Sip Trips #156: Whiskey Worship

These past couple weeks was highlighted by a whiskey tasting event attended by the male members of the Sip Syndicate. With five glasses of whiskey to be enjoyed, we knew we were in for a hell of a night, one that will most certainly make my ‘best of’ list for 2019.

Prior to the whiskey tasting, we agreed it would be beneficial to have full stomachs. Our pre-game meal was held at Craft Beer Market, where I enjoyed an order of their BBQ Beer Can Chicken Sliders, paired with a serving of Yellow Dog Smash It! Orange Chocolate Pastry Stout. The beer was tasty and best of all, $1 from my purchase went to the Canucks Autism Network. I love drinking for the benefit of charities!

tasting throwing

As for the whiskey tasting, we had a fantastic time, as expected. The private event’s theme was whiskeys that were new to British Columbia and featured: Highland Park Full Volume, Glenlivet Code, Macallan Edition No. 4, Glenfiddich Winter Storm, and Octomore 9.1. The guy who selects these bottles is very knowledgeable and I look forward to returning next year for more debauchery.

Through the night, our crew also enjoyed a couple other whiskeys (Nikka and Oban) from the bar, as well as beers (Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale and 33 Acres of Life California Common, for myself). My goal for the night was to never not have two drinks in my hand, usually a beer and whiskey serving. That’s double fisting in style, my little sippers!

With more drinking at home occurring during this current cold snap, I should also highlight some of my recent purchases. First, I picked up a tall can four-pack of Old Yale Brewing’s Bloom Tulip Ale. Although this beer was released last spring, it had not come across my radar. Brewed using 2,000 fresh cut tulips from the Abbotsford Bloom Tulip Festival, the beer is advertised to be blue in colour, but is actually more of a purple. Still, it’s a neat drink and the floral flavours are interesting.

tulips dog

I also popped into Central City Brewing last week to see what was available in their fridges. I came away with a tall can of Lucky Pig Tangerine Ale with Ginger (brewed to celebrate Chinese New Year), a regular can of Treeline Campfire Juniper Smoked Farmhouse Ale (from the Central City/Parallel 49 Alpine Adventure Pack 2018 advent calendar) and a tall can four-pack of After Hours Old Fashioned Pale Ale, which combines the breweries own whiskey with orange peels and cherries, to create an Old Fashioned cocktail/pale ale beer hybrid.

Up next for the Sip Family is a week-long all-inclusive stay in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. With unlimited food and drinks and a couple craft breweries and a tequila museum to visit, you better believe the Sip Advisor is looking forward to this vacay!

Sip Trips #141: Fraser Valley Fun

The Sip Advisor and family spent a fair bit of the last week in the B.C.’s Fraser Valley region, checking out movies, wineries, breweries and restaurants. Here’s how the week played out:

On Friday, we made our way to Aldergrove’s Twilight Drive-In, the only remaining outdoor theatre in the Lower Mainland. The films on the docket included Ocean’s 8 and Tag, both of which were fun films. The theatre has recently raised their prices slightly, as it cost us $26 (one dollar more) for Mrs. Sip and I to attend than it had just a couple months back.

Sunday, of course, was my very first Father’s Day. The occasion began with Mrs. Sip and Baby Sip gifting me a collection of bomber beers that spelled FATHER. These included: Fat Tug IPA (Driftwood), Amber (Dageraad), Tangerine Dream Ale (4 Mile), Heather Ale (Salt Spring), East Coast Squeeze IPA (Foamers’ Folly), Rotating Hop (Bridge).

Father's Day

From there, we were off to Backyard Vineyards, joined by Ma and Pa Sip and the Sip-in-Laws. The first 100 fathers received a free box of Lindt chocolates and we arrived just in time to reap that reward. We enjoyed a couple bottles of wine, as well as some flatbreads from the German Pizza food truck that was onsite.

