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!

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.

Dog Banned From Park.jpg

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 #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!

Beer of the Week #13 – Red Truck Blackberry Bourbon Ale

The moment I saw this Red Truck Brewing product on the One20 Public House tap list, I knew I’d have to order a pint. The drink was unique enough to stand out on the bar’s impressive and diverse menu.

The Blackberry Bourbon Ale was tart and fruity, with a warm bourbon finish. At 5.8% ABV and 25 IBUs, the beverage was easy to drink and very refreshing. I was impressed that it wasn’t as light as other fruit beers.

Red Truck Blackberry Bourbon Ale

It looks like this seasonal limited release is only available on tap at various locations. If you do come across it in your travels, I would definitely recommend trying it, preferably as part of a tasting flight.

It’s been a little while since I last popped into Red Truck’s Vancouver location. When you’re there, you have quite a bit more variety than the brewery offers in their wares available for purchase at stores.

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BC Beer Baron #365 – Red Truck Red Pilsner

Upon returning from our Christmas holiday in Leavenworth, Washington, Mrs. Sip and I hosted a visiting friend and we ended up at Romer’s Burger Bar for a bite to eat. There, I ordered a pint of this Red Truck Brewing product.

The Red Pilsner is “an amber twist on the Czech Pilsner tradition.” The 5% ABV, 25 IBUs beverage is solid in taste and aroma, featuring malted wheat and black malt, which combine to give the beer its flavour, as well as its red appearance.

red-truck-red-pilsner

This beer is a favourite of Cousin Sip’s husband (despite its hop content) and is available in six-packs at BC Liquor Stores. It is also the winter seasonal feature in the company’s Craftmaster Mixer Pack, joined by an IPA, Ale, and Lager.

I wish Red Truck would incorporate a more varied mix of brews into their case, which has always stuck to more traditional recipes. That said, the brewery’s motto is “no preservatives, no pasteurization, no compromises, no bullshit.”

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BC Beer Baron #128 – Red Truck Midnight Run Dark Lager

When the sun vanquishes the winter darkness (even briefly), you can expect every single Vancouverite to declare that patio season has arrived. Mrs. Sip and I are among those fine folks and so we recently found ourselves at Tap & Barrel in the Olympic Village, enjoying the first glimpses of spring. There, I enjoyed a flight of beers that was highlighted by this Red Truck Brewing release.

The Midnight Run Dark Lager is a limited release of the brewery with stats of 4.9% ABV and 23 IBUs. There was a nice smoky finish, on top of this solid beer, which is available in bomber-sized bottles. I’ve become a big fan of dark lagers (sometimes called schwarzbiers), as they provide a welcome change to your typical brew.

Red Truck Midnight Run Dark Lager

Sticking with Red Truck’s theme of naming beers after vehicles and driving, this may be one of their best brandings and there’s even a story to go with it: “The stakes were high but the risk was even greater, and it went well, very well! We smuggled it out of the brewery right under our brewers’ watchful eyes and noses as they were saving this exceptional Dark Lager for their own personal stash… A Midnight Run was the only way to get it out without being apprehended. We took extremely high risks so you could enjoy our Dark Lager!”

The next time I’m able to visit Red Truck’s very cool facility in the Brewery Creek region of the city, I hope that this selection is on their menu, as I’d love to sit back and enjoy a full serving.

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BC Beer Baron #71 – Red Truck Cherry Porter

The fifth and final stop of our Brewery Creek crawl brought us to Red Truck Brewing’s ‘Truck Stop’, located where the original Vancouver Brewery did business, many moons ago.

Given Red Truck is known for their mixed pack of lager, ale, IPA, and ISA flagship products, I made it a point to order only selections I hadn’t tried before. Among my samples was their Cherry Porter, a dark and delicious beer that passed both my and Mrs. Sip’s taste test.

Red Truck Brewing

I’ve never tried any of Red Truck’s darker beers, but my enjoyment of this brew, along with their Irish Stout, makes me very open to changing that stance. Not that it was a stance, per se, but I’ll be more interested in releases I find at local stores, such as the Swamp Thing Stout.

Red Truck’s new facility may be one of the best tasting lounges in the province. Here, live music accentuates a truck stop diner feel, with great food to pair with tasty beers. Their attention to details in decorating the place will have truck lovers (and non-fans alike) searching for the finer features.

