Sip Trips #189: Celebratory September

I’ve decided to do monthly Sip Trips updates going forward and we’ll start with the last gasps of summer, moving into fall. It was a busy month, as Septembers always are, given the Sip Advisor, Pa Sip, Toddler Sip and others all have birthdays. With that in mind, let’s get right into things:

The month began with meeting a friend for dinner at Izba Bistro in Port Coquitlam. There, I had the Chicken Schnitzel Burger and a glass of Krombacher Pilsner. While the meal was quite good, my Vancouver Canucks were eliminated from the NHL playoffs as we ate, but I can’t hold that against the restaurant… or can I!?

The next day, we celebrated Pa Sip’s birthday. As a massive Beatles fan and someone who was turning 64, we held a ‘When I’m 64’ party and going with the British theme, I picked up a bottle of Tanqueray Flor de Sevilla Gin to serve up some G&Ts. As I grabbed the bottle, I also bought a tall can four-pack of Ravens Two to Tango Mango Jalapeno Gose, as well as a bottle of Captain Morgan Orange Vanilla Twist to gift to Pa Sip. Served at the party was bottles of Innis & Gunn Bourbon Barrel Scotch Ale and cans of Old Speckled Hen Pale Ale, both of which added to the ambience.

64 Birthday

During that next week, we journeyed to White Rock to hit a couple of breweries there, which we had never visited before. We started with 3 Dogs Brewing, where we shared a flight (Dog Daze Haze IPA, Dingo 8 My Baby Aussie Ale, Blackie the Brown Dog Porter, Faux Paw Wet Hop Pale Ale), paired with two of their hotdogs, the Trailer Park Dog (crushed potato chips and queso sauce) and Downward Dog (avocado, sundried tomatoes, feta). The hotdogs were very good, as were the brews. Next up, was the neighbouring White Rock Beach Brewing, where we delved into another flight (West Beach Pale Ale, East Beach Brown Ale, Oxford Hill Hefeweizen, Russell Avenue Raspberry Honey Wit). After ordering tacos from a stand outside, we decided to pair our eats with a glass of the Hefeweizen.

With a week off from work on the schedule, we began the break with a trip out to the Abbotsford breweries. First stop was Field House Brewing, where I had a glass of their Citra Tettnang Galaxy XPA, while Mrs. Sip had the Mosaic Enigma Raspberry Hazy. Old Abbey Ales followed for a flight (Diehard Hazy Lager, Pineapple Express, Wit-ness Protection, Gimme S’more, Sippy Chai Aye) of their many creative creations. Last, was Loud Mouth Brewing for another flight (Peach Guava Sour, Pilsner, Hazy IPA, Raspberry Wheat) and an order of Churros. We’re glad we got to Loud Mouth when we did, as it may not be around much longer. The owner-operator said he’s shutting the doors soon to open a restaurant instead. If that food is anywhere near as good as the Churros were, I can’t wait to try the place.

A few days later, nearing Toddler Sip’s 100th brewery visited, we ventured to Port Coquitlam’s Taylight Brewing for two flights (Blossom Rose Lager, Piwo Grodziske Smokey Wheat Ale, Guava & Lychee, Rye Pale Ale, Graf Giraffe Cider & Beer, Jasmine Gruit, Slack Tide Hazy Pale Ale, BlackBerry Hibiscus Sour), before popping into the nearby Tin House Brewing to accomplish the milestone, all before she turned three later in the week. At Tin House, we ordered sleeves of the Let’s Get Take-Out Thai Wit and Run of the Mill Peppercorn Saison. I’ve enjoyed all the brews I’ve tried at this brewery, so we also took home a growler of their PB&J Stout.

Milestone Beer

For my own birthday, the day before Toddler Sip’s, I received bottles of Captain Morgan Jack-O Blast and Patrón Tequila, as well as a six-pack of Parallel 49 Schadenfreude Pumpkin Oktoberfest. We spent much of my birthday decorating and preparing for Toddler Sip’s Disneyland-themed party, as we were supposed to be in Disneyland for the week, but COVID-19 kyboshed those plans. For the party, I served up a few original cocktails for guests, including the Meeska-Mouska Mocktail (Fruit Punch, Lemon-Lime Soda, Cream Soda), Dead Men Tell No Tales (Spiced Rum, Crystal Skull Vodka, Coconut Cream, Pineapple-Mango Juice), Elephants on Parade (Absolut Karnival Vodka, Pink Lemonade Vodka, Raspberry Lemonade, Lime Juice) and Into the Unknown (Orient Apple Vodka, Arctic Crowberry Frost Liqueur, Hawaiian Punch Berry Blast).

Later in the week, the kids each had doctor appointments in Vancouver, so we took the opportunity to have lunch at Craft Beer Market, which had sent me a $10 off email earlier in the month. Mrs. Sip and I split a tasty Prosciutto & Arugula Pizza, to go along with drink choices of Superflux Colour & Shape Hazy IPA for me and Twin Sails Would Crush Raspberry Wheat Ale for the missus. As we neared the end of our beers, Mrs. Sip had the great idea to combine them, which resulted in a delicious mix.

