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!

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Sip Trips #101: Hop Circuit

This weekend, the Sip Alliance made our way to Yeast Van Brewery District for the 2nd annual East Van Brewery Open House. The event ran from 1-5pm, featuring 14 breweries. Although we got off to a late start, we managed to hit a handful of places and had a fantastic time in doing so.

Our journey began at Coal Harbour Brewing, which I’ve never been inside, as they don’t traditionally operate a tasting room. While they are in the process of changing that, it was great they opened the doors to the public and joined the rest of the neighbourhood for this event. While at Coal Harbour, I enjoyed free samples of their Rye Pale Ale, Mango Saison Cask and Smoke & Mirrors Imperial Smoked Ale, which is a favourite of the Sip Advisor. Drinkers could also pay $5 for a glass etched with Coal Harbour’s logo and a pour of beer.

Beer Glass Not Going to Work

Moving on, we travelled to Andina Brewing. This was another inaugural visit for me, as the company is one of the newest additions to the landscape. Hard to miss given it’s bright yellow exterior, we’d like to return and enjoy some South American food in their tasting room. On this stop, we tried their Session Ale, which was available in 12-ounce pours for $3.

Next up was Bomber Brewing, which came with a brief lineup, as they have a very limited capacity. The wait was worth it, though, as I was able to enjoy a pint of their Super Pest Double IPA with Pomegranate (7.5% ABV, 80 IBUs). They were also selling Girl Guide Cookies, so you can bet we snagged a box and feasted on the treats.

After finishing our drinks, we crossed the street to check out Off the Rail Brewing. There, you could buy drink tickets, good for either the SMASH Pale Ale or Raj Mahal India Ale. Mrs. Sip also purchased one of the cheese twists that are popular icons of BC craft breweries and pair ever so nicely with beer.

Girl Guide Cookies Box

Our final brewery stop was Luppolo Brewing, yet another first time seating for yours truly. We split a flight of their wares, comprised of the Agreste Wild Farmhouse Ale (which has recently become the company’s first bottled release), Belgian Blonde, Pale Ale and West Coast Farmhouse. Each variety brought something else to the game and was enjoyable to drink.

To sum up, we particularly liked the places that opened up their brewing spaces to accommodate more visitors. I know serving laws likely hindered some locales, but we weren’t willing to wait outside any operation that had a long lineup. This included some of our favourite places within the industry. While it was busy, we liked seeing so many people out and enjoying the neighbourhood. Of particular note, was how many babies were out with their parents, something Mrs. Sip and I will likely be doing when the 3rd annual Open House occurs in 2018.

BC Beer Baron #320 – Coal Harbour 311 Helles Lager

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. With all the crazy brewing options out there, lagers sometimes get lost in the shuffle. That’s why the Sip Advisor is giving them their own feature week. After all, we should support and give thanks to the beers that brought many of us to this craft beer dance!

The Sip Advisor has enjoyed this Munich-style release from Coal Harbour Brewing on a number of occasions, making it a perfect selection for Lager Week. Most anything coming from German heritage is pretty good… such as Mr. Sip, himself!

The 311 Helles Lager – 311 stands for 11/11/11, which was the date of the company’s first creation – is brewed in accordance with the Reinheitsgebot (also known as the German Beer Purity Law) which outlines which ingredients should be used in beer production. The 5% ABV, 19 IBUs beverage is available in a unique eight-pack of cans for the rockin’ price of $12.49, plus taxes and deposit, at BC Liquor Stores.

coal-harbour-311-helles-lager

The product has earned Coal Harbour some accolades, such as a gold medal at the 2014 Canadian Brewing Awards in the North American Style Premium Lager category and a third place finish at the 2013 BC Beer Awards in the Session Lager class.

I really wish Coal Harbour would open a tasting room at their East Vancouver location. I enjoy a bunch of their wares (their Smoke & Mirrors being among my favourite brews) and they could ease the Parallel 49 Brewing congestion.

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

BC Beer Baron #100 – Coal Harbour Smoke & Mirrors

When the Sip Advisor hits a milestone, as part of this 366-day BC craft beer project, a favourite beer will be profiled and as we hit the centennial mark, this Coal Harbour Brewing selection gets its proper due.

