2016 VCBW Festival

NOTE: I was invited as media with complimentary tickets to the event. All opinions are based on my personal experience.

One week after the Opening Night, we attended the 2016 VCBW Festival presented by Donnelly Group. This was a three day event at the PNE Centre Grounds filled with beer, food, and music.

It was the perfect weekend as the sun came out and it was even a little too scorching for us. Good thing they had mists on set to cool you down!

Other than beer and food, some interesting set ups included Barber & Co where you could get your hair cut amidst drinking your beer.

There were over 100 breweries and cideries at the event. Again, most vendors had at least two types of beers to try, if not more. Food trucks were present as well if you wished to purchase some munchies.

Tickets ranged from $35 – $95 depending if you wanted express entry or a full weekend pass. The ticket gets you into the festival and includes your 4oz taster mug. All beer and cider samples are additional. All samples are 4oz and cost 1 token, with tokens being priced at $1.50 each.

Since we had our fair share of beer at the previous event, we decided to tackle some of the cideries since I’m a huge fan of ciders. One cidery we really enjoyed was the Howling Moon.

We were drawn into this Basque cider called Shacksbury because of the beautiful set up. This cider is unfiltered and was very tart and different from typical ciders on the market.

Storm Brewing had a massive line up so we had to see what it was all about. They were serving up really funky and unique brews, including the Cucumber Jalapeno Pilsner, and Basil IPA. Sounds weird, right? We tried the Pineapple Paradise Pilsner and Raspberry Vanilla Ale and really enjoyed the slight fruity flavour without being too sweet.

My favourite of them all had to be the Fruli Strawberry Beer. I guess by now, you can tell I enjoy fruit beers! This was delicious and didn’t even taste like a beer! Plus, it’s vegan and there are no added sugars or sweeteners. The sweetness is all from the strawberries themselves! The same vendor also had a Cherry Beer from Kriek Lambic. Also delicious but not as sweet.

Overall, we had an amazing time at the VCBW Festival and already can’t wait for next year’s! A wide selection of beers and ciders to sample from and a great event to have some fun with friends.

For more information: http://vancouvercraftbeerweek.com/

Chatime (Surrey) – ChineseBites Media Event

NOTE: As part of the ChineseBites media event, all beverages were free, but all opinions are based on my own personal experience.

Chatime is expanding again! For all you Surrey peeps out there, no longer do you have to make the trip to the other locations for your fix of Chatime! The newest addition is in Whalley, right next to Surrey Central in a strip mall. I was invited by ChineseBites to their soft opening and was able to try any drinks I liked.

My favourite thing about Chatime is the ability to customize. You can choose the sugar and ice level. I find that most of their drinks are on the sweeter side, so 50% or less is the best. There are also many toppings to choose from and each topping is $0.50.

I brought K along to the event since we are both fans of Chatime. Our go-to item is always the Roasted Milk Tea with Grass Jelly, but since we were able to get our drinks comped, we decided to be adventurous and try drinks we’ve never tried. The first was the Tieguanyin Tea Latte. The drink is divided into layers when you first receive it and after shaking it, you get sort of a milk tea. It’s much thicker than their normal milk tea though. The tieguanyin tea flavour really came through and is perfect for those who enjoy the tea itself. One of our new favourites.

We were curious about what the Oriental Beauty was all about, so we gave it a try and added aloe vera. It turned out to be a tea based drink and was rather sweet due to the aloe vera. We couldn’t figure out what kind of tea it was, but it’s definitely one of those Chinese teas. Quite refreshing actually.

K really enjoyed the Oolong Tea. We added rainbow jelly in it so it was a bit odd due to the sweetness. Also, the jelly is too big to go through the straw. The tea itself is very strong though so more on the bitter side. K loves bitterness of oolong tea so it was perfect for her.

The Matcha Mousse is topped with a thick layer of cream and tastes sort of like a frappucino but without all that crushed ice. Instead, there are just ice cubes at the bottom. I thought this was average as it was quite gritty. Strong matcha flavour though.

Our last cold drink we tried was the Jasmine Green Milk Tea with Grass Jelly. This is pretty good and I would order this again to change things up. The milk tea was smooth and had a nice jasmine tea fragrance to it. It was also my first time trying their hot drinks and we got the Roasted Milk Tea with Pearls. We asked for it to be warm instead of hot so that we could drink it right away. Plus, you don’t need to worry about sucking up the pearls and burning your tongue. This was great and lived up to their cold version! I would highly recommend getting this during the winter.

Overall, Chatime at the Surrey location did not disappoint. Pearls are still on point with a nice chew and not overly sweet. Drinks come in two sizes and most start at around $4.30. This location also has a decent amount of seats for you to enjoy your drinks.

Check out my prior reviews from my visits at the Broadway location: Visit #1 and Visit #2

Chatime Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Earls (Broadway)

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The Royale with Cheese

Earls is currently having a limited time menu for their new gourmet burgers. For lunch, we decided to head down to Broadway and Fir and most of us ended up giving these burgers a try. StevieD got the Royale with Cheese, which features a freshly baked brioche bun with a certified Angus beef patty topped with dry cured bacon, caramelized onion, lettuce and tomatoes. The cheese is a mix of smoked applewood cheddar, regular cheddar and Monterey and the sauce is a mushroom ketchup. It comes with a side of fries which are very crispy.

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Fish and Chips

And of course S got the Fish and Chips, which is always his go to dish. These are beer battered Icelandic cod and comes with a side of house tartar and coleslaw. As always, he says they are delicious.

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The Forager

E and I each got the Forager, which is perfect for vegetarians. It features a hand-chopped mushroom burger with crisp red onions, mayonnaise, cheddar, fresh lettuce and pickles. The mushroom patty is tossed in olive oil, parmesan cheese, rolled oats, and oregano. Again, it came with a side of crispy fries.

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The Forager was very delicious and a good alternative to the meat patty. The mushroom patty was very well seasoned. The burger was quite messy to eat but was very delicious. Overall, it’s a great time to try out these new gourmet burgers as they are only available for a limited time from April 22 – June 16, 2015. They are also running a social media contest where you can win burgers for four! Check out their website or in store for more information!

Pros:
– Limited time gourmet burgers
– Good service

Cons:
– Food is consistent but average

Price Range: $20-30

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 3 Service: 4 Ambiance: 4 Parking: 3 Overall: 3

Earls Kitchen + Bar on Urbanspoon