Sip Trips #149: September Insanity

Well, my little sippers, it’s been too long since I was last able to provide an update on the Sip Advisor’s adventures, thanks in part to our big move from Vancouver to New West. I’ve finally got some time to put fingers to keys, so here’s what we’ve been up to over the month of September:

As we enjoyed the calm between two storms – moving out and moving in – Mrs. Sip and I met up with some baseball teammates at the Sapperton District Taphouse for their weekly Tuesday Trivia. Over the course of the night, Mrs. Sip and I enjoyed servings of Howe Sound You’re My Boy Blue Blueberry Wheat Ale (on special), Steel & Oak Rhubarbarum Rhubarb Pale Ale and a Dageraad selection that was described to us as a double dark wheat ale. To go with our beverages, I ordered the Whiskey Barrel Burger, while Mrs. Sip once again had the Slow & Low Sliders. Best of all, our team won the trivia and got tickets to a comedy show, a t-shirt and, most importantly, a pitcher of beer for our efforts.

The next day, friends from out of town were visiting, so we took them to the Britannia Brew Pub in Steveston. As we did on our first visit, Mrs. Sip and I shared their Chowder and Fish & Chips for food, which I paired with their seasonal Tropical ISA. The beer was just what I was looking for to pair with seafood.

redneck-seafood.jpg

A few days later, we were back in the Richmond area, so decided to drop into Fuggles & Warlock Brewing. Although I’d had a sip of the beer at the Battle of the Brews event a couple weeks earlier, I wanted a full glass of the Gin & Lime Pilsner, which I enjoyed more in the larger serving. Mrs. Sip went with her usual The Last Strawberry Wit, which has always been a fantastic and flavourful drink.

Next up was our cruise from Vancouver to Los Angeles with Princess Cruises. As is our tradition, we brought aboard four bottles of wine, as well as mini bottles of rums, vodkas and schnapps, which kept us well-lubricated throughout the voyage. This was helped along by various drinks aboard the ship, highlighted by multiple servings of Mayan Mules (subbing in tequila for vodka); a super-sized Chocolate & Chili Margarita (enough for both Mrs. Sip and me); and attending the Maitre D’Hotel Wine Club, including six samples of wine from around the world.

When our cruise disembarked in Los Angeles, we journeyed to Anaheim for one day at Disneyland, Baby Sip’s introduction to the place where her parent’s met as fresh-faced teenagers and began their long relationship. We decided to attend the Mickey’s Halloween Party, giving us access to the park starting at 3pm and lasting until 11pm. Mrs. Sip realized if we went this route, we’d pay only slightly more than the price for a one-day, one-park ticket (which would see us booted out for the Halloween Party at 6pm), while gaining access to both parks, extended hours, and the perks that come with the Halloween ticket.

Halloween in September.png

Prior to heading to the Disneyland Resort, we went for lunch at the nearby Tony Roma’s location, drawn in by their happy hour commencing at 11am. Mrs. Sip and I each ordered a pint of Golden Road Get Up Offa That Brown, to go with our Chicken Tender Platter and Mrs. Sip’s cup of Baked Potato Soup. This is one of my favourite chicken strip platters of all-time, so it was very nice to have it again on this vacation.

Following lunch, we entered Disney’s California Adventure, home to (at this time) the only place among the parks where you can purchase alcohol. We went straight for the Karl Strauss Beer Truck, where we noted that brew prices have gone up since our last visit in December 2016. Despite the increase, I ordered their Aurora Hoppyalis, while Mrs. Sip went with the seasonal Oktoberfest.

After riding the revamped Incredicoaster, we rejoined our family near the Animation Building, stopping along the way to try a couple beverages only available during the Halloween season. Mrs. Sip had the Elsyian The Great Pumpkin Imperial Ale, while I selected the Stone Vengeful Spirit IPA. Both beers were very good, with the Elysian having the best pumpkin flavour I’ve experienced in a beer.

pumpkin beer.jpg

Following taking Baby Sip on her very first Disneyland ride ever – The Little Mermaid – we made one more suds stop at the Sonoma Terrace beer and wine garden. I was happy to see the site now has beers on tap, instead of only bottles. With that in mind, I picked the Refuge Grapefruit IPA, but neglected to note which libation Mrs. Sip settled on.

