Best of 2022

The year was full of milestones, resulting in many memorable moments. Here are 10 highlights from the Sip Family’s 2022:

South of the Border

In February, the Sip Family finally travelled internationally again, enjoying a 10-day stay at a Mayan Riviera all-inclusive. The drinks flowed and the food filled, but playing with the Sipplings around the resort are the memories that remain.

Viva Las Vegas

To celebrate our 20th dating anniversary, Mrs. Sip and I spent a few days in Las Vegas, where we enjoyed some of our old favourites in the city and weaved in a bunch of new experiences. Vegas is always evolving and that’s the way we like it.

Vegas

Bachelor Blitz

One of my closest friends got married in May and prior to that party, was the stag in Summerland. Our group had a large home on a winery for the weekend, which was filled with lots of drinks, a couple games of golf and other shenanigans.

Down Mexico Way

In June, we returned to Mexico, this time to the west coast town of Puerto Vallarta for another all-inclusive week. Pool time for the Sipplings was balanced with drink time for Mrs. Sip and me. PV has become a favourite getaway stop for the Sip Advisor.

Four Seasons Playground

I was in the Okanagan a total of four times in 2022 and each vacation had it’s own merits for being included on this list. On this excursion, we celebrated Canada Day in the region, finding new breweries and other activities to share with the Sipplings.

Road Trip

Beantown Beauties

Along with a milestone dating anniversary, Mrs. Sip and I also celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. To do so, we journeyed to Boston for a few days of brews, baseball, amazing food and history. Best of all, nearly everything we did was walkable.

Floating Away

My and Girl Sip’s birthdays were celebrated onboard a Princess Cruises voyage from Vancouver to Los Angeles. While on the ship, we spent a fair bit of time with the Sipplings at the Kid’s Club, which was offset by beverges and other treats.

The Happiest Place on Earth… Finally!

Following the cruise, we spent a week at Disneyland, at last fulfilling a trip that was supposed to happen in 2020. It was a magical time, seeing the park through the eyes of Girl and Boy Sip, as well as getting to entertain our own inner child.

Disneyland

Brewingham

For the Remembrance Day long weekend, the Sip Family spent the break in Bellingham, Washington, where we took care of some Christmas shopping, had some great food and drink and best of all, got to spend some important time together.

‘Tis the Season

From early December, all the way through to New Year’s Day, there was little time for rest and relaxation. As is the case most years, we were booked pretty solid throughout the “holidays”… and I don’t regret a minute of it.

And that’s only the top 10. Many other nights out or in with friends and family were amazing times and I thank everyone who played a role in another amazing year!

Sip Trips #217: Christmas Craziness

December was the jam-packed month I’ve come to expect, especially since having kids. Christmas events, Vancouver Canucks games and many meals kept us out and about. Let’s see what the Sip Family got up to, as we bid adieu to 2022:

Early in the month, Mrs. Sip and I had a Canucks game to attend, so prior to the contest, we had dinner at The Keg in Yaletown, where I took full advantaged of their happy hour, ordering the Keg Burger & Fries, along with a pair of Gin Basil Lemonade cocktails. The feast was very good, but we still had time to kill before puck drop, so we walked over to Elisa, where we split a trio of drinks, including the Charring the Cosmos (Gin, Grilled Pineapple Agave Syrup, Lime, Soda, Lem-Marrakech Bitters), Earl Grey Martini (Gin, Amaretto, Earl Grey, Lavender Syrup, Egg White) and Roxanne (Scotch, Malbec, Lemon, Red Dragon Chai Syrup). We hope to return to Elisa another time for the full meal experience.

A few days later, we took Girl Sip out for a movie night, eating at the Old Spaghetti Factory beforehand. I selected the Chicken Parmagiana with Caesar Salad, which was good. It had been a while since I’d eaten at Old Spaghetti Factory and it was fun to try it again with Girl Sip, who is a passionate pasta fanatic.

Pasta

Later that week, Mrs. Sip and I needed to pick up a package at our mailbox in the U.S., so while across the line, we had a quick bite to eat at Gateway Taphouse & Grill in Blaine, Washington. To drink, I went with the Anderson Valley Boont Amber Ale, while Mrs. Sip drank a pint of Beach Cat Meowy Christmas Winter Ale. For food, I took advantage of their $10 Burger Night, which included a burger and seasoned fries, which were a wedge/curly fry hybrid that I really liked.

In the middle of the month, Mrs. Sip and I received our winter VCBW Beer Boxes. I have to give a shout out to the breweries that continue to provide unique beers to this project, particularly Old Yale and Russell, which provided two beers this time. The Wild Eye Dark N Stormy cocktail-inspired beer was neat too.

Prior to another Canucks game, this time with the Sipplings in tow, we ate at Boston Pizza. I had the Boston-Sized Burger, which was very filling, paired with a couple pints of Rickard’s Red. The place was packed on this night and this caused service to be a little chaotic, which was the only downfall of a fun evening out.

Baby Sitting

Perhaps the dating highlight of the month was when Mrs. Sip and I were able to visit the Tinseltown Bar, being run out of the Vancouver Alpen Club. Tickets were $19 each and included a welcome drink (Mulled Wine, Hot Cider or Hot Chocolate with liquor of your choice). I went with a Hot Chocolate with Spiced Rum, which I enjoyed. As we played a few games and listened to various Christmas tunes, we also ordered four of the seven cocktails offered by the pop-up bar. This included the Jingle All the Way (Gin, Lime Juice, Cranberry Juice, Simple Syrup, Egg Whites), White Christmas (White Rum, Lime Juice, Mint, Simple Syrup, Club Soda, Candy Cane garnish), Holly Jolly (Vodka, Elderflower, Orange Juice, Ginger Beer, Mint garnish) and Sugar Plum Fairy (Chambord, Gin, Soda, Lemon Juice, Simple Syrup, Sugar Rim, Mint garnish). Each drink was $10-$12 and all we tried were tasty.

For Christmas, I received a couple beers, a BC Liquor Store gift card and edible cocktail glitters from Mrs. Sip. The Sip-in-Laws provided me a bottle of Hennessy Cognac and Ma and Pa Sip gave me the Monin Holiday Cheer Collection syrup collection (Macadamia Nut, Peppermint, Dark Chocolate, Gingerbread, Toasted Marshmallow), as far as liquor-related presents went.

For Christmas dinner, I presented another cocktail menu for the family. It was my last chance to serve the 38th Birthday recipes I had been working on for most of the year, after Mrs. Sip and Cousin Sip’s joint birthday in January was vetoed due to a Covid lockdown. The menu was comprised of the Hold On Loosely (Southern Comfort, Cola, Orange Soda); stRontiUM (Bacardi Dragonfruit Rum, Sprite Winter Cranberry Soda, Maraschino Cherry Syrup); The Parallel (Grapefruit Soju, Peach Schnapps, Lemon Juice); Place Your Bets (Tito’s Vodka, Watermelon-Lime Club Soda, Raspberries and Blackberries); and Top of the Table (Tanqueray Rangpur Gin, Tonic Water, Raspberry-Lemonade). Each drink was connected to the number 38, as Hold On Loosely is a song by the rock group 38 Special, stRontiUM has an atomic number of 38, the 38th parallel separates North and South Korea, Place Your Bets is a reference to the 38 slots on a roulette wheel, and Top of the Table is connected to the 38 matches played by each team in a Premier League season.

