Sip Trips #174: Island Exploring

While the last couple of weeks have been quieter, coinciding with the end of summer, the Sip Family has still kept up a fairly busy schedule of events and activities. Here’s what we’ve been up to, of late:

Following the Labour Day long weekend, Mrs. Sip and I both took an extra day off work to take Baby Sip to the Vancouver Aquarium. While in that neck of the woods, we visited the new Stanley Park Brewing Restaurant & Brewpub. They have set up quite a facility there and we wish our visit wasn’t so brief. I ordered a pint of the Grapefruit & Juniper Red ISA, which was already on tap, despite being on their “Up Next” menu. I’m so glad it was because it paired quite well with the Pretzel Mrs. Sip asked for, accompanied by a very tasty mustard sauce. I’d say the only drawback is that a trip to Stanley Park takes us quite a bit out of the way nowadays, so popping into the brewpub will likely be a rare treat.

mustard

Later that week, to celebrate Pa Sip’s birthday, we had dinner at the Moby Dick Seafood Restaurant in White Rock. While splitting a platter of delicious Fish & Chips, I enjoyed a pint of Steamworks Lager. In my opinion, you just can’t have fish and chips without a frosty beverage and although the restaurant only had this one craft option, I’m thankful they at least had that.

This past weekend, we travelled to Victoria to visit family. While on the island, I was able to hit a couple of the many craft breweries our capital city has to offer. We began our limited crawl at Phillips Brewing, which has expanded greatly since my last visit a handful of years ago. I went with a flight of beers, selecting their Fresa Fresca Strawberry Cream Wit, The Ramanga Blood Orange Witbier, Au Currant Black Currant Wheat Ale, and Death Metal Norwegian Black IPA. I also picked up a bomber of Villager Hazy Kolsch, the official beer of Vancouver Whitecaps FC, for the road.

Up next was Vancouver Island Brewing, where I put together another flight, consisting of their Twisted Stalk Blackberry Helles, Magic Hour Grapefruit Gose, Faller Northwest Pale Ale and Just Desserts Porter. If it wasn’t so expensive to take a vehicle round trip via BC Ferries, we would probably be able to explore Victoria even more. There are many locations over there that I’d love to stop at in the future.

ferries

We wrapped our most recent adventures by trying Burger Heaven in New West. The burgers here don’t come cheap, with the basic option starting at $15 and fancier items closer to $20 or more, but they are very good quality. I went with the Teriyaki, Mozzarella, Bacon & Mushroom Burger and it was fantastic. Our meal ended on a bit of a sour note, though, as we were charged for extra drinks we didn’t order and it wasn’t realized until after we paid. We were refunded for the drinks, but our tip was based on an incorrectly inflated charge. Not to mention, while this could have been an accident, you’re always left wondering whether the server was hoping it wouldn’t be noticed.

Coming up for the Sip Advisor is the September birthday blitz, which sees myself, Baby Sip, Sis-in-Law Sip and a couple friends all celebrate another year on this earth within a week of each other. Should make for quite a bit of fun!

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Sip Trips #172: Brewery Brawling

This summer has been flying by and another couple of weeks are in the books with events attended and road trips taken. Here’s all the shenanigans the Sip Advisor and associates have been up to in that time:

A couple weeks back, a buddy and I attended Parallel 49’s Brawl at the Brewery, combining two of my favourite worlds: professional wrestling and craft beer. Hosted at the brewery’s outdoor beer garden, what started out as a dreary looking day turned into a decent one, as the rain subsided long enough for the wrestling to start. As we watched the first ever P49 Champion be crowned with a 20-person battle royal, among other matches, I enjoyed a number of servings of the Jerkface 9000 Northwest Wheat Ale. Not knowing what to expect from the event and our $20 general admission tickets, we came away quite happy. If this event becomes a yearly tradition, we would likely spring for the $35 front row tickets next time around, so we can have a seat for all the action.

wrestling belts

Following the wrestling, we weren’t ready to wrap the night up yet, so delved further into the Yeast Van area. Our first stop came at Odd Society Spirits, where we ordered the Rye Thai and Fat Panda cocktails. Both drinks were interesting, featuring infused spirits and a classy presentation. Our second and final stop was Powell Street Brewing, where we managed a couple quick beers before the place shutdown for the night. My servings were the Ode to Citra Pale Ale, which has always been a preferred brew of mine.

