Sip Trips #170: Summer Drifting

Another couple of weeks are in the history books and we’ve been busy, busy, busy. Here’s what the Sip Family has been up to over that time:

Two weeks back, we attended the weekly Fridays on Front street party in New Westminster. Steel & Oak Brewing was on hand, pouring their Royal City Ale, which I had two servings of. Beer and wine tokens were only $5 each and there were a number of food trucks in attendance to satisfy people’s hunger. The area never got overly busy and we were able to find a nice spot to sit down with our beverages.

For dinner that evening, we walked up to the nearby Ludica Pizzeria, home to delicious pizzas and a massive collection of board and card games. Mrs. Sip and I shared their Pesto Chicken & Prosciutto Pizza, which has become a staple for us every time we eat there. I paired the meal with a Steel & Oak Red Pilsner, which complimented the pizza quite well. For our entertainment, we tried the game Blokus, which was easy to learn and fun to play.

sore loser

Over that weekend, I popped into a BC Liquor Stores location and was blown away by how many products I wanted – nay, needed – among their inventory. With a birthday upcoming, may I suggest gift cards to those who may want to get their favourite liquor slinger something. It was hard to only walk out with Cannery Brewing’s six-can Variety Pack, featuring two each of their Anarchist Amber Ale, Naramata Nut Brown Ale and Trellis IPA. This pack has long been a favourite of the Sip Advisor and was enjoyed once again.

Last week, we attended a Disney Trivia event at the Artful Dodger Pub in Langley. This trivia had a nice mix of easier and challenging questions, compared to other similar trivia nights we’ve been to on the subject. Our crew even won the third of three rounds (with a perfect score, might I add), winning a prize pack that included a can of Nude Vodka Cucumber-Mint Soda, which could be fun to experiment with. For dinner here, I ordered the Buttermilk Chicken Burger, which was good. We also split a pair of beer pitchers, the first being Red Truck Lager and the second being Okanagan Springs 1516 Pale Ale.

This past weekend, we twice ventured out to the Fraser Valley for the birthdays of my two nephews. On Saturday, we were in Mission, so popped into the Mission Springs Brewpub for lunch. My meal of Teriyaki Fries and a pint of the brewery’s Blueberry Wheat Ale were both fantastic. If the venue wasn’t so far from home, I would become a regular visitor to try more items from their menu.

bar food.jpg

The next day, we were in Abbotsford, so Field House Brewing was on the docket following mini-golf and games at Castle Fun Park. In their beautiful patio setting, I enjoyed a 24oz serving of Summer Haze Pale Ale. Had it not been at the end of a long day for Baby Sip (this was her 72nd brewery visited), I could have stayed for a while, enjoying the ambience and beverages of the place.

The last note for this week is a suggestion for those looking for reasonably priced beer to hit up Central City Brewing, who have their Across the Nation case available for $15 flat. That’s a smoking deal considering you get 12 beers brewed in collaboration with one brewery from each province and territory (minus Nunavut) across Canada. I’ll be picking up a couple more while I can!

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Sip Trips #152: Scary Sipping

Mrs. Sip and I have been pretty busy lately, thus why I haven’t been able to document our adventures in recent weeks. Here’s what we’ve been up to since the last time I checked in:

A couple weeks back, we celebrated a friend’s birthday in the Port Moody Brewers Row area. We started with dinner at the nearby Taps and Tacos, where Mrs. Sip and I enjoyed their Smoked Rosemary Clover Club (black moon smoked rosemary gin, raspberry, lemon, egg white) and Chibolero (pisco, ancho reyes, lemon, blood orange, clingstone peach bitters, egg white) cocktails, respectively. Our meal was comprised of the restaurant’s Queso Fundido, along with a variety of tacos. I really enjoyed the Korean Pork variation, while Mrs. Sip’s favourite was the Moroccan Chicken.

people tacos

Following dinner, our first stop along Brewers Row was Moody Ales, making good on our promise to hit the brewery first on our next visit, following two journeys where we neglected the place. Here, I ordered pints of their Daylight Savings White IPA and Who Turned Off The Lights Black IPA, both of which I liked. In a great marketing idea, the pair are sold together in four-pack tall can sets (two of each), for those looking to try the counter-balanced beers. Mrs. Sip drank the Rauchbock (a collaboration with Gibsons Tapworks), which had a nice smoke to it, as well as the Lusty Chocolate Oatmeal Stout.

Moving on, we next popped into Parkside Brewing where I sipped on their Motel Pale Ale, which is actually classified as an IPA. With Baby Sip getting tired and a bit of a trip ahead of us to get home, we packed things in after this stop and ventured back to New West.

