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!

Beer of the Week #41 – Twa Dogs Drouthy Neibor IPA

My favourite part about the changing of the seasons is new seasonal beers and even better, fall and winter mixed cases. A new discovery for the Sip Advisor this autumn was the Twa Dogs Brewing Dog Pack case, featuring this beer.

The Drouthy Neibor IPA (aka Thirsty Neighbour) is a tasty, flavourful brew. At 7% ABV and 60 IBUs, the beverage is a hefty one, just the way the Sip Advisor likes ‘em. With that in mind, the product encourages drinkers to be part of their community and a good neighbour.

Twa Dogs Drouthy Neibor IPA

Each Twa Dogs release, as well as the brewery’s name, has a Robbie Burns theme to it. The IPA, inspired by Burns’ Tam O’ Shanter poem is named to “encourage you to ‘catch the moments’ and share your greatest tales with your own Drouthy Neibors.”

Also included in the Dog Pack is the Mistress of My Soul Saison, Keekin’ Glass Pilsner, and Jolly Beggar’s Pale Ale… and no, there are no spelling mistakes with any of the beer names. Twa Dog products can be found at BC Liquor Stores.

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Beer of the Week #39 – Hoyne Voltage Espresso Stout

In need of a stout beer for a recent Mixer Mania cocktail, I picked up this release from Hoyne Brewing. Surprisingly, I had never tried this offering, despite the brew being on the market seasonally for a handful of years.

The Voltage Espresso Stout is a fantastic beer, full of the rich flavours you’d expect. Although I’m not a coffee and definitely not at espresso drinker, I do like the flavour in my ales and this 5.6% ABV beverage did not disappoint.

Hoyne Voltage Espresso Stout.jpg

Described by the brewery as a rich and electrifying breakfast beer, the stout is available in bomber-sized bottles at BC Liquor Stores. Amongst other options, I went with Hoyne because they make some spectacular products.

The story behind this beer is that some of the Hoyne crew would alternate between stouts and espressos at beer events. So, they decided to combine the two into one magnificent concoction and Voltage was born.

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Beer of the Week #32 – Driftwood Arcus Pilsner

During one of our weekly dinner’s with Cousin Sip and her husband, I was offered this tasty beverage from Driftwood Brewing. While I don’t typically seek out Pilsners, I was very happy to give this option a taste test.

The Arcus Pilsner is crisp, clean and flavourful, making use of the Tettnanger hop, which I can’t say I’ve ever come across before. Of the North German Pilsner variety, the brew clocks in at 5% ABV, so it’s palatable for all drinkers.

Driftwood Arcus Pilsner

This summer seasonal release is available in bomber-sized bottles at private liquor stores in Victoria and Vancouver. It won’t be on store shelves forever, so if you come across a serving, I do advise that you imbibe and enjoy.

I still believe that Driftwood has some of the finest beer labels among the industry and the Arcus is a prime example, featuring an beautiful archer, drawing her bow. That’s fitting, given arcus is Latin for “archery”.

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Beer of the Week #31 – Spinnakers Juice Monkey IPA

On a recent liquor shopping trip, this product from Spinnakers Brewing jumped out at me thanks to its flashy label. The clincher was its very palatable price.

The Juice Monkey IPA is as one would expect: juicy and hoppy. At 6% ABV and 45 IBUs, the beverage does go down easy and is a perfect summer sipper for IPA fans.

Spinnakers Juice Monkey IPA

Available in tall can four-packs at BC Liquor Stores, the set sells for about $10, before taxes. The release is only available for a limited time, so get on it ASAP.

The brewery advises to drink this beer young, savour it, not cellar it, due to the “volatility of the hop aromas”. As Spinnakers warns, “please juice responsibly”!

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Beer of the Week #21 – Lighthouse 150 Heritage Ale

In the lead up to Canada’s 150th birthday bash, a number of companies have released products to coincide with the celebration. Add Lighthouse Brewing to that group with this special release.

Their 150 Heritage Ale recently hit store shelves. The 6.3% ABV, 14 IBUs beverage is highlighted by flavours of maple, smoke and rye malt. These elements represent Canada, oil lamps and colour, respectively.

