Sip Trips #204: December Dynamics

Well, the merriest month of the year has come and gone and as we settle into the melancholy that January can often bring, it’s time to look back on how the Sip Family enjoyed December. There’s a fair bit to cover, so let’s get right to it:

We began the month with a trip to ride the Stanley Park Christmas Train. En route, we dropped into Storm Brewing, as I had wanted to pick up their Christmas themed tall can four-pack, including one can each of Christmas Orange Ale, Eggnog Latte Stout, Turkey Dinner IPA and Xmas Tree Pilsner. While there, Mrs. Sip and I shared a series of samples, comprised of the brewery’s Pineapple Paradise Pilsner, Strawberry Shortcake Ale, Chocolate Strawberry Stout and Mrs. Claus Pilsner (brewed with winter spices). It was an enjoyable stop, highlighted by the most unique beers the local scene has to offer.

beer-christmas

Prior to our train ride, we had dinner at the Stanley Park Brewpub. There, I enjoyed a Red Rye Session IPA and Master Chicken Sandwich. We had great service for our large group and the food and drink were very good.

The next week, for a Christmas party with friends, I picked up the Red Racer Dozen Donuts Mix Pack, composed of three each of Honey Crueller Lager, Chocolate Dip Stout, Raspberry Jelly Sour and Boston Cream Ale. Among the set, my favourites were the Stout and Cream Ale.

Although we had a couple Canucks games scheduled for the month, only one contest ended up going ahead (thanks a bunch, COVID!). Prior to the match, we met with friends at the Hotel Georgia 1927 Lobby Lounge, where I had a liquid dinner of their Hotel Georgia cocktail (Botanist Gin, orgeat, lemon, orange blossom water, egg white and nutmeg dust). It was a very nice drink, but I found the lounge to generally be more expensive than I was planning for.

Expensive

At the game, I enjoyed servings of Hoyne Dark Matter, Parkside Dreamboat Hazy IPA and Stanley Park 1897 Amber Ale. This was the Canucks game where they were down 3-0 early, before storming back and scoring the winning goal with minutes left in the game, coming away with a 4-3 victory. If COVID keeps scuttling games for us, that memory will last a while.

A couple nights later, Mrs. Sip and I took the kids to the Surrey Holiday Lights display. The free event was very well done and offered some drink options for adults. While Mrs. Sip had a spiked hot chocolate and a glass of wine, I went with a can of the Stanley Park Shadow Play Dark Ale. Afterwards, we went for dinner at the nearby Boston Pizza, where I sipped a double Spiced Rum and Coke, along with the Sriracha Garlic Chicken Pizza. It was a good meal and even came with a free Toblerone bar, as it was part of the special seasonal menu.

Next up, was Mrs. Sip’s office Christmas party, hosted at El Santo. Among a very filling set menu dinner, I ordered a number of cocktails, including the El Antijito (pulparindo-infused Cazadores blanco, Aperol, green apple, lime, guava, house-made chamoy and tajin rim); Grito de Delores (estancia raicilla, Cointreau, Green Chartreuse, verdita); El Bosque Nuboso (Avua cachaca, Bacardi 8, Sombra mezcal, Campari, pineapple, lime, passionfruit, Narrative fortified); and the El Padrino (Charred corn husk infused mezcal, Sons of Vancouver amaretto, house mole bitters) for dessert. I also had sips of Mrs. Sip’s Tepache Spritz (house-made tepache, cava, pineapple, cinnamon, soda).

Chips

Unfortunately, our Canucks vs. Leafs game (the reason we select the quarter season package we do) was cancelled due to Omicron concerns. To take advantage of the break in our schedule, Mrs. Sip and I decided to tackle our Christmas shopping, decorating and wrapping. To console ourselves, we began the day of errands with lunch at Milestones. My 1989 Burger was very good and I loved that the server suggested I do half fries and half Caesar Salad, when I struggled to decide on my side dish. More places should offer this option. To drink, I had a pint of the Twin Sails Dat Juice Pale Ale.

After our shopping was done, we dropped into Steel & Oak Brewing, where we shared a flight including B-Jamz Cherry Apricot Pale Ale, Nightcap Cranberry Orange Belgian Ale, Baltic Porter and Phonograph Maple Smoked Porter. Mrs. Sip also grabbed bottles of their Woodland Dark Lager and Velvet Thunder Barrel-Aged Wild Ale, before we returned home for a night of drinks, snacks and Home Alone movies, while wrapping gifts and doing some decorating.

Our last event prior to Christmas was Lumagica in Cloverdale. The weather was really windy, but we enjoyed the light displays and walk. The kids absolutely loved the outing, which is really what the season is about. As we traversed the route, I enjoyed a 2 Pals Cuffing Season Winter Ale.

Lights

Our Christmas Eve, Christmas and Boxing Day were all fun, if not hectic, but that’s par for the course. Liquor-related gifts I received included bottles of Wayward Distilleries Krupnik Spiced Honey Liqueur and Raspberry Gin Liqueur, as well as Havana Club Cuban Smoky Rum. I also got a BC Liquor Stores gift card for future adventures and The Unofficial Disney Parks Drink Recipe book for inspiration for those adventures.

