Sip Trips #105: Went By in a Blur

This past week was incredibly busy for Mrs. Sip and I. So busy, that my head is still spinning… and that’s not from all the booze consumed! Let’s get right down to it…

On Friday, we wrapped up work and immediately hit the road to Tacoma, Washington to watch comedian Christopher Titus perform at the Tacoma Comedy Club. We made it just in time for the 10:30pm show and beers were desperately needed for us weary travellers. Cousin Sip’s husband and I split a couple pitchers of Manny’s Pale Ale from Georgetown Brewing out of Seattle. The show was amazing, as expected. As we waited in line to meet Mr. Titus afterwards, the bar was selling pints of Budweiser for $2 and we figured, “Ah, why the hell not!”

I had also picked up a bomber of Alaskan Brewing Icy Bay IPA at a gas station en route to Tacoma, so that acted as my nightcap before grabbing a few hours of sleep and returning to Vancouver Saturday morning. I wish we didn’t have to rush the stay across the border, but with friends visiting from London, we had to be back for more fun.

morning sunglasses

After meeting up with our guests, the ladies went their way, while the gents searched for craft beer. Our first stop was at Central City’s Vancouver location. There, I paired some Chicken Strips and Fries with the brewery’s Super Stellar IPA, which made for a great combo. For dessert I ordered their Hefeweizen, bringing to mind thoughts of summer, as we wait patiently for the weather to cooperate.

Next up was a short walk to Devil’s Elbow Ale & Smoke House. Here, I was able to try the Britannia Brewing Sirens Chai Saison, which was available as a guest tap. Following that, I had the Howe Sound Jam Session Raspberry Cream Ale, another successful selection. Then, the night took a turn for the extreme with a round of tequila shots.

Feeling suitably buzzed, we rejoined the ladies for dinner at The Keg in Yaletown. Sitting on the restaurant’s rooftop patio, I enjoyed a pair of Caesar Diablo servings, made even better given their $5 daily special pricing.

Drinking Problem

On Monday, Ma Sip met me for lunch at Tap & Barrel in North Vancouver. Unfortunately, I was working, so was not able to imbibe as I usually would when visiting a T&B location. That said, I thoroughly enjoyed my PB&J Burger, which made for a nice substitute to my traditional meal of a PB&J Sandwich during the work week. The burger was messy, but totally worth the experience.

Tuesday, we finally had a meal at the Homer Street Cafe, which is located kitty-corner to my and Mrs. Sip’s humble abode. There to celebrate a friend’s birthday, I ordered their rotisserie quarter chicken meal, which was highlighted by their chicken jus for dipping. To wash it all down, I had a trio of brews, including the Howe Sound Summer Saison, Powell Street Old Jalopy Pale Ale and Storm Black Plague Stout. For a small beer menu, they sure packed some quality selections in.

It should be noted that this week’s wrap up doesn’t even include two games of baseball, Father’s Day celebrations, a trip to the theatre and another meal with our visitors from London. Busy times, for sure.

Beer of the Week #20 – Bridge Bourbon Blood Orange Wheat Ale

If you’re looking to “enjoy the deep south way up north”, then this Bridge Brewing release may be the perfect fit for you. I remember when I first saw it on menus a couple years ago, I had to order a few pints and satisfy my curiosity.

The Bourbon Blood Orange Wheat Ale is a good beer that can be enjoyed year round, but is especially perfect on a hot summer day. The 5.5% ABV, 20 IBUs beverage combines many of the Sip Advisor’s favourite alcohol elements, including bourbon, wheat beers, and fruit.

Bridge Bourbon Blood Orange Wheat Ale

Originally brewed solely for Tap & Barrel locations, the beer has grown from a seasonal release to being part of Bridge’s year round lineup. Given its popularity and availability, I’m surprised I didn’t get around to profiling it during last year’s BC Beer Baron project.

The product can be found in bomber-sized bottles and tall cans. I also recently spotted it in a variety six-pack from Bridge, which included two bottles each of the Bourbon Blood Orange, North Shore Pale Ale and Hopilano IPA.

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

Beer of the Week #3 – Hearthstone McCools Hazelnut Porter

After catching a movie at the VIP theatre at the Marine Gateway complex in Vancouver, we made our way to the Dublin Crossing Irish Pub below to grab a nightcap. There, I ordered a pint of this delicious Hearthstone Brewing release.

