Sip Trips #151: Winter Resting

It’s been a while since the Sip Advisor provided an update on our adventures and that’s because there hasn’t been a whole lot of them. With the change in seasons and still settling into our new place, we’ve found ourselves sticking closer to home more often than not. Here’s what we’ve been up to lately:

On a recent date night for Mrs. Sip and I, we visited an old favourite in Patron Tacos & Cantina in Downtown Vancouver. There, we ordered our usual Queso Fundido and platter of Tacos, combining the two dishes for one incredible meal. I also downed a pair of Patron Lagers, which were on special for $5.50. The restaurant has always had good food and friendly staff, but on this visit, both of those factors seemed to have been improved even more so.

With a move to staying indoors a little more often, I’ve put together a wish list of winter beers to enjoy this season, working my way through a few of them. This has included: Stanley Park Layer Up Winter Wheat Ale, Whistler Black Tusk Chocolate Milk Ale, Dead Frog Red Rum Spiced Red Ale and Granville Island Tropical Stout. Still to be sampled from my “to do” list is the Old Yale Himalayan Salted Caramel Porter and Vancouver Island Misthorn Winter IPA. They will be mine… oh yes, they will be mine!

Frozen Beer.jpg

Last night, we finally emerged from our event hibernation to attend Craft Beer Market’s Cheers to 5 Years Anniversary Party. We have been frequent guests of the restaurant over our years living in Vancouver, celebrating birthdays and New Year’s Eves, so it was only fitting to join the festivities. Tickets were only $5 (plus tax), with proceeds going to the St. Vincent de Paul charity drive, which provides holiday hampers to 10 families in Vancouver. With entry, you received one ticket for a full-sized beer and access to unlimited beer and wine samples from those in attendance. Beer vendors in included: Moody Ales, Stanley Park, Steel & Oak, Granville Island, Strathcona, Steamworks, Longwood, Torchlight, Spectrum, Collective Arts, and Phantom. There were also appies floating around, but it wasn’t always easy to get your hands on them. With Baby Sip in tow, we took a seat in the restaurant area and ordered Chicken Wings and the Gaucho Chicken Flatbread for eats. The night ended with a tasty birthday cake and scrumptious ice cream sandwiches for dessert. Another fantastic event from the folks at Craft. I can’t wait for the next one!

While we haven’t been at our usual level of busy lately, the Christmas season is upon us and that means the schedule is filling quickly with lots of fun events. Tune in next week for another installment of Sip Trips!

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Sip Trips #148: The Next Chapter

As Mrs. Sip and I wrap up our moving out from Downtown Vancouver, things have been insane around the Sip Advisor Headquarters, and that’s probably putting it lightly. Still, we managed to squeeze some fun into the chaos, especially with the celebration of our sixth wedding anniversary. Here’s what we got up to in our last couple weeks living in Vancouver:

For the second year in a row, we attended Caskapalooza at Craft Beer Market and it was a very, very good event. Like last year, tickets were $25 (plus taxes and fees) and included 12 tokens. Between myself, Mrs. Sip and Cousin Sip, we tried nearly every beer of the 36 available. My favourites included a Smoked Apiary Dunkelweizen from Foamers’ Folly, Mariner’s Cuban Night Sky, and a Ginger-Cinnamon Rye Amber Ale from Trading Post. There were so many good and unique beers here that we are definitely planning on attending the 2019 Caskapalooza. The only minor tweak I’d like to see, if possible, is for the Caskport document, which allows drinkers to jot down what each brewery is offering, to already be filled out. This would a) advise folks of what is available and b) eliminate people stopping at the front of a lineup to write in the available information.

Keg Safety First

Following the event, we stuck around for a drink and some food. Mrs. Sip and I split the delicious BBQ Beer Can Chicken Sliders, while my beverage was the Electric Bicycle Frosty Mugs Brown Ale. This was the second time I’ve been able to try a brew from Electric Bicycle and both have been unique and quite tasty. I have to try to visit their tasting room soon.

Last Friday, Mrs. Sip and I hosted a moving out party of sorts, where our goal was to finish and get rid of all our mostly consumed liquor bottles. We ended up with about 25 bottles that had minimal liquid left and throughout the night, we all did our best to put those bottles out of their misery. I had a great time playing bartender and coming up with unique, but simple cocktails for the crowd to enjoy. Over our last week in the place, I managed to finish each and every bottle we were hoping to go through. Mission accomplished!

To celebrate our previously mentioned sixth wedding anniversary, we attended the Battle of the Brews competition in Surrey. The event started a little rough for us because as we arrived at our Skytrain station, I spotted the beer tents and it dawned on me that this was an outdoor event, on the one day in recent memory it rained. Things quickly turned around; however, as the organizers had planned for such a scenario and had ponchos ready for any guest that wanted one. The Battle offered a great selection of beers from a number of breweries, as well as awesome food from Brown’s Social House, Cactus Club, Dublin Crossing, Milestones, and many more. My favourite beer was Parkside’s Human’s – An IPA for the People, while my top food choice was Cactus Club’s Mini Crispy Chicken Sandwich. With all that going on, I thought the $50 we paid per ticket was very much worth it. My only complaint here was they need more on-site bathrooms, as five porta-potties is not enough when hundreds of people are drinking all afternoon. At least the long lines could be avoided if you learned about the washrooms in the adjacent Surrey City Hall.

