BC Beer Baron #132 – Driftwood Entangled Hopfenweise

One of my taster selections on our recent trip to St. Augustine’s Craft Brew House and Kitchen was this beauty of a beer from Driftwood Brewing – a company which seems to move up my list of top breweries with each release I try.

I’ve seen the Entangled Hopfenweise described as a merging of hefeweizens and IPAs (my two favourite styles) and Belgian and Northwest brewing styles. That sounds about right to me and it works really well with this beer. The Hopfenweise comes in at 7% ABV and can be found in bomber-sized bottles. I couldn’t find any IBU info for the ale, so never you worry about that.

Driftwood Entangled Hopfenweise

Drinkers can expect a number of different fruit flavours, such as banana, guava, passionfruit and mango. Aside from the great taste, I think Driftwood has some of funkiest artwork for its labels and this product is no different. Packaging isn’t everything, but when you start strong and deliver in the end, the entire experience is that much better.

The beer is part of Driftwood’s Special Release lineup, which means the brew is on no set schedule, but could pop up at any time and should be taken advantage of before it disappears again. Might I suggest enjoying the beer while watching Tangled? Sorry, that was the Disney geek in me peeking out for a brief moment!

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Cocktail Corner – Midnight Martini

Let the Good Times Roll

Last week, we looked at the Top 5 people and groups who had the worst 2015. This week, we look at those who enjoyed the year so much, they probably wish the calendar never turned over. Let’s get the party started!

#5: Donald Trump

Despite being a complete ass, Donald Trump is looking like the next Republican candidate for President of the United States. Some have joked that this is a blessing to Hilary Clinton or whoever holds the Democrat nomination, but the fact Trump has gained any hold over the race can be deemed a success for his camp (and all the fellow bigots who swallow his crap). As he leads the polls, I can’t help but hear the thundering hooves of the four horsemen of the apocalypse approach…

Donald Trump Bankrupt

#4: Justin Trudeau

After being elected Prime Minister of Canada, Trudeau became a media darling not only within his own country, but in many other parts of the world. He’s been viewed as the most attractive political leader in the universe and many have urged him to strike while the iron is hot. Having ousted former Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, who many viewed as a tyrant and bringer of doom, helped in his ascent and much is anticipated from the new head of state in 2016.

#3: Chinese Parents

I can’t imagine being limited to a set number of kids, should I choose to have any at all, but for 35 years, couples living in China were limited to having just one child. This had the adverse effect of dwindling the female population in the country, as parent’s preferred to sire a male heir to continue their bloodlines. That will all be no more, as the republic declared that the law would be repealed and that partners would now be able to have up to two children.

One Child Policy

#2: Disney and Star Wars

Notwithstanding a lackluster reception for episodes 1-3, faith was renewed in the Star Wars saga thanks to Episode 7: The Force Awakens. Hype for the film was palpable and as someone who is not a fan of the franchise, even I must admit that the new movie was quite good and I’m looking forward to its sequels. Disney, having bought the rights to the space opera, is now building Star Wars themed lands at many of its resorts and I’ll be the judge of whether that’s a good thing, in the future.

#1: Caitlyn Jenner

While there are mixed opinions on Caitlyn Jenner, one thing that can’t be denied is that she brought the issue of transgendered people to a height of public debate that it had never experienced before. Jenner’s choice to live her life as a female, while existing in the public eye, has led to numerous accolades, including being the recipient of the ESPY’s Arthur Ashe Courage Award and being named Barbara Walters’ Most Fascinating Person of 2015 and Glamour Magazine’s Woman of the Year.

Cocktail Corner: Midnight Martini

Jan 13

Honourable mentions include teams that brought home championships in their respective leagues, the LGBT community, potheads everywhere, Taylor Swift, Jennifer Lawrence, and the Toronto Blue Jays, who after two decades of futility, finally gave their fans something to cheer about.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
I haven’t had the chance to use my Patron XO Café Tequila very often, but looked forward to applying it to this recipe. To accentuate the martini, I used Stoli Salted Karamel Vodka and the two mixed well together. Start with a drizzle of Caramel Sauce around the glass and you have the makings of a great cocktail!

