Sip Trips #72: Everything Under the Sun

It’s been a surprisingly busy past couple weeks. I thought I could take a week off from Sip Trips articles, as I do from time to time when there’s nothing to report on, only to realize I should have written something last week. Time to make amends!

Buckin’ Bronco

With Ma and Pa Sip, as well as the Sip-in-Laws coming to visit for a big family dinner, we needed a place to go. Using Open Table, Ma Sip chanced upon the Yale Saloon and good thing she did. There, we were treated to amazing food (southern barbecue dishes like pulled pork and beef brisket sandwiches and fusion cuisine, such as mac n’ cheese popsicles) and terrific service. The restaurant’s manager even inflated the ring so the Sip Advisor could ride the mechanical bull a couple times. The only criticism I can lob at the Yale Saloon is that they have absolutely no local craft beer on their menu. Perhaps that will come in time.

Bull Riding

New Brews

A couple of impromptu brewery crawls over recent times have yielded some new discoveries. This included my first visits to Vancouver’s Faculty Brewing as well as Old Yale Brewing and Chaos & Solace Brewing – which we didn’t even know existed – in Chilliwack. We also popped into the long-awaited R&B Ale and Pizza House for some drinks and food. Now all I need to do is finally get around to doing another bike tour of the Yeast Van region, where a few new operations have launched lately. For more details on our beer tours, check out the BC Beer Baron listings.

All You Need is Love

We began this week with a bang, as one of my favourite events of the year finally came around again. The Made with Love cocktail competition at the Fairmont Hotel featured not only amazing drinks, but also some great food, including freshly shucked oysters, spring rolls, tuna tartare cones, and chicken wraps, among other hors d’oeuvres. The food seemed to stop being served about halfway through the event, which is too bad because that’s exactly when some guests need it the most, as they realize just how much they’re actually drinking.

Cocktail Super Glue

My favourite cocktail of the night came from Reece Sims of Per Se Social Corner, while Mrs. Sip’s preferred bevvy was provided by Mia Gianz of Odd Society Spirits. Best of all, in a world where prices seem to rise annually, this year, early bird tickets were the cheapest I’d ever seen them, at only $45. I can’t wait for the 2017 edition.

This weekend, the Sip Advisor and Mrs. Sip celebrate our fourth wedding anniversary and the return of my annual beer pong tournament takes place. After that, there’s the Labour Day long weekend, which although we’re stay-cationing, there will be much to report on. Looks like I won’t be taking any more weeks off for a while!

Advertisements

Sip Trips #7 – Lover’s Lane

Well, Valentine’s Day has come and gone and it was a great day for Mrs. Sip and me. We were quick to snap up tickets for Vancouver Brewery Tours “For the Love of the Craft,” which combined breweries, with a distillery and a chocolatier.

One of the drawing features of the tour was that it visited a number of places Mrs. Sip and I had yet to haunt, although we had been meaning to for some time. This included Strange Fellows Brewing and Odd Society Spirits. Other stops included Storm Brewing and Schokolade Café.

With a cost of $83 per person, we were curious to see if the tour value matched the investment. With all transport, two beer flights, numerous chocolate samples, a cocktail, and a free drink voucher include, I’d say it was quite fair. I wish we had been able to taste more of the spirits at Odd Society, rather than receive a Gin & Tonic, but other than that, I was quite satisfied with the itinerary and perks. Ryan, the owner and operator of the company and tour was incredibly knowledgeable and helpful during the trip.

True Love Food

I have no doubt that Strange Fellows (only opened in late 2014) will be one of the city’s biggest craft breweries in due time, as there is much they can do with their expansive property. Storm Brewing, on the other hand, has been around for a long time and is one of the funkiest businesses we’ve ever been in. A combination of rubber rats as mascots and an cornucopia of experimental beer flavours, including the spicy Hot Night in Thailand IPA and Cream Soda Pilsner, has captured the attention of beer drinkers for two decades.

The second half of the tour meant chocolate and spirits, which I’ve learned over my years with Mrs. Sip, are not mutually exclusive! Schokolade had many tasty chocolate varieties and I enjoyed them so much, I snuck away to pick up a box for my valentine. Odd Society has a handful of craft liquors, which as I mentioned above, I still need to try. We did order a cocktail called The Drive, which apparently is comprised of each of their alcohols. It was quite tasty and I’ll have to go back for future liquid libations.

