Beer of the Week #15 – Steamworks Salted Chocolate Porter

Dessert in a bottle is how this Steamworks Brewing new product can best be described. A friend recently grabbed it for me, as a little gift for our recent Gender Reveal party and I got a chance to sit back and enjoy it this weekend.

The Salted Chocolate Porter uses hand-harvested Pacific Ocean Fleur de Sel from the Vancouver Island Salt Co. The 6% ABV, 25 IBUs beverage features flavours and aromas of chocolate and vanilla to complete its experience.

Steamworks Salted Chocolate Porter

This limited release is available in bomber-sized bottles at BC Liquor Stores and private locations. It is the first to come from Steamworks new Illumination Series and I can’t wait to see what follows from the experimental line.

Of the series, Steamworks says the beers will be comprised of: “specialized ingredients, cutting-edge brewing techniques and the spirit of invention.” Next up, is the Umeboshi Sour, infused with Japanese plums.

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Sip Trips #96: Much to Celebrate

The week that was started with Ma and Pa Sip joining me for dinner at Dunn’s Restaurant in Vancouver. This deli-style restaurant has been a favourite of the family for some time and this visit was no different. I paired my Classic Club with a pint of R&B Brewing’s Raven’s Cream Ale, which made for a solid combination. Ma Sip went with the tasty Fried Chicken Poutine, while Pa Sip enjoyed a Grilled Cheese with Onion Rings. All told, the meal was very good and we will return soon.

On Saturday, we had plans to celebrate Father-in-Law Sip’s birthday, but also met with a friend at the One20 Public House in Delta, for a drink. There, I ordered pints of Red Truck Blackberry Bourbon Ale and Four Winds Apparition West Coast White Ale. I was impressed with the pub’s extensive craft beer selection and look forward to future visits.

One20 Public House

Following that stop, we were off to the nearby Greek Village Restaurant, where souvlaki, saganaki and spanakopita were gorged on by our group. We have never had a bad experience at this eatery and it has become a regular destination for the Sip Advisor’s in-laws, as they renovate their home. The feast made Mrs. Sip and I really look forward to our cruise ports in Greece this May.

On Monday, Mrs. Sip and I hit the VIP Theatre at Marine Gateway, as we had passes that needed to be used. As we watched Logan (an awesome movie, by the way), I scarfed down a Chipotle Chicken Club Wrap and tried their Cherry Collins cocktail. While I’ll always argue that I make better Tom Collins drinks than most bars out there, this was a decent version and I liked the cherry infusion. The food was also very good. I’ve tried something different from the menu every time I’ve been to the VIP Theatre and I’ve never been disappointed yet.

For Tuesday night, Pa Sip was given a pair of Vancouver Canucks tickets and I was the lucky recipient of the extra pass. Prior to the game, we dined at Back Forty, located right across from BC Place’s Terry Fox Plaza. Accompanied by a couple beverages, I tried the Buttermilk Fried Chicken Po’Boy, which was very flavourful and spicy, thanks to the Sriracha and mustard. The service from staff was very quick and attentive, especially with drink orders.

Back Forty

To wrap up the week, Mrs. Sip and I celebrated our 15th dating anniversary. I still can’t believe we’ve been together so long and how far we’ve come from the 18-year-olds we were when our journey first started. For the occasion, we picked up a Groupon for Blue Martini Jazz Café, which provided us each with a three-course meal and live entertainment from the Ray Ayotte Impromptu band.

Our meals consisted of meatballs, jambalaya and cheesecake for me, while Mrs. Sip went with a prosciutto and bocconcini bruschetta, salmon topped with shrimp and crab, and crème brulee. For drinks, I tried their Moscow Mule happy hour special and downed a pint of 33 Acres of Ocean with dinner.

I’m was very happy with where we ended up, but we were both amazed at how little there was to do around Vancouver on this Thursday night. While the rest of the week was littered with various events, there didn’t seem to be much going on this particular evening. That did push us to try this new experience, though, so it was all for the best!

Beer of the Week #13 – Red Truck Blackberry Bourbon Ale

The moment I saw this Red Truck Brewing product on the One20 Public House tap list, I knew I’d have to order a pint. The drink was unique enough to stand out on the bar’s impressive and diverse menu.

The Blackberry Bourbon Ale was tart and fruity, with a warm bourbon finish. At 5.8% ABV and 25 IBUs, the beverage was easy to drink and very refreshing. I was impressed that it wasn’t as light as other fruit beers.

