Sip Trips #134: In the Name of Science

Another couple busy weeks are in the books, so let’s get right to the action. We began the latest Sip Trips cycle with a long walk to East Vancouver to use our Groupon for Andina Brewing. The deal entitled us to a tasting flight each, as well as a growler plus fill. The advertised growler (typically holding two litres of beer) ended up actually being a one-litre Boston round, but otherwise the Groupon was worth it. For our flights, we tried each of the brewery’s available varieties. We also ordered a round of their Platanitos (Plantain Chips).

Since we were already out that way, we decided to pop into Storm Brewing, one of our all-time favourite breweries. Storm does things differently than other breweries, offering patrons up to six samples of their eclectic menu, in exchange for a donation. On this instance, we tried a number of beers, including: Turkey Dinner IPA, Orange Creamsicle Ale, Garam Masala Ale, Spicy Mango Salsa Pilsner, Mint Julep Ale, Pineapple Paradise Pilsner, Vanilla Whiskey Stout, and Iced Mocha Stout. We were particularly impressed with the Garam Masala Ale, so bought a Boston round of the beverage.

Beer Trust

The next day, we went for another walk to the Olympic Village. While Mrs. Sip joined some friends for brunch, I explored Legacy Liquor Store, where I came across the newly released Brews Brothers Vol. 4 case from Parallel 49 Brewing, in partnership with 12 breweries from across the province. While I didn’t pick it up that day, as Baby Sip’s stroller didn’t have enough room, this pack will soon find itself nestled into our fridge. Not one to leave the booze haven empty-handed, I picked up a bomber of Stanley Park Cookies & Cream Dark Ale, which we look forward to pouring soon.

Later that week, we attended Science World After Dark, where the attraction is open to adults only and allows them to check out the exhibits with a beer or glass of wine ($6.50 each) in hand. This was our second time attending the event. Our night began with an IMAX film titled America’s Musical Journey, which documented a number of music styles that became popular in the US, thanks to artists such as Louis Armstrong and Elvis, while exploring locales including New York, New Orleans, Chicago, Nashville, Memphis and Miami.

We were particularly interested in visiting on this occasion, as the feature attraction currently running at Science World is Ripley’s Believe It or Not. Mrs. Sip and I spent more than an hour checking out nearly every piece of the exhibit and it was totally worth the price of admission.

Science Funny

This past weekend, we joined Ma and Pa Sip at Township 7 Winery’s members only event at Coast Appliances in Langley. The unique venue served up a very interesting event, highlighted by three stations where you could get a wine sample and appetizer pairing. You could also get a full servingglass of wine, choosing from four different varieties to cap your evening off with.

On Wednesday, we had tickets to see 2Cellos in concert. To prepare for the show, I enjoyed a couple drinks from my bottle of Wiser’s Spiced Whiskey, to go along with our takeout order of Uncle Fatih’s Pizza. As for the concert, these guys are amazing. Seriously, if you are unfamiliar with the duo, check their work out on YouTube and you’ll see some very talented Croatians doing things with cellos you never thought possible.

I wrapped up the week by joining Ma Sip at Steamworks Brew Pub for lunch. Here, I ordered a serving of their Purgatory Belgian IPA, to go with some Chicken Tenders and Fries. We sat on their outdoor patio, which provided a nice way to spend a spring/summer afternoon, now that the rain is gone and the sunny season seems to finally be here!

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Sip Trips #82: Chowder Chowing

While the Sip Advisor managed to make it to four Vancouver breweries over the Remembrance Day long weekend, those exploits will largely be covered in BC Beer Baron articles. So, let’s get right onto the main event of the week: the Chowder Chowdown at the Vancouver Aquarium.

Presented by Ocean Wise, the occasion offered participants 14 seafood chowders to try, each paired with a BC craft beer (save for the Steam Whistle Brewing partnership). While I love the concept, I’m not sure massive servings of chowder should be paired with carbonated beverages. There definitely came a point where I reached my chowder max, although it quickly subsided.

One other issue was that it wasn’t easy to juggle a cup of beer and piping hot serving of chowder, as you moved through the venue. At least there were a fair number of tables to stand or sit at, which helped with the risky maneuvering.

cat-clam-chowder

My favourite chowder of the evening came from The White Whale Restaurant, which also took home the people’s and judge’s choice awards. My MVP pick for best beer/brewery definitely went to the guys from Big Rock Urban Brewery, who brought with them their Winter Spice Ale. Some honourable mentions should go to Hoyne Brewing, whose Appleton ESB was paired with The White Whale Restaurant entry and The Vancouver Fish Company for their chowder poutine spin on the competition.

