Beer of the Week #2 – Trading Post Three Bears Breakfast Stout

To celebrate Cousin Sip’s birthday, the Sip Family made our way to the Fort Langley area, for a meal at Trading Post Brewing’s Taphouse & Eatery. There, I was able to reacquaint myself with this beer, which I hadn’t tried since the brewery opened.

The Three Bears Breakfast Stout had a very heavy espresso flavour, which was a little much for the Sip Advisor, given I don’t drink coffee and even abhor the beverage and the culture that has grown around it. That said, I still enjoyed the 6.7%, 40 IBUs drink.

trading-post-three-bears-breakfast-stout

Trading Post has named many of their beers based on the stories of early BC settlers. This beverage gets its moniker from Hudson’s Bay Company chief factor Gavin Hamilton’s tale of encountering three bears and only needing two bullets to save himself.

Prior to this birthday gathering, I didn’t know that Trading Post had a Taphouse & Eatery, having only visited their tasting room before. The eatery had some great food dishes on their menu. I went with the Pulled Pork Poutine, which really hit the spot.

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Sip Trips #86: Best of 2016

Each year, the Sip Advisor fondly looks back at the best drinking nights (in order of occurrence) of the previous calendar… at least what he can remember of them. Join us as we take a moment to dissect and celebrate 2016:

Libational Learning

When a night ends with the Sip Advisor passing out on the couch, sans clothing, you know it’s been a good one! The Science of Cocktails extravaganza was a fascinating and booze-fueled evening. We wanted to return this year, but Mrs. Sip has a trial starting the next day, so that doesn’t seem to be in the cards. #Responsibilities

Family Day Festivities

Over the Family Day long weekend, the Sip Alliance explored both the Fraser Valley and North Vancouver craft beer regions, hitting more than a dozen locations. Many of these, were first time stops for our group and it opened our eyes to all the wonders that exist outside of Vancouver.

family-time

Crawling Around

Just one day after the Portland Beer & Wine Festival, we were back at it, hitting the streets of the City of Roses and searching out some of its most popular breweries. Over the course of the day, we worked our way through a half dozen tasting rooms. Eventually, we ended the journey with an Easter-themed burlesque show and Voodoo Doughnuts… because why the hell not!?

Lion City Leisure

With three nights in Singapore to start our five-week Asian adventure, we decided to spend one of those nights at the swanky Marina Bay Sands. Our hotel package included their evening happy hour, which in true Mr. and Mrs. Sip fashion, we rocked until they kindly asked us to leave. We followed this with swimming in the resort’s rooftop pool, 63 floors above the city.

The Happiest of Valleys

The fun didn’t stop there, as our cruise made a two-day stop in the vibrant city that is Hong Kong. This allowed us the chance to enjoy some nightlife, helped along by Mrs. Sip having a few friends living in the city. Coincidentally, it was also Wednesday race night at the Happy Valley Racetrack. Over a couple pitchers of beer, the Sip Advisor even picked a winning horse and took home a small prize.

horse-racing-for-rich-people

So Many Options

Arriving in Tokyo, Japan, we chose to stay near the Golden Gai district of the city. For those unfamiliar with the area, it is home to approximately 300 little bars, within a six-block radius. Our exploration led us into a few uniquely-themed watering holes, such as the one centered around horror movie and metal music cultures.

Drinking Sky High

Our fun in Tokyo didn’t stop there. The moment Mrs. Sip discovered that this attraction existed, we knew it would be a highlight of our stay in the city. At the Park Hyatt, their Peak Bar offered visitors the chance to drink all-inclusive during sunset hours, while looking down at the bustling city below, from the 41st floor. We ended up sitting next to a couple from Australia and spent the night drinking with them, as I challenged the bartender to make me her best drink with each different alcohol available.

Tipping N’ Tasting

Among my favourite annual beer festivals is the Tip N’ Taste event in Langley. It provides a chance to sample brews from companies based more in the Fraser Valley region of BC, as well as other entries from around the province. This year, we stayed overnight at the Convention Centre Hotel, which hosted the event. That meant the after party quickly moved to our room!

beer-crisper

Island Wedding

While on Prince Edward Island for a friend’s wedding, Mrs. Sip and I were introduced to a number of great people, who we partied away the weekend with. Following a meet-and-greet barbecue on the eve of the wedding, we accompanied our new associates back into Charlottetown for an impromptu night on the town, which ended much later than we had anticipated.

All You Need is Love

The Made with Love cocktail competition has become an annual tradition (three years running) for Mrs. Sip and I. It’s always a fun night out, trying the drinks of some of Vancouver’s most popular bartenders. Best of all, we get to play a role in picking the winning entry, although none of our personal favourites ever seem to come out on top.

