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.

Christmas Spirit.jpg

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!

Advertisements

Beer of the Week #38 – Central City India Session Ale

As Mrs. Sip and I settle into nesting mode following the birth of our daughter, I’ve been doing a lot more drinking at home, rather than out and about. One notable beverage I enjoyed was this Central City Brewing product.

The India Session Ale (aka ISA) has quite a delicious Mosaic hops flavour, yet remains light. The 4% ABV, 40 IBUs beverage is one of a few of the ISA style to resonate with me recently and open my eyes to how good the variety can be.

Central City India Session Ale

I discovered the beer available in the Central City Reign of Hops Mixer Pack. It can also be found in both regular and tall-can formats. Suggested food pairings, according to Central City, include salads, pasta and pizza.

This style of beer seems to be perfect for summertime drinking. It can also provide a nice remembrance of the sunny season when you drink the brews during the fall and winter. Put your shades on and reminisce!

For more Beer of the Week articles, please visit our main page…

Sip Trips #105: Went By in a Blur

This past week was incredibly busy for Mrs. Sip and I. So busy, that my head is still spinning… and that’s not from all the booze consumed! Let’s get right down to it…

On Friday, we wrapped up work and immediately hit the road to Tacoma, Washington to watch comedian Christopher Titus perform at the Tacoma Comedy Club. We made it just in time for the 10:30pm show and beers were desperately needed for us weary travellers. Cousin Sip’s husband and I split a couple pitchers of Manny’s Pale Ale from Georgetown Brewing out of Seattle. The show was amazing, as expected. As we waited in line to meet Mr. Titus afterwards, the bar was selling pints of Budweiser for $2 and we figured, “Ah, why the hell not!”

I had also picked up a bomber of Alaskan Brewing Icy Bay IPA at a gas station en route to Tacoma, so that acted as my nightcap before grabbing a few hours of sleep and returning to Vancouver Saturday morning. I wish we didn’t have to rush the stay across the border, but with friends visiting from London, we had to be back for more fun.

morning sunglasses

After meeting up with our guests, the ladies went their way, while the gents searched for craft beer. Our first stop was at Central City’s Vancouver location. There, I paired some Chicken Strips and Fries with the brewery’s Super Stellar IPA, which made for a great combo. For dessert I ordered their Hefeweizen, bringing to mind thoughts of summer, as we wait patiently for the weather to cooperate.

Next up was a short walk to Devil’s Elbow Ale & Smoke House. Here, I was able to try the Britannia Brewing Sirens Chai Saison, which was available as a guest tap. Following that, I had the Howe Sound Jam Session Raspberry Cream Ale, another successful selection. Then, the night took a turn for the extreme with a round of tequila shots.

Feeling suitably buzzed, we rejoined the ladies for dinner at The Keg in Yaletown. Sitting on the restaurant’s rooftop patio, I enjoyed a pair of Caesar Diablo servings, made even better given their $5 daily special pricing.

Drinking Problem

On Monday, Ma Sip met me for lunch at Tap & Barrel in North Vancouver. Unfortunately, I was working, so was not able to imbibe as I usually would when visiting a T&B location. That said, I thoroughly enjoyed my PB&J Burger, which made for a nice substitute to my traditional meal of a PB&J Sandwich during the work week. The burger was messy, but totally worth the experience.

Tuesday, we finally had a meal at the Homer Street Cafe, which is located kitty-corner to my and Mrs. Sip’s humble abode. There to celebrate a friend’s birthday, I ordered their rotisserie quarter chicken meal, which was highlighted by their chicken jus for dipping. To wash it all down, I had a trio of brews, including the Howe Sound Summer Saison, Powell Street Old Jalopy Pale Ale and Storm Black Plague Stout. For a small beer menu, they sure packed some quality selections in.

It should be noted that this week’s wrap up doesn’t even include two games of baseball, Father’s Day celebrations, a trip to the theatre and another meal with our visitors from London. Busy times, for sure.

Sip Trips #102: True North Strong and Free

To celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, Central City Brewing has released the Red Racer Across the Nation case, featuring collaborative beers from 12 of the country’s provinces and territories (only newest territory Nunavut is left out). Always a fan of collaboration beers, I just had to pick up the set, going straight to the source to do so, before it was even rolled out to liquor stores. Each 330ml beer was brewed at Central City’s Surrey facility and was inspired by the province or territory it comes from. Here’s the lineup of the pack:

  • Left of the Divide IPA (with Four Winds Brewing from Delta, British Columbia)
  • Berry Light Berliner Weisse (with Last Best Brewing from Calgary, Alberta)
  • Wide Open Spaces Kellerbier (with Black Bridge Brewing from Swift Current, Saskatchewan)
  • Land of Rice and Honey Saison (with Half Pints Brewing from Winnipeg, Manitoba)
  • Upper Reaches Pale Ale (with Beau’s Brewing from Vankleek Hill, Ontario)
  • Bouclier Canadien Pilsner (with Le Trou Du Diable from Shawinigan, Quebec)
  • Restored Hop(e) ESB (with Picaroons Traditional Ales from Fredericton, New Brunswick)
  • “New” Scottish Ale (with Garrison Brewing from Halifax, Nova Scotia)
  • Bière d’ici Honey Ale (with PEI Brewing from Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island)
  • Hop To The East Hefeweizen (with Quidi Vidi Brewing from St. John’s, Newfoundland)
  • Swift Currant Dark Ale (with Yukon Brewing from Whitehorse, Yukon Territories)
  • Miner’s Refresh Grissette (with NWT Brewing from Yellowknife, Northwest Territories)

Central City Across the Nation Case

Hitting store shelves in early May, the beer sets were released in two formats: a 12-pack of the entire collection and two six-packs, featuring the East and West releases bundled together. Tasting events in each province have been arranged for the case’s launch. Sadly, the Sip Advisor will be out of town for both BC occasions. For a full listing of upcoming tastings, please view Central City’s press release.

