Sip Trips #201: September Celebrations

Well, September was a busy month, as it usually is, filled with numerous birthdays and other activities as the summer comes to a close and we try to eke out the last bits of outdoor fun. Let’s see what the Sip Family did to wrap up the season:

September began with a visit to the Great Canadian Brewhouse in Abbotsford, as we returned home from a day with the kids at Cultus Lake Adventure Park. We may have been pushing our luck after a really good but long day, as both young’uns were in no mood for us to enjoy a restaurant meal. We tried to make the best of it, but the restaurant was also out of a few of the Feature Menu items Mrs. Sip wanted to try and a beer I had hoped to have. Mrs. Sip did join their app/rewards club, which gave us access to a free order of Golden Garlic Fingers, which were very good. She also ordered the Triple Eh! Peppered Angus Steak Bites, along with a Same Team Soda, while I paired the Brewhouse Hoser Club with a Stanley Park Windstorm Pale Ale. Despite any of the issues, we returned to their Richmond location later in the month to try more of their menu.

Club Sandwich

The next week, we popped into Steel & Oak Brewing, since they had food and drink Mrs. Sip was interested in trying. While I enjoyed my Turned Out Spruce Tip Ale, Mrs. Sip finally got to try the Berliner Weisse flight with three different syrups (orange and saffron, ginger and turmeric, and spruce tip) she had been curious about for much of the summer. The Mr. Arancino food truck was also on site, so we grabbed a set of Risotto Balls from it, Arancini being one of Mrs. Sip’s favourite appetizers.

En route to visit some friends in Langley, I popped into the Clayton Liquor Store and picked up tall can four-packs of Vancouver Island Watermelon Hibiscus Blonde (Tidal Series) and Russell Strawberry & Kiwi Milkshake IPA. Both beers were perfect for a late summer outing. I had originally stopped at the store, hoping to track down the Phillips Twenty Point Buck (Barrel-Aged Blue Buck) 20th Anniversary Gift Set with commemorative glass. I was unlucky here, but did eventually find the product at the Central City Bridgeview Liquor Store.

The next day, after taking advantage of advanced voting in the Canadian federal election, we celebrated with dinner at Brown’s Social House in Sapperton. We took advantage of a few Social Hour deals, including Parmesan Garlic Fries, Crispy Cauliflower and beverages including the Social Palmer for me and Summer Social Soda for Mrs. Sip. For my meal, I went with the Florida Special (crispy chicken, avocado, bacon, Swiss cheese, tomato, and coleslaw on a toasted baguette) with Caesar Salad. For Girl Sip, we ordered a Kids Dragon Bowl, the leftovers of which became my yummy lunch the next day.

Leftovers

That weekend, The Bakery Brewing was advertising Nitro Pumpkin Spice Porter Floats, which caught the attention of Mrs. Sip. Since we were gathering with friends at a park in the area anyway, we decided to pop in for the float. We also ordered taster glasses of their Amber Ale, Strawberry Farmhouse Ale and Bavarian Hefeweizen. Once again, though, the kids were not into the prospect of hanging out at a brewery… at least until we bribed them with some ice cream!

To celebrate my birthday, we started with lunch at Kelly O’Bryan’s, taking advantage of their free birthday meal offer. I went with the Chicken Lips N’ Fries, with a Black Currant Mojito and Fernie Hit the Deck Hazy IPA to wash the food down. It was a great start to the celebrations, which would also include a Chinese dinner feast with family in the evening.

I received a number of alcohol-based gifts for my birthday, including four-can tall packs of Camp Fall Camp Smoked Amber Ale and Lazy River Watermelon Gose from Cousin Sip; the Central City Summer Weekender 24 Pack from Ma and Pa Sip; a bottle Havana Club Añejo Rum from the Sip-in-Laws; and a bomber of Barnside Heavy Horse Blueberry Milkshake IPA from Mrs. Sip and the Sipplings.

Birthday Gifts

The next day was Girl Sip’s birthday and with a My Little Pony theme, I compiled a cocktail menu for the occasion (for the adults, of course). Drinks included: Twilight Sparkle (Crème de Violette, Bubbly); Pinkie Pie (White Rum, Peach Schnapps, Pink Lemonade, Whip Cream, Garnished with Sprinkles); Applejack (Southern Comfort, Jack Daniel’s Winter Apple, Iced Tea); and Rainbow Dash (Arctic Grape Rum, Blue Curacao, Club Soda).

