Sip Trips 153: Market Madness

Christmas is rapidly approaching and the Sip Family has been busy. From Vancouver to New West to Langley, we’ve been all over the place in recent times, taking in as much of the holiday season as we can. Here’s what we’ve been up to:

We’re now a couple weeks into Storm Brewing’s 12 Fills of Christmas and the lineup thus far has been delicious and diverse. Week one combined the Must Be Christmas Grape Lambic and Christmas Tree Pilsner, followed by the Dark! The Herald Angel’s Sing CDA and Santa’s Christmas Spiced Ale for week two. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the month has in store. On one of my visits to get my fills, I also sampled their Eggnog Latte Stout, which was quite interesting.

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As for events, a couple weeks back we attended the Vancouver Christmas Market, where I enjoyed some liqueur tastings from Okanagan Spirits. I wasn’t really into the market this year, with us no longer living nearby. We get free tickets annually, so still checked it out, but I don’t know if that will be enough to draw me back next year.

What I enjoyed more, was our visit to Mahony & Sons prior to the Christmas Market. There, I ordered a couple pints of Stanley Park Layer Up Winter Wheat Ale – a wonderful beer for those who haven’t tried it yet – along with the pub’s very tasty Poutine. Everything was on happy hour pricing, making for even more merriment.

The next night, we participated in Disney Trivia at The Pint. Having had dinner at Chronic Tacos beforehand (I adore their Al Pastor Burrito), I was looking to get my drink on and that came in the form of a trio of pitchers, including two of the Whistler Chestnut Ale. The pitchers were on special at $16 each, but were only 50-ounce pours, rather than the traditional 60 ounces. As for the trivia, we didn’t fare so well, but it was still a fun evening.

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We wrapped the work week by visiting the New West Christmas Market. What was nice about this market is that there was no entry fee and it was largely housed under an overpass, keeping folks dry in the case of rain. That said, it got really busy by the time I arrived to join Mrs. Sip and the live band was loud, so chatting was difficult. We left a short time later, after downing a selection from Steel & Oak Brewing, which Mrs. Sip tells me she thinks was their Dark Lager.

The next night, Mrs. Sip and I hosted a group of friends for a classic turkey dinner. This was the first time we’d ever cooked a turkey on our own and I have to say the experience was mostly positive, save for a few rookie mistakes and a lot of Google searches. It also gave us a whole new respect for the work our families have done when preparing dinners in the past. For the party, we shared our latest Storm fills, as well as the Whistler Winter Dunkel four-pack I picked up. This is the first time I’ve seen the scrumptious beer that tastes like a Terry’s Chocolate Orange in any format other than a bomber-sized bottle.

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We closed the weekend with a visit to Township 7 Winery in Langley for their Member Open House. I spent most of the time chasing Baby Sip throughout the tasting room, but did note the event provided a very generous serving of snacks and wines for the members.

The Sip Advisor is now on holiday break and there will be much mischief to get up to, as we have a Canucks game this weekend and then all the fun that Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day usually offer up. It’s gonna get boozy!

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Sip Trips #135: Fine Foods

Sometimes it amazes me when I put together these weekly wrap-ups just how much we do in a seven-day span. This past week was no different as you will see below:

The week began with me joining Pa Sip at Uncle Buck’s Fish Bowl & Grill at the impressive Tsawwassen Mills Mall. This unique eatery offers great food and bowling with an underwater theme. To eat, I enjoyed a delicious Shrimp Po’Boy, highlighted by a spicy aioli and of course, the breaded shrimp. I look forward to taking Baby Sip back here in the future for a game of ten-pin.

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With friends coming over for dinner on Saturday, I picked up Stanley Park Brewing’s Summer Mix Pack. New to the lineup this year are the Trail Hopper IPA and Salted Watermelon Sour. Both are pretty good and I’ve always enjoyed Stanley Park’s mixed cases because of their 2×6 format, rather than the typical 4×3.

On Sunday, Mrs. Sip and I visited 33 Acres Brewing for a beverage. While she had her all-time fave Euphoria Belgian Tripel, I had the new-to-me Genesis B6 Northwest Hazy IPA. Their “quarry” tasting room was packed as usual, so we didn’t stay long, but I’m consistently impressed by the quality of the brewery’s beers, so we’ll keep returning, regardless of seat availability.

On Monday, a friend joined me downtown for some day drinking. What else are two guys to do, when one is briefly out of work and the other is on parental leave! Our first stop was Cactus Club Cafe for lunch. I combined Rob’s Crispy Chicken Sandwich with a Perfect Storm to drink. Once again the sauce really made my meal, as the sandwich employs a sambal mayo, which works well with the spicy panko-crusted chicken. My drink was also quite good, since Dark N’ Stormy’s are one of my favourite cocktails.

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Next up was Yaletown Brewery for happy hour. Here, we were able to indulge in a few $5 beers, with my choice being the Edinburgh IPA. Since we arrived before the after work rush, we were able to get a nice spot to sit on a couple couches, which allowed Baby Sip to roam around a little. After all, this was brewery number 30 for the tyke.

The week finished with a trip across the border with Ma Sip. While figuring out what we wanted to do for lunch, Boundary Bay Brewing entered the conversation and so we were off to their bistro. We split their fantastic Reuben Sandwich (with Tim’s Potato Chips on the side), while I washed the entrée back with a pint of Safety Break ISA. ISA’s have rocketed up my list of favourite beers of late, because I can enjoy the taste of an IPA at a slightly lower alcohol content, which definitely comes in handy when I’m driving.

This coming week features another full schedule. We’re also gearing up for Baby Sip’s first expedition to Europe (London, France, Portugal, Belgium), which is coming up fast at just over a week away!

