Sip Trips #140: Getting Our Groove Back

Back from our European travels, we got back into the swing of things at home the last couple weeks, trying new restaurants and products, while also attending the odd event. Here’s what we’ve been up to lately:

I kicked things off by signing up for Legacy Liquor Store’s free Negroni Week event. In half hour sessions, visitors received a sample of the Negroni cocktail (Gin, Campari, Sweet Vermouth), as well as a personally etched cocktail glass from Campari. The drink serving was only about a sip’s worth, but it was neat to get the etched glass and it was all at no charge, so can’t really complain. Before leaving the store, I grabbed a bomber of Tin Whistle Obsession Hibiscus Saison, which I’m looking forward to drinking when the weather takes a turn for the better.

Negroni Decisions

The next day, Mrs. Sip and I enjoyed lunch at the Sapperton District Taphouse, after hearing about the tavern from a baseball teammate. Here, I had a tasty order of Chicken Strips and Fries, pairing it with a sleeve of Parkside Graffiti IPA, which was on special. Mrs. Sip ordered their Slow & Low Sliders, which were also good. Looking at the restaurant’s events calendar, they are featuring a number of tap takeovers and trivia nights over the summer, so Mrs. Sip and I will likely return soon.

Later that day, Ma and Pa Sip returned from their month-long road trip of the southwest United States, bringing back two crowlers (growler-sized cans, for those unfamiliar with the term) from Boneyard Brewing in Bend, Oregon. Boneyard is one of my favourite breweries in the world, so I was very happy to receive their Notorious (80 IBUs, 11.5% ABV) and 7-Day WKND (70 IBUs, 7% ABV) IPAs. I’ve only been able to drink the latter of those two, thus far, and it was spectacular.

Before returning home from a couple days at Ma and Pa Sip’s place, we also popped into Central City Brewing to pick up their 2018 Across the Nation Mixed Pack. I really enjoyed the 2017 edition – released to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday and featuring a beer brewed in collaboration with a brewery from each of the country’s provinces and territories (minus Nunavit) – and can’t wait to work my way through this year’s case. The set is highlighted by such intriguing beers as a Cherry Milkshake IPA, Cranberry Belgian IPA and Salted Caramel Lager. I do note that this year’s collection is in canned form, rather than bottles.

Salted Caramel.jpg

We wrapped up the week by celebrating Mother-in-Law Sip’s birthday at Craft Beer Market, where folks celebrating their birthday get their age as a percentage off their bill. I began the meal with a serving of Andina Jalea Guava Saison, which I enjoyed, despite being my backup choice. I had wanted to order the Parallel 49 Alakazam Szechuan Peppercorn Saison, but although it was advertised on their online menu, it wasn’t on the hardcopy version, as the restaurant had already moved to their next rotating taps. For dinner, I had the Crispy Chicken Sandwich with a glass of Powell Street Lazy D’Haze IPA. Both were fantastic, as was Ma Sip’s Brewmaster’s Chicken Sandwich, which I was given the leftovers of.

This upcoming week is highlighted by my very first Father’s Day, which should be fun. We also have a couple more events on the horizon, so things are starting to heat up at the Sip Advisor headquarters!

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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!

Beer of the Week #36 – Tin Whistle Summertime Coconut Hopfenweisse

When I first learned about this beer from Tin Whistle Brewing, I knew I’d have to get my grubby mitts on it eventually. A recent trip to Legacy Liquor Store helped me cross the drink off my always growing to do list.

The Summertime Coconut Hopfenweisse was a good beer, refreshing and wheaty, but very light on the coconut flavour. The 5.5% ABV, 20 IBUs is described as having a “subtle hint of coconut on the finish,” so I guess it comes as advertised.

Tin Whistle Brewing

Available in bomber-sized bottles at private liquor stores, this limited release may be hard to find, now that summer has come and gone. Some craft beer-focused restaurants and bars may also have it on tap, but it could be elusive to unearth.

I still have to visit Tin Whistle’s facility on my next trip to Penticton. I’ve always enjoyed their presence at the Penticton Farmer’s Market, allowing me to have a drink and stock up on supplies for my stay in the city.

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

BC Beer Baron #130 – Red Collar Tripel

The Sip Advisor is working hard to be all-inclusive and try to incorporate as many BC breweries into this 366-day project as possible. With that in mind, on a recent visit to Legacy Liquor Store, I was looking to highlight another first timer and Mrs. Sip’s selection of this Red Collar Brewing product satisfied that.

The Tripel (of the Belgian variety, of course) is a ‘Special Edition’ release and comes in at 9% ABV and only 12 IBUs. Therefore, it has all those characteristics Belgian Tripel lovers (Mrs. Sip included) expect from their beers, such as the scent and taste of bananas and spice.

Red Collar Tripel

I like Red Collar’s warning with this beer: “It is deceivingly smooth and should be consumed with care and respect as the alcohol content can sneak up on you.” That’s pretty good advice no matter what you’re drinking!

The rest of Red Collar’s line-up is highlighted by many Belgian and German-inspired brews, such as a Dubbel, Marzen, Doppelbock, Dunkelweizen, Patersbier, Witbier, and Hefeweizen. I hope to stop by when Mrs. Sip and I are in the Okanagan region this summer.

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 #90 – Category 12 Critical Point Pale Ale

Looking to get off our butts and go for a long walk (despite the dreary weather) a couple weeks back, Mrs. Sip and I made our way to Vancovuer’s Olympic Village, where Legacy Liquor Store was hosting a tasting of Category 12 Brewing products.