Porta-Potties.jpg

We wrapped up our Vancouver life with one final meal on the rooftop patio at The Keg’s Yaletown location. I order the Prime Rib Sliders at their $13 happy hour price (with side of fries) along with a Keg Caesar, also on special. Our group also split a bottle of Danzante Pinot Grigio and to top off the meal, we were given a slice of Billy Miner Pie for dessert, on the house because we were celebrating our anniversary.

I will certainly miss living in Vancouver, as my years running this site have documented all the great experiences we’ve been able to partake in. That said, we’re on to another exciting chapter in our lives and only time will tell what that has in store for us!

Sip Trips #146: Wedding Season

Mrs. Sip and I (along with Baby Sip) made the most of the recent B.C. Day long weekend. In fact, today’s entire wrap-up occurred on only one day of it. The rest of our time lately has been spent preparing to move out of our Downtown Vancouver condo. We’re still making time to squeeze some fun into our lives, though, so here’s what we got up to:

On Sunday, we got together with visiting friends for brunch at Craft Beer Market. I had a delicious order of Chicken & Waffles, paired with the Electric Bicycle Dig Dug Beet Juice Ale. I have never had a beer of this type before and was impressed with how good it was. This was also my first experience with Electric Bicycle Brewing and it has increased my desire to visit their recently-opened tasting room. Mrs. Sip’s beer selection, Storm Watermelon Pilsner, was also a fantastic beverage.

beets-natures-candy

Next up, we visited Big Rock Urban Eatery, where I indulged in another new (at least to me) menu item. The Songbird Saisaweizen was an interesting blend of saison and hefeweizen that I found to be very refreshing in the summer heat. The flavours were also quite nice and if we had the time, I would have elected to order a jug of the suds, rather than just a pint.

We wrapped the day with a wedding at the gorgeous Hycroft Manor. This was our first Persian nuptials, so it was fun to learn about another culture’s traditions. What we also loved about this wedding was that it only included the ceremony and a cocktail and canape reception afterwards. Rather than lose an entire day to a wedding, we were able to celebrate the newlyweds and still had our entire evening open (although Mrs. Sip took that time to crash after a hellacious July). As for that cocktail reception, it was open bar and the Sip Advisor did what he does best, indulging in multiple servings of 33 Acres of Sunshine, Innis & Gunn Bourbon Barrel-Aged Scotch Ale and Whistler Rescue Session Ale (a nice touch given the bride and groom’s passion and support of animal rescue operations).

Tomorrow, Mrs. Sip and I leave for Halifax, Nova Scotia for another wedding this weekend. On the itinerary are a self-guided craft brewery excursion, a food tour and, of course, the wedding, which also features an open bar reception. Look out east coast, here we come!

Sip Trips #140: Getting Our Groove Back

Back from our European travels, we got back into the swing of things at home the last couple weeks, trying new restaurants and products, while also attending the odd event. Here’s what we’ve been up to lately:

I kicked things off by signing up for Legacy Liquor Store’s free Negroni Week event. In half hour sessions, visitors received a sample of the Negroni cocktail (Gin, Campari, Sweet Vermouth), as well as a personally etched cocktail glass from Campari. The drink serving was only about a sip’s worth, but it was neat to get the etched glass and it was all at no charge, so can’t really complain. Before leaving the store, I grabbed a bomber of Tin Whistle Obsession Hibiscus Saison, which I’m looking forward to drinking when the weather takes a turn for the better.

Negroni Decisions

The next day, Mrs. Sip and I enjoyed lunch at the Sapperton District Taphouse, after hearing about the tavern from a baseball teammate. Here, I had a tasty order of Chicken Strips and Fries, pairing it with a sleeve of Parkside Graffiti IPA, which was on special. Mrs. Sip ordered their Slow & Low Sliders, which were also good. Looking at the restaurant’s events calendar, they are featuring a number of tap takeovers and trivia nights over the summer, so Mrs. Sip and I will likely return soon.

Later that day, Ma and Pa Sip returned from their month-long road trip of the southwest United States, bringing back two crowlers (growler-sized cans, for those unfamiliar with the term) from Boneyard Brewing in Bend, Oregon. Boneyard is one of my favourite breweries in the world, so I was very happy to receive their Notorious (80 IBUs, 11.5% ABV) and 7-Day WKND (70 IBUs, 7% ABV) IPAs. I’ve only been able to drink the latter of those two, thus far, and it was spectacular.

Before returning home from a couple days at Ma and Pa Sip’s place, we also popped into Central City Brewing to pick up their 2018 Across the Nation Mixed Pack. I really enjoyed the 2017 edition – released to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday and featuring a beer brewed in collaboration with a brewery from each of the country’s provinces and territories (minus Nunavit) – and can’t wait to work my way through this year’s case. The set is highlighted by such intriguing beers as a Cherry Milkshake IPA, Cranberry Belgian IPA and Salted Caramel Lager. I do note that this year’s collection is in canned form, rather than bottles.