Cocktail Menu

Following our last Canucks game of 2022, Mrs. Sip and I had a late night meal at Devil’s Elbow Ale and Smokehouse. As we shared their Pulled Pork Plate (our two sides were the Mac N’ Cheese Cornbread and Tater Tots), I had servings of the Main Street Naked Fox IPA and Moon Under Water Puft Daddy Marshmallow White Stout, while Mrs. Sip tried the Faculty 241 Minzeweizen and Container Dark Arts Belgian Quadrupel. It was a very nice end to a busy Christmas week.

But we were ready to wrap the month just yet. After taking the Sipplings to Science World (or as Boy Sip calls it: Science Circle), we had a late lunch/early dinner at R&B Ale & Pizza House. Mrs. Sip and I both took advantage of their Pizza and Beer deal for $20. She had the Mushroom Bianca pizza with Auld Nick Winter Ale, while I went with a delicious BBQ Brisket and Pineapple pizza with Hipster Haze Hazy IPA. The Sipplings were quite content with their Pretzel, followed by a sundae at Earnest Ice Cream.

Ice Cream

For New Year’s Eve, I picked up a 1.14-litre bottle of Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum and immediately put it to good use. Adding it all up, my New Year’s consumption included seven mixed drinks, five vodka sodas, two beers, a couple shots, and a partridge in a pear tree! Our group stayed up way too late and this was following a 40th birthday celebration the night before. Suffice to say, Mrs. Sip and I are still tired and trying to get back on a good sleep pattern.

2023 is already shaping up to be a busy year. I wish everyone out there reading this a Happy New Year and hope you’ll continue to follow along with the shenanigans of the Sip Family!

Sip Trips #216: Bellingham Bonanza

November had a fair pace to it, including a mid-month getaway, along with other activities as we work towards the most wonderful time of the year. Let’s see what the Sip Family got up to throughout November:

The month began as many do, watching the Vancouver Canucks lose. While at the game, which started out well, only to end in misery, a friend and I took turns buying rounds. $20 for a tall craft beer at Rogers Arena is ridiculous and hard to accept. I had to do a double take each time the total came up on the payment machine. By comparison, we were able to buy late night happy hour pitchers at Browns Socialhouse following the game for the same price.

Beeramid

The highlight of November was our stay in Bellingham, Washington, over the Remembrance Day long weekend. Each night, our Oxford Suites hotel, offered a manager’s reception, with two drink tickets per guest. This allowed for a couple beers or wines to be enjoyed each day of our stay, so long as the kids allowed it. Mrs. Sip and I also had dinner at the hotel one night, where I really liked my Oxford Burger with Pasta Salad.

For dinner after arriving, we walked over to Buffalo Wild Wings at Bellis Fair Mall. This was my first time at the restaurant and I enjoyed my pair of Bird Dawgs (Honey BBQ and Buffalo), which is a chicken variation of hotdogs. Thanks to Mrs. Sip asking if I could mix and match flavour options, I was able to try two different versions of the meal, which I paired with a Breckenridge Christmas Ale. I hope to go back soon to try other menu items.

After visiting the fascinating Spark Museum, we dropped into Stemma Brewing. While there, I drank servings of the saBro That’s Fresh Hazy Fresh Hop IPA and Conditus Lager. I don’t normally go with lagers, but was curious about its blend of lemon and cayenne. I also got to try Mrs. Sip’s Skybright Winter Ale. To eat, we ordered some Birria Tacos from the food truck outside.

Birria Tacos

Next up, was returning to Bellis Fair Mall, to allow the kids to burn some energy at the Playdate playground. The best part of this place is that while the kids get to have their fun, parents and guardians are able to order beer and wine, along with various food offerings. Over two stays at Playdate, I was able to drink pints of Terramar Amber On, Breakside IPA and Stemma Hazy IPA. I would have taken the kids here if they only sold Budweiser, so for them to exclusively offer craft beers is a bonus. A playdate cafe, where adults can playdate too!

The next day, we started by perusing the Bellingham Farmer’s Market. This was followed by lunch at Boundary Bay Brewing, where Mrs. Sip and I shared the B.L.A.T. + Turkey with Tim’s Potato Chips. To drink, I ordered the Cosmic Visions Cold IPA. We’ve always enjoyed our times at Boundary Bay and this was no exception.

After lunch, Ma and Pa Sip took the Sipplings to a playground, while allowing Mrs. Sip and I a chance to relax at Stones Throw Brewing. It was a brief stay, but very much enjoyed, as I tried the Happy Valley Hazy IPA, while Mrs. Sip went with a hot cup of Mulled Wine. We really enjoyed our outdoor seats around a roaring fire.

Mulled Wine

Our last brewery stop of the day was at Otherlands Brewing. Here, I went with the Some Soft Returning Amber Kellerbier, while Mrs. Sip tried the Send in the Clouds Hefeweizen. We were tempted to try some the vegetarian dishes offered by the eatery, but had dinner upcoming.

For that meal, we visited Mi Mexico. To drink, I ordered the Bartender’s Special (Tequila, Triple Sec, Margarita Mix, topped with Cranberry Juice and Grand Marnier), which was very tasty. My feast consisted of the Burrito Al Pastor, which was enough for two people and quite good.

The next day, Mrs. Sip left for her girl’s trip to Las Vegas, while the remaining Sip Family members travelled to Blaine to check out Beach Cat Brewing. I had a pint of the Munchkin Red Ale, while the Sipplings played with the many games at the brewery. For dinner, Pa Sip and I picked up food from Boomer’s Drive-In. I had the delicious Bacon Swiss Burger with Curly Fries.

Curly Fries

One more food note for the trip, I finally tried a McDonald’s McRib, as the sandwich is celebrating a farewell tour in the U.S. The results were I wish I’d ordered my usual Mickey D’s favourites instead, but I can cross it off the food bucket list. I also brought home bottles of Tito’s Vodka and Dough Ball Cookie Dough Whiskey, along with a case of Mountain Dew Fruit Quake fruit cake-flavoured soda.

After returning from the vacation, Girl Sip and I had a daddy-daughter dinner at Boston Pizza. Monday nights are a perfect time to visit the chain, as draft beer is $1.50 off and individual pizzas are only $9.99 (about $5 off). I had a pint of Belgian Moon, along with a Tropical Chicken Pizza. While I don’t typically order dessert at restaurants, I had a free dessert for my birthday, through the BP app, so I went with the Loaded Brownie S’mores, off the Fall Menu. The dish was delicious, with the combo of hot brownie bites, toasted marshmallows and Graham Crackers being perfectly blended.

I hate smores - meme

We wrapped the month with a performance of Disney on Ice, an earlier birthday gift for Girl Sip. Prior to the show, we ate at the White Spot R+D Kitchen, where I had to get my usual Legendary Deluxe Burger (with Caesar Salad), despite some experimental options piquing my interest. I paired the burger I was craving with a serving of Off the Rail Big Red Ale, which completed a very good spread.

December is now here and we’ve already attended a few Christmas festivities. The month will only get crazier as we progress through it, so my liver has been warned of the impending work schedule!

Sip Trips #215: This is Halloween

October was busy, as the Sip Family took in the Thanksgiving and Halloween seasons. This led to many outings and even more beverages. Here’s how it all played out, as we officially moved from summer to fall:

The month began with Mrs. Sip and I joining a friend at Kelly O’Bryans for some trivia presented by Vancouver Trivia Party. Over the course of the evening, I enjoyed three Whistler Grapefruit Ales, along with a filling Cali Club. For dessert, we shared the King O’ Mud Pie and although I’m not a huge coffee-based treat fan, this provided a good finish to the meal. Best of all, we tied for first place for the fun trivia experience – moving up from third place at the halfway point – to receive a $35 gift card to the restaurant.

