Sip Trips #146: Wedding Season

Mrs. Sip and I (along with Baby Sip) made the most of the recent B.C. Day long weekend. In fact, today’s entire wrap-up occurred on only one day of it. The rest of our time lately has been spent preparing to move out of our Downtown Vancouver condo. We’re still making time to squeeze some fun into our lives, though, so here’s what we got up to:

On Sunday, we got together with visiting friends for brunch at Craft Beer Market. I had a delicious order of Chicken & Waffles, paired with the Electric Bicycle Dig Dug Beet Juice Ale. I have never had a beer of this type before and was impressed with how good it was. This was also my first experience with Electric Bicycle Brewing and it has increased my desire to visit their recently-opened tasting room. Mrs. Sip’s beer selection, Storm Watermelon Pilsner, was also a fantastic beverage.

beets-natures-candy

Next up, we visited Big Rock Urban Eatery, where I indulged in another new (at least to me) menu item. The Songbird Saisaweizen was an interesting blend of saison and hefeweizen that I found to be very refreshing in the summer heat. The flavours were also quite nice and if we had the time, I would have elected to order a jug of the suds, rather than just a pint.

We wrapped the day with a wedding at the gorgeous Hycroft Manor. This was our first Persian nuptials, so it was fun to learn about another culture’s traditions. What we also loved about this wedding was that it only included the ceremony and a cocktail and canape reception afterwards. Rather than lose an entire day to a wedding, we were able to celebrate the newlyweds and still had our entire evening open (although Mrs. Sip took that time to crash after a hellacious July). As for that cocktail reception, it was open bar and the Sip Advisor did what he does best, indulging in multiple servings of 33 Acres of Sunshine, Innis & Gunn Bourbon Barrel-Aged Scotch Ale and Whistler Rescue Session Ale (a nice touch given the bride and groom’s passion and support of animal rescue operations).

Tomorrow, Mrs. Sip and I leave for Halifax, Nova Scotia for another wedding this weekend. On the itinerary are a self-guided craft brewery excursion, a food tour and, of course, the wedding, which also features an open bar reception. Look out east coast, here we come!

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Sip Trips #145: Hop Pursuit

A couple weekends back, Mrs. Sip and I joined friends at their family cabin in Birch Bay, Washington for a little getaway. To keep hydrated, I bought both the Hale’s Brewing mixed six-pack (Ale, IPA and Weizen) and the 21st Amendment Brewing Variety Pack (Hell or High Watermelon Wheat Ale, Blah Blah Blah Imperial IPA, Brew Free or Die Blood Orange IPA, Brew Free or Die IPA, Down to Earth Session IPA). Both were good, with the 21st Amendment case definitely being geared towards hopheads.

With only a couple months left to achieve my goal of getting Baby Sip to 52 breweries before her first birthday (one for each week of her life), we popped into Four Winds Brewing on Monday, joined by Cousin Sip. I had glasses of their Velo Pale Ale and Operis Brett Saison. This is my hometown brewery, so it was nice to finally get Baby Sip there and the beverages were pretty good, to boot.

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The next day, I tagged along with Ma and Pa Sip for a shopping trip in Washington. We ate lunch at Bellingham’s Chuckanut Brewing, where I enjoyed a delicious BLT and glass of their Willis Helles Lager. The sandwich was good and the beer decent. I love that craft breweries in Bellingham that also offer food have Tim’s Potato Chips as a side dish.

Keeping the streak going, on Wednesday, Mrs. Sip, Sis-in-Law Sip and I visited Strange Fellows Brewing, pushing our brewery tally up to 42 with eight weeks left in our pursuit. At Strange Fellows, I had the Guardian White IPA, which was very refreshing. The girls selected the El Jefe Wheat Ale and liked it.

Wheat Smoothie

As for drinking at home, I recently grabbed Vancouver Island Brewing’s Summer Outpost Mix Pack, containing their Juan de Fuca Cerveza, Twisted Stalk Blackberry Helles, Ukidama Lychee Saison, and Broken Islands Hazy IPA. I really enjoyed this collection, particularly the Helles and Hazy IPA.

The upcoming long weekend has a few items on the docket and then we’re off to Halifax, Nova Scotia to explore some east coast breweries. We have two weddings to attend during this time, so there will be plenty of drinking and celebrating on the horizon!

Sip Trips #144: Time to Celebrate

Mrs. Sip and I have been so busy recently that it took a couple weeks to get around to sitting at the computer to record our latest adventures. Here’s what we’ve been up to lately.

