Sip Trips 153: Market Madness

Christmas is rapidly approaching and the Sip Family has been busy. From Vancouver to New West to Langley, we’ve been all over the place in recent times, taking in as much of the holiday season as we can. Here’s what we’ve been up to:

We’re now a couple weeks into Storm Brewing’s 12 Fills of Christmas and the lineup thus far has been delicious and diverse. Week one combined the Must Be Christmas Grape Lambic and Christmas Tree Pilsner, followed by the Dark! The Herald Angel’s Sing CDA and Santa’s Christmas Spiced Ale for week two. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the month has in store. On one of my visits to get my fills, I also sampled their Eggnog Latte Stout, which was quite interesting.

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As for events, a couple weeks back we attended the Vancouver Christmas Market, where I enjoyed some liqueur tastings from Okanagan Spirits. I wasn’t really into the market this year, with us no longer living nearby. We get free tickets annually, so still checked it out, but I don’t know if that will be enough to draw me back next year.

What I enjoyed more, was our visit to Mahony & Sons prior to the Christmas Market. There, I ordered a couple pints of Stanley Park Layer Up Winter Wheat Ale – a wonderful beer for those who haven’t tried it yet – along with the pub’s very tasty Poutine. Everything was on happy hour pricing, making for even more merriment.

The next night, we participated in Disney Trivia at The Pint. Having had dinner at Chronic Tacos beforehand (I adore their Al Pastor Burrito), I was looking to get my drink on and that came in the form of a trio of pitchers, including two of the Whistler Chestnut Ale. The pitchers were on special at $16 each, but were only 50-ounce pours, rather than the traditional 60 ounces. As for the trivia, we didn’t fare so well, but it was still a fun evening.

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We wrapped the work week by visiting the New West Christmas Market. What was nice about this market is that there was no entry fee and it was largely housed under an overpass, keeping folks dry in the case of rain. That said, it got really busy by the time I arrived to join Mrs. Sip and the live band was loud, so chatting was difficult. We left a short time later, after downing a selection from Steel & Oak Brewing, which Mrs. Sip tells me she thinks was their Dark Lager.

The next night, Mrs. Sip and I hosted a group of friends for a classic turkey dinner. This was the first time we’d ever cooked a turkey on our own and I have to say the experience was mostly positive, save for a few rookie mistakes and a lot of Google searches. It also gave us a whole new respect for the work our families have done when preparing dinners in the past. For the party, we shared our latest Storm fills, as well as the Whistler Winter Dunkel four-pack I picked up. This is the first time I’ve seen the scrumptious beer that tastes like a Terry’s Chocolate Orange in any format other than a bomber-sized bottle.

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We closed the weekend with a visit to Township 7 Winery in Langley for their Member Open House. I spent most of the time chasing Baby Sip throughout the tasting room, but did note the event provided a very generous serving of snacks and wines for the members.

The Sip Advisor is now on holiday break and there will be much mischief to get up to, as we have a Canucks game this weekend and then all the fun that Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day usually offer up. It’s gonna get boozy!

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Beer of the Week #46 – Persephone India Pale Ale

As Mrs. Sip and I travelled around the Vancouver Christmas Market, I was delighted to discover that Persephone Brewing was on hand, sampling five beers from their lineup. Of course, I tried them all and had a good chat with their people.

The India Pale Ale was my favourite of the bunch, with a balanced flavour experience, featuring tastes of citrus, hops and malt. The 6.5% ABV, 60 IBUs beverage hits all the numbers I like to see. The beer can be found in bomber-sized bottles at BC Liquor Stores

Persephone India Pale Ale

Also available to try were the Black Lager, Persephone Pale Ale, Goddess Golden Ale, and Keller Pilsner. Of these, my second favourite was a close competiton between the Black Lager and Persephone Pale Ale, with the edge going to the Black Lager.

Mrs. Sip and I hope to get to Gibsons and the brewery’s tasting room in the near future. It was suggested we visit during the Sunshine Coast Beer Fest, which Persephone hosts each February, comprised of 17 BC craft creators.

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

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!

Sip Trips #84: Christmas Crunch

Well, my little sippers, the Christmas season is in full swing and Mrs. Sip and I have been busy with various events with friends and family. Here’s a rundown of what we’ve been up to:

On Sunday, we checked out the Stanley Park Christmas Train. While the ride was enjoyable as usual, Mrs. Sip was hoping there would be more of a theme, as there has been in past years. Still, the lights were beautiful and the music was festive, so I’ll give it a passing grade.

Following the train, we had our traditional family meal at White Spot. To pair with my typical Legendary Burger order, we selected a couple pitchers of Granville Island Winter Ale. There’s something about this beer on tap that takes it to a whole ‘nutha level!

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The next evening, Mrs. Sip and I got a rare date night, visiting the Vancouver Christmas Market. The new location does provide more room, but some of the lineups need to be better organized, such as the beer booth’s queue bleeding into another nearby line and causing confusion and blockages. Mrs. Sip enjoyed her spiced rum mulled wine, while I downed a serving of Erdinger Weissbier Dunkel. The price for each beverage was $8, leaving little cash leftover for two folks who largely use cards for payment. It seems odd that many vendors selling merchandise were able to offer a charge card payment option, but most food and drink stalls could not. Oh well, that’s money saved from the expensive event that we really only attend because Mrs. Sip gets free tickets each year.

That saved money was quickly put to use as we popped into the Earl’s Kitchen + Bar in Yaletown. Their Man en Fuego cocktail (Mezcal, El Jimador Tequila, Mango juice, green Tabasco, lime juice) was on special and it’s a very good drink. So good, Mrs. Sip and I each ordered a second. For our meals, Mrs. Sip selected the Avocado Super Toast, while I went with the Hunan Kung Pao noodle dish. Both dinners were very good.

This weekend, we have even more on the schedule, so it will be another whirlwind. ‘Tis the season, am I right!?