On Tuesday, we were back out in Langley, where I dropped Mrs. Sip off for work and was then on standby to pick her up when that had wrapped. To fill the time, we decided to visit a couple of the city’s craft breweries. First up, was Dead Frog Brewing’s new Langley location, which has only been operating for a couple weeks and hasn’t even celebrated their grand opening. I ordered a flight of beers here, comprised of their Fresh Pressed Pina Colada Hazy IPA, CREAM Key Lime Milkshake IPA, Reina De Fuego Mexican Chocolate Porter and Winter Beeracle Winter Ale. The Fresh Pressed was my favourite of the bunch, with a nice coconut finish to the drink.

We also popped into Trading Post Brewing, taking advantage of their Tuesday special of $5 16oz beers. I selected the White IPA, which was the company’s newest release. The beer was good and it was nice to sit on their outdoor patio on this gorgeous afternoon. Prior to leaving the brewery, I snagged two bottles of Vikram’s Weissen, brewed in partnership between Trading Post and Vikram Vij, the popular Indian restauranteur.

Indian Food

The day wasn’t over yet, though, as I received tickets I had previously been waitlisted for to attend the Three Rounds event at Red Truck Brewing, co-hosted by Panago Pizza. Panago was showing off their two newest pizza releases – Trippple Pepperoni and Triple Pepparugula – while Red Truck offered beers from their summer lineup – Endless Summer Golden Ale, Citra Down Blonde Ale and Czech Point Red Pilsner. The event was free and despite some confusion regarding how to get the pizza and beers upon arriving, we left well-fed and with our thirst quenched.

To finish the evening, I picked up a tall can of Old Yale Pina Colada Hazy ISA, thanks in part to enjoying my previous serving of Pina Colada-based beer earlier in the day. The Old Yale product is part of their Trailblazer Series, which I have previously enjoyed. This beer was stronger on the pineapple flavours than the Dead Frog version and was very light on coconut notes.

This next week will be another busy one, with Cask Wars at The Portside Pub, a baseball tournament, a friend’s birthday picnic and more already on the schedule. Sometimes, it’s enough to make your head spin… and that’s before you add all the drinks to the equation!

Beer of the Week #47 – Old Yale West Coast IPA

In order to be prepared for any visitors over the holiday season (namely the Sip Advisor), Ma Sip picked up the Old Yale Brewing Winter Craft Cooler to stock the beer fridge. Last weekend, I happily partook in this offering.

Among the case was the West Coast IPA, which was hoppy and flavourful. The 6% ABV, 55 IBUs beverage was just what I was looking for to accompany my meal, even if it didn’t match the brews suggested pairings, including: coconut curry, samosas and strong cheeses.

Old Yale West Coast IPA

Also part of the Winter Craft Cooler are the BC Backyard Lager, Off Trail Pale Ale and Old Paddle Pilsner. The set is available at BC Liquor Stores, as well as Old Yale’s Chilliwack tasting room and private liquor stores. A seasonal selection would have complimented the pack.

One product from Old Yale I’d really like to get my hands on is the Himalayan Salted Caramel Porter. Released earlier this month, the beer is part of the brewery’s Trailblazer Series, which offers single batch, limited releases.

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

BC Beer Baron #250 – Old Yale Moon Dance Mango Wheat

The Sip Advisor has long been a fan of Old Yale Brewing, but only recently finally visited their Chilliwack-based tasting room. There, Mrs. Sip and I shared a paddle of their beers, which was highlighted by this delicious option.

The Moon Dance Mango Wheat is bursting with mango flavour, as each batch of the brew is apparently constructed using 900 pieces of the stone fruit. The brewery describes the 5% ABV, 10 IBUs beverage simply as “smooth tropical freshness,” once again proving that only good things happen with a wheat base.

Old Yale Moon Dance Mango Wheat.png

Previously known as the Outta Wack Mango Wheat, the beer is available in bomber-sized bottles, as well as six-packs. While the Outta Wack (get it, cause it’s out of Chilliwack) version was a seasonal release, the Moon Dance has earned a spot in Old Yale’s regular lineup and can be found year-round.

