Sip Trips #122: Endings and Beginnings

The final week of 2017 offered extra time with family and friends and that led the Sip Family to doing what we do best: eat and drink and be merry! Here what we got up to while closing out the year:

After getting out of work early on Friday, I met the Sip Syndicate fellas for some celebratory drinks at The Railway Stage & Beer Café (a Vancouver landmark that has recently reopened under Donnelly Group ownership). I had never visited the original Railway Club, so can’t compare the two. I had a really good time during this drinking session, featuring six different craft beers available during happy hour for only $3. I had originally thought of drinking one of each, but opted to stick with what I liked. This included the Phillips 6IX IPA, Driftwood Fat Tug IPA and Parallel 49 Wobbly Pop Pale Ale. Outside the happy hour menu, I also selected the Postmark Winter Warmer, which I had wanted to try since gifting it as part of a Secret Santa package. To finish the outing, we ended up with a glass of Scotch, before venturing out into the Vancouver rain again.

Scotch Whisper.jpg

The next night, we made our way to Coquitlam to visit a friend who had recently bought a place out there. After checking out her new abode, we went for dinner at Boston Pizza. There, I ordered the Southwest Flatbread (BBQ Chicken, Mozzarella, Bacon, Red Onions, Ranch Drizzle), which was delicious. It had been a while since we had a meal at BP, so it was nice to give it a go again.

We followed dinner with a trip to Mariner Brewing (brewery #5 for Baby Sip!). When I first visited their location in the summer, it was only a few days old and their beer lineup has grown impressively. Mrs. Sip and I split a flight of brews, which included their Berliner Weisse, Margarita Ale, Tropical Milkshake IPA, and Night Sky Mocha Stout. The latter three were all new to me, with the IPA being particularly tasty.

For New Year’s Eve, we were set to host a bigger party at Ma and Pa Sip’s place, but a number of people bailed on the plan, which seems to be a New Year’s tradition for some. I find the night to be very anticlimactic, with so many plans falling through and people being flaky. We still made it memorable, as it was Baby Sip’s first and stuck to our ‘Treat Yo Self’ theme by consuming massive quantities of food and liquor. To ring in 2018, Mrs. Sip and I brought our bottle of Viniq Shimmery Liqueur (the orange one) to mix with bubbly, which ended up tasting like a Bellini. We also split a bottle of Unibroue’s 25th Anniversary limited edition release, which tasted like a Black Forest Cake. It was so very good and what made it special was it was the last bottle available at the liquor store when Mrs. Sip spotted it.

Treat Yo Self.jpg

The week wrapped with celebrating Cousin Sip’s birthday at Galini Greek Restaurant in Langley. I ordered their very tasty Chicken Souvlaki, complete with scrumptious Greek Salad. Our service here was exceptional, especially considering the larger group.

The Sip Advisor is spending the next month doing ‘No Junk Food January’ to aid in getting back in shape after a too long hiatus from the gym, following Baby Sip’s birth. It will not be easy, but I’ll be helped along by keeping booze part of my life. With a friend’s wedding approaching and a beer advent calendar to work through, there’s no way I could completely abandon my old friend!

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Sip Trips #26: Canadian Celebration

While Mrs. Sip is away, the Sip Advisor mouse will play and that was certainly the case this past weekend. With Canada Day occurring mid-week, the partying stretched on… although, that’s not a lot different than if Mrs. Sip had been around the whole time. She is definitely missed around the offices here!

Canada Day

On my way out to Ma and Pa Sip’s place in Delta on Saturday, I stopped by Four Winds Brewing to see what was new at my hometown brewery. They have expanded since I last visited a couple years back and had a number of interesting beers on tap. I decided to sit down to a set of tasters, including their Saison, Grisette, Passionfruit Berlinerweisse, and Nectarous. The Nectarous was the reason for my trip out there, as I was informed of the limited release by a friend, and decided I wanted to add a bottle to my burgeoning brew collection.

The rest of the day was spent in gluttonous splendor, as the Sip Advisor ate and drank to his heart’s content. Cousin Sip brought over Granville Island Brewery’s summer mixed pack, while I tapped into a collection of ales, highlighted by my Russell Smokey the Beer, which was smoky and delicious. To be honest, I probably should have saved it for a time when I was more appreciative of what was going into my system, but it was the right beer at the right time.

As the next day left me kind of lonely and with the weather changing for the worse, I decided to run a couple errands and that always includes a stop at the liquor store. Here, I grabbed a six-pack of the Steamworks Killer Cucumber Ale, as well as bombers of Lighthouse Jackline Rhubarb Grisette and Elysian Superfuzz Blood Orange Pale Ale. I’ve gone through most of the Cucumber pack and think I prefer the brew on tap, but have yet to crack open either of the bombers.

errands to run

For dinner Monday night, Ma and Pa Sip accompanied me to the Yaletown Brewery, where I enjoyed their chicken schnitzel sandwich, along with a Shangri La Saison. The strong beer (6.8%) went well with my meal and was a good beverage choice, given the recent heatwave in B.C.