Red Truck Blackberry Bourbon Ale

It looks like this seasonal limited release is only available on tap at various locations. If you do come across it in your travels, I would definitely recommend trying it, preferably as part of a tasting flight.

It’s been a little while since I last popped into Red Truck’s Vancouver location. When you’re there, you have quite a bit more variety than the brewery offers in their wares available for purchase at stores.

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Beer of the Week #4 – Granville Island English Bay Pale Ale

While attending a whiskey tasting event over the weekend, I made a few trips to the bar for palate cleansers. There, my order of choice was this Granville Island Brewing product, which impressed over the night of hard boozing.

The English Bay Pale Ale was light, refreshing and full of flavour. The 5% ABV, 18 IBUs beverage featured flavours of caramel malt and balanced nicely with my whiskey servings. Suggest food pairings include burgers, kebabs and tenderloin.

granville-island-english-bay-pale-ale

Named for the inlet that is home to Vancouver’s annual Celebration of Light fireworks, the core brand release is available in a number of formats. This includes canned and bottled six-packs, as well as a place in GIB’s Summer Mingler pack.

Some recipes the folks at Granville Island have concocted, using the Pale Ale, include instructions for a Cheddar Ale & Apple Soup, Malt Crème Brûlée and Stilton Soufflé. Perhaps some cooking is in order to try the dishes out.

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Beer of the Week #1 – R&B Shake Yo Fruity Milkshake IPA

While the BC Beer Baron project has ended, I still want to dabble in the province’s craft beer scene. Therefore, each week I will feature something I’ve been drinking over the last seven days, with today’s selection coming from R&B Brewing.

With a name like Shake Yo Fruity Milkshake IPA, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I think the word ‘milkshake’ is a bit misleading, as it made me expect a smoothie-like beverage. That said, the beer was creamier than your average beverage.

rb-brewing

The 7.3% ABV, 38 IBUs drink is a pretty solid release. I really enjoyed the hop content of the brew. The limited release is only available for a short time at R&B’s Ale & Pizza House and other craft beer-centric restaurants and taphouses.

Shake Yo Fruity, of course, is a clever reference to the classic “Shake Your Booty” by KC & The Sunshine Band, which has been featured in too much media to count. This version is highlighted by flavours of citrus, such as orange and grapefruit.

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Sip Trips #86: Best of 2016

Each year, the Sip Advisor fondly looks back at the best drinking nights (in order of occurrence) of the previous calendar… at least what he can remember of them. Join us as we take a moment to dissect and celebrate 2016:

Libational Learning

When a night ends with the Sip Advisor passing out on the couch, sans clothing, you know it’s been a good one! The Science of Cocktails extravaganza was a fascinating and booze-fueled evening. We wanted to return this year, but Mrs. Sip has a trial starting the next day, so that doesn’t seem to be in the cards. #Responsibilities

Family Day Festivities

Over the Family Day long weekend, the Sip Alliance explored both the Fraser Valley and North Vancouver craft beer regions, hitting more than a dozen locations. Many of these, were first time stops for our group and it opened our eyes to all the wonders that exist outside of Vancouver.

family-time

Crawling Around

Just one day after the Portland Beer & Wine Festival, we were back at it, hitting the streets of the City of Roses and searching out some of its most popular breweries. Over the course of the day, we worked our way through a half dozen tasting rooms. Eventually, we ended the journey with an Easter-themed burlesque show and Voodoo Doughnuts… because why the hell not!?

Lion City Leisure

With three nights in Singapore to start our five-week Asian adventure, we decided to spend one of those nights at the swanky Marina Bay Sands. Our hotel package included their evening happy hour, which in true Mr. and Mrs. Sip fashion, we rocked until they kindly asked us to leave. We followed this with swimming in the resort’s rooftop pool, 63 floors above the city.

The Happiest of Valleys

The fun didn’t stop there, as our cruise made a two-day stop in the vibrant city that is Hong Kong. This allowed us the chance to enjoy some nightlife, helped along by Mrs. Sip having a few friends living in the city. Coincidentally, it was also Wednesday race night at the Happy Valley Racetrack. Over a couple pitchers of beer, the Sip Advisor even picked a winning horse and took home a small prize.

horse-racing-for-rich-people

So Many Options

Arriving in Tokyo, Japan, we chose to stay near the Golden Gai district of the city. For those unfamiliar with the area, it is home to approximately 300 little bars, within a six-block radius. Our exploration led us into a few uniquely-themed watering holes, such as the one centered around horror movie and metal music cultures.