Suggested food pairings include shellfish, spicy seafood gumbo, jerk chicken, roasted duck breast, and goat cheese. Mrs. Sip was particularly fond of the Mango Wheat and upon learning it pairs best with seafood, that appreciation may grow.

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

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!

BC Beer Baron #219 – Old Yale Off Trail Pale Ale

One of my favourite vendors to visit with during the annual Tip N’ Taste event in Langley is the Old Yale Brewing table.

This year, they brought the beers that comprise the company’s Summer Craft Cooler, including the Off Trail Pale Ale. Part of the Four Season lineup, the 5% ABV, 35 IBUs beverage is hoppy, but is balanced by malted barley, resulting in a crisp and refreshing experience.

Old Yale Off Trail Pale Ale

The brew is advertised to go perfect with “a juicy burger or your favorite pizza”. Other suggested food pairings include coconut curry with rice and chicken, mushroom meatloaf, grilled tiger prawns, arugula salad, samosas, and strong cheeses.

I have long been a fan of Old Yale’s ‘Tall Tale’ series, but this was one of the first flagship beers of theirs that I have tried. Mrs. Sip and I have an upcoming camping trip at Cultus Lake and you better believe we’ll be popping into Old Yale’s Chilliwack tasting room, while in the region.

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

BC Beer Baron #77 – Old Yale Screaming Banshee Irish Crème Stout

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. Since March features St. Patrick’s Day and many of us largely associate the celebration with Guinness beer, the Sip Advisor thought it would be a prime month to highlight some of B.C.’s best stout beers.

Last month, the Sip Advisor attended a birthday at Craft Beer Market, but I felt like the celebration was for me, given the restaurant’s daily special of $5 BC craft beers. Since Craft Beer Market has so many good BC brews on tap, I felt like a kid in a candy store! My second selection of the evening was this Old Yale Brewing gem.

What a delicious beer we have here in the Screaming Banshee Irish Crème Stout. Sure, the name sounds like something from an R.L. Stein Goosebumps novel, at the very least, but the brew is not something to be scared of at all. My first taste was a nice caramel flavour, followed by an Irish Crème finish that is smooth and scrumptious.

Old Yale Screaming Banshee Irish Creme Stout

The brewery suggests drizzling the Irish Crème Stout over ice cream and also has a recipe for turning the brew into cupcakes. If you’re looking for meal pairings, they include hearty stews, Irish steak pies, chili, and chocolate cakes (yes, chocolate cakes can be more than just dessert!).

I’m really becoming enamoured with Old Yale Brewing, having previously enjoyed their Sasquatch Stout. If I was still covering the Chilliwack Bruins Western Hockey League team (they moved operations to Victoria in 2011), I’d be popping into their brewery regularly for growler fills and bottle purchases. If they ever open up a tasting room, they may never get me to leave!

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

BC Beer Baron #40 – Old Yale Sasquatch Stout

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. With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, this month’s feature week will look at beers of a chocolate nature, perfect to celebrate the occasion.

On a recent trip to the liquor store and with Chocolate Week fast approaching, the Sip Advisor grabbed a bomber of this Old Yale Brewing beer. I had previously sampled the brew at Tip N’ Taste last summer and was amped to do a full serving.

The Sasquatch Stout comes exactly as advertised: “Coffee, chocolate & mystery”. I’m not sure what the “mystery” ingredient might be, but I can verify that the beer is damn good!

Old Yale Sasquatch Stout

I’m not alone; however, in my appreciation of the brew, as it received a gold medal in the stout category, as well as being named ‘Beer of the Year’ (aka ‘Best Beer in Canada’) at the 2014 Canadian Brewing Awards.

Suggested food pairings include steak, smoked brisket, pulled pork sandwich, oysters, French onion soup, chocolate cake, and Tiramisu, all of which seem truly decadent. I particularly love to try the Sasquatch Stout with a pulled pork sandwich and a side cup of French onion soup.