Cruise Credits

To celebrate Sis-in-Law Sip’s birthday, we booked a one-day cruise from Seattle to Vancouver. Over the course of the evening, the Sip Advisor took in parts of four bottles of wine, a half-dozen beers, a couple cocktails, and a bottle of bubbly to boot, won through a ‘Finish the Song Lyrics’ quiz.

cruise-captain-morgan

Irish Blessings

Over the last couple years, I’ve been incredibly lucky to have celebrated my birthday in Hawaii, aboard a cruise ship, in Southern Africa, and now Ireland – although it was a couple days after the actual date. The Sip Syndicate was along for this ride and we celebrated in true Irish style with shots of Jameson Whiskey and pints of Guinness.

Fear and Loathing

Our trips to Disneyland nowadays typically include enjoying the sights and sounds (and lines) of the park with a cold beer or glass of wine in hand. In October, we were also primed for Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights, which involves getting a good buzz going, prior to entering. Once that was accomplished, all we had to deal with was psycho killer clowns, a rogue’s gallery of baddies and even some Jabbawockeez!

Award Season

My first year attending one of BC’s best craft beer shindigs proved why I had missed out in previous years. Unable to attend because of vacations and other commitments, we finally made it to the BC Beer Awards, where the Sip Advisor was able to sample about 20 different beers from the wonderful breweries that make up the province’s craft industry.

awards-season

Diamond Celebration

To commemorate Ma Sip’s 60th birthday, the entire family ventured to Disneyland, which also recently celebrated the same milestone. Mrs. Sip’s aunt also had her 50th birthday on that weekend, so there was much to revel in. That included a fair bit of drinking at the park and in our hotel rooms, as we made the change from day to night wear.

Traditional Tidings

To celebrate Christmas this year, the Sip Family stayed in Leavenworth, Washington, which is famous for being a little slice of Bavaria, hidden in the mountains. The town is a haven for Christmas lovers, and it’s here that we explored the many wine tasting rooms, a couple breweries and exuded as much festive spirit as one is allowed to, by law.

2016 was an amazing year… at least drinking wise. I can’t wait to see what 2017 has to offer, even though it has quite a bit to live up to!

BC Beer Baron #339 – Trading Post Dear James S.M.A.S.H. Saison

Making great time with traffic on our way out to Langley’s wine region for an event recently, we decided to kill some time at Trading Post Brewing. There, I was able to try a pint of this beverage, which was unavailable the last time I visited the tasting room.

The Dear James S.M.A.S.H. Saison offers all the aspects you would expect from a farmhouse ale. There’s fruit (apricots and citrus) and there’s spice and it’s all tied up into one nice, neat package. The 6.5% ABV, 26 IBUs drink was refreshing and packed a bit of a punch, making for a great start to my evening.

Trading Post Brewing

I was curious about the brew’s name and thankfully, the company provides answers: Dear James refers to a disregarded letter sent to Hudson’s Bay Company chief trader James Murray Yale, advising him not to marry a particular woman. As for the S.M.A.S.H. portion, it stands for single malt and single hop brewing.

This was the first chance I’ve had to pop into Trading Post since their second day of operation, back in February. I was happy to see that they’ve bottled their What Cheer Brett IPA and I hope to see more of their products packaged soon.

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Sip Trips #81: Restaurant Roundup

While the Sip Advisor hasn’t posted a Sip Trips article for a couple weeks, that doesn’t mean I haven’t kept up my typical level of social activities. I was just saving up a few outings and before I knew it, there was almost too much to report on.

Dressed as my own inner child – seriously, I just couldn’t get inspired to come up with a costume for this Halloween season, so this was a last minute idea that actually worked out fairly well – we attended a friend’s fundraiser at Rusty’s Neighbourhood Pub in Cloverdale. The burger and beer deal didn’t leave much to the imagination, especially as far as beverages went, but through a technicality, we were able to upsize our burgers and I really enjoyed my Doc Holliday variation. Much of their menu looked really good, so next time we’re in the area, we’ll have to drop in again.

bacon-cheeseburger

The next day, we intended to check out Abbotsford’s Craft Beer Corn Maze, before a storm decimated the attraction. Instead, we used the occasion of being out in the Fraser Valley to visit Old Abbey Ales. Here, the Sip Alliance each constructed their own flight of beer and with so many options available at the tasting room, no two boards were the same. I really like that Old Abbey Ales has the customer fill out there selections, rather than recite them. This gives you more time to round out a perfect cross section of brews and decreases the chances your order will get mixed up.

