Sip Trips #58: Chocolate for My Love

Over Valentine’s Day weekend, Mrs. Sip and I were able to attend two separate events in Langley, one pairing chocolate with wine and the other pairing chocolate with beer. Is there any better way to celebrate the holiday!?

Valentine's Day Romantic Gesture

First, on Saturday, we visited Township 7 Winery, where $15 got guests six generous samples of wine, four of which were paired with a chocolate treat from the White Rock Chocolate Company. Among the pairings were:

  • Sauvignon Blanc with Sea Salt & Lime Chocolate
  • Chardonnay with Brown Butter Caramel Chocolate
  • Merlot with choice of Cinnamon Chocolate or Chili Chocolate
  • NBO Blend with Black Cherry Silk Chocolate

The Sip Advisor’s favourite combo was the Merlot with the Chili Chocolate, as the spice of the chocolate was switched into overdrive with each sip of the wine. That said, the best chocolate overall was the Brown Butter Caramel Chocolate.

Next up, on Sunday, Mrs. Sip and I ventured out to Trading Post Brewing, which had just opened the day before to massive line-ups, as enthusiasts wanted to check out Langley’s first true craft brewery (Dead Frog Brewing is technically located in the neighbouring community of Aldergrove). Mrs. Sip and I had originally hoped to be one of the first guests of the new operation, but long waits and other commitments kiboshed that idea. Trading Post did offer a great incentive upon opening: the first 50 visitors to bring a bottle or can of macro-brewed beer, could exchange that for a free growler from the upstart brewery.

Valentine's Day Lent

The extra day’s wait was worth it, as we were able to partake in Trading Post’s Valentine’s Day chocolate and beer pairing. While we were able to sample each of the six beers available at launch (another two are in the works), each brew was paired with a chocolate from Abbotsford’s ChocolaTas. The pairings included:

  • 1827 Helles Lager with Grapefruit Ganache Chocolate
  • Derby Hop Session Lager with Pistachio Mousse Chocolate
  • Owyhee Tropical Wheat Ale with Green Curry and Ginger Chocolate
  • Capt. Coopers Cranberry Ale with Basil Tomato & Raspberry Chocolate
  • What Cheer Brett IPA with Salted Caramel Milk Chocolate
  • Three Bears Breakfast Stout with Dark Chocolate Ganache Chocolate

Our mutual favourite combo was probably the Brett IPA and Salted Caramel Milk Chocolate. As for beers, I also enjoyed the Derby Hop Session Lager and Tropical Wheat Ale, while I found myself really getting into the Green Curry and Ginger Chocolate. Some of the ChocolaTas creations are quite unique, but I can only imagine they taste as good as all of these selections did.

The entire weekend proved that you really can’t go wrong with chocolate!

BC Beer Baron #46 – Trading Post What Cheer Brett IPA

Trading Post Brewing is BC’s newest craft beer operation, having just opened on Saturday. While Mrs. Sip and I tried to visit then, the out-the-door line-up prevented that, but we returned the next day and were able to partake in the brewery’s beer and chocolate pairing for Valentine’s Day.

One of our mutual favourites, among the company’s six-beer opening line-up was the What Cheer Brett IPA. This style of beer combines two of the most popular brewing families: sours and IPAs. Even Mrs. Sip was a fan, despite not loving either variety. I have suspicions that the salted caramel chocolate (from ChocolaTas in Abbotsford) pairing may have helped in her newfound appreciation!

Trading Post Brewing

The Brett IPA has a 6.6% ABV, with 56 IBUs. The refreshing brew was made with flavours of mango, guava and orange, while incorporating four different styles of hops.

To say Trading Post had a very successful opening weekend would be a huge understatement. While we were there, the company’s brewmaster was taking the time to chat with visitors about his creations and he was thrilled with the response so far from the craft beer community. Great for them, not-so-great for Mrs. Sip and I, but we’re happy for the new addition to the network.

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

Sip Trips #40

Coast Toasting

Mrs. Sip and I have finally returned to Vancouver from our epic travels to southern Africa and are getting settled back into the local drinking routine. I had to take some extra time this week, as we visited Legacy Liquor Store, to get acquainted with all the new releases that have hit the market while we were on vacation. A lot can change in a month, especially with the move from summer to fall, but it gives me some things to look forward to.