A couple weeks ago, we attended the Vancouver Canucks Summer Showdown, a game contested between the team’s prospects. With our season ticket membership, we were entitled to four free tickets, so we quickly selected seats, which were disappearing rapidly. What we learned later, was that the game also included a free entree and beverage, which later became two drinks with alcohol options including wine and beer (albeit Budweiser). For our entrée, both Mrs. Sip and I went with the Prime Rib Sandwich from Carve, after being teased by in-game promotions for the food stall all season long. Other options included: Chicago Dogs from Steamers, Chicken Lover’s or Cheese Pizza from Pizza Hut, Poke Salmon from Catch, Bacon Cheddar or Veggie Burger Platter from Triple O’s, and Smoked Meat Poutine from Crisp. As if that wasn’t enough, free ice cream and popcorn could be found throughout the evening. The event was a lot of fun, with my only suggestion being to have beers available at unused beer stations to alleviate the food lineups, which grew long with many just wanting to use a drink ticket.

Free Food

Two nights later, we were at BC Place Stadium to watch the Vancouver Whitecaps defeat the Chicago Fire. While at the game, I had a large serving of Stanley Park Trail Hopper IPA, which cost a whopping $16. I know event pricing can be wacky, but I feel things are way out of hand when you can get an entire six-pack and more for the same price as one beer at a game.

Onto some reasonably priced fare, last week we attended Disney Trivia at Pat’s Pub (presented by Tipsy Trivia Vancouver). While we had to buy tickets (costing $10, plus tax each) to this trivia, we had a good time and Mrs. Sip even won one of the raffle prizes, taking home a Corona cooler bag that was filled with two t-shirts and a hat. The food at Pat’s Pub was very decently priced, with us each ordering $10 Chicken Strips and Fries that really hit the spot. The bar is also home to Hastings Mill Brewing, so we ordered very tasty pints of their Highland Scottish Ale and Strawberry Honey Hefeweizen, throughout the night.

disney-princess

The next night, I celebrated a friend’s stag party at one of the Playland 19+ Nights. We decided to go with the $81 VIP ticket (compared to $31 for general admission), which provided us with front of the line access to 10 rides, as well as a private bar. Drinks available included Parallel 49 beers, well drinks, and amusement park-inspired specialty cocktails, such as Sno-Cone and Candy Floss martinis. It had been a number of years since I had attended Playland and we had a great time riding the old wooden coaster and watching the burlesque show.

While the above doesn’t look like much activity over the last two weeks, my liver and weary eyes can attest that we’ve been busy. I’ll wrap with some recent purchases, which include the Parallel 49 Fanny Pack, and Fernie/Four Winds Sirocco Rauchbier, which have kept me quite happy in recent times.

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.

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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!?

Sip Trips #142: On and Off the Field

I’m always amazed at how quickly the summer fills up with events. This week alone, Mrs. Sip and I have received numerous Facebook event invites and that combines with other commitments to clog the calendar. Don’t get us wrong, we enjoy the chaos, but sometimes you long for the shut-in winter months. Wait, we do a ton of stuff then as well. Anyway, here’s what happened last week:

Our week began with an unexpected entry into the weekly trivia at Darby’s Gastown. The trivia was so unexpected that I was only able to attend the second half of the quiz. I still managed to enjoy a serving of Luppolo Kveik IPA, along with the bar’s homemade potato chips and a soft pretzel.

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The next night, we were back in Gastown for The Portside Pub’s Cask Wars event. The competition was free to attend, so long as you RSVP’d for the limited tickets, and saw 11 breweries compete to drain their cask first and earn at tap at the popular bar. Upon entering, attendees received their first drink ticket on the house, with additional tickets costing a very reasonable $4. Mrs. Sip and I bought four tickets, but somehow ended up trying 10 of the offerings available. The eventual winner was Coal Harbour’s Dino Candy Raspberry Sour with Gin Soaked Lime Leaves (available in bomber-sized bottles). We had a fantastic time at this event, also enjoying orders of their East Coast Chowder and Garlic Fingers. One issue I hope is fixed for future Cask Wars (and this applies to all beer events) is I’d like to see every brewery have a sign telling what their beer is. Most do, but some don’t and I don’t like standing in line to find out what beer they’re serving, when it might be something I have no interest in trying.

