Sip Trips #135: Fine Foods

Sometimes it amazes me when I put together these weekly wrap-ups just how much we do in a seven-day span. This past week was no different as you will see below:

The week began with me joining Pa Sip at Uncle Buck’s Fish Bowl & Grill at the impressive Tsawwassen Mills Mall. This unique eatery offers great food and bowling with an underwater theme. To eat, I enjoyed a delicious Shrimp Po’Boy, highlighted by a spicy aioli and of course, the breaded shrimp. I look forward to taking Baby Sip back here in the future for a game of ten-pin.

Bowling Ideal

With friends coming over for dinner on Saturday, I picked up Stanley Park Brewing’s Summer Mix Pack. New to the lineup this year are the Trail Hopper IPA and Salted Watermelon Sour. Both are pretty good and I’ve always enjoyed Stanley Park’s mixed cases because of their 2×6 format, rather than the typical 4×3.

On Sunday, Mrs. Sip and I visited 33 Acres Brewing for a beverage. While she had her all-time fave Euphoria Belgian Tripel, I had the new-to-me Genesis B6 Northwest Hazy IPA. Their “quarry” tasting room was packed as usual, so we didn’t stay long, but I’m consistently impressed by the quality of the brewery’s beers, so we’ll keep returning, regardless of seat availability.

On Monday, a friend joined me downtown for some day drinking. What else are two guys to do, when one is briefly out of work and the other is on parental leave! Our first stop was Cactus Club Cafe for lunch. I combined Rob’s Crispy Chicken Sandwich with a Perfect Storm to drink. Once again the sauce really made my meal, as the sandwich employs a sambal mayo, which works well with the spicy panko-crusted chicken. My drink was also quite good, since Dark N’ Stormy’s are one of my favourite cocktails.

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Next up was Yaletown Brewery for happy hour. Here, we were able to indulge in a few $5 beers, with my choice being the Edinburgh IPA. Since we arrived before the after work rush, we were able to get a nice spot to sit on a couple couches, which allowed Baby Sip to roam around a little. After all, this was brewery number 30 for the tyke.

The week finished with a trip across the border with Ma Sip. While figuring out what we wanted to do for lunch, Boundary Bay Brewing entered the conversation and so we were off to their bistro. We split their fantastic Reuben Sandwich (with Tim’s Potato Chips on the side), while I washed the entrée back with a pint of Safety Break ISA. ISA’s have rocketed up my list of favourite beers of late, because I can enjoy the taste of an IPA at a slightly lower alcohol content, which definitely comes in handy when I’m driving.

This coming week features another full schedule. We’re also gearing up for Baby Sip’s first expedition to Europe (London, France, Portugal, Belgium), which is coming up fast at just over a week away!

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Sip Trips #121: Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree

With Christmas closing in, the Sip Advisor decided to take some time off work… but it certainly wasn’t spent relaxing. Here’s what we got up to in the lead up to the big day and how we fought off the post-holiday blues:

Last Thursday, the Sip Family crossed the border to do some last minute shopping in Bellingham. We hoped to start our visit with drinks at Menace Brewing, but it wasn’t open for the day yet. Lucky for us, Mrs. Sip spotted yet another brewery across the street. Melvin Brewing (a Jackson Hole, Wyoming brewery with a brew pub in Bellingham) hosted us for lunch. Mrs. Sip and I each ordered from their $10 lunch menu, with her selecting Fish & Chips, while I went with the Sandwich & Soup combo (Beef Dip with substituted Fries). For drinks, we passed around pints of their Block Away Brown Ale and Mash Murder Stout ($3 beer of the day special), while also sampling the Peaches Innit Pale Ale. All beers are brewed onsite and we quite good.

Christmas Shopping

On Christmas Eve, en route to a family dinner, we first met Sip Syndicate members at Central City Brewing in Surrey. Mrs. Sip and I had won a tour and tasting experience for six people at one of Central City’s trivia nights at their Downtown Vancouver brew pub in the summer and had to use the pass prior to the end of the year. For those keeping track, this was Baby Sip’s fourth craft brewery visit already. My flight of beers included the Smore Stout, Thor’s Hammer Barley Wine, Imperial IPA and Super Solar IPA. It was a very nice and relaxing setting to enjoy some drinks together and could become a yearly holiday tradition.

Finally, the big day arrived. As for liquor-based Christmas gifts, Mrs. Sip gave me the Central City/Parallel 49 Great White Wonder Adventure Pack (their annual collaborative advent calendar), which was marked down, given the month had come and gone. That doesn’t mean the beer can’t still be enjoyed, though. Last year, I picked up some of the individual bottles from this set and I’m hoping for some enjoyable beers this time around. Mrs. Sip also gifted me a Groupon for Andina Brewing, which provides a set of tasters for two people, as well as a growler and fill. I also received a bottle of Serbian Honey Brandy, which I’m looking forward to experimenting with. As for the gift of giving, I picked up the Erdinger Variety Pack for Mrs. Sip, along with a few other treats.

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The week ended with an impromptu visit to Craft Beer Market for a holiday wrap-up with friends. On Wednesday, the restaurant offers $8 wings and $5 BC craft beers, which is a terrific combo. Mrs. Sip and I split an order of Salt & Pepper Wings and their Gaucho Chicken Flatbread, while I selected the Torchlight Broadside IPA and Whistler/Craft Snowed In White IPA (with $1 going towards the Greater Vancouver Food Bank) for my beverages. Mrs. Sip went with the Storm Vanilla Whiskey Stout and Moody Ales Lusty Chocolate Oatmeal Stout for her drinks.

