Sip Trips #143: Ends of Eras

Canada Day has come and gone and the week was another busy seven days for Mrs. Sip and I. Here’s a recap of the week that was:

We began the week with dinner at EXP Restaurant + Bar, which after months of speculation, in fact closed their doors for good at the end of June. This was a very sad revelation for the Sip Family and we just had to dine at the eatery one more time, in spite of a long wait for a table. Once seated, Mrs. Sip and I ordered servings of Hoyne Dark Matter and Postmark Spruce Tip Ale, respectively. For food, I went with my all-time favourite Triforce Burger (beef patty, chicken breast and bacon), while Mrs. Sip had the Little Mac N Cheese with Pulled Pork. We hope EXP pops up again in a different location and we will definitely be regular visitors again, if that occurs.

Mac N Cheese.jpg

The next day, I attended a retirement party at Finch & Barley in North Vancouver. While I wasn’t able to stay long, I did manage glasses of Steamworks Flagship IPA and Driftwood White Bark Witbier, prior to returning home. The place had some interesting food menu options that I just didn’t have time to try out, but may be able to at a later date.

Canada Day weekend ended up being a bit of a bust weather wise, but we made the most of the time off, visiting Ridge Brewing in Maple Ridge. Mrs. Sip and I split a flight of brews, including Let the Beat ISA, Hairy Dona Amber Ale, Café Morena English Brown Ale and Dark Science Orange Stout. The set was good, although I was hoping for a stronger orange flavour from the stout.

Canada Day

The week wrapped with dinner at Britannia Brewing in quaint Steveston. Along with another flight of beer (comprised of their Watermelon Sour, Sirens Chai Saison, Riptide Rye IPA and Ashore Rye Porter), we enjoyed orders of Truffle & Parmesan Popcorn, Clam Chowder and Fish & Chips. We really liked the restaurant, particularly our food selections, and look forward to returning in the future.

The coming week features another full schedule, including: the Vancouver Canucks Summer Showdown, another trip to the drive-in theatre, a Vancouver Whitecaps game, baseball, a trip to the U.S., watching the 2018 New West Grand Prix, and probably an event or two I’m forgetting. Exhausting, huh!?

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Sip Trips #142: On and Off the Field

I’m always amazed at how quickly the summer fills up with events. This week alone, Mrs. Sip and I have received numerous Facebook event invites and that combines with other commitments to clog the calendar. Don’t get us wrong, we enjoy the chaos, but sometimes you long for the shut-in winter months. Wait, we do a ton of stuff then as well. Anyway, here’s what happened last week:

Our week began with an unexpected entry into the weekly trivia at Darby’s Gastown. The trivia was so unexpected that I was only able to attend the second half of the quiz. I still managed to enjoy a serving of Luppolo Kveik IPA, along with the bar’s homemade potato chips and a soft pretzel.

trivia-team-assemble.jpg

The next night, we were back in Gastown for The Portside Pub’s Cask Wars event. The competition was free to attend, so long as you RSVP’d for the limited tickets, and saw 11 breweries compete to drain their cask first and earn at tap at the popular bar. Upon entering, attendees received their first drink ticket on the house, with additional tickets costing a very reasonable $4. Mrs. Sip and I bought four tickets, but somehow ended up trying 10 of the offerings available. The eventual winner was Coal Harbour’s Dino Candy Raspberry Sour with Gin Soaked Lime Leaves (available in bomber-sized bottles). We had a fantastic time at this event, also enjoying orders of their East Coast Chowder and Garlic Fingers. One issue I hope is fixed for future Cask Wars (and this applies to all beer events) is I’d like to see every brewery have a sign telling what their beer is. Most do, but some don’t and I don’t like standing in line to find out what beer they’re serving, when it might be something I have no interest in trying.

On the weekend, our baseball team was involved in a tournament at Burnaby’s Riverway Sport Complex. While we didn’t have any favourable results over our games, we had fun, particularly at the onsite beer garden. Drink tickets were six for $20 and just like previous tournaments, Hearthstone Brewing was on hand to keep players hydrated with their Cali Common (my beverage of choice) and Rizzla Rice Lager. There was also a variety of ciders available for the non-beer drinkers.

