Sip Trips #188: Sea to Sky

Taking the last week of August off to celebrate my and Mrs. Sip’s wedding anniversary and make a short getaway to Whistler with the Sip Family, was a perfect way to end the summer. We crammed a lot of stuff into a limited time, so let’s get right to the action:

Prior to our little vacation, we had a bit of activity that should be documented. A couple recent purchases included a six-pack of Spectrum Strawberry Ice Cream Pale Ale, which may be the best beer I’ve had all summer. It’s not too strong on the strawberry flavour, but just enough that you can enjoy it. I also picked up the Nude Vodka Soda Pride Pack for Mrs. Sip to try. It included six flavous (Cran Raspberry, Raspberry Lemon, Lime, Black Cherry, Mango, Peach), giving her a chance to sample a good variety of the brand’s offerings and decide if she wants to do more vodka soda products in the future.

Vodka Soda

We also dropped into Steamworks Brewing in Burnaby one evening. There, I had a delicious Imperial Red Ale, while Mrs. Sip ordered a flight, which included their Refresh Raspberry and Lemon Ale, Killer Cucumber Ale, Hazy Pale Ale and Black Angel IPA. We both particularly liked the Cucumber Ale, which I’ve had before, but never on tap.

The first portion of my week off was a night without kids, enjoying an overnight stay in Downtown Vancouver. We began with some happy hour snacks at 131 Water Kitchen & Bar. Our food included Crispy Chicken Bites and Veggie Spring Roll, which I paired with a 131 Lager. The beer went down like juice, while the food was good and enough to tide me over for our upcoming dinner.

To stock our hotel room, we picked up a tall can four-pack of Barkerville Sluice Juice Hazy Pale Ale, a bomber of Fuggles & Warlock Valkyrie Belgian Vineyard Ale and a bottle of wine. Unfortunately, our room’s fridge wasn’t really much of a cooling device, so we didn’t get to enjoy our treats as we had originally hoped.

Hotel Fridge

For dinner, we went to Lift Bar Grill View in Coal Harbour. Arriving just in time for a quick happy hour order, we each got a glass of house rosé, an appetizer of Humboldt Squid and an Oyster each (for aphrodisiacal reasons!). Mrs. Sip then went with the Halibut for dinner, while I elected to have the Burger. With my meal, I had a pint of Parkside Dusk Pale Ale. The restaurant also kindly gave us each a glass of dessert wines on the house, as a little anniversary delight.

The next morning, we had brunch at Bellaggio Cafe, where Mrs. Sip had Eggs Benedict and I went with the Chicken & Brussels Waffle. I also enjoyed a 3-ounce Caesar, which got the day off to a good start. Our activities while in the area, included the Dimensions Art Gallery, where visitors can become part of the art installations and solving a cold murder case with Vancouver Mysteries. I would recommend both to anyone looking for something to do in Vancouver.

After a brief respite, we were on the road to Whistler, which I hadn’t visited since New Year’s 2012-2013. On our way up, we stopped at the Howe Sound Brewpub in Squamish for lunch. There, I ordered the Hopraiser West Coast IPA, while Mrs. Sip went with the Alpine Traverse New World Tripel. To eat, we shared the Brewer’s Select Pizza, topped with pepperoni, bacon, and chorizo. We also received a taster of the Pamplemousse Pale Ale and grabbed tall cans of King Heffy Imperial Hefeweizen and Jam Session Raspberry Cream Ale to go.

Summer Vacation

Before leaving Squamish, we also went to A-Frame Brewing, which only had a few of their own beers on tap. We put together a flight of their Okanagan Lake Cream Ale, Sproat Lake Pale Ale, Shuswap Lake West Coast IPA and finished the set with guest tap House of Funk Atomic Jam. The brewery had a food truck onsite, which allowed us to get Toddler Sip a Churro treat for dessert.

Our dinner that night was at The Keg, since we desired a slice of Billy Miner Pie. Our food selections included Prime Rib Sliders for me and a Lobster Tail for Mrs. Sip. I paired my meal with a Chili Mango Margarita that really hit the spot. Of course, that decadent Billy Miner Pie capped the meal, which the restaurant generously comped since it was our anniversary.

