Sip Trips #55: Dirty Dancing

The week that was, was incredibly busy with activities each night of the weekend and Mrs. Sip’s birthday on Tuesday. Things started off with a lot of laughs as we went to The Comedy Mix to see Last Comic Standing winner Iliza Shlesinger do her thing, sharing a bucket of beer over the evening.

Prior to the show, we made a trip to Romer’s Burger Bar for their ongoing Craft Bowl competition. The tournament sees each Romer’s location offering two to three beers for customers to choose their favourite in a blind taste test. The winners move on to the next round, with the ultimate champion crowned Super Bowl weekend.

Bud_Bowl

The cost to play a role in the competition is only $6, which gets you a small sample of each brew, as well as a full serving of the one you choose as your pick. The three beers available for this trip were Strange Fellows Pale Ale, Postmark IPA and Driftwood Fat Tug IPA. I won’t go into too many details on the samples, as each will be featured as part of my BC Beer Baron project.

I will say that I ended up choosing the Postmark IPA, but two of our group went for the Strange Fellows Pale Ale, one went for Driftwood Fat Tug IPA, and one went completely off the board, so our tastes were quite varied. For the one who didn’t like any of the three options, Romer’s was nice enough to give him a sleeve of something else off their menu for his full serving. We will be back for another round of the Craft Bowl!

Moving on, the Dine Out Vancouver Festival (January 15-31) is currently taking over the city and when the event line-up was first released, I excitedly came home with about 10 activities penciled in for further research. Upon seeing the price of some of those proceedings, though, I whittled my list down to one activity: the Winter Beer Hall at Big Rock Urban Brewery, which we attended Saturday.

cat at table eating

For $40, we were treated to a three-course meal, accompanied by five 7 oz. cask beer samples. Big Rock was also responsible for brewing the Dine Out Van Fest Ale (a first for the annual foody festival), which was available at the Winter Beer Hall. The English-Style Brown Ale was joined by beers from some of the region’s top breweries, including Real Cask, Bridge, Doan’s, and Storm (a perennial favourite for Mrs. Sip and me). More on those selections when they come up in the 366-day BC craft beer project.

Once we were finished our meal, Mrs. Sip and I moved to a quieter part of the restaurant and ordered a couple other beverages in Big Rock’s Midnight Rhapsody (which I’ve been wanting to try for a while) and Winter Spice Ale (another choice I’ve been curious about). The night rounded out with visiting friends who live close by and sharing even more sudsy goodness.

Sunday morning, I was invited to watch the Seattle Seahawks game versus the Carolina Panthers at The Pint. While I arrived late, with the Seahawks down 31-0, the second half comeback provided some entertainment, while I enjoyed the pub’s Double Caesar, Rum and Coke and a pint of beer. All items were on special, so it wasn’t too much of a hit to the wallet, as Seattle came up short in their bid for another playoff victory.

football playoffs

The weekend wasn’t over yet, though. For Christmas, I bought Mrs. Sip tickets to the touring production of Dirty Dancing at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. Prior to the show, we sat down for dinner at Wild Tale, which on Sundays features a five-course lobster dinner for $50-$60. Mrs. Sip and I have become big fans of The Flying Pig chain of restaurants and Wild Tale is a member of that family. When Mrs. Sip heard about the lobster dinner, we made reservations quickly.

The meal began with seafood chowder, followed by mussels, and then a trio of salads (potato, coleslaw and mixed greens). Then, it was main event time, with your choice of one pound of lobster or one and a half pounds for $10 more. The restaurant could only procure the one and a half pound lobsters, so we received the larger size for the smaller price.

lobster delicious with butter

We made our reservation for 5pm, so as to enjoy as much of the restaurant’s 4-6pm happy hour and capitalize on discounted glasses of wine and beers. My Stanley Park Pale Ales paired quite nicely with a number of the dishes, particularly the chowder. Following dinner, it was off to the show, where one might say we had the time of our lives!

There’s never a dull moment at the Sip Advisor Offices and certainly no rest for the wicked. Tonight we will be attending Tapped Vancouver at the Yaletown Roundhouse, while this weekend will be spent celebrating Mrs. Sip’s birthday with blind wine tasting and drinks with friends. After all, there’s plenty of time to sleep when you’re dead!

Sip Trips #20: Shu-Swapping

With all of our apartment flood business still unsettled, it was another crazy week for me and Mrs. Sip. That meant a lot of days where a drink was in serious need and it all started with the first day of the Sip Trips cycle and a visit to The New Oxford’s patio with Cousin Sip. This was just the right setting to enjoy a Howe Sound Grapefruit ISA, which really hit the spot after another stressful day. Best of all, the happy hour beverage was only $3!

Seems-Legit-Cheap-Beer

The next night provided some rare one-on-one time for Mrs. Sip and me. Although brief, we used it to the best of our abilities, to rest our frayed and exhausted minds. We had a Social Shopper coupon to use that was nearing its expiry. Although we were running short on energy, I’m glad we made the journey to The Park at English Bay, allowing us to discover the place. Our coupon entitled us to a craft beer flight each and two appetizers. We ordered the Carolina Sliders and Mac N’ Cheese, which was the perfect amount of food for the two of us. Our beers included the Howe Sound Devil’s Elbow IPA, Cannery Naramata Nut Ale, Mill Street Vanilla Porter, and Central City Red Racer ISA. The icing on the cake came in the form of dueling pianos for entertainment. It was a nice break from the insane week that was.

The next morning, we were off to Salmon Arm, B.C., as Father-in-Law Sip was having a family reunion of sorts, to celebrate his brother’s 50th wedding anniversary. On the way there, we visited Harper’s Trail Winery, in Kamloops, to sample their wines and enjoy a picturesque picnic. Our only complaint was that the place charged $5 for each tasting and didn’t waive that fee with the purchase of a bottle, as seems to be the industry standard. In the end, I believe this strategy affects the winery most, as people who might have shelled out $20 for a bottle, stop at the $5 tasting fee. That’s just lost profits and hurts the overall experience.

family-reunions

Upon leaving Salmon Arm, we dropped into the Barley Station Brew Pub, which was serving up the beers of the Shuswap Lake Brewing Company. We grabbed a flight of tasters, including a Blonde Ale, Wit, Pilsner, Pale Ale, Brown Ale, and Stout. My favourite was the Pale Ale, which had just the right amount of hops and paired nicely with our snack of pulled pork poutine.

To wrap up another busy and frustrating week, Mrs. Sip and I found some rare weekday afternoon time together and decided to check out a local (well, if we weren’t currently forced from our home) happy hour deal. We ended up at PHAT Yaletown, which advertises $3 craft beer all day, every day. Mrs. Sip tried the Whistler Grapefruit Ale, while yours truly went with the Stanley Park Pale Ale. It was a rushed drink, as I had to get to an appointment, but when life is as chaotic as it has been recently, any drink will do!