Sip Trips #141: Fraser Valley Fun

The Sip Advisor and family spent a fair bit of the last week in the B.C.’s Fraser Valley region, checking out movies, wineries, breweries and restaurants. Here’s how the week played out:

On Friday, we made our way to Aldergrove’s Twilight Drive-In, the only remaining outdoor theatre in the Lower Mainland. The films on the docket included Ocean’s 8 and Tag, both of which were fun films. The theatre has recently raised their prices slightly, as it cost us $26 (one dollar more) for Mrs. Sip and I to attend than it had just a couple months back.

Sunday, of course, was my very first Father’s Day. The occasion began with Mrs. Sip and Baby Sip gifting me a collection of bomber beers that spelled FATHER. These included: Fat Tug IPA (Driftwood), Amber (Dageraad), Tangerine Dream Ale (4 Mile), Heather Ale (Salt Spring), East Coast Squeeze IPA (Foamers’ Folly), Rotating Hop (Bridge).

Father's Day

From there, we were off to Backyard Vineyards, joined by Ma and Pa Sip and the Sip-in-Laws. The first 100 fathers received a free box of Lindt chocolates and we arrived just in time to reap that reward. We enjoyed a couple bottles of wine, as well as some flatbreads from the German Pizza food truck that was onsite.

On Tuesday, we were back out in Langley, where I dropped Mrs. Sip off for work and was then on standby to pick her up when that had wrapped. To fill the time, we decided to visit a couple of the city’s craft breweries. First up, was Dead Frog Brewing’s new Langley location, which has only been operating for a couple weeks and hasn’t even celebrated their grand opening. I ordered a flight of beers here, comprised of their Fresh Pressed Pina Colada Hazy IPA, CREAM Key Lime Milkshake IPA, Reina De Fuego Mexican Chocolate Porter and Winter Beeracle Winter Ale. The Fresh Pressed was my favourite of the bunch, with a nice coconut finish to the drink.

We also popped into Trading Post Brewing, taking advantage of their Tuesday special of $5 16oz beers. I selected the White IPA, which was the company’s newest release. The beer was good and it was nice to sit on their outdoor patio on this gorgeous afternoon. Prior to leaving the brewery, I snagged two bottles of Vikram’s Weissen, brewed in partnership between Trading Post and Vikram Vij, the popular Indian restauranteur.

Indian Food

The day wasn’t over yet, though, as I received tickets I had previously been waitlisted for to attend the Three Rounds event at Red Truck Brewing, co-hosted by Panago Pizza. Panago was showing off their two newest pizza releases – Trippple Pepperoni and Triple Pepparugula – while Red Truck offered beers from their summer lineup – Endless Summer Golden Ale, Citra Down Blonde Ale and Czech Point Red Pilsner. The event was free and despite some confusion regarding how to get the pizza and beers upon arriving, we left well-fed and with our thirst quenched.

To finish the evening, I picked up a tall can of Old Yale Pina Colada Hazy ISA, thanks in part to enjoying my previous serving of Pina Colada-based beer earlier in the day. The Old Yale product is part of their Trailblazer Series, which I have previously enjoyed. This beer was stronger on the pineapple flavours than the Dead Frog version and was very light on coconut notes.

This next week will be another busy one, with Cask Wars at The Portside Pub, a baseball tournament, a friend’s birthday picnic and more already on the schedule. Sometimes, it’s enough to make your head spin… and that’s before you add all the drinks to the equation!

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Sip Trips #119 – Feelin’ Festive

After a week filled with three Vancouver Canucks games to start the month, Mrs. Sip and I got a bit of a respite to recharge the hockey batteries (seriously, my voice was shot after yelling at every Toronto player and fan I could) with the team on a brief road trip. With the gap between games, we focused our attention on holiday activities around the Lower Mainland. Here’s what we got up to:

On Friday night, we had a few errands to run in South Vancouver, so decided to mix a little pleasure into the business. Popping into Dogwood Brewing for the first time, we enjoyed a flight of their brews, including the IPA, Barrel-Aged Stout, London Fog, and Winter Spice. The space was nice and cozy and well-decorated for Christmas. This was Baby Sip’s second craft brewery visit and she even woke up long enough to see the place this time around.