The next day, we had another small birthday party for Toddler Sip, joined by a couple of her little friends at a nearby playground. To provide the parents with some refreshments, I picked up the Red Truck 4×4 Pack, featuring four cans each of the Cherry Bomb Black Cherry Lager and The Defender Bourbon Ale.

Birthdays

On the way home, just when I thought we had survived the long week and could relax a little, Mrs. Sip surprised me with an evening out with a couple friends on Brewer’s Row in Port Moody. Us guys decided this was a great way to celebrate our birthdays and will hopefully continue to do so in the future. We only hit two of the five establishments on the row, as with lineups at all locations, it was best to hunker down for a bit where you could get in. At Twin Sails Brewing, I had pints of their Two Straws Apricot Milkshake IPA and Vacation Mode Peach & Passionfruit Pale Ale, followed by Moody Ales and their Huge Citrus Hazy Pale Ale and Sublime Pineapple Hefeweizen.

Then, it was finally time to rest, feeling like we needed a vacation from the week of vacation. It’s all good, though, as Toddler Sip had an extended week of birthday fun and we did manage to get our own enjoyment in here and there. I can always chill out during the work week, right!?

Sip Trips #188: Sea to Sky

Taking the last week of August off to celebrate my and Mrs. Sip’s wedding anniversary and make a short getaway to Whistler with the Sip Family, was a perfect way to end the summer. We crammed a lot of stuff into a limited time, so let’s get right to the action:

Prior to our little vacation, we had a bit of activity that should be documented. A couple recent purchases included a six-pack of Spectrum Strawberry Ice Cream Pale Ale, which may be the best beer I’ve had all summer. It’s not too strong on the strawberry flavour, but just enough that you can enjoy it. I also picked up the Nude Vodka Soda Pride Pack for Mrs. Sip to try. It included six flavous (Cran Raspberry, Raspberry Lemon, Lime, Black Cherry, Mango, Peach), giving her a chance to sample a good variety of the brand’s offerings and decide if she wants to do more vodka soda products in the future.

Vodka Soda

We also dropped into Steamworks Brewing in Burnaby one evening. There, I had a delicious Imperial Red Ale, while Mrs. Sip ordered a flight, which included their Refresh Raspberry and Lemon Ale, Killer Cucumber Ale, Hazy Pale Ale and Black Angel IPA. We both particularly liked the Cucumber Ale, which I’ve had before, but never on tap.

The first portion of my week off was a night without kids, enjoying an overnight stay in Downtown Vancouver. We began with some happy hour snacks at 131 Water Kitchen & Bar. Our food included Crispy Chicken Bites and Veggie Spring Roll, which I paired with a 131 Lager. The beer went down like juice, while the food was good and enough to tide me over for our upcoming dinner.

To stock our hotel room, we picked up a tall can four-pack of Barkerville Sluice Juice Hazy Pale Ale, a bomber of Fuggles & Warlock Valkyrie Belgian Vineyard Ale and a bottle of wine. Unfortunately, our room’s fridge wasn’t really much of a cooling device, so we didn’t get to enjoy our treats as we had originally hoped.

Hotel Fridge

For dinner, we went to Lift Bar Grill View in Coal Harbour. Arriving just in time for a quick happy hour order, we each got a glass of house rosé, an appetizer of Humboldt Squid and an Oyster each (for aphrodisiacal reasons!). Mrs. Sip then went with the Halibut for dinner, while I elected to have the Burger. With my meal, I had a pint of Parkside Dusk Pale Ale. The restaurant also kindly gave us each a glass of dessert wines on the house, as a little anniversary delight.

The next morning, we had brunch at Bellaggio Cafe, where Mrs. Sip had Eggs Benedict and I went with the Chicken & Brussels Waffle. I also enjoyed a 3-ounce Caesar, which got the day off to a good start. Our activities while in the area, included the Dimensions Art Gallery, where visitors can become part of the art installations and solving a cold murder case with Vancouver Mysteries. I would recommend both to anyone looking for something to do in Vancouver.

After a brief respite, we were on the road to Whistler, which I hadn’t visited since New Year’s 2012-2013. On our way up, we stopped at the Howe Sound Brewpub in Squamish for lunch. There, I ordered the Hopraiser West Coast IPA, while Mrs. Sip went with the Alpine Traverse New World Tripel. To eat, we shared the Brewer’s Select Pizza, topped with pepperoni, bacon, and chorizo. We also received a taster of the Pamplemousse Pale Ale and grabbed tall cans of King Heffy Imperial Hefeweizen and Jam Session Raspberry Cream Ale to go.

Summer Vacation

Before leaving Squamish, we also went to A-Frame Brewing, which only had a few of their own beers on tap. We put together a flight of their Okanagan Lake Cream Ale, Sproat Lake Pale Ale, Shuswap Lake West Coast IPA and finished the set with guest tap House of Funk Atomic Jam. The brewery had a food truck onsite, which allowed us to get Toddler Sip a Churro treat for dessert.

Our dinner that night was at The Keg, since we desired a slice of Billy Miner Pie. Our food selections included Prime Rib Sliders for me and a Lobster Tail for Mrs. Sip. I paired my meal with a Chili Mango Margarita that really hit the spot. Of course, that decadent Billy Miner Pie capped the meal, which the restaurant generously comped since it was our anniversary.

