Sip Trips #149: September Insanity

Well, my little sippers, it’s been too long since I was last able to provide an update on the Sip Advisor’s adventures, thanks in part to our big move from Vancouver to New West. I’ve finally got some time to put fingers to keys, so here’s what we’ve been up to over the month of September:

As we enjoyed the calm between two storms – moving out and moving in – Mrs. Sip and I met up with some baseball teammates at the Sapperton District Taphouse for their weekly Tuesday Trivia. Over the course of the night, Mrs. Sip and I enjoyed servings of Howe Sound You’re My Boy Blue Blueberry Wheat Ale (on special), Steel & Oak Rhubarbarum Rhubarb Pale Ale and a Dageraad selection that was described to us as a double dark wheat ale. To go with our beverages, I ordered the Whiskey Barrel Burger, while Mrs. Sip once again had the Slow & Low Sliders. Best of all, our team won the trivia and got tickets to a comedy show, a t-shirt and, most importantly, a pitcher of beer for our efforts.

The next day, friends from out of town were visiting, so we took them to the Britannia Brew Pub in Steveston. As we did on our first visit, Mrs. Sip and I shared their Chowder and Fish & Chips for food, which I paired with their seasonal Tropical ISA. The beer was just what I was looking for to pair with seafood.

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A few days later, we were back in the Richmond area, so decided to drop into Fuggles & Warlock Brewing. Although I’d had a sip of the beer at the Battle of the Brews event a couple weeks earlier, I wanted a full glass of the Gin & Lime Pilsner, which I enjoyed more in the larger serving. Mrs. Sip went with her usual The Last Strawberry Wit, which has always been a fantastic and flavourful drink.

Next up was our cruise from Vancouver to Los Angeles with Princess Cruises. As is our tradition, we brought aboard four bottles of wine, as well as mini bottles of rums, vodkas and schnapps, which kept us well-lubricated throughout the voyage. This was helped along by various drinks aboard the ship, highlighted by multiple servings of Mayan Mules (subbing in tequila for vodka); a super-sized Chocolate & Chili Margarita (enough for both Mrs. Sip and me); and attending the Maitre D’Hotel Wine Club, including six samples of wine from around the world.

When our cruise disembarked in Los Angeles, we journeyed to Anaheim for one day at Disneyland, Baby Sip’s introduction to the place where her parent’s met as fresh-faced teenagers and began their long relationship. We decided to attend the Mickey’s Halloween Party, giving us access to the park starting at 3pm and lasting until 11pm. Mrs. Sip realized if we went this route, we’d pay only slightly more than the price for a one-day, one-park ticket (which would see us booted out for the Halloween Party at 6pm), while gaining access to both parks, extended hours, and the perks that come with the Halloween ticket.

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Prior to heading to the Disneyland Resort, we went for lunch at the nearby Tony Roma’s location, drawn in by their happy hour commencing at 11am. Mrs. Sip and I each ordered a pint of Golden Road Get Up Offa That Brown, to go with our Chicken Tender Platter and Mrs. Sip’s cup of Baked Potato Soup. This is one of my favourite chicken strip platters of all-time, so it was very nice to have it again on this vacation.

Following lunch, we entered Disney’s California Adventure, home to (at this time) the only place among the parks where you can purchase alcohol. We went straight for the Karl Strauss Beer Truck, where we noted that brew prices have gone up since our last visit in December 2016. Despite the increase, I ordered their Aurora Hoppyalis, while Mrs. Sip went with the seasonal Oktoberfest.

After riding the revamped Incredicoaster, we rejoined our family near the Animation Building, stopping along the way to try a couple beverages only available during the Halloween season. Mrs. Sip had the Elsyian The Great Pumpkin Imperial Ale, while I selected the Stone Vengeful Spirit IPA. Both beers were very good, with the Elysian having the best pumpkin flavour I’ve experienced in a beer.

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Following taking Baby Sip on her very first Disneyland ride ever – The Little Mermaid – we made one more suds stop at the Sonoma Terrace beer and wine garden. I was happy to see the site now has beers on tap, instead of only bottles. With that in mind, I picked the Refuge Grapefruit IPA, but neglected to note which libation Mrs. Sip settled on.

Next, we were off to the Halloween Party, which was a lot of fun. It was neat to experience a park we’re so familiar with in a whole new way. The trick-or-treat stations handed out a variety of quality treats and the fireworks show was top notch. Our only complaint would be that one of the churros stands ran out of the pumpkin spice variety that we’d read about online, which seems like very poor planning to occur, not only during the Halloween season, but particularly during a special event such as Mickey’s Halloween Party.

Before flying back home to Vancouver, most of our group had lunch at the Golden Road Brewing tasting room within LAX Airport. This was a welcome surprise given how much we used to despise the airport and how we just had a beer from the company the day before at Tony Roma’s. I went with the Wolf Among Weeds IPA, paired with a Banh Mi Sandwich, while Mrs. Sip ordered the Mango Cart Wheat Ale to go with a Pub Pretzel.

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Back at home, we were running out of days to reach my goal of taking Baby Sip to 52 breweries in her first year of life, so made a trip to Vancouver for stops at R&B Brewing and Electric Bicycle Brewing. At R&B, we shared one of their spectacular pizzas, the Prosciutto & Arugula variety, along with pints of So Fresh and So Green, Green IPA for me and the Jam Session Raspberry Cream Ale for Mrs. Sip. At Electric Bicycle, we shared a flight, comprised of Kaedama Ramen Noodle Alt, Spatialized Pale Ale, Floridian Holiday Pink Peppercorn IPA, and Das Cocoloco Imperial Wit. It was a perfect way to achieve my and Baby Sip’s goal with some outstanding beers at both locations.

To celebrate my birthday the next day, we bought tickets to Trading Post Brewing’s Oktoberfest event, where they were joined by Field House Brewing and Steel & Oak Brewing. I tried beers from each vendor, including the Trading Post Hoppy Bock, Field House Festbier, Field House Dutch Pale Ale, and Steel & Oak Roselle Wheat Ale. We also ordered some of the fantastic food available, such as the Vienna Schnitzel, Laugenbrezel, and Parm Fries. The event was a lot of fun and to boot, we even got an opportunity to drink out of a boot!

As with any birthday for me, a number of liquor products were gifted my way, including bottles of Tanqueray Malacca Gin, Sons of Vancouver Chili Vodka, Fernie Ghostrider Pumpkin Brown Ale and Bad Tattoo Brewing’s Flash Pack case. Last, but not least, I also received a BC Liquor Store gift card, as well as cash, which will likely go towards boozy purchases.

money for birthday

Finally, to wrap up what is often our second busiest month of the year – only topped by December and all its Christmas events – thanks to a myriad of family and friend birthdays, we celebrated Baby Sip turning one-year-old. For the occasion, I created three cocktails, featuring colourful liqueurs that went with our Dr. Seuss ‘Oh, The Places You’ll Go!’ theme. The recipes included Rum–Blue Curacao–Pineapple Juice, Vodka–Banana Liqueur–Club Soda, and Gin–Violet Liqueur–Lemon-Lime Soda. The unique yet basic recipes were a hit with our guests and added a nice enhancement to the party.

October looks to be a little less insane, but the calendar is already filling up with Halloween parties and other commitments. Bring it on, October!

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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!

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.

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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.

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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.

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