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, the Sip Syndicate travelled to the Okanagan for a weekend of wineries and other pleasures. Over two days, we visited six locations, which largely meant the ladies getting to do tastings, while the gents chased the kids around. Stops included Clos du Soleil (where I did get to enjoy the tasting), Orofino, Crowsnest (we had lunch here, with the Sip Advisor pairing a Chicken Schnitzel with a tall can of Neighbourhood Flightless Bird Pilsner), Twisted Hills Craft Cider, Covert Farms (I did the wine tasting, followed by a can of Cannery Anarchist Amber Ale), and Corcelettes.

Thanksgiving

While the rest of our group had to return home at the end of the weekend, the Sip Family continued onto Kelowna for a couple extra nights. En route, we stopped at Giant’s Head Brewing in Summerland. There, Mrs. Sip and I had servings of the White Noise IPA, Marzen and Razzle Dazzle Raspberry Cream Ale, while also trying a taster of the Dark Fantasy Pale Ale. To eat, we shared Pretzel Bites, while the kids had Popcorn Chicken with Fries.

For dinner that night, our Thanksgiving feast was held at Boston Pizza. Mrs. Sip and I drank happy hour Blue Moons, which went well with my Royal Hawaiian Pizza. This was the first meals for the Sipplings from our Kids Cards, which offer five meals per card for only $5 each. Mrs. Sip also got a free pizza through my BP app, as a one-year anniversary reward. This made our meal very economic.

The next day, we visited the Kelowna Beer Institute, where we had pints of the Crusher Pale Ale and Juicy IPA, while also enjoying a taster of the Cucumber Sour. For snacks, we ordered the Garlic Parm Fries and Cheese Curds, which I combined to form a makeshift poutine.

Poutine

We then travelled to Copper Brewing for dinner. Mrs. Sip tried their Mystery Brew, which asked drinkers to guess which fruits were in the concoction, for a chance to win a prize. I went with the simpler Hazy IPA to drink. To eat, I had the Ballpark Smash Burger, while Mrs. Sip went with the Zooming Smash Burger. The Sipplings had kids meals, while we all got to enjoy playing the video games available at the brewery.

On our journey home, we stopped into Empty Keg Brewing in Merritt for their happy hour. I had a tasty Hot Dog and Parmesan Garlic Fries, while Mrs. Sip and the kids split a Chicken & Cheese Quesadilla. Our beverages consisted of the Brhubarb Saison and Coquihalla Cream Ale. We love stopping at this place, as there are tons of games – both board and electronic – for all ages.

Back at home and with our vehicle in for servicing, we killed some of the wait time at Brookswood Brewing. I went with the Brookswood Shuffle Kviek IPA, while Mrs. Sip put together a flight. This was a first-time visit for us to this brewery and we had a great time. Plus, it’s located right next door to a McDonald’s, which helped with satisfying the kids.

Happy Meal

Through the month, I purchased two vodka soda packs, as Mrs. Sip is doing the keto diet thing. The first pack I picked up was the Remix 12 Pack Mixer, featuring Peach-Nectarine, Wild Cherry-Citrus, Blackberry-Hibiscus and Guava-Lime flavours. At the end of the month, I also grabbed the Pyur Mixer Pack, complete with Black Cherry, Raspberry, Mango and Lemon Lime offerings.

Prior to meeting with Mrs. Sip and a friend for a Halloween pop-up bar in Downtown Vancouver, I had a solo meal at White Spot. I paired my usual Legendary Burger with two pints of Granville Island Lions Winter Ale. It was a good meal, but whenever I eat alone, I always wonder what the etiquette is if you have to use the washroom. Will your server think you’ve skipped out on the bill? Will they clear your table before you can finish eating? This is the stuff that keeps me up at night!

After eating, I made my way to the Butcher & Bullock, which was featuring a Black Lagoon-themed set-up and menu. Mrs. Sip and I had a couple cocktails each, including the Hellraiser (Tequila, Spiced Rum, Cointreau, Orgeat, Banana Liqueur, Sherry, Lime, Aromatic Bitters), Blood Rave (Mezcal, Falernum, Lemon, Beets, Absinthe, Bitters), Closed Casket (Scotch Whiskey, Brandy, Passionfruit, Miso Falernum, Apricot, Lemon, Hellfire Bitters) and Nightwish (Vodka, Sherry, Banana Liqueur, Lemon, Cardamom Bitters), along with a round of Wicked shots (Vodka, Pineapple, Coconut). The bar was done up really well and the drinks were great. Surprisingly, aside from Mrs. Sip finding the event, there didn’t seem to be much advertising/hype about the experience.

Halloween

Not content with one meal at White Spot in a week, Mrs. Sip and I finally tried the R&D Kitchen by White Spot at Brentwood Mall. Although I always get the Legendary Burger at White Spot, I decided to get a test kitchen dish while at this location. Therefore, I tried the Louisiana Fried Chicken Burger with Caesar Salad and really enjoyed the Cajun Spice Dust. I was also curious about the Crispy Cajun Fish Po’Boy, but it wasn’t available. The restaurant had fantastic service and I’d like to try other dishes at the R&D Kitchen, as well as at the mall’s food court. One major criticism of the mall, though, is I believe shopping centre’s should NEVER have paid parking, as it did here.

Nearing the end of the month, we popped into Russell Brewing after taking the kids to the Bear Creek Park Halloween Train. I had a very good Rauchweizen, while also trying a couple of Mrs. Sip’s tasters from her Table Flight (12 different beers). My samples included the Banana Split Dunkel, Passionfruit Lime Pale Ale and Root Beer Stout.

Pay Parking

Lastly, prior to our first Vancouver Canucks game of the season, Mrs. Sip and I stopped at Browns Socialhouse. We were a bit rushed to get to the game, but I really liked my Traditional Pub Burger and Grapefruit Hibiscus Margarita. Hopefully, next time, we can take our time prior to puck drop.

Well, that’s it for a very active October. With Halloween in the rear view mirror, Christmas prep will ramp up quickly. November is often the calm before the storm of a crazy December, so it will be interesting to see if that holds true this year.

Sip Trips #214: Disney Days

The highlight of September, aside from our latest VCBW Beer Box arriving, was our long-awaited vacation to Disneyland. Seriously, we began planning this trip in late 2019, with the pandemic wiping out the journey for two straight years. Let’s see how it all finally went down:

To get to Southern California, we boarded a Princess Cruises ship from Vancouver to Los Angeles. Mrs. Sip finally reached Elite status on this voyage; therefore, she was given a complimentary mini bar set-up, among other perks. Only problem, she was given two gin and six blended whiskey bottles. Now, I understand this is a freebie, but a little more variety would have been preferred. We did call to make some changes, but availability was so limited, we were forced to go with six gin and two whiskey bottles. Another liquor issue we had was Ma and Pa Sip gifted me a bottle of Crown Royal for the cruise, but it was also unavailable. Not loving the substitution options, I elected to take a credit on the bottle, which allowed me to spend that on cocktails around the ship. I am now an Elite member as well, so hopefully our next cruise provides a better mini bar set-up.

Cruise

As for that ship credit, I quickly went to work on it, ordering a Mayan Mule at the Elite Lounge. We also bought a bottle of Pinot Grigio for dinner, which we spread over three of our four meals. My night cap that evening was the Captain’s Bounty (Sailor Jerry’s Spiced Rum, Malibu Coconut Rum, Bacardi Limon Rum, Kraken Rum, sweet and sour, pineapple juice, Coca-Cola), which was my favourite cocktail of the cruise.

