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.

Alcoholics Calendar.jpg

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!

BC Beer Baron #146 – Moody Ales/Ridge 1880 Export Stout

Mrs. Sip and I recently attended the Irish Stout and Porter Caskival at the Yaletown Brewery, where our mutual pick for best in show was this Moody Ales/Ridge Brewing collaborative contribution.

Moody Ales seems to know their way around stouts, having previously created the Lusty Chocolate Oatmeal Stout and Russian Imperial Stout. Meanwhile, Ridge is no stranger to the stout game with their Black Mamba Milk Stout. Put all that experience together and you get the delicious 1880 Export Stout, which Mrs. Sip and I both went back for to get second servings.

Moody Ales & Ridge 1880 Export Stout

This was the first beer we tried among the 12 different casks, so it set the bar pretty high for those offerings that were to follow. The 6.6% ABV beer can be found on tap at both breweries, as well as in bomber-sized bottles available at private liquor stores.

I’ve really enjoyed each of the Caskivals (this was our third) we’ve attended at the Yaletown Brewery and I hope they keep doing them. I can’t decide if I like them to be all one style of beer, so you can compare and contrast the available brews or if a variety of styles is preferable.

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BC Beer Baron #97 – Real Cask India Porter

Given the word ‘Cask’ is in the brewery’s name, of course you would expect Real Cask Brewing to participate in the latest Yaletown Brewery Caskival, featuring Irish stouts and porters.

Brewed with traditional English-style exports in mind, the India Porter is made with East Kent Goldings hops, resulting in a beverage that hits you with some bitterness upon sipping, before mellowing out into more traditional porter tastes.

Real Cask Brewing

At 6.3% ABV, the beer has some strength to it, to go along with flavours of chocolate and roasted malts. It’s definitely an interesting twist on the porter genre.

Working out of Callister Brewing’s East Vancouver facility, Real Cask’s focus seems to be on more experimental releases. The India Porter is available on tap at Callister, along with a couple other Real Cask options.

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BC Beer Baron #95 – Dogwood Maple Molasses Stout

Although it recently celebrated its first anniversary, Mrs. Sip and I were finally able to try some of Dogwood Brewing’s work at the recent Yaletown Brewery Irish Stout and Porters Caskival.

The Maple Molasses Stout was Dogwood’s contribution to the event and it was decent, with light flavours of maple and a mild overall sweetness. The easy drinking beer could have benefitted from even more pronounced tastes, especially with the maple.

Dogwood Brewing Flight

The brewery is Vancouver’s first all-organic operation, even offering to recycle customer’s used coffee bags. For those unaware, the dogwood is the official provincial flower of BC.

Owner Claire Wilson was at the Caskival and we spent some time chatting with her about her move to Vancouver from Ireland and opening up the brewery with her husband. Best of luck to them and Mrs. Sip and I will have to pop by for a visit soon.

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BC Beer Baron #91 – BrewHouse India Red Ale

It seemed like Whistler’s BrewHouse (High Mountain Brewing) didn’t get the memo prior to the Yaletown Brewery’s recent Irish Stouts and Porters Caskival, as they showed up with a beer that fit neither of those types (even more ironic given they are part of the same Mark James Group that operates the Caskival host). That said, having something completely different amongst all the stouts and porters was refreshing, so I won’t give them too much grief.

The India Red Ale was a welcome change to the lineup. A unique feature of this beer is that it was cask-conditioned using dates soaked in Jameson Irish Whiskey and thus fitting the Irish theme of the Caskival.


The 6.5% ABV, 60 IBUs beverage was strong and hoppy, just the way the Sip Advisor likes his brews. I’ve really been getting into red ales lately and this serving was one of the beers that got me there.

Unfortunately, it has been some time since I was able to visit the BrewHouse, settled nicely in Whistler Village. They have some good beers and some great food dishes, particularly their poutine and pizza dishes.

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BC Beer Baron #89 – Big Ridge Vanilla Bean Porter

While a Caskival featuring a particular beer type is still tons of fun, one’s palate can sometimes grow weary of tasting similar things. When a group spices things up with different ingredients, that can be amazingly refreshing. That’s exactly what Big Ridge Brewing did with their contribution to the event.

The Vanilla Bean Porter was a welcome change to some of the more traditional fare at the event. Using Bushmill Irish Whiskey in its recipe, the beer was definitely strong, but the vanilla was still able avoid being hidden. Vanilla is quickly becoming a favourite beer flavour of mine, as it is noticeable, but doesn’t overpower any of the beverages I’ve experienced it in.

Big Ridge Brewing

The 5.2% ABV, 34 IBUs offering rallied my senses for the second half of the Caskival event. The beer is an adaptation of the company’s Toll Bridge Vanilla Bean Porter, which is a collaborative effort between Big Ridge and Moody Ales.

Mrs. Sip and I haven’t been to Big Ridge for about a year now, last hitting the brew pub as part of our 13-year dating anniversary (although we’re now married, what’s wrong with celebrating as much as possible) for lunch and some beers, before heading out to play some mini golf at Castle Fun Park in Abbotsford. Now that’s how you remain young at heart!

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BC Beer Baron #83 – Yaletown Yaletown Ale

After a game in which we didn’t fair so well on the ball hockey floor, our team needed some liquid therapy. For this, we visited The Distillery, a sister restaurant of the Yaletown Brewery.

There, I ordered the Yaletown Ale to drown my athletic sorrows. I really enjoyed the strong caramel flavour of this pale ale, which became more pronounced as the beer warmed up. It was a lighter beverage (4.8% ABV) and not as hoppy (only 21 IBUs) as I typically like with my pale ales, but it was a satisfying drink, nonetheless.

Yaletown Brewery

I’m a fan of Yaletown Brewery’s motto: “Dream big. Work hard. Have a beer.” That seems to be the definition of the true Canadian dream and they should really put that slogan on some merchandise.

The Distillery is a great place to go for weekend brunch ($10 breakfast menu and $10 bottomless mimosas), as well as for their Sunday pasta deal. Pa Sip is also a big fan of the restaurant’s unlimited lasagna special, which I believe runs on Tuesdays.

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BC Beer Baron #11 – Yaletown Golden Buddha IPA

Despite its proximity, it had been a while since we’d stopped into the Yaletown Brewery for a beer, so while Mrs. Sip collected her steps for the day (damn you Fitbit!), I suggested we make a trip out of our extended walk and see what they had on tap.

We came in on the perfect day. All the restaurant’s beers, from mainstays to limited releases were only $4.50, a deal I believe they run every Sunday to go with their range of pizzas, which are also discounted. While Mrs. Sip ordered a beer that will be discussed here at a later date, I asked for a serving of their Golden Buddha IPA.

Yaletown Brewery

I really enjoyed this beer and Mrs. Sip and I remarked at how this once apprehensive towards hoppy beers guy, now loves them. I’m not sure if it’s because the style grew on me, or my tastes evolved, but either way, I’m happy for the development.

Mrs. Sip’s Take:

Given the high alcohol (8.3%) and decent IBU (65), it was a very smooth IPA. The bitter aftertaste wasn’t too much of a problem and the beer was easier to drink than I would expect.

As we live within Yaletown’s borders, we’ll have to keep the nearby brewery in mind… especially when I’m forced to go on more “romantic” walks!

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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!