Sip Trips #143: Ends of Eras

Canada Day has come and gone and the week was another busy seven days for Mrs. Sip and I. Here’s a recap of the week that was:

We began the week with dinner at EXP Restaurant + Bar, which after months of speculation, in fact closed their doors for good at the end of June. This was a very sad revelation for the Sip Family and we just had to dine at the eatery one more time, in spite of a long wait for a table. Once seated, Mrs. Sip and I ordered servings of Hoyne Dark Matter and Postmark Spruce Tip Ale, respectively. For food, I went with my all-time favourite Triforce Burger (beef patty, chicken breast and bacon), while Mrs. Sip had the Little Mac N Cheese with Pulled Pork. We hope EXP pops up again in a different location and we will definitely be regular visitors again, if that occurs.

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The next day, I attended a retirement party at Finch & Barley in North Vancouver. While I wasn’t able to stay long, I did manage glasses of Steamworks Flagship IPA and Driftwood White Bark Witbier, prior to returning home. The place had some interesting food menu options that I just didn’t have time to try out, but may be able to at a later date.

Canada Day weekend ended up being a bit of a bust weather wise, but we made the most of the time off, visiting Ridge Brewing in Maple Ridge. Mrs. Sip and I split a flight of brews, including Let the Beat ISA, Hairy Dona Amber Ale, Café Morena English Brown Ale and Dark Science Orange Stout. The set was good, although I was hoping for a stronger orange flavour from the stout.

Canada Day

The week wrapped with dinner at Britannia Brewing in quaint Steveston. Along with another flight of beer (comprised of their Watermelon Sour, Sirens Chai Saison, Riptide Rye IPA and Ashore Rye Porter), we enjoyed orders of Truffle & Parmesan Popcorn, Clam Chowder and Fish & Chips. We really liked the restaurant, particularly our food selections, and look forward to returning in the future.

The coming week features another full schedule, including: the Vancouver Canucks Summer Showdown, another trip to the drive-in theatre, a Vancouver Whitecaps game, baseball, a trip to the U.S., watching the 2018 New West Grand Prix, and probably an event or two I’m forgetting. Exhausting, huh!?

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Sip Trips #142: On and Off the Field

I’m always amazed at how quickly the summer fills up with events. This week alone, Mrs. Sip and I have received numerous Facebook event invites and that combines with other commitments to clog the calendar. Don’t get us wrong, we enjoy the chaos, but sometimes you long for the shut-in winter months. Wait, we do a ton of stuff then as well. Anyway, here’s what happened last week:

Our week began with an unexpected entry into the weekly trivia at Darby’s Gastown. The trivia was so unexpected that I was only able to attend the second half of the quiz. I still managed to enjoy a serving of Luppolo Kveik IPA, along with the bar’s homemade potato chips and a soft pretzel.

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The next night, we were back in Gastown for The Portside Pub’s Cask Wars event. The competition was free to attend, so long as you RSVP’d for the limited tickets, and saw 11 breweries compete to drain their cask first and earn at tap at the popular bar. Upon entering, attendees received their first drink ticket on the house, with additional tickets costing a very reasonable $4. Mrs. Sip and I bought four tickets, but somehow ended up trying 10 of the offerings available. The eventual winner was Coal Harbour’s Dino Candy Raspberry Sour with Gin Soaked Lime Leaves (available in bomber-sized bottles). We had a fantastic time at this event, also enjoying orders of their East Coast Chowder and Garlic Fingers. One issue I hope is fixed for future Cask Wars (and this applies to all beer events) is I’d like to see every brewery have a sign telling what their beer is. Most do, but some don’t and I don’t like standing in line to find out what beer they’re serving, when it might be something I have no interest in trying.

On the weekend, our baseball team was involved in a tournament at Burnaby’s Riverway Sport Complex. While we didn’t have any favourable results over our games, we had fun, particularly at the onsite beer garden. Drink tickets were six for $20 and just like previous tournaments, Hearthstone Brewing was on hand to keep players hydrated with their Cali Common (my beverage of choice) and Rizzla Rice Lager. There was also a variety of ciders available for the non-beer drinkers.