Our one port stop was in Victoria, where we met some family members for breakfast at the Breakwater Bistro. Before taking Boy Sip on a walk along Ogden Point, I quickly enjoyed a Hazy IPA and Breakfast Sandwich.

Our next two days at sea were spent celebrating my and Girl Sip’s birthdays. Drinks enjoyed over the festivities included: Alaska White and Amber Ales, Ultimate Cooler, Mango Margarita with added chili flakes, Long Island Iced Tea, Lynchburg Lemonade, and Strawberry Fields (Mezcal, Strawberry Puree, Ginger, Lime).

cruise work

Some thoughts to sum up the cruise, I still really miss the Explorer’s Lounge and Skywalker’s Lounge, which are both missing from these newer ships. Also, I feel there should be some sort of arcade available on the ship for kids and adults alike. Amongst some other good (not great) food eaten, my favourite meal was the quick serve Bahn Mi Sandwich from the International Café. I felt the food was better in Disneyland than on the cruise.

Speaking of Disneyland, we had finally arrived, in the middle of a SoCo heatwave and massive crowds in the park. The best way to handle it all was frequent visits to beer vendors. Our first servings of the stay were the Battlesnakes Pilsner for me and delicious Golden Road Hefeweizen for Mrs. Sip. I later also added the Karl Strauss Boat Shoes Hazy IPA.

Each day, we retreated to either our or Ma and Pa Sip’s hotel for a break from the heat and recharge. On one of these occasions, I was tasked with getting Girl Sip a Quesadilla at Calaca Mamas. When asked to wait for my order at the bar, I took advantage of the situation and had a pint of the restaurant’s Mexican Lager.

Disneyland Fun

One of the best lunches of our trip was at the Pym Test Kitchen, where all food comes in enormous servings. Our meal included the Not so Little Chicken Sandwich and massive Quantum Pretzel, finished with the decadent Choco Smash Candy Bar. To drink, Mrs. Sip put in mobile orders at the Pym Tasting Lab. Our beverages were The Regulator (Tequila, Golden Road Mango Cart Wheat Ale, Mango and Habanero Syrups, Mango flavor-filled Boba) and Honey Buzz (Gin, Lemon Juice, Honey Syrup, Honey Straw). As we left the kids with Ma and Pa Sip for a Disneyland date night, we also enjoyed a pair of fantastic BarrelHouse Strawberry Daze Blonde Ales from the bar.

Continuing with our kid-free evening, we landed a spot at the Carthay Circle Lounge. Here, we sat back and enjoyed fancy cocktails, such as a Dill Gin & Tonic (Gin, Tonic, Dill Pickle Brine, Dill, Lemon Peel) for me and Tequila Daisy (Reposado Tequila, Cointreau, Crème Yvette Violet Liqueur, Lime Juice, Agave Nectar, Egg Whites) for Mrs. Sip. We also split an order of Bao Buns of Soy-Ginger Braised Pork Belly with Cucumber Kimchi, which were incredibly tasty.

We then moved to the Magic Kingdom park and managed to get into Oga’s Cantina, the only place you can get alcoholic beverages in this part of the resort. We were allowed to stay for a maximum of 45 minutes and two drinks, so we made quick work ordering the Tarkenian Night Flower (Gin, Elderflower Liqueur, Ginger, Huckleberry), The Outer Rim (Tequila, Pomegranate Liqueur, Lime Juice, Cane Sugar, Exotic Fruit Purée, Black Salt rim), Jet Juice (Bourbon, Piment d’Espelette, Pomegranate Liqueur, White Grape Juice, Lemon Juice) and Fondor Fizz (Chardonnay, Vodka, White Tea, Lemongrass, Pea Flower Citrus). The bar is neat, but it does make me wonder why liquor can’t be purchased at other parts of the park.

Star Wars Disneyland

In the middle of our California stay, we decided to head out to Legoland for the very first time. Our day here was a stark contrast to Disneyland crowd-wise, as we were able to walk onto almost every ride and sometimes do back-to-back runs of an attraction. We had lunch at the Knights’ Smokehouse BBQ, sharing the Taste of Texas Platter (Pulled Pork, Brisket and Hot Link) with Fries, Mac & Cheese and Jalapeno Cornbread as side dishes. To drink, we got servings of Societe The Harlot Blonde Ale and Stone Hazy IPA. The only downside of our Legoland day was the park was only open from 10am-5pm and we would have loved to have had more time to explore and play.

Back to Disneyland for a day, we cooled off with another visit to the Sonoma Terrace beer garden, where I enjoyed glasses of the Unsung Carina Hazy Double IPA and Karl Strauss Red Trolley Ale.

With another day off on the schedule, we took the kids to Dave & Busters. Over our lunch of the Chicken Avocado Club and Pretzel Dogs, Mrs. Sip had a Strawberry Watermelon Margarita, while I sipped on a Jameson and Ginger Ale. Then, we played a host of arcade games, some of which were worth their cost and others not so much.

Dave & Busters

Following an afternoon of swimming, we returned to our hotel, which had a Denny’s next door. We decided to have dinner there, where I paired a Shock Top Belgian White with a yummy Nashville Hot Chicken Melt with Seasoned Fries.

For our final day at Disneyland, we had lunch at the Pacific Wharf area. I ordered from the Lucky Fortune Cookery, having the Teriyaki Chicken with a Four Sons Lucky Dragon IPA (exclusive to the Cookery). We also grabbed beers again at the Pym Tasting Lab, this time having the SLO Brew Cali Squeeze Blood Orange Hefeweizen, suggested by a friend who visited Disneyland in the summer.

My final thoughts on this Disneyland trip were that the resort has become shockingly unreliable, with rides being down and constantly having issues. The new Genie+ system ($20 per day, per person) has its perks, such as being able to get passes to rides from anywhere around the resort, but I refuse to pay extra for a ride on top of the exorbitant entry price. We used to be the type of people that would buy a Disneyland year pass and make the trek two to three times a year. That’s not feasible anymore with park ticket, food and drink and hotel prices all going up dramatically. I can’t see us coming back for at least a couple years and, more likely, a few years.

Disneyland Wishes

As we waited at LAX to fly home, we had a meal at the Point the Way Café by Golden Road Brewing. My Ride On Tropical IPA worked really well with the Grilled Chicken Nachos Mrs. Sip and I shared. Sadly, all good things must come to an end and we were back home with two tuckered out Sipplings.

October is already shaping up to be busy, albeit fun. This weekend we’re on the road again, taking advantage of the Canadian Thanksgiving long weekend, with a trip to the Okanagan. Halloween festivities will also provide ample opportunity for shenanigans!

Sip Trips #211: Tap Travels

June (or more accurately, Jun-uary) was a busy month, with a fair bit of travel on the schedule. We covered a lot of track, so let’s get right to it and see what the Sip Family got up to in the first month of summer:

We began June with a week-long all-inclusive vacation to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. There, we stayed at the Riu Jalisco resort, which impressed me from the start with a liquor dispenser in every room. I’ve never experienced this perk before, but apparently, that’s a standard feature of the Riu chain. It’s all the more appreciated to have rum, vodka, gin and tequila at the ready, when you have young kids and can’t always escape the room to hit a bar for your beverage.

Mexico

My one liquor purchase of the trip was a bottle of Azul Mango Chamoy Tequila, which I still haven’t had a chance to experiment with yet. I can see the booze going good in Margaritas, Palomas and other tequila-based beverages.

