Sip Trips #143: Ends of Eras

Canada Day has come and gone and the week was another busy seven days for Mrs. Sip and I. Here’s a recap of the week that was:

We began the week with dinner at EXP Restaurant + Bar, which after months of speculation, in fact closed their doors for good at the end of June. This was a very sad revelation for the Sip Family and we just had to dine at the eatery one more time, in spite of a long wait for a table. Once seated, Mrs. Sip and I ordered servings of Hoyne Dark Matter and Postmark Spruce Tip Ale, respectively. For food, I went with my all-time favourite Triforce Burger (beef patty, chicken breast and bacon), while Mrs. Sip had the Little Mac N Cheese with Pulled Pork. We hope EXP pops up again in a different location and we will definitely be regular visitors again, if that occurs.

Mac N Cheese.jpg

The next day, I attended a retirement party at Finch & Barley in North Vancouver. While I wasn’t able to stay long, I did manage glasses of Steamworks Flagship IPA and Driftwood White Bark Witbier, prior to returning home. The place had some interesting food menu options that I just didn’t have time to try out, but may be able to at a later date.

Canada Day weekend ended up being a bit of a bust weather wise, but we made the most of the time off, visiting Ridge Brewing in Maple Ridge. Mrs. Sip and I split a flight of brews, including Let the Beat ISA, Hairy Dona Amber Ale, Café Morena English Brown Ale and Dark Science Orange Stout. The set was good, although I was hoping for a stronger orange flavour from the stout.

Canada Day

The week wrapped with dinner at Britannia Brewing in quaint Steveston. Along with another flight of beer (comprised of their Watermelon Sour, Sirens Chai Saison, Riptide Rye IPA and Ashore Rye Porter), we enjoyed orders of Truffle & Parmesan Popcorn, Clam Chowder and Fish & Chips. We really liked the restaurant, particularly our food selections, and look forward to returning in the future.

The coming week features another full schedule, including: the Vancouver Canucks Summer Showdown, another trip to the drive-in theatre, a Vancouver Whitecaps game, baseball, a trip to the U.S., watching the 2018 New West Grand Prix, and probably an event or two I’m forgetting. Exhausting, huh!?

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BC Beer Baron #315 – Ridge Ay Caramba! Jalapeño IPA

This Ridge Brewing beer has been sitting on the Sip Advisor’s ‘To Do’ list for quite some time… too long, if you ask me. Mrs. Sip and I finally got out to Maple Ridge again and after sampling the release, I instantly filled a growler with the brew.

The Ay Caramba! Jalapeño IPA certainly has a bite to it, but it’s far from a one-dimensional beverage. Flavours of caramel and a hop bitterness also prevail in the 5.5% ABV, 70 IBUs concoction. Drinkers should be cautioned that this IPA is muy caliente and not for anyone who is spice sensitive… such as the gorgeous Mrs. Sip. More beer for me, I guess!

ridge-ay-caramba-jalapeno-ipa

The product is available in bomber-sized bottles from the brewery, where it is also on tap for glass and growler fills. Suggested food pairings include salty barbecue items or Mexican food, of course. The Sip Advisor combined the drink with a rotisserie chicken and a host of side dishes.

This was our second visit to Ridge Brewing’s tasting room and both of our stops have been excellent, filled with copious beer servings and great service from those behind the bar. A highlight has also been checking out the brewery’s collection of growlers from around the province.

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BC Beer Baron #254 – Ridge Café Morena English Brown Ale

While sitting down for a meal of tacos at Originals Restaurante Mexicano in New West, Mrs. Sip and I were pleasantly surprised to learn of the diverse lineup of brews available on the eatery’s three craft beer taps. Mrs. Sip ordered a serving of this Ridge Brewing release.

