Sip Trips #72: Everything Under the Sun

It’s been a surprisingly busy past couple weeks. I thought I could take a week off from Sip Trips articles, as I do from time to time when there’s nothing to report on, only to realize I should have written something last week. Time to make amends!

Buckin’ Bronco

With Ma and Pa Sip, as well as the Sip-in-Laws coming to visit for a big family dinner, we needed a place to go. Using Open Table, Ma Sip chanced upon the Yale Saloon and good thing she did. There, we were treated to amazing food (southern barbecue dishes like pulled pork and beef brisket sandwiches and fusion cuisine, such as mac n’ cheese popsicles) and terrific service. The restaurant’s manager even inflated the ring so the Sip Advisor could ride the mechanical bull a couple times. The only criticism I can lob at the Yale Saloon is that they have absolutely no local craft beer on their menu. Perhaps that will come in time.

Bull Riding

New Brews

A couple of impromptu brewery crawls over recent times have yielded some new discoveries. This included my first visits to Vancouver’s Faculty Brewing as well as Old Yale Brewing and Chaos & Solace Brewing – which we didn’t even know existed – in Chilliwack. We also popped into the long-awaited R&B Ale and Pizza House for some drinks and food. Now all I need to do is finally get around to doing another bike tour of the Yeast Van region, where a few new operations have launched lately. For more details on our beer tours, check out the BC Beer Baron listings.

All You Need is Love

We began this week with a bang, as one of my favourite events of the year finally came around again. The Made with Love cocktail competition at the Fairmont Hotel featured not only amazing drinks, but also some great food, including freshly shucked oysters, spring rolls, tuna tartare cones, and chicken wraps, among other hors d’oeuvres. The food seemed to stop being served about halfway through the event, which is too bad because that’s exactly when some guests need it the most, as they realize just how much they’re actually drinking.

Cocktail Super Glue

My favourite cocktail of the night came from Reece Sims of Per Se Social Corner, while Mrs. Sip’s preferred bevvy was provided by Mia Gianz of Odd Society Spirits. Best of all, in a world where prices seem to rise annually, this year, early bird tickets were the cheapest I’d ever seen them, at only $45. I can’t wait for the 2017 edition.

This weekend, the Sip Advisor and Mrs. Sip celebrate our fourth wedding anniversary and the return of my annual beer pong tournament takes place. After that, there’s the Labour Day long weekend, which although we’re stay-cationing, there will be much to report on. Looks like I won’t be taking any more weeks off for a while!

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Sip Trips #59: Creek Crawl

Waking up Saturday morning, the sun was shining and Mrs. Sip and I decided to take advantage of that sneak peek at spring… at least after I let her sleep in just a little longer!

My plan for the day, was that if weather cooperated, we’d tour the brewing companies that comprise the Brewery Creek region of Vancouver. After making our way across the Cambie Bridge, en route to our first stop of the day, we noticed that a new wine tasting room had opened. Given she was about to visit a handful of breweries for me, I indulged Mrs. Sip’s interest in this impromptu discovery.

Wineorexia

Upon entering the City Side Winery, featuring wines from Mystic Pearl, we sampled four different styles (Semillon, Riesling, Merlot, and Cuvee – a Cab Sauv blend), with Mrs. Sip liking their Semillon so much that she purchased a bottle and put it aside for pick-up later. Staff at City Side said they’ve been quite busy on weekday evenings, thus far. Given their aren’t many Vancouver options for wine tasting, I can understand why.

With wine out of the way, we were off in search of suds, starting with Steel Toad Brew Pub and Dining Hall. It had been sometime since Mrs. Sip and I had visited the location and we were impressed with our tasting flight. From what we remembered, they have added some new beers to their line-up and improved on previously brewed recipes.

Next up, was R&B Brewing, which allowed us to sample each of their beers on tap at their growler fill station. In the very near future, R&B will finally open their long-awaited tasting room. We were lucky enough to peek inside and see what it will look like. There was still some rough edges to sort out, but it looks like it will be a prime spot for beer enjoyment, very shortly.

