Sip Trips 190: Halloween Haunts

Another month has come and gone and while this year’s Halloween season was very different from others before it, we still had a lot of fun with and without the kids. Let’s get right to the action and see what we got up to in October:

To start the month, Mrs. Sip made an online order with Granville Island Brewing, setting us up nice and proper. Our order included a 12-pack case of Lions Winter Ale and six-pack of Cranberry Orange Wheat Ale, as well as bombers of Granvillator Doppelback, Over and Under Galaxy Hazy IPA, Saison Sous le Pont Farmhouse Style Saison and Birra Obscura Black Pilsner. All that remains are half of the Winter Ale case and the Hazy IPA.

Beer Shopping

A few days later, I received my Jim Beam Bourbon National Talent Search pack, which I had saw advertised on Facebook. I figured, the cocktail making kit might come with a mini bottle and some kind of mixer, so imagine my surprise when I opened the box to discover a full bottle of Jim Beam Bourbon, a bottle of Fentimans Ginger Ale, a bottle of sweet and sour mixer and two t-shirts. I made the suggested cocktail a few times over the next days and enjoyed the servings.

Our next adventure took us to the newly-opened Smuggler’s Trail Brewing in Langley. There, I ordered a pint of the English Export Porter (a collaboration beer with Main Street Brewing), while Mrs. Sip had a flight of the Smuggler’s Trail flagship brews, including their Captain Stone Lager, Wedgehead Kolsch, Canoe Chase West Coast IPA and Flaskers Best Bitter. For eats, we had the Puller Pork Smoked Sliders and a side of Deep Fried Popcorn.

In the middle of the month, Mrs. Sip and I joined friends for the Maan Farms Haunted Corn Maze in Abbotsford. Needing a place for dinner beforehand (and to have a couple beverages for liquid courage), we visited Trading Post Brewing’s Abbotsford Eatery. Our meal began with shared appies of their Salt & Pepper Pork Rinds and Truffle Cheese Fries, with my main course being the TP Classic Burger with Fries. As we ate, I had servings of the Festbier and Best Coast IPA, while Mrs. Sip selected the 10.4% Belgian Quad times two.

haunted-house

The next day, with Ma Sip hosting a small Oktoberfest gathering, the Sip Advisor did a fair bit of liquor store shopping, picking up the Spectrum Box of Chocolates case (White Chocolate Stout, Milk Chocolate Ale, Chocolate Orange Ale, Chocolate Mint Ale) and a six-pack of Spectrum’s delicious Pumpkin Spiced Latte Ale. I also grabbed a tall can four-pack of Whistler Black Cherry Marzen and a bottle of Jack Daniel’s Honey Whiskey, which has sadly been missing from my bar for far too long.

That week, I received my first BevTri delivery, which provides folks with mini liquor bottles to be tried and reviewed. My first assignment was Ezra Brooks Bourbon Whiskey, which came with a mini can of Coca-Cola. Later in the month, I received a second delivery of Hornitos Reposado Tequila. This is work I can really get behind!

On a recent Friday night, we decided to pack up the kids and go to the New West River Market for dinner and their scavenger hunt. We ate at Longtail Kitchen, enjoying servings of Pad Thai and Tamarind Chicken Wings. To drink, I had a tall can of Steel & Oak Radiant Things Hibiscus-Grapefruit Pale Ale, which made a perfect pairing with our food selections.

Pad Thai

To end the month, we attended a Halloween Trivia at Rendezvous Pub in Langley. The trivia was really fun, with it being not too easy and not too hard and with an interesting point system, where you could double whichever round you thought you’d do best at. For dinner, I enjoyed a Southwest Chicken Wrap and to drink, I had pints of Steel & Oak Red Pilsner and Driftwood Fat Tug IPA, which were both priced very nicely at $5.60.

I’m not sure November will live up to all the fun we had in October, but when there’s a will, there will be a way. I call our will Mrs. Sip! We are creeping into Christmas territory, so I’m sure the schedule will start filling up.

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!