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Another day in Beautiful British Columbia

September 2, 2010

Continued from Bombed in Beautiful British Columbia

Amazingly, I awoke from our first night in Vancouver B.C. with only a slight headache.   LushC, who moderated her intake very well, (by giving half of most of her beers to me), was feeling great.

We got ready and then jumped in the elevator and headed to the top floor Cloud 9 restaurant for breakfast.  Advertised as a revolving restaurant, we were disappointed to find out that it was motionless this morning.  Since we were both starving, we didn’t mind that they only had a buffet.  After being directed to our seats we attacked the buffet. I’d like to say that it was great, but it just wasn’t.  The eggs, bacon and tater tots were luke warm at best, and the coffee was barely passable. They did have a decent selection of fruit, and the view was amazing.  We got the biggest surprise when were presented with the bill, $32 for two. Ouch.  I know, I know we should have asked.

Needing some real coffee, and some free internet, we made it to the nearest Starbucks.  Not long after we received a text from H-Bomb.  They we already up and were heading to White Spot for breakfast.  We should have waited for them but we honestly didn’t think they’d be up and ready so soon.  We left Starbucks and slowly headed their direction, getting distracted by some good sales in the stores along the way.

When we got to the Robson/Granville Street corner we found that Brazil Fest was going on.  It was a block of good smelling Brazilian food, coffee, tourism booths and music on a stage at the end. It was a fun scene, but too bad we weren’t hungry. It was here that we began exchanging texts with H-Bomb.  They were heading down Seymour St. looking for a pedicure place.  We headed their direction and eventually ran into JP, T-Wrecked, and Ms. T walking towards us looking for a bar.  H-bomb and Bee had found their place, and would be occupied for a while.

Eventually we found ourselves at the Lennox Pub at the corner of Robson and Granville, across the street from Brazil Fest.  It was about Noon, so it was time for Bloody Maries, or Bloody Marias as LushC and I prefer. (Substitute the vodka with tequila, giving it a smokier taste)  After we received our second round, water for LushC and a Granville Maple Cream Ale for me, H-Bomb and Bee caught up with us.  Planning began for the rest of the day, we wanted to go to Granville Island, and there was some interest, but no takers.  We had planned to meet up with our friends Bob and Shirley (From Olympics fame) sometime after 2pm, so I decided to call Bob before plans got too serious.

I found a quiet place in the pub and rang Bob.  He had thought of a couple options for us, and one of them sounded outstanding. (The other was good too)  The idea was to pick us up in North Vancouver and then head the 45 mile or so north to the Howe Sound Brewery in Squamish. Howe Sound had been on my radar for some time now, but since we rarely drive up to Vancouver it was usually out of the question. I quickly wrangled up LushC to see what she thought of the idea.  I know we should have hung out with our other crew, but thought we could go and get back in time to go out on the town later. LushC agreed and we confirmed with Bob.

Catching the SeaBus across to North Vancouver, we met Bob and Shirley around 4:00.  We made the amazingly beautiful drive north along the coastline to Squamish, about half way to Whistler.  Thanks to the Olympics, the road is newly paved and has nice new signs with the English and Native Language names of all the towns and attraction. It also offers some of the best island, water, and mountain views I’ve ever seen.

Squamish is the outdoor activity hub of BC, similar to Hood River in Oregon.  A huge rock face, easily visible from town, is a rock climbing mecca,  the waters off the coast offers excellent wind surfing, hiking trails are numerous and in the winter you are close to the snow at Whistler and Blackcomb.

Howe Sound Brewery
Howe Sound Brewpub was clearly the destination of choice for those looking to replenish after a day of activities. The pub is rated one of the best in the Lower Mainland BC, and I can see why.  It is a large open hall with high ceilings and post and beam construction.  There are many large windows to take advantage of the views.  On one end there is a large fireplace and on the other is the bar. We could see that there was a large patio that was full of patrons; in fact the entre place was packed.  If you imbibe too much while you are here, they have an attached Inn with very reasonable rates.

The menu was full of enticing gourmet pub food selections.   Everything sounded so good that it was difficult to decide what to get.  Bob went with the special Steak entre, LushC went with the Howe Sound Salad with Chicken, Shirley and I opted for the Brewpub Burger.

My burger was amazing. Fresh, local beef, topped with a hunk of smoked cheddar cheese, caramelized onions, and red pepper relish. It was simply delectable.  Around the table, I didn’t hear any complaints as everyone enjoyed their selection.

On to the beer, yes the main reason we made this trek. Bob went straight for a Timberline Pale, Shirley a Garibaldi Honey Pale Ale, and LushC and I split the sampler tray.