Moving on, we next popped into 33 Acres Brewing, which is a very popular spot, thanks to their wide array of beers, to go along with coffee, ice cream, and other treats. We lucked out and didn’t have to wait to enter the spot that often reaches its capacity. Our luck continued when we were able to snag a couple seats at the bar. Here, we tried a set of four samples and even got a bonus offering of their 33 Acres of Four Belgian Quad, after Mrs. Sip explained how much of a fan she is of Belgian-styled brews.

Belgian Beer

Our fourth stop of the self-guided tour was Brassneck Brewing, another extremely popular site in the area. After a short wait, we were able to get a spot and try a selection of Brassneck’s wares. I found it interesting that Brassneck has 473ml (good for a pint) containers for refillable beer, a size I have yet to see anywhere else on the market. They sell for only $3 and cost another $3.25, on average, to fill.

We wrapped up our crawl with our first trip ever to Red Truck Brewing’s beautiful facilities. Here, you can sample more experimental beers (as well as traditional releases) from the brewery, while also enjoying food and live music. Over our tasting flight, we munched on some very good garlic fries, while enjoying some tunes.

On this journey, we neglected Big Rock Urban Eatery and Main Street Brewing, which are also part of the Brewery Creek region. This wasn’t done out of malice, but we were tight for time and I wanted to focus on breweries that I hadn’t been able to feature so heavily in the BC Beer Baron project.

Will we be back to Brewery Creek in the future? Oh, you better believe it!

Sip Trips #57: In the Name of Science

After taking a week off from Sip Trips articles, I’m back with a vengeance. Mrs. Sip and I shelled out the big bucks to attend the Science of Cocktails charity event at Science World and had a fantastic night, albeit a fuzzy one for myself.

Tickets were $145 each (and no, that wasn’t even VIP pricing… those tickets went for $250 a pop), which had Mrs. Sip and I approaching with caution while friends of ours instantly balked at the price. We decided that if tickets were still available in late January, after our credit card rolled over to a new bill cycle, we’d commit. That is sound financial planning, my little sippers!

managing finances

What initially got me excited about the event was the list of alcohol sponsors, including Jack Daniel’s, Chambord, Ardbeg, El Jimador, Hennessy, Ciroc, Tanqueray, Remy Martin, Belvedere, and so many others. Just looking at the list again has me licking my chops. Even Parallel 49 Brewing was there, but this was a rare night in 2016 where beer took a backseat for the Sip Advisor.

Featuring some of the city’s top bartenders, working 25 beverage stations, Science World was transformed into a booze lovers paradise… all in the name of science. Each of the booths set up provided a lesson in molecular mixology, from smoking Ardbeg Scotch fumes to the three different way to consume a Mai Tai, including smoking, eating (jellybeans) and drinking.

The food on hand was pretty good, but some of it ran out very early into the evening. I enjoyed the sushi and poutine booths, while Mrs. Sip feasted at the meat and cheese table. The sushi was too popular, though, and was gone by 10pm, despite the event ending at midnight.

adult lunchables

We didn’t get to check out any of the presentations going on throughout the night, as the general game plan was comprised of receiving a drink at one station and enjoying it while lined up at the next one. My goal of hitting each and every station was moderately successful. We thought we’d hit them all, until referencing the map we were given at the start of the night and realizing we missed a couple of the more hidden booths. We’ll just have to do better next year.

Proceeds from the gala will go to help fund school field trips to Science World, which hosts thousands of students each year. I personally remember attending as a high-schooler and having a really good time, so I’m happy to pay the experience forward.

For the Family Day weekend, the Sip Alliance hit the road for a two-day, 12-brewery expedition, which was a wonderful way to spend a long weekend, while staying local. Our experiences on this journey will largely be documented in upcoming BC Beer Baron articles (tried 86 different beers over the span), but if anyone out there wants itinerary ideas for their own excursions, feel free to hit me up for our routes.