July 12 – Three Strikes

Anything Can Happen

Oddly enough, summer is the time when I like to get into sports movies. Perhaps that makes sense, given it’s the off-season for most of the leagues out there. There were so many films I wanted to include on this list, that I’ve decided to split them over two articles, with one being family-friendly movies and the other to do with adult-themed releases. This week, we’ll check out the family options, while next week we’ll get a little raunchier and surpass the PG rating:

#5: Cool Runnings

How could you not get behind this ragtag group of Jamaicans as they try to compete in a sport they really have no business participating in and go on to earn the respect and admiration of their fellow athletes. While the film depicts the team being scoffed at in the beginning, in actuality, they were welcomed by their adversaries and were even lent a sled that helped them qualify. Creative liberties are okay, though. The casting of Doug E. Doug was a particularly brilliant choice, as the comedian-actor was popular at the time and broke up all the sports seriousness. Anything with John Candy is also worth a view.

Watched Cool Runnings

#4: Bad News Bears

This was your prototypical group of misfits coming together in the name of sports premise, before the genre ever existed. Some of the kids that make up the Bad News Bears are reason enough to never have children and the film should be used as a planned parenting advert. Walter Matthau as Morris Buttermaker was a great casting choice. He’s perfect for roles as a grouchy slob, who would rather drink a beer and catch a nap in a comfy recliner than do anything else in the world. That’s probably why he’s one of my favourite actors of all-time! Surprisingly, I’ve never seen either of the sequels to this classic and not the remake either.

#3: A League of Their Own

The story of women’s baseball and how it helped fill the sporting void left by men being shipped off to battle during World War II is so much better than it sounds on paper. Just kidding all you feminist sippers out there. Seriously, this is a fantastic movie, following a pair of sisters as the league tries to gain credibility during one of the roughest times in human history. With Tom Hanks playing the team’s oft-drunk manager and having to handle the issues of a girls’ team for the first time in his coaching career (there’s no crying in baseball… unless a modern male pitcher has a hangnail!), I can even forgive the casting of Madonna and Rosie O’Donnell.

league of their own

#2: The Sandlot

This is such a great movie, pushing folks to look back fondly on their days of neighbourhood sports. Every kid who ever played street hockey, or met at the nearest baseball diamond for a game of ball can relate to this film, which goes back in time to follow the adventures of the new kid in town as he gains friends and experiences the joys of childhood freedom. Roger Ebert compared the movie to a summertime version of A Christmas Story, which is high praise, as far as the Sip Advisor is concerned. The film has become a cult favourite and that’s exactly what it should be.

#1: Mighty Ducks

While the third installment might as well have been direct-to-video, the first two movies are childhood classics. As a young hockey player, it was inspiring to see a group of bad players be transformed into a skilled team… the downside was the mounting number of times we tried to execute the Flying-V play to little success. As if Emilio Estevez wasn’t a legend already, this series made his aura grow exponentially and no player out there didn’t want to have Gordon Bombay behind their bench. Disney even turned the success of the movie into its own NHL franchise, the Anaheim Mighty Ducks (now just the Ducks), although they sold the team in 2005.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Three Strikes

Three Strikes Shot

  • 0.5 oz Cinnamon Schnapps
  • 0.5 oz Jagermeister
  • 0.5 oz Yukon Jack Perma Frost
  • Garnish with Big League Chew

I have to say that for some reason, I love baseball movies. I’m a steadfast non-supporter of the actual sport, but I love me a good baseball flick. Stay tuned next week for our look at the best adult sports movies and even more ball and bat goodness!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
I’ve wanted to garnish a drink with Big League Chew for some time now and this was the perfect opportunity to finally do so, melding baseball and childhood all in one. Did I mention that the Big League Chew flavour was Ground Ball Grape! The actual name for this recipe is “Three Strikes, You’re Out,” but I chose to cut the title in half. The shot is quite strong with competing flavours of cinnamon, peppermint and other spices. It’s not bad, but it’s one that will sit in your gut for some time.

Croatia – Naked Lady

Spotty Reputation

Without Croatia, we might have never been introduced to 101 Dalmatians. These spotted dogs come from the Dalmatia region of the country (which has a coat of arms that features leopards, not Dalmatians) and were once used as carriage dogs many years ago. Because of this, they are typically very comfortable around horses and can keep up to them. Let’s learn a little more about the pooches:

One of the first uses of the breed was to guard the borders of Dalmatia. They have also found work as rescue dogs, hunting dogs, circus dogs, and watch dogs. Hey, it’s a living!

Dalmatian Spots

Dalmatians have gone by other names over time, including Carriage Dog, English Coach Dog, Plum Pudding Dog, and the Spotted Dick Dog. The British sure have a funky way of naming their pups and you really have to wonder which bloke came up with that last one, as accurate as it may be.

