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 #85: Leavenworth Love

Over the Christmas break, the Sip Family returned to a familiar destination: Leavenworth, Washington. That said, it had been about 10 years since we last vacationed in the Bavarian-themed town for the holidays and so much has changed since.

The journey started with a trip to BevMo, shortly after crossing the Canada-US border. Here, I picked up a collection of mini liquor bottles to give out as part of our stocking stuffer exchange, where each person was responsible for a small gift – around $5 – for each of the other 10 family members. I tried to select a perfect spirit for each person, including Jameson Whiskey for Father-in-Law Sip, Sailor Jerry’s Spiced Rum for Pa Sip, Peach Schnapps for Cousin Sip, and Chambord for Mrs. Sip.

We arrived late Friday night in Leavenworth, allowing us a full day to explore on Christmas Eve. We began by popping into a couple of the wine tasting rooms that line the very busy Front Street, before taking refuge at Icicle Brewing at the end of the road. Although we could only find seating outside, this was a definite highlight of the vacation for the Sip Advisor, as it made me feel as if we were enjoying a true European Christmas market.

frost-bite-ice-tan

As for drinks, I started with the Bootjack IPA, while Mrs. Sip enjoyed a serving of their Christmas Spiced Altbier. I then moved on to what would become my favourite beer of the trip: the Dark Persuasion German Chocolate Cake Ale. I mean, does it get much better than sitting in a Bavarian-inspired town, drinking beers outdoors, and having one of them be of the German Chocolate Cake variety!? On another visit on Boxing Day, we also ordered pints of the brewery’s Colchuck Raspberry Wheat and Timbertown Brown.

For celebrating in the room, I picked up New Belgium Brewing’s Folly Pack. Included in the set was their Fat Tire Amber Ale, Citradelic Tangerine IPA, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ale (a collaboration with Ben & Jerry’s), and 2-Degree Below Ale. I really liked each of the brews in this collection and particularly enjoyed the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ale, which had the neat aftertaste of both chocolate chips and cookie dough.

Our stocking stuffer exchange was a lot of fun, including such gifts as a can of Big Rock Winter Spice Ale, can of Iron Horse Cozy Sweater Ale, flashlight, photo frame, lotto scratchers, Pez dispenser, mug, shot glass, and Starbucks gift cards. I look forward to doing this again in future years. As far as Christmas gifts with a boozy spin goes, Ma and Pa Sip provided me with a BC Liquor Stores gift card, while Mrs. Sip stuffed a bomber of Barkerville Demi-Mondaine Dunkelweizen in my stocking.

stocking-stuffer-present-appetizers

For Boxing Day, we did a bit of a drink crawl, which included another wine tasting room and the aforementioned secondary visit to Icicle Brewing. As we left Icicle, we serendipitously were approached by a family looking for Blewett Brewery. We decided to help them out in finding the place we didn’t know even existed and ended up at another great tap house.

While at Blewett, I tried their Winter Warmer Ale, while Mrs. Sip opted for the Belgian Wheat Ale. Ma Sip even grabbed a glass of one of the cider’s they had available. We also tried a taster of their Cinnamon Vanilla Bean Imperial Stout and chatted with one of the co-owner’s, Kyle, who mentioned the operation had only been open for a few months.

The vacation provided a wonderful way to get away from the usual Christmas pressures, while also allowing for a great deal of family time in one of the most amazing settings to enjoy the winter season. I would recommend anyone check out the area at some point in their life and particularly if you want a genuine Christmas experience.