Drinking Sky High

Our fun in Tokyo didn’t stop there. The moment Mrs. Sip discovered that this attraction existed, we knew it would be a highlight of our stay in the city. At the Park Hyatt, their Peak Bar offered visitors the chance to drink all-inclusive during sunset hours, while looking down at the bustling city below, from the 41st floor. We ended up sitting next to a couple from Australia and spent the night drinking with them, as I challenged the bartender to make me her best drink with each different alcohol available.

Tipping N’ Tasting

Among my favourite annual beer festivals is the Tip N’ Taste event in Langley. It provides a chance to sample brews from companies based more in the Fraser Valley region of BC, as well as other entries from around the province. This year, we stayed overnight at the Convention Centre Hotel, which hosted the event. That meant the after party quickly moved to our room!

beer-crisper

Island Wedding

While on Prince Edward Island for a friend’s wedding, Mrs. Sip and I were introduced to a number of great people, who we partied away the weekend with. Following a meet-and-greet barbecue on the eve of the wedding, we accompanied our new associates back into Charlottetown for an impromptu night on the town, which ended much later than we had anticipated.

All You Need is Love

The Made with Love cocktail competition has become an annual tradition (three years running) for Mrs. Sip and I. It’s always a fun night out, trying the drinks of some of Vancouver’s most popular bartenders. Best of all, we get to play a role in picking the winning entry, although none of our personal favourites ever seem to come out on top.

Cruise Credits

To celebrate Sis-in-Law Sip’s birthday, we booked a one-day cruise from Seattle to Vancouver. Over the course of the evening, the Sip Advisor took in parts of four bottles of wine, a half-dozen beers, a couple cocktails, and a bottle of bubbly to boot, won through a ‘Finish the Song Lyrics’ quiz.

cruise-captain-morgan

Irish Blessings

Over the last couple years, I’ve been incredibly lucky to have celebrated my birthday in Hawaii, aboard a cruise ship, in Southern Africa, and now Ireland – although it was a couple days after the actual date. The Sip Syndicate was along for this ride and we celebrated in true Irish style with shots of Jameson Whiskey and pints of Guinness.

Fear and Loathing

Our trips to Disneyland nowadays typically include enjoying the sights and sounds (and lines) of the park with a cold beer or glass of wine in hand. In October, we were also primed for Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights, which involves getting a good buzz going, prior to entering. Once that was accomplished, all we had to deal with was psycho killer clowns, a rogue’s gallery of baddies and even some Jabbawockeez!

Award Season

My first year attending one of BC’s best craft beer shindigs proved why I had missed out in previous years. Unable to attend because of vacations and other commitments, we finally made it to the BC Beer Awards, where the Sip Advisor was able to sample about 20 different beers from the wonderful breweries that make up the province’s craft industry.

awards-season

Diamond Celebration

To commemorate Ma Sip’s 60th birthday, the entire family ventured to Disneyland, which also recently celebrated the same milestone. Mrs. Sip’s aunt also had her 50th birthday on that weekend, so there was much to revel in. That included a fair bit of drinking at the park and in our hotel rooms, as we made the change from day to night wear.

Traditional Tidings

To celebrate Christmas this year, the Sip Family stayed in Leavenworth, Washington, which is famous for being a little slice of Bavaria, hidden in the mountains. The town is a haven for Christmas lovers, and it’s here that we explored the many wine tasting rooms, a couple breweries and exuded as much festive spirit as one is allowed to, by law.

2016 was an amazing year… at least drinking wise. I can’t wait to see what 2017 has to offer, even though it has quite a bit to live up to!

BC Beer Baron #365 – Red Truck Red Pilsner

Upon returning from our Christmas holiday in Leavenworth, Washington, Mrs. Sip and I hosted a visiting friend and we ended up at Romer’s Burger Bar for a bite to eat. There, I ordered a pint of this Red Truck Brewing product.

The Red Pilsner is “an amber twist on the Czech Pilsner tradition.” The 5% ABV, 25 IBUs beverage is solid in taste and aroma, featuring malted wheat and black malt, which combine to give the beer its flavour, as well as its red appearance.

red-truck-red-pilsner

This beer is a favourite of Cousin Sip’s husband (despite its hop content) and is available in six-packs at BC Liquor Stores. It is also the winter seasonal feature in the company’s Craftmaster Mixer Pack, joined by an IPA, Ale, and Lager.

I wish Red Truck would incorporate a more varied mix of brews into their case, which has always stuck to more traditional recipes. That said, the brewery’s motto is “no preservatives, no pasteurization, no compromises, no bullshit.”

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