Next, we were off to the Halloween Party, which was a lot of fun. It was neat to experience a park we’re so familiar with in a whole new way. The trick-or-treat stations handed out a variety of quality treats and the fireworks show was top notch. Our only complaint would be that one of the churros stands ran out of the pumpkin spice variety that we’d read about online, which seems like very poor planning to occur, not only during the Halloween season, but particularly during a special event such as Mickey’s Halloween Party.

Before flying back home to Vancouver, most of our group had lunch at the Golden Road Brewing tasting room within LAX Airport. This was a welcome surprise given how much we used to despise the airport and how we just had a beer from the company the day before at Tony Roma’s. I went with the Wolf Among Weeds IPA, paired with a Banh Mi Sandwich, while Mrs. Sip ordered the Mango Cart Wheat Ale to go with a Pub Pretzel.

out-of-pretzels.jpg

Back at home, we were running out of days to reach my goal of taking Baby Sip to 52 breweries in her first year of life, so made a trip to Vancouver for stops at R&B Brewing and Electric Bicycle Brewing. At R&B, we shared one of their spectacular pizzas, the Prosciutto & Arugula variety, along with pints of So Fresh and So Green, Green IPA for me and the Jam Session Raspberry Cream Ale for Mrs. Sip. At Electric Bicycle, we shared a flight, comprised of Kaedama Ramen Noodle Alt, Spatialized Pale Ale, Floridian Holiday Pink Peppercorn IPA, and Das Cocoloco Imperial Wit. It was a perfect way to achieve my and Baby Sip’s goal with some outstanding beers at both locations.

To celebrate my birthday the next day, we bought tickets to Trading Post Brewing’s Oktoberfest event, where they were joined by Field House Brewing and Steel & Oak Brewing. I tried beers from each vendor, including the Trading Post Hoppy Bock, Field House Festbier, Field House Dutch Pale Ale, and Steel & Oak Roselle Wheat Ale. We also ordered some of the fantastic food available, such as the Vienna Schnitzel, Laugenbrezel, and Parm Fries. The event was a lot of fun and to boot, we even got an opportunity to drink out of a boot!

As with any birthday for me, a number of liquor products were gifted my way, including bottles of Tanqueray Malacca Gin, Sons of Vancouver Chili Vodka, Fernie Ghostrider Pumpkin Brown Ale and Bad Tattoo Brewing’s Flash Pack case. Last, but not least, I also received a BC Liquor Store gift card, as well as cash, which will likely go towards boozy purchases.

money for birthday

Finally, to wrap up what is often our second busiest month of the year – only topped by December and all its Christmas events – thanks to a myriad of family and friend birthdays, we celebrated Baby Sip turning one-year-old. For the occasion, I created three cocktails, featuring colourful liqueurs that went with our Dr. Seuss ‘Oh, The Places You’ll Go!’ theme. The recipes included Rum–Blue Curacao–Pineapple Juice, Vodka–Banana Liqueur–Club Soda, and Gin–Violet Liqueur–Lemon-Lime Soda. The unique yet basic recipes were a hit with our guests and added a nice enhancement to the party.

October looks to be a little less insane, but the calendar is already filling up with Halloween parties and other commitments. Bring it on, October!

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Sip Trips #86: Best of 2016

Each year, the Sip Advisor fondly looks back at the best drinking nights (in order of occurrence) of the previous calendar… at least what he can remember of them. Join us as we take a moment to dissect and celebrate 2016:

Libational Learning

When a night ends with the Sip Advisor passing out on the couch, sans clothing, you know it’s been a good one! The Science of Cocktails extravaganza was a fascinating and booze-fueled evening. We wanted to return this year, but Mrs. Sip has a trial starting the next day, so that doesn’t seem to be in the cards. #Responsibilities

Family Day Festivities

Over the Family Day long weekend, the Sip Alliance explored both the Fraser Valley and North Vancouver craft beer regions, hitting more than a dozen locations. Many of these, were first time stops for our group and it opened our eyes to all the wonders that exist outside of Vancouver.

family-time

Crawling Around

Just one day after the Portland Beer & Wine Festival, we were back at it, hitting the streets of the City of Roses and searching out some of its most popular breweries. Over the course of the day, we worked our way through a half dozen tasting rooms. Eventually, we ended the journey with an Easter-themed burlesque show and Voodoo Doughnuts… because why the hell not!?

Lion City Leisure

With three nights in Singapore to start our five-week Asian adventure, we decided to spend one of those nights at the swanky Marina Bay Sands. Our hotel package included their evening happy hour, which in true Mr. and Mrs. Sip fashion, we rocked until they kindly asked us to leave. We followed this with swimming in the resort’s rooftop pool, 63 floors above the city.

