Sip Trips #174: Island Exploring

While the last couple of weeks have been quieter, coinciding with the end of summer, the Sip Family has still kept up a fairly busy schedule of events and activities. Here’s what we’ve been up to, of late:

Following the Labour Day long weekend, Mrs. Sip and I both took an extra day off work to take Baby Sip to the Vancouver Aquarium. While in that neck of the woods, we visited the new Stanley Park Brewing Restaurant & Brewpub. They have set up quite a facility there and we wish our visit wasn’t so brief. I ordered a pint of the Grapefruit & Juniper Red ISA, which was already on tap, despite being on their “Up Next” menu. I’m so glad it was because it paired quite well with the Pretzel Mrs. Sip asked for, accompanied by a very tasty mustard sauce. I’d say the only drawback is that a trip to Stanley Park takes us quite a bit out of the way nowadays, so popping into the brewpub will likely be a rare treat.

mustard

Later that week, to celebrate Pa Sip’s birthday, we had dinner at the Moby Dick Seafood Restaurant in White Rock. While splitting a platter of delicious Fish & Chips, I enjoyed a pint of Steamworks Lager. In my opinion, you just can’t have fish and chips without a frosty beverage and although the restaurant only had this one craft option, I’m thankful they at least had that.

This past weekend, we travelled to Victoria to visit family. While on the island, I was able to hit a couple of the many craft breweries our capital city has to offer. We began our limited crawl at Phillips Brewing, which has expanded greatly since my last visit a handful of years ago. I went with a flight of beers, selecting their Fresa Fresca Strawberry Cream Wit, The Ramanga Blood Orange Witbier, Au Currant Black Currant Wheat Ale, and Death Metal Norwegian Black IPA. I also picked up a bomber of Villager Hazy Kolsch, the official beer of Vancouver Whitecaps FC, for the road.

Up next was Vancouver Island Brewing, where I put together another flight, consisting of their Twisted Stalk Blackberry Helles, Magic Hour Grapefruit Gose, Faller Northwest Pale Ale and Just Desserts Porter. If it wasn’t so expensive to take a vehicle round trip via BC Ferries, we would probably be able to explore Victoria even more. There are many locations over there that I’d love to stop at in the future.

ferries

We wrapped our most recent adventures by trying Burger Heaven in New West. The burgers here don’t come cheap, with the basic option starting at $15 and fancier items closer to $20 or more, but they are very good quality. I went with the Teriyaki, Mozzarella, Bacon & Mushroom Burger and it was fantastic. Our meal ended on a bit of a sour note, though, as we were charged for extra drinks we didn’t order and it wasn’t realized until after we paid. We were refunded for the drinks, but our tip was based on an incorrectly inflated charge. Not to mention, while this could have been an accident, you’re always left wondering whether the server was hoping it wouldn’t be noticed.

Coming up for the Sip Advisor is the September birthday blitz, which sees myself, Baby Sip, Sis-in-Law Sip and a couple friends all celebrate another year on this earth within a week of each other. Should make for quite a bit of fun!

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Sip Trips #172: Brewery Brawling

This summer has been flying by and another couple of weeks are in the books with events attended and road trips taken. Here’s all the shenanigans the Sip Advisor and associates have been up to in that time:

A couple weeks back, a buddy and I attended Parallel 49’s Brawl at the Brewery, combining two of my favourite worlds: professional wrestling and craft beer. Hosted at the brewery’s outdoor beer garden, what started out as a dreary looking day turned into a decent one, as the rain subsided long enough for the wrestling to start. As we watched the first ever P49 Champion be crowned with a 20-person battle royal, among other matches, I enjoyed a number of servings of the Jerkface 9000 Northwest Wheat Ale. Not knowing what to expect from the event and our $20 general admission tickets, we came away quite happy. If this event becomes a yearly tradition, we would likely spring for the $35 front row tickets next time around, so we can have a seat for all the action.

wrestling belts

Following the wrestling, we weren’t ready to wrap the night up yet, so delved further into the Yeast Van area. Our first stop came at Odd Society Spirits, where we ordered the Rye Thai and Fat Panda cocktails. Both drinks were interesting, featuring infused spirits and a classy presentation. Our second and final stop was Powell Street Brewing, where we managed a couple quick beers before the place shutdown for the night. My servings were the Ode to Citra Pale Ale, which has always been a preferred brew of mine.