We were back at it the next day, visiting the newly-opened Dark Manor Inn, touted as Vancouver’s haunted whiskey bar. The cocktail joint comes from the minds behind The Shameful Tiki Room, so there is a good pedigree behind the concept. Our group was sat at the master table and went through much of the cocktail menu during our stay. Among my selections were the Pills, Potions & Quack Nostrums (house malt whiskey blend, cinnamon, ginger, lime); Visions of Apparitions (house made whiskey cream and cola, cherry, dash of soda); and Don’t Go In The Attic (butter-washed cognac, calvados, sherry, lemon, spices). Mrs. Sip selected other beverages than me, so we got to sample a large portion of their cocktail list – or Libations and Palliatives, as they call them. We also each tried their Beef Pie and were impressed with the meal, especially given its $12 price tag.

can't sleep

With cocktails ranging from $11-$14, the night was not cheap, but the experience was worth the cost. The Dark Manor Inn is really done up well, with great theming, decorations, lighting effects and music. Reservations are a must and on busy nights, you may be restricted to a two-hour sitting. There’s not a ton of food on their menu, so picky eaters may want to dine prior to their session. We all agreed Vancouver needs more themed drinking locales. Best of luck to them as they get this new expedition off the ground and we will be back to try one of their bowls, which we unavailable on this occasion.

The following weekend, Mrs. Sip and I hosted a small gathering, where each guest was tasked with collecting beers to share, which were honoured with 2018 BC Beer Awards medals. We ended up amassing quite the collection and the night was filled with sampling as much as we could from the assortment. We even had a brew slipped in from the World Beer Awards and it was quite welcomed by the Sip Advisor.

Later that week, we dropped into the Sapperton District Taphouse for their weekly trivia. The theme was Netflix programming and I’m not ashamed to say our crew does a fair bit of binge watching, so once again, we finished in first place. Our reward was a pitcher of beer, which Mrs. Sip and I ended up drinking together, abandoned by our teammates. Our selection of the Vancouver Island Hermannator Ice Bock may not have been the best choice, given its strong 9.5% alcohol content and no one to help us with the serving. This was on top of my pint of Russell Angry Scotch Ale and Great Sapper sandwich, which was very good, but would have been better on a bun, instead of Texas toast.

Netflix

The most recent weekend began with Mrs. Sip and I visiting Storm Brewing, as we both took last Friday off from work. We were a little sad to see samples are no longer available by donation and now cost $7 for six tasters, but we understand the need to make money from the operation. We tried the brewery’s Vanilla Whiskey Stout, Gingerbread Ale, Jalapeno-Lime Pilsner, Mango Lassi Pilsner, Lavender Vanilla Ale, and Raspberry Orange Blossom Pilsner. Mrs. Sip also surprised me with the fact she signed us up for their 12 Fills of Christmas, where over the month of December, we will get 12 one-litre Boston fills of unique small-batch brews, not made available to the public. Should make for an interesting holiday season!

The weekend wrapped with a visit to Dead Frog Brewing in Langley. We just had to try their recently concocted Party Paddle, which provides at least two drinkers with a flight of 16 taster glasses, comprised of everything on tap at the brewery. Among my favourites were the Moscow Mule Lime Ginger White Ale, Blueberry Blast Kettle Sour, Nutty Uncle Peanut Butter Stout and Winter Beeracle Winter Ale.

Another series of Sip Trips adventures are in the books and the Christmas push is just beginning. The next update will feature Christmas parties, a look at my first fills from Storm Brewing and likely a couple outings that weren’t even on our radar. Stay tuned!

Sip Trips #150: Return to Work

Now that Mrs. Sip and I (along with Baby Sip) are getting settled into our new home in New West, the exploring has begun again. This week’s wrap-up, features a number of new eateries we’ve enjoyed over recent times:

A couple weeks back, I joined Mrs. Sip following one of her theatre shows for a meal at Bin 4 Burger Lounge in Vancouver. I had heard great things about this restaurant and they did not disappoint. I had trouble choosing from their extensive lineup of burgers, finally settling on the Dirty Bourbon Burger, which was absolutely delicious. I love most places that offer potato chips as a side, but what made Bin 4 special was you also get one free dipping sauce to go with your meal. They also have some neat cocktails, which Mrs. Sip indulged in with the Harvey Specter. I had a quick sip and enjoyed the drink, as well.

