Sip Trips #11: Luck of the Irish

The greatest drinking holiday of the year has come and gone and you know the Sip Advisor celebrated in style! We started the weekend off by attending an early St. Patrick’s Day party at the Jericho Garrison. Both Monster Energy Drink and Red Truck Beer were at the event, along with live music and other entertainment. It didn’t take long for the beer pong to get started up and the Sip Advisor made his usual strong contributions to his teams.

Beer Pong Grandma

On Sunday, with a touch of bad weather hitting the ‘Wet Coast,’ we decided to make a jaunt across the border to Bellingham, Washington, for a little shopping and a visit to the Boundary Bay Brewery. Mrs. Sip and I shared a sampler of their beers, which included six varieties to try. Our consensus favourite among the collection was the Oatmeal Stout, further expanding my burgeoning love for darker beers. It also comes in at a whopping 9.6%, so you’ll feel it soon enough!

It was also at Boundary Bay Brewery that the Sip Advisor finally joined the Instagram world. Feel free to follow me and my adventures in boozing… so long as I can find a wireless signal to get attached to. No data plan for this guy, I’m a free internet man!

Tuesday, of course, was St. Patrick’s Day… a national holiday for some and what should be for others, such as the Sip Advisor! The occasion brings up a lot of the same questions you hear around New Year’s Eve: Who will you celebrate with? More importantly, where will you take your partying ways? We decided, in that case, to repeat our New Year’s Eve plans, by celebrating at Craft Beer Market.

St. Patrick's Day Next

Decked out in our best emerald ensembles – or for some of us, the only green clothing option we have hidden away – we did what the Irish do best and drank our faces off! Mrs. Sip tried the just tapped Stanley Park Brewery Irish Stout Cask, while we also ordered one rack of Craft’s Around the World Sampler, which featured a grouping of wheat beers, followed by the Local Sampler, comprised of stouts and porters.

The sampler menus don’t always hit home for me, but these two sets looked good, with the Around the World containing four of six beers that I’ve tried before and are among my favourites, while the Local had some dark beer options that go perfectly with St. Patrick’s Day. Us guys topped the evening off with a shot of chilled Jameson Irish Whiskey, which was the perfect nightcap!

The fun didn’t stop with St. Patrick’s Day ending, as Mrs. Sip and her ladies met at their usual Joey’s Restaurant stop prior to a theatre evening and somehow, the Sip Advisor got invited along for a drink and a snack. Joey’s has the best skinny fries this side of McDonald’s and a bunch of their other eats are pretty good. Their happy hour specials are a highlight, although we’ve found that the deals vary depending on which location you’re at.

Drinking Time Sun

In liquor news, a lot of hullabaloo was made recently about how much water craft breweries are using. This is an absolutely ridiculous attack on the industry. Does Starbucks get any guff for how much H2O they’re pilfering for their disgusting beverages? And what about macro breweries which, by the nature of their name, have to be using more water than smaller operations?

As Ma Sip pointed out, the craft breweries are responsible for creating a ton of new jobs (from brewery staff, to servers at their tasting rooms) and you also have to consider Mrs. Sip’s arguments about increased tourism and all the benefits that can have on an area. Just look at how well Portland is doing, as well as other communities that are growing the industry.

Lastly, there’s one local product the Sip Advisor was made aware of this week: a collaboration brew between Persephone Brewing and Yellow Dog Beer. This Lightly Smoked Pilsner has me salivating for a taste and I’ll have to be vigilant in tracking it down!

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Sip Trips #3 – Celebration Central

After a slow start to January – drinking wise – this last week was full of revelry, as we celebrated Mrs. Sip’s birthday and a couple other events.

We had social events on both Friday and Saturday that involved some serious drinking into the wee hours of the morning. On Sunday, we hit The Distillery for brunch. The Distillery is attached to the Yaletown Brewery site, where the company also produces their own vodka and gin. Inside the restaurant, you can get a $5 cucumber- or jalapeno-infused Caesar or bottomless Mimosas for only $10. These go great with the joint’s $10 breakfast menu options.

Day Drinking Brunch

For Mrs. Sip’s actual birthday, on Monday, we met at Joe Fortes, for some of the best seafood the city has to offer. After a couple happy hour cocktails and appies, we sat down for the restaurant’s cold seafood tier, which was loaded with lobster, crab, oysters, mussels, clams, tuna sashimi, and oyster ceviche. With dinner, I ordered the Whistler Brewing Unfiltered IPA, which I didn’t even know the company produced.

Following dinner, we decided to visit the UVA Wine & Cocktail Bar for night cap cocktails. Despite living just down the street from the lounge for close to five years – and Mrs. Sip often saying we should try the place – we finally walked through its doors and were immediately impressed by the place. The cocktails aren’t cheap, but they’re hand-crafted and perfected before they reach your lips. Sitting at the bar, I was impressed to see the mixologists discussing recipes and ingredients, looking to improve elements at their disposal.

In conjunction with Vancouver’s Hot Chocolate Festival, UVA currently has a couple chocolate-based cocktails on their menu, which is the main reason we finally pulled the trigger and tried the place out. Mrs. Sip enjoyed the Black Widow (El Jimador Reposado Tequila, Cacao and Coffee Red Bush Tea, Averna Amaro Cherry Liqueur, and Plum and Root Beer Bitters), while yours truly ordered the Chartreuse Milkshake, complete with Citadelle Gin, Green Chartreuse, Cacao, Lime and Orange Juices, Chocolate Bitters, and Egg Whites. It was the first chance I’ve ever had to try Chartreuse and I will certainly have it again. Green or Yellow, it doesn’t really matter!

Hot Chocolate

Other beers I enjoyed over the week that was, included Red Truck Amber Ale, Ninkasi Total Domination, Persephone Wee Heavy, Granville Island Swing Span, Four Winds Pale Ale, Lighthouse 3 Weeds, and Driftwood Fat Tug IPA. Variety is, after all, the spice of life!

It’s been a crazy busy week, but the celebrating has been a lot of fun and it’s always great to catch up with friends and family over awesome food and drinks!