Best of 2022

The year was full of milestones, resulting in many memorable moments. Here are 10 highlights from the Sip Family’s 2022:

South of the Border

In February, the Sip Family finally travelled internationally again, enjoying a 10-day stay at a Mayan Riviera all-inclusive. The drinks flowed and the food filled, but playing with the Sipplings around the resort are the memories that remain.

Viva Las Vegas

To celebrate our 20th dating anniversary, Mrs. Sip and I spent a few days in Las Vegas, where we enjoyed some of our old favourites in the city and weaved in a bunch of new experiences. Vegas is always evolving and that’s the way we like it.

Vegas

Bachelor Blitz

One of my closest friends got married in May and prior to that party, was the stag in Summerland. Our group had a large home on a winery for the weekend, which was filled with lots of drinks, a couple games of golf and other shenanigans.

Down Mexico Way

In June, we returned to Mexico, this time to the west coast town of Puerto Vallarta for another all-inclusive week. Pool time for the Sipplings was balanced with drink time for Mrs. Sip and me. PV has become a favourite getaway stop for the Sip Advisor.

Four Seasons Playground

I was in the Okanagan a total of four times in 2022 and each vacation had it’s own merits for being included on this list. On this excursion, we celebrated Canada Day in the region, finding new breweries and other activities to share with the Sipplings.

Road Trip

Beantown Beauties

Along with a milestone dating anniversary, Mrs. Sip and I also celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. To do so, we journeyed to Boston for a few days of brews, baseball, amazing food and history. Best of all, nearly everything we did was walkable.

Floating Away

My and Girl Sip’s birthdays were celebrated onboard a Princess Cruises voyage from Vancouver to Los Angeles. While on the ship, we spent a fair bit of time with the Sipplings at the Kid’s Club, which was offset by beverges and other treats.

The Happiest Place on Earth… Finally!

Following the cruise, we spent a week at Disneyland, at last fulfilling a trip that was supposed to happen in 2020. It was a magical time, seeing the park through the eyes of Girl and Boy Sip, as well as getting to entertain our own inner child.

Disneyland

Brewingham

For the Remembrance Day long weekend, the Sip Family spent the break in Bellingham, Washington, where we took care of some Christmas shopping, had some great food and drink and best of all, got to spend some important time together.

‘Tis the Season

From early December, all the way through to New Year’s Day, there was little time for rest and relaxation. As is the case most years, we were booked pretty solid throughout the “holidays”… and I don’t regret a minute of it.

And that’s only the top 10. Many other nights out or in with friends and family were amazing times and I thank everyone who played a role in another amazing year!

Sip Trips #215: This is Halloween

October was busy, as the Sip Family took in the Thanksgiving and Halloween seasons. This led to many outings and even more beverages. Here’s how it all played out, as we officially moved from summer to fall:

The month began with Mrs. Sip and I joining a friend at Kelly O’Bryans for some trivia presented by Vancouver Trivia Party. Over the course of the evening, I enjoyed three Whistler Grapefruit Ales, along with a filling Cali Club. For dessert, we shared the King O’ Mud Pie and although I’m not a huge coffee-based treat fan, this provided a good finish to the meal. Best of all, we tied for first place for the fun trivia experience – moving up from third place at the halfway point – to receive a $35 gift card to the restaurant.

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, the Sip Syndicate travelled to the Okanagan for a weekend of wineries and other pleasures. Over two days, we visited six locations, which largely meant the ladies getting to do tastings, while the gents chased the kids around. Stops included Clos du Soleil (where I did get to enjoy the tasting), Orofino, Crowsnest (we had lunch here, with the Sip Advisor pairing a Chicken Schnitzel with a tall can of Neighbourhood Flightless Bird Pilsner), Twisted Hills Craft Cider, Covert Farms (I did the wine tasting, followed by a can of Cannery Anarchist Amber Ale), and Corcelettes.

