Sip Trips #119 – Feelin’ Festive

After a week filled with three Vancouver Canucks games to start the month, Mrs. Sip and I got a bit of a respite to recharge the hockey batteries (seriously, my voice was shot after yelling at every Toronto player and fan I could) with the team on a brief road trip. With the gap between games, we focused our attention on holiday activities around the Lower Mainland. Here’s what we got up to:

On Friday night, we had a few errands to run in South Vancouver, so decided to mix a little pleasure into the business. Popping into Dogwood Brewing for the first time, we enjoyed a flight of their brews, including the IPA, Barrel-Aged Stout, London Fog, and Winter Spice. The space was nice and cozy and well-decorated for Christmas. This was Baby Sip’s second craft brewery visit and she even woke up long enough to see the place this time around.

Errands

The next day, we ventured to Langley for the Glow Christmas Light Gardens and Market. With food trucks outside and a fantastic visual set-up inside the facility’s greenhouse, we spent over two hours at the attraction. Best of all, beer, wine and a couple cocktails could be had as you explored the winter wonderland. I had servings of Trading Post Brewing’s Smugglers Trail Rye Amber Ale and Three Bears Breakfast Stout, which were both available for only $5. Mrs. Sip started with a glass of white wine and later had a Baileys Irish Cream hot chocolate.

Tickets to Glow start at $20 for adults if ordered online ($25 at the door) and I would definitely recommend the earliest timeslot possible, as the parking lot and facility fill up quickly, causing long lines to get in later in the evening. Mrs. Sip still argues that any true European-based Christmas Market doesn’t cost money to get into, but that logic doesn’t seem to apply in this area of the world.

Following work on Monday, Mrs. Sip and I met at the Vancouver Christmas Market. As I’ve written before, if we didn’t get free tickets each year, thanks to Mrs. Sip’s theatre subscription, I’m not sure I would make the effort to attend. That said, we had a pretty good time, joined by another couple for some of our visit. The move from outside the Queen Elizabeth Theatre to Jack Poole Plaze has definitely opened up the place, but going on a weeknight helped too with a lighter crowd.

Santa's Lap

As is the norm for the Market, it didn’t take long to blow through the $50 we had taken out in cash for the event. For drinks, Mrs. Sip had a couple cups of Mulled Wine, while I had glasses of Erdinger Wheat and Dunkel brews. As for food, we split a Cheese Pretzel and Parmesan and Garlic Hurricane Potatoes which were both delicious. A highlight for us was chatting with the Persephone Brewing team, who were offering samples of five different beers (Black Lager, Pale Ale, IPA, Pilsner, and Golden Ale). Joining them was Wild Goose Winery and Okanagan Spirits, where I tasted their Bourbon, Gin, and Pear Brandy.

This weekend, it’s back to the rink for a couple NHL games, while also fitting in as much yuletide cheer as possible. Lather, rinse, repeat!

Advertisements

Beer of the Week #45 – Dogwood London Fog

On one of my many “research” jaunts to the liquor store, I came across this Dogwood Brewing release that instantly jumped out at me as unique. Upon checking out the product more thoroughly, I knew I had to at least try it.

The London Fog (the nickname of an Earl Grey Latte) is of the session ale variety. This seasonal/specialty brew is made with organic Earl Grey tea and French vanilla. When tasting it, my mind expected a chocolate finish to follow the flavours and was tricked when a beer aftertaste came instead.

Dogwood London Fog

My only complaint with the beer – other than the trickery it played with my mind – is its low alcohol content, but that’s merely a personal preference. As Mrs. Sip points out, the 4% ABV (15 IBUs) translates to less calories (approx. 120), which can be a big deal for some drinkers.

The beer is only available at select locations. Thankfully, Dogwood has provided a list of those spots on their website. I went straight to their tasting room for mine, my first visit to the South Vancouver location.

For more Beer of the Week articles, please visit our main page…

Sip Trips #118: Pucks and Parties

This week has been a busy one as the Christmas season ramps up and Mrs. Sip and I have three Vancouver Canucks games on the schedule to attend. Thank god for our grandparent babysitters! Let’s get right to the action:

Late last week, with Ma and Pa Sip over, we grabbed dinner at the new Johnny Rockets location in Downtown Vancouver. I had their Original burger, which was pretty good. What I liked best was their half fries/half rings, allowing eaters to enjoy both side dishes. More restaurants need to adopt this concept. While we didn’t order them, the chain also offers a number of tasty milkshake options. It’s always good to have a reason to go back.

