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!

Sip Trips #187: August Arising

To kick off August, along with its traditional long weekend, the Sip Family got out and about, hitting five breweries over the break. That put Baby Sip at 18 breweries visited and Toddler Sip at a whopping 87. It helped that I took a few days off from work to extend the time away. We were busy, so let’s get right to the program:

Once worked wrapped up on the Friday before the long weekend, we set off to Patina Brewing in Port Coquitlam. Opened earlier this year, they don’t have many beers yet, but that is secondary to their delicious menu of barbecue foods. We gorged ourselves on pulled pork, beef brisket, skinny fries, and corn bread, with Mrs. Sip also ordering their seasoned popcorn. To drink, we put together a flight of Patina’s Stout, Double IPA and Juicy IPA, finished with Wildeye Brewing’s Hazy Pale Ale.

Cat BBQ

On the holiday Monday, we returned to Port Coquitlam to visit Northpaw Brewing. Our flight there, consisted of the Howay the Lads Brown Ale, Jamaican Pale Ale, C.R.E.A.M.-Sicle Orange Cream Shandy and Blueberry Kettle Sour. We worked our way through the flight by the time our order of Jamaican Patties (veggie, chicken, beef) arrived, so also got a pint of the Love Movement Milkshake IPA. This pairing was very good, as the patties were delicious – my favourite was the beef one – and the beer was quite refreshing in the hot weather.

Next up, was Foamers’ Folly Brewing in Pitt Meadows. I’ve always wanted to go here and now that I know it’s actually closer than I believed it to be, want to return very soon. Mrs. Sip and I elected to have two flights, given the expansive choice of beers. Our sets included the Uncultured Belgian Ale, Yarrow Hefeweizen, Lavender Earl Grey ESB, S’morter Porter (Nitro), Culeko Cucumber Lemongrass Kolsch, Rosemary ISA, Smoked Apiary Dunkelweizen, and Blackberry Lemoncello Sour Ale. My favourites were the Kolsch and ISA, both of which had nice notes of their advertised flavours. To go, we picked up a bomber of Amaretto Wild Sour Ale and a tall can of Wide Mouth Watermelon Wheat Ale.

The next day, we ventured to North Vancouver. First up, was Bridge Brewing, where another flight was in order, comprised of their Blueberry Pie Sour, Bourbon Blood Orange Wheat Ale, Side Kick Hazy Pale Ale and White Water Belgian IPA. Looking to have lunch, as well, we got the Taco Trio (pork, veggie, chicken), with the pork taco being a highlight, thanks to its pineapple accompaniment.

Tacos

Deciding to make our way back closer to home as it was a very hot day, we popped into the nearby Wildeye Brewing and really enjoyed our stop there. Another brewery, another flight, resulted in trying their Strawberry Cardamom Gose, After the Rain Hefeweizen, Choppy Waters Hazy IPA and Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Stout. The Gose was my preferred brew here, with the Hef being a close runner up.

If that was just the start of the month, the rest of it should surely bear some great fruit. Mrs. Sip is hard at work planning a mini vacation for our clan, likely to Whistler, where we will enjoy breweries both there and en route to/from in Squamish. We will also celebrate our wedding anniversary in Downtown Vancouver and with the Sip Kids with Ma and Pa Sip, there will surely be some shenanigans.

Sip Trips #186: Summer Sizzle

It’s been a while since I did an update on our adventures and we now have Baby Sip up to 13 brewery visits, so there’s lots to talk about. Without further adieu, let’s get right to it:

Our recent activity began in late June, with a visit to Langley’s Five Roads Brewing. There, Mrs. Sip and I split a flight of beers, consisting of their Double Whammy Passionfruit Mango Sour, Harry Porter, Worlds Collide Sour IPA and Do You Even Sk8 Bro? Sour Saison. I also tried a sip of the Jordy Mac’s Work Hard Play Hard ESB off of Cousin Sip’s flight. It was nice to sit outside and enjoy some nice weather after a fairly dreary month.