Good thing she did, as we both instantly enjoyed the Café Morena English Brown Ale, loving the flavours of coffee, caramel and nuts that came through with each taste. The 5% ABV, 27 IBUs drink was complex and refreshing. While I prefer higher carbonation, this style does call for minimal fizz.

ridge-cafe-morena-english-brown-ale

The beer is available in bomber-sized bottles and the brewery notes that the beverage is best enjoyed warm. Our serving was ice cold, so perhaps it works both ways (like an iced coffee). Mrs. Sip and I aren’t even coffee enthusiasts (or fans at all) and we loved this beer.

The husband and wife owners of Ridge Brewing are Mexican, so why not partner with a taqueria. Ridge can also offer other brews that pair well thematically with the cuisine, such as their Gringa Loca Witbier and Ay Caramba! Jalapeno IPA, which I finally got to try recently.

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Sip Trips #74: Labouring Away

Mrs. Sip tries to get us out-of-town for every long weekend. Despite that desire, we stayed close to home this Labour Day long weekend, but that didn’t stop us from having a pretty full schedule over our three days off. And with many of our friends away on vacations, we were flying solo for much of the weekend… just the way the Sip Advisor likes it!

We began the weekend by meeting at the VIP Theatre at the Marine Gateway Cineplex complex. Here, we were treated to fantastic service from the time we entered, all the way until we made the journey back home. While watching Sausage Party, we enjoyed a pitcher of beer (they had one craft beer on tap – Dead Frog’s Tropic Vice) with meals of buffalo chicken strips for moi and a cheese quesadilla for Mrs. Sip. Despite it costing $25 each for the movie tickets, plus food and drink fees, I would do the experience again in a heartbeat. Wednesday’s offer a date night deal, where for the usual price of admission for two fares, you also get two entrees.

vip-theatre

The next morning, we were off to Bellingham, Washington for some shopping and lunch at the Boundary Bay Brewery. Once again, I had their stellar Reuben sandwich, while Mrs. Sip tried their B.L.A.T., instead of her usual tapenade order. We enjoyed these paired with servings of the Space Dust IPA (a very good beer, which I had never tried before) and Scotch Ale, respectively.

As we waiting for our meals to come out, Mrs. Sip learned that a new operation had just opened up around the corner and so we also popped into Gruff Brewing to try a couple of their beverages. This included the Lychee Hef for me and Belgian Blonde for Mrs. Sip. We also tried a taster of their Belgian Brown Sour. The company opened their doors in mid-August and are currently operating on weekends only.

Returning to Canada, we visited a friend in Maple Ridge and while in the area, decided to visit Ridge Brewing. I’ve been pining to try their Ay Caramba! Jalapeño IPA, ever since I first heard about it and finally achieved that, even filling a growler with the brew (to be reviewed as part of the BC Beer Baron project, shortly). We also tried a number of other items on their tap list, including the new Wind and Sea Pale Ale and their Pride Beer Berliner Weiss.

life-is-like-a-jalapeno

After staying up late, watching all three movies at the Twilight Drive-In theatre in Aldergrove, Mrs. Sip and I crashed at Ma and Pa Sip’s place in Delta, before heading back to Vancouver. En route, we stopped at the Fuggles & Warlock tasting room in Richmond, where we split a couple of tasting flights, while playing a game of cribbage on their wonderful outdoor patio. Our mutual favourite of their selections was The Last Strawberry Wit, while we also sampled a few of the guest taps that were available.

Aside from our expeditions, Mrs. Sip and I were also able to find a fair bit of time for relaxing and hanging out. We took a couple long walks and discovered some sites we’d like to visit in the near future, some of which will surely show up in Sip Trips articles. Why can’t all weekends be three days long!?

Sip Trips #73: Around the World at Home

As it is with most weeks for me and Mrs. Sip, the last one was pretty darn busy. We celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary, co-hosted the Sip Advisor’s annual beer pong tournament, participated in a Disney trivia event, and had a fun meal out in New West. Here are some notes from the week that was:

Four Years Strong

Mrs. Sip has always wanted to try Lupo, an upscale Italian restaurant in downtown Vancouver. I figured with our anniversary approaching, it might finally be time to book a reservation. We had a wonderful meal – prior to watching Book of Mormon – which included a shared Bufala Mozzarella Salad to start, Ricotta Gnocchi (with pork cheeks) for Mrs. Sip and Taglierini (with wild mushrooms and chilies) for myself, and finished with a Gelato trio for dessert. The meal was washed down with a very nice bottle of Italian pinot grigio.