Lighthouse 150 Heritage Ale

Part of the brewery’s Explorer Series, the Heritage Ale can be found in bomber-sized bottles at BC Liquor Stores, as well as private retailers. The limited edition brew won’t be around long, though.

The product is also meant to salute all those, past and present, who have watched Canada’s shores in lighthouses. As the country’s “keepers”, the brewery tips their caps to these fine folks.

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Beer of the Week #17 – Phillips Dazed & Co-Brewed East Coast IPA

Mrs. Sip and I recently met members of the Sip Syndicate at Tap & Barrel in Vancouver’s Olympic Village. There, we enjoyed a couple drinks, with this Phillips Brewing menu item popping off the page for the Sip Advisor.

The Phillips Dazed & Co-Brewed East Coast IPA was really good with tropical notes and a sweeter profile. The 6.2% ABV beverage had me reconsidering my steadfast support of West Coast IPAs. I think there’s plenty of room for all styles under my umbrella.

Phillips Dazed & Co-Brewed East Coast IPA

The Co-Brewed portion of this beer’s name refers to Tap & Barrel’s involvement with the collaboration. Launched in March, this is the first of five beers that will be released at the restaurant’s locations to commemorate their fifth anniversary.

I hope Phillips plans on having this beer on hand when they do their Movies Under the Maltworks on May 27. After all, they will be featuring Dazed & Confused as their first film of the 2017 viewing season.

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Beer of the Week #12 – Vancouver Island Carmanah Ale

Vancouver Island Brewing seems to be going through a bit of a rebranding, featuring a few old favourites with new names. Of those included in the new campaign is this product, which I picked up a six-pack of recently.

The Carmanah Ale is of the amber ale variety, featuring flavours of pine “as deep as a forest of Sitka spruces”. The 4.8% ABV easy drinking beverage was perfect for a long day of sipping, including drinking games, providing longevity and durability.

Vancouver Island Carmanah Ale

Joining the Carmanah Ale (aka Sea Dog Amber Ale) with new packaging is the Piper’s Pale Ale and 48 Dark Lager (formerly Hermann’s Dark Lager). The movement is using geographic coordinates, along with the tagline: “Where’s Next?”

The brewery did change ownership last summer, thus the company reboot. This particular release is named for Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park, located on Vancouver Island. The park features numerous hiking trails.

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BC Beer Baron #362 – Spinnakers Jolly Hopper Imperial IPA

Perfect for the holiday season and all the celebrations that come with it, this Spinnakers Brewing product was quickly scooped off the shelf by the Sip Advisor. To boot, the beer is fairly red in colour, making it more than festive!

The Jolly Hopper Imperial IPA comes exactly as advertised, with a hearty 8% ABV and a whopping 100 IBUs. Despite the strong hops content, I didn’t find the brew to be too bitter and even Broski Sip (a less experienced beer drinker) liked the taste.

spinnakers-jolly-hopper-imperial-ipa

The release is available in bomber-sized bottles at BC Liquor Stores. The Sip Advisor’s process for purchasing drinks includes weighing alcohol percentage and cost, with beverage IBUs and style also playing a smaller role in my decision making.

I really enjoyed the pirate theme of this selection.  The beer’s label states: While the Jolly Roger is flown to identify that pirates are about to attack, our Jolly Hopper signifies an imminent attack on your tastebuds… Surrender or walk the plank.”

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BC Beer Baron #359 – Driftwood Blackstone Porter

Through winter, there’s nothing better than cuddling up in front of a roaring fire with Mrs. Sip and throwing on a classic Christmas movie. Add in a dark beer, such as this Driftwood Brewing selection and the picture is complete.

The Blackstone Porter is highlighted by flavours of cocoa, coffee and chocolate. The 6% ABV beverage may be on the heavy side, but the flavours are totally worth it. Hired Guns Creative once again knock the beer’s label out of the park.

driftwood-blackstone-porter

This seasonal release is available from fall, through to early spring, in bomber-sized bottles at BC Liquor Stores and private retailers. The brewery suggests that this is “A drinkable platform to explore dark malt!” I couldn’t’ agree more.

Driftwood has suggested a myriad of food pairings for the beer. These include oysters, smoked foods, barbecue, mushrooms, onions, rosemary, thyme, cheeses such as Stilton, Caerphilly or aged Cheddar, chocolate, or pecans.

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