After the awards were announced, the event seemed to die quickly. By this point, a number of the chowder stations had run out of their wares and many of the breweries that attended had packed up their contributions. This left folks scrambling for final servings wherever they could be found.

This event probably wouldn’t have gone over too well for those who don’t like beer. There was a Caesar station, Gin & Tonic table and one wine vendor available, but that probably wouldn’t have been enough for people needing options to the breweries.

catch-of-the-day-bear

Ticket were $60 (plus tax) and we felt the event was more than worth it. We paid more than double that for last year’s Toast to the Coast (also at the Aquarium) and the Chowder Chowdown provided a far better bang-for-your-buck experience.

After being dropped off back downtown by the Vancouver Trolley Company, we finished the evening with a visit to Steamworks Brew Pub. Here, I finally got my hands on a beverage that has eluded me for much of the year: their Salty Caramel Ale. I first heard about the beer last February on Twitter, but when I arrived at the brew pub, there was none to be had. Most recently, when Mrs. Sip and I stopped in on Halloween night, it was on their menu, but again wasn’t yet being poured. All I can say is the wait was worth it!

Mrs. Sip returns from India this weekend and that will likely signify the start of the Christmas rush. Join us for all the fun and adventure that’s sure to occur over the holidays!

Sip Trips #81: Restaurant Roundup

While the Sip Advisor hasn’t posted a Sip Trips article for a couple weeks, that doesn’t mean I haven’t kept up my typical level of social activities. I was just saving up a few outings and before I knew it, there was almost too much to report on.

Dressed as my own inner child – seriously, I just couldn’t get inspired to come up with a costume for this Halloween season, so this was a last minute idea that actually worked out fairly well – we attended a friend’s fundraiser at Rusty’s Neighbourhood Pub in Cloverdale. The burger and beer deal didn’t leave much to the imagination, especially as far as beverages went, but through a technicality, we were able to upsize our burgers and I really enjoyed my Doc Holliday variation. Much of their menu looked really good, so next time we’re in the area, we’ll have to drop in again.

bacon-cheeseburger

The next day, we intended to check out Abbotsford’s Craft Beer Corn Maze, before a storm decimated the attraction. Instead, we used the occasion of being out in the Fraser Valley to visit Old Abbey Ales. Here, the Sip Alliance each constructed their own flight of beer and with so many options available at the tasting room, no two boards were the same. I really like that Old Abbey Ales has the customer fill out there selections, rather than recite them. This gives you more time to round out a perfect cross section of brews and decreases the chances your order will get mixed up.

A couple days later, as Mrs. Sip prepared for her ongoing trip to India, we visited Patron Tacos & Cantina for a meal. We typically order their Queso Fundido dish and then use the cheese and sauces it comes with on our tacos. This makes for quite the feast and Mrs. Sip and I both left with overly full tummies.

That weekend, after recently receiving a flyer advertising Milestones new Epic Eats menu, Mrs. Sip and I were looking forward to testing out some of the new additions. While Mrs. Sip ordered the Jiffy Pop Popcorn Shrimp, I had my eyes – and stomach – set on the Hottest Club in Town. This Sriracha chicken and waffles club sandwich was absolutely fantastic and I look forward to crossing paths with it again shortly. We also noted that the restaurant now has a Beers & Bros deal (a pitcher of beer and four appies for $40) to accompany their Girls’ Night Out Bellini promotion.

waffles-pancakes-with-abs

To celebrate Halloween, we decided to check out the Day of the Dead-themed Stanley Park Train. Following that, Mrs. Sip, Sis-in-Law Sip and myself made our way back downtown and popped into Steamworks Brewpub for a bite and beverage. With a $15 pitcher deal on Mondays, we settled on their Pumpkin Ale, while splitting their massive House Baked Pretzel. This was probably the best way to wrap up Oktoberfest festivities, through the month.

Come Friday, I was on the road again. Mrs. Sip and I are members of the Langley-based Backyard Vineyards and as such, are invited to their semi-annual customer appreciation nights. Mrs. Sip always seems to be on vacation when they occur, but that doesn’t stop the Sip Advisor from enjoying. With great live music filing the air, guests were treated to a fantastic meal and other goodies. Prior to arriving at the winery, we had made great time from Vancouver, so decided to pop into Trading Post Brewing for a beer. I liked my serving of their Dear James S.M.A.S.H. Saison and it was a good start to the evening’s entertainment.

beer-and-wine-consumption

The weekend was wrapped up with a visit to White Spot, where I was able to try a pint of Granville Island Harvest Ale. The beer, exclusively brewed for the restaurant chain, was a solid accompaniment to one of my all-time favourites, the Legendary Burger. You are not a true British Columbian if you have never tried this entrée.