We finished our evening by using our free drink ticket at Rogue Kitchen & Wetbar, where I enjoyed a meal that has quickly launched to the top of my favourite burgers list. To wash that deliciousness down, I tried the High Tea beer cocktail, which combined IPA beer, gin, Earl Grey syrup, grapefruit juice, and bitters… a very interesting blend that complemented my awesome sandwich.

Best Burger

Continuing the weekend filled with hitting places we’ve been meaning to visit for some time, Mrs. Sip and I went for a long walk Sunday, in the gorgeous, but unseasonably sunny weather. I mean, this is mid-February! At least the beautiful skies allowed for us to get around to so many stops, sans umbrella or taxi.

Mrs. Sip and I always seem to get lucky when we go on our walkabouts. This time, while en route to Bomber Brewing’s first anniversary celebration, Mrs. Sip spotted its neighbour and newest microbrewery in the city, Off the Rail Brewing, which was enjoying their first day in operation. We only hope that next year, to celebrate their mutual birthdays, they shut down the street for a massive beer-fueled block party!

Dogs Birthday Party

Mrs. Sip and I shared a set of tasters at each location, while enjoying speaking with the friendly staff at Bomber, the new surroundings of Off the Rail, and the jovial atmosphere at both locations. I think Pa Sip, a true train nut, would enjoy Off the Rail, based solely off the name of the company and some of their beer offerings, including the Crazy Train IPA and Derailer Pale Ale.

This outing was capped with a long-awaited visit to Devil’s Elbow Ale House, the occasional home hangout of the CAMRA craft beer group. The bar is an offsite tasting room for Howe Sound Brewery and offers the company’s collection of brews for tastings and true pints, among other menu items, including a beer, bourbon, and bacon trio that I must try.

It was a weekend chock full of beer flights, gluttony, and quality time spent with my love. Really, that’s the way things should always be!

Sip Trips #4 – Wild Weekend

As we continued the celebration of Mrs. Sip’s birthday, the weekend got off on the right note with a fantastic meal at The Keg in Yaletown. We got a table on their beautiful rooftop patio, which even in January is the place to be for a fun night out.

As per usual, I ordered the Prime Rib Burger, which is routinely one of the finest meals I’ve ever enjoyed. It will forever perplex me that it’s also one of the cheapest items (only $12) on the restaurant’s menu, but let’s keep that our little secret!

Well-Rounded Diet

With the meal, I enjoyed a Kentucky Buck cocktail (Keg-Sized, of course!), which combines bourbon, muddled strawberries, lemon juice and ginger beer, followed by a Manhattan, complete with three ounces of booze! Both drinks were very good and I’d recommend them to anyone, but particularly fans of bourbon.

The next night, we hit one of Vancouver’s newest craft breweries, Steel Toad. The facility is one of the nicest in town, with a top-notch staff of bartenders and servers. While I haven’t found a beer on their menu that blows my mind, they have a growing repertoire of solid choices. The beers I did try this time around, included the Saison Sauvignon, Double Hop Pale Ale, and Berliner Weisse.

While the beer is coming along, I can say without any doubt that they’ve got their food menu nailed down. I really enjoyed the Hawaiian pizza I ordered, while Mrs. Sip swears by the cauliflower beignet, complete with curry mayonnaise that I swiped for my pizza! The hot sauce chicken wings were also pretty good, with the burn subdued by shots of Jameson Irish Whiskey, shaken with ice. One member of the Sip Syndicate is a major proponent of drinking Jameson shots this way and I think he might be onto something.

Whiskey Doctor

Mrs. Sip was working hard last week to provide content for the Out and About articles. She picked up the Steel & Oak/Four Winds collaboration brew, which I’m really looking forward to trying and I’m surprised it has survived this long in our fridge. I’ll have more on the Gratzer, when we finally crack it open.

She also booked us on the Vancouver Brewery Tours Beer, Chocolate and Spirits Tour for Valentine’s Day. With stops at a few places we’ve been meaning to visit, such as Strange Fellowes Brewing, Odd Society Spirits, and Storm Brewing, this excursion will provide a wonderful way to spend the big day with the one I love… oh, and Mrs. Sip will be there too!

In pseudo-alcohol news, it was recently reported that a high speed rail line connecting Vancouver and Portland may be in the works, proposed by Cascadia High Speed Rail company. The train would connect the two cities in under two hours and would be a craft beer lovers dream. It would cost billions of dollars to construct and is many years away from ever being realized, but we can hope, right!