctions the kitchen can come up with. Our meal was orgasmic, highlighted by their delicious Bone Marrow (we even did luge shots of sherry out of the used bone), Wagyu Tartare and main event of more Wagyu beef, this time in strip form. As for drinks, I imbibed with their Uppercut cocktail (Calvados, vermouth, Maraschino, orange bitters, peated Scotch), and a pair of Parkside Pale Ales at $5 happy hour pricing.

As for the concert, we had a fantastic time, although we missed the opening act as we wrapped up our meal. The Pixies and Weezer both put on a great show. At the arena, I had a couple Millstreet Tankhouse Ales and when we were invited to join a friend in his private box, a couple more bevvies were enjoyed. All in all, a spectacular way to spend a Sunday night!

Upcoming for the Sip Family is the Iron Assassin’s Demolition Derby in Abbotsford on Saturday and the long-awaited return of Game of Thrones the following day. We are also gearing up for the Easter long weekend, where we’ll be travelling with Ma and Pa Sip to Seattle for what should be a gluttonous holiday!

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Sip Trips #114: All the Hits

Well, another busy week is in the books (I’m starting to sound like a broken record), with Mrs. Sip and I finding time to have as much fun as possible, while getting things as ready as possible for the arrival of our daughter, sometime in the next few weeks. Here’s what we got up to:

The week began with the Sip Alliance’s long-awaited return to Port Moody’s Brewer’s Row. Before arriving there, though, we had to first travel to Coquitlam’s Mariner Brewing, which had only opened days before and is the first of its kind in the city. With four beers on tap, I tried their Northeast IPA, which I found to be pretty tasty. The brewery promises much more to come in the future and their space and constellation theming are really good starts.

Brewery Water

Next up was Brewer’s Row, with stops at Yellow Dog, Twin Sails and Parkside breweries, where I had pints of their High Five Hazy IPA, Street Legal IPA and Motel Five-Hop Pale Ale, respectively. Sadly, we didn’t manage to get to Moody Ales before closing time, so we owe them a visit in the future. I love this area of four breweries packed within a five-minute walk of each other and the new Evergreen SkyTrain line makes heading out that way so much easier. We will be back again soon.

On Friday, we finally got around to hitting one of our favourite annual summer traditions: the Twilight Drive-In Theatre in Aldergrove. While no drinking was involved, it was a great start to the Labour Day long weekend, as the lineup included Cars 3, followed by Despicable Me 3. We only stayed for those first two movies, but in celebration of the drive-in’s 12th anniversary, they were playing four movies on both Friday and Saturday night. While we love our trips out there for movies outdoors and you can’t beat the price of $12.50 per person for the entire evening, this was the first line-up this summer that actually appealed to us. Perhaps bad movies in general are to blame.

The next day, we started with some relaxing pool time at Ma and Pa Sip’s place before returning to Vancouver to move some furniture. Following the move, we treated Ma and Pa Sip to dinner at The Parlour in Yaletown, which had come highly recommended to me. We were not disappointed, as the place has a good happy hour to go along with great service. Our pizzas (The Dirty and Roasted varieties) were very good and were enough for a group of four to be happily fed.

Fitness Whole Pizza

After dinner, Mrs. Sip and I attended the Rio Theatre for their presentation of Dysfunctional Disney Cabaret. The goal here, according to our host, was to completely f*ck up our childhood memories with Disney-themed burlesque acts. It was quite the entertaining show and I have to commend the Rio for having a jug of water available to patrons on this hot, hot day. One server even steered me away from buying bottled water, in favour of the cooler, which I did not know about.

Sunday began with another round of furniture buying and baby laundry loads, but the reward came with hitting Jimmy’s Taphouse for happy hour. This has always been one of my favourite happy hours in the city with a number of half priced menu items and cheap drink options. We enjoyed their poutine with chipotle drizzle and an order of hot wings, which really hit the spot. The spicy combo was washed down with the Phillips Solaris White Peach Ale and a shot of Jameson Irish Whiskey.