We continued my birthday celebrations on the weekend, getting together with a group of friends for an evening out. The expedition started with gathering at ABC Brewing for some bevvies. Between Mrs. Sip and myself, I tried their Festbier, Water Frolic Small IPA, Fest IPA and Imperial Stout. Next up, was a couple hours at the Industry Arcade next door. Here, we could play a host of pinball and arcade games, as well as Skee Ball. It was a lot of fun, with highlights for me being playing The Simpsons and Bubble Bobble arcade games.

From there, we moved onto the Sapperton District Taphouse, where I had a pair of beers, consisting of the Parkside Dreamboat IPA and Tin House High Knoll Hazy IPA. I also took the time to refuel a little, with an order of the Chicken Sliders. My night gets a little foggy here, as one would expect after drinking all afternoon, but I remember having fun with what was left of our group.

Arcade Games

With our friends all done for the evening, returning to their respective kids, but with Mrs. Sip and I free of such obligations, thanks to Ma and Pa Sip, we decided to try to take in a movie at the New West Landmark Cinemas. I say try, because the Sip Advisor ended up crashing and sleeping throughout our viewing of Free Guy. What can I say, dark theatres are my kryptonite. Thankfully, the movie has since made its way onto Disney+, allowing my to absolve the guilt I felt for missing out.

The next morning, after picking up the Sipplings, we ventured out to Richmond and the Great Canadian Brewhouse there for our aforementioned return to the chain. Meeting up with a friend, we shared an order of the Birthday Nachos we were offered through their app. I paired the giant order with a tankard of Central City Super Solar IPA, which my friend picked up the tab for, so all in all, it was a pretty inexpensive meal.

The following weekend, we travelled to the Sunshine Coast to spend four nights at a beautiful Airbnb home in Gibsons. On our first day, we had lunch at Tapworks Brewing, where Mrs. Sip and I split servings of the One Sailing Wait IPA and Backwoods Hazy Pale Ale. To eat, I selected the Crispy Chicken Bao, which was overflowing with delicious hoisin-drizzled fried chicken.

Nachos

Our next outing was a late lunch at The 101 Brewhouse & Distillery. We had a nice outdoor table, which allowed the kids to roam a little bit, as we ate and drank and supervised… well, mostly supervised! Split between our trio of parents, we ordered the Poutine, Hot Fried Chicken Sandwich and Chicken Quesadillas, which provided quite the spread. To drink, I had the Tall Faller Hazy IPA. As The 101 is also a distillery, Mrs. Sip made a point of trying one of their cocktails, selecting the 101 Coast Sour (gin, bourbon, lemon juice, mint, simple syrup, bitters, topped with Brickers Cider).

Afterwards, we hit the Persephone Brewing farm where Mrs. Sip and I had servings of the Brett Saison and Oktoberfest Lager. If not for our collection of kids, I could have stayed at the location longer, enjoying another pint or two. Even the occasional whiff of typical farm smells wouldn’t have deterred us!

For our last full day, we journeyed to Sechelt, to visit Batch 44 Brewery & Kitchen. Mrs. Sip put together a flight of their Lonely Giant IPA, The Village Altbier, Happy Wanderer Hefeweizen and an Earl Grey Cider, so I elected to go with a brew she didn’t choose, in the Frosty Morning Scottish Ale. My only complaint about the beer is it came in at a 4% ABV and I would have liked that a little higher.

Farm

The only Sunshine Coast brewery we weren’t able to visit was Powell River’s Townsite Brewing, so I picked up a tall can four-pack of their Savary Beaches Wheat Ale (Shoreline Series) from a BC Liquor Store. It helped me complete the Brewers Coast collection.

That was a wrap on a wild and eventful month. October has already started out busy and with a trip to Osoyoos in the cards, along with a number of Halloween events on the calendar, there will surely be much to write about!

Beer of the Week #14 – Townsite Shiny Penny Belgian IPA

As someone who likes my beers to be strong, when I came across this Townsite Brewing product on a recent liquor shopping trip, I had to have it. I’m glad I picked it up and understand why it was the last remaining on the shelf.

Thankfully, the Shiny Penny Belgian IPA doesn’t take like copper and is instead highlighted by flavours of robust hops, grapefruit and passion fruit. At 8.5% ABV and 80 IBUs, the beverage can be cellared for up to five years, according to the brewery.

