Sip Trips #55: Dirty Dancing

The week that was, was incredibly busy with activities each night of the weekend and Mrs. Sip’s birthday on Tuesday. Things started off with a lot of laughs as we went to The Comedy Mix to see Last Comic Standing winner Iliza Shlesinger do her thing, sharing a bucket of beer over the evening.

Prior to the show, we made a trip to Romer’s Burger Bar for their ongoing Craft Bowl competition. The tournament sees each Romer’s location offering two to three beers for customers to choose their favourite in a blind taste test. The winners move on to the next round, with the ultimate champion crowned Super Bowl weekend.

Bud_Bowl

The cost to play a role in the competition is only $6, which gets you a small sample of each brew, as well as a full serving of the one you choose as your pick. The three beers available for this trip were Strange Fellows Pale Ale, Postmark IPA and Driftwood Fat Tug IPA. I won’t go into too many details on the samples, as each will be featured as part of my BC Beer Baron project.

I will say that I ended up choosing the Postmark IPA, but two of our group went for the Strange Fellows Pale Ale, one went for Driftwood Fat Tug IPA, and one went completely off the board, so our tastes were quite varied. For the one who didn’t like any of the three options, Romer’s was nice enough to give him a sleeve of something else off their menu for his full serving. We will be back for another round of the Craft Bowl!

Moving on, the Dine Out Vancouver Festival (January 15-31) is currently taking over the city and when the event line-up was first released, I excitedly came home with about 10 activities penciled in for further research. Upon seeing the price of some of those proceedings, though, I whittled my list down to one activity: the Winter Beer Hall at Big Rock Urban Brewery, which we attended Saturday.

cat at table eating

For $40, we were treated to a three-course meal, accompanied by five 7 oz. cask beer samples. Big Rock was also responsible for brewing the Dine Out Van Fest Ale (a first for the annual foody festival), which was available at the Winter Beer Hall. The English-Style Brown Ale was joined by beers from some of the region’s top breweries, including Real Cask, Bridge, Doan’s, and Storm (a perennial favourite for Mrs. Sip and me). More on those selections when they come up in the 366-day BC craft beer project.

Once we were finished our meal, Mrs. Sip and I moved to a quieter part of the restaurant and ordered a couple other beverages in Big Rock’s Midnight Rhapsody (which I’ve been wanting to try for a while) and Winter Spice Ale (another choice I’ve been curious about). The night rounded out with visiting friends who live close by and sharing even more sudsy goodness.

Sunday morning, I was invited to watch the Seattle Seahawks game versus the Carolina Panthers at The Pint. While I arrived late, with the Seahawks down 31-0, the second half comeback provided some entertainment, while I enjoyed the pub’s Double Caesar, Rum and Coke and a pint of beer. All items were on special, so it wasn’t too much of a hit to the wallet, as Seattle came up short in their bid for another playoff victory.

football playoffs

The weekend wasn’t over yet, though. For Christmas, I bought Mrs. Sip tickets to the touring production of Dirty Dancing at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. Prior to the show, we sat down for dinner at Wild Tale, which on Sundays features a five-course lobster dinner for $50-$60. Mrs. Sip and I have become big fans of The Flying Pig chain of restaurants and Wild Tale is a member of that family. When Mrs. Sip heard about the lobster dinner, we made reservations quickly.

The meal began with seafood chowder, followed by mussels, and then a trio of salads (potato, coleslaw and mixed greens). Then, it was main event time, with your choice of one pound of lobster or one and a half pounds for $10 more. The restaurant could only procure the one and a half pound lobsters, so we received the larger size for the smaller price.

lobster delicious with butter

We made our reservation for 5pm, so as to enjoy as much of the restaurant’s 4-6pm happy hour and capitalize on discounted glasses of wine and beers. My Stanley Park Pale Ales paired quite nicely with a number of the dishes, particularly the chowder. Following dinner, it was off to the show, where one might say we had the time of our lives!

There’s never a dull moment at the Sip Advisor Offices and certainly no rest for the wicked. Tonight we will be attending Tapped Vancouver at the Yaletown Roundhouse, while this weekend will be spent celebrating Mrs. Sip’s birthday with blind wine tasting and drinks with friends. After all, there’s plenty of time to sleep when you’re dead!

BC Beer Baron #21 – Bridge Uganda Sipi Coffee Brown Ale

As we continue to delve into the cask beers available at Big Rock Urban Brewery’s Winter Beer Hall (as part of the Dine Out Vancouver Festival), we come to Bridge Brewing’s contribution to the event.

The Uganda Sipi Coffee Brown Ale incorporates organic Uganda Sipi Falls coffee beans (hence the name) into the recipe. The cask serving was decent with a nice malty taste and bitter finish. Overall, I didn’t get much of a coffee flavour from this beer, but the brew’s description does note that the aroma will be “soft” and perhaps that goes for the palate, as well.

Bridge Brewing Uganda Sipi Coffee Brown Ale

Despite my dislike for coffee, I can find that flavour to work quite well in beers. As a result, I’ve been curious to try the Uganda Sipi Coffee Brown Ale, after coming across bomber bottles of the brew in BC Liquor Stores. I’m curious to see if the bottle experience of the beer differs from the cask.