A couple days later, as Mrs. Sip prepared for her ongoing trip to India, we visited Patron Tacos & Cantina for a meal. We typically order their Queso Fundido dish and then use the cheese and sauces it comes with on our tacos. This makes for quite the feast and Mrs. Sip and I both left with overly full tummies.

That weekend, after recently receiving a flyer advertising Milestones new Epic Eats menu, Mrs. Sip and I were looking forward to testing out some of the new additions. While Mrs. Sip ordered the Jiffy Pop Popcorn Shrimp, I had my eyes – and stomach – set on the Hottest Club in Town. This Sriracha chicken and waffles club sandwich was absolutely fantastic and I look forward to crossing paths with it again shortly. We also noted that the restaurant now has a Beers & Bros deal (a pitcher of beer and four appies for $40) to accompany their Girls’ Night Out Bellini promotion.

waffles-pancakes-with-abs

To celebrate Halloween, we decided to check out the Day of the Dead-themed Stanley Park Train. Following that, Mrs. Sip, Sis-in-Law Sip and myself made our way back downtown and popped into Steamworks Brewpub for a bite and beverage. With a $15 pitcher deal on Mondays, we settled on their Pumpkin Ale, while splitting their massive House Baked Pretzel. This was probably the best way to wrap up Oktoberfest festivities, through the month.

Come Friday, I was on the road again. Mrs. Sip and I are members of the Langley-based Backyard Vineyards and as such, are invited to their semi-annual customer appreciation nights. Mrs. Sip always seems to be on vacation when they occur, but that doesn’t stop the Sip Advisor from enjoying. With great live music filing the air, guests were treated to a fantastic meal and other goodies. Prior to arriving at the winery, we had made great time from Vancouver, so decided to pop into Trading Post Brewing for a beer. I liked my serving of their Dear James S.M.A.S.H. Saison and it was a good start to the evening’s entertainment.

beer-and-wine-consumption

The weekend was wrapped up with a visit to White Spot, where I was able to try a pint of Granville Island Harvest Ale. The beer, exclusively brewed for the restaurant chain, was a solid accompaniment to one of my all-time favourites, the Legendary Burger. You are not a true British Columbian if you have never tried this entrée.

Well, I ended up with much more to discuss than I first thought. With Mrs. Sip away in India for the next two weeks, it kind of feels like the calm before the Christmas season storm. I better enjoy my “downtime” while it lasts!

BC Beer Baron #278 – Trading Post Captain Cooper’s Cranberry Ale

A couple weeks back, Mrs. Sip and I learned of the TAPshack, which has two chains in downtown Vancouver. For a friend’s birthday, we visited the Coal Harbour location, where the Sip Advisor enjoyed this Trading Post Brewing product, among my drink selections.

The Captain Cooper’s Cranberry Ale is tart, but leaves a nice, slightly bitter cranberry taste on the palate with each sip. At 5.9% ABV, the beer has a stronger alcohol content than many sour beverages I’ve come across, while being very light on hops, with an IBU count of only seven.

Trading Post Brewing

I had previously tried a sample of this brew when Mrs. Sip and I first visited Trading Post on its second day of existence. Having a full serving reminded me of how good and unique the drink is. The American-style wheat ale is constructed with local cranberries.

The beer’s namesake, Captain James Cooper, was an employee of the Hudson’s Bay Company, a former fur trading operation and current day Canadian department store. Cooper was a wheeler and dealer in the cranberry market of early BC.

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

Sip Trips #69: Tasting Tipsy

One of my favourite events of the summer, Langley’s Tip N’ Taste, took place last Friday and it was another very fun time with family, friends, and random strangers. Mrs. Sip and I first attended the annual beer fest in 2008 and while we haven’t returned every year, it’s definitely an occasion I look forward to each July.

While I won’t go into reviewing the brews I tasted, saving that for the BC Beer Baron project, I will say that I managed to score over a dozen tastings from breweries, including Be Right Back, Trading Post, Phillips, Mission Springs, Old Yale, Cannery, Howe Sound, Hathi, Kwantlen Brewing Program, Dead Frog, Lighthouse, and Old Abbey.

Drinking Friends Assemble

In past years, event attendees received five drink tickets and five food tickets. This year, the food was all-inclusive, which came with some ups and downs. On the plus side, there was great little meals from Dublin Crossing Irish Pub (mini Yorkshire puddings); Sammy J’s (short rib tacos); Brown’s Socialhouse (cauliflower mac n’ cheese, chicken rice bowls, and even chocolate brownies for dessert); and Original Joe’s (pulled pork sliders). Some food vendors even passed out gift cards or discount vouchers.