Townsite Shiny Penny Belgian IPA

Shiny Penny is derived from the pub name that brewmaster Cédric Dauchot – along with his wife and brewery manager Chloe Smith – planned to open in Saskatoon. When those plans fell through, the couple moved to Powell River to lead Townsite’s efforts.

The seasonal release is available in bomber-sized bottles at BC Liquor Stores. The price (double digits) may not be right for some, but the beer is totally worth it for those who don’t mind shelling out a little extra for a good drink.

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

BC Beer Baron #246 – Townsite Zwarte Wheat

Part of the Sip Advisor’s extensive collection of beverages for a recent camping weekend was this selection from Powell River’s Townsite Brewing.

The Zwarte Wheat is a Belgian Dark Witbier, made with midnight wheat. The beer’s appearance can be a little deceptive, as you don’t expect citrus and spice from the brew’s hue, but that’s exactly what you get. Apparently, the creation of this 5.2% ABV, 20 IBUs release was somewhat accidental, as a request for more sour-style brews was met with a completely different outcome.

Townsite Zwarte Wheat

This witbier was inspired by an earlier collaboration between Townsite and Parallel 49, which resulted in a black saison. Townsite brewmaster Cédric Dauchot says, “I really got a kick out of adding midnight wheat to the mash. It just gives the beer an amazing colour without affecting too much the flavour profile. It’s perfect for giving a bit of depth to a summer beer.”

Part of Townsite’s Legacy collection (year-round products), the brew is available in bomber-sized bottles at BC Liquor Stores and other fine purveyors of libations. The brewery also has a Westview Wheat Witbier and Blackberry Festivale Blackberry Wheat, as part of their Seasonals lineup.

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

Sip Trips #47: Amazing Advent (Part 2)

With my awesome craft beer advent calendar continuing strongly, Mrs. Sip has suggested I profile the beers more frequently than the usual once-per-week format that the Sip Trips articles usually take. Therefore, I’ll be posting after every four beers or so. Let’s get the fun underway!

Day 3: Bridge Brewing The Grinch Winter Ale

I tried a sample of this beer at the recent Hopscotch Festival Grand Tasting Hall and enjoyed it, so I was happy to find a full-size serving amongst my advent calendar selections. Much like the famous Dr. Seuss story, this beer will make your heart grow three sizes (and no, that doesn’t mean you’ll be in need of emergency services) and change your tune from a Grinch into a Christmas lover and hero. If you go to the Bridge Brewing Seasonal Beers page and find this release, you will be treated to a great Seussian poem about The Grinch beer.

Bridge Brewing The Grinch

Day 4: Anderson Valley Brother David’s Double Abbey Ale

From Boonville, California, Mrs. Sip grabbed this beer because their logo of a bear with antlers gave her the impression that it was a Christmas-themed release. And while the mascot is very cute, we’ve since discovered that the bear (antlers and all) graces all Anderson Valley products. The beer’s label states that the Double Abbey Ale “may be the closest you’ll ever get to heaven on earth” and that “it is sure to raise your spirits!” This brew is currently my favourite from the advent calendar and it’s no surprise it won a gold medal at the 2011 Great American Beer Festival.

BrotherDavidDoubleAbbeyAle

Day 5: Townsite Biere d’Hiver

Biere d’Hiver roughly translates to Beer of Winter and features prune and plum essences, which is quite unique. As the bottle states: “The sugar plum fairy swings into the brewery on a zunga, bringing with her a delicious Belgian dubbel, full of spicy, plummy flavours.” This is the first beer I’ve had from the Powell River brewery and it’s a good place to start, given it won third place for strong beers at the 2013 BC Beer Awards and the same rank in the Belgian Style Abbey Ale category at the 2015 Canadian Brewing Awards. It’s suggested that you can age this beer for up to five years before consuming.

Townsite Biere d’Hiver

Day 6: Phillips Scarfface Cranberry Orange Wit

Given the winter beer season is largely comprised of dark, heavier brews, it was very refreshing to pull this selection from the advent calendar. When I was looking into BC winter and Christmas beers recently, I couldn’t find any entries from the Phillips Brewery, but Mrs. Sip was able to. Phillips has always had fantastic labels for their beers and this one is no different, featuring a nefarious figure with orange head, festive fedora and scarf, and candy cane weapon. The beer pours an orange, almost pink hue and you can really taste the citrus, with cranberry coming through in the brew’s tart finish.

Scarfface-Cranberry-Orange-Wit

This advent calendar has been a lot of fun so far and we’re not even through the first full week. Please continue to join us as we run the gamut!