Following the beers, we were off for dinner at Annora, to celebrate a friend’s birthday. I ordered the three-course set menu, choosing prawns with chorizo and risotto as my appetizer; duck with mashed potatoes and vegetables as my main and a chocolate brownie for dessert. The meal was fantastic, all paired with a serving of Red Truck Round Trip Amber Ale and we look forward to going back and trying some other options soon. Their happy hour offerings look particularly good.

happy-hour

For a nightcap, we popped into Farm Country Brewing, sharing another flight. This set was made up of their Whippersnapper Kellerbier, Hootenanny DDH Pale Ale, Slam Dunkel and Countryside Apricot Peach Kettle Sour. I liked the space at this brewery and enjoyed their flight coming out in a bucket. We also took home a tall can four-pack of their Strawberry Rhubarb Kettle Sour, which I really enjoyed.

For Canada Day, en route to Ma and Pa Sip’s place, we stopped at Central City Brewing for a drink. While Mrs. Sip ordered The Mangolorian Ale, I had a glass of the Hazy Dreamer Hazy Pale Ale. For Canada Day celebrations, I went through a pack from Red Truck Brewing, highlighted by the Seas the Day Pineapple Hefeweizen.

A couple weeks back, we visited ABC Brewing and lucked out with both kids sleeping through our drinks. Mrs. Sip and I shared servings of their Priorities DDH Hazy Double IPA and Just a Phase Saison. Afterwards, we put together a tall can four-pack to go, including the two we just drank and also The Hardest Part West Coast Pale Ale and Dazed and Cocofuzed Dark Pilsner. This company keeps pumping out neat beers, just as quickly as I can try them all.

Empty Beer

Last Friday, I took a day off work to take Baby Sip to his four-month doctor’s appointment and since we’d be in Vancouver for that, Mrs. Sip and I figured we might as well hit a few breweries. We started at the R&B Ale & Pizza House, where I had an amazing Pulled Pork Pizza, paired with a very good Out Fer A Ripa Rye IPA. Mrs. Sip had a Caprese Salad and flight (Stay In Your Vancouver Special IPA, Raven Cream Ale, Hipster Haze IPA and Sour Patch Dudes) for her meal. We also had a taster of their Camouflage Is Not A Colour and a charity beer they had just tapped for serving. Afterwards, we ventured down the street for a quick sleeve at Electric Bicycle Brewing, selecting the It’s No Game Hazy IPA.

Yesterday, a drive to Mrs. Sip’s office turned into beers at Steel & Oak Brewing, enjoying their newly-constructed patio, set up to continue serving up suds during this pandemic. I really enjoyed my Surefire Raspberry Tangerine Pale Ale (taking a tall can four-pack home as well), while Mrs. Sip was really into her Smoked Honey Dopplebock. We also grabbed a bottle of the recently-released Otago Saison to go.

Looks like we’re well stocked to beat this heat we’ve been experience lately. If August shapes up anything like July ended up being, I greatly look forward to the next set of adventures!

Sip Trips #185: Back to the Breweries

The last month or so, since the Sip Advisor last checked in, has been full of brewery visits and orders, as we look to celebrate the summer. Baby Sip is already up to six breweries visited and while I may not get him to his sister’s 54 different locations within her first year of life, we’ll try make a decent dent in that number. Here’s what we’ve been up to, of late:

We have put through a few orders with Granville Island Brewing, with our first one being the most noteworthy. We asked for a bottle each of the Amethyst Purple Sour with Guava, Hop Diffuser IPA and wanted Fumigator Smoked Doppelbock, but they accidentally sent us the Granvillator Doppelbock, which hadn’t even been released yet. To make up for it, they not only sent us the Smoked Doppelbock, but also a second bottle of the Granvillator Doppelbock. Doppelbocks are among Mrs. Sip’s favourite styles of beer, so she was very happy with how everything played out.

Bank Error

A couple weeks back, on a whim, we decided to visit Dageraad Brewing, in Burnaby. This was Toddler Sip’s very first brewery visit and with her sleeping over with Ma and Pa Sip, we decided to repeat the feat with Baby Sip. While there, we had glasses of their Rainshine for me and the Blonde for Mrs. Sip.

We arrived with time for only one drink, so when Dageraad closed, we noticed some of the Port Coquitlam breweries were opened an hour extra. Off we went to Taylight Brewing to share a sleeve of their Pina Colada Ale, followed by nearby Tinhouse Brewing, where we squeezed in a serving of their Hitchhikers Rye to the Galaxy Rye IPA. We hope to return to the area for a couple more first-time visits soon.