The Happiest of Valleys

The fun didn’t stop there, as our cruise made a two-day stop in the vibrant city that is Hong Kong. This allowed us the chance to enjoy some nightlife, helped along by Mrs. Sip having a few friends living in the city. Coincidentally, it was also Wednesday race night at the Happy Valley Racetrack. Over a couple pitchers of beer, the Sip Advisor even picked a winning horse and took home a small prize.

horse-racing-for-rich-people

So Many Options

Arriving in Tokyo, Japan, we chose to stay near the Golden Gai district of the city. For those unfamiliar with the area, it is home to approximately 300 little bars, within a six-block radius. Our exploration led us into a few uniquely-themed watering holes, such as the one centered around horror movie and metal music cultures.

Drinking Sky High

Our fun in Tokyo didn’t stop there. The moment Mrs. Sip discovered that this attraction existed, we knew it would be a highlight of our stay in the city. At the Park Hyatt, their Peak Bar offered visitors the chance to drink all-inclusive during sunset hours, while looking down at the bustling city below, from the 41st floor. We ended up sitting next to a couple from Australia and spent the night drinking with them, as I challenged the bartender to make me her best drink with each different alcohol available.

Tipping N’ Tasting

Among my favourite annual beer festivals is the Tip N’ Taste event in Langley. It provides a chance to sample brews from companies based more in the Fraser Valley region of BC, as well as other entries from around the province. This year, we stayed overnight at the Convention Centre Hotel, which hosted the event. That meant the after party quickly moved to our room!

beer-crisper

Island Wedding

While on Prince Edward Island for a friend’s wedding, Mrs. Sip and I were introduced to a number of great people, who we partied away the weekend with. Following a meet-and-greet barbecue on the eve of the wedding, we accompanied our new associates back into Charlottetown for an impromptu night on the town, which ended much later than we had anticipated.

All You Need is Love

The Made with Love cocktail competition has become an annual tradition (three years running) for Mrs. Sip and I. It’s always a fun night out, trying the drinks of some of Vancouver’s most popular bartenders. Best of all, we get to play a role in picking the winning entry, although none of our personal favourites ever seem to come out on top.

Cruise Credits

To celebrate Sis-in-Law Sip’s birthday, we booked a one-day cruise from Seattle to Vancouver. Over the course of the evening, the Sip Advisor took in parts of four bottles of wine, a half-dozen beers, a couple cocktails, and a bottle of bubbly to boot, won through a ‘Finish the Song Lyrics’ quiz.

cruise-captain-morgan

Irish Blessings

Over the last couple years, I’ve been incredibly lucky to have celebrated my birthday in Hawaii, aboard a cruise ship, in Southern Africa, and now Ireland – although it was a couple days after the actual date. The Sip Syndicate was along for this ride and we celebrated in true Irish style with shots of Jameson Whiskey and pints of Guinness.

Fear and Loathing

Our trips to Disneyland nowadays typically include enjoying the sights and sounds (and lines) of the park with a cold beer or glass of wine in hand. In October, we were also primed for Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights, which involves getting a good buzz going, prior to entering. Once that was accomplished, all we had to deal with was psycho killer clowns, a rogue’s gallery of baddies and even some Jabbawockeez!

Award Season

My first year attending one of BC’s best craft beer shindigs proved why I had missed out in previous years. Unable to attend because of vacations and other commitments, we finally made it to the BC Beer Awards, where the Sip Advisor was able to sample about 20 different beers from the wonderful breweries that make up the province’s craft industry.

awards-season

Diamond Celebration

To commemorate Ma Sip’s 60th birthday, the entire family ventured to Disneyland, which also recently celebrated the same milestone. Mrs. Sip’s aunt also had her 50th birthday on that weekend, so there was much to revel in. That included a fair bit of drinking at the park and in our hotel rooms, as we made the change from day to night wear.

Traditional Tidings

To celebrate Christmas this year, the Sip Family stayed in Leavenworth, Washington, which is famous for being a little slice of Bavaria, hidden in the mountains. The town is a haven for Christmas lovers, and it’s here that we explored the many wine tasting rooms, a couple breweries and exuded as much festive spirit as one is allowed to, by law.

2016 was an amazing year… at least drinking wise. I can’t wait to see what 2017 has to offer, even though it has quite a bit to live up to!

