Sip Trips #109: Marathon Man

This past week was extremely busy and that’s coming from someone who is booked up nearly every day to begin with. Let’s take a look at what the past seven days brought to the social calendar:

On Thursday, I decided to take my bike out for a ride of Vancouver’s sea wall, but only reached Sunset Beach when issues with my cycle made me have to abandon the ride. Just as I decided to turn around, a Kraken Rum rep approached and offered me a sample mini bottle of their Black Spice Rum. I believe this was a liquor karma reward, as had I not turned around there, the exchange would have never occurred.

Friday saw a more successful journey, as I joined a friend – on foot this time – in the Brewery Creek area of Vancouver, first stopping at Faculty Brewing. There, I had a 500ml serving of their IPA, before we ventured onwards. Looking to enjoy some drinks in the great outdoors, we stopped by R&B Brewing’s growler fill station, picking up a four-pack of Dude Chilling Pale Ale tall cans to be consumed in a nearby park. This was a nice, relaxing way to get the weekend started.

Dog Banned From Park.jpg

Following that, we were off to BierCraft Bistro on Cambie Street for dinner. I hadn’t been to the restaurant for a few years, so it was good to return. While waiting for our wives to show up, we delved into a couple pints of Dageraad De Witte. For my meal, I went with the French Onion Soup, being a big fan of the style and not always being able to find it when out. Our evening concluded with a show at Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Club. While the show was far from the best thing I’ve seen there, we still had a decent time, helped along by a bucket of Red Truck Golden Ale bottles.

We spent some time on Sunday at Metrotown Mall, finishing our baby registry, doing some clothes shopping and grabbing some groceries. Our time there started with hitting the food court, which is one of the best I’ve ever dined in. There are so many options to choose from and I settled on Chronic Tacos, which I have only seen before as restaurant locations. My Al Pastor Burrito (made with spicy adoba pork) was spectacular and greatly satisfied my huge appetite at the time.

Looking to have a date night together, Mrs. Sip and I had dinner at St. Augustine’s prior to a movie at the Rio Theatre on Monday. I love St. Augustine’s live tap menu, which lets you know which beers are available and how much of each is left, but it can also be a tease, as you learn which brews you narrowly missed out on. Thankfully, I was able to try Storm Brewing’s Chicken Wing IPA (only that crazy crew could dream up such a flavour), with only 3% remaining and the keg being tapped out by the time we left the restaurant. Also among my flight was the Steamworks Killer Cucumber Ale and a pair of Old Yale Brewing options: the Cardamom Mango Wheat and Double Double Amber Ale.

Dinner and a Movie

As for the movie portion of the evening, we watched The Little Hours, which was very funny and I’m surprised it hasn’t received more mainstream attention. The Rio Theatre is licensed for alcohol sales, which means you can get a Big Kid Combo consisting of small popcorn, candy and a draft beer for $9. Not a bad deal, at all.

Tuesday was supposed to be a relaxing night at home, but late in the day, a friend advised he had a block of free tickets to see Bob Dylan and His Band (that’s literally the band’s name) at Roger’s Arena. So, we ended up out again. While the music was good and I’ll be able to say I saw a legendary performer, Mr. Dylan shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near a microphone anymore as nearly his entire set was unintelligible.

The week that was wrapped up with a trivia night at Darby’s Gastown. It was my first time at any of the Darby’s locations and I really enjoyed my meal of their Pulled Pork Sandwich with Cajun Chips and their expansive beer menu. Best of all, we came in second place after losing a tie-breaker to the winning team, which meant each member of our crew was comped a free BC beer. This removed both of my servings (the Luppolo Double IPA and Twin Sails Hot Take IPA) from the tab, thanks to using Mrs. Sip’s credit, as well.

Did I mention I also squeezed games of golf and baseball, a Game of Thrones viewing and family dinner into the week. No wonder I’m ready for a little break!

Advertisements

Sip Trips #32: Boats, Baseball, and Beer

Wow, this weekend was so insanely busy that I can only mention in passing that Mrs. Sip brought back from Las Vegas bottles of Viniq Ruby Liqueur and Bacardi Arctic Grape Rum (a future Flavour Revolution feature). Let’s get on to the meat and potatoes of this wrap up, which includes a voyage to Galiano Island for their Beer and Wine Festival and a Vancouver Canadians baseball game sandwiched by two Main Street bars!

We left for Galiano very early on Saturday, in order to make sure we made it to the festival on time, as the later ferry of the day didn’t jive with the event. For $45, we had all-inclusive access to about 15 breweries and wineries, while volunteers served finger foods to the attendees. Each guest also received a wine and beer glass with their entry.

finger food

The lineup of breweries and wineries attending were a nice mix of ones I have tried and enjoyed and others I was experiencing for the first time. I didn’t really do the wine stops, except for getting a tasting pour of the Mad Housewife Cabernet Sauvignon, in order to justify holding a wine glass most of the day. I hope in future years, that some more craft distilleries from around the province join in on the island fun.