The next week, while recovering from my vasectomy (Cousin Sip now calls me the Snip Advisor!), we ventured out to the Delta breweries, stopping first at Four Winds Brewing. We really enjoyed their outdoor patio space and could only imagine what they would have done had their plans for an eatery been approved. Mrs. Sip had a can of their Velo Pale Ale, while I grabbed a four-pack of the Melange Tart Farmhouse Ale, opening one for the stay.

Beer Smiles

Next up, was our first time to Barnside Brewing, which has a wonderful outdoor area, perfect for these crazy coronavirus times. Mrs. Sip and I split two flights, allowing us to try almost the entire lineup offered by the brewery. The beers included: Honey Comb Pale Ale, Cranberry Tart Ale, Summer Days Farmhouse Saison, Ladner Clay IPA, Foggy Fields ISA, Crescent Island Brown, Oatmeal Stout (nitro), and Barrel Aged Oaked Brown.

This past weekend, we were out in Langley, so popped into Camp Brewing, again sharing two flights to try all they had available. The flights were comprised of: Lager, Pilsner, Copa Da Floresta Kiwi & Passionfruit Sour, Upstream Pale Ale, Mile Marker Foggy Pale Ale (loved this beer), Redwood Amber IPA, Dark Lager, and Mother Earth Oatmeal Brown Ale. To go, we also grabbed a four-pack of their Olde Camp Malt Liquor, which they tried to fashion after Olde English.

That wraps up a busy few weeks out and about. I hope all the dads out there had a fantastic Father’s Day. We celebrated by doing a beer tasting, with guests to Ma and Pa Sip’s place each bringing something to share with the group. It was a lot of fun and I was spoiled by Mrs. Sip and Ma and Pa Sip with treats to last quite some time!

Minnesota – The Bootleg

Each week, the Sip Advisor will alphabetically travel the United States, discovering the best each state has to offer in a variety of subjects. Today, Minnesota welcomes the Sip Advisor. The Land of 10,000 Lakes actually has many more, so at least they’re humble folk. Let’s see what the North Star State has going on:

Motto: “The star of the North” – Canada may have some objections to that…

Food: Hotdish is a Minnesota classic. These casseroles come in a variety of forms, but typically combine a starch, a meat, and vegetables, mixed with canned soup. A popular version uses tater tots, ground beef and cream of mushroom soup. Hotdish can even come served on a stick, with the soup used as a side dipping sauce.

Drink: Craft beer is big in Minnesota, with brewing in general having a long and storied history in the state. Companies such as Surly, Summit, and Schell’s are among the best today, with Schell’s being the second oldest family-owned brewery in the U.S., founded in 1860.

Hotdish

Site to See: For those who love to shop, a mecca of mall madness can be found in Bloomington. The Mall of America is the largest mall in the U.S., home to such attractions as the Nickelodeon Universe theme park, Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium, Crayola Experience and FlyOver America. Opened in 1992, the mall contains 520 stores and restaurants.

Street: Summit Avenue, in St. Paul, is notable for being the longest street of Victorian homes in America. National Historic Landmarks along the route, include the James J. Hill House, F. Scott Fitzgerald House and Frank B. Kellogg House. However, architect Frank Lloyd Wright and writer F. Scott Fitzgerald both disliked the area.

TV Show: Coach, starring Craig T. Nelson as Minnesota State University football coach, Hayden Fox, ran for nine seasons and exactly 200 episodes. The final two seasons were set in Florida, with Fox becoming the coach of an expansion NFL team, but it was revealed in the series finale, Fox retired and returned to Minnesota.

Movie: I’m a huge Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon fan, so among some tough competition, I have to go with Grumpy/Grumpier Old Men for this category. Set in Wabasha, feuding neighbours, Max Goldman and John Gustafson Jr., trade insults and pranks, while their respective son and daughter enter into a relationship together. The sequel sees everyone happily ever after, so perhaps the movie titles don’t fit.