Errands

The next day, we ventured to Langley for the Glow Christmas Light Gardens and Market. With food trucks outside and a fantastic visual set-up inside the facility’s greenhouse, we spent over two hours at the attraction. Best of all, beer, wine and a couple cocktails could be had as you explored the winter wonderland. I had servings of Trading Post Brewing’s Smugglers Trail Rye Amber Ale and Three Bears Breakfast Stout, which were both available for only $5. Mrs. Sip started with a glass of white wine and later had a Baileys Irish Cream hot chocolate.

Tickets to Glow start at $20 for adults if ordered online ($25 at the door) and I would definitely recommend the earliest timeslot possible, as the parking lot and facility fill up quickly, causing long lines to get in later in the evening. Mrs. Sip still argues that any true European-based Christmas Market doesn’t cost money to get into, but that logic doesn’t seem to apply in this area of the world.

Following work on Monday, Mrs. Sip and I met at the Vancouver Christmas Market. As I’ve written before, if we didn’t get free tickets each year, thanks to Mrs. Sip’s theatre subscription, I’m not sure I would make the effort to attend. That said, we had a pretty good time, joined by another couple for some of our visit. The move from outside the Queen Elizabeth Theatre to Jack Poole Plaze has definitely opened up the place, but going on a weeknight helped too with a lighter crowd.

Santa's Lap

As is the norm for the Market, it didn’t take long to blow through the $50 we had taken out in cash for the event. For drinks, Mrs. Sip had a couple cups of Mulled Wine, while I had glasses of Erdinger Wheat and Dunkel brews. As for food, we split a Cheese Pretzel and Parmesan and Garlic Hurricane Potatoes which were both delicious. A highlight for us was chatting with the Persephone Brewing team, who were offering samples of five different beers (Black Lager, Pale Ale, IPA, Pilsner, and Golden Ale). Joining them was Wild Goose Winery and Okanagan Spirits, where I tasted their Bourbon, Gin, and Pear Brandy.

This weekend, it’s back to the rink for a couple NHL games, while also fitting in as much yuletide cheer as possible. Lather, rinse, repeat!

Beer of the Week #2 – Trading Post Three Bears Breakfast Stout

To celebrate Cousin Sip’s birthday, the Sip Family made our way to the Fort Langley area, for a meal at Trading Post Brewing’s Taphouse & Eatery. There, I was able to reacquaint myself with this beer, which I hadn’t tried since the brewery opened.

The Three Bears Breakfast Stout had a very heavy espresso flavour, which was a little much for the Sip Advisor, given I don’t drink coffee and even abhor the beverage and the culture that has grown around it. That said, I still enjoyed the 6.7%, 40 IBUs drink.

trading-post-three-bears-breakfast-stout

Trading Post has named many of their beers based on the stories of early BC settlers. This beverage gets its moniker from Hudson’s Bay Company chief factor Gavin Hamilton’s tale of encountering three bears and only needing two bullets to save himself.

Prior to this birthday gathering, I didn’t know that Trading Post had a Taphouse & Eatery, having only visited their tasting room before. The eatery had some great food dishes on their menu. I went with the Pulled Pork Poutine, which really hit the spot.

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BC Beer Baron #339 – Trading Post Dear James S.M.A.S.H. Saison

Making great time with traffic on our way out to Langley’s wine region for an event recently, we decided to kill some time at Trading Post Brewing. There, I was able to try a pint of this beverage, which was unavailable the last time I visited the tasting room.

The Dear James S.M.A.S.H. Saison offers all the aspects you would expect from a farmhouse ale. There’s fruit (apricots and citrus) and there’s spice and it’s all tied up into one nice, neat package. The 6.5% ABV, 26 IBUs drink was refreshing and packed a bit of a punch, making for a great start to my evening.

Trading Post Brewing

I was curious about the brew’s name and thankfully, the company provides answers: Dear James refers to a disregarded letter sent to Hudson’s Bay Company chief trader James Murray Yale, advising him not to marry a particular woman. As for the S.M.A.S.H. portion, it stands for single malt and single hop brewing.

This was the first chance I’ve had to pop into Trading Post since their second day of operation, back in February. I was happy to see that they’ve bottled their What Cheer Brett IPA and I hope to see more of their products packaged soon.

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

BC Beer Baron #278 – Trading Post Captain Cooper’s Cranberry Ale

A couple weeks back, Mrs. Sip and I learned of the TAPshack, which has two chains in downtown Vancouver. For a friend’s birthday, we visited the Coal Harbour location, where the Sip Advisor enjoyed this Trading Post Brewing product, among my drink selections.

