Well, the merriest month of the year has come and gone and as we settle into the melancholy that January can often bring, it’s time to look back on how the Sip Family enjoyed December. There’s a fair bit to cover, so let’s get right to it:
We began the month with a trip to ride the Stanley Park Christmas Train. En route, we dropped into Storm Brewing, as I had wanted to pick up their Christmas themed tall can four-pack, including one can each of Christmas Orange Ale, Eggnog Latte Stout, Turkey Dinner IPA and Xmas Tree Pilsner. While there, Mrs. Sip and I shared a series of samples, comprised of the brewery’s Pineapple Paradise Pilsner, Strawberry Shortcake Ale, Chocolate Strawberry Stout and Mrs. Claus Pilsner (brewed with winter spices). It was an enjoyable stop, highlighted by the most unique beers the local scene has to offer.
Prior to our train ride, we had dinner at the Stanley Park Brewpub. There, I enjoyed a Red Rye Session IPA and Master Chicken Sandwich. We had great service for our large group and the food and drink were very good.
The next week, for a Christmas party with friends, I picked up the Red Racer Dozen Donuts Mix Pack, composed of three each of Honey Crueller Lager, Chocolate Dip Stout, Raspberry Jelly Sour and Boston Cream Ale. Among the set, my favourites were the Stout and Cream Ale.
Although we had a couple Canucks games scheduled for the month, only one contest ended up going ahead (thanks a bunch, COVID!). Prior to the match, we met with friends at the Hotel Georgia 1927 Lobby Lounge, where I had a liquid dinner of their Hotel Georgia cocktail (Botanist Gin, orgeat, lemon, orange blossom water, egg white and nutmeg dust). It was a very nice drink, but I found the lounge to generally be more expensive than I was planning for.
At the game, I enjoyed servings of Hoyne Dark Matter, Parkside Dreamboat Hazy IPA and Stanley Park 1897 Amber Ale. This was the Canucks game where they were down 3-0 early, before storming back and scoring the winning goal with minutes left in the game, coming away with a 4-3 victory. If COVID keeps scuttling games for us, that memory will last a while.
A couple nights later, Mrs. Sip and I took the kids to the Surrey Holiday Lights display. The free event was very well done and offered some drink options for adults. While Mrs. Sip had a spiked hot chocolate and a glass of wine, I went with a can of the Stanley Park Shadow Play Dark Ale. Afterwards, we went for dinner at the nearby Boston Pizza, where I sipped a double Spiced Rum and Coke, along with the Sriracha Garlic Chicken Pizza. It was a good meal and even came with a free Toblerone bar, as it was part of the special seasonal menu.
Next up, was Mrs. Sip’s office Christmas party, hosted at El Santo. Among a very filling set menu dinner, I ordered a number of cocktails, including the El Antijito (pulparindo-infused Cazadores blanco, Aperol, green apple, lime, guava, house-made chamoy and tajin rim); Grito de Delores (estancia raicilla, Cointreau, Green Chartreuse, verdita); El Bosque Nuboso (Avua cachaca, Bacardi 8, Sombra mezcal, Campari, pineapple, lime, passionfruit, Narrative fortified); and the El Padrino (Charred corn husk infused mezcal, Sons of Vancouver amaretto, house mole bitters) for dessert. I also had sips of Mrs. Sip’s Tepache Spritz (house-made tepache, cava, pineapple, cinnamon, soda).
Unfortunately, our Canucks vs. Leafs game (the reason we select the quarter season package we do) was cancelled due to Omicron concerns. To take advantage of the break in our schedule, Mrs. Sip and I decided to tackle our Christmas shopping, decorating and wrapping. To console ourselves, we began the day of errands with lunch at Milestones. My 1989 Burger was very good and I loved that the server suggested I do half fries and half Caesar Salad, when I struggled to decide on my side dish. More places should offer this option. To drink, I had a pint of the Twin Sails Dat Juice Pale Ale.
After our shopping was done, we dropped into Steel & Oak Brewing, where we shared a flight including B-Jamz Cherry Apricot Pale Ale, Nightcap Cranberry Orange Belgian Ale, Baltic Porter and Phonograph Maple Smoked Porter. Mrs. Sip also grabbed bottles of their Woodland Dark Lager and Velvet Thunder Barrel-Aged Wild Ale, before we returned home for a night of drinks, snacks and Home Alone movies, while wrapping gifts and doing some decorating.
Our last event prior to Christmas was Lumagica in Cloverdale. The weather was really windy, but we enjoyed the light displays and walk. The kids absolutely loved the outing, which is really what the season is about. As we traversed the route, I enjoyed a 2 Pals Cuffing Season Winter Ale.
Our Christmas Eve, Christmas and Boxing Day were all fun, if not hectic, but that’s par for the course. Liquor-related gifts I received included bottles of Wayward Distilleries Krupnik Spiced Honey Liqueur and Raspberry Gin Liqueur, as well as Havana Club Cuban Smoky Rum. I also got a BC Liquor Stores gift card for future adventures and The Unofficial Disney Parks Drink Recipe book for inspiration for those adventures.
Some notable boozy gifts I had for Mrs. Sip, included some neat new beers: tall can four-packs of Granville Island Cheeky Monkey Chocolate and Vanilla Hefeweizen, Russell Cinnamon Bun Brown Ale and Twin Sails These Pretzels Are Making Me Thirsty Stout (Chocolate, Peanut, Pretzel, Marshmallow). Also, single tall cans of Granville Island Prometheus Belgian-Style Golden Strong and Seawall Saison. We spent some of Boxing Day trying a few of these offerings.
For Christmas dinner, hosted at Ma and Pa Sip’s abode, I finally got to serve the Christmas cocktail menu I created for last year’s festivities. My theme was cocktails from around the world, with names that translated to Merry Christmas, featuring ingredients from those places. This resulted in the Mele Kalikimaka (Toasted Coconut Rum, Macadamia Nut Liqueur, Mango-Pineapple Juice, Lime Juice), Feliz Navidad (Cinnamon Tequila, Kahlua Vanilla, Milk/Soda Water), Joyeux Noel (Grey Goose Le Melon Vodka, Elderflower Liqueur, Lemon-Lime Soda) and Buon Natale (Limoncello, Amaretto, Ginger Beer).
Our last outing of December was to Patina Brewing. Mrs. Sip and I shared their Smoked Meat Bunwich (pulled pork in Memphis BBQ sauce) with fries and coleslaw, Pulled Pork Tacos and Southern Cornbread. Our beverages included an excellent Horchata Cream Ale (also bought a tall can four-pack) and Blueberry Wheat Ale. I loved seeing horchata used in a cream ale, as I typically only see it used in dark, heavier beers, such as stouts.
That’s a wrap for the month and the year. I hope to get my Best of 2021 out there soon. As for no mention of New Year’s on this article, it’s because the night was a dud, inspiring a future article on the best and worst holidays. Lots to look forward to as we begin 2022!