Grumpy Old Men

Book/Author: It is generally accepted the Peanuts comic strip, created by Charles M. Schulz, is set in Minnesota. After all, Schulz was born in Minneapolis and some mentions during the comics run place memorable characters, such as Charlie Brown and Snoopy, there. Schulz retired on January 3, 2000, dying a month later of colon cancer.

Fictional Character: Minnesota is a hockey mad state; therefore, hockey legends with fill this category. First, the rough and tumble Hanson Brothers, from the classic film Slap Shot, are Minnesota-bred. Next, we have the Mighty Ducks minor hockey team, led by coach Gordon Bombay. Can you just imagine if these great players all united to form an all-state squad!?

Fictional City: Frostbite Falls is the hometown of Rocky J. Squirrel and Bullwinkle J. Moose. Based on the real-life International Falls (nicknamed the Icebox of the Nation due to its extremely cold temperatures), Frostbite Falls is where antagonists Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale are often trying to capture “Moose and Squirrel,” perhaps to make a hotdish.

Actor/Actress: Funnymen Chris Pratt and Vince Vaugh were born in Virginia and Minneapolis, respectively. Coincidentally, both have had roles in Jurassic Park films. Other notable stars from the state, include Judy Garland, Jessica Biel, Jessica Lange, Winona Ryder (born in Winona), and Seann William Scott.

Hanson Brothers

Song: Skyway, by the Replacements, is an ode to the Minneapolis Skyway System, a network of pedestrian footbridges, which allow folks to remain inside and safe from the elements for 11 miles and 80 city blocks (the longest continuous system in the world). The Minnesotan band’s song is about two lovers, one on the street and one within the Skyway System, who are unable to connect.

Band/Musician: Two icons of the music industry were born in Minnesota. Bob Dylan has been recognized as one of the most influential artists of all-time, earning such accolades as a Nobel Prize in Literature, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and induction into various Hall of Fames. Fellow Minnesotan, Prince, also enjoyed a very successful career, sadly passing away of an accidental fentanyl overdose, in 2016.

People: The Coen brothers, Joel and Ethan, were born in St. Louis Park and are among some of the most successful filmmakers in the industry. Their most notable movies include Fargo (set and filmed in Minnesota), No Country for Old Men and True Grit, all of which were nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, with No Country for Old Men taking home the prize.

Animal: Not only was a dog (Duke) elected mayor of small town Cormorant Village, but the canine was re-elected three more times, serving for a total of four years, before retiring. Duke’s human deputy mayor, said the canine “hangs out at the local pub and makes sure everything is running.”

Duke the Mayor

Invention: Frank C. Mars founded Mars Inc., in 1911, in Minneapolis. His famous chocolate bar creations included the Milky Way, Snickers and Three Musketeers. His son, Forrest Mars Sr., later developed the Mars bar and M&M’s candies, while estranged from his father. He returned to the fold, when he inherited Mars Inc. and merged it with his own company.

Crime: I had this article all written up and ready to go… then the murder of George Floyd occurred and a rewrite was needed. Floyd’s death, at the hands of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin and his colleagues, has resulted in Black Lives Matter protests across the country and abroad, seeking reforms on policing and highlighting racial inequalities. Floyd was 46 and is survived by five children.

Law: In Minnesota, nursing homes and senior care facilities may only stage games of bingo twice per week. Yeah, that will keep the residents in line!

Sports Team: Minnesota has one team in each of the Big 4 sports leagues. Minneapolis is home to three of those clubs, the Vikings (NFL), Twins (MLB) and Timberwolves (NBA), while the Wild (NHL) play in St. Paul. The defunct North Stars (NHL), had played in Bloomington from 1967 to 1993, but were relocated to Dallas, Texas.

Bingo

Athlete: Minnesota has long been a breeding ground for professional wrestlers. Such notable stars from the past, include Verne Gagne (whose American Wrestling Association was based in Minneapolis), Bob Backlund, Bronko Nagurski, Curt Hennig (aka Mr. Perfect), the Road Warriors, Nikita Koloff, Barry Darsow, Rick Rude, Jesse Ventura (former governor of Minnesota), and Sean Waltman (aka X-Pac).

