Beer of the Week #20 – Bridge Bourbon Blood Orange Wheat Ale

If you’re looking to “enjoy the deep south way up north”, then this Bridge Brewing release may be the perfect fit for you. I remember when I first saw it on menus a couple years ago, I had to order a few pints and satisfy my curiosity.

The Bourbon Blood Orange Wheat Ale is a good beer that can be enjoyed year round, but is especially perfect on a hot summer day. The 5.5% ABV, 20 IBUs beverage combines many of the Sip Advisor’s favourite alcohol elements, including bourbon, wheat beers, and fruit.

Bridge Bourbon Blood Orange Wheat Ale

Originally brewed solely for Tap & Barrel locations, the beer has grown from a seasonal release to being part of Bridge’s year round lineup. Given its popularity and availability, I’m surprised I didn’t get around to profiling it during last year’s BC Beer Baron project.

The product can be found in bomber-sized bottles and tall cans. I also recently spotted it in a variety six-pack from Bridge, which included two bottles each of the Bourbon Blood Orange, North Shore Pale Ale and Hopilano IPA.

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Beer of the Week #19 – Big Rock Kiwi Fruited Blonde Ale

Our recent travels with the Sip Syndicate led us to Big Rock Brewing’s Urban Eatery, where I selected this off-menu product. Given what I’ve seen so far this year, kiwi may be the experimental flavour of 2017 for BC breweries.

Despite not being my usual go-to beer style, I picked the Kiwi Fruited Blonde Ale because it was unique and something I had not tried before from the brewery. I was rewarded with a refreshing drink that went down easy and had a light kiwi tartness.

Big Rock Kiwi Fruited Blonde Ale

At 5.2% ABV and 30 IBUs, this beverage is another hit coming from the BC-based portion of Big Rock’s operations. Perfect to go along with a beer that features the kiwi bird on its bottle, the brew uses Southern Hemisphere Topaz Hops.

Available only in British Columbia, this limited edition beer (advertised as “an adventure unto itself”) can be found at the brewery’s Vancouver tap house. It can also be located in bomber-sized bottles at a liquor store near you.

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Beer of the Week #18 – Bomber Superpest Double IPA

This past weekend, the Sip Alliance took to the streets of East Vancouver for the 2nd annual East Van Brewery Open House. Among our stops, was Bomber Brewing, where I sat down to a pint of this beer.

The Superpest Double IPA was very enjoyable. The edition I had was infused with pomegranate, turning up the recipe a couple notches. At 7.5% ABV and 80 IBUs, the beverage was far from an annoyance.

Bomber Superpest Double IPA

This seasonal release is available on tap at the brewery’s tasting room and in bomber-sized bottles. The Superpest took home a bronze medal at the 2014 BC Beer Awards in the Imperial IPA category.

I wish I’d kept up on Bomber’s Monday movie lineup, as April featured such hockey classics as Slapshot, Goon and Youngblood. Just in time for NHL playoff season, I would have loved to attend.

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Beer of the Week #17 – Phillips Dazed & Co-Brewed East Coast IPA

Mrs. Sip and I recently met members of the Sip Syndicate at Tap & Barrel in Vancouver’s Olympic Village. There, we enjoyed a couple drinks, with this Phillips Brewing menu item popping off the page for the Sip Advisor.

The Phillips Dazed & Co-Brewed East Coast IPA was really good with tropical notes and a sweeter profile. The 6.2% ABV beverage had me reconsidering my steadfast support of West Coast IPAs. I think there’s plenty of room for all styles under my umbrella.

Phillips Dazed & Co-Brewed East Coast IPA

The Co-Brewed portion of this beer’s name refers to Tap & Barrel’s involvement with the collaboration. Launched in March, this is the first of five beers that will be released at the restaurant’s locations to commemorate their fifth anniversary.

I hope Phillips plans on having this beer on hand when they do their Movies Under the Maltworks on May 27. After all, they will be featuring Dazed & Confused as their first film of the 2017 viewing season.