Beer of the Week #8 – Stanley Park Foghorn India Brown Ale

In need of a case of beer for my hosting duties as part of a surprise birthday gathering for Mrs. Sip, I returned to an old favourite. Picking up Stanley Park Brewing’s Lord Stanley’s Pick (Winter Edition) case allowed me another opportunity to enjoy this product.

The Foghorn India Brown Ale was a hit with my guests who tried it, thanks to its roasted nuts and toasted malts. The somewhat rare IBA beverage comes with stats of 6% ABV and 50 IBUs and the beer has a great colour profile that is perfect for the fall/winter season.

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Suggested food pairings include turkey dinner with all the fixings, including gravy, sweet potatoes, pecan pie, or Camembert cheese. As is always the case with Stanley Park beers, the name is incorporated into the logo, with a drift of fog encompassing the famous lion.

I’m really looking forward to the brewery’s prospective restaurant and tasting room to be located in the former Fish House Restaurant in Stanley Park. Plans include producing “park inspired beer that is innovative and unique to the park location only”.

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BC Beer Baron #336 – Stanley Park WinterGlow Mandarin IPA

The Sip Advisor was recently on the hunt for this new Stanley Park Brewing release and quickly captured my prey. Being an ardent fan of Mandarin oranges (Pa Sip used to always tuck one into our Christmas stockings), I couldn’t wait to taste them in liquid form.

The WinterGlow Mandarin IPA is a very good beer, with flavours of orange mixed in with west coast hops (Amarillo, Citra, and Centennial). The seasonal beverage comes in with stats of 6.4% ABV and 55 IBUs and is a perfect way to kick off the month of December. The drink even glows a vibrant orange colour.

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As I shared the beer with Cousin Sip, she noticed the Stanley Park logos change depending on the product. For example, the iconic lion that welcomes visitors to Stanley Park and adorns the brewery’s labels is palming an orange for this brew.

The IPA can be found at BC Liquor Stores in bottled six-packs, as well as in the company’s Lord Stanley’s Picks: Winter Edition mixed case. It is joined by fellow newcomer Foghorn India Brown Ale and year-round favourites Windstorm Pale Ale, 1897 Amber Ale, and Noble Pilsner.

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BC Beer Baron #306 – Stanley Park Smoked Baltic Porter

Right in time for the coming season, Stanley Park Brewing has brought out a winter warmer that may be hard to track down. After sampling it at the recent BC Beer Awards, I hope it’s eventually released en masse.

The Smoked Baltic Porter pays tribute to brewing traditions of the past. It features flavours of roasted and caramelized malts with its smoke content being reminiscent of bacon. The 7.8% ABV, 28 IBUs drink is potent, while also soothing.

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A special release cask, you unfortunately won’t see this beer on store shelves (at least for the time being). You may luck out however and get to experience the brew on tap at various locations around the province.

The term ‘Baltic Porter’ refers to a brewing style that originated in regions such as Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania, among others. It’s kind of a hybrid between British Porters and Russian Imperial Stouts… dark and boozy!

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BC Beer Baron #222 – Stanley Park Curiosity Lager

Full disclosure: The Sip Advisor purchased a can of this Stanley Park Brewing/lululemon athletica collaboration beer last summer and there it sat in my fridge “cellaring” for the past 12 months. My intention was to do a photoshoot with myself in ridiculous yoga poses, while sipping the beverage. That never materialized and I finally cracked the can open just the other day.

I have to say, although the Curiosity Lager was, oh let’s say aged, it still tasted pretty good. Granted, it’s your typical lager and there’s not a whole lot going on, but I enjoyed the experience. The 4.6 ABV, 18 IBUs beer is light and easy drinking with a refreshing finish.

Stanley Park Curiosity Lager

The limited edition release (only brewed once) came in 500ml tall cans and was created to be the beverage of choice for lululemon’s SeaWheeze Half Marathon after party. Suggested food pairings for the lager included barbecue meats, rich seafood dishes, and spicy Vietnamese or Thai meals.

I remember when the beer first debuted, there was a lot of negativity that came along with it. Many questioned why lululemon would bother getting involved in the craft brew game. The companies also received some flak for the label design, which included a cartoon totem pole that some thought was insensitive.

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BC Beer Baron #175 – Stanley Park SunSetter Summer 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. Fruit beers may have some traditionalists up in arms, but if they only them a chance, they would see how good the beverages can be. In putting together this feature week, I tried to incorporate as many different fruits as possible, so let’s see what BC has to offer in this realm.

Mrs. Sip and I recently attended a talk and tasting opportunity, titled: From Barley to Beer, with Kwantlen Polytechnic University Brewing Program instructor Alek Egi. At that event, the Sip Advisor was able to reacquaint himself with an old friend from Stanley Park Brewing.

The SunSetter Summer Ale is an unfiltered wheat beer, which features a nice peach flavour that is not overwhelming. This results in a refreshing beverage that as the name should suggest, is ideal during the summer months. The seasonal release carries stats of 4.8% ABV and 16 IBUs and is available in a number of ways, including Stanley Park’s Summer Edition mixed 12-pack.

Stanley Park SunSetter Summer Ale

I first enjoyed this beer while on vacation last year in Penticton, BC. It was suggested to me by Cousin Sip, who’s a big fan of the product, picking up cases whenever she finds the summer seasonal during the long and lonely winter. Suggested pairings include Caprese salad, steamed clams and grilled pork tenderloin. The SunSetter won a gold medal at the 2015 World Beer Championships in the Flavored Wheat Beer category.

While chatting with the Stanley Park representative, we learned that plans are coming together for the brewery to finally open a tasting room. It was also revealed that Stanley Park will be releasing an India Brown Ale in the fall, which has my interest piqued, as I don’t believe I’ve ever tried that style of suds before.

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