Sip Trips #208: Vegas Bound

To end March, Mrs. Sip and I entered the U.S. for the first time in over two years, which is a gap I thought I would never experience, unless I moved to another continent. We selected Las Vegas as the perfect place to celebrate our 20th dating anniversary and it was a journey full of good food, drinks and an adventure or two.

All the fun started at the Vancouver Airport, where we had a relaxed breakfast/lunch at the Canucks Bar & Grill. Their All-Dressed Poutine was one of the best poutines I’ve ever enjoyed and went really well with my mid-morning Stanley Park Wheels Up IPA.

Airport Drinking

In Vegas, we stayed at The Palazzo. Mrs. Sip booked us a Prestige Club room, which gave us access to the Prestige Lounge. We arrived just in time for happy hour on our first day, which featured free drinks from 4-7, along with delicious appies starting at 5. The staff at check-in and in the lounge were all fantastic and we would definitely recommend the Prestige experience.

For dinner that night, we had a reservation at Mon Ami Gabi. Mrs. Sip and I have enjoyed many meals over the years there, but our usual order of the Chilled Seafood Platter was sadly no longer on the menu. We adjusted and went with the Small Seafood Platter, along with the Escargot. All paired with a bottle of wine, we were even given a free dessert for our anniversary celebration.

The next day, we made the journey to the off-strip Ellis Island Hotel & Casino, home to Ellis Island Brewing. At The Front Yard restaurant, we enjoyed a couple $3 beers in the Amber Ale for me and Hefeweizen for Mrs. Sip. I also had a Bonfire Rauchbier for $5, while Mrs. Sip did a flight of the Hefeweizen, Wit, Belgian Tripel and Dubbel Trouble. To eat, we had an amazing CBR Flatbread, comprised of citrus garlic sauce, bacon, shredded chicken, pico de gallo and jalapeño cream.

Flatbread

Returning to The Venetian, we hit up happy hour at Trustworthy Brewing, which was my 200th brewery visited! There, I had the A Year in the Making American Amber Ale, while Mrs. Sip switched things up and drank a Southern Peach Smash (bourbon, peach nectar, ginger syrup, mint, ginger ale), as she is getting more into whiskey and bourbon cocktails of late.

Given we could also access The Venetian Prestige Lounge, we had happy hour there, allowing us to compare the two options. After another set of cocktails, we returned to The Palazzo side, where I squeaked in two more beverages for the road, enjoyed as we got ready for another night out.

While at The Paris the night before, Vanderpump à Paris caught Mrs. Sip’s eye, so we made that our destination for dinner. The restaurant had only been open for a couple weeks when we tried it and we had a fantastic experience. We ordered Bouef Wellington Sliders, Mini Monsieurs and Baked Brie En Croute to share, while Mrs. Sip had a glass of wine and I tried the Louvre At First Sight cocktail, which came in its own smoker shaped like the infamous Louvre Museum glass pyramid. The drink is called ‘A Smoked Work of Art’ and includes Gracias a Dios Mezcal, prickly pear, lemon, jalapeño honey, orange bitters, aquafaba and hickory smoke.

Cocktails

Our main event of the evening was supposed to be checking out the Omega Mart immersive art exhibit by Meow Wolf, which had caught the eye of both myself and Mrs. Sip. Sadly, once we got out to the Area 15 location, we learned the facility had been evacuated due to a fire alarm and the Omega Mart had been cancelled for the night. We still checked the Area 15 building out and had overly expensive drinks at its bar – seriously, $15 for an off-strip Spiced Rum and Coke??? – but the air had kind of come out of my sails with the Omega Mart debacle.

For our anniversary day, we did what good couples do best and went our separate ways for the day. While Mrs. Sip enjoyed some rest and relaxation poolside, I had a need to walk the strip and explore, since I hadn’t been to Vegas since March 2018. Along the way, I grabbed a few road beers, had a very good lunch from Dave’s Hot Chicken (which is apparently opening a couple locations in the Lower Mainland soon) and took care of buying some snacks and souvenirs for the family, along with our booze to bring home, in the form of bottles of Jameson Orange Whiskey and Bacardi Dragonberry Rum.

We reconvened to unfortunately have to race out and take care of our COVID antigen tests, which needed to be done as we returned on March 31, and the whole need to get this done in Canada was being eliminated on April 1. While Mrs. Sip inquired about changing our trip to avoid this, Air Canada (after many hours on hold to speak to an agent), said we couldn’t change anything because we had booked a vacation package. #BoycottAirCanada

Air Canada

Following our negative tests, we enjoyed a final Prestige Lounge happy hour at The Palazzo, toasting our 20 years together. We weren’t able to go too crazy on the hors d’oeuvres, though, as we had a big night out planned. That began with dinner at Picasso, my first Michelin Star restaurant experience. In fact, Picasso is ranked at two Michelin Stars and is thought to be one of the best restaurants in the U.S.

So, what did I think of the meal. Overall, I was a little disappointed, to be honest. Nothing really blew my mind and I’ve had $14 burgers make me lose all my bodily functions. The price of this meal was absurd… like, I won’t even print it absurd. I did leave overly stuffed, which Mrs. Sip says is rare for Michelin Star restaurants, since portions are usually doled out to perfection, so eaters get just enough and are comfortably full by the time the feast is finished.

Upon arrival, I ordered the Greyscale cocktail (Earl Grey-infused gin, orange oleo saccharum, fresh lemon juice and a splash of soda). I went with the Menu Dégustation (Tasting Menu), which included four courses plus dessert (Maine Lobster Salad, Pan Seared U-10 Day Boat Scallop, Sautéed Steak of “A” Foie Gras, Prime Petit Filet Mignon). Mrs. Sip did the Prix Fixe Menu (Warm Quail Salad, Sautéed Crispy Gnocchi and Sautéed Medallion of Fallow Deer) with wine pairings. The desserts were fantastic, but Mrs. Sip didn’t even get a wine pairing with hers. Part of the draw of the restaurant is the many Picasso paintings that adorn its walls. Since I’m not an art guy, I preferred to watch the Bellagio fountains from our table, but the music accompanying the fountains was hard to hear, so that detracted a little from the shows. As we left, we were given boxed chocolate, which Mrs. Sip and I still have to eat.

Michelin Restaurant

To end the evening, we attended the Absinthe show at Caesar’s Palace, which was as wild and raunchy as advertised. Going into the performance, Mrs. Sip and I shared an Absinthe Hallucinator cocktail (vodka, pomegranate, blood orange, lemon, absinthe), which helped get us into the spirit.

The next day, with mere hours before we had to checkout and head to the airport, we tried to get to The Chocolate Bar at New York New York, but it was closed when we arrived, despite online sources saying it was supposed to be open. Dejected, we hurried back to The Palazzo to check out and finally enjoy the welcome bubbly we didn’t have at arrival, since happy hour was afoot.

It was amazing being back in Las Vegas, especially after what the world has gone through the last couple years. I will say, though, I was feeling my age a little on this getaway, as I was in bed each night by about 1 a.m. and my feet were done long before that each evening. Maybe I just need to “train” better in advance of the next trip!

Sip Trips #207: Rinks and Drinks

Well, March was interesting, full of outings and even some travel. In fact, the month was so busy, I’ve split our experiences into two entries, something I haven’t had to do for a very long time when it comes to Sip Trips diaries. Let’s see how the majority of March played out:

The month began with the Sip Advisor meeting a friend to watch the All Elite Wrestling Revolution pay-per-view. Prior to arriving for the show, we had a couple beers at Roxy Burger, a former frequent haunt for the Sip Family. There, I had two James Brown Ales, at the Sunday special price of $4.50 each.