Salted Caramel.jpg

We wrapped up the week by celebrating Mother-in-Law Sip’s birthday at Craft Beer Market, where folks celebrating their birthday get their age as a percentage off their bill. I began the meal with a serving of Andina Jalea Guava Saison, which I enjoyed, despite being my backup choice. I had wanted to order the Parallel 49 Alakazam Szechuan Peppercorn Saison, but although it was advertised on their online menu, it wasn’t on the hardcopy version, as the restaurant had already moved to their next rotating taps. For dinner, I had the Crispy Chicken Sandwich with a glass of Powell Street Lazy D’Haze IPA. Both were fantastic, as was Ma Sip’s Brewmaster’s Chicken Sandwich, which I was given the leftovers of.

This upcoming week is highlighted by my very first Father’s Day, which should be fun. We also have a couple more events on the horizon, so things are starting to heat up at the Sip Advisor headquarters!

Sip Trips #129: In Transition

As the Sip Advisor began my first official week of parental leave, there was plenty of action… and we’re not even counting taking care of a baby full-time! Here’s what we got up to:

The Vancouver Whitecaps season opener took place on the first Sunday of March and the Sip Advisor was in attendance. The outing began with a stop at the beer garden outside BC Place stadium, where I bought a can of Stanley Park Day Trip Lager. This snapped my five-day dry streak, as I was hoping to lower my tolerance level for our upcoming Las Vegas getaway. Once inside the stadium, I picked up a 24oz serving of Postmark West Coast Pale Ale, which lasted me most of the contest.

A couple days later, I met Ma Sip for lunch at Mahony & Sons along the Downtown Vancouver waterfront. I really enjoyed my Fish & Chips meal, paired with a pint of Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale. With ordering this drink, I was entered into a draw for a trip to Ireland. This was a nice little bonus from the visit.

Fish & Chips Deal

Later that day, the Sip Alliance attended the Craft Beer Launch at Craft Beer Market. Tickets were only $5 (plus taxes) and featured 18 new menu items available to be sampled. All proceeds went to the YMCA Annual Campaign and I felt the event was well worth it, despite a couple hiccups.

The beers were mostly comprised of IPAs and sours, so if you weren’t into those two styles of beer, you were kind of out of luck. Among the brews, my favourites were the Boneyard Incredible Pulp, Ninkasi Juicy IPA, Beau’s Fulltime IPA, and Gigantic Imperial IPA. A cider, red wine and even gin could also be tried.

Aside from the beverages, a number of Craft’s appies were served, including BBQ Beer Can Chicken Sliders, Proscuitto Arugula Flatbreads, Wings, and Veggie Platters. Our group arrived close to the start of the event and staked out a spot near what became the food table. This was very fortunate, as whenever items were served, they didn’t last very long with the buzzards circling. Also, there was about an hour gap at one point where no food arrived.

Buzzard Loyalty

The biggest issue was that some of the company reps ran out of supplies before the three-hour event was halfway through. That left me wondering: “If these were the new products available at the restaurant, how could they possibly run out?” We were impressed to learn that the Whistler Brewing rep went across the street to Legacy Liquor Store to buy more beer when her stock dried up, while other servers gave out half glasses from the start, to make sure their wares lasted throughout. The woman running the Copper & Theory table was hands down the MVP of the night, serving brews right up to the end, which meant she was incredibly busy as the other tables closed up shop early.

The week ended with some shopping and new product discoveries. Ma Sip informed me of Mott’s Clamato Verde being in stores. I’m assuming the green mixer is available for St. Patrick’s Day Caesars, but can’t confirm as there’s no mention of the drink on the Mott’s website. The drink is tasty and interesting, reminding me of a green salsa-based beverage. I also came across Crown Royal Salted Caramel Whiskey, while perusing a BC Liquor Store. Given the release is of the limited edition variety and there was only one box left, I felt things were meant to be and I had to buy the treat for myself. I can’t wait to do some mixing with it when the opportunity arises.

Next up, Mrs. Sip and I (along with Baby Sip) will be in Las Vegas. You can expect at least a two-part Sip Trips upon our return home!

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!

Beer of the Week #35 – Yellow Dog High Five Hazy IPA

I have now had this Yellow Dog Brewing selection a couple times, in two different formats. If a third opportunity presents itself, I won’t hesitate to drink it again no matter what form it comes in.

The first time I had the High Five Hazy IPA was as a mango-flavoured variation at Craft Beer Market’s Caskapalooza 2017. The next was from the brewery itself, as we recently visited Port Moody’s amazing Brewer’s Row.

Yellow Dog High Five Hazy IPA

Both times, I greatly enjoyed the 6.8%ABV, 50 IBUs beverage. It is available at many of the more notable craft beer establishments around Greater Vancouver and can also be found in tall can format at the brewery.

I was happy to see that Yellow Dog finally got their website up and running since I last covered the brewery as part of the BC Beer Baron project. For far too long, the site was under construction.

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