Our one day leaving the resort and going into the town of Puerto Vallarta, was highlighted by stops at two craft breweries. We started with Monzon Brewing, where I enjoyed a serving of their Paloma Doble IPA (with grapefruit and serrano peppers). They didn’t have the Coconut Lime DIPA I wanted to try, but I really enjoyed the beer I settled for. We also shared an order of the Birria Fries, which was a delicious dish, especially with all the different salsas and chipotle sauce you could add.

Next up, was Granero Brewing, which is associated with Los Muertos Brewing. I ended up having the same beer I had when we visited Los Muertos’ original location back in 2019, the Anillo de Fuego (Chili Ale).

Salsa

Upon returning home, Mrs. Sip and I received our second VCBW Beer Boxes. This offered another cool assortment of beers with one regular bottle, one 500ml bottle, two regular cans and 20 tall cans, curated from brewery’s around the province. The second box improves on the first one, which was quite good in its own right.

Out on a date night, Mrs. Sip and I began our evening with happy hour at The Hub. I had pours of the Russell Peach Apricot Hefeweizen and Papaya Milkshake IPA, while we also split a Blueberry Lemon Mojito. For food, I went with a pair of tacos, including the Beef Brisket and Spicy BBQ Chicken options.

Our main event of the evening was trying out the Neverland Peter Pan-inspired pop-up bar at the Vancouver Alpen Club. Tickets were $45 each, plus fees, and included a welcome drink, plus two cocktails. The 90-minute immersive experience was fun, with an amazingly decorated setting, games to play to “earn” your drinks and fine work from the actors. The drinks were just okay in my books, but they tried to do something different with each, using a fizzy stick for one and butterfly pea colouring for the other. We ended up helping another couple finish the fishbowl they ordered and this led to us all heading to karaoke at Georgie’s Local Kitchen & Bar.

Peter Pan

To end the month, we travelled up to Kelowna for a few days. Our first meal was at Boston Pizza, as we had to use our last two free kid’s meals before the June 30th expiry date. The deal of getting five kid’s meals for $5 is a fantastic offer and one we will do again next year, if the chain offers it. My meal consisted of items from the new summer menu, including the Carnitas Pizza (BBQ sauce, mozzarella cheese, BBQ pulled pork, pineapple, red onions, feta cheese), paired with a Spicy Blue Margarita (tequila, blue curacao, lime, mango, jalapeño). The pizza was fantastic… the drink, not so much.

The next day, we visited Off the Grid Winery, where Mrs. Sip did a tasting and bought a couple bottles, while the kids and I checked out the animals and other sights the place offers. It was a nice stop, with the perfect temperature and a relaxing vibe.

On our way back into town, we stopped at Copper Brewing, where Mrs. Sip and I shared orders of the Darla’s Red Ale, Peaches N’ Cream Wheat Ale, Raspberry Lemonade Pils and Nut Brown Ale. The brewery offers guests the chance to play video games on their Classic NES and SNES systems, which were enjoyed by the Sipplings, even if they had no clue what was going on. We also played the Guess Who board game with Girl Sip, as Boy Sip enjoyed his afternoon nap.

NES

For dinner that night, we walked over to Bin 4 Burger Lounge. Hitting the tail end of their happy hour, I ordered a pint of Phillips Citrus Lager, along with a Blackberry Vanilla Lemonade (vodka, blackberry simple syrup, vanilla syrup, basil, lemon juice). Mrs. Sip had a tasty Pineapple Strawberry Mojito. To eat, I selected the Big Spenny Burger with Curry Aioli for my scrumptious fries. Other sauces we enjoyed, as each dish comes with one free cup, included Bacon Aioli and Truffle Aioli.

Our final Kelowna destination was Barn Owl Brewing, where I had the Passionfruit Paradise IPA, while Mrs. Sip went with a flight consisting of the Genesis Raspberry Wheat Ale, A Whittle Orange Witbier, Headturner Hazy IPA and Escape – The Pina Colada Sour. The brewery had a really neat upstairs area and visitors can bring food in from outside, particularly from the bakery next door. Prior to leaving, Mrs. Sip also ordered a Night Owl Porter Float, while the kids played shuffleboard.

As the calendar turned over from June to July, we were relocating from Kelowna to Penticton, to continue our Okanagan getaway. That portion of the vacation and much more will be documented in the next Sip Trips.

Sip Trips #208: Vegas Bound

To end March, Mrs. Sip and I entered the U.S. for the first time in over two years, which is a gap I thought I would never experience, unless I moved to another continent. We selected Las Vegas as the perfect place to celebrate our 20th dating anniversary and it was a journey full of good food, drinks and an adventure or two.

All the fun started at the Vancouver Airport, where we had a relaxed breakfast/lunch at the Canucks Bar & Grill. Their All-Dressed Poutine was one of the best poutines I’ve ever enjoyed and went really well with my mid-morning Stanley Park Wheels Up IPA.

Airport Drinking

In Vegas, we stayed at The Palazzo. Mrs. Sip booked us a Prestige Club room, which gave us access to the Prestige Lounge. We arrived just in time for happy hour on our first day, which featured free drinks from 4-7, along with delicious appies starting at 5. The staff at check-in and in the lounge were all fantastic and we would definitely recommend the Prestige experience.

For dinner that night, we had a reservation at Mon Ami Gabi. Mrs. Sip and I have enjoyed many meals over the years there, but our usual order of the Chilled Seafood Platter was sadly no longer on the menu. We adjusted and went with the Small Seafood Platter, along with the Escargot. All paired with a bottle of wine, we were even given a free dessert for our anniversary celebration.

The next day, we made the journey to the off-strip Ellis Island Hotel & Casino, home to Ellis Island Brewing. At The Front Yard restaurant, we enjoyed a couple $3 beers in the Amber Ale for me and Hefeweizen for Mrs. Sip. I also had a Bonfire Rauchbier for $5, while Mrs. Sip did a flight of the Hefeweizen, Wit, Belgian Tripel and Dubbel Trouble. To eat, we had an amazing CBR Flatbread, comprised of citrus garlic sauce, bacon, shredded chicken, pico de gallo and jalapeño cream.

Flatbread

Returning to The Venetian, we hit up happy hour at Trustworthy Brewing, which was my 200th brewery visited! There, I had the A Year in the Making American Amber Ale, while Mrs. Sip switched things up and drank a Southern Peach Smash (bourbon, peach nectar, ginger syrup, mint, ginger ale), as she is getting more into whiskey and bourbon cocktails of late.

Given we could also access The Venetian Prestige Lounge, we had happy hour there, allowing us to compare the two options. After another set of cocktails, we returned to The Palazzo side, where I squeaked in two more beverages for the road, enjoyed as we got ready for another night out.

While at The Paris the night before, Vanderpump à Paris caught Mrs. Sip’s eye, so we made that our destination for dinner. The restaurant had only been open for a couple weeks when we tried it and we had a fantastic experience. We ordered Bouef Wellington Sliders, Mini Monsieurs and Baked Brie En Croute to share, while Mrs. Sip had a glass of wine and I tried the Louvre At First Sight cocktail, which came in its own smoker shaped like the infamous Louvre Museum glass pyramid. The drink is called ‘A Smoked Work of Art’ and includes Gracias a Dios Mezcal, prickly pear, lemon, jalapeño honey, orange bitters, aquafaba and hickory smoke.