This past weekend, we joined friends at their family cabin in Birch Bay, Washington. For my drinking enjoyment over the weekend, I picked up a case from Seattle’s Redhook Brewing, which included the Mothers of the Sun Raspberry Saison, Tangelic Halo Tangerine IPA, El Sonido Mexican Lager and Bicoastal IPA. I really liked this case, particularly the flavours offered by the Raspberry Saison and Tangerine IPA. We also popped into Bellingham’s Elizabeth Station beer store, where I grabbed a can of Rogue Ales Hazelnut Brown Nectar Ale for nightcap purposes.

This upcoming weekend will be a busy one, as Mrs. Sip and I are set to attend the 2019 Battle of the Brews in Surrey, as well as celebrate our seventh wedding anniversary with a surprise outing I have planned. I can’t wait for it all to arrive!

Sip Trips #160: Weezer & Wagyu

It’s been a steady few weeks for the Sip Family, full of celebrations and events to attend. Here’s what the crew has been up to since I was last able to put fingers to keyboard:

Mrs. Sip and I celebrated the 17th anniversary of our first date a couple weeks back and boy how times have changed. With Baby Sip now in tow, we like to spend the first portion of the day doing a family activity, leaving our evening to just the two of us. Our day started with checking out the Greater Vancouver Zoo in Aldergrove. Baby Sip loved seeing all the animals and running around the park. I liked that you could bring your own bike or rollerblades or even rent one of those two-seater carriage bikes to get around the attraction. My only complaint for the place, is unlike our experience at the San Diego Zoo, you couldn’t explore with a beer or other adult libation in hand.

lions-at-zoo

Following the zoo, while Baby Sip napped, we took care of the beverage absence by visiting Old Abbey Ales. Last time we tried to go here, the door was locked following a change in ownership. This time went a lot smoother. We were very impressed by the brewery’s eclectic beer board, deciding we each needed a flight to cover off all the brews we were interested in trying. We sampled the Beets by Steve, Sippy Chai Aye, Call of Ktulu Squid Ink Stout, Gose Cuervo, Jolly Brewer Watermelon Light Lager, Peanut Butter Jelly Time, Quila Grapefruit, and Fizzical Contradiction Brut IPA.

To finish off the busy day, we had a Vancouver Canucks game to attend. To use up the last of our season ticket membership gift cards, I bought a tall serving of Hoyne Dark Matter, which was a nice sipper through the first period. We also tried to go to Devil’s Elbow after the contest, but wouldn’t be able to be seated for about 25 minutes, so elected to return home and relieve our babysitters. We remedied this with a quick stop there a few nights later prior to our last game of the season, each enjoying a serving of the Howe Sound Wee Beastie Scotch Ale.

As an anniversary gift, Mrs. Sip signed us up to be ‘original patrons’ of Another Beer Company (ABC), which should be opening soon in the Sapperton area. Our $250 investment in the brewery is returned to us with a gift card in that amount, as well as other perks such as merchandise and invites to special events. I was already excited for another brewery (no pun intended) to open so close to our home, but now I’m super amped to see this operation take off.

anniversary flaws

This previous weekend, we joined friends to attend the Weezer/Pixies concert at Rogers Arena. Prior to the show, we had dinner at Wildebeest, enjoying their Omakase (Japanese for “trust the chef” or “let us order for you”) menu, which lets diners set a menu price per person and then sit back and enjoy whatever concoctions the kitchen can come up with. Our meal was orgasmic, highlighted by their delicious Bone Marrow (we even did luge shots of sherry out of the used bone), Wagyu Tartare and main event of more Wagyu beef, this time in strip form. As for drinks, I imbibed with their Uppercut cocktail (Calvados, vermouth, Maraschino, orange bitters, peated Scotch), and a pair of Parkside Pale Ales at $5 happy hour pricing.

As for the concert, we had a fantastic time, although we missed the opening act as we wrapped up our meal. The Pixies and Weezer both put on a great show. At the arena, I had a couple Millstreet Tankhouse Ales and when we were invited to join a friend in his private box, a couple more bevvies were enjoyed. All in all, a spectacular way to spend a Sunday night!