Famous Home: The Glensheen Historic Estate, in Duluth, is an expansive property, operated by the University of Minnesota Duluth. Famous for its architectural design, the mansion was the site of a grizzly double murder of owner Elisabeth Congdon and her nurse, at the hands of Congdon’s adopted daughter’s husband. Tours of the estate are available, but questions about the murders can only be asked afterwards.

Urban Legend: Although there’s a drunken prankster, Ola Värmlänning, among Minnesota folklore, I can’t find much info about the character, so we’ll go with the Kensington Runestone in this category. The Runestone, which details the experiences of 14th century Scandinavian explorers, has been the subject of much debate over its authenticity. Most scholars have debunked the artifact as a hoax, but it remains on display at the Runestone Museum, in Alexandria.

Museum: Spam, the canned pork product, was invented in Minnesota. Therefore, the state is home to the Spam Museum, located in Austin. Visitors are offered spamples from spambassadors, with a highlight of the museum documenting Spam’s importance during World War II. Austin also celebrated Spamarama annually, from 1978 to 2007, with the event returning in 2019. The festival featured a Spam cook-off competition.

Spam

Firsts: The University of Minnesota has been responsible for many major medical developments. These include the first open heart surgery, as well as the first bone marrow, kidney and pancreas transplants in the U.S. The world-renowned Mayo Clinic is also a Minnesota institution, known for its treatment of patients and research programs, leading to many medical innovations.

Company: General Mills, makers of popular cereals such as Cheerios, Trix, Cocoa Puffs, Lucky Charms, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and Golden Grahams, is headquartered in Golden Valley. Other General Mills brands include Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Chex Mix, Hamburger Helper, and Old El Paso. Two more notable companies based in Minnesota are retailer giants Target and Best Buy.

Events: The Miracle on Ice, which saw the U.S. defeat the powerhouse Soviet Union (and later capture the hockey gold medal) at the 1980 Winter Olympics, was accomplished by a team loaded with University of Minnesota players and led by the program’s coach, Herb Brooks. The victory was iconic during the Cold War era and made all the more memorable by commentator Al Michaels call: “Do you believe in miracles?!”

Miscellaneous: Minnesotans must enjoy their leisure time, having invented a number of objects for fun on your own and with friends. These items include snowmobiles, water skis, rollerblades, the game Twister, Nerf balls, and Tonka Trucks.

The Bootleg

The Bootleg

  • 1.5 oz Vodka, Gin or Rum
  • 3 oz Bootleg Mix (recipe below)
  • Top with Club Soda
  • Garnish with Mint

The Bootleg Batch

  • Bootleg Mix (Combined in Blender)
  • 1 Can Frozen Lemonade
  • 1 Can Frozen Limeade
  • 1/2 Cup Mint Leaves
  • 1/2 Cup Simple Syrup

The Bootleg is a country club favourite in Minnesota. Some say the recipe first appeared during prohibition, used to mask the taste of alcohol. This drink was very good, which I mixed up for friends and family to enjoy poolside on a warm day. Anything is better than the alternative Minnesota cocktail of choice, the Beertini/Midwest Martini, which combines lager beer with green olives and brine.

Sip Trips #184: Getting Back to Normal

We’re slowly returning to normal here and around the world, as awkward as things still are. The Sip Family hit the ground running this past weekend, with a variety of activities, but first, here’s how we survived the latter portion of self-isolation during the pandemic:

Trips to breweries, wineries and liquor stores helped with getting out of the house and gathering supplies for all the time spent cooped up. Among the items we picked up was the All Together IPA from ABC Brewing (a beer that was made around the world, in support of hospitality professionals); a couple bottles of pink Pinot Gris from Chaberton Winery; and Rosés from Monster Vineyards and Dirty Laundry Vineyards, found at BC Liquor Stores. We also joined ABC Brewing for a round of online trivia one night, which tested our brain functions and also made us feel part of a community again.

Pub Trivia

As some of the orders we’ve been living by were set to be lifted, Mrs. Sip visited 33 Acres Brewing, where she picked up packs of their Sunshine French Blanche and Fluffy Cloud IPA. A later stop into a BC Liquor Store by me, netted tall can four-packs of Cannery Okanagan Daze Apricot & Pinot Gris Wheat Ale and Russell Peach & Apricot Hefeweizen. So, to put it lightly, we’ve been well set for most of this very interesting time in our lives.

