Sip Trips #96: Much to Celebrate

The week that was started with Ma and Pa Sip joining me for dinner at Dunn’s Restaurant in Vancouver. This deli-style restaurant has been a favourite of the family for some time and this visit was no different. I paired my Classic Club with a pint of R&B Brewing’s Raven’s Cream Ale, which made for a solid combination. Ma Sip went with the tasty Fried Chicken Poutine, while Pa Sip enjoyed a Grilled Cheese with Onion Rings. All told, the meal was very good and we will return soon.

On Saturday, we had plans to celebrate Father-in-Law Sip’s birthday, but also met with a friend at the One20 Public House in Delta, for a drink. There, I ordered pints of Red Truck Blackberry Bourbon Ale and Four Winds Apparition West Coast White Ale. I was impressed with the pub’s extensive craft beer selection and look forward to future visits.

One20 Public House

Following that stop, we were off to the nearby Greek Village Restaurant, where souvlaki, saganaki and spanakopita were gorged on by our group. We have never had a bad experience at this eatery and it has become a regular destination for the Sip Advisor’s in-laws, as they renovate their home. The feast made Mrs. Sip and I really look forward to our cruise ports in Greece this May.

On Monday, Mrs. Sip and I hit the VIP Theatre at Marine Gateway, as we had passes that needed to be used. As we watched Logan (an awesome movie, by the way), I scarfed down a Chipotle Chicken Club Wrap and tried their Cherry Collins cocktail. While I’ll always argue that I make better Tom Collins drinks than most bars out there, this was a decent version and I liked the cherry infusion. The food was also very good. I’ve tried something different from the menu every time I’ve been to the VIP Theatre and I’ve never been disappointed yet.

For Tuesday night, Pa Sip was given a pair of Vancouver Canucks tickets and I was the lucky recipient of the extra pass. Prior to the game, we dined at Back Forty, located right across from BC Place’s Terry Fox Plaza. Accompanied by a couple beverages, I tried the Buttermilk Fried Chicken Po’Boy, which was very flavourful and spicy, thanks to the Sriracha and mustard. The service from staff was very quick and attentive, especially with drink orders.

Back Forty

To wrap up the week, Mrs. Sip and I celebrated our 15th dating anniversary. I still can’t believe we’ve been together so long and how far we’ve come from the 18-year-olds we were when our journey first started. For the occasion, we picked up a Groupon for Blue Martini Jazz Café, which provided us each with a three-course meal and live entertainment from the Ray Ayotte Impromptu band.

Our meals consisted of meatballs, jambalaya and cheesecake for me, while Mrs. Sip went with a prosciutto and bocconcini bruschetta, salmon topped with shrimp and crab, and crème brulee. For drinks, I tried their Moscow Mule happy hour special and downed a pint of 33 Acres of Ocean with dinner.

I’m was very happy with where we ended up, but we were both amazed at how little there was to do around Vancouver on this Thursday night. While the rest of the week was littered with various events, there didn’t seem to be much going on this particular evening. That did push us to try this new experience, though, so it was all for the best!

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Beer of the Week #8 – Stanley Park Foghorn India Brown Ale

In need of a case of beer for my hosting duties as part of a surprise birthday gathering for Mrs. Sip, I returned to an old favourite. Picking up Stanley Park Brewing’s Lord Stanley’s Pick (Winter Edition) case allowed me another opportunity to enjoy this product.

The Foghorn India Brown Ale was a hit with my guests who tried it, thanks to its roasted nuts and toasted malts. The somewhat rare IBA beverage comes with stats of 6% ABV and 50 IBUs and the beer has a great colour profile that is perfect for the fall/winter season.

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Suggested food pairings include turkey dinner with all the fixings, including gravy, sweet potatoes, pecan pie, or Camembert cheese. As is always the case with Stanley Park beers, the name is incorporated into the logo, with a drift of fog encompassing the famous lion.

I’m really looking forward to the brewery’s prospective restaurant and tasting room to be located in the former Fish House Restaurant in Stanley Park. Plans include producing “park inspired beer that is innovative and unique to the park location only”.

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Beer of the Week #5 – Four Winds Featherweight IPA

Looking for a beverage to enjoy while watching last weekend’s WWE Royal Rumble show, I grabbed the perfect product from Four Winds Brewing, conjuring images of a sleek high flyer getting tossed around by wrestling giants.

The Featherweight IPA was very refreshing and provided an interesting combination of its whopping 60 IBUs with such a low alcohol content of only 4.5% ABV. The mix was very enjoyable with tastes of tropical fruit and hops dominating the brew’s taste.

Four Winds Featherweight IPA.jpg

The brewery has a few really good IPAs, including the Juxtapose Wild IPA, Phaedra Belgian Rye IPA, and Vexillum Imperial IPA. You can certainly add the Featherweight to that list, as a lighter option should drinkers desire a bold taste with less booze.