Our main event for the night was checking out the Vallea Lumina Light Walk. Words and photos can’t really describe how neat of an attraction this is. Set on a dark mountainous trail, you travel through some amazing light and sound experiences that make you feel connected to the surrounding nature. I’d love to revisit in the winter, if possible.

The next day, we left the village to explore a couple nearby breweries. First up, was Whistler Brewing, where we put together a flight of their The Blonde Spruce Goose, Wayside Apricot Wit, Chestnut Ale and Black Tusk Ale. It was a solidly built flight, if I don’t say so myself. The Sunny Daze Yuzu IPA, which I had wanted to try, wasn’t on tap, so I grabbed a tall can of it for the road and really enjoyed as a breakfast beer the next day.

Coast Mountain Brewing was our second stop and we ordered two flights to be able to try eight of their 11 brews. Our boards consisted of the Day Dream IPA, The Surveyor IPA, Forecast Pale Ale, Green Run Session IPA, Vanilla Bean Stout, Woodnutt Brown Ale, Sunbreak Saison, and Drink the Rainbow (made with Skittles). I feel like doing flights is a great way to try as much as possible, but a full serving is the best way to truly appreciate a beer, as palate fatigue seems to set in when we go the flight route.

Day three was my negotiated “don’t have to drive anywhere day”, so we spent the day exploring the village. For lunch, we ate at the High Mountain BrewHouse, where between Mrs. Sip and I, we had pints of their Belgian Tripel, Belgian Wit, Alta Lake Ale and Grizzly Brown Ale. Food seemed like a good idea with all those drinks, so we ordered the Four Cheese Pizza.

Pizza

Sadly, our stay in Whistler came to an end, but we weren’t ready to go home yet. We journeyed to Pemberton to hit a couple breweries there, starting with The Beer Farmers. Following our flight, made up of the Locals Only Lager, Farmers Daughter Biere de Table, Cover Crop Hazy IPA and Dunkelweizen, we completed the farm’s sunflower maze, which was a lot of fun, particularly for Toddler Sip.

Next up, was Pemberton Brewing, for a quick flight (U-Pick Strawberry Pale Ale, Cream Puff NE Pale Ale, Upside Down Brut IPA, Barb’s Nice Pear Rhubarb Pear Sour). We also brought home a bomber of Cream Puff NE Pale Ale, which will be a nice way to bring up memories of the journey, when we finally get around to enjoy it.

Road Trip

On our drive home, we stopped in Squamish again, to hit Backcountry Brewing. There, we had a fantastic Fig & Prosciutto Pizza (as well as an appetizer of Hushpuppies), to go along with a flight of beers. The flight included the Go Get Yourself Some Cheap Sunglasses IPA, Living in a Van Down By the River ISA, I’ll Take You to the Candy Shop Peach Sour and Patches O’Houlihan Porter. To go, Mrs. Sip grabbed a tall can four-pack of I’ll Take You to the Candy Shop Peach Sour and single tall can of Case of the Mondays Peach-Pineapple-Guava Sour.

Eight breweries over four days, completes to checklist for Squamish, Whistler and Pemberton. The expedition brought Toddler Sip’s number up to 96 breweries visited and Baby Sip up to 27. Parenting done right!

Sip Trips #186: Summer Sizzle

It’s been a while since I did an update on our adventures and we now have Baby Sip up to 13 brewery visits, so there’s lots to talk about. Without further adieu, let’s get right to it:

Our recent activity began in late June, with a visit to Langley’s Five Roads Brewing. There, Mrs. Sip and I split a flight of beers, consisting of their Double Whammy Passionfruit Mango Sour, Harry Porter, Worlds Collide Sour IPA and Do You Even Sk8 Bro? Sour Saison. I also tried a sip of the Jordy Mac’s Work Hard Play Hard ESB off of Cousin Sip’s flight. It was nice to sit outside and enjoy some nice weather after a fairly dreary month.

Following the beers, we were off for dinner at Annora, to celebrate a friend’s birthday. I ordered the three-course set menu, choosing prawns with chorizo and risotto as my appetizer; duck with mashed potatoes and vegetables as my main and a chocolate brownie for dessert. The meal was fantastic, all paired with a serving of Red Truck Round Trip Amber Ale and we look forward to going back and trying some other options soon. Their happy hour offerings look particularly good.

happy-hour

For a nightcap, we popped into Farm Country Brewing, sharing another flight. This set was made up of their Whippersnapper Kellerbier, Hootenanny DDH Pale Ale, Slam Dunkel and Countryside Apricot Peach Kettle Sour. I liked the space at this brewery and enjoyed their flight coming out in a bucket. We also took home a tall can four-pack of their Strawberry Rhubarb Kettle Sour, which I really enjoyed.

For Canada Day, en route to Ma and Pa Sip’s place, we stopped at Central City Brewing for a drink. While Mrs. Sip ordered The Mangolorian Ale, I had a glass of the Hazy Dreamer Hazy Pale Ale. For Canada Day celebrations, I went through a pack from Red Truck Brewing, highlighted by the Seas the Day Pineapple Hefeweizen.

A couple weeks back, we visited ABC Brewing and lucked out with both kids sleeping through our drinks. Mrs. Sip and I shared servings of their Priorities DDH Hazy Double IPA and Just a Phase Saison. Afterwards, we put together a tall can four-pack to go, including the two we just drank and also The Hardest Part West Coast Pale Ale and Dazed and Cocofuzed Dark Pilsner. This company keeps pumping out neat beers, just as quickly as I can try them all.

