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.

Advertisements

BC Beer Baron #279 – Big Rock Citradelic Single Hop IPA

When Mrs. Sip and I recently enjoyed a Vancouver Canadians baseball game, I took great advantage of their Craft Beer Corner, which serves up brews from five different BC breweries. There, I downed a few servings of this Big Rock Brewing mainstay.

The Citradelic Single Hop IPA uses Citra hops, of course, to deliver a citrus and tropical fruit-flavoured experience. The 6% ABV, 67 IBUs beverage was the first to be brewed exclusively at the Vancouver-based Big Rock Urban Eatery and proved so successful that it has been rolled out to Alberta and Saskatchewan drinkers.

big-rock-citradelic-ipa

Suggested food pairings include game birds, spicy Thai and India curries, and fried foods including fries, corn dogs, potato chips and mixed nuts. Urban Eatery executive chef Alex ‘Beer Belly’ Newton has also created a Crunchy IPA Kimchi recipe, using the brew.

Big Rock staff suggestions for movie and music accompaniments to the Citradelic IPA include Dazed and Confused on the screen and House of the Rising Sun by The Animals on the record player. Colorado’s New Belgium Brewing also has a Citradelic IPA, but I suppose both companies are cool with that.

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

BC Beer Baron #210 – Parallel 49 Seedspitter Watermelon Wit

When I first learned of this beer from Parallel 49 Brewing, I had to be restrained by Mrs. Sip. Let’s get one thing abundantly clear: I am a watermelon fanatic. I eat that sweet stuff right down to the rind and keep on going. So, I wondered, how would combining the fruit with one of my other favourite things in the world (that would be beer!) work out?

The Seedspitter Watermelon Wit is a Belgian-style witbier, with hints of watermelon added to the recipe. The watermelon aroma and taste are not as prevalent as I would like, but it still makes for a decent beverage. I’ve often added a splash of DeKuyper Watermelon Pucker, when drinking this brew, just to up the sweet and sour quotient.

Parallel 49 Seedspitter Watermelon Wit

This product may appear on the ‘Seasonal Beers’ page of Parallel 49’s website, but I can locate it year round. While perfect for lounging in the sun or enjoying summer patio time, I’ve also picked up six packs of the Watermelon Wit for Christmas parties… because the Sip Advisor is always one to share the joy!

While I like the Seedspitter, I can’t help but compare it to a few American watermelon beers I’ve enjoyed in recent times, including Hell or High Watermelon from 21st Amendment, New Belgium’s Heavy Melon Watermelon Lime Ale, and Watermelon Dorado Double IPA from Ballast Point.

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