Cocktails

Our main event of the evening was supposed to be checking out the Omega Mart immersive art exhibit by Meow Wolf, which had caught the eye of both myself and Mrs. Sip. Sadly, once we got out to the Area 15 location, we learned the facility had been evacuated due to a fire alarm and the Omega Mart had been cancelled for the night. We still checked the Area 15 building out and had overly expensive drinks at its bar – seriously, $15 for an off-strip Spiced Rum and Coke??? – but the air had kind of come out of my sails with the Omega Mart debacle.

For our anniversary day, we did what good couples do best and went our separate ways for the day. While Mrs. Sip enjoyed some rest and relaxation poolside, I had a need to walk the strip and explore, since I hadn’t been to Vegas since March 2018. Along the way, I grabbed a few road beers, had a very good lunch from Dave’s Hot Chicken (which is apparently opening a couple locations in the Lower Mainland soon) and took care of buying some snacks and souvenirs for the family, along with our booze to bring home, in the form of bottles of Jameson Orange Whiskey and Bacardi Dragonberry Rum.

We reconvened to unfortunately have to race out and take care of our COVID antigen tests, which needed to be done as we returned on March 31, and the whole need to get this done in Canada was being eliminated on April 1. While Mrs. Sip inquired about changing our trip to avoid this, Air Canada (after many hours on hold to speak to an agent), said we couldn’t change anything because we had booked a vacation package. #BoycottAirCanada

Air Canada

Following our negative tests, we enjoyed a final Prestige Lounge happy hour at The Palazzo, toasting our 20 years together. We weren’t able to go too crazy on the hors d’oeuvres, though, as we had a big night out planned. That began with dinner at Picasso, my first Michelin Star restaurant experience. In fact, Picasso is ranked at two Michelin Stars and is thought to be one of the best restaurants in the U.S.

So, what did I think of the meal. Overall, I was a little disappointed, to be honest. Nothing really blew my mind and I’ve had $14 burgers make me lose all my bodily functions. The price of this meal was absurd… like, I won’t even print it absurd. I did leave overly stuffed, which Mrs. Sip says is rare for Michelin Star restaurants, since portions are usually doled out to perfection, so eaters get just enough and are comfortably full by the time the feast is finished.

Upon arrival, I ordered the Greyscale cocktail (Earl Grey-infused gin, orange oleo saccharum, fresh lemon juice and a splash of soda). I went with the Menu Dégustation (Tasting Menu), which included four courses plus dessert (Maine Lobster Salad, Pan Seared U-10 Day Boat Scallop, Sautéed Steak of “A” Foie Gras, Prime Petit Filet Mignon). Mrs. Sip did the Prix Fixe Menu (Warm Quail Salad, Sautéed Crispy Gnocchi and Sautéed Medallion of Fallow Deer) with wine pairings. The desserts were fantastic, but Mrs. Sip didn’t even get a wine pairing with hers. Part of the draw of the restaurant is the many Picasso paintings that adorn its walls. Since I’m not an art guy, I preferred to watch the Bellagio fountains from our table, but the music accompanying the fountains was hard to hear, so that detracted a little from the shows. As we left, we were given boxed chocolate, which Mrs. Sip and I still have to eat.

Michelin Restaurant

To end the evening, we attended the Absinthe show at Caesar’s Palace, which was as wild and raunchy as advertised. Going into the performance, Mrs. Sip and I shared an Absinthe Hallucinator cocktail (vodka, pomegranate, blood orange, lemon, absinthe), which helped get us into the spirit.

The next day, with mere hours before we had to checkout and head to the airport, we tried to get to The Chocolate Bar at New York New York, but it was closed when we arrived, despite online sources saying it was supposed to be open. Dejected, we hurried back to The Palazzo to check out and finally enjoy the welcome bubbly we didn’t have at arrival, since happy hour was afoot.

It was amazing being back in Las Vegas, especially after what the world has gone through the last couple years. I will say, though, I was feeling my age a little on this getaway, as I was in bed each night by about 1 a.m. and my feet were done long before that each evening. Maybe I just need to “train” better in advance of the next trip!

Sip Trips #207: Rinks and Drinks

Well, March was interesting, full of outings and even some travel. In fact, the month was so busy, I’ve split our experiences into two entries, something I haven’t had to do for a very long time when it comes to Sip Trips diaries. Let’s see how the majority of March played out:

The month began with the Sip Advisor meeting a friend to watch the All Elite Wrestling Revolution pay-per-view. Prior to arriving for the show, we had a couple beers at Roxy Burger, a former frequent haunt for the Sip Family. There, I had two James Brown Ales, at the Sunday special price of $4.50 each.

Next up was the pay-per-view, hosted at Red Card Sports Bar. Throughout the amazing, but lengthy show, I consumed two Red Card Pale Ales, two Howe Sound Sky Pilot NW Pale Ales and one Howe Sound Hazy Daze IPA. To keep from over liquefying, I enjoyed a serving of the bar’s Hotiyaki Wings at happy hour pricing, as well as a Classic Burger later in the evening. The wings were delicious and I really liked the blend of hot sauce and teriyaki. The burger was also very good and we hope to return for future events.

Wrestling

Later that week, Mrs. Sip and I both signed up for Vancouver Craft Beer Week Beer Boxes at the Founding Membership level. This means, four times per year (spring, early summer, late summer and winter), we will receive 24 curated craft beers from a variety of breweries, for only $69 each delivery. We felt this was an amazing deal and can’t wait to see what our first Beer Box holds.

Offered a mid-week date night, Mrs. Sip and I finally visited Gotham Steakhouse, something we had always intended to, but never got around to, while living downtown. We picked Gotham from the list of places that were supposed to be doing Cinq A Sept, as part of Vancouver Cocktail Week, but nobody seemed to know what I was talking about with regards to the special happy hours. Not to be deterred, Mrs. Sip and I both had the restaurant’s Feature Cocktail of the day (Aperol, St. Germain, Gin, Lemon Juice, Absinthe Rinse). I also enjoyed pints of Backcountry Widowmaker IPA and Parkside Dusk Pale Ale, while Mrs. Sip was recommended to order a Whiskey Sour, which we both enjoyed. For eats, we shared the Steak and Prawn Skewers, Caesar Salad and Seymour Street Fried Chicken, all of which were tasty.

Following our meal, it was time for the Vancouver Canucks vs. Montreal Canadiens game we had tickets to. After the first period, we tried Strawberry and Passionfruit Margaritas from the Rogers Arena margarita bar, which I’d like to think spurred the Canucks on to their eventual victory that night.

Margarita

That weekend, we took the Sipplings to the Dead Frog Carnival, where the brewery was releasing two new beers with cotton candy additions. The beers, which I tried each of, were the Hippity Hop Hazy IPA and Pondside Pale Ale. Mrs. Sip had a Black Raspberry Sangria Sour. Our food consisted of the yummy Maple Jalapeno Beef Dip, a Jumbo Beer Pretzel and Smoked Salt & Pepper Wings, which ended up at our table by mistake, but the server said they couldn’t take them back, so we might as well enjoy them.

The next day, prior to another Canucks contest, Mrs. Sip and I had a pre-game meal at The Keg. I paired a Gin Basil Lemonade with an order of French Onion Soup, as I had earlier finished my Beef Dip from the day before and wasn’t super hungry by the time we sat down for dinner.

For St. Patrick’s Day, we went to the 120 Pub for dinner and drinks. It was a great stop for the entire family, as a magician/balloon animal artist was on hand to entertain the kids. My meal consisted of a pint of 120 Winter Wheat Ale (brewed by Red Truck Brewing), to go with the Cali Club sandwich.