My favourite beers of the festival were the Lighthouse Race Rocks Ale, Yukon Amber Ale, and Bomber Passionfruit Ale, of which I spent the last chunk of the event running around getting refills. Most companies brought just enough stock to last the duration of the festival and very few tents shutdown shop early.

One thing I noted, as a festival strategy, was that the wine booths had massive lineups, while the beer booths usually had none at all. What we found, was that people going for the wine would stay at the front, trying each of the companies offerings before moving on – and there could be a lot – while for beers, people would get a pour, walk away and enjoy, then return for the next option.

queue spelling

Upon returning to the mainland and not ready to let the party stop early, we hit the liquor store and picked up mixed cases of Lighthouse and Vancouver Island beers. Mrs. Sip also grabbed a bomber of Driftwood White Bark Wit, while I snagged the Russell Smokey the Beer.

The next day, we were back home, but only to head out again and meet some of our fellow CAMRA members at The Main on Main Street, prior to our Vancouver Canadians baseball game. There, I ordered pints of Hoyne Dark Matter and 33 Acres of Life, which were both very enjoyable, as we met new people.

While the Canadians lost the game, we scored a major win with the overall experience. The organization has made great strides to include craft beer in their stadium, even building a ‘Craft Corner,’ with five rotating taps, which we were conveniently seated near. Together, Mrs. Sip and I went through four of the five beers, which included Big Rock Citradelic IPA, Howe Sound You’re My Boy Blue Blueberry Wheat Ale, Bomber Passionfruit Ale, Steamworks Pilsner, and Whistler Grapefruit Ale (the only brew we neglected). These paired nicely with our ballpark snacks of popcorn and a foot-long hot dog. Apparently, aside from Whistler Brewery (a prime sponsor of the Canadians), the breweries serving draft changes regularly.

baseball thoughts

Following the game, we met up with a friend at Portland Craft, which I’ve wanted to visit for some time. Every once in a while, despite the abundance of options on the B.C. market, I thirst for something I can’t typically find, and this outlet, which largely features brews from the Portland region, was perfect for providing some new blood into my system.

I was hoping for a bit more variety from the bar (there weren’t many typical summer options available), but they did offer 16 beers on tap and others in bottle. I enjoyed two IPAs, the Alameda Yellow Wolf Imperial IPA and the Worthy IPA, both of which I would order again.

We also had events at Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Club and a birthday boat trip through Vancouver’s beautiful harbour on Accent Cruises, which I just can’t get into without making this article super long. The busy schedule doesn’t let up this weekend, as we’re off to Disneyland, where drinking has become a large part of the park routine!

Sip Trips #31: Bomber Blast

The Sip Advisor always aims to start the Sip Trips week with a bang and all I can say is mission accomplished for the past seven days!

Prior to meeting a larger group for dinner, I met a friend at PHAT Sports Bar in Yaletown, which serves up $3 sleeves and $5 pints all day, every day. While their selection is limited, as far as craft beer goes, there’s always something on the menu that is worth ordering. This time, it was the Whistler Grapefruit Ale.

Nearing the end of our beers, we found out we were supposed to meet our wives and the rest of the crew in the Olympic Village, not downtown, so we were on the road.

Taxi Dignity

Dinner was at The Flying Pig, which Mrs. Sip and I have been meaning to visit for some time and finally had the opportunity. To drink, I ordered the eatery’s Bacon Bourbon Caesar, which looked fantastic with lemon, lime, and celery garnishes, accompanying a bacon bit rim. The Caesar was a little different taste wise, thanks to the use of bourbon, over vodka, but the spices were pretty bang on, so the whole meal in a glass was enjoyable.

With the long weekend came two liquor store shopping trips and double the chances of finding the right beers for poolside sampling at Ma and Pa Sip’s abode. Here are the brews I picked up and how they rated on my crack ranking system:

Whistler Pineapple Express Wheat Ale – I’ve enjoyed a pineapple wheat/hef beer before, but couldn’t remember if it was the Whistler offering or not, so why not take another crack at it. This was a good one to have in the afternoon heat, as it was cloudy, refreshing and everything I want in a summer brew.

Pineapple Things

Hoyne Devil’s Dream IPA – Based off of my appreciation of Hoyne’s Dark Matter, I decided to give their IPA a shot and was rewarded with a tasty beer, with an even better name. Hoyne is quickly becoming a favourite brewer of mine and I hope that relationship only continues to prosper.