Italian Food

SIP-A-Dee-Do-Da

When the Sip Alliance first heard about Disney trivia, hosted at The Pint, we were keenly interested, as Disney love runs in the family. This event proved to be so popular that they kept adding dates and one night quickly grew to four, thanks to the massive waitlist. Unlike some other trivia activities around town, there was a $5 entrance price for this one, but we were just happy to have a spot.

While we finished just outside the top three teams, I was impressed with The Pint’s food menu. This includes a number of great options, perhaps best highlighted by being able to order wings, chicken strips, rice bowls, pulled pork, and other items, done 40 different ways (varying sauces and dry rubs). On Tuesday’s, you can get their Team Platters for $19, instead of $32, while pitchers are only $15. My only complaint would be that their craft beer lineup is lacking, especially for a place called The Pint.

Dipping Sauces

Taco Time

With the week being as busy as it was, Mrs. Sip and I decided we needed a little one-on-one time. Therefore, I made the trip out to New West, where the bronzed goddess works, to join her for a meal at Originals Restaurante Mexicano. We both ordered taco platters, trying a total of six different styles, with our mutual favourite being the Carnitas (slow cooked fried pork in cinnamon and orange). The restaurant also had three craft beers on tap and it was far from your typical selections. Ridge Brewing, Dogwood Brewing and Dead Frog Brewing were all represented. Best of all, the eatery has two happy hours, from 3-6 and 8-11, where these beverages can be had for only $4.

This upcoming Labour Day long weekend will provide a rare stay-cation for Mrs. Sip and I. All that really means is that there is much trouble we can get up to. Check back next week to see exactly how we handled the time off!

BC Beer Baron #146 – Moody Ales/Ridge 1880 Export Stout

Mrs. Sip and I recently attended the Irish Stout and Porter Caskival at the Yaletown Brewery, where our mutual pick for best in show was this Moody Ales/Ridge Brewing collaborative contribution.

Moody Ales seems to know their way around stouts, having previously created the Lusty Chocolate Oatmeal Stout and Russian Imperial Stout. Meanwhile, Ridge is no stranger to the stout game with their Black Mamba Milk Stout. Put all that experience together and you get the delicious 1880 Export Stout, which Mrs. Sip and I both went back for to get second servings.

Moody Ales & Ridge 1880 Export Stout

This was the first beer we tried among the 12 different casks, so it set the bar pretty high for those offerings that were to follow. The 6.6% ABV beer can be found on tap at both breweries, as well as in bomber-sized bottles available at private liquor stores.

I’ve really enjoyed each of the Caskivals (this was our third) we’ve attended at the Yaletown Brewery and I hope they keep doing them. I can’t decide if I like them to be all one style of beer, so you can compare and contrast the available brews or if a variety of styles is preferable.

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BC Beer Baron #114 – Ridge Black Mamba Milk Stout

The final stop of our recent Fraser Valley brewery crawl brought us to Ridge Brewing, where we had a very enjoyable visit, chatting with the staff and owner of the operation.

Among the samples I tried while there, was the Black Mamba Milk Stout. Normally, I’m not a fan of snakes, but history has shown that I will let that trepidation slide when beer is on the line!

Ridge Black Mamba Milk Stout

This 5% ABV, 27 IBUs offering is light and easy to drink, with hints of the flavours (chocolate/coffee) one would typically expect from a stout.

Ridge’s newest release is the Ay Caramba! Jalapeno IPA, which I can’t wait to try. Perhaps I can have my agents out that way assist me in pursuing this product.

For more BC Beer Baron articles, please visit our main page…