July 24 – California Root Beer

Brewski Tours

I love going on brewery tours, but as far as I’m concerned, the tour portion of the stopover are all largely the same. Once you’ve seen one vat of fermenting hops, you’ve seen them all. Therefore, I will largely base my brewery experience on the intangibles (tastings, other exhibits, etc.) of our visits. Without further ado then, here are some of my favourite breweries that I’ve been able to get to:

Heineken – Amsterdam, Netherlands

Dubbed ‘The Heineken Experience’, this brewery tour is so much more than a quick walk through the brewing and bottling plant. They have everything from a station you can record a video at and send to your family and friends, to instruments made out of Heineken supplies, and, of course, a bar with multiple tastings to enjoy. We even made friends with an Aussie traveling on his own, enjoyed some brews together, and ended up all going to dinner at the nearby Hard Rock Café.

heineken experience

Whistler – Whistler, Canada

I liked the Whistler micro-brewery set up. Once the tour was done, you had all the company’s beer to choose from in a bar like setting, complete with board games, good food, and good company. My only note of advice is that the place is a little outside of Whistler Village, so you’ll either need a designated driver to get your crew there or luck out and have your hotel offer a shuttle to and from the outlet.

Holsten – Hamburg, Germany

What could be more fun than a brewery tour? How about one in a language you don’t understand! Ma Sip knows some German, so she was able to fill in any blanks, if necessary, but we were largely there to see, not hear… and eventually taste. When we were trying to book the tour, we were told that only groups were allowed. Ma Sip replied that we were a ‘group of four’ and our visit was on! I’ll always fondly remember the beer and pretzels we were given in the tasting portion of the attraction.

Granville Island – Vancouver, Canada

One of my favourite local micro-breweries, it’s always fun popping into the Granville Island Brewery, which has a great little area for taste tests, a stocked gift shop, and their tour isn’t too bad either… because it’s relatively short! They know people are mostly there for the samples. Granville Island itself is a funky little place to explore. It’s kind of the artsy area of Vancouver with improve shows, good restaurants, and watersports options.

GIB

Guinness – Dublin, Ireland

This one haunts me a little because we never actually got inside the palace of stout (Guinness PR people, you can thank me for that one later with a lifetime supply of suds). Our group took transit to the brewery on Friday and even got a picture outside one of the gates. When we were told the wait was two hours to get inside – it was St. Patrick’s Day weekend after all – we elected to save our visit for Monday, as we had to check-in to our hostel shortly. Due to unforeseen god-awful, weather, we had to leave Ireland very early that Monday morning and the Guinness Brewery was not to be enjoyed.

Steam Whistle – Toronto, Canada

I did the tour when Ma and Pa Sip visited me while living in ‘The Big Smoke’ and returned later for free beers (sans tour) with Mrs. Sip, prior to a Toronto Blue Jays game. When you’d enter, you’d get a couple tickets for free beer samples and the generous pours were enough to have you walking wobbly by the time you left the facility, en route to the game for really expensive and lacking-in-quality drinks.

steamwhistle

Alexander Keith’s – Halifax, Canada

No visit to Halifax, Nova Scotia would be complete without a stop at the Alexander Keith’s Brewery. Here, you are guided through the history of the beer by period-dressed guides, learning about their trademark brewing practices. Finally, you come to the really good part: beer samples and games to play while boozing. Ma and Pa Sip aren’t fans of suds, so Mrs. Sip and I were the lucky recipients of bonus brews and we left the place with a good buzz and a couple “liberated” Keith’s mugs!

Carlsberg – Copenhagen, Denmark

Our most recent brewery visit was a lot of fun, despite being exhausted from travel and sleepless night. That’s what’s awesome about your fabled Sip Advisor, he knows when to man up for the sake of liquor. The Carlsberg Brewery has a stable of Jutland horses, had a neat exhibit on bottles of beer from around the world, and tons of history on the Carlsberg legacy and brewing techniques.

Drink #205: California Root Beer

California Rootbeer Drink Recipe

  • 1 oz Kahlua
  • 1 oz Galliano
  • Top with half Cola and half Beer (I used GIB Lager)
  • Garnish with Lemon Wedge

Later this summer, Mrs. Sip, myself and members of the Sip Alliance have a tour booked that will stop at a handful of local breweries that we’re all looking very forward to visiting. I better make my post early that day because by the time I get back home, I’ll probably be too blasted to work a computer!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
This beer cocktail is simply delicious. You get hints of Galliano and Kahlua to go along with the Cola and Beer flavours. I heavily adapted this recipe to suit my needs and I’m glad I did so!

