Sip Trips #169: Summer of Sips

We’re now in the thick of summer, which means ample opportunities to drink, whether they be in pools, on patios, at parks, or wherever else you might find yourself with a beverage in hand. Here’s what the Sip Advisor has been doing to start the season:

The Sip Family spent most of the Canada Day long weekend poolside at Ma and Pa Sip’s home. There, I enjoyed the Parallel 49 Brews Brothers Vol. 5 case, another one of my favourite annual collaborative beer packs. The eight tall can collection is always music themed, with this year’s brews named after boy band songs. I particularly enjoyed the Faded Habanero Peach Gose (brewed with Field House Brewing), among others in the set. Our group had a good time reminiscing about our younger years, as we played whatever song matched the beer I was drinking.

boy bands.png

Last weekend, we ventured to the recently opened The Bakery Brewing (the fifth brewery to operate along Port Moody’s Brewer’s Row). Mrs. Sip and I split two flights, allowing us to try each of The Bakery’s eight offerings. Their initial lineup is comprised of mostly sour beers, with my favourite of the bunch being the Carrot-Mango-Lime Sour. Wine and guest taps are also on the brewery’s menu, as well as some food items. At this time, The Bakery has three of their beers available to be purchased in bottles, including the aforementioned Carrot-Mango-Lime. I would have never thought of carrot being a good beer ingredient, but it works here.

En route home from The Bakery, we popped into ABC Brewing to use up more of my original patron gift card. Along with some of our previously enjoyed favourites, we picked up the newly canned Acronyms DIPA. We will be back shortly to also try the debuting Dual Citizen Saison.

acronyms

On Tuesday, we picked up Big Star Sandwich and enjoyed the meal in the Westminster Pier Park for New West’s Music by the River Festival, which sees twice-weekly concerts by various artists. The draw for us was that the park is licensed, serving one beer each from Steel & Oak and ABC, available for purchase at the concession. Sadly, rain put a damper on the concert, featuring sitarist Mohamed Assani.

Upcoming, we hope to check out Fridays on Front in New West, as well as having a number of kid’s birthdays to attend over the next two weekends. This will provide many more great opportunities to visit breweries around the Lower Mainland, as well as catch up with friends over libations!

Advertisements

Sip Trips #168: Alphabet Games

The past couple weeks have been filled with events and adventures, so let’s get right to the thick of things. Here’s what the Sip Family has been up to, of late:

To celebrate a friend’s birthday, we gathered for dinner at Bauhaus Restaurant in Downtown Vancouver. My order of Weiner Schnitzel was very good and the massive serving (with cucumber potato salad) justified the $36 price tag. The Schnitzel was accompanied by cranberry sauce, which I never thought of using on veal, but complimented the dish very well. Over the course of the evening, I enjoyed a trio of Brassneck Passive Aggressive Pale Ale servings to accompany my meal.

To celebrate my second Father’s Day, Mrs. Sip and I visited the newly-opened Another Beer Company (ABC Brewing), where we are original patron members. We were away on vacation while they hosted their special opening for members only, so it was great to finally get there and pick up my original patron package, which included a gift card and hoodie.

greatest dad

With plans to pick up a few beers to go when we were ready to leave, we concentrated on the options that were only available on tap for our time at the brewery. We ordered the Bright Temperament Belgian Saison, Salted Kviek Farmhouse Ale and Keep Your Pants On Indian Pale Kolsch, a style I have never seen before. The tall cans we bought prior to heading home included the Engine Head American Rye Ale, Poolside Hefe Bavarian Hefeweizen, You’ve Changed Pale Ale, Livin’ By The River Hazy IPA, and Young Wild & Hazy Hazy IPA.

We actually returned a few days later with Cousin Sip and her husband and picked the couple items (Good Alternative Altbier and Eli’s Stash Belgian Tripel) we had yet to try or purchase. I haven’t had a bad beer yet from the upstart brewery and I look forward to many more visits in the future. We like the loft seating area there, as well as the bucket of toys they had available for young children who are brought to the venue. With Father’s Day in mind, you may be asking how awesome of a father I am? Well, with our visit to ABC, Baby Sip has now been to 69 breweries across a handful of countries in her 20 months of existence. Father of the Year honours are surely on the way!

One final note about ABC, is they are operating with a different business plan than I’ve seen from other breweries. They aren’t offering growler fills, opting to sell tall cans which are packaged on a weekly basis and restocked daily. The cans are meant to be drank within two weeks of the packaging date. It will be interesting to see if this scheme evolves over time or not.

growler

Prior to our second visit to ABC, we had been attending the Vancouver Canucks Summer Summit with the Sedins. Upon entering, we were presented with vouchers for one entrée and two drinks, similar to the Summer Showcase prospects game last year. I used my food ticket on a Triple Os Bacon & Cheddar Burger, while my drink coupons once again went towards Budweisers (it always hurts to write that, but you can’t complain when they’re free!). There were many more drink stands available to attendees this year, so perhaps they listened to my suggestions following the previous event.

This past weekend, Mrs. Sip and I joined friends for a crawl along Port Moody’s Brewer’s Row. We began the day with Twin Sails Brewing, which was hosting a First Day of Summer Party. I enjoyed my El Cacto Tequila Farmhouse Ale with Lime Zest, as well as Mrs. Sip’s Two Straws Milkshake IPA with Blackberry.

Next up was Yellow Dog Brewing, where we snagged a seat in their backyard area, one of my favourite drinking spots amongst the Lower Mainland craft beer scene. I went with their Squirrel Chaser Hazy Pale Ale, as I had never tried the beer before, while I order the Hi Ten Double Hazy IPA for Mrs. Sip, as she has been getting into that style more and more recently.

spritual quest

Moody Ales was stop number three. I was able to try a taste of Bakery Brewing’s Dark Rye Saison (on guest tap), before getting a pint of the Moody Ales/Gibsons Collab Rauchbock, which was deliciously smoky. Mrs. Sip went with the Bourbon Barrel Aged Russian Stout, another fine choice.

Backtracking, our last stop of the day was Parkside Brewing, where we decided to pick up some road beers, rather than fight for a seat and table at the very busy place (all the Row was hopping throughout the day). I grabbed a tall can four-pack of their Motel Pale Ale, which were enjoyed as we walked the nearby trails to a playground for Baby Sip to finally get some playtime.

Upcoming is the Canada Day long weekend, which always presents some fantastic drinking opportunities. All we need is for the weather to turn around, so we can relax poolside and fireside with beverages in hand!

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!?

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.