This past weekend, we joined friends at their family cabin in Birch Bay, Washington. For my drinking enjoyment over the weekend, I picked up a case from Seattle’s Redhook Brewing, which included the Mothers of the Sun Raspberry Saison, Tangelic Halo Tangerine IPA, El Sonido Mexican Lager and Bicoastal IPA. I really liked this case, particularly the flavours offered by the Raspberry Saison and Tangerine IPA. We also popped into Bellingham’s Elizabeth Station beer store, where I grabbed a can of Rogue Ales Hazelnut Brown Nectar Ale for nightcap purposes.

This upcoming weekend will be a busy one, as Mrs. Sip and I are set to attend the 2019 Battle of the Brews in Surrey, as well as celebrate our seventh wedding anniversary with a surprise outing I have planned. I can’t wait for it all to arrive!

Sip Trips #171: Taking it to the Streets

The summer finally heated up the past couple weeks and with that came a bevvy of functions to attend, places to explore and activities to indulge in. Here’s what the Sip Family has been up to lately:

A couple weeks back we returned with friends to Port Moody’s Brewer’s Row. Stop number one was Yellow Dog Brewing, a preferred stop for the Sip Advisor thanks to their massive backyard area. I enjoyed a pint of their Squirrel Chaser Hazy Pale Ale, as Baby Sip napped in the shade nearby. When you get those precious breaks, you have to make the most of them.

naptime

Up next, was The Bakery Brewing, whose menu featured quite a bit of turnover from my inaugural visit. Here, I had a serving of the Oaked Hefe, which I liked very much. Sours still dominated The Bakery’s tap list, but there seemed to be more variance this time around.

The last stop for this crawl down Murray Street was Moody Ales, where we picked up some treats for the road. My collection included a crowler of Sublime Pineapple Hefeweizen, as well as tall cans of Boss Juice Hazy Double IPA and Affable IPA.

Between weekends (a fancy way of saying “during the week”), I purchased a bottle of Captain Morgan Watermelon Smash (the bottle even smells like watermelon), which I planned to debut at a family Mexican Fiesta over the long weekend. The cocktail I created combined tequila, this watermelon liqueur, watermelon-lemonade soda and lime juice. I called it the Watermelon Rocket and it seemed to go over well with my eager tasters.

cat-watermelon.jpg

Going into the BC Day long weekend, Baby Sip and I joined Mrs. Sip for another edition of Fridays on Front in New West. We were drawn there by guest brewery Boombox Brewing, which was offering up their Arcade Glow Pale Ale. I quickly consumed two servings of this delicious beer, while watching Baby Sip get up to her usual brand of mischief at the play area for youngsters.

On Saturday, we met visiting friends from Toronto at The Royal Crown Castle pub in Sapperton. I really enjoyed their Cashew Chilli Chicken appetizer, paired with a pint of Parallel 49 Trash Panda IPA, which worked well to quell the heat from my meal. A really good combo, if I don’t say so myself. Our service here also deserves highlighting, as Baby Sip was given a bubble wand to play with and was taken very good care of.

cat bubbles

Following lunch, we popped into Another Brewing Co. (ABC) for half servings of “I’m a Vienna You Idiot” Vienna Lager and Dual Citizen Saison, both of which were new to us. I’m not much of a lager fan, but I thought this release was very good. Before leaving, I purchased a few tall cans, including the Poolside Hefe, Intolerant Milkshake IPA (which I was advised is a good dessert beer) and Dunder Beist Kviek Farmhouse IPA.