Thanksgiving

While the rest of our group had to return home at the end of the weekend, the Sip Family continued onto Kelowna for a couple extra nights. En route, we stopped at Giant’s Head Brewing in Summerland. There, Mrs. Sip and I had servings of the White Noise IPA, Marzen and Razzle Dazzle Raspberry Cream Ale, while also trying a taster of the Dark Fantasy Pale Ale. To eat, we shared Pretzel Bites, while the kids had Popcorn Chicken with Fries.

For dinner that night, our Thanksgiving feast was held at Boston Pizza. Mrs. Sip and I drank happy hour Blue Moons, which went well with my Royal Hawaiian Pizza. This was the first meals for the Sipplings from our Kids Cards, which offer five meals per card for only $5 each. Mrs. Sip also got a free pizza through my BP app, as a one-year anniversary reward. This made our meal very economic.

The next day, we visited the Kelowna Beer Institute, where we had pints of the Crusher Pale Ale and Juicy IPA, while also enjoying a taster of the Cucumber Sour. For snacks, we ordered the Garlic Parm Fries and Cheese Curds, which I combined to form a makeshift poutine.

Poutine

We then travelled to Copper Brewing for dinner. Mrs. Sip tried their Mystery Brew, which asked drinkers to guess which fruits were in the concoction, for a chance to win a prize. I went with the simpler Hazy IPA to drink. To eat, I had the Ballpark Smash Burger, while Mrs. Sip went with the Zooming Smash Burger. The Sipplings had kids meals, while we all got to enjoy playing the video games available at the brewery.

On our journey home, we stopped into Empty Keg Brewing in Merritt for their happy hour. I had a tasty Hot Dog and Parmesan Garlic Fries, while Mrs. Sip and the kids split a Chicken & Cheese Quesadilla. Our beverages consisted of the Brhubarb Saison and Coquihalla Cream Ale. We love stopping at this place, as there are tons of games – both board and electronic – for all ages.

Back at home and with our vehicle in for servicing, we killed some of the wait time at Brookswood Brewing. I went with the Brookswood Shuffle Kviek IPA, while Mrs. Sip put together a flight. This was a first-time visit for us to this brewery and we had a great time. Plus, it’s located right next door to a McDonald’s, which helped with satisfying the kids.

Happy Meal

Through the month, I purchased two vodka soda packs, as Mrs. Sip is doing the keto diet thing. The first pack I picked up was the Remix 12 Pack Mixer, featuring Peach-Nectarine, Wild Cherry-Citrus, Blackberry-Hibiscus and Guava-Lime flavours. At the end of the month, I also grabbed the Pyur Mixer Pack, complete with Black Cherry, Raspberry, Mango and Lemon Lime offerings.

Prior to meeting with Mrs. Sip and a friend for a Halloween pop-up bar in Downtown Vancouver, I had a solo meal at White Spot. I paired my usual Legendary Burger with two pints of Granville Island Lions Winter Ale. It was a good meal, but whenever I eat alone, I always wonder what the etiquette is if you have to use the washroom. Will your server think you’ve skipped out on the bill? Will they clear your table before you can finish eating? This is the stuff that keeps me up at night!

After eating, I made my way to the Butcher & Bullock, which was featuring a Black Lagoon-themed set-up and menu. Mrs. Sip and I had a couple cocktails each, including the Hellraiser (Tequila, Spiced Rum, Cointreau, Orgeat, Banana Liqueur, Sherry, Lime, Aromatic Bitters), Blood Rave (Mezcal, Falernum, Lemon, Beets, Absinthe, Bitters), Closed Casket (Scotch Whiskey, Brandy, Passionfruit, Miso Falernum, Apricot, Lemon, Hellfire Bitters) and Nightwish (Vodka, Sherry, Banana Liqueur, Lemon, Cardamom Bitters), along with a round of Wicked shots (Vodka, Pineapple, Coconut). The bar was done up really well and the drinks were great. Surprisingly, aside from Mrs. Sip finding the event, there didn’t seem to be much advertising/hype about the experience.