This weekend will be another busy one, with a birthday/housewarming to attend, drinks with the guys on the schedule… and, oh yeah, that minor hidden-on-the-calendar event we call New Year’s Eve!

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.

4-20 for Alcoholics

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 #74: Labouring Away

Mrs. Sip tries to get us out-of-town for every long weekend. Despite that desire, we stayed close to home this Labour Day long weekend, but that didn’t stop us from having a pretty full schedule over our three days off. And with many of our friends away on vacations, we were flying solo for much of the weekend… just the way the Sip Advisor likes it!

We began the weekend by meeting at the VIP Theatre at the Marine Gateway Cineplex complex. Here, we were treated to fantastic service from the time we entered, all the way until we made the journey back home. While watching Sausage Party, we enjoyed a pitcher of beer (they had one craft beer on tap – Dead Frog’s Tropic Vice) with meals of buffalo chicken strips for moi and a cheese quesadilla for Mrs. Sip. Despite it costing $25 each for the movie tickets, plus food and drink fees, I would do the experience again in a heartbeat. Wednesday’s offer a date night deal, where for the usual price of admission for two fares, you also get two entrees.

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The next morning, we were off to Bellingham, Washington for some shopping and lunch at the Boundary Bay Brewery. Once again, I had their stellar Reuben sandwich, while Mrs. Sip tried their B.L.A.T., instead of her usual tapenade order. We enjoyed these paired with servings of the Space Dust IPA (a very good beer, which I had never tried before) and Scotch Ale, respectively.

As we waiting for our meals to come out, Mrs. Sip learned that a new operation had just opened up around the corner and so we also popped into Gruff Brewing to try a couple of their beverages. This included the Lychee Hef for me and Belgian Blonde for Mrs. Sip. We also tried a taster of their Belgian Brown Sour. The company opened their doors in mid-August and are currently operating on weekends only.

Returning to Canada, we visited a friend in Maple Ridge and while in the area, decided to visit Ridge Brewing. I’ve been pining to try their Ay Caramba! Jalapeño IPA, ever since I first heard about it and finally achieved that, even filling a growler with the brew (to be reviewed as part of the BC Beer Baron project, shortly). We also tried a number of other items on their tap list, including the new Wind and Sea Pale Ale and their Pride Beer Berliner Weiss.

life-is-like-a-jalapeno

After staying up late, watching all three movies at the Twilight Drive-In theatre in Aldergrove, Mrs. Sip and I crashed at Ma and Pa Sip’s place in Delta, before heading back to Vancouver. En route, we stopped at the Fuggles & Warlock tasting room in Richmond, where we split a couple of tasting flights, while playing a game of cribbage on their wonderful outdoor patio. Our mutual favourite of their selections was The Last Strawberry Wit, while we also sampled a few of the guest taps that were available.

Aside from our expeditions, Mrs. Sip and I were also able to find a fair bit of time for relaxing and hanging out. We took a couple long walks and discovered some sites we’d like to visit in the near future, some of which will surely show up in Sip Trips articles. Why can’t all weekends be three days long!?

Sip Trips #67: On the Trail Again

Last weekend, the Sip Family returned to the scene of the crime and tackled the Bellingham Tap Trail, once again. This summer voyage meant patio seating, open garage doors, and walking around in the fresh air, rather than relying on vehicle transportation.

Our first stop, was at Boundary Bay Brewing, which has long been home to one of Mrs. Sip’s favourite pub meals in their Tapenade. While she selected the brewery’s Wonderland Belgian Strong Golden to go along with her lunch, the Sip Advisor ordered their tasting flight, which features six brews, including their Blonde Ale, ESB, Amber Ale, Scotch Ale, IPA, and Oatmeal Stout. Of that sextet, I enjoyed the Scotch Ale the best, while Ma Sip and I shared the best Reuben Sandwich I’ve ever had.

Reuben Rye

Next up, was a short walk to the Schweinhaus Biergarten. When we were here in November, it was obviously chilly and they weren’t even able to turn their heat lamps on. That was no problem this time around, as the sun was shining and the music was rocking. I tried the Fremont Brewing Summer Ale, which was just right for the moment. Of note, was the best wine pours I have ever seen, as our server filled Stella chalices right to the top for both Ma and Pa Sip. While we didn’t play a round, the place also has a bean bag toss set up. The only downside was the outdoor attraction only has outhouses available to customers for bathroom use.

Another brief walk and we arrived at Aslan Brewing, where Mrs. Sip and I ordered their B’Ham Brown and Anniversary XIPA, respectively. For a little snack, we tried the brewery’s Gourmet Mac N’ Cheese, which included a bacon jam on top and broccoli within. We both enjoyed our pairings and had to fight each other to get the spoon back.

Our last stop of the day was our first visit to Structures Brewing. Mrs. Sip and I enjoyed a four ounce sample of each of their six offerings, including their Vivid IPA, Petronilo Coffee Stout, Destroyer of Light Black IPA, Recursion Simcoe Pale Ale, I See You Grapefruit-Hibiscus Saison, and Table Beer. To be honest, the whole lineup was pretty good.

Happy Liver Workout Day

Before Mrs. Sip and I made the journey back home on Sunday, we popped into one of the two Kulshan Brewing locations. Over a couple brews (Bastard Kat IPA for myself and Belgian Blonde for Mrs. Sip), we enjoyed their outdoor patio setting, which just doesn’t exist for the Vancouver craft beer scene. The brewery was hosting a run between their two sites, so live music was also featured, along with a couple food trucks.

This second trip to the Bellingham Tap Trail just confirmed how awesome the brewing scene there is. I’m looking forward to going back soon, perhaps starting a tradition of visiting every six months to sample the best of winter and the best of summer with each stay.