Following day one of the tourney, Mrs. Sip and I awaited the return of Baby Sip from our friends at Steel & Oak Brewing. We each had a glass of their Smoked Hefeweizen, before splitting the Weekend Plans Peach Tart Pale Ale. When our friend’s arrived, I was also able to sample a sip of the Blackthorn Strong Ale.

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Looking to get outside and enjoy the nice weather this week, I took Baby Sip over to Granville Island, hoping to visit Granville Island Brewing. Unfortunately, their tasting room was closed for a private event. Making lemonade out of lemons, I made my way over to the nearby Liberty Distillery for a cocktail. I selected The McClay (Railspur No. 1 Whiskey, lime juice, Thai bitters, pineapple-jalapeno cordial), which was a beautiful drink.

This weekend is highlighted by Canada Day, which has become one of my favourite drinking holidays. Hopefully the weather holds up enough for the Sip Advisor to host what has become an annual pool party at Ma and Pa Sip’s place. The beverages will certainly be flowing, regardless!

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 #135: Fine Foods

Sometimes it amazes me when I put together these weekly wrap-ups just how much we do in a seven-day span. This past week was no different as you will see below:

The week began with me joining Pa Sip at Uncle Buck’s Fish Bowl & Grill at the impressive Tsawwassen Mills Mall. This unique eatery offers great food and bowling with an underwater theme. To eat, I enjoyed a delicious Shrimp Po’Boy, highlighted by a spicy aioli and of course, the breaded shrimp. I look forward to taking Baby Sip back here in the future for a game of ten-pin.

Bowling Ideal

With friends coming over for dinner on Saturday, I picked up Stanley Park Brewing’s Summer Mix Pack. New to the lineup this year are the Trail Hopper IPA and Salted Watermelon Sour. Both are pretty good and I’ve always enjoyed Stanley Park’s mixed cases because of their 2×6 format, rather than the typical 4×3.

On Sunday, Mrs. Sip and I visited 33 Acres Brewing for a beverage. While she had her all-time fave Euphoria Belgian Tripel, I had the new-to-me Genesis B6 Northwest Hazy IPA. Their “quarry” tasting room was packed as usual, so we didn’t stay long, but I’m consistently impressed by the quality of the brewery’s beers, so we’ll keep returning, regardless of seat availability.

On Monday, a friend joined me downtown for some day drinking. What else are two guys to do, when one is briefly out of work and the other is on parental leave! Our first stop was Cactus Club Cafe for lunch. I combined Rob’s Crispy Chicken Sandwich with a Perfect Storm to drink. Once again the sauce really made my meal, as the sandwich employs a sambal mayo, which works well with the spicy panko-crusted chicken. My drink was also quite good, since Dark N’ Stormy’s are one of my favourite cocktails.

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Next up was Yaletown Brewery for happy hour. Here, we were able to indulge in a few $5 beers, with my choice being the Edinburgh IPA. Since we arrived before the after work rush, we were able to get a nice spot to sit on a couple couches, which allowed Baby Sip to roam around a little. After all, this was brewery number 30 for the tyke.

The week finished with a trip across the border with Ma Sip. While figuring out what we wanted to do for lunch, Boundary Bay Brewing entered the conversation and so we were off to their bistro. We split their fantastic Reuben Sandwich (with Tim’s Potato Chips on the side), while I washed the entrée back with a pint of Safety Break ISA. ISA’s have rocketed up my list of favourite beers of late, because I can enjoy the taste of an IPA at a slightly lower alcohol content, which definitely comes in handy when I’m driving.

This coming week features another full schedule. We’re also gearing up for Baby Sip’s first expedition to Europe (London, France, Portugal, Belgium), which is coming up fast at just over a week away!

Sip Trips #134: In the Name of Science

Another couple busy weeks are in the books, so let’s get right to the action. We began the latest Sip Trips cycle with a long walk to East Vancouver to use our Groupon for Andina Brewing. The deal entitled us to a tasting flight each, as well as a growler plus fill. The advertised growler (typically holding two litres of beer) ended up actually being a one-litre Boston round, but otherwise the Groupon was worth it. For our flights, we tried each of the brewery’s available varieties. We also ordered a round of their Platanitos (Plantain Chips).