 

Sip Trips #22: Festivality

The 6th annual Vancouver Craft Beer Week (VCBW henceforth) has arrived and with it comes a host of great events to welcome summer and get your brew on. Mrs. Sip and I were busy with a full slate of activities. Here’s how it all went down:

On Saturday, we had tickets to the What the Hop? Beer Trivia, which turned out to be incredibly good value. The cost was $60 to enter a team of four and this included a sleeve of beer with each of the four trivia rounds, from one of the breweries sponsoring the event, as well as a couple appetizers per team. It was originally advertised as one starter dish per round per team, but turned out to only be two of the four. That was really the only disappointment of the day.

Beer Trivia

The beers included the Red Truck ISA, Fuggles and Warlock White IPA, Parallel 49 Jerkface 9000, and Central City IPA. Our team, ‘Beer Today, Hung Tomorrow’, made a good showing, placing in the top five of 30 or so squads. We missed out on the grand prize of an all-expenses paid trip to the Whistler Beer Festival in September, but I was rewarded in other ways, as any beer my fellow team members didn’t like or had enough of, seemed to float my way. I have to mention that the venue, Colony on Main Street, and the host of the game, IQ Trivia 2000, were also great and made for a very fun afternoon.

After the trivia, we wandered down the street for our first visit to Main Street Brewing. There, I grabbed a flight of their beers and continued the drinkfest. Not ready to pack it in just yet, our next stop was the nearby Brassneck Brewery, where it was one more pint for the night. By 11pm, we were back at our temporary accommodation and it was nighty-night for the Sip Advisor. Heck, I had to rest up for Sunday’s sandwich pairings!

The next day brought the This Sandwich, That Beer Throwdown at The Portside Pub, in Vancouver’s historic Gastown. This place is neat in that you actually kind of feel like you’re aboard a ship… or at least I did! Before the festivities got underway, Mrs. Sip was thirsty for a beer. This provided a chance to try the Campfire Kolsch that was made specifically for VCBW 2015. We both liked the brew, but it was time to get our eat on, with nine sandwiches and nine cask beer accompaniments on the menu for the afternoon.

cat sandwich

There was a lot of food and beer to consume and we feel we got good value, once again, with a price point of $45. My favourite sandwich was the Duck Confit with Pancetta from The Tasty Torpedo, while my beer of choice was the Steel & Oak Smoked Hef. Not surprisingly, these two items were paired together and it’s amazing how a nicely paired beer can improve a sandwich and vice versa. There were no duds in this competition.

That said, the winners of the day were the aforementioned Tasty Torpedo for best sandwich; Townsite Brewing’s  Sour Saison for best beer; and the combo of Calabash Bistro’s Braised Jerk Chicken sandwich, paired with Dageraad’s Sri Lankan Dubbel, for the best total experience. This event sells out quickly every time it is run, so don’t delay when the opportunity for tickets comes up.

Wrapping up our busy week of commitments (although these are the best kind of commitments!) was the Beer Cocktail Competition at Blackbird Public House. After a great weekend of events, we had high hopes for this one, as well, but it kind of failed to deliver. On the cons side, we had trouble finding seating for our group, as the venue chose not to close down and run a private event or reserve a section for the production, meaning we were battling with the after work rush of customers for a spot. The table we eventually landed at made us feel disconnected from the festivities. Worse yet, we didn’t get to try all of the beer cocktails and while this was mentioned in the event’s details, what’s the point of having the competition at all, if those who paid to be part of it, don’t get to try each entry? For that matter, what’s the point of handing out samples if there’s not enough to share with everyone? This is a kindergarten lesson that still applies in the adult world!

sharing was caring

It wasn’t all bad, though. The pros included the pint of Driftwood New Growth Pale Ale everyone received, which was really nice, the $20 ticket price, and the few glasses of Jameson Irish Whiskey we managed to get our hands on. In the end, we had a good enough time (making the best of it), but when the winner was announced, we just didn’t care anymore. I don’t mean to crap on the hard work of people who put on the event, but some lessons could be learned from a similar cocktail competition, such as Made with Love.

In wrapping up, I still have to say that VCBW has treated the Sip Advisor, Mrs. Sip, and members of both the Sip Alliance and Sip Syndicate (that’s a lot of sips!) very well. Just wait until future installments when I launch my own event: the salty snack food and beer pairing, plus trivia competition, all rolled into one!