Empty Beer

Last Friday, I took a day off work to take Baby Sip to his four-month doctor’s appointment and since we’d be in Vancouver for that, Mrs. Sip and I figured we might as well hit a few breweries. We started at the R&B Ale & Pizza House, where I had an amazing Pulled Pork Pizza, paired with a very good Out Fer A Ripa Rye IPA. Mrs. Sip had a Caprese Salad and flight (Stay In Your Vancouver Special IPA, Raven Cream Ale, Hipster Haze IPA and Sour Patch Dudes) for her meal. We also had a taster of their Camouflage Is Not A Colour and a charity beer they had just tapped for serving. Afterwards, we ventured down the street for a quick sleeve at Electric Bicycle Brewing, selecting the It’s No Game Hazy IPA.

Yesterday, a drive to Mrs. Sip’s office turned into beers at Steel & Oak Brewing, enjoying their newly-constructed patio, set up to continue serving up suds during this pandemic. I really enjoyed my Surefire Raspberry Tangerine Pale Ale (taking a tall can four-pack home as well), while Mrs. Sip was really into her Smoked Honey Dopplebock. We also grabbed a bottle of the recently-released Otago Saison to go.

Looks like we’re well stocked to beat this heat we’ve been experience lately. If August shapes up anything like July ended up being, I greatly look forward to the next set of adventures!

Sip Trips #184: Getting Back to Normal

We’re slowly returning to normal here and around the world, as awkward as things still are. The Sip Family hit the ground running this past weekend, with a variety of activities, but first, here’s how we survived the latter portion of self-isolation during the pandemic:

Trips to breweries, wineries and liquor stores helped with getting out of the house and gathering supplies for all the time spent cooped up. Among the items we picked up was the All Together IPA from ABC Brewing (a beer that was made around the world, in support of hospitality professionals); a couple bottles of pink Pinot Gris from Chaberton Winery; and Rosés from Monster Vineyards and Dirty Laundry Vineyards, found at BC Liquor Stores. We also joined ABC Brewing for a round of online trivia one night, which tested our brain functions and also made us feel part of a community again.

Pub Trivia

As some of the orders we’ve been living by were set to be lifted, Mrs. Sip visited 33 Acres Brewing, where she picked up packs of their Sunshine French Blanche and Fluffy Cloud IPA. A later stop into a BC Liquor Store by me, netted tall can four-packs of Cannery Okanagan Daze Apricot & Pinot Gris Wheat Ale and Russell Peach & Apricot Hefeweizen. So, to put it lightly, we’ve been well set for most of this very interesting time in our lives.

Last Friday, we emerged from our cocoon, enjoying our first date night since Baby Sip 2.0 was born, by attending Rick Bronson’s House of Comedy in New West, with feature comic, Dino Archie. We were offered free tickets to the show, thanks to being members of the venue’s mailing list, with the place operating at 25 per cent of its normal seating capacity. We really enjoyed the performance, although it felt taboo to be out and about with strangers. We also noticed interactions between comedians and the audience were more awkward than usual, as if people forgot how to converse with each other. While there, Mrs. Sip had a Cucumber Mint Mojito and I had the Sick Burn (El Tequileno Reposado, St. George Green Chili Vodka, Lime Juice, Agave Syrup), which was very good. We also split an order of their Mac & Cheese Bites.

The next day, we had a reservation for Backyard Vineyards in Langley, which was practicing social distancing outdoors, with picnic tables well spaced out. We ordered a couple bottles of wine, including their Rosé and Pinot Gris, accompanied by two charcuterie platters. It was a very nice setting, as Toddler Sip could play, while everyone else was able to relax a little.

Wine Kids

The weekend wrapped up with us meeting friends at Frankie G’s Pub in the Queensborough area. It was great to be at a bar again, the first for Baby Sip, at two months old. By comparison, the original (OG) Baby Sip was at a bar two weeks after her birth. My meal of the Frankie G’s Burger – which was delicious – was paired with a couple Bomber Park Life Passion Fruit Ales.

So, after our first weekend out in months, I would say it will take some time to feel at ease with attending events, dining out and getting together with friends. I think people that have really shut themselves off from the world will struggle quite a bit in getting back to their normal routines and having an understanding for those that are already there. Respect should be applied in all situations. If you’re ready, and based on the advice of the Provincial Health Officer, you should be able to do these things without feeling bad. Same goes for those that would rather not. So long as people aren’t trying to push their agendas on others, we can all get along.

Sip Trips #182: 20/20 Vision

Wow, I haven’t written a Sip Trips in almost two months. And it’s not like we haven’t been busy, I guess it’s just been in different ways. So, let’s get right to it with the first Sip Trips of 2020:

Lately, I’ve tried a couple neat new beers at ABC Brewing, including the Wool Socks Winter Dubbel and Strawberry Milkshake IPA. When we popped in for a drink on New Year’s Eve, it was my first opportunity to be served by the brewery’s beer cocktail mixologist, who whipped up a delicious Dunder Biest Mode Sour for me and a mocktail for Mrs. Sip. Both were delicious and wonderfully-crafted.