Well, I ended up with much more to discuss than I first thought. With Mrs. Sip away in India for the next two weeks, it kind of feels like the calm before the Christmas season storm. I better enjoy my “downtime” while it lasts!

BC Beer Baron #312 – Steamworks Flagship IPA

With a Halloween party to attend last week, the Sip Advisor thought long and hard about what to bring to keep my thirst quenched. The answer was obvious, once this Steamworks Brewing product popped into my devious mind.

The Flagship IPA is very good, featuring Mosaic, Galaxy and Citra hops, for an explosive tropical fruit drinking experience. The northeast style India Pale Ale comes with stats of 6.7% ABV and 65 IBUs, making it perfect for all the hopheads out there… myself included.

steamworks-flagship-ipa

Released just last month, the brew is available in bottled six-packs, as well as the brewery’s Mash Up Tall Can Pack. The beer can also be had at Steamworks Brewpub in Downtown Vancouver and has already joined the company’s year-round lineup.

The Flagship IPA earned Steamworks the top prize at the 2016 BC Beer Awards, receiving the Best in Show accolade. All I know, is when I ended up sharing a couple bottles with friends at the party, it was a hit all around.

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BC Beer Baron #248 – Steamworks Killer Cucumber Ale

As a wee little sipper, the only vegetable the Sip Advisor would dare to eat was cucumbers. With age, my tastes have evolved, but I will always have a place in my heart for the member of the gourd family. Thanks to Steamworks Brewing, now I can also drink my favourite veggie.

After debuting the Killer Cucumber Ale last summer, the beer is back again this year and given its name, it’s back with a vengeance. At the very least, it’s as deadly as a 4.7% ABV, 25 IBUs beverage can be (and I mean that in the best way possible).

Steamworks Killer Cucumber Ale

Dry hopped with organic cucumbers in both the fermenter and conditioning vessel, this year, the Killer Cucumber Ale is only available in tall cans and for a limited time. The use of Belgian yeast gives the refreshing brew flavours of apricot and black pepper.

When I first tried this beer last summer, I preferred it on tap over the bottled six-pack I bought afterwards. Not that the beer was bad in bottle form, but it was just better (with a stronger cucumber flavour) fresh from the keg.

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BC Beer Baron #186 – Steamworks Farmhouse Wheat Ale

The Sip Advisor doesn’t try to be a scavenger, but when friends pass off beers they either don’t like or are looking for help with finishing, I’m always there for them. That was the case recently when the Sip Syndicate was moving on from one stop to another and I was the lucky recipient of this Steamworks Brewing offering.

The recently released Farmhouse Wheat Ale is very good, reminding the Sip Advisor more of a European hefeweizen than a North American wheat ale. The 5% ABV, 15 IBUs drink is cloudy with a fruit and spice taste, similar to a saison.

Steamworks Farmhouse Wheat Ale

The Farmhouse Wheat Ale can be found in the Steamworks Summer Mash-Up 12-pack bottle case, joined by the Jasmine IPA and Kolsch. It is also available in the Steamworks Mash-Up 8-tall can pack, along with the Kolsch, Heroica Red Ale, and fellow new release, the YVR ISA. Those both sound like great options for relaxing poolside at Ma and Pa Sip’s place.

I’ve really enjoyed a lot of the stuff Steamworks has released this year and their mixed packs are solid. I’m also looking forward to getting acquainted with their White Angel IPA, having liked their Black Angel IPA counterpart, previously.

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BC Beer Baron #143 – Steamworks Black Angel IPA

For Christmas, Mrs. Sip’s family gifted the Sip Advisor the Steamworks Brewing Mash-Up Vol 2 case of beer. You could say that I’m easy to shop for, so long as you know where the nearest liquor store is!

Featured in that pack is the Black Angel IPA, which is the brew that originally caught my eye when I first came across the 12-pack, mere days before receiving it. The IPAs darkness provides a different flavour profile from other, more traditional IPAs. It’s roasty and hoppy all at the same time, a good beer hybrid.

Steamworks Black Angel IPA

The Black Angel is a bit of a hidden gem, as it’s only available in the aforementioned Mash-Up Vol 2 case. All in all, the 12-pack is a very good collection, also featuring the brewery’s signature Pale Ale and award-winning Heroica Red Ale.

This may be Steamworks newest foray into IPA territory, but the company has dabbled there before, with their Jasmine IPA. It’s interesting to note that the Black Angel sees Steamworks take things up a notch, going from 6.5% to 7% ABV and from 60 to 70 IBUs, with the successor.

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