The full name of this brew is Smoke & Mirrors Imperial Smoked Ale and it is a spectacular beverage. I could wax on about how much I love smoky beers and how this is at the top of my list, but I’ll let the fact that it finished first and third, respectively, at the 2012 and 2013 BC Beer Awards in the Specialty/Special Beer category speak for itself. The 8.5% ABV has never been a turn off for the Sip Advisor and really only enhances the overall drinking experience.

Coal Harbour Smoke & Mirrors

I first tried this beer at Tip N’ Taste in Langley last July and then again aboard the Vancouver Brew Cruise in August. Basically, if these guys are operating a booth, I will be there! If only Coal Harbour would open a tasting room and growler fill station out of their East Vancouver brewing location, I would be a very happy camper. Located right across the street from Parallel 49 Brewing, they could be the benefactor of the overflow from that popular tasting room.

Smoke & Mirrors is among Coal Harbour’s three year round releases, which also includes their 311 Helles Lager and Powell IPA. In total, the brewery only has five brews, which is a little limited, but I guess that allows them the concentrate on what they do have available. Coal Harbour products are available in government and private liquor stores, as well as some bars and restaurants.

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

Sip Trips #28: Tipsy Taste

This week’s main event was Tip N’ Taste in Langley, which has become one of my favourite events on the drinking calendar. Mrs. Sip and I first attended the beer bash in 2008 and have enjoyed watching it evolve over the years.

The event cost $30, but with that, you got five drink tickets (which you can usually stretch into more samples) and five food tickets. This is a far better deal than some events I’ve seen recently where you’d pay a similar fee and that only covered your entry. While I’m not the biggest fan of tokens/tickets and prefer an all-inclusive vibe, I have to hand it to the organizers of Tip N’ Taste for at least giving attendees fair value.

Drink Ticket

Prior to Friday, I had mapped out a bit of a game plan going into the festival, including breweries that had beers I wanted to try and breweries that were new to me. As you’ll see below, I did pretty well for myself over the course of a couple hours.

My first stop of the evening was Coal Harbour Brewing, which was featuring a few beers that looked neat. I tried their Woodland Witbier, followed by their Smoke and Mirrors Smoked Ale, which I was particularly fond of and went back for later, although by then they were out.

Next up was one of my favourite visits of the night, where I had a long chat with the guys from Big River Brewing, while sampling each of their four available beers: Acid Trip Sour Wheat, Sidewheeler Blonde Ale, Belgium, and Red Bretty IPA. The Acid Trip was my favourite of the bunch.

Acid Trips

Finally moving on, I enjoyed a pair of wheat beers, first from Black Kettle Brewing and followed by Howe Sound Brewing, which was serving up a Blueberry Wheat I had marked on my ‘To Do’ list from my initial walk around the convention floor.

At this point in the evening, it was time to switch things up and go to some darker brews, in order to fend off palate fatigue. I started with the Old Yale Sasquatch Stout and followed that with the Cannery Blackberry Porter (which had always caught my eye in liquor stores, but I had never picked up). I wrapped up my visit to this section of the room with the Mt. Begbie Nasty Habit IPA, which was another good pick.

Earlier in the night, I had made note of the only spirit table at Tip N’ Taste, which was serving up De La Tierre Maple Liqueur Tequila. It was a very interesting blend, which went down easier than most other tequilas and would probably make for some fun cocktails.

tequila night

Going back to beer, I snagged a sample of Mission Springs Chinook ISA and then went to visit my alma mater, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, which has recently launched a diploma program in Brewing and Brewery Operations. They were featuring a Golden Ale, one of the first releases to come from the new course.

I finished the evening with a couple quick hits, trying to get rid of my final drink tickets. I’ve enjoyed a few Russell Brewing products lately and made a stop by their table to try their Blood Alley Bitter, which I’d somehow never tried before, despite being a staple of their lineup. My last beverage was the Lighthouse Tasman Pale Ale, which was guzzled quickly as event organizers tried to clear the room of happy drinkers.

Happy Drunk Cat

As for food, there were some really good offerings at the event. Earl’s had a chicken taco, while Original Joe’s gave you a pair of pulled pork sliders, and Me N’ Ed’s came through with some delicious slices of pizza!

All in all, this was another successful Tip N’ Taste for the Sip Advisor. Next week, I’ll outline our weekend camping trip to Golden Ears Provincial Park, which is always preceded by a thorough liquor shopping trip!