This weekend, I’ll be checking out Parallel 49’s Brawl at the Brewery, featuring professional wrestling and craft beer, an amalgamation of two worlds I’ve long been a follower of. Should make for an interesting afternoon!

Sip Trips #170: Summer Drifting

Another couple of weeks are in the history books and we’ve been busy, busy, busy. Here’s what the Sip Family has been up to over that time:

Two weeks back, we attended the weekly Fridays on Front street party in New Westminster. Steel & Oak Brewing was on hand, pouring their Royal City Ale, which I had two servings of. Beer and wine tokens were only $5 each and there were a number of food trucks in attendance to satisfy people’s hunger. The area never got overly busy and we were able to find a nice spot to sit down with our beverages.

For dinner that evening, we walked up to the nearby Ludica Pizzeria, home to delicious pizzas and a massive collection of board and card games. Mrs. Sip and I shared their Pesto Chicken & Prosciutto Pizza, which has become a staple for us every time we eat there. I paired the meal with a Steel & Oak Red Pilsner, which complimented the pizza quite well. For our entertainment, we tried the game Blokus, which was easy to learn and fun to play.

sore loser

Over that weekend, I popped into a BC Liquor Stores location and was blown away by how many products I wanted – nay, needed – among their inventory. With a birthday upcoming, may I suggest gift cards to those who may want to get their favourite liquor slinger something. It was hard to only walk out with Cannery Brewing’s six-can Variety Pack, featuring two each of their Anarchist Amber Ale, Naramata Nut Brown Ale and Trellis IPA. This pack has long been a favourite of the Sip Advisor and was enjoyed once again.

Last week, we attended a Disney Trivia event at the Artful Dodger Pub in Langley. This trivia had a nice mix of easier and challenging questions, compared to other similar trivia nights we’ve been to on the subject. Our crew even won the third of three rounds (with a perfect score, might I add), winning a prize pack that included a can of Nude Vodka Cucumber-Mint Soda, which could be fun to experiment with. For dinner here, I ordered the Buttermilk Chicken Burger, which was good. We also split a pair of beer pitchers, the first being Red Truck Lager and the second being Okanagan Springs 1516 Pale Ale.

This past weekend, we twice ventured out to the Fraser Valley for the birthdays of my two nephews. On Saturday, we were in Mission, so popped into the Mission Springs Brewpub for lunch. My meal of Teriyaki Fries and a pint of the brewery’s Blueberry Wheat Ale were both fantastic. If the venue wasn’t so far from home, I would become a regular visitor to try more items from their menu.

bar food.jpg

The next day, we were in Abbotsford, so Field House Brewing was on the docket following mini-golf and games at Castle Fun Park. In their beautiful patio setting, I enjoyed a 24oz serving of Summer Haze Pale Ale. Had it not been at the end of a long day for Baby Sip (this was her 72nd brewery visited), I could have stayed for a while, enjoying the ambience and beverages of the place.

The last note for this week is a suggestion for those looking for reasonably priced beer to hit up Central City Brewing, who have their Across the Nation case available for $15 flat. That’s a smoking deal considering you get 12 beers brewed in collaboration with one brewery from each province and territory (minus Nunavut) across Canada. I’ll be picking up a couple more while I can!