Next up was the pay-per-view, hosted at Red Card Sports Bar. Throughout the amazing, but lengthy show, I consumed two Red Card Pale Ales, two Howe Sound Sky Pilot NW Pale Ales and one Howe Sound Hazy Daze IPA. To keep from over liquefying, I enjoyed a serving of the bar’s Hotiyaki Wings at happy hour pricing, as well as a Classic Burger later in the evening. The wings were delicious and I really liked the blend of hot sauce and teriyaki. The burger was also very good and we hope to return for future events.

Wrestling

Later that week, Mrs. Sip and I both signed up for Vancouver Craft Beer Week Beer Boxes at the Founding Membership level. This means, four times per year (spring, early summer, late summer and winter), we will receive 24 curated craft beers from a variety of breweries, for only $69 each delivery. We felt this was an amazing deal and can’t wait to see what our first Beer Box holds.

Offered a mid-week date night, Mrs. Sip and I finally visited Gotham Steakhouse, something we had always intended to, but never got around to, while living downtown. We picked Gotham from the list of places that were supposed to be doing Cinq A Sept, as part of Vancouver Cocktail Week, but nobody seemed to know what I was talking about with regards to the special happy hours. Not to be deterred, Mrs. Sip and I both had the restaurant’s Feature Cocktail of the day (Aperol, St. Germain, Gin, Lemon Juice, Absinthe Rinse). I also enjoyed pints of Backcountry Widowmaker IPA and Parkside Dusk Pale Ale, while Mrs. Sip was recommended to order a Whiskey Sour, which we both enjoyed. For eats, we shared the Steak and Prawn Skewers, Caesar Salad and Seymour Street Fried Chicken, all of which were tasty.

Following our meal, it was time for the Vancouver Canucks vs. Montreal Canadiens game we had tickets to. After the first period, we tried Strawberry and Passionfruit Margaritas from the Rogers Arena margarita bar, which I’d like to think spurred the Canucks on to their eventual victory that night.

Margarita

That weekend, we took the Sipplings to the Dead Frog Carnival, where the brewery was releasing two new beers with cotton candy additions. The beers, which I tried each of, were the Hippity Hop Hazy IPA and Pondside Pale Ale. Mrs. Sip had a Black Raspberry Sangria Sour. Our food consisted of the yummy Maple Jalapeno Beef Dip, a Jumbo Beer Pretzel and Smoked Salt & Pepper Wings, which ended up at our table by mistake, but the server said they couldn’t take them back, so we might as well enjoy them.

The next day, prior to another Canucks contest, Mrs. Sip and I had a pre-game meal at The Keg. I paired a Gin Basil Lemonade with an order of French Onion Soup, as I had earlier finished my Beef Dip from the day before and wasn’t super hungry by the time we sat down for dinner.

For St. Patrick’s Day, we went to the 120 Pub for dinner and drinks. It was a great stop for the entire family, as a magician/balloon animal artist was on hand to entertain the kids. My meal consisted of a pint of 120 Winter Wheat Ale (brewed by Red Truck Brewing), to go with the Cali Club sandwich.

St. Patrick's Day

Next up, was Boy Sip’s 2nd birthday. Following a day out, our extended family met for dinner at Boston Pizza. Here, I had a Kick’n Memphis Chicken Sandwich, along with a Yellow Dog High 5 Hazy IPA. Best of all, throughout the month of March, kids meals were free, so long as adults purchased entrees.

For guests at Boy Sip’s Choo Choo Two birthday party the next day, I picked up the Mt. Begbie Bundle of Joy case, containing three each of their Nasty Habit IPA, Tall Timber Brown Ale, Attila the Honey Amber Ale and High Country Kolsch. The pack caught my eye for its unique combo of beers.

We arrived early for our last Canucks game of the month, so decided to start at the arena’s SportsBar. There, we shared the Buffalo Chicken Poutine, where the Buffalo chicken, gravy, veggies and fries all made for a good combo of flavours. To drink, I had a pint of Main Street Naked Fox IPA. We sat and watched the first period in the bar, before moving to our seats for the rest of the match.

Sports Bar

To celebrate another handful of March birthdays on Mrs. Sip’s side of the family, we again ate at The Keg. This time, I went with The Keg Burger, which was decent, but reminded me of how much I missed the original Keg Burger. My beverage choices included a Chili Mango Margarita and a Yellow Dog High 5 Hazy IPA.

The last week of March was spent in Las Vegas, celebrating my and Mrs. Sip’s 20th dating anniversary. What did we get up to in Sin City? You’ll have to wait for the next Sip Trips to find out!

Sip Trips #205: Dome Dining

Well, the first month of 2022 is in the books and it was a pretty good one. Even with Mrs. Sip trying out a keto diet, we managed to have a lot of fun, especially since Mrs. Sip enjoyed a cheat day for her mid-month birthday. Here’s what we got up to in Januray:

To welcome 2022, on New Year’s Day, the Sip Family had a delicious meal at The Keg. My beverage of the Yellow Dog High 5 Hazy IPA combined very well with my Keg Burger with Fries. I had stopped ordering the Keg Burger a few years back when they sadly changed the beef blend the burger was made with. I’m glad I finally gave it another shot because although I still miss how the burger was done when I originally fell in love with it, it’s still a pretty damn good meal.

The next day, we met up with a friend at 3 Dogs Brewing in White Rock. I enjoyed servings of their I Like Big Mutts Hazy Tangerine IPA and K-Nein Mandarin Kolsch, as well as the walk I took with Boy Sip between the two brews, so he could stretch his legs and see the cars and trucks he has become obsessed with as he enters the toddler stage of life.

Toddler

The next weekend, Mrs. Sip and I were offered a childless night from Ma and Pa Sip. We took advantage of the occasion with a visit to Piva Modern Italian, where we used some of the gift card Ma and Pa Sip gave us for Christmas. Mrs. Sip and I split the Calamari Steak, which was very tasty with olive tapenade on top. To drink, I had the Viola cocktail (Empress Gin float, Cointreau, lemon, mango syrup, guava, soda), which was very refreshing thanks to the citrus and soda blend.

Afterwards, as Mrs. Sip did some shopping for snacks for her new diet, I went to the 8th Street Liquor Store, where I bought a single tall can of Stanley Park Deck the Malts Holiday Ale. I hadn’t had the chance to try the seasonal release prior to this and the brew came at a slightly discounted price, so how could I refuse the offer.

Another liquor shopping trip resulted in Mrs. Sip picking up two flavours of Nude Vodka Soda (Strawberry Kiwi and Watermelon), as well as Pyur Coconut Vodka Soda. I’ve enjoyed all three variations and it always feels good to get your drink on and know you’re not sacrificing too much in the calorie intake category.

Calories

Stocking up for a guys’ drinking night the next weekend, I visited the Clayton Liquor Store. There, I bought tall can four-packs of Steel and Oak Throw Blanket West Coast IPA and Boombox Paradise City Passionfruit Coconut IPA, along with a single can of Dead Frog Field Tripper Hazy Rye IPA. The Paradise City was particularly good, with a hint of coconut at the back end of each sip.

As for the guys’ night, our first stop of the evening was Farm Country Brewing. I’ve always liked Farm Country’s set up and enjoyed this stay too, with orders of the Last Call Cocktail Inspired Ale and Hoppy Tonk 2.0 Azacca Fresh Hop IPA.

