Beer of the Week #45 – Dogwood London Fog

On one of my many “research” jaunts to the liquor store, I came across this Dogwood Brewing release that instantly jumped out at me as unique. Upon checking out the product more thoroughly, I knew I had to at least try it.

The London Fog (the nickname of an Earl Grey Latte) is of the session ale variety. This seasonal/specialty brew is made with organic Earl Grey tea and French vanilla. When tasting it, my mind expected a chocolate finish to follow the flavours and was tricked when a beer aftertaste came instead.

Dogwood London Fog

My only complaint with the beer – other than the trickery it played with my mind – is its low alcohol content, but that’s merely a personal preference. As Mrs. Sip points out, the 4% ABV (15 IBUs) translates to less calories (approx. 120), which can be a big deal for some drinkers.

The beer is only available at select locations. Thankfully, Dogwood has provided a list of those spots on their website. I went straight to their tasting room for mine, my first visit to the South Vancouver location.

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Mixer Mania #45 – Use and Abuse

‘Tis the time of year that we bundle up indoors with a cup of hot chocolate and rewatch our favourite Christmas movies and TV specials. With that comes advertisements, where Santa has been used to sell everything from soda to snacks. Sure, we have Coca-Cola to thank for the modern image of jolly ol’ St. Nick, but other companies have done more to tarnish the legacy of Santa than build it up. Here are some of the most shameless uses of the yuletide icon:

Painkillers

Mrs. Sip and I just saw this Aleve ad the other day and while it seems harmless, the underlying message is concerning. To see Santa requiring medication to perform his annual duties should frighten every young tot in the world. It also takes away some of the big guy’s magic, thinking he suffers to bring joy to children all over the world. And what if Aleve is a gateway drug to more serious painkillers, causing Santa to have an opioid addiction and eventually need rehab to get his life and career back together.

Santa Aleve

Cigarettes

A number of companies have used Santa to market their smokes. I particularly like the one which shows Santa taking a break from his Christmas Eve activities to enjoy some smooth nicotine. This includes lighting up inside a family’s home, as he kicks back on a cozy chair, filling the dwelling with smoke. And here I thought he was more into milk and cookies… better leave a carton out for the gift-giver this year, ensuring years of good fortune and gifts.

Santa Smokes.jpg

Booze

Brands such as Crown Royal, Dewar’s, Martini, and Budweiser have all used Kris Kringle as a marketing figure to hawk their wares. The Byrrh company even released an ad in 1934 showing an very inebriated Santa – so drunk he can’t continue his epic yearly journey – taking five atop a home’s roof and drinking the wine-based aperitif. St. Nick is so blitzed that he even hallucinates an angel to share the liquor with, but she doesn’t look very impressed with Father Christmas. Maybe he’s sexually harassing her.

Santa Wine

Guns

With all the gun violence around the world, particularly in the U.S., why shouldn’t Santa also protect himself? That’s what one Californian gun range figured, when a billboard popped up in the state in 2014, featuring Santa (accessorized with dark sunglasses, of course) with a menacing glare and proudly holding an assault rifle. The owner of the range stated: “I got guns from Santa Claus when I was growing up. Some people get toys and some people get firearms. It’s kind of just where you’re from.” Indeed…

Santa Guns.png

Mixer Mania #45: All Warm And Fuzzy

All Warm And Fuzzy

  • 0.5 oz Kahlua
  • 0.5 oz Baileys Irish Cream
  • 0.5 oz Butterscotch Schnapps
  • 0.25 oz Cointreau
  • 0.25 oz Cognac
  • Top with Hot Chocolate
  • Garnish with a Marshmallow

What other examples of Santa Claus exploitation exist out there? Part of me wants to know and the other part would rather those examples stay hidden.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
This drink is very tasty. It is certainly boozy and that was with me halving each liquor measurement. The recipe originally called for Grand Marnier, which I had to substitute with Cointreau and Cognac. There’s a lot of flavours going on, but the end result is warmth and a little decadence!