Following day one of the tourney, Mrs. Sip and I awaited the return of Baby Sip from our friends at Steel & Oak Brewing. We each had a glass of their Smoked Hefeweizen, before splitting the Weekend Plans Peach Tart Pale Ale. When our friend’s arrived, I was also able to sample a sip of the Blackthorn Strong Ale.

babysitting-level-pro

Looking to get outside and enjoy the nice weather this week, I took Baby Sip over to Granville Island, hoping to visit Granville Island Brewing. Unfortunately, their tasting room was closed for a private event. Making lemonade out of lemons, I made my way over to the nearby Liberty Distillery for a cocktail. I selected The McClay (Railspur No. 1 Whiskey, lime juice, Thai bitters, pineapple-jalapeno cordial), which was a beautiful drink.

This weekend is highlighted by Canada Day, which has become one of my favourite drinking holidays. Hopefully the weather holds up enough for the Sip Advisor to host what has become an annual pool party at Ma and Pa Sip’s place. The beverages will certainly be flowing, regardless!

Snack Time #24 – Tim Hortons Nanaimo Bar Donut

With Canada’s 150th birthday in the rear-view mirror, I thought we should take a look at one of the treats I was able to have during the festivities last weekend, courtesy of Ma Sip. Tim Hortons has offered this slice of Canadiana for a few months and I was finally able to partake.

The Nanaimo Bar Donut is about as Canadian as it gets, the dessert having been created in the 1950s and named after the city of Nanaimo, British Columbia. While I liked the chocolate and sprinkles of the donut, I was hoping for the crème filling to be more reminiscent of Nanaimo Bars.

Tim-Hortons-Canada 150

Also part of the donut chain’s Canadian lineup is a White & Red Velvet Muffin, Dutchie Donut and Maple Timbits. The collection does a decent job of highlighting some of the flavours and treats that Canada is synonymous with and known for worldwide.

I was slightly perturbed that a Poutine Donut (perhaps even more reflective of Canadian cuisine than a Nanaimo Bar) was only available at some American Tim Hortons locations. I may be in a minority, but I want to try cheese curds, gravy and wedge fries on my pastry, too!

For more Snack Time articles, please visit our main page…

Sip Trips #107: Canadian Carousing

This past weekend was spent celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday and that meant a fair bit of liquor shopping and time spent enjoying all the splendors this country has to offer. Let’s see how the Sip Advisor and company saluted the nation:

My first order of business, as it is with every Canada Day, was to stock up on supplies. Earlier in the week, I had focused my attention on the Big Rock Canada 150 Variety Pack, which I thought would be an ideal set to enjoy on Canada Day. For whatever reason, the set wasn’t available at BC Liquor Stores, so I had to go a little out of my way to find it. Each of the brews is meant to highlight a different region of the country and is comprised of a Hibernation Ale, Peach Pilsner, Maple Lager, Oak Aged Rye Ale, Oyster Stout, and rounded out by their Signature Series Grasshopper Kristallweizen.

Canada Day Drunk

Among my other shopping finds was the Bridge Brewing Bridge Builder Variety Pack. This six-pack features two each of the Bourbon Blood Orange Wheat Ale, North Shore Pale Ale and Wunderbar Kolsch. Although I haven’t tapped into the bottled six-pack yet, I foresee many opportunities ahead.

Ever the amazing wife, Mrs. Sip also pointed out the Red Truck Hand Built Series Mix Pack, which contains eight tall cans, two per of their Blackberry Bourbon Ale, Golden Ale, Saison and White ISA. Usually I want more from Red Truck’s in-store releases and this one has the potential to be quite special.

Those finds accumulated, I didn’t have to worry as much as first thought about my beer cache, as Ma and Pa Sip picked up an amazing set for me, while they were vacationing in Portland, Oregon the weekend before.