Since we were already out that way, we decided to pop into Storm Brewing, one of our all-time favourite breweries. Storm does things differently than other breweries, offering patrons up to six samples of their eclectic menu, in exchange for a donation. On this instance, we tried a number of beers, including: Turkey Dinner IPA, Orange Creamsicle Ale, Garam Masala Ale, Spicy Mango Salsa Pilsner, Mint Julep Ale, Pineapple Paradise Pilsner, Vanilla Whiskey Stout, and Iced Mocha Stout. We were particularly impressed with the Garam Masala Ale, so bought a Boston round of the beverage.

Beer Trust

The next day, we went for another walk to the Olympic Village. While Mrs. Sip joined some friends for brunch, I explored Legacy Liquor Store, where I came across the newly released Brews Brothers Vol. 4 case from Parallel 49 Brewing, in partnership with 12 breweries from across the province. While I didn’t pick it up that day, as Baby Sip’s stroller didn’t have enough room, this pack will soon find itself nestled into our fridge. Not one to leave the booze haven empty-handed, I picked up a bomber of Stanley Park Cookies & Cream Dark Ale, which we look forward to pouring soon.

Later that week, we attended Science World After Dark, where the attraction is open to adults only and allows them to check out the exhibits with a beer or glass of wine ($6.50 each) in hand. This was our second time attending the event. Our night began with an IMAX film titled America’s Musical Journey, which documented a number of music styles that became popular in the US, thanks to artists such as Louis Armstrong and Elvis, while exploring locales including New York, New Orleans, Chicago, Nashville, Memphis and Miami.

We were particularly interested in visiting on this occasion, as the feature attraction currently running at Science World is Ripley’s Believe It or Not. Mrs. Sip and I spent more than an hour checking out nearly every piece of the exhibit and it was totally worth the price of admission.

Science Funny

This past weekend, we joined Ma and Pa Sip at Township 7 Winery’s members only event at Coast Appliances in Langley. The unique venue served up a very interesting event, highlighted by three stations where you could get a wine sample and appetizer pairing. You could also get a full servingglass of wine, choosing from four different varieties to cap your evening off with.

On Wednesday, we had tickets to see 2Cellos in concert. To prepare for the show, I enjoyed a couple drinks from my bottle of Wiser’s Spiced Whiskey, to go along with our takeout order of Uncle Fatih’s Pizza. As for the concert, these guys are amazing. Seriously, if you are unfamiliar with the duo, check their work out on YouTube and you’ll see some very talented Croatians doing things with cellos you never thought possible.

I wrapped up the week by joining Ma Sip at Steamworks Brew Pub for lunch. Here, I ordered a serving of their Purgatory Belgian IPA, to go with some Chicken Tenders and Fries. We sat on their outdoor patio, which provided a nice way to spend a spring/summer afternoon, now that the rain is gone and the sunny season seems to finally be here!

Sip Trips #121: Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree

With Christmas closing in, the Sip Advisor decided to take some time off work… but it certainly wasn’t spent relaxing. Here’s what we got up to in the lead up to the big day and how we fought off the post-holiday blues:

Last Thursday, the Sip Family crossed the border to do some last minute shopping in Bellingham. We hoped to start our visit with drinks at Menace Brewing, but it wasn’t open for the day yet. Lucky for us, Mrs. Sip spotted yet another brewery across the street. Melvin Brewing (a Jackson Hole, Wyoming brewery with a brew pub in Bellingham) hosted us for lunch. Mrs. Sip and I each ordered from their $10 lunch menu, with her selecting Fish & Chips, while I went with the Sandwich & Soup combo (Beef Dip with substituted Fries). For drinks, we passed around pints of their Block Away Brown Ale and Mash Murder Stout ($3 beer of the day special), while also sampling the Peaches Innit Pale Ale. All beers are brewed onsite and we quite good.

Christmas Shopping

On Christmas Eve, en route to a family dinner, we first met Sip Syndicate members at Central City Brewing in Surrey. Mrs. Sip and I had won a tour and tasting experience for six people at one of Central City’s trivia nights at their Downtown Vancouver brew pub in the summer and had to use the pass prior to the end of the year. For those keeping track, this was Baby Sip’s fourth craft brewery visit already. My flight of beers included the Smore Stout, Thor’s Hammer Barley Wine, Imperial IPA and Super Solar IPA. It was a very nice and relaxing setting to enjoy some drinks together and could become a yearly holiday tradition.