Snack Time #44 – Ruffles Jalapeño Ranch Potato Chips

On a recent trip to the United States, I was perusing the potato chip aisle (as I always do), when I spotted this intriguing Ruffles Potato Chips product. I knew instantly there was no turning back and these beauties were coming home with me.

The Jalapeño Ranch Potato Chips are very, very good. They remind me of a Sour Crème and Onion chip, with a nice burn at the end, but nothing too extreme. If you’re looking for a little more bite to your potato chip, Ruffles also has Flamin’ Hot and Classic Hot Wings flavours that might pique your interest.

Ruffles Jalapeño Ranch Potato Chips.png

The Jalapeño Ranch chips combine two of my favourite food concepts. First, there’s ranch, which I put on practically everything from pizza to chicken strips to cereal… well, maybe not that last one. Next, there’s jalapeño, which is one of my favourite spices in cocktails and with meals.

Of the product, Ruffles writes: “We took that zesty jalapeño kick and cooled it down with some creamy ranch. We might have created a perfect flavor combo. And by might, we mean we did. You’re welcome.” Thank you, indeed!

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Sip Trips #118: Pucks and Parties

This week has been a busy one as the Christmas season ramps up and Mrs. Sip and I have three Vancouver Canucks games on the schedule to attend. Thank god for our grandparent babysitters! Let’s get right to the action:

Late last week, with Ma and Pa Sip over, we grabbed dinner at the new Johnny Rockets location in Downtown Vancouver. I had their Original burger, which was pretty good. What I liked best was their half fries/half rings, allowing eaters to enjoy both side dishes. More restaurants need to adopt this concept. While we didn’t order them, the chain also offers a number of tasty milkshake options. It’s always good to have a reason to go back.

Close Enough Cat.jpg

On Friday, Mrs. Sip and I had our first Christmas party of the season, through her office. The meal took place at Piva Modern Italian Restaurant, where we tried a number of great menu items. For appies, I particularly liked the Polenta Fries, while my main course of Duck & Fig Pizza was terrific. The meal provided a perfect balance of sweet and savoury and while Mrs. Sip’s Prosciutto Pizza was good, we were both raving about my selection.  For beverages, I enjoyed the Terra Saison and Red Pilsner, both from Steel & Oak Brewing, and for dessert, I tried the Bagpipes in my Ferrari (Glenmorangie, Disaronno, smoke and oak bitters), which was a solid nightcap.

The next day, we had our first Canucks game of the week and this is one we’ve had circled for some time. With the dastardly Toronto Maple Leafs in town, I swapped some of our other half-season tickets in order to attend this game. With a 2-1 victory for the home side, Mrs. Sip and I enjoyed servings of Shock Top Wheat Ale and Goose Island Honkers Ale throughout the game, which helped with the intensity and anxiety of the matchup.

The weekend wrapped with our annual family visit to the Bright Nights in Stanley Park and Christmas Train. This was Baby Sip’s first time riding the Christmas Train, although we did take her on the Halloween Train when she was only just over a month old. As is tradition, we followed the park visit with dinner at the nearby White Spot location. Here, Cousin Sip, her husband, Sis-in-Law Sip and I split a couple pitchers of Granville Island Winter Ale, while I ordered my usual Legendary Burger. The two pair quite nicely with each other and made for a delicious meal.

Man Sized Mug

Lastly, on Tuesday, we celebrate Ma Sip’s birthday at The Keg. I, once again, selected the Prime Rib Sliders with side of fries for my meal, which was very good. Unfortunately, Mrs. Sip and I had to eat fast to get to another Canucks game, as food took a while to be served thanks to the kitchen being backed up by a private party. My Sliders were only $13 during happy hour, down from their usual $18 price tag. For dessert, Ma Sip saved her slice of wonderful Billy Miner Pie for Mrs. Sip and I, which we consumed in quick order following yet another Canucks triumph.

The weekend is full of scheduled activities and doesn’t let up at all. ‘Tis the season, after all!

Beer of the Week #44 – Steel & Oak Terra Saison

At Piva Modern Italian Restaurant in New Westminster to celebrate Mrs. Sip’s work Christmas party, I selected this Steel & Oak Brewing beverage from their menu. It paired quite well with my delicious Duck & Fig Pizza.

