Sip Trips #119 – Feelin’ Festive

After a week filled with three Vancouver Canucks games to start the month, Mrs. Sip and I got a bit of a respite to recharge the hockey batteries (seriously, my voice was shot after yelling at every Toronto player and fan I could) with the team on a brief road trip. With the gap between games, we focused our attention on holiday activities around the Lower Mainland. Here’s what we got up to:

On Friday night, we had a few errands to run in South Vancouver, so decided to mix a little pleasure into the business. Popping into Dogwood Brewing for the first time, we enjoyed a flight of their brews, including the IPA, Barrel-Aged Stout, London Fog, and Winter Spice. The space was nice and cozy and well-decorated for Christmas. This was Baby Sip’s second craft brewery visit and she even woke up long enough to see the place this time around.

Errands

The next day, we ventured to Langley for the Glow Christmas Light Gardens and Market. With food trucks outside and a fantastic visual set-up inside the facility’s greenhouse, we spent over two hours at the attraction. Best of all, beer, wine and a couple cocktails could be had as you explored the winter wonderland. I had servings of Trading Post Brewing’s Smugglers Trail Rye Amber Ale and Three Bears Breakfast Stout, which were both available for only $5. Mrs. Sip started with a glass of white wine and later had a Baileys Irish Cream hot chocolate.

Tickets to Glow start at $20 for adults if ordered online ($25 at the door) and I would definitely recommend the earliest timeslot possible, as the parking lot and facility fill up quickly, causing long lines to get in later in the evening. Mrs. Sip still argues that any true European-based Christmas Market doesn’t cost money to get into, but that logic doesn’t seem to apply in this area of the world.

Following work on Monday, Mrs. Sip and I met at the Vancouver Christmas Market. As I’ve written before, if we didn’t get free tickets each year, thanks to Mrs. Sip’s theatre subscription, I’m not sure I would make the effort to attend. That said, we had a pretty good time, joined by another couple for some of our visit. The move from outside the Queen Elizabeth Theatre to Jack Poole Plaze has definitely opened up the place, but going on a weeknight helped too with a lighter crowd.

Santa's Lap

As is the norm for the Market, it didn’t take long to blow through the $50 we had taken out in cash for the event. For drinks, Mrs. Sip had a couple cups of Mulled Wine, while I had glasses of Erdinger Wheat and Dunkel brews. As for food, we split a Cheese Pretzel and Parmesan and Garlic Hurricane Potatoes which were both delicious. A highlight for us was chatting with the Persephone Brewing team, who were offering samples of five different beers (Black Lager, Pale Ale, IPA, Pilsner, and Golden Ale). Joining them was Wild Goose Winery and Okanagan Spirits, where I tasted their Bourbon, Gin, and Pear Brandy.

This weekend, it’s back to the rink for a couple NHL games, while also fitting in as much yuletide cheer as possible. Lather, rinse, repeat!

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Beer of the Week #45 – Dogwood London Fog

On one of my many “research” jaunts to the liquor store, I came across this Dogwood Brewing release that instantly jumped out at me as unique. Upon checking out the product more thoroughly, I knew I had to at least try it.

The London Fog (the nickname of an Earl Grey Latte) is of the session ale variety. This seasonal/specialty brew is made with organic Earl Grey tea and French vanilla. When tasting it, my mind expected a chocolate finish to follow the flavours and was tricked when a beer aftertaste came instead.

Dogwood London Fog

My only complaint with the beer – other than the trickery it played with my mind – is its low alcohol content, but that’s merely a personal preference. As Mrs. Sip points out, the 4% ABV (15 IBUs) translates to less calories (approx. 120), which can be a big deal for some drinkers.

The beer is only available at select locations. Thankfully, Dogwood has provided a list of those spots on their website. I went straight to their tasting room for mine, my first visit to the South Vancouver location.

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BC Beer Baron #265 – Dogwood Organic IPA

As I’ve mentioned previously, when Mrs. Sip and I visited the Originals Restaurante Mexicano in New West recently, the Sip Advisor was impressed with the diner’s small, yet varied craft beer menu. That included this product from Dogwood Brewing.

The Organic IPA isn’t as hoppy as some IPAs, relying more on its malt content to deliver flavour. This is a good thing for those that don’t do bitter so well. The 5.9% ABV, 50 IBUs beverage presents flavours of caramel and citrus fruits in a well-balanced package.

dogwood-organic-ipa

While Dogwood doesn’t provide any food pairing suggestions for the beer, Mrs. Sip and I found it worked rather well with our taco platters, complementing the various flavours and spices in our meals. The IPA is available in cans at private liquor stores.

