Dec 23, 2012

Over the bridge to Bridge Brewing

As a car-free East Van resident, who, for the most part, lives, works and plays within a 5 km square radius, visiting some of the city's outlying areas can seem like an insurmountable challenge. That being said, nine times out of ten, when I actually burst out of my bubble and visit them, I find something awesome (Central City Brewing, anyone?). Last weekend, that something awesome was Bridge Brewing in North Vancouver.

Bridge Brewing's Black IPA (photo: Monica Frost)

Dec 11, 2012

Powell Street Brewery opening Dec 15 in East Van

Way back in April, I posted about a new craft brewery coming to East Vancouver. Now, after months of red tape and renovations, Powell Street Craft Brewery is set to open this Saturday! I caught up with owner/brewer David Bowket again to find out more:

Nov 17, 2012

Huacachina, Peru: land of sand

Once upon a time, Huacachina was a playground of the Peruvian elite, a veritable oasis where they would come to escape the drudgery of everyday life. Nowadays, it’s more of a tourist trap – the tiny lake in the middle of a sea of sand dunes is lined three-deep with bars advertising 5x1 happy hours and hostels housing tipsy young tourists. It’s definitely not what you’d call a cultural hub. But you only need to head over the first dune to realize what drew the Peruvians originally and the tourists today – a gorgeous, untouched expanse of silk-smooth sand dunes, where, if you time it right, you can see a sunset that will take your breath away.

Sun setting over the sand dunes in Huacachina, Peru

Arequipa, Peru: mummies & monasteries

“This is more like it,” was my first thought as we squealed around corners towards downtown Arequipa in an impossibly compact cab. Colonial architecture, cobblestone roads, people flooding the streets – it had the character and buzz that I expected but didn’t receive from Lima.

Arequipa's main square with volcano El Misti in the background

Oct 6, 2012

Mountain biking the world's most dangerous road in Bolivia

I've always thought that the best way to learn something is to just jump in, headfirst, and do it. This statement may provide some context for why I decided that it would be a good idea to try mountain biking for the first time by riding down the ominously named "Death Road" in Bolivia (which also goes by the comforting moniker of "the world's most dangerous road"). Akin to the father who throws his child in the lake and says "and that's how you swim!", I threw myself on the back of a Kona mountain bike with Gravity Assisted Mountain Biking and hoped for the best.

The world's most dangerous road snakes along a volcanic mountain in Bolivia

Sep 26, 2012

Trekking to Machu Picchu

Some moments that we experience and then file away in our memories become lost, or faded. Certain others, though, remain crisp and clear, laminated, easily accessible. These are the important ones, our defining moments. I can say with near certainty that watching the sun rise over Machu Picchu will be one of my unforgettable moments.  

Sunrise at Machu Picchu, Peru

Sep 18, 2012

Cusco, Peru: fiesta city

Cusco kind of appears out of nowhere from the plane - it´s been nothing but stunning Andes peaks and the occasional farming village for the last hour from Lima and then suddenly, there it is, spreading out up into the hills from a valley at around 3,400m above sea level. The first thing you notice is its characteristic red tile roofs, and as the plane makes a sharp (and bumpy) turn to make the landing on the tiny, one-runway airport, you´re not sure quite what to expect. But it doesn´t take long for Cusco to win you over.


Sep 9, 2012

Lima, Peru: the beautiful and strange

There's that moment when you wake up in a strange place and you don't realize you're not in your own bed. And then something snaps you into awareness. On my first morning in Lima, it was the birds. The bizarre cawing birds, and then someone playing Björk on the stereo in the hostel courtyard just outside our room. Birds, Björk, people speaking in Spanish... and then it hit me: holy crap, I'm in Peru.

Street art in Miraflores, Lima, Peru

Jun 2, 2012

Beer adventures: New York City

Hey, you know that thing you heard about New York City? Well, it's true. Every single thing is true. The noise, the people, the smells, the buildings, the street art, the parks, the shopping, the... everything. It's a perfectly glorious overloading of the senses.

It should come as no surprise that the city that never sleeps has a good beer scene. In fact, as with all the other things I wanted to experience in New York, it came down not to trying to find somewhere, but to trying to choose which one of a thousand. And so, without further adieu, here's where I managed to taste local beer in the Big Apple:
*note that this is by no means intended to be a comprehensive or "best of" list. These are simply the handful of places I was able to drag my travel companion (aka Mom) to, in the order we experienced them.

My favourite kind of rainbow at Brooklyn Brewery

Apr 25, 2012

New brewery in town: Powell Street Craft Brewery

East Vancouver is quickly becoming a hot bed for Vancouver's craft brewing scene - which, as an East Van dweller, I am totally okay with. After a heads up from a fan on the CAMRA Vancouver Facebook page (thanks Warren Boyer!), I found out that Powell Street Craft Brewery will open up shop this summer at Powell and Victoria. Earlier this week, I was able to get in touch with president & founder David Bowkett for a quick chat about the brewery:

Mar 17, 2012

Beer adventures: Victoria, BC

Way back in August, I won a craft beer weekend at Swan's Brewpub in Victoria as part of Miss 604's Backyard BC contest series. It had been a few moons since my last beer adventure, so by the time I got around to planning this one, I was raring to go.

I’m going to be honest - Victoria’s never been at the top of my travel list. I’m a bit too old for Jagr bombs with UVIC students, I’m not really a tea-at-the-Empress-with-grandma type and whale watching is way out of my budget. But after this trip, I can officially declare that it’s won me over. As it turns out, Victoria is more than students, seniors and stalking sea mammals – it’s charming, friendly, sunny and chock-full of craft beer. And I didn’t even have to do a single Jagr bomb.

Spring in Victoria, BC