For those unfamiliar with sasquatches (otherwise known as Bigfoot), they are mythological beasts that most have concluded don’t exist, while a small network of believers continue to search for the truth. The region near Old Yale Brewing is a hub for sasquatch sightings, thus the beer’s name and that wonderful description.

The Sip Advisor would love to make a trip out to Old Yale Brewing’s facilities in Chilliwack, B.C., but since they are without a tasting room and only have growler fills and bottle purchases available, I’m a little less inclined to make the long journey.

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

Sip Trips #31: Bomber Blast

The Sip Advisor always aims to start the Sip Trips week with a bang and all I can say is mission accomplished for the past seven days!

Prior to meeting a larger group for dinner, I met a friend at PHAT Sports Bar in Yaletown, which serves up $3 sleeves and $5 pints all day, every day. While their selection is limited, as far as craft beer goes, there’s always something on the menu that is worth ordering. This time, it was the Whistler Grapefruit Ale.

Nearing the end of our beers, we found out we were supposed to meet our wives and the rest of the crew in the Olympic Village, not downtown, so we were on the road.

Taxi Dignity

Dinner was at The Flying Pig, which Mrs. Sip and I have been meaning to visit for some time and finally had the opportunity. To drink, I ordered the eatery’s Bacon Bourbon Caesar, which looked fantastic with lemon, lime, and celery garnishes, accompanying a bacon bit rim. The Caesar was a little different taste wise, thanks to the use of bourbon, over vodka, but the spices were pretty bang on, so the whole meal in a glass was enjoyable.

With the long weekend came two liquor store shopping trips and double the chances of finding the right beers for poolside sampling at Ma and Pa Sip’s abode. Here are the brews I picked up and how they rated on my crack ranking system:

Whistler Pineapple Express Wheat Ale – I’ve enjoyed a pineapple wheat/hef beer before, but couldn’t remember if it was the Whistler offering or not, so why not take another crack at it. This was a good one to have in the afternoon heat, as it was cloudy, refreshing and everything I want in a summer brew.

Pineapple Things

Hoyne Devil’s Dream IPA – Based off of my appreciation of Hoyne’s Dark Matter, I decided to give their IPA a shot and was rewarded with a tasty beer, with an even better name. Hoyne is quickly becoming a favourite brewer of mine and I hope that relationship only continues to prosper.

Old Yale Vanishing Monk Belgian Witbier – This was another fine choice for the great outdoors and much like the beer’s name, it vanished quickly!

Spinnakers You Otter Have Another Nut Brown Ale – In the evenings, I like moving to dark beers, which provide more of a dessert taste. These are the beers that are perfect to watch day turn into night with and relax in your favourite lounger, with You Otter Have Another really hitting the spot.

significant otters

Central City Detective Saison – I hope Central City makes more character-based beers (this is Detective Sarah Saison), such as Professor Peter Porter, Senator Samuel Stout, and others, leading to a Clue-style mystery game, where Mr. Nobody is murdered in the tasting room with the keg tap and players have to drink their way to the killer’s identity! If Central City wants to partner with me in this endeavour, I’d totally welcome it.

Lululemon Curiosity Lager – This Lululemon-Stanley Park Brewing collaboration has been met with much derision, but I figure you can’t rip something until you’ve tried it. I’m saving it for Mrs. Sip’s return from Las Vegas and will have a special Sip Trips post about my experience with the lager in the very near future. Hint: it will involve spandex and a yoga mat!

Spinnakers Hollie Wood Oyster Stout – Yet another brew that I haven’t tapped, hoping to share it with Mrs. Sip. There’s something about a beer that is advertised as having gone through “three additions of prime fresh oysters,” that makes me a little apprehensive. Then again, oysters are supposed to be an aphrodisiac, so maybe we can get our buzz on in more ways than one!

oysters shellfish

Granville Island Brass Knuckles American Brown Ale – Having enjoyed my Nut Brown Ale from the day before, I was looking for another nightcap-style beer and grabbed this GIB offering to fill that role. I didn’t get around to drinking it, however, but that just leaves me extra prepared for the next night of imbibing!