Close Enough Cat.jpg

On Friday, Mrs. Sip and I had our first Christmas party of the season, through her office. The meal took place at Piva Modern Italian Restaurant, where we tried a number of great menu items. For appies, I particularly liked the Polenta Fries, while my main course of Duck & Fig Pizza was terrific. The meal provided a perfect balance of sweet and savoury and while Mrs. Sip’s Prosciutto Pizza was good, we were both raving about my selection.  For beverages, I enjoyed the Terra Saison and Red Pilsner, both from Steel & Oak Brewing, and for dessert, I tried the Bagpipes in my Ferrari (Glenmorangie, Disaronno, smoke and oak bitters), which was a solid nightcap.

The next day, we had our first Canucks game of the week and this is one we’ve had circled for some time. With the dastardly Toronto Maple Leafs in town, I swapped some of our other half-season tickets in order to attend this game. With a 2-1 victory for the home side, Mrs. Sip and I enjoyed servings of Shock Top Wheat Ale and Goose Island Honkers Ale throughout the game, which helped with the intensity and anxiety of the matchup.

The weekend wrapped with our annual family visit to the Bright Nights in Stanley Park and Christmas Train. This was Baby Sip’s first time riding the Christmas Train, although we did take her on the Halloween Train when she was only just over a month old. As is tradition, we followed the park visit with dinner at the nearby White Spot location. Here, Cousin Sip, her husband, Sis-in-Law Sip and I split a couple pitchers of Granville Island Winter Ale, while I ordered my usual Legendary Burger. The two pair quite nicely with each other and made for a delicious meal.

Man Sized Mug

Lastly, on Tuesday, we celebrate Ma Sip’s birthday at The Keg. I, once again, selected the Prime Rib Sliders with side of fries for my meal, which was very good. Unfortunately, Mrs. Sip and I had to eat fast to get to another Canucks game, as food took a while to be served thanks to the kitchen being backed up by a private party. My Sliders were only $13 during happy hour, down from their usual $18 price tag. For dessert, Ma Sip saved her slice of wonderful Billy Miner Pie for Mrs. Sip and I, which we consumed in quick order following yet another Canucks triumph.

The weekend is full of scheduled activities and doesn’t let up at all. ‘Tis the season, after all!

Beer of the Week #44 – Steel & Oak Terra Saison

At Piva Modern Italian Restaurant in New Westminster to celebrate Mrs. Sip’s work Christmas party, I selected this Steel & Oak Brewing beverage from their menu. It paired quite well with my delicious Duck & Fig Pizza.

The Terra Saison was very tasty and just what I was hoping for with my first drink of the night. The 5.8% ABV brew is made with turmeric, ginger root, white peppercorns and star anise and comes in a 500ml bottle, good for two healthy servings of suds.

Steel & Oak Terra Saison

The Terra can be found at private liquor stores around Greater Vancouver. The release was the first of Steel & Oak’s Brewers Series. Next up is the Secretariat, a guava-conditioned saison, hitting store shelves and the brewery’s tasting room in 2018.

With Piva located in Steel & Oak’s neck of the woods (where the brewery is the only one New West has to offer), it was only natural their beers would show up on the menu. I also had the Red Pilsner during dinner.

For more Beer of the Week articles, please visit our main page…

Beer of the Week #43 – Parallel 49 Trash Panda Hazy IPA

Looking for a beer to feature for this week’s article, I popped into a nearby BC Liquor Stores location to do some research. There, this Parallel 49 Brewing product caught my attention and was an easy choice for profiling.

The Trash Panda Hazy IPA is a northeast style IPA that is a definite hit with the Sip Advisor. Drinkers can expect flavours of melon, tropical fruit and pear from the 5.5% ABV, 55 IBUs beverage. The IPA is more juice-based and less bitter than it’s brethren.

Parallel 49 Trash Panda Hazy IPA.png

A trash panda, of course, is better known as a racoon. Parallel 49 has some of the best label art in the province and that tradition continues here with a great illustration of racoon rifling through garbage cans for whatever it can scavenge.

Available in canned six-packs at various liquor stores, this newest addition to Parallel 49’s year round lineup will delight like a racoon tipping over someone’s trash bins to find a bevy cornucopia of discarded leftovers.