Speaking of things we were looking forward to, on Friday night, we attended the annual Toast to the Coast event at the Vancouver Aquarium. Mrs. Sip has wanted to go to this for a couple years, but previous engagements have always held us back from checking out the soiree, which sells out each season. A number of wineries, a couple breweries, and even reps from Russian Standard Vodka were on hand, as guests got to enjoy the various exhibits with a drink sample in their hand and an appetizer on their plate. My night began on the right note with a serving of Bomber Choqlette Porter, a delicious dark beer, with notes of chocolate and coffee. I also made sure to end my night with this brew.

cat aquarium

The night was frustrating at times, as the event was scheduled to go until 1am, but most vendors packed up their wares at 10pm, which I think blindsided some guests, myself included. Also, a number of the eats around the venue were in short supply. To begin the night, the sushi table was a free-for-all, but later featured such a diminished stock that a volunteer was handing out one piece at a time on napkins. There was also the Rocky Mountain Flatbread table, which couldn’t keep up with the demand, as each time they brought out one tray, it was gone and those in line, who hadn’t received a slice, had to wait for the next dish to cook up.

I also had to battle through one of my greatest festival pet peeves, where people either get a drink or food and just stand there, neglecting to move out of the way and let the next person be served. This especially occurs at the wine stations, as folks want to try each of the bottles available, before moving on. That is particularly why the Sip Advisor prefers to stick to beer vendors.

The worst part of the evening was getting home after the function concluded. Shuttles from the Aquarium to Waterfront Station downtown were supposed to be offered, with the last one leaving at 12:45am. We stood around from about 12:25am to 1:00am and didn’t see a single shuttle, which left tired and boozed up guests having to resort to calling cabs and then fighting for their reservation when the vehicle arrived.

legit taxi

Much of the food was good, particularly the various desserts, such as Rose’s Shortbread and Chocolatas chocolates. The worst food offering of the evening definitely had to go to Earl’s Kitchen & Bar, which was handing out cups of sea urchin ice cream. The dessert was absolutely awful and a total disappointment from the popular chain.

Tickets were $125 and I asked Mrs. Sip the next day (once she had a chance to recover!) whether she thought the cost was justified. She thought it was, explaining that given all we ate and drank, it would add up to $125 or more on the local market. My argument in opposition was equating the night to an episode of The Simpsons, where Homer and Marge go to an all-you-can-eat buffet and are kicked out at the end of the night before Homer has enjoyed all-he-could-eat. Our group ended up having drinks and pizza when we finally got home (the best meal of the night), which I didn’t think would be necessary after an all-inclusive drink and food fest. Perhaps we’re just that gluttonous!

My final thoughts on Toast to the Coast are a little mixed. I had a good time, but certainly had some qualms with the event, as well. The true decider is whether I would go again in the future and the answer to that is yes… but perhaps not next year. Also, if ticket prices went up without much substance being added, I would be very hesitant. That said, it was a charity event, so I guess we did our civil duty.

woman named charity

Saturday night was spent celebrating a friend’s birthday, beginning with pre-dinner drinks. Here, I was able to try the 33 Acres of Darkness, another new beer that I really liked. I also had a serving of Dead Frog Super Fearless IPA, which was quite enjoyable. I topped off the pre-party with Steel & Oak’s Satsuma Lager, another fine release from the New West brewery.

Our meal was at Minami Yaletown, which is an upper scale Japanese restaurant. Mrs. Sip tackled their Taste of Yaletown menu, including sake pairing. Each of the sakes utilized different ingredients and matched up nicely with their respective dishes. I ordered the Kaisen Soba Peperoncino bowl, while trying the restaurant’s Asian-themed Caesar, complete with wasabi pickles garnish and lemon-pepper rim. It wasn’t the best Caesar I’ve ever had, but was a decent cocktail.

The week was pretty quiet otherwise, but this weekend, Mrs. Sip and I are off to Bellingham, Washington to see what trouble we can get into across the border, working our way through the city’s Tap Trail and other locations. This is a belated birthday gift (we were out of the country) from Ma and Pa Sip and there will certainly be much to write about, so look forward to that in next week’s Sip Trips!