Halloween

Not content with one meal at White Spot in a week, Mrs. Sip and I finally tried the R&D Kitchen by White Spot at Brentwood Mall. Although I always get the Legendary Burger at White Spot, I decided to get a test kitchen dish while at this location. Therefore, I tried the Louisiana Fried Chicken Burger with Caesar Salad and really enjoyed the Cajun Spice Dust. I was also curious about the Crispy Cajun Fish Po’Boy, but it wasn’t available. The restaurant had fantastic service and I’d like to try other dishes at the R&D Kitchen, as well as at the mall’s food court. One major criticism of the mall, though, is I believe shopping centre’s should NEVER have paid parking, as it did here.

Nearing the end of the month, we popped into Russell Brewing after taking the kids to the Bear Creek Park Halloween Train. I had a very good Rauchweizen, while also trying a couple of Mrs. Sip’s tasters from her Table Flight (12 different beers). My samples included the Banana Split Dunkel, Passionfruit Lime Pale Ale and Root Beer Stout.

Pay Parking

Lastly, prior to our first Vancouver Canucks game of the season, Mrs. Sip and I stopped at Browns Socialhouse. We were a bit rushed to get to the game, but I really liked my Traditional Pub Burger and Grapefruit Hibiscus Margarita. Hopefully, next time, we can take our time prior to puck drop.

Well, that’s it for a very active October. With Halloween in the rear view mirror, Christmas prep will ramp up quickly. November is often the calm before the storm of a crazy December, so it will be interesting to see if that holds true this year.

Sip Trips #211: Tap Travels

June (or more accurately, Jun-uary) was a busy month, with a fair bit of travel on the schedule. We covered a lot of track, so let’s get right to it and see what the Sip Family got up to in the first month of summer:

We began June with a week-long all-inclusive vacation to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. There, we stayed at the Riu Jalisco resort, which impressed me from the start with a liquor dispenser in every room. I’ve never experienced this perk before, but apparently, that’s a standard feature of the Riu chain. It’s all the more appreciated to have rum, vodka, gin and tequila at the ready, when you have young kids and can’t always escape the room to hit a bar for your beverage.

Mexico

My one liquor purchase of the trip was a bottle of Azul Mango Chamoy Tequila, which I still haven’t had a chance to experiment with yet. I can see the booze going good in Margaritas, Palomas and other tequila-based beverages.

Our one day leaving the resort and going into the town of Puerto Vallarta, was highlighted by stops at two craft breweries. We started with Monzon Brewing, where I enjoyed a serving of their Paloma Doble IPA (with grapefruit and serrano peppers). They didn’t have the Coconut Lime DIPA I wanted to try, but I really enjoyed the beer I settled for. We also shared an order of the Birria Fries, which was a delicious dish, especially with all the different salsas and chipotle sauce you could add.

Next up, was Granero Brewing, which is associated with Los Muertos Brewing. I ended up having the same beer I had when we visited Los Muertos’ original location back in 2019, the Anillo de Fuego (Chili Ale).

Salsa

Upon returning home, Mrs. Sip and I received our second VCBW Beer Boxes. This offered another cool assortment of beers with one regular bottle, one 500ml bottle, two regular cans and 20 tall cans, curated from brewery’s around the province. The second box improves on the first one, which was quite good in its own right.

Out on a date night, Mrs. Sip and I began our evening with happy hour at The Hub. I had pours of the Russell Peach Apricot Hefeweizen and Papaya Milkshake IPA, while we also split a Blueberry Lemon Mojito. For food, I went with a pair of tacos, including the Beef Brisket and Spicy BBQ Chicken options.