Burger Salad

Back at home, I’ve had a huge craving for ginger beer drinks lately, so grabbed a two-litre bottle and decided to put together a Buck/Mule Family Tasting Experience, comprised of the Gin Buck, Moscow Mule, Dark N’ Stormy and Mayan Mule. Each drink is similar (ginger beer and lime juice), with only the spirit being different: gin, vodka, dark rum and tequila, respectively. While I liked each of the family members, my favourite was certainly the Dark N’ Stormy. Mrs. Sip picked the Moscow Mule as her top choice.

My last week of parental leave was quite fun, as Mrs. Sip joined me for it. Among taking Baby Sip to Queen’s Park and other walks, we travelled to our nearest pub, the Royal Crown Castle. This place is very recognizable as you drive down Columbia Street, as it looks like a castle, but is actually the former gatehouse for the BC Penitentiary, which used to be on the site. To go with a pair of Radeberger Pilsner pints, which were on special, I had the Classic Beef Burger, while Mrs. Sip went with one of their daily specials, a Grilled Ham & Cheese with Turkey Chowder Soup. Our meal was very good and we will certainly be back, traversing the city’s many hills to get there.

Later in the week, we attended Harvest Glow in Langley. This is a fantastic place to bring young children, complete with a train ride, mini golf, playgrounds, pony rides, a corn maze, pumpkin patch, live music, and so much more. We marvelled at how much fun Baby Sip was having at only one-year-old. Best of all, you can enjoy your kid’s enjoyment with a drink in hand, as they offer beer, wine, and even cocktails. The set-up was different than last year’s Christmas Glow and I hope they are taking notes for this year’s yuletide version. We enjoyed the experience so much, we returned for another evening of entertainment.

Skittles Harvest

My final week on leave ended with a big bang, as we hosted a wine and cheese open house at our new place. With 40 guests expected, we stocked up on a dozen bottles of wine for guests to sample, along with copious amounts of cheese, meats and crackers. The event was a lot of fun and the culmination of all our hard work getting the home ready and liveable.

Now that I’m back to the daily grind of work, we’re still trying to mix in some fun here and there. On Tuesday, we picked up food from Big Star Sandwich in New West for the first time. It will certainly not be the last time, though, as we both thoroughly enjoyed our meals. As much as I like Subway sandwiches, this was like Subway on steroids! My favourite part of their menu is that you can put hickory sticks on any sandwich, adding a nice crunch to your hoagie.

The coming weekend is loaded with events, as the Halloween season picks up. Check back soon for another Sip Trips update on all our adventures!

Sip Trips #141: Fraser Valley Fun

The Sip Advisor and family spent a fair bit of the last week in the B.C.’s Fraser Valley region, checking out movies, wineries, breweries and restaurants. Here’s how the week played out:

On Friday, we made our way to Aldergrove’s Twilight Drive-In, the only remaining outdoor theatre in the Lower Mainland. The films on the docket included Ocean’s 8 and Tag, both of which were fun films. The theatre has recently raised their prices slightly, as it cost us $26 (one dollar more) for Mrs. Sip and I to attend than it had just a couple months back.

Sunday, of course, was my very first Father’s Day. The occasion began with Mrs. Sip and Baby Sip gifting me a collection of bomber beers that spelled FATHER. These included: Fat Tug IPA (Driftwood), Amber (Dageraad), Tangerine Dream Ale (4 Mile), Heather Ale (Salt Spring), East Coast Squeeze IPA (Foamers’ Folly), Rotating Hop (Bridge).

Father's Day

From there, we were off to Backyard Vineyards, joined by Ma and Pa Sip and the Sip-in-Laws. The first 100 fathers received a free box of Lindt chocolates and we arrived just in time to reap that reward. We enjoyed a couple bottles of wine, as well as some flatbreads from the German Pizza food truck that was onsite.

On Tuesday, we were back out in Langley, where I dropped Mrs. Sip off for work and was then on standby to pick her up when that had wrapped. To fill the time, we decided to visit a couple of the city’s craft breweries. First up, was Dead Frog Brewing’s new Langley location, which has only been operating for a couple weeks and hasn’t even celebrated their grand opening. I ordered a flight of beers here, comprised of their Fresh Pressed Pina Colada Hazy IPA, CREAM Key Lime Milkshake IPA, Reina De Fuego Mexican Chocolate Porter and Winter Beeracle Winter Ale. The Fresh Pressed was my favourite of the bunch, with a nice coconut finish to the drink.

We also popped into Trading Post Brewing, taking advantage of their Tuesday special of $5 16oz beers. I selected the White IPA, which was the company’s newest release. The beer was good and it was nice to sit on their outdoor patio on this gorgeous afternoon. Prior to leaving the brewery, I snagged two bottles of Vikram’s Weissen, brewed in partnership between Trading Post and Vikram Vij, the popular Indian restauranteur.

