Sip Trips #111: Long Weekend Lounging

While the August long weekend was busy, there was actually far more time for rest and relaxation than I had originally anticipated. Still, it wasn’t all laid back and lazy:

On Friday, Mrs. Sip and I enjoyed a bit of a date night at local favourite Patron Tacos & Cantina. Straying slightly from our usual order, we split their Queso Fundido and Chicken Quesadilla dishes, while Mrs. Sip satisfied her craving for Horchata and I downed a pint of their Patron Lager. The meal was very filling, so we even took home some leftover with us.

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The next evening, the Sip Syndicate gathered at The Yale Saloon for dinner. Here, I paired a Granville Island Pale Ale with their BBQ Sample Plate (split with a friend), which included a serving of brisket with jalpeno cornbread, coleslaw, baked beans and potato salad. My only complaint from visiting the Yale Saloon last year remains the same, as it would be great to see more local craft beer added to the menu. At least a Granville Island selection is now available.

Following the meal, we made our way to Sunset Beach for the Celebration of Light fireworks. First, a quick liquor store stop was necessary, where we grabbed a pair of Postmark West Coast Pale Ale tall can four-packs to consume while watching the show in the sky. I was hesitant about attending the long weekend Saturday show (we typically see the lone Wednesday presentation for lighter crowds), but things weren’t anywhere near as bad as I feared. Best of all, the Team Canada contingent put on a fantastic show.

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On Sunday, Mrs. Sip and I decided to get some of the shopping out of the way for our Baby Shower Beer Garden. I’ve been stressing over having a good mix and the right amount of brews for the event, so it was relieving to make a few decisions. Wanting to have a fair variety, we grabbed mixed packs from Big Rock, Central City, Bowen Island, and Vancouver Island breweries. We also picked up some traditional options in Blue Moon, Budweiser, Canadian and Strongbow Cider, to cover all our bases. Also while out, I nabbed the Phillips Hop Box for myself, along with an extra-tall can of Longwood’s Berried Alive Raspberry Ale.

Sadly, the long weekend couldn’t last forever, but that didn’t mean the fun halted. With the work week back in full swing, we took time out to attend the brand new IQ2000 trivia night hosted at the Central City Brew Pub on Wednesdays. Our team put on a pretty good performance, finishing third and earning a pass for six people to enjoy a tour and tasting at the brewery’s impressive Surrey location. As for food and drink, I was saddened to learn that my Crispy Crunch Burger is no longer on the menu. I settled for their Southern Fried Chicken Sandwich, which was also good. My beverage selections included the Mystery Tap (the cheapest brew on the menu for adventurous drinks), which turned out to be Central City’s Lemon Groove Golden Ale, followed by their White Ale. We’ll be back in a couple weeks to take home top prize!

Sip Trips #110: Rest & Relaxation

While last week was insanely busy, this one was far less so. However, that may just be the calm before the storm with a booze-fueled long weekend approaching. Let’s see what we recently got up to:

To celebrate a friend’s birthday on Saturday, we started with dinner and drinks at The Diamond in Gastown, known for their exquisite cocktails. For my meal, I went with the Classic Cuban sandwich, which was delicious. My beverages included the Ancho Ready (tequila, cacao, mezcal, grapefruit oil, ancho chili) and Fog Cutter (cognac, dark rum, gin, sherry, citrus, orgeat), with both being very nicely crafted and presented. I also had sips of the Vancouver (gin, vermouth, Benedictine, orange bitters) and the $25 Premium Penicillin (two types of Scotch, lemon, ginger, honey), which earned its standing as a ‘notorious’ cocktail on the lounge’s menu.

8 Cocktails

For dessert, we moved over to Mosquito. While the rest of the crew scarfed down lavish desserts, I occupied my time with another drink, the Gambit (bourbon, peach, honey, lemon, habanero). I also had a glass of Steel & Oak Dark Lager from the birthday boy’s 650ml bottle order, a solid nightcap for the evening. Despite living relatively close to the Gastown district, we tend to stay closer to our Yaletown home, but after being there twice this past couple weeks, we’ve realized we’re missing out on some gems and will have to frequent the area more regularly.