Mrs. Sip and I have only been to Bridge Brewing once before and not since they moved into a bigger facility. We’ve been meaning to do a self-guided tour of the North Van brewing scene for a while now, but just haven’t had the time. Patience is a virtue here, my little sippers!

For more BC Beer Baron articles, please visit our main page…

BC Beer Baron #20 – Real Cask Burnley Bastard Mild

At the Winter Beer Hall that Mrs. Sip and I recently attended at Big Rock Urban Brewery, this was Real Cask Brewing’s contribution to the festivities.

I wasn’t a big fan of the Burnley Bastard Mild. At only 3%, it’s incredibly light and I’ve come to expect stronger flavours and profiles from my craft beers. I believe, though, that others will appreciate the brew for what it is. It just wasn’t in my wheelhouse. I do have to say, it has a hell of a name.

Real Cask Burnley Bastard Mild

Callister Brewing, which houses Real Cask, has a very interesting set-up in that it provides space and equipment for a number of independent brewers (both professional and amateur alike) in a collaborative effort to get their products out to a larger audience. Currently operating out of the space are Callister, Real Cask, Machine Ales, and Brewery Creek.

The one time Mrs. Sip and I have been able to get to Callister Brewing, we put together a sampler of every beer they had available and ended up with 13 different selections to choose from. It was fun going through each one, some of which were quite diverse from anything else on the market.

For more BC Beer Baron articles, please visit our main page…

BC Beer Baron #18 – Big Rock Dine Out Van Fest Ale

Although Big Rock Brewing is based out of Calgary, their Urban Eatery in Vancouver also produces beer, so the Sip Advisor has made the landmark decision (in the matter of Big Rock v. The Sip Advisor) to include this brewery as part of the 366 days of BC craft beer project.

Good thing, too, as Big Rock hosted the Winter Beer Hall on Saturday, a feature attraction of the annual Dine Out Vancouver Festival. The brewery also took on the challenge of providing the two-week (January 15-31) foodie extravaganza with its very own craft beer, a first for the event.

Big Rock Dine Out Van Fest Ale

There is quite a bit going on with the Dine Out Van Fest Ale, with tastes of fruit and spice (and everything nice). Drinkers will notice hints of plum and chocolate, while enjoying the brew. Among the five casks available – there were two more on tap for VIP guests – at the Winter Beer Hall, this was among my and Mrs. Sip’s favourites.

Mrs. Sip’s Take:

I thought the beer had a great smell and lots of flavour. The ale tasted sweeter to me than other casks that were available. It was a good start to my tasting lineup.

Big Rock’s Urban Eatery in Vancouver is a fun spot for drinks. They are very experimental with their food menu, so picky eaters might find it hard to select a dish, while adventurous diners will have a great time trying new and interesting items.

For more BC Beer Baron articles, please visit our main page…

Sip Trips #54: Dinner and a Show

As the post-holiday blues subside we get back to our regular routine, Mrs. Sip and I have made sure to continue having fun, out and about, in this beautiful city we call home. Here’s what we got up to over the last week:

With tickets to the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra’s ‘As Heard on TV’ concert last Friday, Mrs. Sip and I needed a spot for a date night dinner beforehand. Dunn’s Famous BC is located right next to The Orpheum concert hall and is perfect for pre-concert food and drink. The restaurant recently went through a prolonged renovation, morphing into more of a deli type eatery, similar to its original location in Montreal, Quebec.

cat-has-a-symphony

We’ve enjoyed Dunn’s before, but haven’t visited since it reopened. While we had heard it was more of a takeout place now, that was incorrect and there was ample seating for guests who wanted to eat in. My concern was that alcoholic beverages could no longer be had, but that fear was quickly relieved by their advertisement of a bucket of beers deal on Fridays (among other offers, throughout the week).

Our drink order was a no-brainer. Their usual bucket of beer listing is $20 for four Steam Whistle bottles. On Fridays however, you can get five East Coast bottles of craft beer for the same price. Our bucket included three Unibroue selections (Blanche de Chambly, La Fin du Monde and Maudite) and two from Muskoka (Mad Tom IPA and Detour IPA). This all paired nicely with our order of Fried Chicken Poutine and a California Grilled Cheese, to share.

The next day, we made the long journey from Downtown Vancouver to Langley for Backyard Vineyards open house event. The gathering commemorated the winery’s release of their 2013 Syrah Reserve, which they were offering complimentary tastings of.

wine tasting randy marsh

Outside of enjoying the Syrah, Ma and Pa Sip ordered a couple bottles of Backyard’s Rose, which is a crisp, light and flavourful wine that goes down very easy… especially when you’re enjoying the music of Andrew Christopher and taking in the beautiful surroundings.

I almost hate saying this because the open houses are busy enough already, but the winery is great, the staff amazing and if at all possible, it should be experienced. Mrs. Sip has been a member of Backyard for a couple years now and we’ve managed to convert other family and even strangers to join the club.

The upcoming weeks are filling up quickly. This weekend, we’ll be at Big Rock Urban Brewery for the Winter Beer Hall (part of the annual Dine Out Vancouver Festival) and with Mrs. Sip’s birthday rapidly approaching, there will be much to discuss. Sip well, my friends!