Back in April, I wrote about coming across the Viniq Shimmery Liqueur and how it was one of the most amazing spirit products I’ve ever seen. It’s so cool, that Mrs. Sip was once showing it off to a friend and he was so mesmerized that he forgot to stop pouring the beer he was emptying and it spilled all over the place. Well, the company has now added a Ruby version to their line-up and I noticed that they have a bunch of great recipes available for each variation. Now, we just have to stop admiring the bottle and open it up!

Sip Trips #14: City of Roses

As if Easter weekend and its four days off from work weren’t good enough, the holidays bring with it one of the Sip Advisor’s favourite drinking events of the year: the Portland Spring Beer and Wine Fest. The 2015 edition did not fail to live up to expectations, so let’s look back at all the fun we had!

The journey began with a breakfast pit stop, en route to Portland, at the Train Wreck Bar, in Burlington, Washington. Ma Sip has wanted to split their Bloody Mary breakfast platter, which combines a number of appetizers growing out of a Bloody Mary beverage, for a while. Despite being more of a Caesar man – and it being very early in the day – I was game for this challenge. We went with Absolut Peppar Vodka in our cocktail, as I wasn’t sure my stomach was ready for Sriracha Vodka in the wee hours of the morning.

Bloody Marys

We arrived in Portland in the afternoon and checked into our accommodation. One of the benefits of staying at an Embassy Suites is the daily happy hour, which allows guests to enjoy some snacks and drinks, on behalf of the hotel. And enjoy, we certainly did, with beer, wine, and cocktails flowing on each of the days of our stay. As for the appies, one odd combo was peanut butter that you could add Nerds candies to, which gave it a sour jelly flavour and made for an intriguing dip for pretzels and Goldfish crackers.

Our first meal in Portland was at Der Rheinlander German Restaurant, which provided me and Mrs. Sip the opportunity to each try and share samplers of German beers while enjoying a schnitzel club sandwich and cheese fondue. We put together a nice mix of wheat and dark beers, which complimented our meal quite fantastically.

Saturday was the big day of the Beer and Wine Fest. Mrs. Sip and I were proudly rocking our CAMRA BC t-shirts (where the province’s outline is depicted as a mug of beer) and received numerous compliments on them, as we made our way around the convention floor. Of all the products I sampled, my favourites included Calapooia Brewing Chili Beer (which I went back for seconds and thirds!), Wild Ride Brewing Maple Brown, and Ambacht Brewing Ginger Farmhouse.

Has the province of British Columbia ever looked better!?

Has the province of British Columbia ever looked better!?

We also love the festival for all of the other things going on, such as the information and tasting sessions. Our favourite involves the combination of chocolate truffles, paired with various spirits. It’s also a pleasure to meet our fellow enthusiasts, from volunteers, to wine makers, to brewmasters, and the general public, who love beer, wine and spirits.

On Sunday, we traversed Portland’s downtown core, taking advantage of a nice day, for a mini pub crawl. Our stops included Rogue Distillery and Public House, Henry’s Tavern, and Fat Head’s Brewery. This was my second time going to Rogue and everything is great there, from the staff, to the beers and spirits, to the food. Henry’s Tavern had a neat Portland beer taster pack, which went well with some massive bar pretzels. Finally, we learned of Fat Head’s the day before, at the festival, where we were told that great beer could be combined with the best fried pickles in existence. Mrs. Sip and I specifically enjoyed the process of writing in our beer sampler choices, rather than reading them out to the server.

A highlight of any trip across the border is the chance to do some serious liquor shopping. On this occasion, we grabbed bottles of Ardbeg Scotch, Viniq Shimmery Liqueur (which may be the most fascinating alcohol concept I’ve seen in some time), Wild Roots Apple-Cinnamon Vodka, Southern Tier Brewing Crème Brulee Stout, and the Shock Top Winter Mixer pack, I previously mentioned wanting to track down. I also nabbed a couple odd sodas for future mixing, including Peanut Butter & Jelly and Bacon flavours.

baking-soda

We wrapped up the vacation with a visit to The Yardhouse in Seattle. With 110 beers on tap, making menu decisions isn’t easy, but I quickly gravitated towards the Avery White Rascal, which was a very good decision, if I don’t say so myself.

After a weekend that featured so many new and delicious brews, you would think that we’re all beer’d out, but another week brings a whole new set of opportunities, such as the opening of Big Rock’s Vancouver location and perhaps a little rest!