Sip Trips #116: Ode to a Bar

Everybody experiences tragedies and one recently hit the Sip Advisor headquarters. Our crack team learned our favourite watering hole, Jimmy’s Taphouse, would be shutting their doors for good, with very little fanfare.

First, a little history: The Sip Advisor started going to Jimmy’s shortly after moving to Downtown Vancouver in 2010. One night, a buddy and I were on the prowl for cheap beer and stumbled upon the bar, sitting down to a couple pitchers of their very reasonably priced Jimmy’s Lager. Best of all, the place was located just a block away from my and Mrs. Sip’s apartment. From there, the legend quickly grew and I introduced many family and friends to the pub.

Husband-Signs

In the years that followed, we celebrated birthdays there, my bachelor party, St. Patrick’s Day, joined them for customer appreciation nights, and it was a prime venue for pre- or post-event indulgences. Perhaps most importantly, it was the first drinking establishment we took Baby Sip to when she was only two weeks old. I had hoped one day we could return with her as an adult and enjoy a beverage together. Alas, that dream is gone.

Why did we like the place so much? Well, their happy hour was one of the best in the city, with a thorough half price food menu and very good drink deals, such as $4 beer sleeves and house wine. Their poutine – with a unique chipotle drizzle – was so decadent and addictive, I would dream about the dish. Their chicken wings were also quite good, with a nice chunk of meat on each piece, something that is hard to find, in my opinion. And their patio area was a must-hit spot, situated across from the Roman Colosseum-inspired Vancouver Library.

I had only recently returned to the pub, after some time apart to pursue other relationships, but had visited a half dozen times over the last two months. It’s as if a part of me knew I’d be saying goodbye soon and it was time to make amends.

Working Goodbye

So, what grand plans do they have for the space? They will be expanding their adjacent private liquor store. It’s a decision that still befuddles this writer. Goodbye gorgeous patio, amazing happy hour and all the fantastic times you could have still hosted. Then again, I don’t write the cheques that keep the place operating.

Of course, there will be other bars that nestle their way into my heart. But nothing is ever the same as your first love.

Rest in peace, my old friend… you will be missed.

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Sip Trips #95: Long-Haul Trucking

Last weekend, the Sip Advisor did more driving over Friday, Saturday and Sunday than I have comparatively done for the rest of 2017. This included trips across the border to Bellingham, out east to Mission and Maple Ridge, and stops in between. Of course, beverages were also part of the weekend considerations.

To celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, we ended up in a Mexican restaurant of all places. Travelling to Bellingham, Washington to enjoy comedian Lewis Black perform at the Mount Baker Theatre, we decided to dine at the nearby Taco Lobo eatery. There, I paired a massive Al Pastor Burrito with a refreshing Boundary Bay Bellingham Blonde (no green beer for the Sip Advisor this year), while Mrs. Sip tried a trio of tacos and a serving of Horchata. I guess when Cinco de Mayo rolls around, we’ll have to visit an Irish pub, in exchange.

4-20 for Alcoholics

Dinner was very tasty and the show that followed was a lot of fun. The Mount Baker Theatre is a beautiful venue, reminding me of Vancouver Orpheum Theatre. We had planned to do some grocery shopping or pop into a craft brewery before heading home, but the daylight savings time hour change really affected us this year and we were pretty exhausted after the long work week, so unfortunately had to ditch those plans.

Later in the weekend, we were in Maple Ridge to visit a friend. She suggested having lunch at the Billy Miner Pub, which is located in a prime position along the water. Here, I ordered their Teriyaki Fries (pulled pork, smothered in teriyaki sauce and covered in cheese, crispy onions and diced green pepper), which were absolutely delicious. For my beverage, I had a tough choice to make, selecting from the pub’s extensive beer menu, but settled on a pint of the delightful Pfriem Family Citrus IPA.

Somewhere in all that indulgence, we also managed to have pizza dinners, breakfasts and coffee stops with various family members. How I will ever get into swimsuit shape for upcoming vacations to Las Vegas and our cruise from Rome to Dubai, I don’t know… but I’m willing to give it my best shot!