Next up, was Camp Brewing. I love that Camp sticks with their theming, offering smokies and s’mores on their food menu. I took advantage of that, eating the Ranger Danger Smokie (Korean BBQ sauce, mayo, honey mustard, cilantro, sesame seeds), which really hit the spot. We stayed here for a while, enjoying the fire pit spot that opened up shortly after we arrived, with the Sip Advisor downing pints of Kodiak West Coast Brown Ale, Fall Camp Smoked Amber Ale and Winter Camp Gingersnap Ale. The only downside of the evening was a random woman coming up to us as she was leaving, informing us we had stolen their spot at the fire pit. This, after we asked a server for permission to move and had been sitting at the spot for an hour and a half before being approached. Had the woman come up to us earlier, we would have happily given up the spot in the name of good liquor karma.

Karma

Later that week, we celebrated Mrs. Sip’s birthday with the extravagant Winterlust dome dining experience at H Tasting Lounge. We began with an arrival bottle of bubbly and cheese and meat charcuterie plates. My cocktails consumed during our 2.5-hour reservation, included the Balrog’s Demise (Ardbeg Wee Beastie Scotch, Goslings Black Seal Rum, Lemon Hart 151, Cherry Heering, Averna, pineapple, lime, coconut, tiki bitters, spice), Cut The Chit Chat (Maker’s Mark Bourbon, Cynar, Campari, Apricot Liqueur, antica formula, hellfire bitters) and Isle of Man (Copper Spirits White Rye, Esquimalt Dry Vermouth, Boomsma Genever, Maraschino Liqueur, Sombra Mezcal). I also had tastes of some of Mrs. Sip’s beverages, including Bobby’s A Cinephile (ghee washed Lemon Hart 151 Rum, Angostura 5yr Rum, roasted corn lemon, vegan foamer, popcorn) and Like, Basically (strawberry jacked Absolut Vodka, O5 Elderflower Soda, Chambord, Galliano, lemon). Each cocktail was delicious and presented uniquely. This included my Balrog’s Demise being lit on fire and the Cut the Chit Chat coming in it’s own hand-painted flask, while Mrs. Sip’s Bobby’s A Cinephile was served in a popcorn bag, with caramel corn. To eat, I ordered the HTL Smash Burger and also enjoyed shared plates of Crispy Brussels Sprouts, Chicken Wings and Bread & Oil. The meal wrapped with the restaurant serving up some slices of birthday cake, which we all shared. The experience was well worth it and we had no problem surpassing the $300 minimum order, even though our group was only four people, instead of the six we had originally planned.

With the Sipplings staying over at Ma and Pa Sip’s for the night, we also managed to hit the House of Comedy for a show. As if we needed more food, upon arriving, we ordered the Chicken Tenders and Chips & Guac. To drink, I enjoyed the Dark Humor cocktail, which is their version of a Dark N’ Stormy.

We wrapped the month with a Vancouver Canucks game. Prior to heading to the arena, I needed some dinner and went to White Spot for my meal. I paired a pint of Granville Island Lions Winter Ale with a Legendary Burger Platter. It was a fantastic meal and set me up nicely for the hockey ahead.

Burger and Beer

At the game, I got a large-size Parkside Dreamboat IPA. It was nice to have the arena at 50 per cent capacity, for ease of moving around, emptier bathrooms and bar line ups, as well as using transit home. Of course, a packed stadium is good too, but I will enjoy the limited crowd while it lasts.

February promises to be a very interesting month, as the Sip Family goes on their first international vacation since November 2019. We’ll be staying at an all-inclusive resort in Mexico, so that will surely provide some good material for next month’s Sip Trips!

Sip Trips #204: December Dynamics

Well, the merriest month of the year has come and gone and as we settle into the melancholy that January can often bring, it’s time to look back on how the Sip Family enjoyed December. There’s a fair bit to cover, so let’s get right to it:

We began the month with a trip to ride the Stanley Park Christmas Train. En route, we dropped into Storm Brewing, as I had wanted to pick up their Christmas themed tall can four-pack, including one can each of Christmas Orange Ale, Eggnog Latte Stout, Turkey Dinner IPA and Xmas Tree Pilsner. While there, Mrs. Sip and I shared a series of samples, comprised of the brewery’s Pineapple Paradise Pilsner, Strawberry Shortcake Ale, Chocolate Strawberry Stout and Mrs. Claus Pilsner (brewed with winter spices). It was an enjoyable stop, highlighted by the most unique beers the local scene has to offer.

beer-christmas

Prior to our train ride, we had dinner at the Stanley Park Brewpub. There, I enjoyed a Red Rye Session IPA and Master Chicken Sandwich. We had great service for our large group and the food and drink were very good.

The next week, for a Christmas party with friends, I picked up the Red Racer Dozen Donuts Mix Pack, composed of three each of Honey Crueller Lager, Chocolate Dip Stout, Raspberry Jelly Sour and Boston Cream Ale. Among the set, my favourites were the Stout and Cream Ale.

Although we had a couple Canucks games scheduled for the month, only one contest ended up going ahead (thanks a bunch, COVID!). Prior to the match, we met with friends at the Hotel Georgia 1927 Lobby Lounge, where I had a liquid dinner of their Hotel Georgia cocktail (Botanist Gin, orgeat, lemon, orange blossom water, egg white and nutmeg dust). It was a very nice drink, but I found the lounge to generally be more expensive than I was planning for.

Expensive

At the game, I enjoyed servings of Hoyne Dark Matter, Parkside Dreamboat Hazy IPA and Stanley Park 1897 Amber Ale. This was the Canucks game where they were down 3-0 early, before storming back and scoring the winning goal with minutes left in the game, coming away with a 4-3 victory. If COVID keeps scuttling games for us, that memory will last a while.

A couple nights later, Mrs. Sip and I took the kids to the Surrey Holiday Lights display. The free event was very well done and offered some drink options for adults. While Mrs. Sip had a spiked hot chocolate and a glass of wine, I went with a can of the Stanley Park Shadow Play Dark Ale. Afterwards, we went for dinner at the nearby Boston Pizza, where I sipped a double Spiced Rum and Coke, along with the Sriracha Garlic Chicken Pizza. It was a good meal and even came with a free Toblerone bar, as it was part of the special seasonal menu.

Next up, was Mrs. Sip’s office Christmas party, hosted at El Santo. Among a very filling set menu dinner, I ordered a number of cocktails, including the El Antijito (pulparindo-infused Cazadores blanco, Aperol, green apple, lime, guava, house-made chamoy and tajin rim); Grito de Delores (estancia raicilla, Cointreau, Green Chartreuse, verdita); El Bosque Nuboso (Avua cachaca, Bacardi 8, Sombra mezcal, Campari, pineapple, lime, passionfruit, Narrative fortified); and the El Padrino (Charred corn husk infused mezcal, Sons of Vancouver amaretto, house mole bitters) for dessert. I also had sips of Mrs. Sip’s Tepache Spritz (house-made tepache, cava, pineapple, cinnamon, soda).

Chips

Unfortunately, our Canucks vs. Leafs game (the reason we select the quarter season package we do) was cancelled due to Omicron concerns. To take advantage of the break in our schedule, Mrs. Sip and I decided to tackle our Christmas shopping, decorating and wrapping. To console ourselves, we began the day of errands with lunch at Milestones. My 1989 Burger was very good and I loved that the server suggested I do half fries and half Caesar Salad, when I struggled to decide on my side dish. More places should offer this option. To drink, I had a pint of the Twin Sails Dat Juice Pale Ale.

