Sip Trips #69: Tasting Tipsy

One of my favourite events of the summer, Langley’s Tip N’ Taste, took place last Friday and it was another very fun time with family, friends, and random strangers. Mrs. Sip and I first attended the annual beer fest in 2008 and while we haven’t returned every year, it’s definitely an occasion I look forward to each July.

While I won’t go into reviewing the brews I tasted, saving that for the BC Beer Baron project, I will say that I managed to score over a dozen tastings from breweries, including Be Right Back, Trading Post, Phillips, Mission Springs, Old Yale, Cannery, Howe Sound, Hathi, Kwantlen Brewing Program, Dead Frog, Lighthouse, and Old Abbey.

Drinking Friends Assemble

In past years, event attendees received five drink tickets and five food tickets. This year, the food was all-inclusive, which came with some ups and downs. On the plus side, there was great little meals from Dublin Crossing Irish Pub (mini Yorkshire puddings); Sammy J’s (short rib tacos); Brown’s Socialhouse (cauliflower mac n’ cheese, chicken rice bowls, and even chocolate brownies for dessert); and Original Joe’s (pulled pork sliders). Some food vendors even passed out gift cards or discount vouchers.

On the flip side, unfortunately, the meatballs from Rendezvous Pub ran out within the first hour, even though they brought 300 meatballs. That said, they handed out two to each person (perhaps a rookie mistake) and the ravenous crowd demolished their provisions. The group was long gone by the time I got to that side of the Convention Centre. I remember Original Joe’s, in their first year, generously giving two pulled pork sliders to each person before stock ran low, resulting in one slider for each person, until the restaurant was cleaned out.

And while they didn’t necessarily run out of supplies, it was very tough to get any pizza from Me-N-Ed’s Pizza Parlor. Massive lines would form anytime their pies were soon to arrive (they have a chain located near Langley’s Cascades Casino) and would be gone before most could get their hands on a slice.

Personal Pizza

Another disappointment was White Rock Beach Brewing and Russell Brewing not showing up. I was looking forward to trying the wares particularly offered by White Rock Beach and while I don’t know the circumstances of their absence, they missed a prime opportunity to share their beverages with a wide, thirsty audience.

One last con was there wasn’t as much available for wine drinkers as there has been in past years, which narrowed the options for Ma and Pa Sip. I realize that Tip N’ Taste is predominantly a beer tasting event, but it’s nice to have a bit of a mix for those who steer towards grapes.

Okay, enough of the griping and onto some positives. First, the breweries that did attend brought some really neat stuff with them and most companies had an array of products for sampling. Second, the organizers were able to pull together quite an impressive field of breweries (spreading from across the Lower Mainland to Vancouver Island), including a number of first-timers. Third, two folks from our extensive group won door prizes (which all looked pretty cool), so you can’t beat that.

prize or punch

A side note, Mrs. Sip and I had good chat with one of the Howe Sound reps about all the difficulties R&B Brewing is going through to set up their tasting room/restaurant. They were supposed to open on St. Patrick’s Day and are still in limbo thanks to the bureaucracy approving their license and launch. This has included being told to separate the growler station from the kitchen with a glass divide, then being told on a follow-up visit the glass had to be smoked, among other nitpicking. We hope things turn around for the project quickly.

To sum things up, tickets were $35 this year, which I believe is a $5 jump from 2015. That said, the event was fun with plenty of beer and food to go around. Sure, there are a few areas that could be improved, but all-in-all, Tip N’ Taste remains a favourite activity for the Sip Advisor!

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!