Sip Trips #141: Fraser Valley Fun

The Sip Advisor and family spent a fair bit of the last week in the B.C.’s Fraser Valley region, checking out movies, wineries, breweries and restaurants. Here’s how the week played out:

On Friday, we made our way to Aldergrove’s Twilight Drive-In, the only remaining outdoor theatre in the Lower Mainland. The films on the docket included Ocean’s 8 and Tag, both of which were fun films. The theatre has recently raised their prices slightly, as it cost us $26 (one dollar more) for Mrs. Sip and I to attend than it had just a couple months back.

Sunday, of course, was my very first Father’s Day. The occasion began with Mrs. Sip and Baby Sip gifting me a collection of bomber beers that spelled FATHER. These included: Fat Tug IPA (Driftwood), Amber (Dageraad), Tangerine Dream Ale (4 Mile), Heather Ale (Salt Spring), East Coast Squeeze IPA (Foamers’ Folly), Rotating Hop (Bridge).

Father's Day

From there, we were off to Backyard Vineyards, joined by Ma and Pa Sip and the Sip-in-Laws. The first 100 fathers received a free box of Lindt chocolates and we arrived just in time to reap that reward. We enjoyed a couple bottles of wine, as well as some flatbreads from the German Pizza food truck that was onsite.

On Tuesday, we were back out in Langley, where I dropped Mrs. Sip off for work and was then on standby to pick her up when that had wrapped. To fill the time, we decided to visit a couple of the city’s craft breweries. First up, was Dead Frog Brewing’s new Langley location, which has only been operating for a couple weeks and hasn’t even celebrated their grand opening. I ordered a flight of beers here, comprised of their Fresh Pressed Pina Colada Hazy IPA, CREAM Key Lime Milkshake IPA, Reina De Fuego Mexican Chocolate Porter and Winter Beeracle Winter Ale. The Fresh Pressed was my favourite of the bunch, with a nice coconut finish to the drink.

We also popped into Trading Post Brewing, taking advantage of their Tuesday special of $5 16oz beers. I selected the White IPA, which was the company’s newest release. The beer was good and it was nice to sit on their outdoor patio on this gorgeous afternoon. Prior to leaving the brewery, I snagged two bottles of Vikram’s Weissen, brewed in partnership between Trading Post and Vikram Vij, the popular Indian restauranteur.

Indian Food

The day wasn’t over yet, though, as I received tickets I had previously been waitlisted for to attend the Three Rounds event at Red Truck Brewing, co-hosted by Panago Pizza. Panago was showing off their two newest pizza releases – Trippple Pepperoni and Triple Pepparugula – while Red Truck offered beers from their summer lineup – Endless Summer Golden Ale, Citra Down Blonde Ale and Czech Point Red Pilsner. The event was free and despite some confusion regarding how to get the pizza and beers upon arriving, we left well-fed and with our thirst quenched.

To finish the evening, I picked up a tall can of Old Yale Pina Colada Hazy ISA, thanks in part to enjoying my previous serving of Pina Colada-based beer earlier in the day. The Old Yale product is part of their Trailblazer Series, which I have previously enjoyed. This beer was stronger on the pineapple flavours than the Dead Frog version and was very light on coconut notes.

This next week will be another busy one, with Cask Wars at The Portside Pub, a baseball tournament, a friend’s birthday picnic and more already on the schedule. Sometimes, it’s enough to make your head spin… and that’s before you add all the drinks to the equation!

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Sip Trips #54: Dinner and a Show

As the post-holiday blues subside we get back to our regular routine, Mrs. Sip and I have made sure to continue having fun, out and about, in this beautiful city we call home. Here’s what we got up to over the last week:

With tickets to the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra’s ‘As Heard on TV’ concert last Friday, Mrs. Sip and I needed a spot for a date night dinner beforehand. Dunn’s Famous BC is located right next to The Orpheum concert hall and is perfect for pre-concert food and drink. The restaurant recently went through a prolonged renovation, morphing into more of a deli type eatery, similar to its original location in Montreal, Quebec.

cat-has-a-symphony

We’ve enjoyed Dunn’s before, but haven’t visited since it reopened. While we had heard it was more of a takeout place now, that was incorrect and there was ample seating for guests who wanted to eat in. My concern was that alcoholic beverages could no longer be had, but that fear was quickly relieved by their advertisement of a bucket of beers deal on Fridays (among other offers, throughout the week).

Our drink order was a no-brainer. Their usual bucket of beer listing is $20 for four Steam Whistle bottles. On Fridays however, you can get five East Coast bottles of craft beer for the same price. Our bucket included three Unibroue selections (Blanche de Chambly, La Fin du Monde and Maudite) and two from Muskoka (Mad Tom IPA and Detour IPA). This all paired nicely with our order of Fried Chicken Poutine and a California Grilled Cheese, to share.