Canada Day-4th of July

The Sierra Nevada Across the World Beer Camp features 12 very unique collaborative brews, six from stateside and six from overseas. The pack contained nine bottles and three tall cans, with such intriguing options as a Ginger Lager (brewed with Ginger and Cayenne, fermented on oak) and Thai-Style Iced Tea (brewed with lactose, orange peel, black tea, tamarind and star anise). I will have to chase down future installments of this wonderful product.

While I could have lounged around poolside all weekend, Mrs. Sip and I had to return to reality and start setting up our baby registry. I will say the baby registry was a lot more fun than our wedding registry, but paled in comparison to drinking and floating in the great outdoors.

Returning home to attend the Queen with Adam Lambert concert, we dropped into Patron Tacos & Cantina for dinner, prior to the show. Mrs. Sip and I shared our usual order of Queso Fundido and collection of four tacos, which I paired with a Goose Island IPA, a tasty rotating tap for the restaurant. As for the show, the drink selection was quite limited, with nothing on tap available in the arena; therefore, no craft beer options. I settled for a generously-poured rum and coke. The show itself was amazing, as the band played for more than two hours straight.

Oh Canada Beer

The next day – and last of the glorious long weekend – found us on the patio at Jimmy’s Tap House. This used to be my neighbourhood haunt, but I hadn’t visited for some time. After a pint of Main Street Brewing’s Naked Fox IPA, which went very well with my Southern Fried Chicken Sandwich, I was reminded of how good the place was and will return more regularly. Best of all, their Monday daily special was 50 per cent off each second entrée, so our bill was quite reasonable.

Now we have to return to work and push through the holiday hangover. At least we know there will be plenty more fun over the course of the summer, all of which will be highlighted here!

Sip Trips #68: Wicked Wine Weekend

Over the Canada Day long weekend, the Sip Syndicate returned to the Okanagan Valley wine region, this time setting up shop in Kelowna. We covered a lot of ground over our three-day stay, so let’s get right to the good stuff!

We chose to celebrate our nation’s birthday by touring the many wineries that were walking distance from our Airbnb accommodation, with our first stop being Beaumont Winery. Here, we were able to sample eight different products, with my favourites being their Pinot Blanc, Chilled Red, Pinot Noir, and Heritage. Our hostess was very friendly and the setting was fun with some live music even being served up.

Next up, was Volcanic Hills Winery, where we could taste four wines, among the winery’s extensive lineup. Again, the wines were good, with my preferred samples being their Chardonnay and Rose. The only downside was that our hostess wasn’t nearly as friendly as our first stop and seemed annoyed with our group, just because we were all selecting different wines to match our desired styles.

wine enthusiast

A quick 400-meter walk (although it seems to take forever when you just want more wine) brought us to visit number three at Mt. Boucherie Winery. At the Bouche (a nickname they have yet to verify and endorse), I liked a number of their releases, including the Semillon, Rose, Summit, Syrah, and Pinot Noir.

Moving on, our crew literally travelled through the vines to reach Little Straw Vineyards. After a tasting that yielded a bunch of very good wines (Rose, Cuvee Noir, Southern Cross, and Marechal Foch), we had a fantastic meal at their Barrel Top Grill bistro. While splitting a trio of tapas dishes, our host entertained us with an energy you’d expect at the start of his day and not the end.

We wrapped up day one of our vacation by popping into Grizzli Winery. This massive new facility just opened that day and staff were still figuring things out. The operation only had two reds and three dessert wines available, with whites to come later, but offered a complimentary tasting of three of those options. Mrs. Sip and I picked up their Cabernet Sauvignon to go along with our upcoming steak dinner.

one more bottle of wine

The second day of our trip was largely spent watching a Euro 2016 match (Germany vs. Italy) at Friends Pub and hanging out at the beach. We did manage to visit the Tree Brewing Institute for dinner, where the gang enjoyed a few of their beers, including the West Coast Pale Ale, Thirsty Beaver Amber Ale and Mellow Moon Pineapple Hefeweizen. The setting, along downtown Kelowna’s waterfront, was wonderful and the place had board and card games that patrons can play while they eat and drink.

Sadly, every long weekend away has to come to an end, but we made sure to cram in a few more wineries before making the trek home. Our first stop was to The Hatch Winery, which was a funky, kid-friendly place. The label work on their wines is great, although some bottles are quite expensive. Mrs. Sip and I took home their Reserve Chardonnay after trying four tastings each.

