Sip Trips #110: Rest & Relaxation

While last week was insanely busy, this one was far less so. However, that may just be the calm before the storm with a booze-fueled long weekend approaching. Let’s see what we recently got up to:

To celebrate a friend’s birthday on Saturday, we started with dinner and drinks at The Diamond in Gastown, known for their exquisite cocktails. For my meal, I went with the Classic Cuban sandwich, which was delicious. My beverages included the Ancho Ready (tequila, cacao, mezcal, grapefruit oil, ancho chili) and Fog Cutter (cognac, dark rum, gin, sherry, citrus, orgeat), with both being very nicely crafted and presented. I also had sips of the Vancouver (gin, vermouth, Benedictine, orange bitters) and the $25 Premium Penicillin (two types of Scotch, lemon, ginger, honey), which earned its standing as a ‘notorious’ cocktail on the lounge’s menu.

8 Cocktails

For dessert, we moved over to Mosquito. While the rest of the crew scarfed down lavish desserts, I occupied my time with another drink, the Gambit (bourbon, peach, honey, lemon, habanero). I also had a glass of Steel & Oak Dark Lager from the birthday boy’s 650ml bottle order, a solid nightcap for the evening. Despite living relatively close to the Gastown district, we tend to stay closer to our Yaletown home, but after being there twice this past couple weeks, we’ve realized we’re missing out on some gems and will have to frequent the area more regularly.

The weekend also included some liquor store shopping. I picked up a bomber of Vancouver Island Brewing’s Juniper Lime Ale, which attempts to recreate a Gimlet cocktail experience. I also grabbed a tall can four-pack of Spinnakers Brewing’s Juice Monkey IPA, which made for good drinking at Ma and Pa Sip’s place Sunday afternoon, as I hosted our baseball team for some fun in the poolside sun. Mrs. Sip also picked me up a tall can of Longwood Brewing’s Steam Punk Dunkelweizen for the gathering.

That about wraps things up, as the rest of the week was fairly laid back. You can expect much more from the Sip Advisor in next week’s Sip Trips article, as the upcoming calendar is pretty stacked and full of potential mayhem!

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BC Beer Baron #324 – 33 Acres of Darkness

Each month, as part of this 366-day BC craft beer extravaganza that I will be sharing with you throughout 2016, I will highlight a specific style or theme of beers for a whole week of articles. With all the crazy brewing options out there, lagers sometimes get lost in the shuffle. That’s why the Sip Advisor is giving them their own feature week. After all, we should support and give thanks to the beers that brought many of us to this craft beer dance!

While visiting the Salt Tasting Room in Gastown for the very first time, the Sip Advisor selected this 33 Acres Brewing product to accompany my charcuterie plate. I must say the drink paired well with my meat and condiment platter (no cheese for this guy!).

The 33 Acres of Darkness is a Schwarzbier, meaning black beer, and is a term often used for dark lagers. While lagers in general seem to have been forgotten by many craft brewers, this 5% ABV, 30 IBUs beverage is a fantastic example of what can be achieved if the style is utilized. Flavours of chocolate and coffee highlight this refreshing creation.

33-acres-of-darkness

One of the brewery’s flagship releases, the beer is available in bottled six-packs at the brewery, as well as at BC Liquor Stores and private retailers. If you want to try the brew before purchasing a larger quantity, check out 33 Acres ‘quarry’ tasting room and get yourself a rare 24-ounce serving.

The Schwarzbier style comes to us from Germany, where it was first conceived in the Middle Ages. In fact, the oldest known black beer, the Braunschweiger Mumme, dates back to 1390. The variety is similar to stout beers in that they get their colour from dark and roasted malts.

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Sip Trips #75: Celebrations Abound

After a relatively quiet midweek for the Sip Advisor, the weekend picked up in pace, as it usually does. With a friend’s birthday on Saturday, we started at the Salt Tasting Room in Gastown, which has a neat concept in that you order three meats/cheeses and three condiments to create your own charcuterie plate. This platter can be paired with wines selected by the staff, if you choose, but a couple cocktails and beer from 33 Acres Brewing is also available. This was my first time ever entering the area’s infamous Blood Alley and I’d like to return for more exploration.

After conquering our SmartyPantz escape room, our evening wrapped up with a trip to the TAPshack in Coal Harbour. Coincidentally, Mrs. Sip and I passed this place the week before, while out for a walk and wanted to return to check it out. While there, we enjoyed a couple beers from their menu of 20 taps (one beer each from 20 different breweries), while I tried their Maui Wowie Hawaiian pizza and Mrs. Sip ordered a serving of their duck fat popcorn and avocado toast with poached egg for a main course.

hawaiian-pizza-funny

The next day was Cousin Sip’s 12-year wedding anniversary, which she was celebrating solo, as her husband is currently working out-of-town. Therefore, Mrs. Sip and I joined her for a dinner at The Keg in Yaletown, sitting on their rooftop patio and enjoying what’s left of gorgeous summer weather.

While we had a nice meal, it’s time for a little Sip Advisor rant: To this day, I’m still saddened by the restaurant’s decision to nix their prime rib burger from the menu, in favour of their current offering. The prime rib burger provided a near orgasmic experience, while this rendition is just a run-of-the-mill product. To boot, when I first starting ordering the prime rib burger, it could be had for about $12, which was an amazing deal. Even before it was phased out, the price had only risen to about $14. This new, lackluster burger sets you back $18. I’ve even talked to servers at the chain, who have recognized the new burger just doesn’t measure up to the old one. The prime rib burger is still sold in grocery stores, so why not bring it back to the restaurant!?

rant-logic-reason

Okay, rant over. This weekend, we will be enjoying a one-day cruise from Seattle to Vancouver to celebrate Sis-in-Law Sip’s birthday. So long as it ends better than our last overnight cruise, where members of the Sip Alliance had to be quarantined, I think it will be a good way to spend the occasion… but the tale may not reach the same heights of infamy!

BC Beer Baron #106 – Steamworks Jasmine IPA

Each month, as part of this 366-day BC craft beer extravaganza that I will be sharing with you throughout 2016, I will highlight a specific style or theme of beers for a whole week of articles. It may have taken some time, but IPA’s now rank among my favourite styles of beer. Let’s take a look at some of the best BC has to offer, among this acquired taste.

As part of the Sip Advisor’s recent St. Patrick’s Day celebrations (how is this not a worldwide observed national holiday yet?), I shared a bomber bottle of this Steamworks Brewing release with Cousin Sip and it was a highlight of my drinking experiences that day.

It had been a little while since I had tried the Jasmine IPA and I couldn’t remember my previous opinion of it. I’m happy to report that the beer wowed me and I wish I hadn’t gone so long between servings. The jasmine flower notes are mild, but do provide the beer with a nice aroma and taste. I don’t think you’d want the participation of the jasmine to be too overwhelming and that’s achieved here.

Steamworks Jasmine IPA

Steamworks label designs have always been interesting and it’s no different with this product. The artwork features Chinese influences, such as what we’ve all come to know as the ornate entrances to major city’s Chinatowns, as well as animal gatekeepers, in this case the dragon/lion mythological creature.

The 6.4% ABV, 60 IBUs beverage is available year round on tap at Steamworks brewery and brew pub. It can also be located at BC Liquor Stores and other fine retailers in 650ml bottles. I urge you all to get down with your bad dragon/lion self, while enjoying this beer!

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