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Sip Trips #100: Easter Eggs (Part 2)

Part one of our Easter long weekend expedition to Las Vegas can be found here

Day three of our trip began with us finally buying some show tickets. With the task of having to redeem our seats – starting at Bally’s and then travelling all the way to the Luxor (Blue Man Group), before traversing nearly the entire strip and hitting Treasure Island (Cirque du Soleil: Mystère), then finally returning to The Linq… all while Mrs. Sip relaxed poolside – I knew I needed some good stiff drinks for the trek.

That was achieved by popping into the Fuel Bar, using one of their 2-for-1 drink coupons. For only $14, I was able to get two very strong Melon Mules, while enjoying the skilled flair bartenders. To say I set out on my expedition feeling good and fuzzy, would be an understatement!

Shut Up Liver

My arduous two-hour journey complete – to be fair, I actually like doing these missions… just don’t let Mrs. Sip know – I collected Mrs. Sip from the pool and we made our way to Hyde Lounge for drinks and the Bellagio fountains. I had wanted to order their Smore cocktail, but they were out of the Graham cracker rim. I settled for the Love Unit (Vodka, Vanilla Vodka, Thai Basil, Lime, Grapefruit, and Bell Pepper Juices), which was pretty good. I would also like to try their Mexican Hot Coffee in the future.

From there, it was off to see the Blue Man Group at the Luxor. This show was non-step energy and entertainment. I totally blue myself! Following the spectacle, we were given 2-for-1 drink coupons at the Centra bar, where we were able to mix and match some cocktails. I ended up with their Smoked Salt Margarita and Hrdara, which featured Jameson Whiskey.

Not content to end the night, we ventured to New York New York’s The Chocolate Bar, which had caught our eye a couple nights earlier. My beverage of choice was the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Martini (Castries Peanut Butter Rum, 360 Chocolate Vodka, Marie Brizard Chocolate Liqueur), which was every bit as decadent as it sounds.

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

After a slow start to the next day, we took advantage of the Yard House’s weekday happy hour and grabbed a set of cheap appies: Buffalo Boneless Wings, California Roll, and Wisconsin Fried Cheese Curds. To wash down all the delicious nibbles, I ordered a pint of the Ninkasi Tricerahops, which lived up to its awesome name.

Next up was our Cirque du Soleil: Mystère show, which combined a nice mix of acrobatics and comedy. Forgive me for going on a little rant, but I have to call out the loser who sat in front of us at the show. First, his family showed up after the opening act and then he proceeded to constantly turn his phone on and off throughout the show, even sending photos via messaging. The kicker was that he then left just minutes before the show was over, causing yet another disturbance. The phone constantly lighting up was so distracting and I wish Cirque would just outright ban the use of them at their presentations. Okay… breathe.

Not letting some asshole ruin our night, on our way back from the show, we passed The Piano Bar at Harrah’s. Noticing that their outside patio was open, we decided to watch some of the dueling pianos. I ended up ordering a bottle of Ballast Point IPA for a whopping $9, but at least I can justify the charge as part of being entertained.

Piano Lesson

Having always wanted to try eating at In-N-Out Burger and in need of a midnight snack, Mrs. Sip and I visited the location in the Linq’s Promenade area. We thought the burgers were decent and Mrs. Sip enjoyed a Chocolate Milkshake (seriously, she’s really into milkshakes and ice cream lately), but I found the name of the burger joint does give me some reservations.

On our last day, we decided to revisit our top choices from the trip. First, after enjoying the drinks and atmosphere so much, we returned to the Fuel Bar for a pair of Lynchburg Lemonades that made for a good day drunk buzz. For lunch, we revisited the PBR Rock Bar to repeat our usual menu selections, while also trying their House Made Chili, which was a very nice addition.

After a long walk along the strip, we popped into AmeriCAN for one last beverage. While I like their concept of offering largely canned craft beers, I think they will have to make some changes to survive in the uber competitive market. For example, there is no happy hour to speak of. Also, they don’t even offer guests water, instead trying to charge them $3 for a bottle. That is a cardinal sin in the Sip Advisor’s books. After being out of my first few choices, I selected the Joseph James Weize Guy Hefeweizen, which was quite refreshing, especially after our extensive walk in the Vegas sun.

That wrapped another amazing trip to Sin City. Given this is likely the last time Mrs. Sip and I will get to enjoy the adult Disneyland prior to kids arriving, I think we went out with a bang!