The weekend also included some liquor store shopping. I picked up a bomber of Vancouver Island Brewing’s Juniper Lime Ale, which attempts to recreate a Gimlet cocktail experience. I also grabbed a tall can four-pack of Spinnakers Brewing’s Juice Monkey IPA, which made for good drinking at Ma and Pa Sip’s place Sunday afternoon, as I hosted our baseball team for some fun in the poolside sun. Mrs. Sip also picked me up a tall can of Longwood Brewing’s Steam Punk Dunkelweizen for the gathering.

That about wraps things up, as the rest of the week was fairly laid back. You can expect much more from the Sip Advisor in next week’s Sip Trips article, as the upcoming calendar is pretty stacked and full of potential mayhem!

Sip Trips #109: Marathon Man

This past week was extremely busy and that’s coming from someone who is booked up nearly every day to begin with. Let’s take a look at what the past seven days brought to the social calendar:

On Thursday, I decided to take my bike out for a ride of Vancouver’s sea wall, but only reached Sunset Beach when issues with my cycle made me have to abandon the ride. Just as I decided to turn around, a Kraken Rum rep approached and offered me a sample mini bottle of their Black Spice Rum. I believe this was a liquor karma reward, as had I not turned around there, the exchange would have never occurred.

Friday saw a more successful journey, as I joined a friend – on foot this time – in the Brewery Creek area of Vancouver, first stopping at Faculty Brewing. There, I had a 500ml serving of their IPA, before we ventured onwards. Looking to enjoy some drinks in the great outdoors, we stopped by R&B Brewing’s growler fill station, picking up a four-pack of Dude Chilling Pale Ale tall cans to be consumed in a nearby park. This was a nice, relaxing way to get the weekend started.

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Following that, we were off to BierCraft Bistro on Cambie Street for dinner. I hadn’t been to the restaurant for a few years, so it was good to return. While waiting for our wives to show up, we delved into a couple pints of Dageraad De Witte. For my meal, I went with the French Onion Soup, being a big fan of the style and not always being able to find it when out. Our evening concluded with a show at Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Club. While the show was far from the best thing I’ve seen there, we still had a decent time, helped along by a bucket of Red Truck Golden Ale bottles.

We spent some time on Sunday at Metrotown Mall, finishing our baby registry, doing some clothes shopping and grabbing some groceries. Our time there started with hitting the food court, which is one of the best I’ve ever dined in. There are so many options to choose from and I settled on Chronic Tacos, which I have only seen before as restaurant locations. My Al Pastor Burrito (made with spicy adoba pork) was spectacular and greatly satisfied my huge appetite at the time.

Looking to have a date night together, Mrs. Sip and I had dinner at St. Augustine’s prior to a movie at the Rio Theatre on Monday. I love St. Augustine’s live tap menu, which lets you know which beers are available and how much of each is left, but it can also be a tease, as you learn which brews you narrowly missed out on. Thankfully, I was able to try Storm Brewing’s Chicken Wing IPA (only that crazy crew could dream up such a flavour), with only 3% remaining and the keg being tapped out by the time we left the restaurant. Also among my flight was the Steamworks Killer Cucumber Ale and a pair of Old Yale Brewing options: the Cardamom Mango Wheat and Double Double Amber Ale.

Dinner and a Movie

As for the movie portion of the evening, we watched The Little Hours, which was very funny and I’m surprised it hasn’t received more mainstream attention. The Rio Theatre is licensed for alcohol sales, which means you can get a Big Kid Combo consisting of small popcorn, candy and a draft beer for $9. Not a bad deal, at all.

Tuesday was supposed to be a relaxing night at home, but late in the day, a friend advised he had a block of free tickets to see Bob Dylan and His Band (that’s literally the band’s name) at Roger’s Arena. So, we ended up out again. While the music was good and I’ll be able to say I saw a legendary performer, Mr. Dylan shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near a microphone anymore as nearly his entire set was unintelligible.

The week that was wrapped up with a trivia night at Darby’s Gastown. It was my first time at any of the Darby’s locations and I really enjoyed my meal of their Pulled Pork Sandwich with Cajun Chips and their expansive beer menu. Best of all, we came in second place after losing a tie-breaker to the winning team, which meant each member of our crew was comped a free BC beer. This removed both of my servings (the Luppolo Double IPA and Twin Sails Hot Take IPA) from the tab, thanks to using Mrs. Sip’s credit, as well.