Next up, was Quail’s Gate Winery, one of the bigger players in the area. They do offer three complimentary tastings, before charging $5 for four more samples. Unlike other places, though, they only waive their tasting fee after buying two bottles, as opposed to the typical one bottle. Of the wines offered, I liked their Pinot Gris, Reserve Chardonnay, and Rose.

wine-ritual

We followed that up with Mission Hill Winery, undoubtedly the region’s biggest estate (hell, Michael Bolton has two upcoming shows at the colossal operation). The place was busy, but definitely a gorgeous, picturesque stop. Tastings here will set you back $8 per person and is only waived with purchasing two bottles, so Mrs. Sip went ahead with the sampling only.

Looking to have a nice meal before hitting the highway, we ended up at 19 Okanagan Grill + Bar at the Two Eagles Golf Course. Here, we each had a fantastic lunch (I ordered the trio of pulled pork sliders and a Caesar salad and Mrs. Sip asked for their grilled cheese and tomato soup combo), while throwing back a couple beverages and enjoying the warm, sunny day. The service here was awesome, with Mrs. Sip being given a full nine-ounce replacement of wine after the wind knocked a menu over, thus spilling her carafe… which she’d already drank three quarters of.

Our final stop of the weekend was Off the Grid Winery. This is a newer operation, but the location is cool and the pygmy goats and other wildlife they have on the site are a unique feature. Of their wines, I enjoyed the Pinot Gris, which we grabbed a bottle of to enjoy at a later date and reminisce about a wonderful journey through the Kelowna scene.

Sip Trips #26: Canadian Celebration

While Mrs. Sip is away, the Sip Advisor mouse will play and that was certainly the case this past weekend. With Canada Day occurring mid-week, the partying stretched on… although, that’s not a lot different than if Mrs. Sip had been around the whole time. She is definitely missed around the offices here!

Canada Day

On my way out to Ma and Pa Sip’s place in Delta on Saturday, I stopped by Four Winds Brewing to see what was new at my hometown brewery. They have expanded since I last visited a couple years back and had a number of interesting beers on tap. I decided to sit down to a set of tasters, including their Saison, Grisette, Passionfruit Berlinerweisse, and Nectarous. The Nectarous was the reason for my trip out there, as I was informed of the limited release by a friend, and decided I wanted to add a bottle to my burgeoning brew collection.

The rest of the day was spent in gluttonous splendor, as the Sip Advisor ate and drank to his heart’s content. Cousin Sip brought over Granville Island Brewery’s summer mixed pack, while I tapped into a collection of ales, highlighted by my Russell Smokey the Beer, which was smoky and delicious. To be honest, I probably should have saved it for a time when I was more appreciative of what was going into my system, but it was the right beer at the right time.

As the next day left me kind of lonely and with the weather changing for the worse, I decided to run a couple errands and that always includes a stop at the liquor store. Here, I grabbed a six-pack of the Steamworks Killer Cucumber Ale, as well as bombers of Lighthouse Jackline Rhubarb Grisette and Elysian Superfuzz Blood Orange Pale Ale. I’ve gone through most of the Cucumber pack and think I prefer the brew on tap, but have yet to crack open either of the bombers.

errands to run

For dinner Monday night, Ma and Pa Sip accompanied me to the Yaletown Brewery, where I enjoyed their chicken schnitzel sandwich, along with a Shangri La Saison. The strong beer (6.8%) went well with my meal and was a good beverage choice, given the recent heatwave in B.C.

Back in April, I wrote about coming across the Viniq Shimmery Liqueur and how it was one of the most amazing spirit products I’ve ever seen. It’s so cool, that Mrs. Sip was once showing it off to a friend and he was so mesmerized that he forgot to stop pouring the beer he was emptying and it spilled all over the place. Well, the company has now added a Ruby version to their line-up and I noticed that they have a bunch of great recipes available for each variation. Now, we just have to stop admiring the bottle and open it up!