After our shopping was done, we dropped into Steel & Oak Brewing, where we shared a flight including B-Jamz Cherry Apricot Pale Ale, Nightcap Cranberry Orange Belgian Ale, Baltic Porter and Phonograph Maple Smoked Porter. Mrs. Sip also grabbed bottles of their Woodland Dark Lager and Velvet Thunder Barrel-Aged Wild Ale, before we returned home for a night of drinks, snacks and Home Alone movies, while wrapping gifts and doing some decorating.

Our last event prior to Christmas was Lumagica in Cloverdale. The weather was really windy, but we enjoyed the light displays and walk. The kids absolutely loved the outing, which is really what the season is about. As we traversed the route, I enjoyed a 2 Pals Cuffing Season Winter Ale.

Lights

Our Christmas Eve, Christmas and Boxing Day were all fun, if not hectic, but that’s par for the course. Liquor-related gifts I received included bottles of Wayward Distilleries Krupnik Spiced Honey Liqueur and Raspberry Gin Liqueur, as well as Havana Club Cuban Smoky Rum. I also got a BC Liquor Stores gift card for future adventures and The Unofficial Disney Parks Drink Recipe book for inspiration for those adventures.

Some notable boozy gifts I had for Mrs. Sip, included some neat new beers: tall can four-packs of Granville Island Cheeky Monkey Chocolate and Vanilla Hefeweizen, Russell Cinnamon Bun Brown Ale and Twin Sails These Pretzels Are Making Me Thirsty Stout (Chocolate, Peanut, Pretzel, Marshmallow). Also, single tall cans of Granville Island Prometheus Belgian-Style Golden Strong and Seawall Saison. We spent some of Boxing Day trying a few of these offerings.

For Christmas dinner, hosted at Ma and Pa Sip’s abode, I finally got to serve the Christmas cocktail menu I created for last year’s festivities. My theme was cocktails from around the world, with names that translated to Merry Christmas, featuring ingredients from those places. This resulted in the Mele Kalikimaka (Toasted Coconut Rum, Macadamia Nut Liqueur, Mango-Pineapple Juice, Lime Juice), Feliz Navidad (Cinnamon Tequila, Kahlua Vanilla, Milk/Soda Water), Joyeux Noel (Grey Goose Le Melon Vodka, Elderflower Liqueur, Lemon-Lime Soda) and Buon Natale (Limoncello, Amaretto, Ginger Beer).

Gifts

Our last outing of December was to Patina Brewing. Mrs. Sip and I shared their Smoked Meat Bunwich (pulled pork in Memphis BBQ sauce) with fries and coleslaw, Pulled Pork Tacos and Southern Cornbread. Our beverages included an excellent Horchata Cream Ale (also bought a tall can four-pack) and Blueberry Wheat Ale. I loved seeing horchata used in a cream ale, as I typically only see it used in dark, heavier beers, such as stouts.

That’s a wrap for the month and the year. I hope to get my Best of 2021 out there soon. As for no mention of New Year’s on this article, it’s because the night was a dud, inspiring a future article on the best and worst holidays. Lots to look forward to as we begin 2022!

Sip Trips #203: November Nostalgia

Another month is in the books and with two trips to Whistler and the celebration of two friends turning 40, there was a fair bit going on. Here’s what the Sip Family got up to throughout November:

The month began with me and a friend meeting up for a Vancouver Canucks game. Our night started at Original Joe’s, where we took advantage of their Tuesday 49-cent Wings special. I enjoyed servings of their Teriyaki and Salt & Vinegar varieties, paired with a couple of their own Red Ales. I liked that the wings at Original Joe’s were quite meaty, which you sometimes don’t get, especially when the item is on special.

Wings

As for the game, the Canucks pushed the Anaheim Ducks to overtime, but eventually lost. Over the course of the contest, I enjoyed a large Parkside Dreamboat IPA upon arrival, followed by a Captain Morgan Spiced Rum and Coke picked up during each intermission.

Not content to head home just yet – and happy to let the Skytrain rush dissipate – my evening finished with a visit to Devil’s Elbow Ale & Smoke House. Here, I ordered a guest tap pint of Container Three Legged Mare English Brown Ale, which was very good.

Our first trip to Whistler of the month was a family expedition. Our adventure started with having a late lunch at Howe Sound Brewpub in Squamish. I paired my delicious Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich with a pint of Howe Sound’s Habanero Fudge Robust Porter. I would have welcomed a little more heat with this beer, but I understand not going overboard on the spice makes the brew easier for some to handle.

Hot Chicken

Once in Whistler, we had one meal each day in the village. First up, was the infamous Longhorn Saloon, where despite a DJ being on site and blasting loud music, Boy Sip managed to sleep through the visit. I ordered The Cowboy Brisket Wrap and a Deep Cove Hazy IPA, which provided a good meal. That said, I was disappointed by Longhorn’s beer and cocktail offerings and their prices are a little tough to swallow, seemingly inflated so people will buy a membership to the Gibbons network of restaurants there, allowing them discounts on food and drink purchases.

The next day, we enjoyed dinner at High Mountain Brewhouse. I began the feast with a tasty (and fragrant) Pomegranate Basil Smash cocktail. For food, I went with the Wild Sockeye Salmon Burger, which was very good. I had originally glossed right over the menu item, but a second look revealed a number of components that piqued my interest: spicy teriyaki glaze, tempura vegetables and wasabi mayo. I was very satisfied with the order, which went quite well with my 5 Rings IPA.

The following weekend was highlighted by a friend’s 40th birthday bash, which he planned more extravagantly than some weddings I’ve attended. Before we get to that, though, Mrs. Sip and I decided to stay overnight at Downtown Vancouver’s Fairmont Waterfront for the night. We began our stay with cocktails at the hotel’s Arc Restaurant. There, Mrs. Sip and I split a trio of cocktails, including the Rum & Winter Spice (winter spice-infused Bacardi 8, Grand Marnier, orange juice, lemon juice, simple syrup); Blackberry Mule (Grey Goose Vodka, ginger beer, lime juice, simple syrup, blackberries) and Rosemary Gimlet (Wayward/Waterfront Gin, Green Chartreuse, honey syrup, lime juice, sprig of rosemary).

Mini Bar

Those built a good base buzz for the events of the evening, which included ordering room service from Arc. For this dinner, I had a delicious Char-Grilled Angus Cheeseburger and Caesar Salad. Their fries were also very good, which Mrs. Sip had with her enormous Smoked Turkey Sandwich serving (like seriously, there was two full sandwiches part of this platter).

The birthday was held at the Croatian Cultural Centre, with about 160 guests in attendance. Along with an open bar, entertainment included dueling pianos, followed by karaoke. Mrs. Sip and I had a fantastic night, returning to our accommodation at 3am. Thank god for the Fairmont’s late checkout!

The month wrapped with another visit to Whistler. After settling into our Airbnb condo, we ventured to Joe Fortes for après hour. Mrs. Sip and I split the Joe’s Chilled Seafood Platter, along with an order of Truffle Parmesan Fries. The fries were scrumptious and consuming the platter (filled with oysters, mussels, clams, prawns, two types of tuna, and scallop ceviche) felt decadent. To drink, I had a pair of Coast Mountain Hope You’re Happy IPAs.

Seafood

As we paid the bill, our server suggested checking out The Raven Room cocktail bar. That advice did not disappoint, as we split a trio of libations, comprised of: the Paper Crane (gin, sake, Aperol, lemon juice, yuzu, sesame oil); Mom Wants the Pool Boy (sugar snap pea-infused tequila, cucumber liqueur, lime juice, agave syrup); and I Want S’more (graham cracker-infused bourbon, Frangelico, Crème de Cacao, espresso, salted chocolate). Of the three, I liked the Mom Wants the Pool Boy best, thanks to the cucumber liqueur.

