Sip Trips #142: On and Off the Field

I’m always amazed at how quickly the summer fills up with events. This week alone, Mrs. Sip and I have received numerous Facebook event invites and that combines with other commitments to clog the calendar. Don’t get us wrong, we enjoy the chaos, but sometimes you long for the shut-in winter months. Wait, we do a ton of stuff then as well. Anyway, here’s what happened last week:

Our week began with an unexpected entry into the weekly trivia at Darby’s Gastown. The trivia was so unexpected that I was only able to attend the second half of the quiz. I still managed to enjoy a serving of Luppolo Kveik IPA, along with the bar’s homemade potato chips and a soft pretzel.

trivia-team-assemble.jpg

The next night, we were back in Gastown for The Portside Pub’s Cask Wars event. The competition was free to attend, so long as you RSVP’d for the limited tickets, and saw 11 breweries compete to drain their cask first and earn at tap at the popular bar. Upon entering, attendees received their first drink ticket on the house, with additional tickets costing a very reasonable $4. Mrs. Sip and I bought four tickets, but somehow ended up trying 10 of the offerings available. The eventual winner was Coal Harbour’s Dino Candy Raspberry Sour with Gin Soaked Lime Leaves (available in bomber-sized bottles). We had a fantastic time at this event, also enjoying orders of their East Coast Chowder and Garlic Fingers. One issue I hope is fixed for future Cask Wars (and this applies to all beer events) is I’d like to see every brewery have a sign telling what their beer is. Most do, but some don’t and I don’t like standing in line to find out what beer they’re serving, when it might be something I have no interest in trying.

On the weekend, our baseball team was involved in a tournament at Burnaby’s Riverway Sport Complex. While we didn’t have any favourable results over our games, we had fun, particularly at the onsite beer garden. Drink tickets were six for $20 and just like previous tournaments, Hearthstone Brewing was on hand to keep players hydrated with their Cali Common (my beverage of choice) and Rizzla Rice Lager. There was also a variety of ciders available for the non-beer drinkers.

Following day one of the tourney, Mrs. Sip and I awaited the return of Baby Sip from our friends at Steel & Oak Brewing. We each had a glass of their Smoked Hefeweizen, before splitting the Weekend Plans Peach Tart Pale Ale. When our friend’s arrived, I was also able to sample a sip of the Blackthorn Strong Ale.

babysitting-level-pro

Looking to get outside and enjoy the nice weather this week, I took Baby Sip over to Granville Island, hoping to visit Granville Island Brewing. Unfortunately, their tasting room was closed for a private event. Making lemonade out of lemons, I made my way over to the nearby Liberty Distillery for a cocktail. I selected The McClay (Railspur No. 1 Whiskey, lime juice, Thai bitters, pineapple-jalapeno cordial), which was a beautiful drink.

This weekend is highlighted by Canada Day, which has become one of my favourite drinking holidays. Hopefully the weather holds up enough for the Sip Advisor to host what has become an annual pool party at Ma and Pa Sip’s place. The beverages will certainly be flowing, regardless!

Advertisements

Sip Trips #88: Taste Test

On Saturday, Mrs. Sip and I hosted the Sip Syndicate at our place. Earlier that day, I had ventured out to grab some beers for the evening and lucked upon some individual bottles from broken up from the Central CityParallel 49 Seasons Greetings advent calendar. I think this is a great idea, as it gives people who didn’t buy the advent calendar a chance to see how diverse the lineup is, as well as try some of the products for themselves.

I grabbed six bottles, comprised of: Central City’s Southern Cross Kiwi Kettle Sour and Three Peaks Belgian Tripel, along with Parallel 49’s Anger Management Angry IPA, Gong Show Belgian Spiced Quad, Salty Scot Maple Scotch Ale, and Beerserker Scandinavian Strong Ale. We then presented the six in a tasting-style event with our friends. My favourite from the bunch was probably the Gong Show.

drink-every-night

After our mini tasting, we were off to the VIP theatre at Marine Gateway to catch the new Star Wars: Rogue One. I’m not a Star Wars or sci-fi devotee, but I thought the movie was good. My meal of a pulled pork sandwich and fries was even better, which was a nice surprise, given some of the theatre food is only okay. Add a pitcher of Shocktop, split between Mrs. Sip and I, and the evening was well-rounded.

Following the film, we popped into the Dublin Crossing Irish Pub, below the theatre for another beverage. Here, I ordered a pint of Hearthstone McCools Hazelnut Porter, which was profiled in my Beer of the Week feature yesterday. It looks like we’ll be dining there again tonight, to celebrate Mrs. Sip’s birthday with a group of friends from our sports team.

The results of that meal, as well as the other festivities currently planned for Mrs. Sip’s big day will all be brought to you next week in another edition of Sip Trips!