Sip Trips #169: Summer of Sips

We’re now in the thick of summer, which means ample opportunities to drink, whether they be in pools, on patios, at parks, or wherever else you might find yourself with a beverage in hand. Here’s what the Sip Advisor has been doing to start the season:

The Sip Family spent most of the Canada Day long weekend poolside at Ma and Pa Sip’s home. There, I enjoyed the Parallel 49 Brews Brothers Vol. 5 case, another one of my favourite annual collaborative beer packs. The eight tall can collection is always music themed, with this year’s brews named after boy band songs. I particularly enjoyed the Faded Habanero Peach Gose (brewed with Field House Brewing), among others in the set. Our group had a good time reminiscing about our younger years, as we played whatever song matched the beer I was drinking.

boy bands.png

Last weekend, we ventured to the recently opened The Bakery Brewing (the fifth brewery to operate along Port Moody’s Brewer’s Row). Mrs. Sip and I split two flights, allowing us to try each of The Bakery’s eight offerings. Their initial lineup is comprised of mostly sour beers, with my favourite of the bunch being the Carrot-Mango-Lime Sour. Wine and guest taps are also on the brewery’s menu, as well as some food items. At this time, The Bakery has three of their beers available to be purchased in bottles, including the aforementioned Carrot-Mango-Lime. I would have never thought of carrot being a good beer ingredient, but it works here.

En route home from The Bakery, we popped into ABC Brewing to use up more of my original patron gift card. Along with some of our previously enjoyed favourites, we picked up the newly canned Acronyms DIPA. We will be back shortly to also try the debuting Dual Citizen Saison.

acronyms

On Tuesday, we picked up Big Star Sandwich and enjoyed the meal in the Westminster Pier Park for New West’s Music by the River Festival, which sees twice-weekly concerts by various artists. The draw for us was that the park is licensed, serving one beer each from Steel & Oak and ABC, available for purchase at the concession. Sadly, rain put a damper on the concert, featuring sitarist Mohamed Assani.

Upcoming, we hope to check out Fridays on Front in New West, as well as having a number of kid’s birthdays to attend over the next two weekends. This will provide many more great opportunities to visit breweries around the Lower Mainland, as well as catch up with friends over libations!

Sip Trips #167 – Festival Follies

One day removed from returning from our Alaskan cruise, Mrs. Sip and I attended the 10th annual Vancouver Craft Beer Week (VCBW) Festival last weekend. While we enjoyed ourselves, I think my festival days may be done.

Permit me to go on a bit of a rant here: I used to love beer festivals, but view them with such disdain now. When they pop up in my email or on social media, I quickly review the details then often yell at my phone “Ha, I’m not paying that much for so little.” Yeah, I’m THAT guy on public transit!

festival 1

My issue with most festivals stems from how much it costs to get in and how little you get up front. For the VCBW Festival, most people paid $39 for basic entry (VIP tickets were also available) and received absolutely nothing with this price. Tokens were $2 each on top of admission.

To be fair (“to be faaaaaaaaiiiiirrrr” for all the Letterkenny fans out there), I know there are costs associated with renting a venue, licensing, facilities, staff, etc., but throw people a bone here. You don’t have to give them the world, but a few tokens is nice. Or have an all-inclusive wristband option available for purchase.

So why did we go, given those specs? Well, if I’m being frank, we only did this festival because we were one of the first people to buy tickets and because it was the event’s 10th anniversary, we got ours for a smoking deal of only $10 each, plus transaction fee. In that case, you can justify then having to pay another chunk of money on beer sample tokens.

festival 2

By comparison, we will be attending – for the second straight year – the Battle of the Brews in August. For the same price it cost to get into the VCBW Festival, we will be treated to all-inclusive beers and food. For my money (and it literally is), I’d rather not worry about additional costs once I get to the venue. No, my little sippers, I’ve become an all-inclusive guy and I’m too stubborn to change my ways.

Also, transport to Surrey City Hall trumps that which is available to the PNE grounds. Not to go off on a rant within a rant, but how does such a major attraction not have a better transit set up? Every time we go to an event at the PNE (Coliseum or otherwise), we get screwed over with the return trip home.