Later that night, we met up with the rest of our group, including the birthday girl, at Tapley’s Pub. There, we shared a few pitchers of beer, but Mrs. Sip and I weren’t up to eating anything, following our indulgence at Joe Fortes earlier.

The next afternoon, we all finally reconvened at Caramba!, taking advantage of their happy hour. Mrs. Sip got the Jumbo Caesar, which came with two sliders and some other goodies mixed in, while I had two Strange Fellows Pale Ales.

Caesar

Up next, was El Furniture Warehouse across the way, for their Power Hour. This gives customers one hour to buy 8-ounce beers for $1.95. Over the hour, I downed six Dam Amber beers, while we also partook in a round of shots, with Mrs. Sip and I choosing to do Burt Reynolds (Spiced Rum and Butterscotch Schnapps) shooters. For eats, I went with the Fingers & Fries, which while tasty, was more fries than fingers. What can you expect, though, for the low price of $5.95? All menu items here are between $5.95-$7.95, thus making it a very popular place.

That was it for the month. December promises to be its usual insane sprint to the finish. The calendar is already filled with outings – both adult and family-friendly alike – with Mrs. Sip always finding space to shoehorn in another activity!

Sip Trips #202: October Ovations

Well, the Halloween month has come and gone and it wasn’t actually as active as I thought it would be, at least when it comes to boozy activities. Perhaps, that’s because much of the latter half of the month was spent doing family activities at community centers and the like and sadly, liquor doesn’t flow on these occasions. Here’s what the Sip Family got up to:

October began with my first trip to Rogers Arena since March 2020, to watch a pre-season NHL contest between the Vancouver Canucks and Winnipeg Jets. To celebrate the return – and also to not have to wear a mask for the entire game – me and Pa Sip took turns paying for rounds of Captain Morgan and Coke beverages. I went with Spiced Rum, while Pa Sip selected the Dark Rum. The Canucks won the game too, so it all made for a pretty good way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Later that week, Mrs. Sip and I met up with a friend on Port Moody’s Brewers Row. On this visit, we achieved a new feat, by doing the entire Row (which I had only done twice before), including the distillery for the first time ever. We began our adventure at Yellow Dog Brewing, where I had the Flora & Fauna Gin Botanical IPA, while Mrs. Sip chose the Octoberish Festbier (a Neighbourhood Brewing guest tap).

Walk

Next up, was Twin Sails Brewing, where Mrs. Sip and I shared a flight comprised of the Blue Crush Blueberry Wheat Ale, Would Crush Raspberry Wheat Ale, Cookie Jar Oatmeal Fudge Stout and Low Life Festbier. Our following stop was Rocky Point Spirits. I elected to have a Moscow Mule and we each imbibed in one of their Vaccine shots, celebrating another pandemic era gathering.

From there, we moved on to Parkside Brewing for pints of their Dreamboat Hazy IPA for me and Pleasantside Mixed Berry Ale for Mrs. Sip. With time running out, we quickly moved on to The Bakery, where I enjoyed their Fresh Hop Amber Ale. The night ended with a last minute stop into the about-to-close Moody Ales, completing the Brewers Row circuit. Here, I enjoyed a celebratory London Red (Cask) Red Ale.

For the Thanksgiving long weekend, the extended Sip Family travelled to Oliver/Osoyoos for a getaway that included a number of winery stops. Our first sojourn of the vacation was Covert Farms, which offered an animal tour and other options geared towards kids. I did manage to have a glass of their Sauvignon Blanc Semillon, as the ladies in our group enjoyed an extended tasting experience.

thanksgiving

Following the winery, where I largely chased the Sipplings around, I was owed a little brewery time, so we popped into Firehall Brewing. The visit wasn’t as relaxed as I would have wanted, but the kids were understandably done with sitting patiently, following a long drive and getting to play at Covert Farms. I did enjoy my Stoked Ember ESB and also got to try Mrs. Sip’s White Hat Witbier.

The next morning was spent hitting a few more wineries in the Oliver area, including Gehringer Brothers, Hester Creek and Castoro de Oro. Again, I was mostly on child care duty and only had a few sips of vino along the way.

For lunch, we went to the District Wine Village, which will be a really neat destination once they work out a few kinks. There’s basically a large central courtyard, surrounded by various winey tasting rooms. One of the issues is a lack of food options. We ordered a couple pizzas from the Trading Post Brewing location there (along with an Amber Ale), but a few other eating choices would be great, such as a burger place. It was also weird to not be able to take your drink with you to your table and have to be escorted by an employee, but it must have something to do with their liquor license.

pizza

En route back to our hotel, I picked up a tall can four-pack of Highway 97 Mountain Man Cranberry & Orange Witbier, which I enjoyed quite a bit during our nightly happy hours. The next morning, we started at Intersection Vineyards. I was stuck in car with a napping Boy Sip, so also enjoyed a little snooze myself.

Sadly, the one brewery we wanted to visit in Osoyoos, North Basin Brewing, was unexpectedly closed when we tried to hit it. We knew they would be shutdown on the holiday Monday, but when we tried to go there on the Sunday, there was a closed notice on the door. Had we known it would work out that way, we would have made more of an effort to get there on the Friday or Saturday.

After some hotel pool time for the kids, we got an adult afternoon out and went to the nearby Tumbleweed Spirits. While they weren’t serving cocktails during our visit, we did try a series of their libations. My set included the Fireweed Whiskey as well as Blueberry, Cherry, Raspberry and Maple Moonshines. Following the tasting, we bought bottles of the Raspberry and Maple Moonshines, which I look forward to experimenting with soon.

moonshine

Not content to return to our little monsters just yet, we also did a tasting at Lakeside Cellars. This sitting was comprised of their 2020 Bubbles, 2020 Sauvignon Blanc, 2019 Portage White, 2020 Rose, 2017 Portage Red, and 2016 Provenir.

In the middle of October, we began binging Squid Game on Netflix. To fully embrace the Korean spirit of the show, I picked up a couple bottles of Soju (Strawberry and Mango), a bag of Korean BBQ potato chips and we picked up dinner from Chicko Chicken. We enjoyed the chicken so much, we ordered it again following trick-or-treating on Halloween night.

Near the end of the month, we finally got to enjoy a portion or Mrs. Sip’s January birthday gift, which was unfortunately originally cancelled due to pandemic restrictions. Prior to our fun magic show at the Hidden Wonders Speakeasy, we had a small meal at El Santo, sharing orders of the Enchiladas Suizas and Al Pastor Tacos. My beverage of choice was the Batanga (tequila, Ancho Reyes verde, lime, cola, salt rim), which I liked. As for the show, my only complaint was not being able to have a speakeasy cocktail, but perhaps these are offered when outside of pandemic restrictions.

speakeasy

Our last event of October was attending the Vancouver Canucks vs. Philadelphia Flyers. This would be Boy Sip’s first live hockey game, given he was born right as the pandemic was sweeping the world. After a mix up regarding us bringing in Boy Sip’s diaper bag, Mrs. Sip calmed her frustration by grabbing us some brews, which for me consisted of the Stanley Park 1897 Amber Ale.

The calendar for November is already filling up, with two trips to Whistler (including a much-needed vacay sans kids) and a friend’s 40th birthday. All of which should be a ton of fun as we also gear up for another crazy Christmas!