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Sip Trips #59: Creek Crawl

Waking up Saturday morning, the sun was shining and Mrs. Sip and I decided to take advantage of that sneak peek at spring… at least after I let her sleep in just a little longer!

My plan for the day, was that if weather cooperated, we’d tour the brewing companies that comprise the Brewery Creek region of Vancouver. After making our way across the Cambie Bridge, en route to our first stop of the day, we noticed that a new wine tasting room had opened. Given she was about to visit a handful of breweries for me, I indulged Mrs. Sip’s interest in this impromptu discovery.

Wineorexia

Upon entering the City Side Winery, featuring wines from Mystic Pearl, we sampled four different styles (Semillon, Riesling, Merlot, and Cuvee – a Cab Sauv blend), with Mrs. Sip liking their Semillon so much that she purchased a bottle and put it aside for pick-up later. Staff at City Side said they’ve been quite busy on weekday evenings, thus far. Given their aren’t many Vancouver options for wine tasting, I can understand why.

With wine out of the way, we were off in search of suds, starting with Steel Toad Brew Pub and Dining Hall. It had been sometime since Mrs. Sip and I had visited the location and we were impressed with our tasting flight. From what we remembered, they have added some new beers to their line-up and improved on previously brewed recipes.

Next up, was R&B Brewing, which allowed us to sample each of their beers on tap at their growler fill station. In the very near future, R&B will finally open their long-awaited tasting room. We were lucky enough to peek inside and see what it will look like. There was still some rough edges to sort out, but it looks like it will be a prime spot for beer enjoyment, very shortly.

Moving on, we next popped into 33 Acres Brewing, which is a very popular spot, thanks to their wide array of beers, to go along with coffee, ice cream, and other treats. We lucked out and didn’t have to wait to enter the spot that often reaches its capacity. Our luck continued when we were able to snag a couple seats at the bar. Here, we tried a set of four samples and even got a bonus offering of their 33 Acres of Four Belgian Quad, after Mrs. Sip explained how much of a fan she is of Belgian-styled brews.

Belgian Beer

Our fourth stop of the self-guided tour was Brassneck Brewing, another extremely popular site in the area. After a short wait, we were able to get a spot and try a selection of Brassneck’s wares. I found it interesting that Brassneck has 473ml (good for a pint) containers for refillable beer, a size I have yet to see anywhere else on the market. They sell for only $3 and cost another $3.25, on average, to fill.

We wrapped up our crawl with our first trip ever to Red Truck Brewing’s beautiful facilities. Here, you can sample more experimental beers (as well as traditional releases) from the brewery, while also enjoying food and live music. Over our tasting flight, we munched on some very good garlic fries, while enjoying some tunes.

On this journey, we neglected Big Rock Urban Eatery and Main Street Brewing, which are also part of the Brewery Creek region. This wasn’t done out of malice, but we were tight for time and I wanted to focus on breweries that I hadn’t been able to feature so heavily in the BC Beer Baron project.

Will we be back to Brewery Creek in the future? Oh, you better believe it!

BC Beer Baron #25 – Red Truck Ale

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. For the opening month of this project, I wanted to look at some of the flagship and original offerings from breweries around the province.

Red Truck Brewing has been a Vancouver fixture since it was founded in 2005. Originally located in North Vancouver, the company recently moved their operations to the Brewery Creek region of the Downtown Vancouver core. They stress brewing honest beers by hardworking people.

I first enjoyed the Red Truck Ale at my local watering hole: Jimmy’s Taphouse. It quickly became a go-to pitcher beverage for me, while out with friends. Therefore, many nights ended with an order of Red Truck.

Red Truck Ale

The brewery is recognizable for their line of delivery trucks, including Old Weird Harold, Flying High Frank, and the Young and Old Frankensteins. Red Truck has recently ventured into more adventurous waters with their limited edition releases, including the Ridin’ Shotgun Belgian Blonde Ale and Double Clutch Unfiltered Double Pale Ale. These are largely only available in their tasting room.

Mrs. Sip and I have yet to visit Red Truck’s new facility, although we’ve heard that it is a hopping place and we’re not just talking about their IPA recipe. Even former Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, stopped by the joint, although this gained the brewery more flack than good press from the liberal Vancouver crowd.

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