Old Yale Vanishing Monk Belgian Witbier – This was another fine choice for the great outdoors and much like the beer’s name, it vanished quickly!

Spinnakers You Otter Have Another Nut Brown Ale – In the evenings, I like moving to dark beers, which provide more of a dessert taste. These are the beers that are perfect to watch day turn into night with and relax in your favourite lounger, with You Otter Have Another really hitting the spot.

significant otters

Central City Detective Saison – I hope Central City makes more character-based beers (this is Detective Sarah Saison), such as Professor Peter Porter, Senator Samuel Stout, and others, leading to a Clue-style mystery game, where Mr. Nobody is murdered in the tasting room with the keg tap and players have to drink their way to the killer’s identity! If Central City wants to partner with me in this endeavour, I’d totally welcome it.

Lululemon Curiosity Lager – This Lululemon-Stanley Park Brewing collaboration has been met with much derision, but I figure you can’t rip something until you’ve tried it. I’m saving it for Mrs. Sip’s return from Las Vegas and will have a special Sip Trips post about my experience with the lager in the very near future. Hint: it will involve spandex and a yoga mat!

Spinnakers Hollie Wood Oyster Stout – Yet another brew that I haven’t tapped, hoping to share it with Mrs. Sip. There’s something about a beer that is advertised as having gone through “three additions of prime fresh oysters,” that makes me a little apprehensive. Then again, oysters are supposed to be an aphrodisiac, so maybe we can get our buzz on in more ways than one!

oysters shellfish

Granville Island Brass Knuckles American Brown Ale – Having enjoyed my Nut Brown Ale from the day before, I was looking for another nightcap-style beer and grabbed this GIB offering to fill that role. I didn’t get around to drinking it, however, but that just leaves me extra prepared for the next night of imbibing!

I also finally got to try the Dancing Pines Distillery Brulee liqueur, Ma and Pa Sip picked up in Colorado a couple months back. Good thing, too, as I got the last pour of the bottle. I expected more of a caramel taste, but the spirit was incredibly smooth and enjoyable.

This next week looks incredibly busy for the Sip Advisor, with a beer and wine fest on Galiano Island, a Vancouver Canadians baseball game with my fellow CAMRA members, a night out at Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Club, and a boat booze cruise, and that just covers the first half!

Sip Trips #21: Laugh Factory

The Sip Trips week began with a couple select beers on a friend’s patio, visiting and watching the sunset. The brews included the Driftwood White Bark Witbier and Phillip’s Longboat Chocolate Porter. Both were great choices, from Vancouver Island, to unwind and enjoy the twilight together.

The next day brought a little craziness, as Vancouver’s transit system was shutdown thanks to a bird nest fire (or some other bs). This left Mrs. Sip in a bit of a lurch, but we’re pretty good at improvising and so we made a day out of it all. After deciding to skip work, Mrs. Sip ran some errands and met me for lunch downtown. We met a Cavo Bar + Kitchen to enjoy a rare weekday meal together. I was very impressed by their burger, while refreshing myself with a Pabst Blue Ribbon… after all, only good things can happen after having a PBR!

pabstblueribbon

When the work day was done, we reconvened for some happy hour fun. Mrs. Sip and I had long wanted to try Lickerish Lounge – attracted by their happy hour food and drink deals – and finally had the opportunity to do so. While quenching our thirst with $3 beers and well drinks, we ordered an array of $4 appies, with the establishment’s tacos being by far the best item and the yam fries coming in second. Part of me wanted to pull the management aside and point out the glaring misspelling of the bar’s name, but I resisted the urge!

While meeting up with friends over drinks, Mrs. Sip convinced them all (one of her most deadly skills) to join us at the show we were attending that night at Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Club. The feature comic was Ron Funches, who I have grown to enjoy recently, thanks to his appearances on the show @Midnight. The show was incredibly funny, accompanied by buckets of Red Truck beer… the perfect set-up to the weekend ahead.

The weekend was relatively quiet, which was needed after the craziness of the last month for Mrs. Sip and I. We did manage to hit The Keefer Bar, which is very close to the place we’re currently staying. For anyone that hasn’t visited this place before, it’s quite the sensory experience. The art and decoration in the place can only be described as medical and to go along with this theme; their cocktail menu is labelled ‘Remedies and Cures’. Mrs. Sip and I ordered the Milk and Honey and Pineapple Express cocktails, respectively. You don’t get much of a serving and I would have loved a little more chili in my drink to give it more of a bite. The highlight of our stop was the Edamame Dip, which we devoured in quick order.

Things will certainly pick up this weekend as Vancouver Craft Beer Week has arrived and we have a busy schedule of events coming up (beer trivia, beer and sandwich pairing, beer cocktails… all the great things in life!). Sounds like the perfect tonic!