The Terra Saison was very tasty and just what I was hoping for with my first drink of the night. The 5.8% ABV brew is made with turmeric, ginger root, white peppercorns and star anise and comes in a 500ml bottle, good for two healthy servings of suds.

Steel & Oak Terra Saison

The Terra can be found at private liquor stores around Greater Vancouver. The release was the first of Steel & Oak’s Brewers Series. Next up is the Secretariat, a guava-conditioned saison, hitting store shelves and the brewery’s tasting room in 2018.

With Piva located in Steel & Oak’s neck of the woods (where the brewery is the only one New West has to offer), it was only natural their beers would show up on the menu. I also had the Red Pilsner during dinner.

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Mixer Mania #44 – Power and Glory

One way for the world’s strongest folks to show off their power is to crush a watermelon, typically between their thighs. That sounds like an onerous way to extract watermelon juice, today’s feature mixer, but it did get the Sip Advisor thinking about other feats of strength. Let’s take a look at a few of those:

Ripping Phonebooks

Perhaps the only reason phonebooks still exist is for muscle-gifted to tear them to shreds. Want to give it a shot, yourself? There are even instructions and tips online to help those who may want to take a crack at ripping a phonebook in half.

Dogs Phonebook

Pulling Vehicles

Even the thought of pulling or pushing a vehicle on my own is incomprehensible. Therefore, I’m very impressed when strongmen are able to move cars, trucks, buses, boats, planes and more with sheer strength. They should work for transit authorities across the globe.

Lifting Vehicles

If not pulling a vehicle, a strongman can often be found lifting a vehicle off the ground to prove their mettle. The last vehicle I lifted was a Tonka Truck and I struggled mightily with that. Things are not looking good for Baby Sip’s playtime aspirations.

Lifting Vehicle.jpg

Bending Metal Bars

I can barely bend plastic cutlery, let alone thick metal bars. Once again, we can take to the world wide web for strategies on completing the feat, but I’d rather spend my time and effort finding videos of kitties and people falling and such.

Keg Toss (And Other Items Thrown)

While I’d rather be drinking from them, some strongmen throw kegs around to test their power. Hopefully these ale vessels are emptied, as I’m not sure I’d want to drink the shaken and damaged suds inside, after they’ve been thrown. Who am I kidding, I’d still give anything for a drink.

Mixer Mania #44: The Firecracker

The Firecracker.JPG

  • Rim glass with Salt/Sugar Mix
  • 2 oz Cucumber Vodka
  • Top with Watermelon Juice
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Dash of Simple Syrup
  • Garnish with a Lime Wheel

Of course, if you’re looking to test your own power, you can always celebrate Festivus, including the feats of strength portion. Events include wrestling the head of the household, with the holiday only ending once they are pinned.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
This drink is very nice, as I totally expected. The Salt/Sugar rim is interesting and add a nice complexity to the Watermelon Juice. You really can’t go wrong with this collection of ingredients.

Snack Time #43 – Triscuit Nutmeg & Cinnamon Crackers

Mrs. Sip, one of the biggest cheese and crackers fans I’ve ever come across, recently picked up a box of this Triscuit Crackers product. Although initially hesitant, the Sip Alliance all enjoyed the snack after giving it a chance.

The Nutmeg & Cinnamon Crackers are good, with a nice mix of sweet and spice. Given their dessert nature, though, finding toppings for the cracker is a bit of a task. The box shows a cracker topped with sweet potato, apple and walnut, which is intriguing.

Triscuit Nutmeg & Cinnamon Crackers.jpg

Mrs. Sip and Cousin Sip went with a pomegranate-habanero jelly and aged white cheddar combo, which they devoured in short order. The limited edition release hit store shelves last month and should remain available through the holiday season.

Triscuit has put out a number of flavour variants in recent times, including Dill Sea Salt, Smoked Gouda and Roasted Garlic. I just don’t get as excited for crackers, as I do potato chips, but I do like Triscuits in general.

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