A couple weeks back, a friend and I had dinner at Browns Social House in Downtown Vancouver, prior to a whiskey tasting event. My meal of their Szechuan Beef Noodle Bowl, accompanied by a trio of their Social Beers was a perfect set up for our later event. As for the whiskey tasting, we were able to try some high-end bottles, including Glenmorangie Signet, Balvenie Week of Peat, Laphroaig Lore, Stronachie 18, and MacCallan Triple Cask 15. The night was filled with many more brews, in between the whiskeys. Gotta cleanse the palate, am I right!?

tasting-throwing

Last week, a friend and I attended WWE Smackdown Live in Vancouver. Upon arriving at the arena, we grabbed a few beers, with my selection being a pair of Stanley Park 1897 Amber Ales. The show itself was entertaining, but given their was a 45-minute stretch with no in-ring action, instead filled by commercials, backstage segments and interviews, it solidifies my feelings that I’d rather be at a house show (non-televised with mostly inconsequential matches) than a TV taping (storyline developments, but WAY too many periods of inaction).

Following the wrestling, we stopped into Devil’s Elbow Ale and Smoke House for an extended nightcap. My beverages of choice were the Howe Sound Sky Pilot Pale Ale and Moon Under Water Creepy Uncle Dunkel. It was nice to pay a fairer rate for the beers, compared to what we were shelling out inside Rogers Arena across the street.

The next day, Mrs. Sip and I celebrated a belated Valentine’s Day. We started with a late lunch/early dinner at Glowbal. Our table ended up filled with happy hour appetizers, the feast comprised of their Trio of Sliders (complete with Cotton Candy for dessert), Fish Fritters, Calamari, Avocado Toast, Cheese Croquettes, and Caesar Salad. It was a scrumptious meal, which I paired with a pint of Parallel 49 Pale Ale.

valentines-day

The celebration continued with a performance of The Beatles album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. The show was very good and you just can’t top a venue like The Orpheum for concerts.

To wrap the Family Day long weekend, we travelled across the border for an outing. While in Bellingham, we enjoyed a meal at Twin Sisters Brewing (brewery number 81 for Toddler Sip). Another buffet of many items consisted of their happy hour burger and tacos, along with Chili Cheese Fries and Beer Pretzel Bites, which may have been the best pretzel bites I’ve ever had. For drinks, I went with their award-winning Strawberry Zwickelbier, while Mrs. Sip added a taster of Cranberry Wheat Ale.

Hopefully it’s less than two months before my next Sip Trips. With baby number two set to arrive in under a month, we could be on lockdown for a little while, but that doesn’t mean the fun stops!

Sip Trips #180: Liquid Leavenworth

Last week, the Sip Family celebrated Ma Sip’s birthday with a getaway to Leavenworth, Washington. The adorable Bavarian-themed town was the perfect site for a weekend away, as we enjoyed their annual Christmas Lighting Festival, as well as other activities the area has to offer. Here’s what we got up to over a busy few days:

As we approached Leavenworth, we stopped for lunch at the ’59er Diner, where I ordered a Dirty Face Amber Ale from Icicle Brewing, to go along with my BLT and Curly Fries. This is one of my all-time favourite diner meals and an easy choice whenever I spot it on a menu.

Curly Fries

After checking into our accommodation at the Icicle Village Resort, we hit the local Safeway to stock up on provisions for the stay. I had a tough choice for my weekend beers, as every mixed case was very IPA heavy. I felt for those who don’t like hoppy beers, as nearly every set was comprised of four different IPA variations. I settled on the Red Hook Hoppy Hook Pack (Wintershook Hoppy Brown Ale, Big Ballard Imperial IPA, Atomic Robot IPA, Bicoastal IPA) because it included a brown ale, so at least there was some style variety. I also snagged bottles of Sailor Jerry’s Spiced Rum (to be enjoyed there) and Captain Morgan Gingerbread Spiced Rum (to be brought home). Lastly, I picked up a bottle of Sprite Winter Spiced Cranberry, which was a new mixer find for me.

On Friday, we visited the Leavenworth Reindeer Farm, where we had a fantastic experience learning about and meeting the reindeer. Following the farm, we stopped into Blue Spirits Distilling, where I enjoyed the All Bets Are Off cocktail (lime tequila, grapefruit juice, margarita mix, triple sec, cola syrup, smoked). Pa Sip even had the honour of smoking my cocktail for me!

After returning Mrs. and Toddler Sip to the Icicle Inn for naps, Ma and Pa Sip and I journeyed back to the town hub for drinks at the Rhein Haus. Here, I had half liter fills of the Ninkasi Sleigh’R Winter Ale and Paulaner Oktoberfest Marzen. Ma Sip and I also shared an order of Currywurst und Fries and the entire visit was great with very fast service. I love drinking outdoors, warmed by fire and you can’t beat a setting like the Rhein Haus offers.

beer meals

Saturday morning was spent at Icicle Brewing, again taking advantage of an outdoor table. As I was split between two beer options, Mrs. Sip suggested I order both and avoid having to lineup again on what would surely be a busy day for the brewery, given the tour buses coming into town for the lighting ceremony. My two choices were the Dark Persuasion Stout (German-cake flavoured) and the German-Style Hefeweizen, which was a limited release. Over the course of our beverages, we also indulged in two Beer Pretzels that really hit the spot.