Why was I getting my shot game on? Because we had received complimentary ticket to the Lionel Richie-Mariah Carey All the Hits concert, as part of Mrs. Sip’s recent anniversary gift to me of Vancouver Canucks half-season tickets. This was the first time either of us had ever sat in the exclusive 500-level Club seats, which provided a bar and bathrooms to about 50 people. As for the show, Mariah Carey didn’t do Fantasy or Honey, which if I know them, must have been hits. That’s okay, though, as Lionel Richie was extremely entertaining. His Dancing on the Ceiling with all the lights and video effects was the highlight of the night.

Lionel Richie Hello

We wrapped the long weekend by celebrating Pa Sip’s birthday at The Keg. Sitting atop the restaurant’s rooftop patio was very relaxing and the service was top notch. I ordered their Keg Burger, which pales in comparison to their former Prime Rib Burger, which I mourn the loss of to this day. As for beverages, I imbibed with a Keg Size Watermelon Mojito and Keg Caesar, perfect accompaniments to my still decent entree. A slice of Billy Miner Pie to finish the meal was the perfect bow on an incredible weekend!

But the family celebrations weren’t done there. On Tuesday, after Pa Sip helped me move some more furniture, we had another dinner in his honour at the Old Spaghetti Factory in New West. I tried their Pot-Pourri Spaghetti with meat, mushroom and clam sauce options. Best of all, the meals come with bread, salad or soup and ice cream for dessert, so we left quite stuffed. My beverage of choice was the Cobblestone Lager, developed for the restaurant by Granville Island Brewing.

The coming week doesn’t have much on the schedule, so I may grasp the opportunity for some rest and relaxation. Following that, the Sip Advisor has a bachelor party, Vancouver Canucks pre-season opener, Sis-In-Law Sip’s birthday and much more on the docket… not to mention who knows when the baby will decide to arrive!

Beer of the Week #7 – Dead Frog Reina De Fuego Mexican Chocolate Porter

The Sip Advisor is far from a Twitter junkie, but sometimes I’m checking my feed at just the right time. Such was the case the other evening when this Dead Frog Brewing product hit the market and went viral.

The Reina De Fuego (‘Queen of Fire’) Mexican Chocolate Porter combines Mexican chocolate and chili peppers. The result is flavours of chocolate and toffee, with a little spice and heat on the back end of the 6% ABV, 34 IBUs beverage.

dead-frog-reina-de-fuego-mexican-chocolate-porter

The limited edition small batch is available in bomber-sized bottles at the Dead Frog brewery and tasting room in Aldergrove. It can also be found on tap at some locations around British Columbia, arriving in Alberta in mid-February.

Debuting in December 2016, suggested food pairings for the brew include Mexican chocolate, brie cheese and roast beef. The drink won’t be around for long, so make sure to grab a serving while supplies last.

For more Beer of the Week articles, please visit our main page…

BC Beer Baron #352 – Dead Frog Winter Beeracle Winter Ale

Each month, as part of this 366-day BC craft beer extravaganza that I will be sharing with you throughout 2016, I will highlight a specific style or theme of beers for a whole week of articles. Already the best time of the year, the fact it’s Winter Ale season makes it that much better.

At this time of year, everyone is hoping for a miracle and that can be found in liquid form thanks to the folks at Dead Frog Brewing. Despite being a holiday tradition since 2012, this was the first time the Sip Advisor tried the product.

That’s okay, though, as the Winter Beeracle Winter Ale’s recipe changes each time it’s manufactured, creating a new drinking experience every year. The 2016 version features flavours of chocolate and orange to go along with stats of 7.5% ABV and 24 IBUs.

dead-frog-winter-beeracle-winter-ale

“A celebration of all the good things winter brings. Complex beers, warm fires, close family, and good friends.” Suggested food pairings include shortbread cookies, Nanaimo bars and turkey dinners with all the sides. Does it get much more festive than that!?

The seasonal single batch release is available in bomber-sized bottles from BC Liquor Stores and can be located annually, starting in November. Dead Frog even has a Museum of Labeology, where previous labels for the beer can be viewed.