St. Patrick's Day

Next up, was Boy Sip’s 2nd birthday. Following a day out, our extended family met for dinner at Boston Pizza. Here, I had a Kick’n Memphis Chicken Sandwich, along with a Yellow Dog High 5 Hazy IPA. Best of all, throughout the month of March, kids meals were free, so long as adults purchased entrees.

For guests at Boy Sip’s Choo Choo Two birthday party the next day, I picked up the Mt. Begbie Bundle of Joy case, containing three each of their Nasty Habit IPA, Tall Timber Brown Ale, Attila the Honey Amber Ale and High Country Kolsch. The pack caught my eye for its unique combo of beers.

We arrived early for our last Canucks game of the month, so decided to start at the arena’s SportsBar. There, we shared the Buffalo Chicken Poutine, where the Buffalo chicken, gravy, veggies and fries all made for a good combo of flavours. To drink, I had a pint of Main Street Naked Fox IPA. We sat and watched the first period in the bar, before moving to our seats for the rest of the match.

Sports Bar

To celebrate another handful of March birthdays on Mrs. Sip’s side of the family, we again ate at The Keg. This time, I went with The Keg Burger, which was decent, but reminded me of how much I missed the original Keg Burger. My beverage choices included a Chili Mango Margarita and a Yellow Dog High 5 Hazy IPA.

The last week of March was spent in Las Vegas, celebrating my and Mrs. Sip’s 20th dating anniversary. What did we get up to in Sin City? You’ll have to wait for the next Sip Trips to find out!

Sip Trips #205: Dome Dining

Well, the first month of 2022 is in the books and it was a pretty good one. Even with Mrs. Sip trying out a keto diet, we managed to have a lot of fun, especially since Mrs. Sip enjoyed a cheat day for her mid-month birthday. Here’s what we got up to in Januray:

To welcome 2022, on New Year’s Day, the Sip Family had a delicious meal at The Keg. My beverage of the Yellow Dog High 5 Hazy IPA combined very well with my Keg Burger with Fries. I had stopped ordering the Keg Burger a few years back when they sadly changed the beef blend the burger was made with. I’m glad I finally gave it another shot because although I still miss how the burger was done when I originally fell in love with it, it’s still a pretty damn good meal.

The next day, we met up with a friend at 3 Dogs Brewing in White Rock. I enjoyed servings of their I Like Big Mutts Hazy Tangerine IPA and K-Nein Mandarin Kolsch, as well as the walk I took with Boy Sip between the two brews, so he could stretch his legs and see the cars and trucks he has become obsessed with as he enters the toddler stage of life.

Toddler

The next weekend, Mrs. Sip and I were offered a childless night from Ma and Pa Sip. We took advantage of the occasion with a visit to Piva Modern Italian, where we used some of the gift card Ma and Pa Sip gave us for Christmas. Mrs. Sip and I split the Calamari Steak, which was very tasty with olive tapenade on top. To drink, I had the Viola cocktail (Empress Gin float, Cointreau, lemon, mango syrup, guava, soda), which was very refreshing thanks to the citrus and soda blend.

Afterwards, as Mrs. Sip did some shopping for snacks for her new diet, I went to the 8th Street Liquor Store, where I bought a single tall can of Stanley Park Deck the Malts Holiday Ale. I hadn’t had the chance to try the seasonal release prior to this and the brew came at a slightly discounted price, so how could I refuse the offer.

Another liquor shopping trip resulted in Mrs. Sip picking up two flavours of Nude Vodka Soda (Strawberry Kiwi and Watermelon), as well as Pyur Coconut Vodka Soda. I’ve enjoyed all three variations and it always feels good to get your drink on and know you’re not sacrificing too much in the calorie intake category.

Calories

Stocking up for a guys’ drinking night the next weekend, I visited the Clayton Liquor Store. There, I bought tall can four-packs of Steel and Oak Throw Blanket West Coast IPA and Boombox Paradise City Passionfruit Coconut IPA, along with a single can of Dead Frog Field Tripper Hazy Rye IPA. The Paradise City was particularly good, with a hint of coconut at the back end of each sip.

As for the guys’ night, our first stop of the evening was Farm Country Brewing. I’ve always liked Farm Country’s set up and enjoyed this stay too, with orders of the Last Call Cocktail Inspired Ale and Hoppy Tonk 2.0 Azacca Fresh Hop IPA.

Next up, was Camp Brewing. I love that Camp sticks with their theming, offering smokies and s’mores on their food menu. I took advantage of that, eating the Ranger Danger Smokie (Korean BBQ sauce, mayo, honey mustard, cilantro, sesame seeds), which really hit the spot. We stayed here for a while, enjoying the fire pit spot that opened up shortly after we arrived, with the Sip Advisor downing pints of Kodiak West Coast Brown Ale, Fall Camp Smoked Amber Ale and Winter Camp Gingersnap Ale. The only downside of the evening was a random woman coming up to us as she was leaving, informing us we had stolen their spot at the fire pit. This, after we asked a server for permission to move and had been sitting at the spot for an hour and a half before being approached. Had the woman come up to us earlier, we would have happily given up the spot in the name of good liquor karma.

Karma

Later that week, we celebrated Mrs. Sip’s birthday with the extravagant Winterlust dome dining experience at H Tasting Lounge. We began with an arrival bottle of bubbly and cheese and meat charcuterie plates. My cocktails consumed during our 2.5-hour reservation, included the Balrog’s Demise (Ardbeg Wee Beastie Scotch, Goslings Black Seal Rum, Lemon Hart 151, Cherry Heering, Averna, pineapple, lime, coconut, tiki bitters, spice), Cut The Chit Chat (Maker’s Mark Bourbon, Cynar, Campari, Apricot Liqueur, antica formula, hellfire bitters) and Isle of Man (Copper Spirits White Rye, Esquimalt Dry Vermouth, Boomsma Genever, Maraschino Liqueur, Sombra Mezcal). I also had tastes of some of Mrs. Sip’s beverages, including Bobby’s A Cinephile (ghee washed Lemon Hart 151 Rum, Angostura 5yr Rum, roasted corn lemon, vegan foamer, popcorn) and Like, Basically (strawberry jacked Absolut Vodka, O5 Elderflower Soda, Chambord, Galliano, lemon). Each cocktail was delicious and presented uniquely. This included my Balrog’s Demise being lit on fire and the Cut the Chit Chat coming in it’s own hand-painted flask, while Mrs. Sip’s Bobby’s A Cinephile was served in a popcorn bag, with caramel corn. To eat, I ordered the HTL Smash Burger and also enjoyed shared plates of Crispy Brussels Sprouts, Chicken Wings and Bread & Oil. The meal wrapped with the restaurant serving up some slices of birthday cake, which we all shared. The experience was well worth it and we had no problem surpassing the $300 minimum order, even though our group was only four people, instead of the six we had originally planned.

With the Sipplings staying over at Ma and Pa Sip’s for the night, we also managed to hit the House of Comedy for a show. As if we needed more food, upon arriving, we ordered the Chicken Tenders and Chips & Guac. To drink, I enjoyed the Dark Humor cocktail, which is their version of a Dark N’ Stormy.

We wrapped the month with a Vancouver Canucks game. Prior to heading to the arena, I needed some dinner and went to White Spot for my meal. I paired a pint of Granville Island Lions Winter Ale with a Legendary Burger Platter. It was a fantastic meal and set me up nicely for the hockey ahead.