On the flip side, unfortunately, the meatballs from Rendezvous Pub ran out within the first hour, even though they brought 300 meatballs. That said, they handed out two to each person (perhaps a rookie mistake) and the ravenous crowd demolished their provisions. The group was long gone by the time I got to that side of the Convention Centre. I remember Original Joe’s, in their first year, generously giving two pulled pork sliders to each person before stock ran low, resulting in one slider for each person, until the restaurant was cleaned out.

And while they didn’t necessarily run out of supplies, it was very tough to get any pizza from Me-N-Ed’s Pizza Parlor. Massive lines would form anytime their pies were soon to arrive (they have a chain located near Langley’s Cascades Casino) and would be gone before most could get their hands on a slice.

Personal Pizza

Another disappointment was White Rock Beach Brewing and Russell Brewing not showing up. I was looking forward to trying the wares particularly offered by White Rock Beach and while I don’t know the circumstances of their absence, they missed a prime opportunity to share their beverages with a wide, thirsty audience.

One last con was there wasn’t as much available for wine drinkers as there has been in past years, which narrowed the options for Ma and Pa Sip. I realize that Tip N’ Taste is predominantly a beer tasting event, but it’s nice to have a bit of a mix for those who steer towards grapes.

Okay, enough of the griping and onto some positives. First, the breweries that did attend brought some really neat stuff with them and most companies had an array of products for sampling. Second, the organizers were able to pull together quite an impressive field of breweries (spreading from across the Lower Mainland to Vancouver Island), including a number of first-timers. Third, two folks from our extensive group won door prizes (which all looked pretty cool), so you can’t beat that.

prize or punch

A side note, Mrs. Sip and I had good chat with one of the Howe Sound reps about all the difficulties R&B Brewing is going through to set up their tasting room/restaurant. They were supposed to open on St. Patrick’s Day and are still in limbo thanks to the bureaucracy approving their license and launch. This has included being told to separate the growler station from the kitchen with a glass divide, then being told on a follow-up visit the glass had to be smoked, among other nitpicking. We hope things turn around for the project quickly.

To sum things up, tickets were $35 this year, which I believe is a $5 jump from 2015. That said, the event was fun with plenty of beer and food to go around. Sure, there are a few areas that could be improved, but all-in-all, Tip N’ Taste remains a favourite activity for the Sip Advisor!

Sip Trips #66: Weekend Warriors

While I’ve often dubbed Mrs. Sip and myself ‘Weekend Warriors, Weekday Legends’, this past weekend was incredibly busy, even by our standards. Things all got started – as most weekends do – with the need to procure some alcohol. The Sip Alliance had a member’s birthday Saturday evening and so the hunt was on.

Our first stop was 33 Acres Brewing, a favourite Vancouver location of Mrs. Sip and mine. There, we filled a couple growlers, making sure to try some of the new items to hit their board, such as the 33 Acres of Egress Belgian Grisette, which Cousin Sip elected to purchase.

Beer Growler

Following that, we were off to Storm Brewing, in search of the many odd concoctions the company is highly-regarded for. We sampled much of their ‘Brainstorms’ lineup, including a Chocolate Lavender Stout, Grapefruit Radler IPA, Blueberry Lemonade Pilsner, Pineapple Upside Down Cake Ale, James’ Liver Tonic IPA, Bangers and Sour Mash Ale, Raspberry Pilsner, and… wait for it… Margherita Pizza IPA! Some of these just might make an appearance in a BC Beer Baron article.

Our birthday event that night evolved (as these things sometimes do) from a laid back house party to a relatively laid back bar visit, as we headed out to East Vancouver’s Brickhouse. While the pub’s surrounding area is a little sketchy, the venue itself was pretty cool, with couches you could chill on, while waiting your turn to play pool or darts. The place also has quite an impressive menu of craft beers, mostly from Washington and Oregon.

On Sunday, for Father’s Day, we gathered up the whole extended family and made our way over to Township 7 Winery in Langley for their annual Wine & Swine celebration. Tickets were $30 and included three wine and pork pairings, with live music from LB 4 LB (Pound 4 Pound). The event was a total hit with our crew and I love what Township 7 has done with their patio area, changing it from a grassy area that easily got muddy in the often inclement BC weather to a tiered and tabled setting.

always-been-my-favorite-fathers-day-card

As we were wrapping things up, some of the Township 7 staff suggested we check out the nearby Fraser Valley Cider Company. I’m not much of a fan of the stuff, but others in our group are, while some were curious to try. We split a few of their tasting flights, which included house, dry, honey and elderflower varieties. The setting was nice and the people were very friendly, so it was a great ending to the evening.

While the work week has offered a rare bit of rest, this weekend Mrs. Sip and I (along with Ma and Pa Sip) return to the Bellingham Tap Trail and time will only tell what shenanigans we get up to on this expedition!