Sip Trips #79: California Screamin’

Fresh off of our trip to Ireland (seriously, Mrs. Sip returned Wednesday night and we were off again Saturday morning), the Sip Alliance took advantage of the Canadian Thanksgiving holiday with a super quick jaunt down to California where a few days at Disneyland was just a warm up to Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights!

Upon entering Disneyland’s California Adventure Saturday morning, the Sip Advisor made a bee line to Flo’s Café for a serving of Bear Republic’s Grand-Am Pale Ale. This is my favourite beer in the park and was a perfect way to start the short and sweet vacation. Mrs. Sip and I typically pair the breakfast brew with a cheddar garlic bagel twist, which is as fine and gluttonous as a morning meal can be. We also tried their pumpkin twist dessert for some additional excess.

breakfast-beer

Even before we could hit a single attraction, we were onto our second beers of the morning, visiting the Karl Strauss Beer Truck. Here, I tried one of the newer beers (at least new to me) available in the Aurora Hoppyalis IPA, which I found to be quite good and deserving of its awesome name. Mrs. Sip went with their seasonal Oktoberfest beverage, which was also a solid choice.

Finally, we rode a ride, but our thirst was not fully quenched. This resulted in a stop at the Sonoma Terrace Beer Garden, where Mrs. Sip selected the Brother Thelonious Belgian Ale from North Coast Brewing, while the Sip Advisor went with a serving of Bootlegger’s Rustic Rye IPA. My only complaint about the beer garden is that all servings are bottles, so you don’t get the same amount as the draft options and often pay more. That said, the available options are often boozier than their contemporaries.

For a late lunch, we made a reservation at the Carthay Circle Restaurant. With the park typically busy for a Saturday and unseasonably warm for October, we ducked into the Carthay Lounge a little early and enjoyed a round of drinks with Mrs. Sip’s favourite appy, the Queso Fundido dip. I ordered a glass of Anchor Mango Wheat because the server said it was a maple mango beer. While that wasn’t correct, it was still a decent brew. Anchor Brewing does have a Maple Autumn Red, which may have caused the confusion. Our three-course lunch was fantastic as usual, enjoyed with a bottle of chardonnay.

wine-as-fruit

Eating at the Carthay Circle Restaurant gave us a special seating area for the World of Color show that night and the Sip Alliance always comes prepared. While Mrs. Sip and Cousin Sip double fisted glasses of bubbly, the Sip Advisor and Cousin Sip’s husband were among the last served at the Beer Garden. My bevvy of choice was the Hopageddon Imperial IPA from Napa Smith Brewing. We wrapped the day with a late visit to McDonald’s, which I brought back to our hotel room to pair with a bottle of Samuel Adams Octoberfest. There was also a serving of Karl Strauss Mosaic Session IPA in the late evening, which deserves mention for being a good brew.

Sunday featured our main reason for doing this frenzied trip to California. Two years ago, Mrs. Sip and I attended Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios and had a fantastic time. Part of the festivities, includes drinking our faces off prior to entering the spooky resort. As we did previously, we began our imbibing at the Karl Strauss Brewing location in the City Walk area outside the park. There, amongst a host of shared plates (pretzel bites, pork schnitzel sliders, cheese fondue, etc.), I enjoyed another serving of the Aurora Hoppyalis IPA, followed by the Tower 10 IPA. Mrs. Sip got a pair of Windansea Wheat glasses, which were also delicious.

Our last ditch effort to get a suitable buzz before being swarmed by zombies, maniac killers and all other forms of terrifying beings, came courtesy of the Saddle Ranch. Mrs. Sip and I went with double tequila shots, while I also pounded back a double rum and coke. To say I was ready to have the daylights scared out of me would be an understatement. Once inside, our favourite houses were Freddy vs. Jason, American Horror Story (thanks to following the series), and Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Our front-of-the-line passes helped us get through the park with ease and we completed all attractions within a few hours.

haunted-house

After a quick sleep, we were back at Disneyland for one more half day of fun. It was breakfast time, so you know what that meant: one more Grand Am Pale Ale for the road and a cheddar garlic bagel twist. We were always under the impression that beer wasn’t served until 10-10:30am, but learned at Flo’s, they are served all day, from 9am on. What a wonderful world we live in!

For lunch, we popped into the Cove Bar, which is situated at the entrance to the Paradise Pier area of the park. There, I had one of their secret menu cocktails, the Earthquake (a Long Island Iced Tea with Sprite, blue curacao and a float of 151 rum), while Mrs. Sip had the Black Pearl (a Long Island Iced Tea with Sprite and Chambord). Our crew shared a plate of Lobster Nachos over our drinks. Shortly thereafter, it was sadly time to head to the airport.