Beer of the Week #3 – Hearthstone McCools Hazelnut Porter

After catching a movie at the VIP theatre at the Marine Gateway complex in Vancouver, we made our way to the Dublin Crossing Irish Pub below to grab a nightcap. There, I ordered a pint of this delicious Hearthstone Brewing release.

The McCools Hazelnut Porter was perfect to enjoy in an Irish Pub, with live music blasting and our table conveniently placed near a roaring fire. The 5% ABV, 18 IBUs beverage had great flavours of coffee, roasted malts, and, of course, hazelnut on the finish.

Hearthstone McCools Hazelnut Porter.png

The core brand beer is available in four-pack tall cans at private liquor stores. The brewery states the drink is “perfect for that bright yet blustery fall afternoon.” I thought it was also ideal for freezing cold winter nights when you wish you were bundled up at home.

Cousin Sip and I have remarked that we need to visit Hearthstone’s new facility in North Vancouver. Last time we toured the region, their Tap & Forno tasting room and eatery wasn’t open yet, so I think a return trip is in order.

For more Beer of the Week articles, please visit our main page…

BC Beer Baron #160 – Parallel 49/Hearthstone Sympathy for the Devil Black IPA

For the second consecutive year, Parallel 49 Brewing has joined forces with 12 different BC craft breweries to release a package of unique beers, dubbed Brews Brothers Volume 2. The Sip Advisor figured spending the first chunk of June reviewing these releases would be a great idea. So, let’s get on with things.

Once again, we get an East-North connection, as North Vancouver’s Hearthstone Brewing joins the collaboration fray. I should take this opportunity to point out that Hearthstone’s long-awaited taproom is due to open sometime this month and will feature pizzas from a wood fired oven.

Parallel 49 & Hearthstone Sympathy for the Devil Black IPA

The Sympathy for the Devil Black IPA was a spectacular beer… one that I would even bestow a rare 5-out-of-5 on the Sip-O-Meter! The beverage tastes strong – although comes in at a not overbearing (they call it restrained) 6.5% ABV – and is cut just right by its citrus notes. If you only try one beer from the pack, this might be it.

Each beer is named after a classic rock song and once again we go to the Rolling Stones for this brew, with their Sympathy for the Devil tune. Like I said previously, I find the work of the Stones to be hit and miss. In this case, I enjoy the lyrics of the track, but not the music that accompanies it. That may sound a little weird, but whateves.

For more BC Beer Baron articles, please visit our main page…

BC Beer Baron #117 – Hearthstone Chocolate Milk Stout

While they weren’t part of our North Vancouver brewery crawl a couple months back, I was able to recently sample a few Hearthstone Brewing products at Legacy Liquor Store in the Olympic Village.

While sampling, I really enjoyed the brewery’s Chocolate Milk Stout, which has a bold chocolate taste from the cocoa nibs from East Van Roasting Company, used in its recipe. The 5.5% ABV, 19 IBUs is “perfect to cuddle up next to a ­fire with,” according to the beer’s description.

Hearthstone Chocolate Milk Stout

It sounds like the stout is quite versatile and can be combined with two other Hearthstone products for unique beertails. First, it can be mixed with the previously reviewed Graham Cracker Ale to manufacture a s’more flavoured beverage and second it can be paired with the Wyld Raspberry Berliner Weisse for a chocolate-berry treat.

As for an update on Hearthstone’s tasting room, it should be open soon and will feature woodfire pizzas, straight from ovens imported from Italy. Mrs. Sip and I can’t wait for our maiden voyage there!

For more BC Beer Baron articles, please visit our main page…

BC Beer Baron #57 – Hearthstone Graham Cracker Ale

Recently, the Sip Advisor visited Craft Beer Market in Vancouver’s Olympic Village, where I was lucky enough to stumble upon their $5 BC craft beer special. With such a nice price point, how could I not try this Hearthstone Brewing selection.

My only issue with the Graham Cracker Ale was that I didn’t taste Graham crackers like I thought I would. Don’t get me wrong though, the beer was still good, but I went into it with high expectations, believing it might be the alcohol version of a Teddy Grahams treat. The last sip from my serving was the best, so maybe the beer benefited from a little warming up.

Hearthstone Graham Cracker Ale

Hearthstone’s winter warmer uses spices, vanilla, and real Graham crackers to try and achieve its unique taste. It’s 8% ABV is noteworthy and should it still be available come summer, it might be a good product to have while sitting around a campfire.

On our recent trip to the North Vancouver brewing region, we were hopeful to pop into Hearthstone Brewing, but they have yet to officially open their tasting room. Too bad, as we had been lured in by some of the beers listed on their website, such as the Chocolate Milk Stout, Wyld Raspberry Berliner Weisse, McCool’s Hazelnut Porter, and, of course, the Graham Cracker Ale.