Sip Trips #196: April Assortments

April was nowhere near as hectic as March for the Sip Family, but we still got around quite a bit, trying new places and revisiting old favourites. I also bought several new and interesting products while out and about. Here’s what we got up to as spring arrived in these parts:

We began the month with a trip to the weekly New West Farmer’s Market, where I picked up a few liquor items throughout the month, along with tasty treats and delicious meals. My purchases at the market included bottles of Odd Society Spirits Crème de Cassis and Mainland Time Machine Whiskey, along with some cans from Humblebee Meadery (Champion of the Sun Saffron and Orange, The Bee’s Knees Green Tea and Kaffir Lime and Monkberry Moon Delight Lingonberry and Elderberry).

On our next excursion out, I popped into the 8th Street Liquor Store with a $15 gift we won through a River Market scavenger hunt burning a hole in my pocket. I put together a set of tall-can beers, compiled of Bomber Dyed in the Wool Fresh Hop Red Ale, Sundown/Boombox Mystical Machine Double Hoppy Hefe, Phillips Zonkey Barrel Aged Ginger & Lime Brown Ale (inspired by the Kentucky Mule cocktail) and Duclaw Sour Me Unicorn Farts Glittered Sour Ale (brewed with fruity cereal and edible glitter). I like the Duclaw – from Baltimore, Maryland – motto of “Craft be cherished. Rules be damned.”

Unicorn Farts

Next up, was a visit to a BC Liquor Store, where I continued my supply drive with cases of Bomber Mixpack (Outspoken IPA, All The Things Amber, Pixie Cut Pale Ale) and Hey Y’all Hard Iced Tea Porch Pack (Original, Iced Tea and Lemonade, Georgia Peach, Kentucky Blueberry). I particularly liked the Bomber Amber Ale and enjoyed my first foray into hard iced teas, as I’m dubbing this summer ‘The Summer of Pre-Mixed Drinks’ (hard seltzers, sodas, iced teas and more).

In the middle of the month, Mrs. Sip’s job took us out to Port Coquitlam and Patina Brewing for an afternoon on their patio. I ordered the Gin Saison, while Mrs. Sip went with the Black Lager and we shared an order of Pulled Pork with a side of Southern Cornbread.

My next shopping trip took me to Jak’s Liquor Store, where I grabbed a case of the new Stanley Park Fruit Stand. This set is neat, as they took the popular SunSetter Peach Wheat Ale and also made Melon and Mango versions of the brew. The Mango is particularly good, while I’m still unsure how I feel about the Melon variation. While at the store, I checked to see if they had the Bombay Bramble Gin (made with blackberries and raspberries) I had recently learned about and sure enough, they did, making me one happy Sip Advisor. I returned to Jak’s at the end of the month to pick up the Nude Vodka Soda V2 pack, featuring Classic Lime, Mandarin, Cran Raspberry and Watermelon flavours. Both the beer and vodka soda cases were under monthly special pricing.

Vodka Soda

On one of Mrs. Sip’s days off this month, while Toddler Sip was at playschool, we had lunch at the Paddlewheeler Pub. My meal consisted of a pint of Hop Valley Bubble Stash IPA, paired with a scrumptious Spicy Southern Fried Burger with Fries. The pub had amazing food and great service, with both Mrs. Sip and I hoping to return soon.

That weekend, with Ma and Pa Sip taking the kids for an evening, I had hoped to finally do my long-awaited Columbia Street crawl, but alas, weather did not cooperate. We did drop into Piva Modern Italian for happy hour, enjoying a meal of their Arancini Balls, Polenta Fries and Duck & Fig Pizza, along with beverages including The Garden cocktail and wine for Mrs. Sip and Steel & Oak’s Royal City Ale and Red Pilsner for me. This was another stop with very good service from staff.

Not quite ready to round up the Siplings the next day, we had brunch at the 120 Pub in Delta. I ordered the 120 Wheat Ale (on Sunday all-day happy hour pricing), along with the Chicken Kung Pao bowl. Unfortunately, the weather remained inclement and with only having patio seating available to us, due to the current pandemic restrictions, we rushed through our meal pretty quickly.

Bad Weather

To end the month, Mrs. Sip took another day off and we took the kids to Science World. Afterwards, we went to the R&B Brewing Pizza & Ale House for lunch, taking advantage of their Tuesday special of Pizza and Pint for $20. Our eats included the Pulled Pork and Prosciutto and Arugula Pizzas, along with pints of their Manganero Hazy IPA and Bouquet of Hummingbirds Belgian Tripel. I absolutely love R&B’s Pulled Pork Pizza, complete with jalapenos and garlic mayo drizzle. It paired very well with my spicy beer. Upon leaving, we also bought two bottles of their Rue de la Soif Belgian Tripel, one to drink whenever and the other to age, which the brewer suggests can be kept for up to three years.

My final purchase of April was done at hometown brewery Four Winds, which has collaborated with fellow Delta brewery Barnside to make the We Love Delta IPA. As someone who lived their entire young life in Delta, I just had to pick up a six-pack of this release, supporting both breweries.

May is my last full month on parental leave, so we’ll have to make the most of it. That should be easy to accomplish as the calendar is filling up quickly with events such as Cinco de Mayo, Mother’s Day and others.

Sip Trips 190: Halloween Haunts

Another month has come and gone and while this year’s Halloween season was very different from others before it, we still had a lot of fun with and without the kids. Let’s get right to the action and see what we got up to in October:

To start the month, Mrs. Sip made an online order with Granville Island Brewing, setting us up nice and proper. Our order included a 12-pack case of Lions Winter Ale and six-pack of Cranberry Orange Wheat Ale, as well as bombers of Granvillator Doppelback, Over and Under Galaxy Hazy IPA, Saison Sous le Pont Farmhouse Style Saison and Birra Obscura Black Pilsner. All that remains are half of the Winter Ale case and the Hazy IPA.

Beer Shopping

A few days later, I received my Jim Beam Bourbon National Talent Search pack, which I had saw advertised on Facebook. I figured, the cocktail making kit might come with a mini bottle and some kind of mixer, so imagine my surprise when I opened the box to discover a full bottle of Jim Beam Bourbon, a bottle of Fentimans Ginger Ale, a bottle of sweet and sour mixer and two t-shirts. I made the suggested cocktail a few times over the next days and enjoyed the servings.

Our next adventure took us to the newly-opened Smuggler’s Trail Brewing in Langley. There, I ordered a pint of the English Export Porter (a collaboration beer with Main Street Brewing), while Mrs. Sip had a flight of the Smuggler’s Trail flagship brews, including their Captain Stone Lager, Wedgehead Kolsch, Canoe Chase West Coast IPA and Flaskers Best Bitter. For eats, we had the Puller Pork Smoked Sliders and a side of Deep Fried Popcorn.

In the middle of the month, Mrs. Sip and I joined friends for the Maan Farms Haunted Corn Maze in Abbotsford. Needing a place for dinner beforehand (and to have a couple beverages for liquid courage), we visited Trading Post Brewing’s Abbotsford Eatery. Our meal began with shared appies of their Salt & Pepper Pork Rinds and Truffle Cheese Fries, with my main course being the TP Classic Burger with Fries. As we ate, I had servings of the Festbier and Best Coast IPA, while Mrs. Sip selected the 10.4% Belgian Quad times two.

haunted-house

The next day, with Ma Sip hosting a small Oktoberfest gathering, the Sip Advisor did a fair bit of liquor store shopping, picking up the Spectrum Box of Chocolates case (White Chocolate Stout, Milk Chocolate Ale, Chocolate Orange Ale, Chocolate Mint Ale) and a six-pack of Spectrum’s delicious Pumpkin Spiced Latte Ale. I also grabbed a tall can four-pack of Whistler Black Cherry Marzen and a bottle of Jack Daniel’s Honey Whiskey, which has sadly been missing from my bar for far too long.