Finally, the big day arrived. As for liquor-based Christmas gifts, Mrs. Sip gave me the Central City/Parallel 49 Great White Wonder Adventure Pack (their annual collaborative advent calendar), which was marked down, given the month had come and gone. That doesn’t mean the beer can’t still be enjoyed, though. Last year, I picked up some of the individual bottles from this set and I’m hoping for some enjoyable beers this time around. Mrs. Sip also gifted me a Groupon for Andina Brewing, which provides a set of tasters for two people, as well as a growler and fill. I also received a bottle of Serbian Honey Brandy, which I’m looking forward to experimenting with. As for the gift of giving, I picked up the Erdinger Variety Pack for Mrs. Sip, along with a few other treats.

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The week ended with an impromptu visit to Craft Beer Market for a holiday wrap-up with friends. On Wednesday, the restaurant offers $8 wings and $5 BC craft beers, which is a terrific combo. Mrs. Sip and I split an order of Salt & Pepper Wings and their Gaucho Chicken Flatbread, while I selected the Torchlight Broadside IPA and Whistler/Craft Snowed In White IPA (with $1 going towards the Greater Vancouver Food Bank) for my beverages. Mrs. Sip went with the Storm Vanilla Whiskey Stout and Moody Ales Lusty Chocolate Oatmeal Stout for her drinks.

This weekend will be another busy one, with a birthday/housewarming to attend, drinks with the guys on the schedule… and, oh yeah, that minor hidden-on-the-calendar event we call New Year’s Eve!

Sip Trips #120: Tidings of Joy

The holiday season in really ramping up, with parties and other festivities around every corner. Leading up to the big day, here’s what Mrs. Sip and I got up to over the week that was:

On Friday, we had another Vancouver Canucks game to attend. This time, friends of ours also had tickets, so we met with them at Devil’s Elbow Ale & Smoke House prior to puck drop. At the Howe Sound Brewing restaurant, I had a pair of their Wee Beastie Scotch Ale, while ordering the Southern Fried Chicken sandwich for my meal. The fries at Devil’s Elbow come with a neat adobo ketchup, which I found myself lapping up like it was going out of style. Mrs. Sip tried their Gumbo, with a side of Mac n Cheese Cornbread (complete with cheese sauce drizzle), washed down by a Father John’s Winter Ale.

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As for the game, it was a thrilling 4-3 overtime victory for the Canucks. Mrs. Sip and I refused to let the ticket scanner snafu we encountered – which caused us and many others to miss some of the action and the first goal of the contest – dampen our spirits. Upsized servings of Central City India Pale Ale and Goose Island IPA helped with that.

The next day was our annual Sip Syndicate Christmas party and gift exchange. For my Secret Santa offering, I put together a themed package of things meant to keep you warm. This included a pair of Smart Gloves, which allow you to mess around with your phone while keeping your mitts toasty and the Postmark Brewing Winter Warmer. Our meal was fantastic, with each couple contributing a dish or two and everything turned out perfectly.

The weekend wrapped with Mrs. Sip and I meeting a friend in New West for brunch at The Hub. I tried the Hub Burger, which was very good and sipped on the Bomber Brewing Choqlette Porter. The beer was as tasty as I remember it being last time I enjoyed it.

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Tuesday evening offered our fifth and last Canucks game of December. Prior to the match, we grabbed dinner at the nearby Triple O’s restaurant, which on Tuesdays has a spectacular burger/meal deal. Original Burgers are only $3.69 each, while adding fries and a pop will set you back $8.19. On Canucks game days, you can get a burger, beer and fries for about $10, which would have been the route I took, had we not done takeout.

At our game, we may not have had the outcome we desired (a 7-5 loss), but the match versus Montreal was very entertaining and even included a hat trick for Thomas Vanek of the Canucks. Mrs. Sip and I shared an upsized Hoegaarden to start the game, which was a tasty first period treat.

This weekend is Christmas, of course. It’s always a crazy time for the Sip Family and that’s just the way we like it. From my family to yours, I wish all you little sippers a safe and merry holiday!