The Captain Cooper’s Cranberry Ale is tart, but leaves a nice, slightly bitter cranberry taste on the palate with each sip. At 5.9% ABV, the beer has a stronger alcohol content than many sour beverages I’ve come across, while being very light on hops, with an IBU count of only seven.

Trading Post Brewing

I had previously tried a sample of this brew when Mrs. Sip and I first visited Trading Post on its second day of existence. Having a full serving reminded me of how good and unique the drink is. The American-style wheat ale is constructed with local cranberries.

The beer’s namesake, Captain James Cooper, was an employee of the Hudson’s Bay Company, a former fur trading operation and current day Canadian department store. Cooper was a wheeler and dealer in the cranberry market of early BC.

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BC Beer Baron #88 – Trading Post Derby Hop Session Lager

Mrs. Sip and I were able to get into Trading Post Brewing on their second day of public existence and it’s my understanding that the brewery is thriving a couple months into its life.

While we had different favourites among our flights, we both agreed that the Derby Hop Session Lager was a really good beer and among the top of our lists from their menu. The brew finishes with a little more hoppy profile (21 IBUs) than one would expect from the traditional lager-style of beer, coming from Mittelfruh and Cascade hops. I’m always open to this, though and even Mrs. Sip was onboard.

Trading Post Brewing Board

The Derby does come in with a lighter alcohol content (4.75% ABV), however, making it a very good introductory beer for visitors. I have heard from others that the Hop Session Lager is amongst their favourites and I can fully understand why.

I have been impressed by some of the events Trading Post has already presented at their Langley facility, despite being so new to the game. This has included a chocolate and beer pairing (which Mrs. Sip and I attended) as well as a cupcake and beer pairing.

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

Sip Trips #58: Chocolate for My Love

Over Valentine’s Day weekend, Mrs. Sip and I were able to attend two separate events in Langley, one pairing chocolate with wine and the other pairing chocolate with beer. Is there any better way to celebrate the holiday!?

Valentine's Day Romantic Gesture

First, on Saturday, we visited Township 7 Winery, where $15 got guests six generous samples of wine, four of which were paired with a chocolate treat from the White Rock Chocolate Company. Among the pairings were:

  • Sauvignon Blanc with Sea Salt & Lime Chocolate
  • Chardonnay with Brown Butter Caramel Chocolate
  • Merlot with choice of Cinnamon Chocolate or Chili Chocolate
  • NBO Blend with Black Cherry Silk Chocolate

The Sip Advisor’s favourite combo was the Merlot with the Chili Chocolate, as the spice of the chocolate was switched into overdrive with each sip of the wine. That said, the best chocolate overall was the Brown Butter Caramel Chocolate.

Next up, on Sunday, Mrs. Sip and I ventured out to Trading Post Brewing, which had just opened the day before to massive line-ups, as enthusiasts wanted to check out Langley’s first true craft brewery (Dead Frog Brewing is technically located in the neighbouring community of Aldergrove). Mrs. Sip and I had originally hoped to be one of the first guests of the new operation, but long waits and other commitments kiboshed that idea. Trading Post did offer a great incentive upon opening: the first 50 visitors to bring a bottle or can of macro-brewed beer, could exchange that for a free growler from the upstart brewery.

Valentine's Day Lent

The extra day’s wait was worth it, as we were able to partake in Trading Post’s Valentine’s Day chocolate and beer pairing. While we were able to sample each of the six beers available at launch (another two are in the works), each brew was paired with a chocolate from Abbotsford’s ChocolaTas. The pairings included:

  • 1827 Helles Lager with Grapefruit Ganache Chocolate
  • Derby Hop Session Lager with Pistachio Mousse Chocolate
  • Owyhee Tropical Wheat Ale with Green Curry and Ginger Chocolate
  • Capt. Coopers Cranberry Ale with Basil Tomato & Raspberry Chocolate
  • What Cheer Brett IPA with Salted Caramel Milk Chocolate
  • Three Bears Breakfast Stout with Dark Chocolate Ganache Chocolate

Our mutual favourite combo was probably the Brett IPA and Salted Caramel Milk Chocolate. As for beers, I also enjoyed the Derby Hop Session Lager and Tropical Wheat Ale, while I found myself really getting into the Green Curry and Ginger Chocolate. Some of the ChocolaTas creations are quite unique, but I can only imagine they taste as good as all of these selections did.

The entire weekend proved that you really can’t go wrong with chocolate!