Last Friday, we emerged from our cocoon, enjoying our first date night since Baby Sip 2.0 was born, by attending Rick Bronson’s House of Comedy in New West, with feature comic, Dino Archie. We were offered free tickets to the show, thanks to being members of the venue’s mailing list, with the place operating at 25 per cent of its normal seating capacity. We really enjoyed the performance, although it felt taboo to be out and about with strangers. We also noticed interactions between comedians and the audience were more awkward than usual, as if people forgot how to converse with each other. While there, Mrs. Sip had a Cucumber Mint Mojito and I had the Sick Burn (El Tequileno Reposado, St. George Green Chili Vodka, Lime Juice, Agave Syrup), which was very good. We also split an order of their Mac & Cheese Bites.

The next day, we had a reservation for Backyard Vineyards in Langley, which was practicing social distancing outdoors, with picnic tables well spaced out. We ordered a couple bottles of wine, including their Rosé and Pinot Gris, accompanied by two charcuterie platters. It was a very nice setting, as Toddler Sip could play, while everyone else was able to relax a little.

Wine Kids

The weekend wrapped up with us meeting friends at Frankie G’s Pub in the Queensborough area. It was great to be at a bar again, the first for Baby Sip, at two months old. By comparison, the original (OG) Baby Sip was at a bar two weeks after her birth. My meal of the Frankie G’s Burger – which was delicious – was paired with a couple Bomber Park Life Passion Fruit Ales.

So, after our first weekend out in months, I would say it will take some time to feel at ease with attending events, dining out and getting together with friends. I think people that have really shut themselves off from the world will struggle quite a bit in getting back to their normal routines and having an understanding for those that are already there. Respect should be applied in all situations. If you’re ready, and based on the advice of the Provincial Health Officer, you should be able to do these things without feeling bad. Same goes for those that would rather not. So long as people aren’t trying to push their agendas on others, we can all get along.

Sip Trips #181: Tidings of Joy

The last few weeks of December have been filled with a bunch of events, usually geared around Christmas and family time together. Here’s what we’ve been up to during the marathon holiday season:

Earlier this month, Mrs. Sip and I attended the Vancouver Canucks vs. Toronto Maple Leafs contest, which may be the closest I ever come to a playoff atmosphere live. I had also circled this game on the calendar, as the perfect opportunity to use my member gift card, of which I used nearly all of the $50 total on two tasty 24oz Postmark Juicy Pale Ales and a BLT from the Bacon food stand, which really hit the spot. Sadly, this is the first time we’ve attended this rivalry meeting where the Canucks lost, but the night was still fun.

TML

A couple nights later, we were out at Glow: Abbotsford, which had the same food menu as the Vancouver location, but a better selection of beers. I went with a Parallel 49 Filthy Dirty IPA to pair with my Buffalo Chicken Fries and half Philly Cheesesteak (split with Ma Sip). The fries were a little too spicy for my liking, but the meal overall was good. We finished off with a bucket of Mini Donuts to compliment everything. My Fried Chicken Burger, enjoyed when we revisited Glow: Vancouver later in the month was tremendous.

That weekend, while in the area to do the Vancouver Aquarium and Stanley Park Christmas Train, Mrs. Sip and I visited Stanley Park Brewing. My Fried Chicken and Waffles was perhaps the best serving I’ve ever had of this favoured dish. Meanwhile, my Big Jan IPA paired very well with the meal. Following the train, we enjoyed our annual family dinner at White Spot, where I enjoyed a few glasses of Granville Island Lions Winter Ale from a pitcher ordered for the table.

Christmas Day brought a number of liquor-themed gifts, including Cocktail Balls, Orgeat Syrup, a bomber of Steamworks Salted Chocolate Porter and mini bottle of Ole Smokey Moonshine Butter Pecan from Mrs. Sip. From the Sip-in-Laws, I also received a $50 gift card to Liquor Depot, which I can’t wait to use and look forward to a different selection than that of BC Liquor Stores, which I’ve become accustomed to.