As I said above, I enjoyed the festival, but that was partly based on not feeling cheated pricewise. What I liked about the event was there were so many breweries on hand and each company brought staples and unique beers to share. Every time we explored one area of the venue, I pointed out to Mrs. Sip that we still had others to venture to. I also liked that you could buy tokens before entering, cutting down on wait times at the event’s commencement.

festival 3

My advice for those who still want to go to the festival despite – or in spite of – my rant, is to go on the Sunday of the weekend-long event. According to a number of the breweries, the crowds on day two were much lighter and we only waited in line for beers once all day and that was for the uber-popular House of Funk Brewing.

Moving on, upon returning home from Alaska, I purchased the Red Racer Across the Nation beer case, which features a collaboration beer with a brewery in each province/territory (except Nunavit). By buying directly from the brewery, rather than a BC Liquor Store, I saved a few dollars, so I’d recommend going that route to anyone who is near Central City’s Surrey location. The case has a number of interesting brews, with my favourites so far being the Kermode Kiwi Saison and Narcisse Smoked Amber Saison. I will probably buy the case a second time, as I’ve shared much of it and the variety is very alluring to me.

This weekend, the Sip Family celebrates my second Father’s Day, where we’re hoping to finally pop into the recently-opened Another Brewing Company (ABC Brewing), as well as visits the acclaimed Bauhaus Restaurant in Downtown Vancouver for a friend’s birthday.

 

Sip Trips #163: Sudsy Events

The past week in Sip AdvisorLand started with a bang as we attended our much-anticipated Mucha Lucha beer pairing dinner at El Santo in New Westminster. Working with Steel & Oak and Four Winds breweries, El Santo’s chef concocted a delicious six-course meal, featuring grilled rhubarb; chocolate-crusted elk; flaked salmon; bison flank; charred cinnamon ling cod; and lemon cheesecake for dessert. These were paired, respectively, with Four Winds Pequeno Cabo; Steel & Oak Hideaway IPA; Four Winds La Maison Saison; Steel & Oak Marzen; Four Winds IPA; and Steel & Oak Kviek Ale.

I started the evening with the restaurant’s La Condesa cocktail (orange peel-infused Pisco, Amaro Montenegro, lemon, epazote syrup, cascabel chili-sugar rim), which was beautifully presented and quite refreshing. Tickets were $75 (with partial proceeds going to the Canucks Autism Network) and while each beer was only tasting-sized, we left very full and satisfied.

beer pairing

The very next day, we participated in the Craft Cask Clash at One20 Public House in North Delta. For the price of one 12oz serving ticket ($4), participants got a 5oz sample of each cask from six breweries. Vying for a tap line at the bar, the companies brought some interesting casks, including: Russell Lemon Meringue Sour; Fuggles & Warlock Pineapple Destiny IPA; Big Ridge Oatmeal Stout; Old Yale Mango Wheat (with orange peel, lemon, lime, coriander and rum); Parkside Pineapple Jalapeno Pale Ale; and Red Racer Mango Passionfruit ISA.

This event was extremely good value and for all the festivities we attend where we shell out large sums of money, I felt this was one where we leveled that plane out a little bit. Following our beers, we stuck around for dinner at the One20 Public House. I enjoyed a serving of Chicken Strips, while Mrs. Sip went with the Stuffed Yorkies. This was the first time One20 had done an event like this and I hope to see them do similar activities in the future.

beer tap

Over the weekend, I came up with a new concept for my drinking enjoyment. When it comes to BC craft beer cases, I’ve virtually had them all. So, to mix things up, I’m going to do exactly that and create my own mashups. My first attempt came by combining Stanley Park Brewing’s Trail Hopper IPA and Sunsetter Peach Wheat Ale to create what I’m calling the Sunset Hopper. The hybrid was very good, with the bitterness one would expect from an IPA softened by the peach flavours of the wheat ale. I will report on my other developments in the future.

Things will probably be pretty light this coming week, as the Sip Family concentrates on preparing for our vacation to Europe. That said, Cinco de Mayo is around the corner and my collection of various tequilas are itching for some attention. We’ll see if anything occurs that needs to be documented!