The McCools Hazelnut Porter was perfect to enjoy in an Irish Pub, with live music blasting and our table conveniently placed near a roaring fire. The 5% ABV, 18 IBUs beverage had great flavours of coffee, roasted malts, and, of course, hazelnut on the finish.

Hearthstone McCools Hazelnut Porter.png

The core brand beer is available in four-pack tall cans at private liquor stores. The brewery states the drink is “perfect for that bright yet blustery fall afternoon.” I thought it was also ideal for freezing cold winter nights when you wish you were bundled up at home.

Cousin Sip and I have remarked that we need to visit Hearthstone’s new facility in North Vancouver. Last time we toured the region, their Tap & Forno tasting room and eatery wasn’t open yet, so I think a return trip is in order.

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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 #360 – Deep Cove Noel Belgian Strong Ale

The search for just the right beer to feature on Christmas Day was happily answered at a recent holiday gathering. There, a friend and I split a bottle of this Deep Cove Craft release and the clarity I had sought arrived.

The Noel Belgian Strong Ale features tastes of honey, spices and fruit. The brewery suggests cellaring the 8.4% ABV beverage, allowing its flavours to mature. Miraculously, Mrs. Sip and I have actually managed to cellar a beer before.

deep-cove-noel-belgian-strong-ale

The brew is available in 750ml bottles at private liquor stores. It can also be had at Deep Cove’s North Vancouver tasting room, where a limited quantity is on tap and growler fills of the product are not allowed.

This isn’t the first Noel Cellar Series single batch release, as previously the brewery had another Belgian-style ale, highlighted by rye and dark fruits, such as black currants and cherries. The drink was not available in bottles.

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

BC Beer Baron #346 – Bridge The Grinch Winter Ale

Each month, as part of this 366-day BC craft beer extravaganza that I will be sharing with you throughout 2016, I will highlight a specific style or theme of beers for a whole week of articles. Already the best time of the year, the fact it’s Winter Ale season makes it that much better.

Just like the character of the Grinch experienced his heart growing three sizes thanks to the Whovillians, perhaps the same happened with Bridge Brewing, given their bevvy of seasonal releases for Christmas. Of course, that’s not to say the folks at the brewery were bad to begin with…

The Grinch Winter Ale is a limited edition beer, providing the elements one would expect in a winter warmer, such as flavours of caramel, plum pudding and spices. Bridge has created a great Seussian poem for the 6.5% ABV, 26 IBUs beverage that really should be read before enjoying the brew.

bridge-the-grinch-winter-ale

There is also a barrel-aged version of The Grinch, which I have yet to try. This variation features the recipe being aged in bourbon and Sherry Wood Single Malt Whiskey barrels. Apricots also used by Sons of Vancouver in their amaretto have also been added to the mix.

As far as Christmas-themed beers go, Bridge also has the Sleigh Booster Imperial Red Ale, which comes with stats of 9% ABV and 71 IBUs. Mrs. Sip gave me both The Grinch and the Sleigh Booster in a self-made beer advent calendar last year and it resulted in a wonderful Christmas!

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

BC Beer Baron #330 – Deep Cove Shaketown Spruce Tip Black IPA

With the recent Remembrance Day long weekend on the horizon, the Sip Advisor was off to do some serious liquor shopping. One of the products I picked up was this yummy release from North Vancouver’s Deep Cove Brewing.

The Shaketown Spruce Tip Black IPA tasted like a hybrid of the stout and IPA families, with a pale ale level hops. Speaking of hops, the 6.4% ABV drink includes three different Pacific Northwest varieties (Cascade, Chinook and Willamette) in its recipe.

deep-cove-shaketown-spruce-tip-black-ipa

Released just last month, the beverage is available in bomber-sized bottles at BC Liquor Stores and other private locations. It can also be found at Deep Cove’s tasting room, which the Sip Alliance should revisit when the opportunity comes up.

The beer’s name is a reference to Lynn Valley in North Vancouver. Long ago, when it was merely a logging camp, the area was known as Shaketown. Rumour has it the moniker comes from the shake-sided homes the area was known for.

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