Normally, my Sip Trips involving vacations to California end there. LAX is one of the worst airports I’ve ever been to for guest amenities, but on this occasion, we ended up in a fantastic wing of the airport, which had a bar and a few other neat looking restaurants. We had dinner at Barney’s Beanery, where I was able to get a buffalo chicken sandwich and a couple pints of Strand 24th Street Pale Ale. Mrs. Sip was in the mood for Mexican, so she had a quesadilla and taco, as well as a serving of Weihenstephaner Hefe Weissbier, which was a fantastic drink.

While we don’t have any travel plans for this weekend, we will be attending the BC Beer Awards for the first time, so that should provide some good stories for the next edition of Sip Trips!

November 14 – False Alarm

Audial Dismay

Last week, we looked at the heavenly sounds that bring a smile to my face. This week, we’re not so lucky. This article might as well be called: “The Sounds that Keep the Sip Advisor Up at Night, Living in a Downtown Condo.” That’s simply too long, though, so here we go with the aptly titled “Bad Sounds”:

#5: Crying Babies/Kids

While this causes a natural instinct to kick in among mothers, it’s annoying as hell to everyone else in the general vicinity. Don’t get me wrong, I feel for the parents of a wailing youngster, as I know I will likely be in that position one day. That doesn’t stop the clamor from waking the Sip Advisor as he’s trying to catch a little shuteye on flights or enjoy the typically pleasant sounds of Disneyland. The worst is when a kid can turn it off and on, in an attempt to get attention.

cry boobs appear

#4: Trucks Backing Up

Beep, beep, BEEEEEEP… you get the point. Mrs. Sip and I live near a few businesses and I am often disturbed from my slumber by this increasingly annoying sound. I get the safety reason behind larger vehicles being able to warn people and other cars that they’re reversing, but why do these cautions have to be so loud, especially in the middle of the night in residential areas. Can’t you see a psychopathic driver setting his truck in reverse and then abandoning it, revelling in the misery of those within earshot!?

#3: Honking Horns

The Sip Advisor really hates people that are horn happy (almost called them horny, but I don’t discriminate there). The type of people that tap their horn whenever they are frustrated, regardless of if it’s justified or not. Yes, traffic might be backed up, but laying on your horn isn’t going to help matters. The worst is when I’m walking along, lost in thought and I’m startled by some idiot blaring his horn. Usually, when I looked around to see what the commotion is about, there’s no issue at all.

horn gun shots

#2: Alarm Clock

No matter how nice the file you choose on your phone or whether it’s your favourite song of all-time, when this noise wakes you up, you’re not very happy. It can actually make you turn sour on a song you used to enjoy, as I went through when Mrs. Sip used Californication by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers for a couple years. Now she uses Coldplay’s Paradise, but I’m not sure I ever really liked that song in the first place. The only good alarm is waking up naturally, on your own schedule.

#1: Car Alarms

Worse than an alarm you’re expecting, is one you don’t, especially if it goes unclaimed, as it always does in the case of useless car alarms. With all the street parking downtown, Mrs. Sip and I are subjected to car alarms on a near regularly basis. Worst of all, is when the terrorizing sounds follow you while camping, of all places. You figure you’re getting away from all the disturbances of city life when you’re out in the wilderness, but that wasn’t the case recently for us. I exasperatedly looked at Mrs. Sip and said, “We just can’t get away from it!”

Super Saturday Shot Day: False Alarm

Some honourable mentions include dripping water, insects buzzing by your head, and emergency vehicle sirens, which narrowly misses making the list because of its necessity. Have I missed a sound that you find absolutely unnecessary and deplorable? Let me know!

Sip Trips #33: SIP A Dee Doo Da

When Mrs. Sip and I bought annual passes to Disneyland last September, I never could have imagined that we would visit the resort in August. The summer months mean packed parks and extreme temperatures. This year was a special case though, as the ‘Happiest Place on Earth’ celebrated its 60th anniversary and we wanted to join in the festivities!