On our way home, we stopped at Walmart for some more shopping. I bought a bottle of Tarantula Azul Tequila. The interesting blue liquor will make a great addition to my collection and allow me the opportunity to create blue tequila-based cocktails without the use of Blue Curacao.

We’re now back home for the sprint towards Christmas. I’ll never forget (hopefully!) Toddler Sip’s first experience in snow and the joy she shared with us as we pulled her around in a sled. It was a wonderful time away in a very unique and special place.

Sip Trips #179: November Rain

Now that we’ve truly entered the chaos of the Christmas season, I thought it best to wrap up the end of November for the Sip Family. Here what we got up to upon returning from our Hawaiian getaway:

We spent a fair portion of November staying at Ma and Pa Sip’s place, so treated them to dinner at White Spot one evening. I ordered my usual Legendary Burger and paired it with a pint of Granville Island Lions Winter Ale, my first winter ale of the season. Hopefully, there will be many more in December.

snowman beer

A couple weekends back, a friend and I converged on Port Moody’s Brewers Row for an afternoon of drinking. We hit all five breweries (Moody Ales, The Bakery, Parkside, Yellow Dog and Twin Sails) along Murray Street, the first time I’ve done the entire strip since a fifth location was added earlier this year. The highlights for me was a neat flight at The Bakery (Marzen Kellerbier, Irish Whiskey Barrel Stout, South African IPA, Raspberry Stout) and the Lights Out Imperial Stout with Coconut at Twin Sails, which came in at a whopping 15.1% ABV. I can attest, it did actually knock my lights out!

Following Mrs. Sip’s most recent midwife appointment, and prior to taking Toddler Sip to her first Disney on Ice spectacle, we ate dinner at Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co. The place had a great $5 beer special, so I selected the Strange Fellows Talisman West Coast Pale Ale. The brew paired nicely with our Bacon & Potato Pizza and Cheesy Flatbread, as well as our Irish Crème Cheesecake for dessert.

Mrs. Sip’s office Christmas party was held this past Friday at El Santo in New West. The set menu included tortilla chips and trio of salsas and guacamole, ceviche, grilled salad, a soft tacos dish with mushrooms and almond mole, and main courses of salmon and steak. There were also churros for dessert. As for drinks, I began with a serving of Strange Fellows Krampus Belgian Abbey Dubbel, before moving onto their expansive cocktail menu. I had servings of the El Campechano (Mezcal, Green Chartreuse, watermelon, mint, lime, soda) and Suenos de Coco (Mount Gay Eclipse Rum, Mezcal, pineapple, toasted coconut syrup, nutmeg), while also trying sip of other people’s beverages. It was a good night out with the work crew.

aftermath-office-christmas-party

To finish the weekend, we attended Glow: Vancouver, which we found to be a great place for Toddler Sip. While Glow: Langley had more drink options, I did have a Spiced Rum and Coke on this occasion, but will probably not order drinks on future visits with our “year pass”. There was only one beer to choose from and it wasn’t even on tap. We did have a nice slice of Peanut Butter Cream Pie at the food area, another drastic change from the convoy of food trucks that served their wares in Langley. The Glow team is doing a good job with their available space in Vancouver, but I still curse whoever made an issue of the event being in Langley.

This weekend, we’re off to celebrate Ma Sip’s birthday in Leavenworth, Washington. I can’t wait to return to this winter wonderland and watch Toddler Sip experience it (and snow) for the very first time!

Sip Trips #178: Aloha Hawaii

Last week, the Sip Family enjoyed some rest and relaxation in the Waikiki area of Honolulu, Hawaii. We didn’t just laze poolside or at the beach, though. Here’s what we got up to while on the island:

Upon arriving at our hotel late last Sunday, I ran across the street to pick up a six-pack of Waikiki Hana Hou Hefe. Then I poured a couple back on our balcony, enjoying the late night humidity and wondering what time Toddler Sip would have us up in the morning, affected by the three-hour time change, including the daylight savings time adjustment from that morning. The answer: six-freaking-a.m. We all managed to survive, though, and it could have been worse.

During Toddler Sip’s first nap of the vacation, I spent my free time at Yard House for their excellent happy hour, which includes $2 off draft beers and half price appies, among other deals. My brews for this occasion were the Koholo Red Sand and Kona Koko Brown. Both were paired with a serving of Korean Boneless Wings, which were tremendous. The only thing that sucks whenever I’m at a place that has a large tap list (Yard House, Craft Beer Market, etc.) and I finally decide and order something, they’re always out of my first choice and I have to scramble to make a second pick. Also, drinking on your own when the urge to pee hits can cause some tough decisions.

cute cats

That evening, we walked down to Waikiki Brewing, where I satisfied my thirst for a spicy beer with their Jalapeno Mouth Amber Ale. I really liked this brew, as it featured more spice and flavour than some similar beers I’ve tried. For eats, we ordered their Prime Sliders and Giant Pretzel, which was impressively big. The meal was very good and set us up for the long walk to the nearest Walmart for some grocery shopping.