One of my favourites among the four samples provided was the Critical Point Pale Ale, which was very easy drinking with just the right amount of hops. This Northwest Pale Ale comes in at 5.6% ABV and 49 IBUs with flavours of caramel and citrus.

Category 12 Critical Point Pale Ale

In Category 12’s scientific fashion (their brewmaster earned a doctorate in microbiology and biochemistry, after all), this is how they describe the beer: “The pressure is on. It’s going to take cunning to blend science with instinct and the clock is ticking. But timing is everything and precision is the only thing that matters. Confidence, analysis and art collide to create a perfectly balanced beer. And, when it comes down to the wire, success tastes even more satisfying.”

It may not happen right away, but I would love to eventually visit Category 12 at their Victoria location. Hell, Mrs. Sip and I are in serious need of a return to the island and a tour around the town of all the amazing breweries over there. Now we just need to find some spare time.

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

Sip Trips #45: Hip Hopscotch Hooray

The annual Hopscotch Festival recently took over Vancouver and Mrs. Sip and I were more than happy to embrace the week of special events. Here’s what we got up to:

On Tuesday, Nov. 17, we went to the Unibroue Pairing Dinner at The Devil’s Elbow. I can’t say enough good things about this event. Mrs. Sip and I attended the same Hopscotch dinner last year (at The Abbey) and this year’s rendition was so much better. First, we lucked out with a four-person table, but the beer and food distribution was executed much better this time around. Last year, you were required to share a plate of whatever the food pairing was, as well as pass a bottle of beer between not only your table, but also an adjacent one, as well. This year, it was individual dishes and a bottle of Unibroue split between four people, on average.

sharing food

The cost was $63 each and I’d say it was worth every penny. The pairings included: mussels with La Fin du Monde; arugula salad, goat cheese and duck breast with Ephemere Apple; duo of crostini (pulled pork and foie gras) with 17 Grande Reserve; smoked brisket with Trois Pistoles; and a trio of tarts (pecan pie, chocolate mousse, and salted caramel) with Maudite, for dessert. We also received a bonus serving of La Resolution to wrap things up. My favourite dish – a tough choice to narrow down – was the pulled pork crostini.

Unibroue sommelier Sylvain Bouchard is an amazing storyteller and full of knowledge about not just Unibroue, but beer in general – and he clearly enjoys his own product. The venue this year provided a better space for Bouchard to speak to the group, as last year, he felt he was always speaking to only half the restaurant at each time. Like the year before, each guest was given a complimentary Unibroue cookbook, as well as a beautiful Blanche de Chambly glass.

After a few days off, we went to the Grand Tasting Hall – Beer and Food edition. I’ve been hesitant in past years about the Grand Tasting Hall because of its high price and crowds. This was the first year to feature a beer only tasting experience in the afternoon and when a Groupon came out, cutting the entry price in half (only $19, including a glass and five sample tokens), I was quick to jump on it.

crowds people

The beers I tried, included: Okanagan Springs Chili Porter, Boxer Watermelon Lager and Apple Ale, Moody Ales Smouldering Smoked Porter, Stanley Park Sazerac Porter, Granville Island Dunkelweizen, Big Rock Winter Spice, Mt. Begbie Cold Smoke Porter, Bridge The Grinch, Deep Cove Double Trouble IPA and Luminescent Chocolate Coconut Porter (likely my favourite of the festival), Four Mile Pale Ale and English Strong Ale, Fernie Sap Sucker Maple Porter, Coal Harbour Smoke & Mirrors and Blackwing Baltic Porter, and Maui Coconut Porter and Mana Wheat.

Given the timing of the event, there were a number of dark beers to be had, as many of the suppliers brought along stouts, porters, and winter ales. Despite being on my wish list, I didn’t get to try Bravo Peche Mel and Muskoka Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout, as I couldn’t even locate the Muskoka booth. I also didn’t see Bad Tattoo Brewing, although they were advertised to be there. I was impressed that so many exhibitors brought unique beers to be sampled and not just their flagship brews. Only a few of the options available cost more than one token and two was the maximum.

While none of the liquors were available, their booths were set-up from the night before and you could see which companies were exhibiting their wares, giving me an idea of what the full event would be like. According to the Official Tasting Guide (also available online), some samples would cost as much as nine tokens, with an average of three tokens needed per tasting. If a Groupon comes out again next year, I would return to the beer event, but am still hesitant to do the full gala.

groupon expensive

Mrs. Sip and I wrapped up our Hopscotch activities with the Whiskey and Chocolate Tasting at Legacy Liquor Store. I was surprised when Mrs. Sip grabbed tickets to this, given her bad experience with whiskey, many moons ago in Scotland, but I think the chocolate won out here.

Among the whiskeys we sampled and chocolates they were paired with were: Forty Creek with Cacao Barry BIO Milk, Rebel Yell with Cacao Barry Zephyr, The Balvenie with Cacao Barry BIO Dark, and Aberlour with Cacao Barry OCOA. We also got an extra chocolate, the Cacao Barry INAYA. Each chocolate, from Cocoa West, was delicious and you really got a sense of how well the two products accentuate one another when paired.

With tickets priced at $30 each, I’m not really sure the event was worth it price wise, but we did have fun together and it was good to see Mrs. Sip get back on the whiskey train… even if that means I didn’t get to finish her glasses!