Upon arriving, Mrs. Sip and I went straight for beers at Flo’s Café in Cars Land. It’s the only place in the park where you can get the Bear Republic Grand Am Pale Ale (special to me because I used to drive a Grand Am), which Mrs. Sip ordered, while I got the 5 Racer IPA, also brewed by Bear Republic. We noticed that the Radiator Springs Racers ride was temporarily down at the time, but speculated it would be back up and running shortly. As we enjoyed our first few sips of beer, sure enough, the ride opened and we joined the line. We found out the wait would be 75 minutes, as the back-up of riders was cleared, so we decided to give the single rider line a shot and ended up going on the ride three times in a row, before it broke down again.

Go To Disneyland

This helped us decide whether or not to get another beer, which we did at the Karl Strauss truck in the Pacific Wharf area. With no line-up, we were feeling very fortunate and grabbed a couple servings of the Windansea Wheat Hefeweizen, which was a delightful summer beer and one I wish I could easily get my hands on back at home. Karl Strauss is the feature craft beer at the resort. The company was launched in 1989, starting San Diego’s craft beer industry. Karl Strauss was a long-time brewer for Pabst (before opening his own operation), after fleeing Nazi Germany in 1939.

For lunch, we hit the Carthay Circle Restaurant for their 3-course menu, which also gives diners priority seating for World of Color show later in the day. Here, we were joined by Cousin Sip and her husband, splitting a bottle of Beyond Sauvignon Blanc from South Africa, with our meals. The wine was very nice and easy to drink, but perhaps wasn’t the best to pair with my Angus Burger entrée. At least it worked with Mrs. Sip’s Seasonal Fish (salmon) dish.

The rest of the day was spent picking up beers from around California Adventure and jumping on a few of the rides, before we moseyed on over to Disneyland Park. With a good buzz going, we also visited the Animation Building and tried our hand at a few of the character animation seminars. My Cheshire Cat and Tigger did not look very good, but I really can’t blame any level of inebriation on that.

drawing to fridge

We began the next day on the side where you can’t drink (boooooooo), before crossing over to California Adventure. Looking for a respite from the overwhelming heat, we ducked into the beautifully air-conditioned Carthay Circle Lounge, this time grabbing seats in the bar area. I ordered the Carthay Diamond Manhattan, largely based on the fact that the ice cube was going to be diamond shaped. I know, I’m very easy to please! The drink was strong, as you’d expect, but was a classy, flavourful cocktail to enjoy in the elegant lounge.

Mrs. Sip and I have become experts of sorts when it comes to drinking at Disneyland, but old dogs can learn new tricks. We recently learned about The Cove, located in the Paradise Pier area of the resort, which has apparently existed all along, right under our noses. I think we always thought it was part of the Ariel’s Grotto restaurant and never investigated further. Here, I had the Smoked Turkey cocktail, which combined Wild Turkey Bourbon, Red Stag Black Cherry Bourbon, Grenadine, Odwalla Lemonade, and was garnished with Gourmet Maraschino Cherries. Mrs. Sip and Cousin Sip ordered some off menu items (you have to know to ask the server about them, unless you get lucky and they mention them to you), including variations of the Long Island Iced Tea. To go with our drinks, we enjoyed some Lobster Nachos, followed by Quesadilla Rolls. The setting was beautiful (albeit in the sun at some points), while the food and drinks were very good. This is a new find that we will certainly return to in the future.

IMG_8580 - Copy

Saturday is always a busy day in the park, so we did our best to stay cool and relaxed. This plan was highlighted by a trip to the Alfresco Tasting Terrace, where Mrs. Sip and Cousin Sip indulged in wine tasting flights from the select Disney “family” of wines (chardonnay and reds, respectively), while the fellas experimented with the beer menu. My first brew was the Anaheim Hef, which was another nice summer beer. I followed that with a glass of Napa Smith Hopageddon IPA, which was quite different, but equally enjoyable.

Later on and disappointed that we missed out on the drinks available during the Mad Tea Party, our crew decided to head for the Downtown Disney district for one last beverage, before ending the evening in Disneyland Park. We landed at UVA Bar, located outdoors, in the center of the mayhem. This was a perfect spot for a night cap and there were too many options to choose from. I ordered the Stone Cold beer cocktail, which blended Stone IPA, Hendricks gin, lime juice, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Other items that we tried or that looked interesting, included Mrs. Sip’s Hibiscus Mojito (which although made too sweet, was adjusted to her taste, with even an extra dash of rum, although all Mrs. Sip requested was a soda top up), a beer sampler that featured Bootlegger’s Spicy Blonde Ale and Mermaid’s Red Ale, and one which we didn’t order, but looked neat: a Bloody Mary popsicle (Tomato Lime Diablo Pop) to put in a beer and make a Michelada.