The price tag of just under $35 (with tax and deposit) is quite a bit more than one would pay for the average case of craft beer, but this is a special release. I’m looking forward to trying a number of these beers and getting to know some of the breweries from across the nation.

“There is a great sense of comradery amongst us craft brewers in Canada, and what better way to show our pride in our country than to bring together some of Canada’s best breweries on a celebratory mix-pack to commemorate this huge Canadian milestone,” said Gary Lohin, brewmaster of Central City. “We all know Canada is renowned for our great beer and it has been such an honour to work with each of the breweries. We can’t wait to showcase some spectacular beers and the brewing talents of all 12 breweries.”

Sip Trips #88: Taste Test

On Saturday, Mrs. Sip and I hosted the Sip Syndicate at our place. Earlier that day, I had ventured out to grab some beers for the evening and lucked upon some individual bottles from broken up from the Central CityParallel 49 Seasons Greetings advent calendar. I think this is a great idea, as it gives people who didn’t buy the advent calendar a chance to see how diverse the lineup is, as well as try some of the products for themselves.

I grabbed six bottles, comprised of: Central City’s Southern Cross Kiwi Kettle Sour and Three Peaks Belgian Tripel, along with Parallel 49’s Anger Management Angry IPA, Gong Show Belgian Spiced Quad, Salty Scot Maple Scotch Ale, and Beerserker Scandinavian Strong Ale. We then presented the six in a tasting-style event with our friends. My favourite from the bunch was probably the Gong Show.

drink-every-night

After our mini tasting, we were off to the VIP theatre at Marine Gateway to catch the new Star Wars: Rogue One. I’m not a Star Wars or sci-fi devotee, but I thought the movie was good. My meal of a pulled pork sandwich and fries was even better, which was a nice surprise, given some of the theatre food is only okay. Add a pitcher of Shocktop, split between Mrs. Sip and I, and the evening was well-rounded.

Following the film, we popped into the Dublin Crossing Irish Pub, below the theatre for another beverage. Here, I ordered a pint of Hearthstone McCools Hazelnut Porter, which was profiled in my Beer of the Week feature yesterday. It looks like we’ll be dining there again tonight, to celebrate Mrs. Sip’s birthday with a group of friends from our sports team.

The results of that meal, as well as the other festivities currently planned for Mrs. Sip’s big day will all be brought to you next week in another edition of Sip Trips!

BC Beer Baron #349 – Central City Red Racer Winter Ale

Each month, as part of this 366-day BC craft beer extravaganza that I will be sharing with you throughout 2016, I will highlight a specific style or theme of beers for a whole week of articles. Already the best time of the year, the fact it’s Winter Ale season makes it that much better.

With a logo featuring Central City Brewing’s red-headed mascot still aboard her familiar bike, but for the season, decked out in gloves and earmuffs, you know this selection was made for winter drinking. The Sip Advisor is only too happy to oblige.

The Red Racer Winter Ale combines flavours of vanilla and maple syrup with notes of spice. The 6% ABV beverage is to be enjoyed while only partially chilled, as recommended by the brewery. The overall effect is a warming finish that will help drinkers get through the chilly weather.

central-city-red-racer-winter-ale

The beer can be found in bomber-sized bottles at private liquor stores. It is also included in Central City’s Season’s Greetings advent calendar (in partnership with Parallel 49 Brewing). Oddly, when I popped into their Surrey brewery and store in November, I wasn’t able to locate the beer then.

One of Central City’s most popular products also hits shelves this time of year: Thor’s Hammer Barley Wine. ‘Tis the season for barley wines, which I haven’t got into previously, but one brought back from Colorado by Ma and Pa Sip may have opened that door.

For more BC Beer Baron articles, please visit our main page…

BC Beer Baron #289 – Central City Patrick O’ Pumpkin

Each month, as part of this 366-day BC craft beer extravaganza that I will be sharing with you throughout 2016, I will highlight a specific style or theme of beers for a whole week of articles. The season of pumpkin-spiced everything is upon us… and things are no different in the craft beer world. Let’s see what BC has to offer for fans of the flavour.

A few months back, the Sip Advisor was lucky to come across a fire sale of sorts at Central City Brewing’s Surrey facility, featuring drastically marked down prices on some products. I’m assuming they were clearing some stock to make way for their spring line-up, but I didn’t really question my good fortune.

One of the beers I picked up for cheap was the Patrick O’ Pumpkin. This Barrel Aged Imperial Pumpkin Ale is light on pumpkin, but strong on booze (8% ABV). Aged in bourbon barrels, it’s a fall seasonal that acts as a winter warmer.

central-city-patrick-o-pumpkin

The Sip Advisor is not the biggest fan of pumpkin-spiced products, but because this was a light feature to the recipe (or so my taste buds told me) I enjoyed the beer. The strength from the bourbon barrel aging is what did the trick for me and the experience was well worth my low investment.

This beer is chapter three of the Central City Story series, which has introduced characters similar to those found in the Sin City comics franchise to the brewing world. Patrick O’ Pumpkin is “a seasoned and embittered ex-cop, fallen to the dark side. With a fiery temper and ruthless attitude, Patrick O’ Pumpkin is Central City’s local trouble for hire!” Earlier chapters included Detective Saison and Mayor Kolsch.

For more BC Beer Baron articles, please visit our main page…