Our main event of the evening was trying out the Neverland Peter Pan-inspired pop-up bar at the Vancouver Alpen Club. Tickets were $45 each, plus fees, and included a welcome drink, plus two cocktails. The 90-minute immersive experience was fun, with an amazingly decorated setting, games to play to “earn” your drinks and fine work from the actors. The drinks were just okay in my books, but they tried to do something different with each, using a fizzy stick for one and butterfly pea colouring for the other. We ended up helping another couple finish the fishbowl they ordered and this led to us all heading to karaoke at Georgie’s Local Kitchen & Bar.

Peter Pan

To end the month, we travelled up to Kelowna for a few days. Our first meal was at Boston Pizza, as we had to use our last two free kid’s meals before the June 30th expiry date. The deal of getting five kid’s meals for $5 is a fantastic offer and one we will do again next year, if the chain offers it. My meal consisted of items from the new summer menu, including the Carnitas Pizza (BBQ sauce, mozzarella cheese, BBQ pulled pork, pineapple, red onions, feta cheese), paired with a Spicy Blue Margarita (tequila, blue curacao, lime, mango, jalapeño). The pizza was fantastic… the drink, not so much.

The next day, we visited Off the Grid Winery, where Mrs. Sip did a tasting and bought a couple bottles, while the kids and I checked out the animals and other sights the place offers. It was a nice stop, with the perfect temperature and a relaxing vibe.

On our way back into town, we stopped at Copper Brewing, where Mrs. Sip and I shared orders of the Darla’s Red Ale, Peaches N’ Cream Wheat Ale, Raspberry Lemonade Pils and Nut Brown Ale. The brewery offers guests the chance to play video games on their Classic NES and SNES systems, which were enjoyed by the Sipplings, even if they had no clue what was going on. We also played the Guess Who board game with Girl Sip, as Boy Sip enjoyed his afternoon nap.

NES

For dinner that night, we walked over to Bin 4 Burger Lounge. Hitting the tail end of their happy hour, I ordered a pint of Phillips Citrus Lager, along with a Blackberry Vanilla Lemonade (vodka, blackberry simple syrup, vanilla syrup, basil, lemon juice). Mrs. Sip had a tasty Pineapple Strawberry Mojito. To eat, I selected the Big Spenny Burger with Curry Aioli for my scrumptious fries. Other sauces we enjoyed, as each dish comes with one free cup, included Bacon Aioli and Truffle Aioli.

Our final Kelowna destination was Barn Owl Brewing, where I had the Passionfruit Paradise IPA, while Mrs. Sip went with a flight consisting of the Genesis Raspberry Wheat Ale, A Whittle Orange Witbier, Headturner Hazy IPA and Escape – The Pina Colada Sour. The brewery had a really neat upstairs area and visitors can bring food in from outside, particularly from the bakery next door. Prior to leaving, Mrs. Sip also ordered a Night Owl Porter Float, while the kids played shuffleboard.

As the calendar turned over from June to July, we were relocating from Kelowna to Penticton, to continue our Okanagan getaway. That portion of the vacation and much more will be documented in the next Sip Trips.

BC Beer Baron #224 – Bad Tattoo Waes Hael Spiced Seasonal Ale

This Bad Tattoo Brewing beverage was another recent pick-up in the Okanagan of a winter seasonal release that I had yet to come across until summer rolled around.

The Waes Hael Spiced Seasonal Ale is a fantastic brew. There’s a lot going on in this drink, with ingredients that are inspired by wassailing, an ancient tradition of visiting homes to participate in yuletide celebrations around Christmas. Recipe elements include cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, all spice, ginger root, and even roasted apples.

Bad Tattoo Waes Hael Spiced Seasonal Ale

The beer holds up well in summer weather, despite being a ‘winter warmer’. Waes Hael means “Be You Healthy” and that is certainly achieved by the 6% ABV Winter Ale.

Bad Tattoo suggests enjoying the beer at a warmer temperature than other products. It is available in bomber-sized bottles from select liquor stores, although you may have trouble tracking a serving down until the next winter season.

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