July 1 – Red Maple Sunset

Welcome to Canada

To celebrate Canada Day (my home and native land) I decided to take a look at the pros and cons of this country’s make-up. Why bother looking at what needs improvement, you ask? Well, I feel we should all be always striving to better ourselves and I expect no less from my country. That, and I’m a massive jerk, who likes to rant about things that displease me. On with the ranting!

Pro: Hockey

If you are ever in need of defining what an athlete should be, look no further than a hockey player, preferably of the Canadian variety. There, you will see true glimpses of sportsmanship, humbleness, work ethic, ruggedness, and manliocity. Think of icons like Steve Yzerman, Joe Sakic, Gordie Howe, and ‘The Great One’ Wayne Gretzky.

Hockey Players

Con: Expensive Alcohol

Do you know how much easier this 365-day liquor challenge would be if I lived in almost any other country, rather than Canada. Even Canadian manufactured products are ridiculously priced. Whenever Mrs. Sip and I travel south of the border, we make sure to grab a ton of booze because it is just so much more reasonably priced. Sadly, we have limits on what we can bring back and as a law-abiding citizen, I actually follow these allotments… for the most part!

Pro: Good People

Canada has a reputation for its citizens being overly nice and helpful population. This standing is well-earned and as a fictional leader of this great land, I must say that I’m proud of our people and the work we all do to not only make our home a better place, but to welcome strangers from foreign lands.

Con: No Dill Pickle Round Slices

There are a lot of products that I can’t find in Canada, that are available south of the border (in fact, I wrote an entire article about this phenomenon). But one that absolutely flummoxes me is the absence of dill pickles in round slices. If it can be done for sweet pickles, why not dill? Clearly dill pickles can be sliced, but all I ever see is the elongated variety. It has driven me to become an ex-pat of this great nation and must be rectified.

Pro: Beautiful Women

I can say with full conviction that Canada has to have the most beautiful women in the universe. A long walk on a glorious summer day – with dark shades fully ensconced on my noggin’ – is an absolute treat with all the eye candy available to every red-blooded male. Sadly, that beauty gets hidden away during the cold winter months, when everyone is bundling up in toques, scarfs, and jackets, but it’s all worth it again on that first patio-suitable day of spring.

Canada Women

Con: Inclement Weather

As mentioned above, it can get cold and nasty during the winter, up here in the Great White North. Even here in Vancouver, where we have much more mild temperatures, we live in an urban rainforest where we get drenched by buckets of cold  rain every year. I know we’re not alone in the not-so-nice weather department, but that doesn’t mean I can’t bitch about it. On the bright side, if you like to ski (or just enjoy watching snow bunnies), we’ve got you covered!

Pro: Strip Clubs with Alcohol

Imagine my shock when my crew saddled up to a strip club in Seattle, Washington for my stag last year and were told that we had a choice: either see naked ladies or keep drinking. Before my friends could answer, I’d already left the lobby, en route to the next liquor establishment. Truth be told, I’m not a strip club regular, but if I do go, I want to be able to have an overpriced brew or cocktail while a young lady makes love to a pole!

Con: No Singles ($1 bills)

How are you supposed to get your money’s worth at the strip club!? The smallest denomination you can tuck into a dancer’s G-string is a fiver. That means you can go through a lot of money in very little time. And don’t even think about making it rain. A small wad of fives, tens, and twenties will pale in comparison to a massive wad of American ones. I guess you could take a jar full of loonies and toonies and toss it into the air and do some serious damage!

Drink #182: Red Maple Sunset

Red Maple Sunset Drink Recipe

  • 1 oz Campari
  • 1 oz Maple Syrup
  • Top with Lemon Juice
  • Splash of Egg Whites
  • Garnish with Canadian Flag

So, happy birthday Canada! I hope you get all the gifts you’ve wanted and that your next year is as fabulous as the last!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
This was my first opportunity to play around with not only Campari, but also Maple Syrup. The drink was a nice mix of sweet and bitter, as the Campari has a fruity taste, with a bitter finish. The Maple Syrup actually worked well with the cocktail, which was a pleasant surprise given it’s a bit of an odd ingredient.