For more Beer of the Week articles, please visit our main page…

Beer of the Week #42 – Dageraad Entropy No. 5

Recently, Mrs. Sip and I – with Baby Sip in tow – finally made the trek out to Burnaby to visit Dageraad Brewing’s tasting room. There, after a flight of their Belgian-themed beers, I purchased a bottle of this unique release.

The Entropy No. 5 is a Gin Barrel-Aged Blonde IPA and was totally worth the $12 investment. At 8% ABV, this beverage is on the imperial/stronger side, but given it’s rarity and popularity, I was very lucky to get my hands on the very limited edition.

Dageraad Entropy No. 5.jpg

This beer is the fifth entry in the Entropy Series, which features barrel-aged brews of varying styles. Their Smoke & Wood-Aged Beer won a gold medal at the 2016 BC Beer Awards and earned an honourable mention at the 2017 event.

Mrs. Sip and I were under the impression that I snagged one of the few remaining bottles of this brew (only 19 cases were produced). I’m not sure if little sippers will be able to find the 750ml serving, but it’s worth a look.

For more Beer of the Week articles, please visit our main page…

Mixer Mania #42 – Advent Amazement

Mrs. Sip has long been a tea drinker. The last couple years, she received tea advent calendars, which previously I didn’t know existed. With Christmas right around the corner, I thought it would be a good time to look at other advent calendars that differ from your typical chocolate ones:

Make-Up/Beauty

There are numerous cosmetic advent calendars on the market. Every company you can think of seems to have put a collection together, with varying prices. Some focus on nails, others on the face. Beauty has never really been a concern for the Sip Advisor, as you can’t improve on perfection.

Cheese

The world’s first cheese advent calendar hit store shelves this year, after a blogger created her own in 2016 and the concept went viral. For only 8-pounds, fromage-aholics can find this product at ASDA stores across the UK. Not sure if similar products can be found in other countries.

Cheese Emergency

Jewellery/Charm Bracelet

Ma Sip loves her charm bracelets. So, when I came across an advent calendar version, which gave you the bracelet and then 24 holiday-themed charms over the Christmas season, I was thrilled… and Ma Sip was even more so.

Fly Fishing

A tackle box already kind of looks like an advent calendar, so why not release one for the Christmas season, with a lure for each day. One issue here, is that you’re not likely to head out each day of the calendar for a fishing expedition and to try your new treat.

Cookbook

While I like the concept of this advent calendar, you’re basically saying to the person you give this to: “Hey, why don’t you make me something different every day, through on of the busiest times of the year?” I don’t see that flying at the Sip Advisor headquarters.

Toys

For kids and kidults alike, come advent calendars from Play-Doh, Lego and Playmobil. Parents will just have to be vigilant that the toys aren’t consumed like traditional chocolates.

Eating Play-Doh

Craft Beer

While craft beer advent calendars can be found in most liquor stores, I’ll never forget Mrs. Sip personally making me one, comprised of 24 bomber bottles. Pulling it all together at the last minute – as she’s prone to do – the poor girl had to carry heavy boxes all around Vancouver. Her efforts paid off nicely, though!

Wine/Liquors

Similar to craft beer, there are wine, bubbly a liquor sets out there, typically featuring 24 mini bottles of the preferred subject matter. One particular Scotch advent calendar features rare whiskeys from around the world, setting buyers back 10,000-pounds.

Potato Chips

God bless Pringles. The potato chip company has released their own advent calendar, containing 12 tubes of various flavours. Apparently, the calendar is quite popular and has already sold out, with the products popping up on eBay for double the original retail price.

For Pets

Don’t have any kids or spouses you can spoil with an advent calendar? If you have pets, you can still get into the Christmas spirit with sets that provide toys and treats to your fur baby. The gift of giving is one of the best!

Mixer Mania #42: Irish Tea Party

Irish Tea Party.JPG

  • Absinthe Rinse
  • 1.5 oz Jameson Irish Whiskey
  • Top with Green Tea
  • Garnish with Lime Wheel

The lead up to Christmas is my favourite part of the season, so sometimes I think advent calendars should just replace Christmas gifts… but they’re probably in a good place as a holiday enhancer, rather than as a main event player.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (1 Sip out of 5):
I was totally disappointed by this drink. The ingredients intrigued me, but the end result was a watery, flavourless cocktail. Mrs. Sip wants me to try it again with a different Green Tea – and I will – but it must be pointed out that round one of the beverage was a dud.