The next day, we returned to Yard House for happy hour again, this time with Mrs. Sip and a napping Toddler Sip tagging along. On this visit, I drank the Aloha Waimanalo Farmhouse Ale, completing a trifecta of good beers served up at the restaurant. Our appies were the Fried Chicken Tenders and Chicken Nachos, which we managed to complete right before Toddler Sip woke up and threw her one and only massive tantrum of the vacay. That’s the last time Mrs. Sip offers her water after a nap!

Finally, it was time to do some booze shopping for our room after some serious price comparison work throughout the area. On the cheap, I picked up a bottle of Captain Morgan Spiced Rum to use with Cherry Coke and later Tonic Water as mixers. Spiced Rum has become my favourite go-to elixir when travelling, thanks to its versatility with a number of drinks, from sodas to hot chocolate.

captain morgan

Day three happy hour was spent at The Street Food Hall within the International Market Place. I began at Beer & Be Merry, capitalizing on their $2 Kirin all day deal with a pair of servings. Before leaving the place, I also popped over to The Myna Bird Tiki Bar for a cocktail, ordering the El Diablo (mezcal, creme de cassis, lime, ginger, soda).

With Toddler and Mrs. Sip up from their naps, we ventured over to the O Bar, where my beverage of choice was the Karai Thai (tequila, pineapple, guava, Thai chili pepper syrup, lime). While the drink was very refreshing, it was not as spicy as I would have liked. We also tried to feed Toddler Sip dinner here, but she was too interested in the fish tanks and live music.

The next day, we returned to The Street Food Hall as a family to share some pepperoni pizza from Nana Lu Pizzeria. I also went back to the Beer & Be Merry bar for a pint of Aloha Red Zeppelin, which had caught my eye the previous day. When you bought a craft beer from this bar, the serving size was bigger than the $2 Kirins, while the price was cheaper than other locations, even while not a special deal.

cheap beer

Up next, was a visit to Maui Brewing, where I put together a flight of beer, including Pineapple Mana Wheat, Anada Hemp Brown Ale, Coconut Hiwa Porter, Imperial Dolce Porter (w/ Caramel and Salt). Once again, a place was out of my top choice beer, in this case, the Fully Pitted Habanero Milkshake IPA. For food, we shared a Pork Belly Bao, which we both liked. To wrap the stay, I ordered the Street Fighter (tequila, watermelon, sour mix, Hawaiian chili salt rim) cocktail, which packed the heat I was looking for.

Following this stop, we walked a little further to the Top of Waikiki rotating restaurant. Sitting in their lounge area for happy hour, I had the Kona Winds (tequila, mezcal, hibiscus, mole bitters) cocktail. To restock my beers, I grabbed a six-pack of Kona Wailua Wheat from a nearby store, before we returned to our room for our evening tradition of Netflix and falling asleep with Toddler Sip. No more Netflix and chill for us!

On Friday, we enjoyed happy hour at our hotel’s Splash Bar (at the Sheraton PK), ordering a round of Kalua Pork Nachos, as well as their Homemade Potato Chips to scoop up all the nacho toppings. I finally ordered a Mai Tai for the occasion, as well as a pint of Kona Castaway IPA. With Toddler Sip napping, we were able to pull out the Sushi Go cards and play a few rounds following the meal.

mai tai.jpg

For dinner, we ate at The Cheesecake Factory, sharing some Roadside Sliders and a slice of the spectacular Adam’s Peanut Butter Cup Fudge Ripple Cheesecake. To quench my thirst, I had the Kona Gold Cliff IPA, which complimented the food nicely.

Saturday saw us do another long walk to the Ala Moana Center mall, then over to Dave & Busters for dinner and some arcade games. Our server here was nice enough, but did not provide the usual service we get when at the chain (didn’t explain how things work with the games, etc. and never asked if we wanted dessert, just brought the bill). Another complaint from me is that their drink menu doesn’t include prices… Cheesecake Factory does the same and I’ve decided I will no longer enjoy a beverage at places that hide the cost. What we did enjoy was our food, including Pretzel Dogs, Philly Cheesesteak Sliders and Goldfingers. It was also neat to see Toddler Sip play some of the games, as her last visit to D&Bs occurred when she was only four months old.

Sadly, all great vacations must come to an end. After a morning swim, I took care of my liquor buying business by grabbing bottles of Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey and Kula Toasted Coconut Rum. I also picked up a couple massive cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon for the day because I just can’t help myself when it comes to PBR!

choose fun.jpg

Our final meal of the trip was enjoyed at Duke’s Waikiki, where we enjoyed an epic feast. My fish entrée was prepared in a mouthwatering Spicy Gochujang-Ginger Roasted sauce, while I sipped away at a Hawaiian Time (strawberry basil lemonade with Absolut Mandarin and Kai Lemongrass Ginger Shochu) cocktail. For dessert, we shared the Specialty Hula Pie (Oreo crust, peanut butter cup ice cream), which was truly decadent and we all overate prior to our redeye flight home.

We hope to return to Hawaii soon and wish our stay there was longer than a week. For now, it’s back to cold weather, but at least the Christmas season is ramping up and that will provide much festive joy!