That week, I received my first BevTri delivery, which provides folks with mini liquor bottles to be tried and reviewed. My first assignment was Ezra Brooks Bourbon Whiskey, which came with a mini can of Coca-Cola. Later in the month, I received a second delivery of Hornitos Reposado Tequila. This is work I can really get behind!

On a recent Friday night, we decided to pack up the kids and go to the New West River Market for dinner and their scavenger hunt. We ate at Longtail Kitchen, enjoying servings of Pad Thai and Tamarind Chicken Wings. To drink, I had a tall can of Steel & Oak Radiant Things Hibiscus-Grapefruit Pale Ale, which made a perfect pairing with our food selections.

Pad Thai

To end the month, we attended a Halloween Trivia at Rendezvous Pub in Langley. The trivia was really fun, with it being not too easy and not too hard and with an interesting point system, where you could double whichever round you thought you’d do best at. For dinner, I enjoyed a Southwest Chicken Wrap and to drink, I had pints of Steel & Oak Red Pilsner and Driftwood Fat Tug IPA, which were both priced very nicely at $5.60.

I’m not sure November will live up to all the fun we had in October, but when there’s a will, there will be a way. I call our will Mrs. Sip! We are creeping into Christmas territory, so I’m sure the schedule will start filling up.

Sip Trips #189: Celebratory September

I’ve decided to do monthly Sip Trips updates going forward and we’ll start with the last gasps of summer, moving into fall. It was a busy month, as Septembers always are, given the Sip Advisor, Pa Sip, Toddler Sip and others all have birthdays. With that in mind, let’s get right into things:

The month began with meeting a friend for dinner at Izba Bistro in Port Coquitlam. There, I had the Chicken Schnitzel Burger and a glass of Krombacher Pilsner. While the meal was quite good, my Vancouver Canucks were eliminated from the NHL playoffs as we ate, but I can’t hold that against the restaurant… or can I!?

The next day, we celebrated Pa Sip’s birthday. As a massive Beatles fan and someone who was turning 64, we held a ‘When I’m 64’ party and going with the British theme, I picked up a bottle of Tanqueray Flor de Sevilla Gin to serve up some G&Ts. As I grabbed the bottle, I also bought a tall can four-pack of Ravens Two to Tango Mango Jalapeno Gose, as well as a bottle of Captain Morgan Orange Vanilla Twist to gift to Pa Sip. Served at the party was bottles of Innis & Gunn Bourbon Barrel Scotch Ale and cans of Old Speckled Hen Pale Ale, both of which added to the ambience.

64 Birthday

During that next week, we journeyed to White Rock to hit a couple of breweries there, which we had never visited before. We started with 3 Dogs Brewing, where we shared a flight (Dog Daze Haze IPA, Dingo 8 My Baby Aussie Ale, Blackie the Brown Dog Porter, Faux Paw Wet Hop Pale Ale), paired with two of their hotdogs, the Trailer Park Dog (crushed potato chips and queso sauce) and Downward Dog (avocado, sundried tomatoes, feta). The hotdogs were very good, as were the brews. Next up, was the neighbouring White Rock Beach Brewing, where we delved into another flight (West Beach Pale Ale, East Beach Brown Ale, Oxford Hill Hefeweizen, Russell Avenue Raspberry Honey Wit). After ordering tacos from a stand outside, we decided to pair our eats with a glass of the Hefeweizen.

With a week off from work on the schedule, we began the break with a trip out to the Abbotsford breweries. First stop was Field House Brewing, where I had a glass of their Citra Tettnang Galaxy XPA, while Mrs. Sip had the Mosaic Enigma Raspberry Hazy. Old Abbey Ales followed for a flight (Diehard Hazy Lager, Pineapple Express, Wit-ness Protection, Gimme S’more, Sippy Chai Aye) of their many creative creations. Last, was Loud Mouth Brewing for another flight (Peach Guava Sour, Pilsner, Hazy IPA, Raspberry Wheat) and an order of Churros. We’re glad we got to Loud Mouth when we did, as it may not be around much longer. The owner-operator said he’s shutting the doors soon to open a restaurant instead. If that food is anywhere near as good as the Churros were, I can’t wait to try the place.

A few days later, nearing Toddler Sip’s 100th brewery visited, we ventured to Port Coquitlam’s Taylight Brewing for two flights (Blossom Rose Lager, Piwo Grodziske Smokey Wheat Ale, Guava & Lychee, Rye Pale Ale, Graf Giraffe Cider & Beer, Jasmine Gruit, Slack Tide Hazy Pale Ale, BlackBerry Hibiscus Sour), before popping into the nearby Tin House Brewing to accomplish the milestone, all before she turned three later in the week. At Tin House, we ordered sleeves of the Let’s Get Take-Out Thai Wit and Run of the Mill Peppercorn Saison. I’ve enjoyed all the brews I’ve tried at this brewery, so we also took home a growler of their PB&J Stout.

Milestone Beer

For my own birthday, the day before Toddler Sip’s, I received bottles of Captain Morgan Jack-O Blast and Patrón Tequila, as well as a six-pack of Parallel 49 Schadenfreude Pumpkin Oktoberfest. We spent much of my birthday decorating and preparing for Toddler Sip’s Disneyland-themed party, as we were supposed to be in Disneyland for the week, but COVID-19 kyboshed those plans. For the party, I served up a few original cocktails for guests, including the Meeska-Mouska Mocktail (Fruit Punch, Lemon-Lime Soda, Cream Soda), Dead Men Tell No Tales (Spiced Rum, Crystal Skull Vodka, Coconut Cream, Pineapple-Mango Juice), Elephants on Parade (Absolut Karnival Vodka, Pink Lemonade Vodka, Raspberry Lemonade, Lime Juice) and Into the Unknown (Orient Apple Vodka, Arctic Crowberry Frost Liqueur, Hawaiian Punch Berry Blast).

Later in the week, the kids each had doctor appointments in Vancouver, so we took the opportunity to have lunch at Craft Beer Market, which had sent me a $10 off email earlier in the month. Mrs. Sip and I split a tasty Prosciutto & Arugula Pizza, to go along with drink choices of Superflux Colour & Shape Hazy IPA for me and Twin Sails Would Crush Raspberry Wheat Ale for the missus. As we neared the end of our beers, Mrs. Sip had the great idea to combine them, which resulted in a delicious mix.

The next day, we had another small birthday party for Toddler Sip, joined by a couple of her little friends at a nearby playground. To provide the parents with some refreshments, I picked up the Red Truck 4×4 Pack, featuring four cans each of the Cherry Bomb Black Cherry Lager and The Defender Bourbon Ale.

Birthdays

On the way home, just when I thought we had survived the long week and could relax a little, Mrs. Sip surprised me with an evening out with a couple friends on Brewer’s Row in Port Moody. Us guys decided this was a great way to celebrate our birthdays and will hopefully continue to do so in the future. We only hit two of the five establishments on the row, as with lineups at all locations, it was best to hunker down for a bit where you could get in. At Twin Sails Brewing, I had pints of their Two Straws Apricot Milkshake IPA and Vacation Mode Peach & Passionfruit Pale Ale, followed by Moody Ales and their Huge Citrus Hazy Pale Ale and Sublime Pineapple Hefeweizen.