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July 23 – Sizzler

Phrases to Drink By

There are a million different beers out there, so differentiating yourself from the competition is very important. One way to do so is to adopt a catchy mantra that grabs the customer and forces them to give your suds a fair shot. Here are some of the best:

Dos Equis – Stay Thirsty My Friends

I really like this slogan… not that I wish people aren’t able to quench their thirst, as that would suck and it goes against the core concept of the Sip Advisor. But we should always be looking for opportunities to enjoy some libations with our closest friends and family. The line is especially epic when delivered by “the most interesting man in the world,” who has become an idol of sorts for myself.

dos equis

Heineken – Heineken Refreshes the Parts Other Beers Cannot Reach

I’m curious as to which exact parts are being refreshed when I drink a Heineken compared to other options. Could it be the part that’s in the name, the heiney? Moving on, as I’ve mentioned before, I’m not a huge fan of Heineken, but I did like their brewery tour and experience in Amsterdam and I think this slogan is pretty clever, despite its vagueness.

Corona – Miles Away From Ordinary

I always enjoyed the Corona ads that were set at the beach and featured people just relaxing and soaking in all of life’s pleasures. While I’ve learned I like other Mexican selections better (Modelo, Pacifico, etc.), Corona is the perfect beach beer. It was even my drink of choice as I established a world record for drinking a beer underwater… definitely, miles away from ordinary.

Molson Canadian – I Am Canadian

Us Canadians are pretty proud of our beer… even the cheap stuff. Home to some of the finest micro-breweries in existence, we also churn out the big business stuff and brag about how much better our suds are compared to our southern neighbours. How accurate this is, is up for debate, but the I Am Canadian campaign did launch the famous commercial below, as well as a ton of Canadian patriotism (a rare find, indeed).

Sleeman’s – Notoriously Good

Thanks to the beer’s association with pirates, bootlegging, Al Capone, and other seedy characters, the brewery has decided to embrace that legacy with its ‘Notoriously Good’ ad campaign. I like Sleeman’s mixed pack of brews, as they are perfect for relaxing pool side at the Sip Advisor retreat home. I have spent countless hours floating and burning with a Sleeman’s nearby… because, I am after all, notoriously good!

Budweiser – This Bud’s For You

Budweiser has had a lot of memorable ad campaigns, from the Clysdale horses to the “Wassup” guys, but nothing will beat this classic slogan, which has become part of the American lexicon. I even remember when Bud Bundy used the catchphrase to his advantage on Married with Children. While Mrs. Sip is still furious over Budweiser stealing its name from an established European brewery, there’s not much any of us can do about it but drink up!

Carlsberg – Probably the Best Beer in the World

I don’t know what I find so funny about the “probably” thrown in at the start of this slogan, but when I first saw it in the U.K. I thought it was hilarious. I was “probably” drunk at the time, so that helps! While I will always have a soft spot in my heart for Carlsberg because it was our go-to brew for games of beer pong, while living in England, I’d have to say that it’s actually “probably not” the best beer in the world.

carlsberg

…or not

Foster’s – Australian for Beer

While Mrs. Sip lived in Australia (and I joined her for six magical weeks), we learned that Australians wouldn’t dare even touch Foster’s. Still, it is advertised as one of the country’s greatest exports, so maybe the slogan should correctly read: Foster’s, American for Australian Beer. I can’t say that I’ve ever had a Foster’s beer, the only offering on this list I haven’t tried. That will be remedied immediately.

Red Stripe – It’s BEER. Hooray beer!

As if Jamaicans need to find a good reason to party… I guess the celebration of beer is as good excuse as any, but when you live in a tropical paradise, full of sandy beaches, scantily clad women, and easily accessible marijuana, what is there to complain about? I suppose you could point to the serious crimes perpetrated around the country, but you should just relax and crack another Red Stripe!

Labatt Blue – If I Wanted Water, I Would Have Asked for Water

I feel that this was a shot at American beers, fired directly across the bow, courtesy of a Canadian brewery. Labatt is the best-selling Canadian beer around the world, which gives them some clout to be able to make these statements. I personally like the slogan, regardless of its intentions, because when I want some suds, I don’t want them to be watered down… a cardinal sin in the brewing industry.

Sapporo – Senses Never Forget

Sapporo is one of my favourite walking beers when I’m in Las Vegas because it comes in an absolutely massive can that is perfect for sharing and will last you a good distance. My senses surely have never forgotten this, even while I spend much of my Vegas vacation trashed. I also like the company’s new commercials which feature dragon’s warming the brewing vats with their fire.

Drink #204: Sizzler

Sizzler Beer drink recipe

  • 1 oz Whiskey
  • 1 oz Vodka
  • Top with half Lager and half Lemonade (I used Rickard’s Shandy)
  • Garnish with Lemon Wedges

As a fan of micro-breweries, I wish more of them would put out their own slogans and not leave it to the big breweries to solely play the game. Then again, the big boys are the ones who can put more resources towards marketing campaigns. Back to drinking!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
Using a Shandy Beer basically covers the Beer-Lemonade combo, but I did add a little extra Lemonade for good measure. The Vodka and Honey Whiskey mix tasted good before I even added the brew and I’ll have to consider it for a future recipe.