Indian Food

The day wasn’t over yet, though, as I received tickets I had previously been waitlisted for to attend the Three Rounds event at Red Truck Brewing, co-hosted by Panago Pizza. Panago was showing off their two newest pizza releases – Trippple Pepperoni and Triple Pepparugula – while Red Truck offered beers from their summer lineup – Endless Summer Golden Ale, Citra Down Blonde Ale and Czech Point Red Pilsner. The event was free and despite some confusion regarding how to get the pizza and beers upon arriving, we left well-fed and with our thirst quenched.

To finish the evening, I picked up a tall can of Old Yale Pina Colada Hazy ISA, thanks in part to enjoying my previous serving of Pina Colada-based beer earlier in the day. The Old Yale product is part of their Trailblazer Series, which I have previously enjoyed. This beer was stronger on the pineapple flavours than the Dead Frog version and was very light on coconut notes.

This next week will be another busy one, with Cask Wars at The Portside Pub, a baseball tournament, a friend’s birthday picnic and more already on the schedule. Sometimes, it’s enough to make your head spin… and that’s before you add all the drinks to the equation!

Sip Trips #134: In the Name of Science

Another couple busy weeks are in the books, so let’s get right to the action. We began the latest Sip Trips cycle with a long walk to East Vancouver to use our Groupon for Andina Brewing. The deal entitled us to a tasting flight each, as well as a growler plus fill. The advertised growler (typically holding two litres of beer) ended up actually being a one-litre Boston round, but otherwise the Groupon was worth it. For our flights, we tried each of the brewery’s available varieties. We also ordered a round of their Platanitos (Plantain Chips).

Since we were already out that way, we decided to pop into Storm Brewing, one of our all-time favourite breweries. Storm does things differently than other breweries, offering patrons up to six samples of their eclectic menu, in exchange for a donation. On this instance, we tried a number of beers, including: Turkey Dinner IPA, Orange Creamsicle Ale, Garam Masala Ale, Spicy Mango Salsa Pilsner, Mint Julep Ale, Pineapple Paradise Pilsner, Vanilla Whiskey Stout, and Iced Mocha Stout. We were particularly impressed with the Garam Masala Ale, so bought a Boston round of the beverage.

Beer Trust

The next day, we went for another walk to the Olympic Village. While Mrs. Sip joined some friends for brunch, I explored Legacy Liquor Store, where I came across the newly released Brews Brothers Vol. 4 case from Parallel 49 Brewing, in partnership with 12 breweries from across the province. While I didn’t pick it up that day, as Baby Sip’s stroller didn’t have enough room, this pack will soon find itself nestled into our fridge. Not one to leave the booze haven empty-handed, I picked up a bomber of Stanley Park Cookies & Cream Dark Ale, which we look forward to pouring soon.

Later that week, we attended Science World After Dark, where the attraction is open to adults only and allows them to check out the exhibits with a beer or glass of wine ($6.50 each) in hand. This was our second time attending the event. Our night began with an IMAX film titled America’s Musical Journey, which documented a number of music styles that became popular in the US, thanks to artists such as Louis Armstrong and Elvis, while exploring locales including New York, New Orleans, Chicago, Nashville, Memphis and Miami.

We were particularly interested in visiting on this occasion, as the feature attraction currently running at Science World is Ripley’s Believe It or Not. Mrs. Sip and I spent more than an hour checking out nearly every piece of the exhibit and it was totally worth the price of admission.

Science Funny

This past weekend, we joined Ma and Pa Sip at Township 7 Winery’s members only event at Coast Appliances in Langley. The unique venue served up a very interesting event, highlighted by three stations where you could get a wine sample and appetizer pairing. You could also get a full servingglass of wine, choosing from four different varieties to cap your evening off with.

On Wednesday, we had tickets to see 2Cellos in concert. To prepare for the show, I enjoyed a couple drinks from my bottle of Wiser’s Spiced Whiskey, to go along with our takeout order of Uncle Fatih’s Pizza. As for the concert, these guys are amazing. Seriously, if you are unfamiliar with the duo, check their work out on YouTube and you’ll see some very talented Croatians doing things with cellos you never thought possible.

I wrapped up the week by joining Ma Sip at Steamworks Brew Pub for lunch. Here, I ordered a serving of their Purgatory Belgian IPA, to go with some Chicken Tenders and Fries. We sat on their outdoor patio, which provided a nice way to spend a spring/summer afternoon, now that the rain is gone and the sunny season seems to finally be here!

Sip Trips #124: Laying Low

With an upcoming vacation, Mrs. Sip and I have been laying low recently, saving our pennies for travelling south. That doesn’t mean we’ve become recluses, though. Here’s what we’ve been up to in recent times.