Disney Vacation Fastpass

On our last day, we managed to cram some more beers into our California Adventure afternoon. I started with the Windansea, which may have been my favourite brew of the weekend, followed by a pour of Green Flash Hop Head Red, which was a double IPA and as hoppy as one would expect. For old time’s sake, I finished my visit with a very refreshing Blue Moon, soaking in the sights and sounds of the resort.

Overall, the crowds at the park were not nearly as bad as we originally feared, except for Saturday. The heat, however, was intense and anytime you walked from one area of the park to another, you tried to duck into a shop just to cool down. With our annual passes set to expire next month, it may be a while before Mrs. Sip and I are back, but we sure took advantage of our year!

May 23 – Mad Tea

Happiest Drinking on Earth

With Disneyland’s 60th anniversary celebration beginning this weekend, it’s certainly time to party. Now, if the Sip Advisor ends up on the receiving end of an invitation to the affair, I have to decide who I want to enjoy the evening with. Here are some great Disney characters to share a drink with!

#5: Belle

It’s always good to have a hot babe on your arm (or on the barstool next to you), as you enter any drinking hole. This is one of many reasons I keep Mrs. Sip as happy as possible and in my gainful employ. Sure, Belle is a little too into her books (so is Mrs. Sip) and that goes against the Sip Advisor’s grain, but behaviours can be changed. Being educated is a good base to have and I have to think that behind the whole prim and proper attitude, Belle’s a bit of a freak. After all, she did get together with a beast!

Belle Beasts

#4: Winnie the Pooh and Tigger

When going for wobbly pops in the 100 Acre Forest, I’d choose Winnie the Pooh and Tigger as my wingmen. Eeyore is forbidden from joining us, thanks to his gloomy view of the world, while Piglet is only invited so we have a designated driver on hand. Imagine the crazy things you could probably convince Tigger to do for your own entertainment? Plus, Pooh often gets gluttonous munchies similar to me, only his vice is a pot of honey, while the Sip Advisor is quick to reach for a bag of potato chips.

#3: Mr. Toad

If the parties thrown at Toad Hall are any evidence, the eccentric amphibian knows how to host a good shindig. We’re talking open bar, troublemaking weasels, people swinging from chandeliers… you know, all the good things in life! One issue might be Mr. Toad’s penchant for driving while under the influence – a definite no-no in the Sip Advisor’s books. Perhaps he needs me to keep him on the straight and narrow. His overbearing friends are also of concern, but we just won’t invite them.

mr-toads-ride

#2: Scrooge McDuck

Along with trading stories with the well-travelled mogul, Scrooge McDuck would be able to cover any tab the two of you racked up. We’re talking enjoying some of the world’s most expensive liquors in locales around the world, as you experience your latest DuckTale! I’m sure it wouldn’t take long for the Sip Advisor to earn a spot amongst McDuck’s nephews. Hell, I can’t be any more annoying than the accident prone Launchpad McQuack or the hapless Fenton Crackshell.

#1: Baloo

Baloo seems like a totally down-to-earth bear, needing only the bare necessities of life to get by. That’s what I look for most in a drinking companion. I prefer people who are easy going and don’t have a whole lot of drama surrounding them. There’s also the fact that Baloo has access to his own private plane and could fly the two of us to any remote location we want to visit. Hell, his buddy King Louie even has his own joint, Louie’s Place, where we can drink the place dry and probably for free!

Super Saturday Shot Day: Mad Tea

  • 0.5 oz Gin
  • 0.5 oz Green Tea
  • Splash of Sour Mix
  • Garnish with Mint Leaves

While narrowing this list was difficult, there are a number of Disney characters that you certainly wouldn’t want to sit down to drinks with. Cruella de Vil would certainly turn nasty and you’d have to think that Donald Duck would get quite mean after a few too many beverages. Then, there’s Jiminy Cricket… who the hell wants to have their conscience around when they’re slamming back the booze and getting up to stupid stuff!

Flavour Revolution – Lemon

When Life Gives You Lemons

I find stories of people turning their lives around to be quite fascinating and inspiring. Going through challenges makes for better people on the other end and some of the greatest things we know today were created by those who took risks, defied protocols, and pushed through adversity. Here are some fine examples of folks turning lemons into lemonade!