Pilsner Plunge – a crisp malty pilsner with a lot more flavor than an average pilsner
Whitecap Wheat Ale – Belgian style wheat ale brewed with orange peel and coriander – light and crispy, with a hint of orange
Garibaldi Honey Pale Ale – Another light crisp beer with a mild sweet honey flavor.
Timberline Pale – smooth hoppy amber with a fruity nose. A lot hoppier than 35 IBU, a little bitter, but not bad
Bailout Bitter – fairly malty, nutty flavor, very nice.
Cask Conditioned Ale – clear light amber with a sweet cool-aid smell. Strange, it tasted like honey mead or sweet tea.  Per LushC, “It tastes tasted like Florence Erickson’s dandelion wine”.  Surprisingly it grew on you the more you drank.
Bumbleberry – Comparable to a Framboise with its sweet berry flavor.  A nice dessert beer, but not Bob’s kind of beer.
Baldwin and Cooper Best Bitter – excellent, our second favorite of the evening. It had a nice coppery sweet malt flavor that was balanced out by mild hops.
Devil’s Elbow IPA – all right for an IPA, on par with Thunderhead, nice sweet, not too hoppy, but not the cleanest finish.  It grows on you and the hops are more pronounced as you drink it.
Diamond Head Stout – An excellent Oatmeal Stout with its smooth, slightly bitter and coffee finish.

Rail Ale Nut Brown (From a liter bottle we purchased and drank at home) – Wow! This is an awesome beer.  We were a bit disappointed when they were out of it on tap, but were glad they had it in bottles to go.  It pours a nice dark chestnut with a thick cream head.  The aroma is nutty, sweet, smooth, and malty.  It is sweet on the tongue at first, has mild hop middle and ends with a smooth nutty malt finish.  Very delectable! LushC is quoted as saying, “It’s nice, and I like it. We are friends.  It makes me want to put on a tight cashmere sweater without a bra. It’s my new favorite Canadian beer.” (Awesome, where can I get more of this)

We finished our meals and beer, ordered dessert, and had striking conversations.  One of the best topics was about Hockey and how there shouldn’t be teams in Florida or Arizona.  In fact we all agreed that other than the original NHL teams; Hockey shouldn’t be played below the 45th parallel.  Okay, LushC wanted to exclude the Boston Bruins too, I’m not sure why, but she has something in it for them.

The drive back was peaceful. We stopped at an overlook along the way for photo ops.  Nicely, Bob and Shirley took us all the way back to our Hotel so we didn’t have to deal with the SeaBus.  What a great evening it was, thanks Bob and Shirley.

Upon the arrival to our room we texted H-Bomb and the rest of the crew, hoping we could meet up with them for the rest of the evening.  They were hanging in the hotel room, thinking about where they wanted to go for dinner.  Dinner? It was 9pm or so already.  We figured we’d meet up with them after dinner then and then began walking around town.  We weren’t on the streets long before I started not feeling so good and getting real tired.  LushC and I turned around and went back to the room for the evening.

That night I slept great, but awoke with a slightly sour stomach still. LushC and I were anxious to get on the road but had to make one more stop on the way out of town at Granville Island Brewing.

Granville Island Brewing
As you drive on to Granville Island, you cannot miss the brewery off to the right.  My guess is that the buildings previous life was a boat shop.  It is large and open with large beams for hoisting heavy items.   As you walk in the brewery is to the left, and the bar is slight to the right, with a beer store attached to the far right.

The staff was super friendly, even though they had to break the bad news to everyone. They are licensed as a tasting room and have to hold to a one drink policy.  The choices were a 3×4 ounces sampler, glasses, or pints. As for food, they only offer light snacks.  Bummer, I remember a few years back enjoying several pints here. Oh well, we were only here for one anyway.

LushC’s choice was a glass of the Kitsilano Maple Cream Ale and mine was a sampler of the Cypress Honey Lager, Gastown Amber and the Brockton Amber.

Cypress Honey Lager – a pleasant lager with a (not to) sweet honey flavor, and a light hop finish. A great session beer at only 4.7% ABV.
Gastown Amber– dark amber, malty, lightly hopped, with a toffee flavor finish, very interesting, in a good way.
Brockton IPA- a Northwest style IPA. Nice florally hopped, a little sweet, but overall well balanced. This beer was much better on draught than in the can.
Kitsilano Maple Cream Ale – a 5% bronze colored ale with Canadian maple syrup added. Smooth, full flavored, with a British hop finish. LushC really likes it because it has a lot of flavor but it is still light. Canadian goodness.

Soon, our stay in British Colombia was over, and it was time to head back home to Seattle. After a nearly two hour border crossing, we remembered why we usually take the train.  Next time, we will!



FTC INFO: Nothing was received for free.

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