Sip Trips #99: Easter Eggs (Part 1)

The Easter long weekend found Mrs. Sip and me back in Las Vegas for another wonderful stay on the strip. With Mrs. Sip being pregnant, things are a little different than other vacations, but we still managed to have a ton of fun, despite her not being able to imbibe like the Sip Advisor.

This journey started with our Lyft driver offering to take us to the Total Wine store to pick up supplies. Not wanting to make her regret her very generous offer, I raced around the store grabbing some provisions, such as a bottle of Bacardi Oakheart Spiced Rum and a six-pack of Sierra Nevada Tropical Torpedo Tropical IPA. Mrs. Sip bought a couple non-alcoholic items, but I don’t think either the beers or wine were much of a hit with her.

Non-Alcoholic-Vodka

After dropping off our luggage and buying some walking drinks (Coconut Water for the well-behaved Mrs. Sip), we decided to go for lunch at what has become our traditional first meal landing spot: the PBR Rock Bar. We promptly ordered our favourite dishes in the Doritos Crusted Mac N Cheese for Mrs. Sip and Bucking Bull Fries for moi. Mrs. Sip added a plate of their Cornbread Muffins, just to spice things up.

Given we had stayed up all night, driving from Vancouver to Seattle to fly out early Friday morning, both of us were in the need of a little nap. Staying at The Linq, this was easier said than done, given our room looked out onto the hotel pool and made sleeping difficult throughout the stay, thanks to the 9am-6pm thumping music. I’d stay at the resort again, but request a room as far away from the pool as possible.

Once we did get some rest in, we returned to the strip at night, capitalizing on the free burger coupons we were given in February for the Shake Shack. We both went with the Shack Burger option and split a serving of their Bacon BBQ Cheddar Fries. To drink, I tried the Shackmeister Pale Ale, while Mrs. Sip satisfied her frozen dessert craving with a Peanut Butter Chocolate Shake.

cats-with-milkshake

We wrapped up the night sitting outside the Bar at Times Square, enjoying the dueling pianos with a drink (at least for the Sip Advisor), before Mrs. Sip needed to catch up on some more sleep.

The next morning, it was time to see what all the fuss and thumping was about at the hotel pool. In between tanning, cooling off and people watching, I did hit the bar. I elected to try the Cucumber Kick cocktail (Sauza Cucumber Chili Tequila, Watermelon-Cucumber Juice, Lime, Cucumbers), which was pretty tasty. I did get upsold to the $24 souvenir glass version, which did come in handy for later walks with my previously-purchased supplies.

For dinner, we made our way to the Caesar’s Palace Forum Shops and put our names in at The Cheesecake Factory. With only a short wait to endure, we were quickly sat down. I really enjoyed my Southern Fried Chicken Sliders, paired with a Great Basin Icky IPA, while Mrs. Sip went with the Avocado Toast. The meals provided a decent amount of leftovers, which we were actually able to take away for a change, as The Linq has very rare fridges in their rooms.

Back in the room for the night and halfway through our vacation, this seems like a good point to wrap up part one of our trip summary. Join us tomorrow for part two, highlighted by shows and sips!

Beer of the Week #16 – Whistler Function Junction Northwest Pale Ale

While on a recent beer shopping expedition, looking for new and interesting products, I picked up a tall can of this Whistler Brewing release. The latest from the brewery piqued my interest with its lightness and typically enticing artwork.

The Function Junction Northwest Pale Ale was a solid drink, featuring seven different hop varieties, as well as four different malts. The 4.8% ABV (a number I’ve come across a few times lately), 38 IBUs beverage was fairly balanced and certainly refreshing.

Whistler Function Junction Northwest Pale Ale

Available exclusively at BC Liquor Stores in 500ml tall can form, the beer is priced at only $1.99 (before tax and deposit), for a limited time. If you’re looking for something that’s easy to have a few of, without losing your senses, this would be an ideal choice.

Function Junction is the area of Whistler that is home to the company’s brewery and tasting room. Whistler was recently joined by Coast Mountain Brewing in the neighbourhood, which suggests that a crawl should be organized shortly.

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