TP.jpg

For our family’s Christmas dinner, I concocted a handful of cocktails to serve. These included the Jingle Juice (Gin, Club Soda, Cranberry-Lemonade Juice, Lemon Juice); Mele Kalikimaka (Captain Morgan Gingerbread Spiced Rum, Pineapple Juice, Lime Juice); Yule Mule (Candy Cane Vodka, Ginger Beer, Lime Juice); Snowflake (Tarantula Azul Tequila, Sprite Winter Spiced Cranberry, Coconut Flakes); and Winter Comfort Shooter (Jack Daniel’s Winter Jack and Southern Comfort Gingerbread). Once again, the cocktails went over really well with the crew.

On Boxing Day, we met up with friends for a beer at the newly-opened Five Roads Brewing. I ordered the Christmas Staycation Red IPA (collab with Farm Country and Camp), to go along with a Margherita Pizza shared with Mrs. Sip. This was Baby Sip’s 80th brewery visited, a stat which I’m very proud of!

What a way to end the year and the decade, as well. Our New Year’s Eve will be spent with a quiet night in and we greatly look forward to what 2020 has to offer including a calendar that is quickly filling up and a baby boy on the way!

Sip Trips #180: Liquid Leavenworth

Last week, the Sip Family celebrated Ma Sip’s birthday with a getaway to Leavenworth, Washington. The adorable Bavarian-themed town was the perfect site for a weekend away, as we enjoyed their annual Christmas Lighting Festival, as well as other activities the area has to offer. Here’s what we got up to over a busy few days:

As we approached Leavenworth, we stopped for lunch at the ’59er Diner, where I ordered a Dirty Face Amber Ale from Icicle Brewing, to go along with my BLT and Curly Fries. This is one of my all-time favourite diner meals and an easy choice whenever I spot it on a menu.

Curly Fries

After checking into our accommodation at the Icicle Village Resort, we hit the local Safeway to stock up on provisions for the stay. I had a tough choice for my weekend beers, as every mixed case was very IPA heavy. I felt for those who don’t like hoppy beers, as nearly every set was comprised of four different IPA variations. I settled on the Red Hook Hoppy Hook Pack (Wintershook Hoppy Brown Ale, Big Ballard Imperial IPA, Atomic Robot IPA, Bicoastal IPA) because it included a brown ale, so at least there was some style variety. I also snagged bottles of Sailor Jerry’s Spiced Rum (to be enjoyed there) and Captain Morgan Gingerbread Spiced Rum (to be brought home). Lastly, I picked up a bottle of Sprite Winter Spiced Cranberry, which was a new mixer find for me.

On Friday, we visited the Leavenworth Reindeer Farm, where we had a fantastic experience learning about and meeting the reindeer. Following the farm, we stopped into Blue Spirits Distilling, where I enjoyed the All Bets Are Off cocktail (lime tequila, grapefruit juice, margarita mix, triple sec, cola syrup, smoked). Pa Sip even had the honour of smoking my cocktail for me!

After returning Mrs. and Toddler Sip to the Icicle Inn for naps, Ma and Pa Sip and I journeyed back to the town hub for drinks at the Rhein Haus. Here, I had half liter fills of the Ninkasi Sleigh’R Winter Ale and Paulaner Oktoberfest Marzen. Ma Sip and I also shared an order of Currywurst und Fries and the entire visit was great with very fast service. I love drinking outdoors, warmed by fire and you can’t beat a setting like the Rhein Haus offers.

beer meals

Saturday morning was spent at Icicle Brewing, again taking advantage of an outdoor table. As I was split between two beer options, Mrs. Sip suggested I order both and avoid having to lineup again on what would surely be a busy day for the brewery, given the tour buses coming into town for the lighting ceremony. My two choices were the Dark Persuasion Stout (German-cake flavoured) and the German-Style Hefeweizen, which was a limited release. Over the course of our beverages, we also indulged in two Beer Pretzels that really hit the spot.

On our way home, we stopped at Walmart for some more shopping. I bought a bottle of Tarantula Azul Tequila. The interesting blue liquor will make a great addition to my collection and allow me the opportunity to create blue tequila-based cocktails without the use of Blue Curacao.

We’re now back home for the sprint towards Christmas. I’ll never forget (hopefully!) Toddler Sip’s first experience in snow and the joy she shared with us as we pulled her around in a sled. It was a wonderful time away in a very unique and special place.