The next day, we made the long journey from Downtown Vancouver to Langley for Backyard Vineyards open house event. The gathering commemorated the winery’s release of their 2013 Syrah Reserve, which they were offering complimentary tastings of.

wine tasting randy marsh

Outside of enjoying the Syrah, Ma and Pa Sip ordered a couple bottles of Backyard’s Rose, which is a crisp, light and flavourful wine that goes down very easy… especially when you’re enjoying the music of Andrew Christopher and taking in the beautiful surroundings.

I almost hate saying this because the open houses are busy enough already, but the winery is great, the staff amazing and if at all possible, it should be experienced. Mrs. Sip has been a member of Backyard for a couple years now and we’ve managed to convert other family and even strangers to join the club.

The upcoming weeks are filling up quickly. This weekend, we’ll be at Big Rock Urban Brewery for the Winter Beer Hall (part of the annual Dine Out Vancouver Festival) and with Mrs. Sip’s birthday rapidly approaching, there will be much to discuss. Sip well, my friends!

Sip Trips #13: And Many More

While Mrs. Sip and I have only been married for two and a half years, this week, we celebrated our 13th dating anniversary. Why bother celebrating a dating anniversary when you’re already married, you might be asking? Why not, is my reply! Life should be full of merriment, so why swap one occasion for another? I’ll get back to the anniversary events later, but let’s look at the weekend that was first.

Thursday night, following our Urban Rec sports, we visited Milltown Bar, which is great looking building in a beautiful location. The food and drink was pretty good and the service was wonderful. Mrs. Sip and I each enjoyed a Dark N’ Stormy cocktail, as I was really in the mood for some ginger beer.

anniversary-celebrate-gave-up

On Friday, we visited Backyard Winery, where Mrs. Sip is a member. Musician Andrew Christopher was doing a one-man show of various covers, which provided the perfect entertainment to enjoy some rose wine and bubbly and welcome the weekend.

Saturday saw us head to Maple Ridge for a friend’s housewarming party. As true Suburban Commando’s, we made the point of visiting Maple Meadows Brewing, one of the regions newest beer outlets. The place had just opened the weekend before and only had two beers on tap, but both (a Blonde Ale and Amber Ale) were good. Carlo, a former home-brewer who owns, operates, and is a general jack of all trades at the facility said that two more selections, an IPA and Honey Brown Ale, will be available this weekend.

Onto the main event of the week, our big lucky number 13 anniversary! We started the day with lunch at Big Ridge Brewing, where we enjoyed a flight of their beers. I liked each of the Red Ale, IPA, ESB, and Imperial IPA, but wasn’t thrilled with the Lager. Hey, four out of five ain’t bad.

Love-we haz it

From there, we were off to Castle Fun Park for some mini golf. Each game was incredibly close and we ended up playing each of the place’s three courses, thanks to both Mrs. Sip and me each winning a free game by sinking a hole-in-one on the final hole of the previous course. We’ve had a number of great moments and earlier dates together at Castle Fun Park, so it was nice to return and let our kid-side come out and play for a little bit.

In the evening, we finally checked out Blackbird Public House, which I’ve wanted to try for a little while now. Mrs. Sip ordered their Standing Stonefruit cocktail, while I asked for their And Everything Nice drink. The two of us ended up swapping libations and I loved the peaty aroma and taste coming from my beverage, provided by the Ardbeg 10-year-old Scotch in it.

We ended the evening in search of food and decided on Hidden Bar and Lounge at the Westin Grand Vancouver Hotel. Mrs. Sip ordered a glass of wine, while I grabbed a pint of beer and we gorged ourselves on their Breads and Dips appy, before dishes of Lobster Poutine and their Hidden Burger for me. Our server, Jude, was fantastic in helping us decide what to order and keeping us well-served throughout the meal. All in all, that makes for one hell of a dating anniversary!

anniversary card

In booze news, government liquor stores in B.C. have recently – as of April 1 – changed their pricing practices, where instead of listing the price of a product, including taxes, they are now listing the price before adding tax. Some private liquor stores have followed suit, as well. I suppose it doesn’t make a huge difference, but I liked knowing exactly what I’d be paying for something, before approaching the cash register. Getting the final total after the fact can be a shitty experience.

Aside from that little note, it’s been an awesome week of visiting new places and returning to old favourites; a wonderful mix of celebrating where we’ve come from and where we’re going. There’s no rest for the wicked, though, as Easter weekend sees us heading to Portland (the mecca of craft beer) for a series of boozy adventures!