Then, it was finally time to rest, feeling like we needed a vacation from the week of vacation. It’s all good, though, as Toddler Sip had an extended week of birthday fun and we did manage to get our own enjoyment in here and there. I can always chill out during the work week, right!?

Sip Trips #188: Sea to Sky

Taking the last week of August off to celebrate my and Mrs. Sip’s wedding anniversary and make a short getaway to Whistler with the Sip Family, was a perfect way to end the summer. We crammed a lot of stuff into a limited time, so let’s get right to the action:

Prior to our little vacation, we had a bit of activity that should be documented. A couple recent purchases included a six-pack of Spectrum Strawberry Ice Cream Pale Ale, which may be the best beer I’ve had all summer. It’s not too strong on the strawberry flavour, but just enough that you can enjoy it. I also picked up the Nude Vodka Soda Pride Pack for Mrs. Sip to try. It included six flavous (Cran Raspberry, Raspberry Lemon, Lime, Black Cherry, Mango, Peach), giving her a chance to sample a good variety of the brand’s offerings and decide if she wants to do more vodka soda products in the future.

Vodka Soda

We also dropped into Steamworks Brewing in Burnaby one evening. There, I had a delicious Imperial Red Ale, while Mrs. Sip ordered a flight, which included their Refresh Raspberry and Lemon Ale, Killer Cucumber Ale, Hazy Pale Ale and Black Angel IPA. We both particularly liked the Cucumber Ale, which I’ve had before, but never on tap.

The first portion of my week off was a night without kids, enjoying an overnight stay in Downtown Vancouver. We began with some happy hour snacks at 131 Water Kitchen & Bar. Our food included Crispy Chicken Bites and Veggie Spring Roll, which I paired with a 131 Lager. The beer went down like juice, while the food was good and enough to tide me over for our upcoming dinner.

To stock our hotel room, we picked up a tall can four-pack of Barkerville Sluice Juice Hazy Pale Ale, a bomber of Fuggles & Warlock Valkyrie Belgian Vineyard Ale and a bottle of wine. Unfortunately, our room’s fridge wasn’t really much of a cooling device, so we didn’t get to enjoy our treats as we had originally hoped.

Hotel Fridge

For dinner, we went to Lift Bar Grill View in Coal Harbour. Arriving just in time for a quick happy hour order, we each got a glass of house rosé, an appetizer of Humboldt Squid and an Oyster each (for aphrodisiacal reasons!). Mrs. Sip then went with the Halibut for dinner, while I elected to have the Burger. With my meal, I had a pint of Parkside Dusk Pale Ale. The restaurant also kindly gave us each a glass of dessert wines on the house, as a little anniversary delight.

The next morning, we had brunch at Bellaggio Cafe, where Mrs. Sip had Eggs Benedict and I went with the Chicken & Brussels Waffle. I also enjoyed a 3-ounce Caesar, which got the day off to a good start. Our activities while in the area, included the Dimensions Art Gallery, where visitors can become part of the art installations and solving a cold murder case with Vancouver Mysteries. I would recommend both to anyone looking for something to do in Vancouver.

After a brief respite, we were on the road to Whistler, which I hadn’t visited since New Year’s 2012-2013. On our way up, we stopped at the Howe Sound Brewpub in Squamish for lunch. There, I ordered the Hopraiser West Coast IPA, while Mrs. Sip went with the Alpine Traverse New World Tripel. To eat, we shared the Brewer’s Select Pizza, topped with pepperoni, bacon, and chorizo. We also received a taster of the Pamplemousse Pale Ale and grabbed tall cans of King Heffy Imperial Hefeweizen and Jam Session Raspberry Cream Ale to go.

Summer Vacation

Before leaving Squamish, we also went to A-Frame Brewing, which only had a few of their own beers on tap. We put together a flight of their Okanagan Lake Cream Ale, Sproat Lake Pale Ale, Shuswap Lake West Coast IPA and finished the set with guest tap House of Funk Atomic Jam. The brewery had a food truck onsite, which allowed us to get Toddler Sip a Churro treat for dessert.

Our dinner that night was at The Keg, since we desired a slice of Billy Miner Pie. Our food selections included Prime Rib Sliders for me and a Lobster Tail for Mrs. Sip. I paired my meal with a Chili Mango Margarita that really hit the spot. Of course, that decadent Billy Miner Pie capped the meal, which the restaurant generously comped since it was our anniversary.

Our main event for the night was checking out the Vallea Lumina Light Walk. Words and photos can’t really describe how neat of an attraction this is. Set on a dark mountainous trail, you travel through some amazing light and sound experiences that make you feel connected to the surrounding nature. I’d love to revisit in the winter, if possible.

The next day, we left the village to explore a couple nearby breweries. First up, was Whistler Brewing, where we put together a flight of their The Blonde Spruce Goose, Wayside Apricot Wit, Chestnut Ale and Black Tusk Ale. It was a solidly built flight, if I don’t say so myself. The Sunny Daze Yuzu IPA, which I had wanted to try, wasn’t on tap, so I grabbed a tall can of it for the road and really enjoyed as a breakfast beer the next day.

Coast Mountain Brewing was our second stop and we ordered two flights to be able to try eight of their 11 brews. Our boards consisted of the Day Dream IPA, The Surveyor IPA, Forecast Pale Ale, Green Run Session IPA, Vanilla Bean Stout, Woodnutt Brown Ale, Sunbreak Saison, and Drink the Rainbow (made with Skittles). I feel like doing flights is a great way to try as much as possible, but a full serving is the best way to truly appreciate a beer, as palate fatigue seems to set in when we go the flight route.

Day three was my negotiated “don’t have to drive anywhere day”, so we spent the day exploring the village. For lunch, we ate at the High Mountain BrewHouse, where between Mrs. Sip and I, we had pints of their Belgian Tripel, Belgian Wit, Alta Lake Ale and Grizzly Brown Ale. Food seemed like a good idea with all those drinks, so we ordered the Four Cheese Pizza.

Pizza

Sadly, our stay in Whistler came to an end, but we weren’t ready to go home yet. We journeyed to Pemberton to hit a couple breweries there, starting with The Beer Farmers. Following our flight, made up of the Locals Only Lager, Farmers Daughter Biere de Table, Cover Crop Hazy IPA and Dunkelweizen, we completed the farm’s sunflower maze, which was a lot of fun, particularly for Toddler Sip.

Next up, was Pemberton Brewing, for a quick flight (U-Pick Strawberry Pale Ale, Cream Puff NE Pale Ale, Upside Down Brut IPA, Barb’s Nice Pear Rhubarb Pear Sour). We also brought home a bomber of Cream Puff NE Pale Ale, which will be a nice way to bring up memories of the journey, when we finally get around to enjoy it.

Road Trip

On our drive home, we stopped in Squamish again, to hit Backcountry Brewing. There, we had a fantastic Fig & Prosciutto Pizza (as well as an appetizer of Hushpuppies), to go along with a flight of beers. The flight included the Go Get Yourself Some Cheap Sunglasses IPA, Living in a Van Down By the River ISA, I’ll Take You to the Candy Shop Peach Sour and Patches O’Houlihan Porter. To go, Mrs. Sip grabbed a tall can four-pack of I’ll Take You to the Candy Shop Peach Sour and single tall can of Case of the Mondays Peach-Pineapple-Guava Sour.

Eight breweries over four days, completes to checklist for Squamish, Whistler and Pemberton. The expedition brought Toddler Sip’s number up to 96 breweries visited and Baby Sip up to 27. Parenting done right!