I also finally got to try the Dancing Pines Distillery Brulee liqueur, Ma and Pa Sip picked up in Colorado a couple months back. Good thing, too, as I got the last pour of the bottle. I expected more of a caramel taste, but the spirit was incredibly smooth and enjoyable.

This next week looks incredibly busy for the Sip Advisor, with a beer and wine fest on Galiano Island, a Vancouver Canadians baseball game with my fellow CAMRA members, a night out at Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Club, and a boat booze cruise, and that just covers the first half!

Sip Trips #28: Tipsy Taste

This week’s main event was Tip N’ Taste in Langley, which has become one of my favourite events on the drinking calendar. Mrs. Sip and I first attended the beer bash in 2008 and have enjoyed watching it evolve over the years.

The event cost $30, but with that, you got five drink tickets (which you can usually stretch into more samples) and five food tickets. This is a far better deal than some events I’ve seen recently where you’d pay a similar fee and that only covered your entry. While I’m not the biggest fan of tokens/tickets and prefer an all-inclusive vibe, I have to hand it to the organizers of Tip N’ Taste for at least giving attendees fair value.

Drink Ticket

Prior to Friday, I had mapped out a bit of a game plan going into the festival, including breweries that had beers I wanted to try and breweries that were new to me. As you’ll see below, I did pretty well for myself over the course of a couple hours.

My first stop of the evening was Coal Harbour Brewing, which was featuring a few beers that looked neat. I tried their Woodland Witbier, followed by their Smoke and Mirrors Smoked Ale, which I was particularly fond of and went back for later, although by then they were out.

Next up was one of my favourite visits of the night, where I had a long chat with the guys from Big River Brewing, while sampling each of their four available beers: Acid Trip Sour Wheat, Sidewheeler Blonde Ale, Belgium, and Red Bretty IPA. The Acid Trip was my favourite of the bunch.

Acid Trips

Finally moving on, I enjoyed a pair of wheat beers, first from Black Kettle Brewing and followed by Howe Sound Brewing, which was serving up a Blueberry Wheat I had marked on my ‘To Do’ list from my initial walk around the convention floor.

At this point in the evening, it was time to switch things up and go to some darker brews, in order to fend off palate fatigue. I started with the Old Yale Sasquatch Stout and followed that with the Cannery Blackberry Porter (which had always caught my eye in liquor stores, but I had never picked up). I wrapped up my visit to this section of the room with the Mt. Begbie Nasty Habit IPA, which was another good pick.

Earlier in the night, I had made note of the only spirit table at Tip N’ Taste, which was serving up De La Tierre Maple Liqueur Tequila. It was a very interesting blend, which went down easier than most other tequilas and would probably make for some fun cocktails.

tequila night

Going back to beer, I snagged a sample of Mission Springs Chinook ISA and then went to visit my alma mater, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, which has recently launched a diploma program in Brewing and Brewery Operations. They were featuring a Golden Ale, one of the first releases to come from the new course.

I finished the evening with a couple quick hits, trying to get rid of my final drink tickets. I’ve enjoyed a few Russell Brewing products lately and made a stop by their table to try their Blood Alley Bitter, which I’d somehow never tried before, despite being a staple of their lineup. My last beverage was the Lighthouse Tasman Pale Ale, which was guzzled quickly as event organizers tried to clear the room of happy drinkers.

Happy Drunk Cat

As for food, there were some really good offerings at the event. Earl’s had a chicken taco, while Original Joe’s gave you a pair of pulled pork sliders, and Me N’ Ed’s came through with some delicious slices of pizza!

All in all, this was another successful Tip N’ Taste for the Sip Advisor. Next week, I’ll outline our weekend camping trip to Golden Ears Provincial Park, which is always preceded by a thorough liquor shopping trip!