To celebrate Mrs. Sip’s birthday earlier this month, we visited Sushi Mori in Langley. The restaurant was very busy, but we were served our food quickly and it was all quite good. I ordered their Fried California Roll (a Sip Advisor favourite when diving into the world of sushi) and signature Rock’n Roll, which were both good. I also got to sample a piece of the Crazy Boy Roll, courtesy of Mrs. Sip, which was tasty. In the future, I would stick to the Fried California Roll and Crazy Boy Roll, as although good, the Rock’n Roll was expensive at $12.95.

redneck-sushi

This weekend, with Baby Sip (her sixth craft brewery) and Sis-in-Law Sip in tow, we attended the grand opening of East Van Brewing’s tasting room. We had waited to get in for about half an hour when staff inside spotted Baby Sip’s stroller and moved us up the line to get a spot quicker. The event offered $5 flights and pints and once seated, we split two flights, allowing us to sample eight of the brewery’s 10 beers. This included their Kickstart Pale Ale, Wheelbite IPA, Jive House Ale, Humble Hive Honey Brown, Unholy One Stout, When it Rains it Porters, Twin Destroyer Double IPA, and Nordic Saison. The only two beers we didn’t try were the Community Lager and Session Amber, with our collective favourite being the Honey Brown. We also made use of the El Cartel food truck outside, scarfing down an order of their delicious Parmesan Truffle Fries.

This week, the Sip Advisor finishes up work before eight and a half months of parental leave. You better believe there will be many adventures during my sabbatical, as I work to get Baby Sip to the most breweries a youngster has ever visited before the age of one! That fun starts this weekend, as we travel to Escondido, California, for most of February. What a way to beat the winter blues!

 

Sip Trips #119 – Feelin’ Festive

After a week filled with three Vancouver Canucks games to start the month, Mrs. Sip and I got a bit of a respite to recharge the hockey batteries (seriously, my voice was shot after yelling at every Toronto player and fan I could) with the team on a brief road trip. With the gap between games, we focused our attention on holiday activities around the Lower Mainland. Here’s what we got up to:

On Friday night, we had a few errands to run in South Vancouver, so decided to mix a little pleasure into the business. Popping into Dogwood Brewing for the first time, we enjoyed a flight of their brews, including the IPA, Barrel-Aged Stout, London Fog, and Winter Spice. The space was nice and cozy and well-decorated for Christmas. This was Baby Sip’s second craft brewery visit and she even woke up long enough to see the place this time around.

Errands

The next day, we ventured to Langley for the Glow Christmas Light Gardens and Market. With food trucks outside and a fantastic visual set-up inside the facility’s greenhouse, we spent over two hours at the attraction. Best of all, beer, wine and a couple cocktails could be had as you explored the winter wonderland. I had servings of Trading Post Brewing’s Smugglers Trail Rye Amber Ale and Three Bears Breakfast Stout, which were both available for only $5. Mrs. Sip started with a glass of white wine and later had a Baileys Irish Cream hot chocolate.

Tickets to Glow start at $20 for adults if ordered online ($25 at the door) and I would definitely recommend the earliest timeslot possible, as the parking lot and facility fill up quickly, causing long lines to get in later in the evening. Mrs. Sip still argues that any true European-based Christmas Market doesn’t cost money to get into, but that logic doesn’t seem to apply in this area of the world.

Following work on Monday, Mrs. Sip and I met at the Vancouver Christmas Market. As I’ve written before, if we didn’t get free tickets each year, thanks to Mrs. Sip’s theatre subscription, I’m not sure I would make the effort to attend. That said, we had a pretty good time, joined by another couple for some of our visit. The move from outside the Queen Elizabeth Theatre to Jack Poole Plaze has definitely opened up the place, but going on a weeknight helped too with a lighter crowd.

Santa's Lap

As is the norm for the Market, it didn’t take long to blow through the $50 we had taken out in cash for the event. For drinks, Mrs. Sip had a couple cups of Mulled Wine, while I had glasses of Erdinger Wheat and Dunkel brews. As for food, we split a Cheese Pretzel and Parmesan and Garlic Hurricane Potatoes which were both delicious. A highlight for us was chatting with the Persephone Brewing team, who were offering samples of five different beers (Black Lager, Pale Ale, IPA, Pilsner, and Golden Ale). Joining them was Wild Goose Winery and Okanagan Spirits, where I tasted their Bourbon, Gin, and Pear Brandy.

This weekend, it’s back to the rink for a couple NHL games, while also fitting in as much yuletide cheer as possible. Lather, rinse, repeat!