I have still yet to visit Dogwood’s South Vancouver tasting room and really should get around to it. The company is very proud of their all-organic lineup of brews, which also includes a Honey Ale, Fest Ale, and Stout, as well as seasonal treats.

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Sip Trips #73: Around the World at Home

As it is with most weeks for me and Mrs. Sip, the last one was pretty darn busy. We celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary, co-hosted the Sip Advisor’s annual beer pong tournament, participated in a Disney trivia event, and had a fun meal out in New West. Here are some notes from the week that was:

Four Years Strong

Mrs. Sip has always wanted to try Lupo, an upscale Italian restaurant in downtown Vancouver. I figured with our anniversary approaching, it might finally be time to book a reservation. We had a wonderful meal – prior to watching Book of Mormon – which included a shared Bufala Mozzarella Salad to start, Ricotta Gnocchi (with pork cheeks) for Mrs. Sip and Taglierini (with wild mushrooms and chilies) for myself, and finished with a Gelato trio for dessert. The meal was washed down with a very nice bottle of Italian pinot grigio.

Italian Food

SIP-A-Dee-Do-Da

When the Sip Alliance first heard about Disney trivia, hosted at The Pint, we were keenly interested, as Disney love runs in the family. This event proved to be so popular that they kept adding dates and one night quickly grew to four, thanks to the massive waitlist. Unlike some other trivia activities around town, there was a $5 entrance price for this one, but we were just happy to have a spot.

While we finished just outside the top three teams, I was impressed with The Pint’s food menu. This includes a number of great options, perhaps best highlighted by being able to order wings, chicken strips, rice bowls, pulled pork, and other items, done 40 different ways (varying sauces and dry rubs). On Tuesday’s, you can get their Team Platters for $19, instead of $32, while pitchers are only $15. My only complaint would be that their craft beer lineup is lacking, especially for a place called The Pint.

Dipping Sauces

Taco Time

With the week being as busy as it was, Mrs. Sip and I decided we needed a little one-on-one time. Therefore, I made the trip out to New West, where the bronzed goddess works, to join her for a meal at Originals Restaurante Mexicano. We both ordered taco platters, trying a total of six different styles, with our mutual favourite being the Carnitas (slow cooked fried pork in cinnamon and orange). The restaurant also had three craft beers on tap and it was far from your typical selections. Ridge Brewing, Dogwood Brewing and Dead Frog Brewing were all represented. Best of all, the eatery has two happy hours, from 3-6 and 8-11, where these beverages can be had for only $4.

This upcoming Labour Day long weekend will provide a rare stay-cation for Mrs. Sip and I. All that really means is that there is much trouble we can get up to. Check back next week to see exactly how we handled the time off!

BC Beer Baron #108 – International Women’s Collaboration Brew Kettle Sour Gose

While it’s becoming more and more common to see two breweries combine their collective talents for a beer release, you don’t often see five different entities (Dogwood Brewing, Bomber Brewing, Moody Ales, R&B Brewing, and Big Ridge Brewing) coming together to support women in beer.

That’s what happened with the release of the Kettle Sour Gose at Central City’s Vancouver Brew Pub. Full disclosure: The Sip Advisor isn’t the biggest fan of light sour brews, but I thought this 3.5% ABV, 10 IBUs beverage was actually pretty solid.

International Womens Collaboration Brew Kettle Sour Gose

The recipe for this year’s beer was shared around the world and includes organic coriander, sea salt, and Goldings and Magnum hops, resulting in a tart, yet refreshing beverage. $1 from every glass sold will go to the Pink Boots Society, which is working to help women achieve success in the brewing industry, across the globe.

Up until now, I was unfamiliar with this movement, but as long as good beers keep getting put out, all the power to it. My thanks and appreciation goes out to all the ladies out there who play a role in something that I enjoy so much in my life.

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BC Beer Baron #95 – Dogwood Maple Molasses Stout

Although it recently celebrated its first anniversary, Mrs. Sip and I were finally able to try some of Dogwood Brewing’s work at the recent Yaletown Brewery Irish Stout and Porters Caskival.

The Maple Molasses Stout was Dogwood’s contribution to the event and it was decent, with light flavours of maple and a mild overall sweetness. The easy drinking beer could have benefitted from even more pronounced tastes, especially with the maple.

Dogwood Brewing Flight

The brewery is Vancouver’s first all-organic operation, even offering to recycle customer’s used coffee bags. For those unaware, the dogwood is the official provincial flower of BC.

Owner Claire Wilson was at the Caskival and we spent some time chatting with her about her move to Vancouver from Ireland and opening up the brewery with her husband. Best of luck to them and Mrs. Sip and I will have to pop by for a visit soon.

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