Our main event for the night was checking out the Vallea Lumina Light Walk. Words and photos can’t really describe how neat of an attraction this is. Set on a dark mountainous trail, you travel through some amazing light and sound experiences that make you feel connected to the surrounding nature. I’d love to revisit in the winter, if possible.

The next day, we left the village to explore a couple nearby breweries. First up, was Whistler Brewing, where we put together a flight of their The Blonde Spruce Goose, Wayside Apricot Wit, Chestnut Ale and Black Tusk Ale. It was a solidly built flight, if I don’t say so myself. The Sunny Daze Yuzu IPA, which I had wanted to try, wasn’t on tap, so I grabbed a tall can of it for the road and really enjoyed as a breakfast beer the next day.

Coast Mountain Brewing was our second stop and we ordered two flights to be able to try eight of their 11 brews. Our boards consisted of the Day Dream IPA, The Surveyor IPA, Forecast Pale Ale, Green Run Session IPA, Vanilla Bean Stout, Woodnutt Brown Ale, Sunbreak Saison, and Drink the Rainbow (made with Skittles). I feel like doing flights is a great way to try as much as possible, but a full serving is the best way to truly appreciate a beer, as palate fatigue seems to set in when we go the flight route.

Day three was my negotiated “don’t have to drive anywhere day”, so we spent the day exploring the village. For lunch, we ate at the High Mountain BrewHouse, where between Mrs. Sip and I, we had pints of their Belgian Tripel, Belgian Wit, Alta Lake Ale and Grizzly Brown Ale. Food seemed like a good idea with all those drinks, so we ordered the Four Cheese Pizza.


Sadly, our stay in Whistler came to an end, but we weren’t ready to go home yet. We journeyed to Pemberton to hit a couple breweries there, starting with The Beer Farmers. Following our flight, made up of the Locals Only Lager, Farmers Daughter Biere de Table, Cover Crop Hazy IPA and Dunkelweizen, we completed the farm’s sunflower maze, which was a lot of fun, particularly for Toddler Sip.

Next up, was Pemberton Brewing, for a quick flight (U-Pick Strawberry Pale Ale, Cream Puff NE Pale Ale, Upside Down Brut IPA, Barb’s Nice Pear Rhubarb Pear Sour). We also brought home a bomber of Cream Puff NE Pale Ale, which will be a nice way to bring up memories of the journey, when we finally get around to enjoy it.

Road Trip

On our drive home, we stopped in Squamish again, to hit Backcountry Brewing. There, we had a fantastic Fig & Prosciutto Pizza (as well as an appetizer of Hushpuppies), to go along with a flight of beers. The flight included the Go Get Yourself Some Cheap Sunglasses IPA, Living in a Van Down By the River ISA, I’ll Take You to the Candy Shop Peach Sour and Patches O’Houlihan Porter. To go, Mrs. Sip grabbed a tall can four-pack of I’ll Take You to the Candy Shop Peach Sour and single tall can of Case of the Mondays Peach-Pineapple-Guava Sour.

Eight breweries over four days, completes to checklist for Squamish, Whistler and Pemberton. The expedition brought Toddler Sip’s number up to 96 breweries visited and Baby Sip up to 27. Parenting done right!

Beer of the Week #6 – Howe Sound Devil’s Elbow IPA

On the way home from the Sip Syndicate’s recent weekend away in Pemberton, BC, we stopped into the Howe Sound Brew Pub in Squamish for a meal. There, I was able to enjoy a pint of this favourite beer, which was the drink feature of the day.

The Devil’s Elbow IPA is an easy to find brew, with strong hop flavours and bitterness. The 6% ABV, 68 IBUs beverage is available in Howe Sound’s patented one-litre re-sealable swing top bottles, as well as on tap at a number of locations around the province.


Named for the grade four rapid on the Elaho River, near Squamish, the beer isn’t nearly as treacherous. The moniker has also been used for Howe Sound’s Vancouver tasting room and restaurant, which is a preferred stop for the Sip Advisor.