Did I mention I also squeezed games of golf and baseball, a Game of Thrones viewing and family dinner into the week. No wonder I’m ready for a little break!

Sip Trips #108: Here, There and Everywhere

The summer has been crammed full of events and adventures thus far. Here’s a look back at what Mrs. Sip and I have been up to over the last couple weeks, bouncing around this beautiful province of ours:

To celebrate the end of a long work week a couple weeks back, we ventured to Ludica Pizzeria & Game Room, which is home to a wide collection of board and card games, which you can sit down to while enjoying beer and pizza. Our Pesto Chicken and Proscuitto Pizza was delicious and paired nicely with a pint of Phillips Blue Buck Ale. As for our game of choice, we grabbed the cooperative Pandemic, but by the time we read through the rules, the restaurant was closing for the night.

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The next day, we were visiting friends of ours out in Langley, so I grabbed the Cannery Variety Pack (containing two each of their Anarchist Amber Ale, Naramata Nut Brown Ale and Trellis IPA) as a housewarming gift for them. As I’ve written before, I’m big into these mixed six-packs, so I picked up a set for myself, as well.

Our weekend concluded with a walk to the Carnaval del Sol at Concord Pacific Place. The Latin America festival featured a 500-seat beer garden, but the lineup was very long and I was more interested in trying out some of the food. We chowed on a collection of tacos from La Taqueria, as well as an empanada from a stall Mrs. Sip snuck off to.

There has also been a fair amount of drinking from home during this spell, which has allowed the Sip Advisor to delve into some newly gifted products. Ma and Pa Sip, when returning from Victoria, provided me with a mini bottle of Vin Gin from De Vine Spirits, which I’ve put to use in some tasty Gin & Tonics. They also gave me bottles of Honey Shine and Strawberry Vodka, while Pa Sip took home their Honey Spiced Rum, which I’ve been able to also sample.

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Last Thursday, World Wrestling Entertainment’s NXT brand arrived in Vancouver for the very first time and I just had to check out the event. Molson Canadian beers were available for $8, although strangely, higher end options such as Blue Moon and Granville Island were only 50 cents more. The PNE Agrodome also needs to work on paying electronically, as this option was offered for merchandise and alcohol purchases, but not for food… of which, Mrs. Sip thought her hotdog wasn’t very good at all.

Another work week wrapped up with a visit to Green Leaf Brewing in North Vancouver. Here, I tried the Weizenhower Wheat, before returning to their Burning Rock Ale. We also ordered some of the brewery’s nut snacks, which went very well with the beverages.

Now, we enjoy a brief respite from our hectic schedule, before ramping things up again this weekend with a guy’s night out, games of golf and baseball, and so much more…

Sip Trips #107: Canadian Carousing

This past weekend was spent celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday and that meant a fair bit of liquor shopping and time spent enjoying all the splendors this country has to offer. Let’s see how the Sip Advisor and company saluted the nation:

My first order of business, as it is with every Canada Day, was to stock up on supplies. Earlier in the week, I had focused my attention on the Big Rock Canada 150 Variety Pack, which I thought would be an ideal set to enjoy on Canada Day. For whatever reason, the set wasn’t available at BC Liquor Stores, so I had to go a little out of my way to find it. Each of the brews is meant to highlight a different region of the country and is comprised of a Hibernation Ale, Peach Pilsner, Maple Lager, Oak Aged Rye Ale, Oyster Stout, and rounded out by their Signature Series Grasshopper Kristallweizen.

Canada Day Drunk

Among my other shopping finds was the Bridge Brewing Bridge Builder Variety Pack. This six-pack features two each of the Bourbon Blood Orange Wheat Ale, North Shore Pale Ale and Wunderbar Kolsch. Although I haven’t tapped into the bottled six-pack yet, I foresee many opportunities ahead.

Ever the amazing wife, Mrs. Sip also pointed out the Red Truck Hand Built Series Mix Pack, which contains eight tall cans, two per of their Blackberry Bourbon Ale, Golden Ale, Saison and White ISA. Usually I want more from Red Truck’s in-store releases and this one has the potential to be quite special.