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BC Beer Baron #282 – Dead Frog Weeping Reaper Blood Orange Helles Bock

When the Sip Alliance recently visited Dead Frog Brewing’s Aldergrove tasting room, Mrs. Sip allowed me to take one souvenir home with me, for a later treat. After all, she knew the tantrum I would throw if not otherwise placated.

Among stiff competition, I grabbed the Weeping Reaper Blood Orange Helles Bock, which although technically out of season, was a selection I really wanted to try. The strong ale (7% ABV) had a light orange taste on the finish, which made for a decent lager-style beverage. The blood orange addition was selected to provide an option to all the pumpkin-flavoured beers currently on the market.

Dead Frog Weeping Reaper Blood Orange Helles Bock.png

Released every September, the beer was inspired by German bock brews and designed to transition drinkers from summer to winter… sometimes viewed as the death of a year’s seasonal cycle. The logo for this product features great artwork of Death, himself, and challenges customers to: “Prepare for the bittersweet embrace of the reaper.”

Food pairings include duck à l’orange, lechon, marmalade-glazed ham, and caramel flan. I’m not sure any of those really appeal to me, but not wanting to make the Grim Reaper cry, I’ll just drink the beer and make peace with the Deadman!

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BC Beer Baron #207 – Dead Frog Big Stump Spruce Golden Ale

As the Sip Advisor has written previously, I was very impressed with the brewery lineup compiled for the recent Tip N’ Taste event in Langley. Among the vendors was Aldergrove-based Dead Frog Brewing, the regions first and, for a time, only craft beer producer.

Among the beverages Dead Frog offered for sampling was their Big Stump Spruce Golden Ale, which I had never experienced before. While the brewery jokes that “no stumps were used or harmed in the making of this beer,” the 6.5% ABV, 26 IBUs drink was concocted using Sitka spruce tips, found just 10 minutes from Dead Frog’s facilities.

Dead Frog Big Stump Spruce Golden Ale

First released in 2014 and returning to the brewery’s lineup each June, the beer is brewed to celebrate the west coast’s abundance of nature (after all, the province’s tagline is ‘Beautiful British Columbia’). Brewer Nick Fengler was inspired by trips into the forests of BC.

The result is a balanced and refreshing beer, perfect for sitting around a campfire… or at least giving you the impression that you are out amongst nature. Suggested food pairings include cedar plank salmon, Greek-roasted lamb, pesto pastas, and Asiago or Manchego cheeses.

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BC Beer Baron #193 – Canuck Empire Star Gazer Chamomile Wheat Ale

Each month, as part of this 366-day BC craft beer extravaganza that I will be sharing with you throughout 2016, I will highlight a specific style or theme of beers for a whole week of articles. With so many brewery options out there, a game of one-upmanship sometimes occurs and from that, the world is treated to some very unique experimental releases.

The Sip Advisor has never been much of a tea guy (how chamomile is primarily consumed), save for a brief fascination with Nestea in the mid 90’s. That could change, though, if more beer companies start playing around with the ingredient, as Canuck Empire Brewing has.

The Star Gazer Chamomile Wheat Ale is brewed using organic dried chamomile flowers. Raspberry blossom honey is also a unique ingredient of the recipe. The result is a 6% ABV, 17 IBUs beverage that is complex and refreshing. The brewery describes their work as “summer in a bottle” and in a word, “delicious”.

Canuck Empire Star Gazer Chamomile Wheat Ale

This summer seasonal took home ‘Best in Class’ at the 2015 Alberta Beverage Awards, in the Wheat Beers category. Unfortunately, Canuck Empire is without a tasting room, so the only way you’ll likely come across their products, is in bomber form at various liquor stores around the province.

Operating out of Aldergrove, BC, Canuck Empire “Creates distinctive beers for offbeat Canadians. We bottle our beer in 650ml bottles so you can sit down with a friend or two and share the experience; or, if you’re thirsty, drink it all yourself…  you’re sure to enjoy it either way!”

For more BC Beer Baron articles, please visit our main page…