Upcoming for the Sip Family is the Iron Assassin’s Demolition Derby in Abbotsford on Saturday and the long-awaited return of Game of Thrones the following day. We are also gearing up for the Easter long weekend, where we’ll be travelling with Ma and Pa Sip to Seattle for what should be a gluttonous holiday!

Sip Trips #155: Beer Birthday

The past couple weekends have been loaded with commitments. Here’s what we’ve been up to, of late:

On a recent stop at Steel & Oak Brewing, we picked up a tall can four-pack of their recently released Blush Rosé Saison. The limited edition brew looks beautiful and is quite tasty, utilizing Merlot and Cab Franc grape skins from the brewery’s neighbour, Pacific Breeze Winery. Partial proceeds are going to the Camp Kerry Society and their efforts towards bereavement care. I’ve noticed more wine and bubbly concepts becoming intertwined with the beer industry lately, with Brut IPAs becoming a very popular variety.

bubbly orange

Last weekend, prior to our matinee Vancouver Canucks game, we visited the new Brewhall (formerly Steel Toad Brewing) in the Olympic Village area. I like what the Tap & Barrel folks have done with this place, with the video games and picnic bench seating. Their lineup of beers is also quite impressive, stocked with many of their own releases and collaborations with other BC breweries. While devouring my Crispy Chicken Burger with Dirty Cheesy Fries, Mrs. Sip and I enjoyed pints of the Hoyne & Brewhall German Amber Wheat Ale and Brewhall Polar Beer White Stout. Had we not had the game to attend, I could have drank a few more beers and enjoyed the afternoon there.

This past weekend was Mrs. Sip’s birthday, so a massive HAPPY BIRTHDAY needs to be shouted from all corners of the globe to my muse. Mrs. Sip shares her birthday with one of our good friends, who was celebrating the big 4-0. His wife decided to throw him a surprise party at Mariner Brewing, which was a great location for our large group. Over the course of the evening, I enjoyed pints of their Glow Holiday Spiced Ale and Horizon Winter Pale Ale, along with a taster glass of their Northeast IPA. While I didn’t have any food myself, dishes that came out, including pizzas, hotdogs and popcorn, all looked good.

Upcoming, we have a member’s only event at Township 7 Winery and some kind of vacation around the Family Day long weekend… so long as we can figure out a place to go!

Sip Trips #154: Year In, Year Out

Welcome to 2019! It’s been a busy start to the year for the Sip Advisor and company, so let’s get right to it with a look at the last couple weeks:

First things first, a final update on the Storm Brewing 12 Fills of Christmas Mrs. Sip and I enjoyed throughout the month of December. The final eight beers included a Plumageddon Lambic, Christmas Morning Cup of Joe Nut Brown Ale, Salted Chocolate Stout, Merlot Glacial Gnarwhal, Candy Cane Pilsner, Whiskey Barrel Aged Stout, Lightning Wit, and Butter Rum Ale. Also, while stopping by for some of the brews, we were able to try samples of the Almond Roca Ale and Cranberry Black Pepper IPA. These guys and gals will never cease to amaze me!

Prior to a recent Vancouver Canucks game, Mrs. Sip and I met with friends at the Red Racer Taphouse (formerly the Central City Brewpub). I ordered their Teriyaki Rice Bowl, which was a satisfying meal on this wet, rainy day. For drinks, I typically give the Mystery Tap a shot, with the beer being the Doan’s Crystal Weise this time around. I also drank a pint of Parallel 49 Toques of Hazard White IPA.

beer relationship.jpg

On New Year’s Day, we met friends for brunch at The Hub in New West. I really enjoyed my order of the Yankee Burger and Baby Sip seemed to like the pieces of meat and fries I shared with her. What about New Year’s Eve, you ask? Well, it was a quiet affair, with Mrs. Sip and I celebrating at home with Baby Sip. After years of always having elaborate plans for the occasion, we decided to take one off and relax.