It was great to finally visit the Squamish brew pub, after a couple years of wanting to check it out. The IPA has earned the brewery silver and bronze medals at the Canadian Brewing Awards, as well as a silver at the North American Brewing Awards.

For more Beer of the Week articles, please visit our main page…

BC Beer Baron #351 – Howe Sound Father John’s Winter 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. Already the best time of the year, the fact it’s Winter Ale season makes it that much better.

When Mrs. Sip constructed a craft beer advent calendar for me last year, this Howe Sound Brewing beer was placed in the prime Christmas Eve spot. I have to say it performed well then and continues to hold up well as a winter season warmer.

The Father John’s Winter Ale features a unique blend of spices mixed with vanilla, molasses, honey and Demerara sugar. The 7% ABV, 17 IBUs beverage is malty and really brings the spice game to the forefront, both in taste and aroma.

Howe Sound Father John's Winter Ale

Available in the brewery’s signature one-litre bottles (complete with swing top cap), the product is good for three glasses of beer. The product can be found at BC Liquor Stores and is named for Howe Sound’s original brewer, John Mitchell.

Also on sale from Howe Sound during the Christmas shopping season is the Carton of Coal Dark Beer Variety Pack. This set includes the Pothole Filler Imperial Stout, Wee Beastie Oak Aged Scotch Ale, and Megadestroyer Imperial Licorice Stout.

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

BC Beer Baron #321 – Howe Sound Howe Sound Lager

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. With all the crazy brewing options out there, lagers sometimes get lost in the shuffle. That’s why the Sip Advisor is giving them their own feature week. After all, we should support and give thanks to the beers that brought many of us to this craft beer dance!

A couple months back, at the Tip N’ Taste event in Langley, the Sip Alliance had a good long chat with the representatives from Howe Sound Brewing. As the evening ended, they gifted us with a few cans of this beer, which came in handy for the planned after party.

The Howe Sound Lager is a solid, refreshing beer. You know, the kind that even the pickiest of drinkers can enjoy. We all have them in our life, so pay it forward and give them a good option. With the word ‘BRILLIANT’ incorporated in the beer’s label design, the beverage has a lot to live up to, but will leave most more than satisfied.


This Dortmund-style lager comes with stats of 5.5% ABV and 18 IBUs. It’s available in canned six-packs, including at BC Liquor Stores for the low, low price of $10.99 (before taxes and deposit). The beer was recognized with bronze medals at the 2011 and 2013 Canadian Brewing Awards in the Kellerbier category.

The Sip Advisor finds it funny that many of us likely had our first beer in the form of a lager, but this style of brew is largely absent from the craft beer scene. Some have gone so far as to call the variety “endangered”, but hopefully that will change with time and experimentation.

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

BC Beer Baron #290 – Howe Sound Pumpkineater Smoked Imperial Pumpkin Ale

Pumpkin Week may be over, but why not include one bonus pumpkin brew, sampled at last night’s BC Beer Awards. This tasty treat comes from Howe Sound Brewing and was among the best drinks we tried at the event.

The Pumpkineater Smoked Imperial Pumpkin Ale takes the brewery’s Pumpkineater Imperial Pumpkin Ale and adds smoked malts to the recipe.  The 8% ABV, 19 IBUs beverage is a nice hybrid between tastes of roasted pumpkin spice and smoke on the backend.


The smoked version is only available on tap, but the original Pumpkineater Imperial Pumpkin Ale is available in one-litre bottles at BC Liquor Stores and other private location. Both varieties first debuted in 2015.

Make sure to pick a bottle or pint from the patch as soon as possible. It will only be available throughout the fall and is perfect for the season, thanks to its roasted flavours and warming high alcohol content.

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

BC Beer Baron #263 – Howe Sound Log Driver Juniper Rye IPA

At the recent Tip N’ Taste event in Langley, Mrs. Sip and I spent a fair bit of time at the Howe Sound Brewing station, chatting with one of their reps, while sampling this beer and others from their extensive lineup.