BC Beer Baron #77 – Old Yale Screaming Banshee Irish Crème Stout

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. Since March features St. Patrick’s Day and many of us largely associate the celebration with Guinness beer, the Sip Advisor thought it would be a prime month to highlight some of B.C.’s best stout beers.

Last month, the Sip Advisor attended a birthday at Craft Beer Market, but I felt like the celebration was for me, given the restaurant’s daily special of $5 BC craft beers. Since Craft Beer Market has so many good BC brews on tap, I felt like a kid in a candy store! My second selection of the evening was this Old Yale Brewing gem.

What a delicious beer we have here in the Screaming Banshee Irish Crème Stout. Sure, the name sounds like something from an R.L. Stein Goosebumps novel, at the very least, but the brew is not something to be scared of at all. My first taste was a nice caramel flavour, followed by an Irish Crème finish that is smooth and scrumptious.

Old Yale Screaming Banshee Irish Creme Stout

The brewery suggests drizzling the Irish Crème Stout over ice cream and also has a recipe for turning the brew into cupcakes. If you’re looking for meal pairings, they include hearty stews, Irish steak pies, chili, and chocolate cakes (yes, chocolate cakes can be more than just dessert!).

I’m really becoming enamoured with Old Yale Brewing, having previously enjoyed their Sasquatch Stout. If I was still covering the Chilliwack Bruins Western Hockey League team (they moved operations to Victoria in 2011), I’d be popping into their brewery regularly for growler fills and bottle purchases. If they ever open up a tasting room, they may never get me to leave!

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

Sip Trips #11: Luck of the Irish

The greatest drinking holiday of the year has come and gone and you know the Sip Advisor celebrated in style! We started the weekend off by attending an early St. Patrick’s Day party at the Jericho Garrison. Both Monster Energy Drink and Red Truck Beer were at the event, along with live music and other entertainment. It didn’t take long for the beer pong to get started up and the Sip Advisor made his usual strong contributions to his teams.

Beer Pong Grandma

On Sunday, with a touch of bad weather hitting the ‘Wet Coast,’ we decided to make a jaunt across the border to Bellingham, Washington, for a little shopping and a visit to the Boundary Bay Brewery. Mrs. Sip and I shared a sampler of their beers, which included six varieties to try. Our consensus favourite among the collection was the Oatmeal Stout, further expanding my burgeoning love for darker beers. It also comes in at a whopping 9.6%, so you’ll feel it soon enough!

It was also at Boundary Bay Brewery that the Sip Advisor finally joined the Instagram world. Feel free to follow me and my adventures in boozing… so long as I can find a wireless signal to get attached to. No data plan for this guy, I’m a free internet man!

Tuesday, of course, was St. Patrick’s Day… a national holiday for some and what should be for others, such as the Sip Advisor! The occasion brings up a lot of the same questions you hear around New Year’s Eve: Who will you celebrate with? More importantly, where will you take your partying ways? We decided, in that case, to repeat our New Year’s Eve plans, by celebrating at Craft Beer Market.

St. Patrick's Day Next

Decked out in our best emerald ensembles – or for some of us, the only green clothing option we have hidden away – we did what the Irish do best and drank our faces off! Mrs. Sip tried the just tapped Stanley Park Brewery Irish Stout Cask, while we also ordered one rack of Craft’s Around the World Sampler, which featured a grouping of wheat beers, followed by the Local Sampler, comprised of stouts and porters.

The sampler menus don’t always hit home for me, but these two sets looked good, with the Around the World containing four of six beers that I’ve tried before and are among my favourites, while the Local had some dark beer options that go perfectly with St. Patrick’s Day. Us guys topped the evening off with a shot of chilled Jameson Irish Whiskey, which was the perfect nightcap!

The fun didn’t stop with St. Patrick’s Day ending, as Mrs. Sip and her ladies met at their usual Joey’s Restaurant stop prior to a theatre evening and somehow, the Sip Advisor got invited along for a drink and a snack. Joey’s has the best skinny fries this side of McDonald’s and a bunch of their other eats are pretty good. Their happy hour specials are a highlight, although we’ve found that the deals vary depending on which location you’re at.