This past weekend, the Sip Advisor was out in Langley, so I popped into B’s Craft Beer Lounge, which I hadn’t visited before. The place may be small, but it has an impressive lineup of beers, mostly in bottle and can form, but also with some unique options on tap. My flight was very interesting, consisting of the Storm Eggnog Latte Stout, Old Yale Vanilla Cardamom Imperial Red Ale, Twin Sails/Merit Cool Cool Cool Neapolitan Stout, and Field House Zinfandel Ale with Vanilla and Oak, which was my favourite of the set.

The next day, the Sip Family converged on the Vancouver Aquarium, where Baby Sip and her cousins encountered all the sea creatures on display. Following the Aquarium, we had a late lunch at the nearby Prospect Point Bar & Grill, where I enjoyed their On Point Burger. Our service here was excellent, given our big group and energetic youngsters.

aquarium

We wrapped this edition of Sip Trips with a visit to the Cineplex VIP Theatre at Marine Gateway. While enthralled by Bohemian Rhapsody, I sipped a Red Rum Spiced Red Ale from Dead Frog Brewing. If you’re even a casual fan of Queen, you should see this movie.

Coming up over the next couple weeks are a couple more Canucks games, Mrs. Sip’s birthday, a night of whiskey tasting, and much more. 2019 is rolling along pretty well, so let’s keep it that way!

Best of 2018

Weddings, birthdays, travel, moves and babies. These are some of the themes that make up the Sip Advisor’s annual look back at the best nights from the year that was. Without further ado, here is the Sip Advisor’s top 18 of 2018:

Winter Wedding

The year started off with a bang, as we spent an early January weekend celebrating the wedding of very close friends. With Mrs. Sip a bridesmaid and yours truly delivering a speech, we were busy, but also made ample use of the reception’s open bar. This was Baby Sip’s first wedding and she took in the craziness with her usual charm.

Down Mexico Way

San Diego has an amazing craft beer scene and that has spread across the border to Tijuana, Mexico. While we were staying in nearby Escondido, we booked a tour that would take us across the border for the day, visit a few breweries and then return us stateside in the evening. Our guide was very good and I recommend checking out places on both sides of the boundary.

Riding High

Baby Sip and I joined Mrs. Sip at the tail end of her annual girls trip to Las Vegas and one definite highlight was riding the High Roller, while inside one of the attraction’s Happy Half Hour (Open Bar in the Sky) cabins. For 30 minutes, we enjoyed the sights of the strip, while consuming as much booze as our bodies could handle in such a short time.

open bar

Mamma Mia

To celebrate Mrs. Sip’s first Mother’s Day, we flew to London. Okay, the trip was already planned with saluting Mrs. Sip’s efforts being a happy coincidence. To mark the occasion, we enjoyed an afternoon tea, complete with bottomless bubbly. We finished the day with a stop at the East London Liquor Company for a couple craft cocktails.

French Kissing

While in Lyon, France, our group enjoyed the Les Fleurs du Malt craft beer bar; a Beaujolais wine region tour; drinking in a park along the Rhone River; and an epic feast of McDonald’s goodies, paired with French craft beer. That’s my kind of culture!

Portuguese Pleasing

Next up was Porto, Portugal, memorable for the Food & Wine Tour Mrs. Sip found. After our afternoon of indulging, we explored the city, visiting the Calem Port Museum and Sandeman Cellars for Port tastings and cocktails. Lisbon and Sintra were also neat cities.

Satisfying Two Food Groups

In Brussels, Belgium, the Chocolate & Beer Tour we booked was absolutely decadent. Following a few stops at some of the finest chocolatiers in the city, it was time to get our drink on and enjoy a seemingly endless lineup of brews. After the tour wrapped, we ventured to the Delirium Café for even more beverages.

chocolate and beer

On the Battlefield

The only thing better than a good craft beer event is one that comes with free entry. Scratch that, Mrs. Sip and I were practically paid to attend Cask Wars at the Portside Pub, as entry included one free beer. Sure, once inside you paid for tasting tickets, but even that was at a very reasonable price. The competition saw 11 breweries work to drain their cask the quickest and earn a tap at the bar.

Wedded Bliss

What happens when you pack an entire wedding into a four-hour cocktail reception? A fury of fun… and drinking. Best of all, the rest of the day before and after the nuptials is yours to enjoy. When at the wedding, you can be solely focused on the party and that’s exactly how this went down, with Mrs. Sip calling it a night once we got home.

