BC Beer Baron #89 – Big Ridge Vanilla Bean Porter

While a Caskival featuring a particular beer type is still tons of fun, one’s palate can sometimes grow weary of tasting similar things. When a group spices things up with different ingredients, that can be amazingly refreshing. That’s exactly what Big Ridge Brewing did with their contribution to the event.

The Vanilla Bean Porter was a welcome change to some of the more traditional fare at the event. Using Bushmill Irish Whiskey in its recipe, the beer was definitely strong, but the vanilla was still able avoid being hidden. Vanilla is quickly becoming a favourite beer flavour of mine, as it is noticeable, but doesn’t overpower any of the beverages I’ve experienced it in.

Big Ridge Brewing

The 5.2% ABV, 34 IBUs offering rallied my senses for the second half of the Caskival event. The beer is an adaptation of the company’s Toll Bridge Vanilla Bean Porter, which is a collaborative effort between Big Ridge and Moody Ales.

Mrs. Sip and I haven’t been to Big Ridge for about a year now, last hitting the brew pub as part of our 13-year dating anniversary (although we’re now married, what’s wrong with celebrating as much as possible) for lunch and some beers, before heading out to play some mini golf at Castle Fun Park in Abbotsford. Now that’s how you remain young at heart!

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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!