Burger and Beer

At the game, I got a large-size Parkside Dreamboat IPA. It was nice to have the arena at 50 per cent capacity, for ease of moving around, emptier bathrooms and bar line ups, as well as using transit home. Of course, a packed stadium is good too, but I will enjoy the limited crowd while it lasts.

February promises to be a very interesting month, as the Sip Family goes on their first international vacation since November 2019. We’ll be staying at an all-inclusive resort in Mexico, so that will surely provide some good material for next month’s Sip Trips!

Sip Trips #204: December Dynamics

Well, the merriest month of the year has come and gone and as we settle into the melancholy that January can often bring, it’s time to look back on how the Sip Family enjoyed December. There’s a fair bit to cover, so let’s get right to it:

We began the month with a trip to ride the Stanley Park Christmas Train. En route, we dropped into Storm Brewing, as I had wanted to pick up their Christmas themed tall can four-pack, including one can each of Christmas Orange Ale, Eggnog Latte Stout, Turkey Dinner IPA and Xmas Tree Pilsner. While there, Mrs. Sip and I shared a series of samples, comprised of the brewery’s Pineapple Paradise Pilsner, Strawberry Shortcake Ale, Chocolate Strawberry Stout and Mrs. Claus Pilsner (brewed with winter spices). It was an enjoyable stop, highlighted by the most unique beers the local scene has to offer.

beer-christmas

Prior to our train ride, we had dinner at the Stanley Park Brewpub. There, I enjoyed a Red Rye Session IPA and Master Chicken Sandwich. We had great service for our large group and the food and drink were very good.

The next week, for a Christmas party with friends, I picked up the Red Racer Dozen Donuts Mix Pack, composed of three each of Honey Crueller Lager, Chocolate Dip Stout, Raspberry Jelly Sour and Boston Cream Ale. Among the set, my favourites were the Stout and Cream Ale.

Although we had a couple Canucks games scheduled for the month, only one contest ended up going ahead (thanks a bunch, COVID!). Prior to the match, we met with friends at the Hotel Georgia 1927 Lobby Lounge, where I had a liquid dinner of their Hotel Georgia cocktail (Botanist Gin, orgeat, lemon, orange blossom water, egg white and nutmeg dust). It was a very nice drink, but I found the lounge to generally be more expensive than I was planning for.

Expensive

At the game, I enjoyed servings of Hoyne Dark Matter, Parkside Dreamboat Hazy IPA and Stanley Park 1897 Amber Ale. This was the Canucks game where they were down 3-0 early, before storming back and scoring the winning goal with minutes left in the game, coming away with a 4-3 victory. If COVID keeps scuttling games for us, that memory will last a while.

A couple nights later, Mrs. Sip and I took the kids to the Surrey Holiday Lights display. The free event was very well done and offered some drink options for adults. While Mrs. Sip had a spiked hot chocolate and a glass of wine, I went with a can of the Stanley Park Shadow Play Dark Ale. Afterwards, we went for dinner at the nearby Boston Pizza, where I sipped a double Spiced Rum and Coke, along with the Sriracha Garlic Chicken Pizza. It was a good meal and even came with a free Toblerone bar, as it was part of the special seasonal menu.

Next up, was Mrs. Sip’s office Christmas party, hosted at El Santo. Among a very filling set menu dinner, I ordered a number of cocktails, including the El Antijito (pulparindo-infused Cazadores blanco, Aperol, green apple, lime, guava, house-made chamoy and tajin rim); Grito de Delores (estancia raicilla, Cointreau, Green Chartreuse, verdita); El Bosque Nuboso (Avua cachaca, Bacardi 8, Sombra mezcal, Campari, pineapple, lime, passionfruit, Narrative fortified); and the El Padrino (Charred corn husk infused mezcal, Sons of Vancouver amaretto, house mole bitters) for dessert. I also had sips of Mrs. Sip’s Tepache Spritz (house-made tepache, cava, pineapple, cinnamon, soda).

Chips

Unfortunately, our Canucks vs. Leafs game (the reason we select the quarter season package we do) was cancelled due to Omicron concerns. To take advantage of the break in our schedule, Mrs. Sip and I decided to tackle our Christmas shopping, decorating and wrapping. To console ourselves, we began the day of errands with lunch at Milestones. My 1989 Burger was very good and I loved that the server suggested I do half fries and half Caesar Salad, when I struggled to decide on my side dish. More places should offer this option. To drink, I had a pint of the Twin Sails Dat Juice Pale Ale.

After our shopping was done, we dropped into Steel & Oak Brewing, where we shared a flight including B-Jamz Cherry Apricot Pale Ale, Nightcap Cranberry Orange Belgian Ale, Baltic Porter and Phonograph Maple Smoked Porter. Mrs. Sip also grabbed bottles of their Woodland Dark Lager and Velvet Thunder Barrel-Aged Wild Ale, before we returned home for a night of drinks, snacks and Home Alone movies, while wrapping gifts and doing some decorating.

Our last event prior to Christmas was Lumagica in Cloverdale. The weather was really windy, but we enjoyed the light displays and walk. The kids absolutely loved the outing, which is really what the season is about. As we traversed the route, I enjoyed a 2 Pals Cuffing Season Winter Ale.

Lights

Our Christmas Eve, Christmas and Boxing Day were all fun, if not hectic, but that’s par for the course. Liquor-related gifts I received included bottles of Wayward Distilleries Krupnik Spiced Honey Liqueur and Raspberry Gin Liqueur, as well as Havana Club Cuban Smoky Rum. I also got a BC Liquor Stores gift card for future adventures and The Unofficial Disney Parks Drink Recipe book for inspiration for those adventures.

Some notable boozy gifts I had for Mrs. Sip, included some neat new beers: tall can four-packs of Granville Island Cheeky Monkey Chocolate and Vanilla Hefeweizen, Russell Cinnamon Bun Brown Ale and Twin Sails These Pretzels Are Making Me Thirsty Stout (Chocolate, Peanut, Pretzel, Marshmallow). Also, single tall cans of Granville Island Prometheus Belgian-Style Golden Strong and Seawall Saison. We spent some of Boxing Day trying a few of these offerings.

For Christmas dinner, hosted at Ma and Pa Sip’s abode, I finally got to serve the Christmas cocktail menu I created for last year’s festivities. My theme was cocktails from around the world, with names that translated to Merry Christmas, featuring ingredients from those places. This resulted in the Mele Kalikimaka (Toasted Coconut Rum, Macadamia Nut Liqueur, Mango-Pineapple Juice, Lime Juice), Feliz Navidad (Cinnamon Tequila, Kahlua Vanilla, Milk/Soda Water), Joyeux Noel (Grey Goose Le Melon Vodka, Elderflower Liqueur, Lemon-Lime Soda) and Buon Natale (Limoncello, Amaretto, Ginger Beer).

Gifts

Our last outing of December was to Patina Brewing. Mrs. Sip and I shared their Smoked Meat Bunwich (pulled pork in Memphis BBQ sauce) with fries and coleslaw, Pulled Pork Tacos and Southern Cornbread. Our beverages included an excellent Horchata Cream Ale (also bought a tall can four-pack) and Blueberry Wheat Ale. I loved seeing horchata used in a cream ale, as I typically only see it used in dark, heavier beers, such as stouts.

That’s a wrap for the month and the year. I hope to get my Best of 2021 out there soon. As for no mention of New Year’s on this article, it’s because the night was a dud, inspiring a future article on the best and worst holidays. Lots to look forward to as we begin 2022!