On the weekend, our baseball team was involved in a tournament at Burnaby’s Riverway Sport Complex. While we didn’t have any favourable results over our games, we had fun, particularly at the onsite beer garden. Drink tickets were six for $20 and just like previous tournaments, Hearthstone Brewing was on hand to keep players hydrated with their Cali Common (my beverage of choice) and Rizzla Rice Lager. There was also a variety of ciders available for the non-beer drinkers.

Following day one of the tourney, Mrs. Sip and I awaited the return of Baby Sip from our friends at Steel & Oak Brewing. We each had a glass of their Smoked Hefeweizen, before splitting the Weekend Plans Peach Tart Pale Ale. When our friend’s arrived, I was also able to sample a sip of the Blackthorn Strong Ale.

babysitting-level-pro

Looking to get outside and enjoy the nice weather this week, I took Baby Sip over to Granville Island, hoping to visit Granville Island Brewing. Unfortunately, their tasting room was closed for a private event. Making lemonade out of lemons, I made my way over to the nearby Liberty Distillery for a cocktail. I selected The McClay (Railspur No. 1 Whiskey, lime juice, Thai bitters, pineapple-jalapeno cordial), which was a beautiful drink.

This weekend is highlighted by Canada Day, which has become one of my favourite drinking holidays. Hopefully the weather holds up enough for the Sip Advisor to host what has become an annual pool party at Ma and Pa Sip’s place. The beverages will certainly be flowing, regardless!

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 #140: Getting Our Groove Back

Back from our European travels, we got back into the swing of things at home the last couple weeks, trying new restaurants and products, while also attending the odd event. Here’s what we’ve been up to lately:

I kicked things off by signing up for Legacy Liquor Store’s free Negroni Week event. In half hour sessions, visitors received a sample of the Negroni cocktail (Gin, Campari, Sweet Vermouth), as well as a personally etched cocktail glass from Campari. The drink serving was only about a sip’s worth, but it was neat to get the etched glass and it was all at no charge, so can’t really complain. Before leaving the store, I grabbed a bomber of Tin Whistle Obsession Hibiscus Saison, which I’m looking forward to drinking when the weather takes a turn for the better.

Negroni Decisions

The next day, Mrs. Sip and I enjoyed lunch at the Sapperton District Taphouse, after hearing about the tavern from a baseball teammate. Here, I had a tasty order of Chicken Strips and Fries, pairing it with a sleeve of Parkside Graffiti IPA, which was on special. Mrs. Sip ordered their Slow & Low Sliders, which were also good. Looking at the restaurant’s events calendar, they are featuring a number of tap takeovers and trivia nights over the summer, so Mrs. Sip and I will likely return soon.

Later that day, Ma and Pa Sip returned from their month-long road trip of the southwest United States, bringing back two crowlers (growler-sized cans, for those unfamiliar with the term) from Boneyard Brewing in Bend, Oregon. Boneyard is one of my favourite breweries in the world, so I was very happy to receive their Notorious (80 IBUs, 11.5% ABV) and 7-Day WKND (70 IBUs, 7% ABV) IPAs. I’ve only been able to drink the latter of those two, thus far, and it was spectacular.

Before returning home from a couple days at Ma and Pa Sip’s place, we also popped into Central City Brewing to pick up their 2018 Across the Nation Mixed Pack. I really enjoyed the 2017 edition – released to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday and featuring a beer brewed in collaboration with a brewery from each of the country’s provinces and territories (minus Nunavit) – and can’t wait to work my way through this year’s case. The set is highlighted by such intriguing beers as a Cherry Milkshake IPA, Cranberry Belgian IPA and Salted Caramel Lager. I do note that this year’s collection is in canned form, rather than bottles.

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We wrapped up the week by celebrating Mother-in-Law Sip’s birthday at Craft Beer Market, where folks celebrating their birthday get their age as a percentage off their bill. I began the meal with a serving of Andina Jalea Guava Saison, which I enjoyed, despite being my backup choice. I had wanted to order the Parallel 49 Alakazam Szechuan Peppercorn Saison, but although it was advertised on their online menu, it wasn’t on the hardcopy version, as the restaurant had already moved to their next rotating taps. For dinner, I had the Crispy Chicken Sandwich with a glass of Powell Street Lazy D’Haze IPA. Both were fantastic, as was Ma Sip’s Brewmaster’s Chicken Sandwich, which I was given the leftovers of.

This upcoming week is highlighted by my very first Father’s Day, which should be fun. We also have a couple more events on the horizon, so things are starting to heat up at the Sip Advisor headquarters!