Maritimes Marriage

With friends tying the knot in their native Nova Scotia, Mrs. Sip and I (along with Baby Sip) made the cross-country trek to Halifax for a weekend of fun. While touring the city’s craft beer joints and devouring as much Atlantic seafood as we could get our hands on, we also took in some east coast culture in the form of a food tour and visiting some museum exhibits.

Adios Apartment

With just days remaining before we had to be out of our Downtown Vancouver apartment, Mrs. Sip and I decided to throw a final bash at the ol’ place, collecting our finest drinking buddies, with the hopes of depleting our liquor collection and having less bottles to pack and transport. Everyone brought their A-game to the festivity and we ended up retiring numerous bottles.

moving out

Return to the Battlefield

The next day, Mrs. Sip and I celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary, enjoying a rare (my very first) night away from Baby Sip to attend the Battle of the Brews event in Surrey. The rain couldn’t dampen our merriment – or inebriation – and we ate and drank our way through as many tents as we could.

Cruise Control

Even with Baby Sip in tow, Mrs. Sip and I managed to live up to our cruise reputation as we travelled from Vancouver to Los Angeles. Giant margaritas, wine tasting and cocktail hours were enjoyed throughout the voyage, along with all the fine dining one stomach can handle.

Day in Disneyland

While I prefer longer visits to the Disneyland Resort, with only one day to spend at the happiest place in the world, we did pretty well with our stay. There to get Baby Sip her first taste of Disneyland and attend Mickey’s Halloween Party, we began with a trio of beers in the California Adventure park, launching us into the second half of our day, trick-or-treating with Mickey and the gang.

Brew Birthday

The Sip Advisor’s birthday, which should be a national holiday, celebrated across Canada, was at least celebrated in style by a select few of us, attending Trading Post Brewing’s Oktoberfest event. We honoured my German heritage with an impressive drinking exhibition and continued the party at our new home with friends and family.

birthday-beer.jpg

Bash for Baby Sip

While I didn’t drink as much as expected for this momentous occasion (I mean, I did create a small menu of cocktail delights to serve to guests), it is still a highlight of the year. First, the day meant we somehow managed to keep a kid alive for a full year and second, watching the sheer joy in Baby Sip’s eyes as everyone focused their attention and love on her, is something I won’t soon forget.

Open House

To show off our new abode, we hosted an open house wine and cheese party that stretched from midday to the early hours of the next morning. We had dozens of bottles on hand, as well as more food than has ever been in our fridge before or since. Guests flowed in and out through the day and at the end, we were just happy it went off without a hitch.

Christmas Day

The moment the Sip Family arrived at Ma and Pa Sip’s place for Christmas dinner, the drinking began. I can’t recall how many Dark N’ Stormy beverages I had over the stay, but my precious bottle of ginger beer was drained. At the end of the night, I passed out to Christmas episodes of my favourite animated comedies… a merry Christmas, indeed!

That wraps up another trip around the sun. I’m not entirely sure what 2019 has in store for this site, but I hope to bring back the Cocktail Corner and Love & Hate segments to this site. I’m also working hard to put together a much bigger project for 2020, so stay tuned!

Sip Trips #152: Scary Sipping

Mrs. Sip and I have been pretty busy lately, thus why I haven’t been able to document our adventures in recent weeks. Here’s what we’ve been up to since the last time I checked in:

A couple weeks back, we celebrated a friend’s birthday in the Port Moody Brewers Row area. We started with dinner at the nearby Taps and Tacos, where Mrs. Sip and I enjoyed their Smoked Rosemary Clover Club (black moon smoked rosemary gin, raspberry, lemon, egg white) and Chibolero (pisco, ancho reyes, lemon, blood orange, clingstone peach bitters, egg white) cocktails, respectively. Our meal was comprised of the restaurant’s Queso Fundido, along with a variety of tacos. I really enjoyed the Korean Pork variation, while Mrs. Sip’s favourite was the Moroccan Chicken.

people tacos

Following dinner, our first stop along Brewers Row was Moody Ales, making good on our promise to hit the brewery first on our next visit, following two journeys where we neglected the place. Here, I ordered pints of their Daylight Savings White IPA and Who Turned Off The Lights Black IPA, both of which I liked. In a great marketing idea, the pair are sold together in four-pack tall can sets (two of each), for those looking to try the counter-balanced beers. Mrs. Sip drank the Rauchbock (a collaboration with Gibsons Tapworks), which had a nice smoke to it, as well as the Lusty Chocolate Oatmeal Stout.