Those finds accumulated, I didn’t have to worry as much as first thought about my beer cache, as Ma and Pa Sip picked up an amazing set for me, while they were vacationing in Portland, Oregon the weekend before.

Canada Day-4th of July

The Sierra Nevada Across the World Beer Camp features 12 very unique collaborative brews, six from stateside and six from overseas. The pack contained nine bottles and three tall cans, with such intriguing options as a Ginger Lager (brewed with Ginger and Cayenne, fermented on oak) and Thai-Style Iced Tea (brewed with lactose, orange peel, black tea, tamarind and star anise). I will have to chase down future installments of this wonderful product.

While I could have lounged around poolside all weekend, Mrs. Sip and I had to return to reality and start setting up our baby registry. I will say the baby registry was a lot more fun than our wedding registry, but paled in comparison to drinking and floating in the great outdoors.

Returning home to attend the Queen with Adam Lambert concert, we dropped into Patron Tacos & Cantina for dinner, prior to the show. Mrs. Sip and I shared our usual order of Queso Fundido and collection of four tacos, which I paired with a Goose Island IPA, a tasty rotating tap for the restaurant. As for the show, the drink selection was quite limited, with nothing on tap available in the arena; therefore, no craft beer options. I settled for a generously-poured rum and coke. The show itself was amazing, as the band played for more than two hours straight.

Oh Canada Beer

The next day – and last of the glorious long weekend – found us on the patio at Jimmy’s Tap House. This used to be my neighbourhood haunt, but I hadn’t visited for some time. After a pint of Main Street Brewing’s Naked Fox IPA, which went very well with my Southern Fried Chicken Sandwich, I was reminded of how good the place was and will return more regularly. Best of all, their Monday daily special was 50 per cent off each second entrée, so our bill was quite reasonable.

Now we have to return to work and push through the holiday hangover. At least we know there will be plenty more fun over the course of the summer, all of which will be highlighted here!

Sip Trips #106: Northern Exposure

This week was another busy one, with Mrs. Sip and I joining her family for a wedding in northern BC/Alberta. Along the way, we made sure to have some good food and beer. What else would you expect for your friendly neighbourhood booze pusher!

Leaving Thursday morning, we stopped for lunch in 100 Mile House at the Firehouse Diner. There, I enjoyed a Whistler Powder Mountain Lager with a Pickle Burger that was overflowing with deep fried pickle chips. The place had a number of other burgers and sandwiches that caught my eye, so I will keep it in mind for future passes through the city.

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Our first day of driving ended with us arriving in Quesnel, home to Barkerville Brewing. I have always enjoyed beers from the company, so a visit – brief as it was – was definitely in order. I downed a pint of their High Stakes Imperial IPA, while Sis-in-Law Sip had the White Gold Witbier. The tasting room was bustling with locals and we enjoyed the ambiance of the place, wishing we had more time to play one of their available games and try some of the other ales.

That evening, we walked to the town’s BC Liquor Store, where I discovered the Three Ranges Brewing Orientation Kit six-pack. The set features two each of their Up Swift Creek Pilsner, Tail Slap IPA and seasonal Snowdance Porter or Swamp Donkey Brown Ale, depending on time of year. I really like this new trend of 2×3 six-packs, also having come across similar products from Cannery Brewing and Bridge Brewing, while Steamworks Brewing offers a 2×4 tall can eight-pack. After all, variety is the spice of life.

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The next day, we were on the road again, stopping at CrossRoads Brewing in Prince George for lunch. We really liked their space, complete with great eats and drinks. Sis-in-Law Sip and I shared a couple flights, in order to try each of their beers. Among my favourites were Old Westie Amber Lager, English Summer Ale and Mother Heffer. On special was a BLT Pizza, which was fantastic and really hit the spot for me.

The weekend concluded with a post-wedding family barbecue, where the Sip In-Laws picked me up a bomber of Dead Frog Furious Friar Belgian IPA. The brew was perfect for sitting back outdoors in the shade, but unfortunately, Mrs. Sip and I couldn’t stay long and were off to the airport to fly back home.

This weekend, Canada celebrates its 150th birthday and there will certainly be hijinks to report on in the next edition of Sip Trips!

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.

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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.