Drinking Time Sun

In liquor news, a lot of hullabaloo was made recently about how much water craft breweries are using. This is an absolutely ridiculous attack on the industry. Does Starbucks get any guff for how much H2O they’re pilfering for their disgusting beverages? And what about macro breweries which, by the nature of their name, have to be using more water than smaller operations?

As Ma Sip pointed out, the craft breweries are responsible for creating a ton of new jobs (from brewery staff, to servers at their tasting rooms) and you also have to consider Mrs. Sip’s arguments about increased tourism and all the benefits that can have on an area. Just look at how well Portland is doing, as well as other communities that are growing the industry.

Lastly, there’s one local product the Sip Advisor was made aware of this week: a collaboration brew between Persephone Brewing and Yellow Dog Beer. This Lightly Smoked Pilsner has me salivating for a taste and I’ll have to be vigilant in tracking it down!

March 14 – Nutty Irishman

Party Places

To this day, the Sip Advisor is still proud to say that he not only celebrated St. Patrick’s Day, live from Dublin, Ireland… but that he also survived the trip! You don’t have to go all the way to the Emerald Island to get your green on, though. Here are the Top 5 most unique St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, from around the world:

#5: Prohibited Partying

The idea of a dry St. Patrick’s Day celebration seems absolutely ridiculous, but that’s exactly what the officials of Hoboken, New Jersey have tried to accomplish with their annual parade. Public intoxication has grown to such extremes for the event that a zero tolerance policy was enacted. To the Sip Advisor, it all just sounds like a challenge: to get as wasted as possible, while avoiding the establishment and their exorbitant ($2,000 minimum) fines. It would be like the alcoholic version of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off!

meanwhile-in-ireland

#4: Shamrock Shake

In the otherwise non-descript town of O’Neill, Nebraska, is the world’s largest shamrock. The massive clover was originally painted in the middle of the road, at the intersection of Route 281 and Highway 20. It has since been reinstalled as coloured concrete, ensuring its prosperity. Founded by Irish national, John O’Neill, the place celebrates in some unique ways, including a Children’s Literature Festival, the reading of Dr. Seuss’s ‘Green Eggs and Ham,’ and a massive fish fry.

#3: High Flying

This one may be hard for the average person to achieve, as I’m sure you need some serious credentials just to be launched into space. Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield didn’t let floating high above the world, aboard the International Space Station in 2013, disrupt his celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. Hadfield decked himself out in green, performed the song “Danny Boy,” and snapped some photos of Ireland from outside the earth’s atmosphere.

Green Meaning

#2: Fun in the Sun

The island of Montserrat – part of the West Indies – is known as the “Emerald Island of the Caribbean.” It is one of the few places in the world, outside of Ireland, where St. Patrick’s Day is a holiday (Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada, being the others). How did this Caribbean nation become a hot bed of Irish activity and celebration? Well, it was established by Irish refugees, duh! If you visit, your passport will be stamped with a shamrock and you can celebrate a weeklong St. Patrick’s Day festival with a calypso flavour.

#1: Short and Sweet

While the St. Patrick’s Day parade I witnessed in Dublin wasn’t the most thrilling thing I’ve ever seen, it did provide a taste of Irish culture. The festivities in Dripsey, Cork, may have been more up my alley, though. Dripsey is home to the shortest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the world, stretching just 100 yards and starting from one of the town’s pubs, while finishing at the other. That means, you can grab a pint of Guinness at the start and be ready for another round at the finish!

Super Saturday Shot Day: Nutty Irishman

Nutty Irishman Shot

  • Rim glass with Nuts
  • 0.75 oz Irish Crème
  • 0.75 oz Frangelico
  • Garnish with Nuts

Where have you celebrated St. Patrick’s Day? If you’ve hit any of the preceding places, let the Sip Advsior know how it was. You never know where our next travel plans will take us!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I was hoping to rim the glass with Lucky Charms, but I couldn’t justify shelling out $7 for a box of cereal that I don’t really need. The shot was pretty good and any lover of nutty flavours will enjoy it. Best of all, I got to enjoy a ton of Honey Roasted Peanuts in the process of making the shooter!