The Log Driver Juniper Rye IPA is an American-style India Pale Ale that is brewed using juniper berries. This gives the beverage a pine flavour, similar to what drinkers can expect when enjoying gin-based cocktails. The brew is on the lighter end of IPAs with an ABV of only 5.5%, but it does come in at a hoppy 45 IBUs.


The spring seasonal is available in Howe Sound’s patented 1-litre bottles, which are good for three full pints. When available, the product can be found at both BC Liquor Stores and private operations. Its run was only to last until May 31, 2016, but I’ve seen it around and tasted it in July, so it could still be out there.

The IPA is meant to salute BC’s vast and beautiful nature, as well as log drivers (the brave folks who rode logs from forest to sawmills, via water currents) from times past. The term ‘high and dry’ can be traced back to this profession and meant an unsuccessful log drive, where yields were lost for a year thanks to dried waterways and having to wait for the next snowmelt.

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

BC Beer Baron #168 – Howe Sound Garibaldi Honey Pale Ale

On a recent visit to Central City’s Vancouver Brew Pub, I paired my usual Crispy Crunch chicken burger order with this release from Howe Sound Brewing.

The Garibaldi Honey Pale Ale was light and sweet, thanks to being brewed with all-natural Fraser Valley honey. I would have preferred more of a hoppy punch from the 5% ABV, 16 IBUs beverage, but I understand beers have to be made in all sizes to satisfy the masses. All in all, I still enjoyed the overall drinking experience.

Howe Sound Garibaldi Honey Pale Ale

Available in one-litre bottles, providing enough beer for three full “glasses of glory”, the Honey Pale Ale has taken home both a gold medal at the North American Brewing Awards and a bronze at the Canadian Brewing Awards. The brew is a member of Howe Sound’s year round core lineup, making it relatively easy to locate.

The beer was created to honour Mount Garibaldi, which was named after Italian general and politician Guiseppe Garibaldi, who unified Italy in 1860. Mount Garibaldi is the highest point of the Sea-to-Sky region and is a potentially active volcano which looms over Squamish (home to Howe Sound).

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

BC Beer Baron #66 – Howe Sound Rail Ale Nut Brown

That beer name may be a mouthful, but this Howe Sound Brewing beverage is certainly worth it!

The Rail Ale Nut Brown is highlighted by flavours of chocolate, caramel, and coffee. The beer is light on both ABV and IBU’s, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be enjoyed.

Howe Sound Rail Ale Nut Brown

This would be a perfect brew for rail enthusiast Pa Sip (if he was into beers other than the ones found in Germany), as its logo features a cute little train huffing and puffing its way along a mountainous backdrop. The product is named in recognition of British Columbia’s long and storied rail history, particularly in the Squamish region, which is also home to Howe Sound Brewing.

As with the rest of the brewery’s line-up, this beer is available in one-litre bottles, with a re-closable plug. I recently learned that this style of serving is known as a ‘Pot-Stopper’ and was popular in Europe and North America in the 1950’s.

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

BC Beer Baron #36 – Howe Sound Sky Pilot Northwest Pale Ale

Earlier this week, the Sip Family gathered for a meal at Dunn’s Famous BC, where among their menu of smoked meat sandwiches and poutine, are a few products courtesy of Howe Sound Brewing.

The Sky Pilot Northwest Pale Ale (known as Dunn’s Pale Ale at the restaurant) was a solid beer pitcher choice, perfect for our impending feast. At 5% ABV and 30 IBU’s, it’s an easy drinking ale that can be shared amongst eclectic tastes.

Howe Sound Sky Pilot Northwest Pale Ale

The beer is named in honour of Sky Pilot Mountain, which is said to bring visitors and nature together in the Sea-to-Sky region of B.C. It is also brewed in collaboration with the Sea-to-Sky Gondola, which operates in Howe Sound’s home of Squamish and takes guests on a 10-minute journey from base to peak. Once at the top, there are a number of activities to partake in, including walking trails, snowshoeing , a tube park, skiing and snowboarding, and biking in the summer months.

The beer’s bottle features a car from said gondola, as well as a tribute to the attraction’s opening day of May 16, 2014.

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