Walt Disney

Had Walt Disney been one to easily give up, we wouldn’t have an archive of wonderful characters, shows, movies, theme parks, and experiences. Countless times, it was speculated that Disney would destroy his own company with new ventures. This included the making of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves – dubbed Disney’s Folly by the media – and the construction of Disneyland, which many believed had no chance of success. Disney had so much trouble raising funds for the theme park that he made a deal with the ABC TV network, exchanging programming for help in financing his dream. Everything worked out in the end, thanks to Disney’s risks.

Walt Disney Legacy

Henry Ford

The man who eventually brought the world the automobile went through a number of struggles before finally reaching success. Ford came from a farming family and was expected to take over the homestead, although he hated the work and lifestyle. Ford wanted a better life for himself, but simply leaving the farm didn’t guarantee anything. In fact, Ford was forced to file for bankruptcy twice, but he learned from his mistakes and gained a net worth of $188 billion. Ford was also one to look after his employees, offering them an unheard of $5 per day wage, allowing them to buy the vehicles they were making.

JK Rowling

The Harry Potter author, now raking in cash from her books, movie deals, theme park lands, etc. was once living off welfare and trying to complete her novel by travelling to various coffee houses, while caring for her infant child. Even when interest began swelling for her manuscript, she was advised to seek a day job, as it was unlikely she would make enough money solely on writing children’s books. While speaking for a graduating Harvard class in 2008, Rowling said: “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.”

Steve Jobs

Before he became the technological icon that we know him as today – creating devices such as the iMac, iPod, iPad, and iPhone – Jobs went through many hardships. Among them, he was an adopted child, struggled in school, dropped out of college course he could barely afford in the first place, and struggled to find his niche in the working world. Even running his own company would not provide smooth sailing. In fact, at one time, he was forced out of Apple, the company he created and would later bring back to prominence. Even in declining health due to cancer, Jobs never gave up hope or his dreams and kept working hard through it all.

Jobs Taking Over

Terry Fox

Fox was only 18 years old when he was forced to have his leg amputated due to cancer. The young man didn’t let that stop him, though, as he not only won national wheelchair basketball championships, but also embarked on a trip across Canada, running to raise money for cancer research. Fox’s Marathon of Hope lasted 143 days and 5,373 km, garnering $1.7 million in donations. Sadly, the journey had to be halted in Thunder Bay, Ontario, when Fox was too sick to continue, cancer returning to the athlete’s body. In honour of his campaign, the Terry Fox Run is done annually around the world and has raised over $650 million.

Rick Hansen

Sticking with Canadian content, the wheelchair-bound Hansen gave the opening address at one of my college convocations and his message really hit home with Mrs. Sip and myself. The crux of it was: “Failure is not having the courage to try.” Hansen is best known for his Man in Motion World Tour, an attempt to raise funds for spinal cord injury research by circumventing the globe in his wheelchair. Hansen had been crippled in an auto wreck at the age of 15, but that didn’t stop the man from raising $26 million over his 26 month journey. The song St. Elmo’s Fire was written for Hansen and his courageous expedition.

Oprah Winfrey

With a media empire that includes its own magazine, television network, and devoted fan base, one could certainly say that Oprah Winfrey did well for herself. When you learn of the broadcasting mogul’s humble and difficult beginnings, her success is all the more impressive. She had a strained relationship with her teenage mother, who was in and out of her life and was the victim of sexual abuse from family members. After running away from home, Winfrey herself became pregnant at age 14, although the baby died after premature birth. Once Winfrey entered the media world, it was a slow rise to the heights she currently enjoys.

Flavour Revolution: Floradora

Floradora Cocktail

  • 1.5 oz Gilbey’s Lemon Gin
  • 0.5 oz Chambord
  • Top with Ginger Ale/Beer
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Garnish with a Lemon Wedge

The phrase “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” has been credited to two sources. First, Elbert Hubbard, a Christian anarchist writer, used it for the obituary of Marshall P. Wilder, a dwarf actor, who Hubbard wrote of: “He cashed in on his disabilities. He picked up the lemons that Fate had sent him and started a lemonade-stand.” Fellow writer Dale Carnegie has also been said to have invented the term, writing in his book ‘How to Stop Worrying and Start Living’: “If You Have a Lemon, Make a Lemonade.”

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
This is an interesting drink. I used my Dark Ginger Ale, but kind of wished I’d used some Ginger Beer, perhaps Crabbie’s orange or raspberry flavour. There’s a lot of different tastes going on here, but the end result works. And if it hadn’t, I would have made lemonade from the lemon experience!