Moving on, we next popped into Parkside Brewing where I sipped on their Motel Pale Ale, which is actually classified as an IPA. With Baby Sip getting tired and a bit of a trip ahead of us to get home, we packed things in after this stop and ventured back to New West.

We were back at it the next day, visiting the newly-opened Dark Manor Inn, touted as Vancouver’s haunted whiskey bar. The cocktail joint comes from the minds behind The Shameful Tiki Room, so there is a good pedigree behind the concept. Our group was sat at the master table and went through much of the cocktail menu during our stay. Among my selections were the Pills, Potions & Quack Nostrums (house malt whiskey blend, cinnamon, ginger, lime); Visions of Apparitions (house made whiskey cream and cola, cherry, dash of soda); and Don’t Go In The Attic (butter-washed cognac, calvados, sherry, lemon, spices). Mrs. Sip selected other beverages than me, so we got to sample a large portion of their cocktail list – or Libations and Palliatives, as they call them. We also each tried their Beef Pie and were impressed with the meal, especially given its $12 price tag.

can't sleep

With cocktails ranging from $11-$14, the night was not cheap, but the experience was worth the cost. The Dark Manor Inn is really done up well, with great theming, decorations, lighting effects and music. Reservations are a must and on busy nights, you may be restricted to a two-hour sitting. There’s not a ton of food on their menu, so picky eaters may want to dine prior to their session. We all agreed Vancouver needs more themed drinking locales. Best of luck to them as they get this new expedition off the ground and we will be back to try one of their bowls, which we unavailable on this occasion.

The following weekend, Mrs. Sip and I hosted a small gathering, where each guest was tasked with collecting beers to share, which were honoured with 2018 BC Beer Awards medals. We ended up amassing quite the collection and the night was filled with sampling as much as we could from the assortment. We even had a brew slipped in from the World Beer Awards and it was quite welcomed by the Sip Advisor.

Later that week, we dropped into the Sapperton District Taphouse for their weekly trivia. The theme was Netflix programming and I’m not ashamed to say our crew does a fair bit of binge watching, so once again, we finished in first place. Our reward was a pitcher of beer, which Mrs. Sip and I ended up drinking together, abandoned by our teammates. Our selection of the Vancouver Island Hermannator Ice Bock may not have been the best choice, given its strong 9.5% alcohol content and no one to help us with the serving. This was on top of my pint of Russell Angry Scotch Ale and Great Sapper sandwich, which was very good, but would have been better on a bun, instead of Texas toast.

Netflix

The most recent weekend began with Mrs. Sip and I visiting Storm Brewing, as we both took last Friday off from work. We were a little sad to see samples are no longer available by donation and now cost $7 for six tasters, but we understand the need to make money from the operation. We tried the brewery’s Vanilla Whiskey Stout, Gingerbread Ale, Jalapeno-Lime Pilsner, Mango Lassi Pilsner, Lavender Vanilla Ale, and Raspberry Orange Blossom Pilsner. Mrs. Sip also surprised me with the fact she signed us up for their 12 Fills of Christmas, where over the month of December, we will get 12 one-litre Boston fills of unique small-batch brews, not made available to the public. Should make for an interesting holiday season!

The weekend wrapped with a visit to Dead Frog Brewing in Langley. We just had to try their recently concocted Party Paddle, which provides at least two drinkers with a flight of 16 taster glasses, comprised of everything on tap at the brewery. Among my favourites were the Moscow Mule Lime Ginger White Ale, Blueberry Blast Kettle Sour, Nutty Uncle Peanut Butter Stout and Winter Beeracle Winter Ale.

Another series of Sip Trips adventures are in the books and the Christmas push is just beginning. The next update will feature Christmas parties, a look at my first fills from Storm Brewing and likely a couple outings that weren’t even on our radar. Stay tuned!