Sip Trips #177: Feast Fantastic

Another Sip Trips cycle is in the books and I can’t believe how fast the year is flying by. We’re already into November and much like every store out there, Christmas is coming on in a hurry. Here’s what we’ve been up to over the last couple weeks:

Fresh off a visit to Boston Pizza just the week before, we decided to dine at the restaurant again, this time at the Queensborough Landing location. For this meal, I tried the Mad Mac Pizza, which features McDonald’s Big Mac ingredients (think the famous jingle) in pizza form. The pizza was good, but I think I preferred my Royal Hawaiian from the previous meal. Toddler Sip had a kid’s meal, which included a main, side, drink and dessert for a very reasonable price. The generous serving of ice cream sundae was also enjoyed by mommy and daddy.

Sundae School

On Saturday, Mrs. Sip and I finally used the Cirque du Soleil: Luzia tickets I bought for Mrs. Sip for Mother’s Day. Turning the evening into a full-on date night, we began with dinner at Coast, part of the Glowbal network of restaurants. We split quite the meal, taking advantage of happy hour. Along with my pair of East Van IPAs, we ordered dishes of Lobster Poutine, Crispy Calamari, Fish & Chip Cone, as well as a three-course dinner, comprised of New England Chowder, Atlantic Lobster and Crème Brûlée for dessert. I even added a single oyster to the feast, in order to keep my aphrodisiac level high.

As for the show itself, it was very good. The first half included some acts that even seasoned Cirque veterans such as Mrs. Sip and myself have never seen before and we left quite entertained. We noticed a new feature they were trying out at the event was an all-inclusive lounge to enjoy drinks and snacks before the show and at intermission for $50 per person. Given a single can of beer is $12, we hope this option will be available the next time the big top comes to town.

Cirque Tryouts

Earlier this week, Pa Sip and I took in the Vancouver Canucks game versus the Florida Panthers. The 7-2 victory was a great end to the night, with our meal at Brown’s Social House (at Queen Elizabeth Theatre) providing a fantastic start. Again, capitalizing on happy hour, or in this case, social hour, I enjoyed a pair of Social IPAs with orders of Howlin Hot Fried Chicken & Pickles and Parmesan Garlic Fries. There were other items on the menu that stood out to me, so I hope to return soon for another feast.

This weekend, the Sip Family leaves for Honolulu, Hawaii for a week. I can’t wait to try some breweries there, as well as eat and drink to my heart’s content. You’ll hear all about it in the next installment of Sip Trips!

Sip Trips #176: Oktoberfesting

The month of October should be spent celebrating the harvest with good food and drinks. That’s exactly what we’ve been doing and the yield has been quite bountiful. Here’s what the crew has been up to over the last few weeks:

The Sip Family recently attended Another Brewing Company’s (ABC Brewing) Oktoberfest event and what a time it was. ABC put together a collection of 11 German-style beers – four of their own, with others coming from brewery friends – for guests to enjoy. I paid about $50 for a limited edition stein and fill (24oz), as well as five additional tokens for 12oz pours or to be used on culinary items. Free tickets were also available to those who just wanted to attend and perhaps buy a few tokens for food and drink.

oktoberfest-driver

My stein fill was used on Sundown Brewing Hefeweizen, which was a fantastic start to the day. I then moved on to ABC Brewing Altbier, before going the experimental route with Ravens Brewing Lingonberry Lime Gose. A-Frame Brewing Kolsch was up next, followed by Main Street Brewing Dunkel. I also tried some of Chuckanut Brewing Altbier, from Bellingham, Washington.

The only shade I can throw the event’s way was the pretzel I spent a token on was cold. This was probably due to the pretzels arriving late and the ABC folks trying to get them out as quickly as possible, to satiate the many guests who had been inquiring as to their whereabouts. I also overheard some complain about a lack of salt on the pretzels and I agree with this criticism.

To celebrate a recent family birthday, we gathered for dinner at Elisabeth’s Chalet in Cloverdale. My beverage of choice at the German-themed restaurant was a pint of Krombacher Dark, while my meal was the Schnitzel Four Season, featuring vegetables such as tomatoes, red and green peppers, and mushrooms. The combo was very good and filling.

schnitzel

Prior to our Vancouver Canucks game last Saturday, we ate at the nearby Boston Pizza, which has a number of new specialty pizzas on their menu, making my choice quite difficult. I settled on the Royal Hawaiian, attracted by the sweet Thai honey garlic sauce, smoked prosciutto, bacon, and grilled pineapple. I’d also love to try the Mad Mac, which sounds like a pizza version of the McDonald’s Big Mac. Since individual pizzas seem to be getting smaller and smaller every time I eat at the restaurant, we still had room for a slice of Chocolate Explosion Cheesecake, which was simply decadent. Add in a pint of Stella Artois to wash it all down and we walked away ready for some hockey action.

Wrapping up this Sip Trips cycle, yesterday, we treated Ma and Pa Sip to dinner at White Spot, to celebrate the first anniversary of them providing Toddler Sip (formerly Baby Sip) with childcare. There, I ordered my usual Legendary Burger with side Caesar Salad (gotta go healthy on some occasions), joined by a pint of Granville Island Oktoberfest Lager. Thank you again to Ma and Pa Sip for their hard work and amazing dedication.

We now move into Halloween season with parties and other festive gatherings on the horizon. All should make for an interesting couple of weeks and you’ll hear about soon; same bat time, same bat channel!