For more BC Beer Baron articles, please visit our main page…

Sip Trips #35: All You Need is Love

This week got off to a bit of a rocky start, as Mrs. Sip and I (along with a crew of friends) were supposed to meet at the Pacific National Exhibition (PNE) and visit the Craft Beer Festival that the fair is hosting for the first time this year. Mrs. Sip and I hadn’t attended the PNE since our first year dating, 13 years ago, so we were excited to return. Sadly, as we arrived, we were informed that the park was closing due to inclement weather and would not reopen.

This was an epic fail, exacerbated given that we knew folks already inside the park who were never asked to leave and were enjoying snacks and such throughout. We didn’t bother to stick around long and although the park did reopen, the Craft Beer Festival did not, and weather remained sketchy the rest of the afternoon and evening. Still, I was really looking forward to trying deep-fried jellybeans!

jellybean flavours

On with the successes of the day! The evening began with meeting friends at Alibi Room, in Gastown, which has an extensive menu of craft beers that is updated daily. It can get very busy as the day rolls along, so my best advice is to arrive early. Here, I ordered one of their Frat Bats (tasting flights), including the Dageraad Randonneur Belgian Saison, Breakside Imperial Gold Ale IPA, Phillips Hazy Daze Apricot Witbier, and Strange Fellows Guardian White IPA. The latter two were most enjoyable for me, while Mrs. Sip liked the Callister Apricot Resurrection from her set.

From Alibi Room, we moved on to the Portside Pub for another flight of tasters. This time, I ordered the Fernie Quiet RyeT (the best of this bunch), Hearthstone Azacca Pale Ale, Persephone Dry Stout, and Delirium Tremens. The flights were more expensive here, which originally had us a little disappointed, but when we discovered this was because they included a shot of Jameson Irish Whiskey, we were all-in! The Lobster nachos also seemed to be a hit with our group, although sitting beside Mrs. Sip meant I didn’t get to indulge too much. I’ve been married long enough to know not to get between Mrs. Sip and her lobster! I’ll have to come back another time for more of the nachos and to try some of the interesting Caesar recipes the pub also offers.

As fun as Saturday was, the main event of the week was unquestionably the Made with Love cocktail competition that I fell in love with (pardon the pun) last year. This time around, the venue switched to the Fairmont Hotel, allowing a little more space than last year’s Yaletown Roundhouse location. After receiving our welcome cocktail of Campari and Tropical Red Bull, our group travelled the room in a counter-clockwise direction. The first few drinks were decent, but weren’t really making an impact with me. I did, however, greatly enjoy the appies that were served, including teriyaki chicken skewers, veggie spring rolls, beef carpaccio, fajita chicken wraps, and pate.

appetizers before food

The second half of the room provided a number of top contenders for favourite drink. The premise of the event is that you’re given a dog tag to bestow upon the bartender of your favourite recipe. They’re also judged by a panel of experts. By the end of the circuit I had a short list of four drinks which I really enjoyed. They included Just the Pits (Disaronno, apple juice infused with ginger and black pepper, peach puree, lemon juice, honey syrup, and cherry bitters); Tequila Mockingbird (1800 Tequila, lemon juice, Jamaica and yellow flower syrup, and plum bitters); Caribbean in the Fall (three different Appleton Rums, peach syrup, allspice syrup, lavender tea, lemon juice, maple syrup, saline solution, pimento bitters, and garnished with a sorrel leaf); and my favourite of the competition (earning my dog tag), the BC Burro (1800 Tequila, “forest fire” flavour, ginger beer, elderflower, and wormwood bitters).

Of most importance was whether the event would still hold up for our sophomore experience and whether the cost ($55 early bird tickets/$65 regular tickets) was justifiable. In the Sip Advisor’s opinion, the event was wonderful again and I can’t wait to go for the three-peat next year. I have to say though, I’d love to go to a cocktail competition where there are no liquor sponsors and bartenders have free reign over what they use. I get that the sponsorship basically makes the event possible, but how cool would it be for the competition to be no holds barred!

We wrapped up the Sip Trips week with a return visit to the new Central City Brew Pub on Beatty Street, where I once again enjoyed the Crispy Crunch burger (combining all my favourites with a crispy chicken breast, bacon, potato chips, onion strings, and pickles), while putting together one of the best tasting flight lineups of my career. I ordered the Longwood Steam Punk Dunkel, Hoyne Off the Grid Red Lager, Fuggles and Warlock Smoked Hefeweizen, Bridge North Shore Pale Ale and I only hope that others get to taste my brilliance! Best of all, the flight only cost $6.50, which is a wicked price for a set of beer tasters.

This weekend, Mrs. Sip and I are away camping and plan to pick up a couple growlers at Storm Brewing, before making our way to the Okanagan. There’s no doubt that some mischief is ahead. Should be a great long weekend!