Some notable boozy gifts I had for Mrs. Sip, included some neat new beers: tall can four-packs of Granville Island Cheeky Monkey Chocolate and Vanilla Hefeweizen, Russell Cinnamon Bun Brown Ale and Twin Sails These Pretzels Are Making Me Thirsty Stout (Chocolate, Peanut, Pretzel, Marshmallow). Also, single tall cans of Granville Island Prometheus Belgian-Style Golden Strong and Seawall Saison. We spent some of Boxing Day trying a few of these offerings.

For Christmas dinner, hosted at Ma and Pa Sip’s abode, I finally got to serve the Christmas cocktail menu I created for last year’s festivities. My theme was cocktails from around the world, with names that translated to Merry Christmas, featuring ingredients from those places. This resulted in the Mele Kalikimaka (Toasted Coconut Rum, Macadamia Nut Liqueur, Mango-Pineapple Juice, Lime Juice), Feliz Navidad (Cinnamon Tequila, Kahlua Vanilla, Milk/Soda Water), Joyeux Noel (Grey Goose Le Melon Vodka, Elderflower Liqueur, Lemon-Lime Soda) and Buon Natale (Limoncello, Amaretto, Ginger Beer).

Gifts

Our last outing of December was to Patina Brewing. Mrs. Sip and I shared their Smoked Meat Bunwich (pulled pork in Memphis BBQ sauce) with fries and coleslaw, Pulled Pork Tacos and Southern Cornbread. Our beverages included an excellent Horchata Cream Ale (also bought a tall can four-pack) and Blueberry Wheat Ale. I loved seeing horchata used in a cream ale, as I typically only see it used in dark, heavier beers, such as stouts.

That’s a wrap for the month and the year. I hope to get my Best of 2021 out there soon. As for no mention of New Year’s on this article, it’s because the night was a dud, inspiring a future article on the best and worst holidays. Lots to look forward to as we begin 2022!

Sip Trips #181: Tidings of Joy

The last few weeks of December have been filled with a bunch of events, usually geared around Christmas and family time together. Here’s what we’ve been up to during the marathon holiday season:

Earlier this month, Mrs. Sip and I attended the Vancouver Canucks vs. Toronto Maple Leafs contest, which may be the closest I ever come to a playoff atmosphere live. I had also circled this game on the calendar, as the perfect opportunity to use my member gift card, of which I used nearly all of the $50 total on two tasty 24oz Postmark Juicy Pale Ales and a BLT from the Bacon food stand, which really hit the spot. Sadly, this is the first time we’ve attended this rivalry meeting where the Canucks lost, but the night was still fun.

TML

A couple nights later, we were out at Glow: Abbotsford, which had the same food menu as the Vancouver location, but a better selection of beers. I went with a Parallel 49 Filthy Dirty IPA to pair with my Buffalo Chicken Fries and half Philly Cheesesteak (split with Ma Sip). The fries were a little too spicy for my liking, but the meal overall was good. We finished off with a bucket of Mini Donuts to compliment everything. My Fried Chicken Burger, enjoyed when we revisited Glow: Vancouver later in the month was tremendous.

That weekend, while in the area to do the Vancouver Aquarium and Stanley Park Christmas Train, Mrs. Sip and I visited Stanley Park Brewing. My Fried Chicken and Waffles was perhaps the best serving I’ve ever had of this favoured dish. Meanwhile, my Big Jan IPA paired very well with the meal. Following the train, we enjoyed our annual family dinner at White Spot, where I enjoyed a few glasses of Granville Island Lions Winter Ale from a pitcher ordered for the table.

Christmas Day brought a number of liquor-themed gifts, including Cocktail Balls, Orgeat Syrup, a bomber of Steamworks Salted Chocolate Porter and mini bottle of Ole Smokey Moonshine Butter Pecan from Mrs. Sip. From the Sip-in-Laws, I also received a $50 gift card to Liquor Depot, which I can’t wait to use and look forward to a different selection than that of BC Liquor Stores, which I’ve become accustomed to.

TP.jpg

For our family’s Christmas dinner, I concocted a handful of cocktails to serve. These included the Jingle Juice (Gin, Club Soda, Cranberry-Lemonade Juice, Lemon Juice); Mele Kalikimaka (Captain Morgan Gingerbread Spiced Rum, Pineapple Juice, Lime Juice); Yule Mule (Candy Cane Vodka, Ginger Beer, Lime Juice); Snowflake (Tarantula Azul Tequila, Sprite Winter Spiced Cranberry, Coconut Flakes); and Winter Comfort Shooter (Jack Daniel’s Winter Jack and Southern Comfort Gingerbread). Once again, the cocktails went over really well with the crew.

On Boxing Day, we met up with friends for a beer at the newly-opened Five Roads Brewing. I ordered the Christmas Staycation Red IPA (collab with Farm Country and Camp), to go along with a Margherita Pizza shared with Mrs. Sip. This was Baby Sip’s 80th brewery visited, a stat which I’m very proud of!

What a way to end the year and the decade, as well. Our New Year’s Eve will be spent with a quiet night in and we greatly look forward to what 2020 has to offer including a calendar that is quickly filling up and a baby boy on the way!