The IPA (part of Four Winds’ Notus Series) can periodically be found in bomber-sized bottles at BC Liquor Stores. The drink received a well-deserved silver medal at the 2016 Canadian Brewing Awards in the Session IPA category.

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BC Beer Baron #336 – Stanley Park WinterGlow Mandarin IPA

The Sip Advisor was recently on the hunt for this new Stanley Park Brewing release and quickly captured my prey. Being an ardent fan of Mandarin oranges (Pa Sip used to always tuck one into our Christmas stockings), I couldn’t wait to taste them in liquid form.

The WinterGlow Mandarin IPA is a very good beer, with flavours of orange mixed in with west coast hops (Amarillo, Citra, and Centennial). The seasonal beverage comes in with stats of 6.4% ABV and 55 IBUs and is a perfect way to kick off the month of December. The drink even glows a vibrant orange colour.

Stanley Park WinterGlow Mandarin IPA.jpg

As I shared the beer with Cousin Sip, she noticed the Stanley Park logos change depending on the product. For example, the iconic lion that welcomes visitors to Stanley Park and adorns the brewery’s labels is palming an orange for this brew.

The IPA can be found at BC Liquor Stores in bottled six-packs, as well as in the company’s Lord Stanley’s Picks: Winter Edition mixed case. It is joined by fellow newcomer Foghorn India Brown Ale and year-round favourites Windstorm Pale Ale, 1897 Amber Ale, and Noble Pilsner.

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BC Beer Baron #306 – Stanley Park Smoked Baltic Porter

Right in time for the coming season, Stanley Park Brewing has brought out a winter warmer that may be hard to track down. After sampling it at the recent BC Beer Awards, I hope it’s eventually released en masse.

The Smoked Baltic Porter pays tribute to brewing traditions of the past. It features flavours of roasted and caramelized malts with its smoke content being reminiscent of bacon. The 7.8% ABV, 28 IBUs drink is potent, while also soothing.

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A special release cask, you unfortunately won’t see this beer on store shelves (at least for the time being). You may luck out however and get to experience the brew on tap at various locations around the province.

The term ‘Baltic Porter’ refers to a brewing style that originated in regions such as Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania, among others. It’s kind of a hybrid between British Porters and Russian Imperial Stouts… dark and boozy!

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BC Beer Baron #255 – Four Winds Sovereign Super Saison

Each month, as part of this 366-day BC craft beer extravaganza that I will be sharing with you throughout 2016, I will highlight a specific style or theme of beers for a whole week of articles. Saisons have quickly become a favourite style of the Sip Advisor. I’ve even gone so far as to call the summer of 2016 my ‘Summer of Saison’. Let’s see what BC has to offer.

With Saison Week coming up quickly, I knew a trip to Four Winds Brewing would be necessary. I just had to include the Delta-based operation, given the saison is a style they experiment with often. Luckily, they are conveniently located in Delta, en route to and from treks to Ma and Pa Sip’s home.

The Sovereign Super Saison features tastes of elderflower and spice, with a tart, fruity finish. The 8.5% ABV, 20 IBUs beverage is an award winner, taking home a People’s Choice Award at the 2014 BC Beer Awards and a gold medal at the 2015 Canadian Brewing Awards, in the Belgian Style Strong Specialty Ale category.

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Four Winds have also previously released a year-round Saison, as well as collaborated with Brassneck Brewing to launch the Honeymoon Baby and Quebec’s Le Trou du Diable Microbrasserie for the Exil D’eden saisons. Of particular note is the La Maison Wild Saison, Wildflower Saison, and Operis Brett Saison, all available on limited runs.

Each of these latter products (including the Sovereign Super Saison) comprise the brewery’s Eurus Series, which features beers with European heritage. Eurus, after all, was god of the east winds in Greek mythology. As part of this series, bottles come in 750ml format, complete with cork. Stay classy, Four Winds!

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BC Beer Baron #191 – Four Winds Saison

On a recent trip to Craft Beer Market in the Olympic Village, the Sip Advisor was reintroduced to this fantastic beer from Four Winds Brewing.

The Saison is a delicious offering with a nice balance of fruit, spice and hops. As I’ve written previously, I’m really getting into saisons this summer and Four Winds has one of the best. Thinking back, it may even be the beer that first introduced me to the style a couple years ago.

Four Winds Saison

The 6.5% ABV, 30 IBUs beverage is available year round and can be found in bottled four-packs. Four Winds also has a Wildflower Saison, Operis Brett Saison, and Sovereign Super Saison that are part of their Eurus Series of limited edition bottled-conditioned European-inspired brews. Eurus, in Greek mythology, is the God of the East Winds.

I try to make at least an annual pilgrimage to the Delta-based brewery, but have yet to do so this year. With increased visits to Ma and Pa Sip’s place for summer pool time, that will hopefully be remedied shortly.

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