A fully grown Dalmatian can weigh anywhere between 35 and 70 pounds and their average lifespan is 10-13 years, although some have lived to the ripe old age of 16. Dalmatian litters range from 9-13 pups, although in rare occurrences, larger broods have been born in one go, with a reported 18-puppy birthing in 2009.

When a Dalmatian is born, it has an all-white coat and its trademark spots only appear at about three weeks. By the time they are one month old, they will have most of their spots, but other will appears throughout the dog’s life, just at a slower rate. The spots are usually black or brown, but some rarer colours do occur, such as bluish-grey, orange, yellow, and even tri-coloured.

Dalmatian Shadow

Dalmatians are high energy dogs and one negative effect of the popular book (written by Dodie Smith) and animated and live-action Disney movies was the increase of people adopting Dalmatian dogs for their children, only to realize they weren’t suitable animals for kids. Sadly, this resulted in many of the dogs being given up for adoption by underprepared owners, which was exacerbated by unethical breeders, who were already mass-producing poorly bred puppies to take advantage of the fad. Happily, a number of groups popped up to deal with the overwhelming number of Dalmatians looking for homes.

The dogs are often associated with fire departments, which began when Dalmatians transitioned from carriages to fire engines. Dalmatians today are used as mascots for firehouses and as ambassadors for fire safety education with the young and old alike. It’s not uncommon for a firefighter to own a Dalmatian as their pet, to honour their past heroics.

Dalmatians Coloring Book

According to the Dalmatian Club of America, 12% of the Dalmatian population is deaf, while other dogs of the breed can only hear in one ear. On the positive side, Dalmatians lack the typical “dog smell” and are fairly clean pets, thanks to a lack of oil in their fur.

The Dalmatian is also largely associated with Budweiser beer and the company’s Busch Gardens theme parks. Anytime you see the famous Budweiser Clydesdale horses, you can bet their Dalmatian carriage dog is close by. The brewing company has assembled a number of these teams and they tour around promoting the product. Dalmatians were even used to guard beer wagons, as the driver went about his business making deliveries. Let’s salute this proud, noble, beer protector!

Croatia: Naked Lady

Naked Lady Martini

  • 1 oz Rum
  • 1 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • 0.5 oz Rakija
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Dash of Grenadine
  • Garnish with Lemon Zest

Aside from Dalmatians, the necktie also technically comes from Croatia, as it is a descendent of the cravat. If I had chosen to write about that, though, it would have largely been to take shots at all the schlubs who have to wear one every day to work!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
Wow, Rakija is strong, but I can’t say that I don’t like the liqueur. This martini was decent with some complex flavours going on. I’m curious to try Rakija in other recipes and see if I can find a grand slam recipe for the spirit!

Ireland – The Emerald

Pot of Gold

The leprechaun has long been associated with Ireland and is an important figure of Irish folklore. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean it will always be portrayed in the best of lights elsewhere. Here are some of the famous leprechauns we can learn from:

Lucky the Leprechaun – Lucky Charms

Also known as Sir Charms and L.C. Leprechaun (monikers he invented to avoid creditors who were after his Lucky Charms!), this imp was introduced in the 1960’s, shortly after the cereal hit store shelves. Originally, the breakfast option only contained four different marshmallow shapes, but over time that number grew to eight permanent charms. Lucky was briefly replaced by Waldo the Wizard in 1975, but it wasn’t long before the leprechaun was back with the brand. Some say he bought his way back into the picture with his pot o’ gold riches!

lucky-charms-marshmallows

O’Reilly – The Simpsons

This little hellraiser appears in a number of Simpsons episodes, most notably one of the Treehouse of Horror segments where Homer has drawn the ire of a gypsy and has been cursed. Looking to reverse his fortune, he traps a leprechaun (using Lucky Charms as bait), but O’Reilly just causes havoc in the Simpson home. When Homer takes the leprechaun to battle the gypsy, the two fall in love and are married in a ceremony performed by Yoda of Star Wars fame. O’Reilly is also an imaginary vision for Ralph Wiggum, telling the youngster to burn things.

Braun the Leprechaun – World Championship Wrestling

Leave it to professional wrestling to have a leprechaun running around the ring and causing havoc. Braun briefly appeared with the Dungeon of Doom stable, a group of dark and sometimes mythological characters, including The Yeti (although he was dressed like a mummy… no, seriously) and Loch Ness (a 600-plus pound monster of a man, billed from the Scottish Highlands). Portrayed by the grappler (real name DeWayne Bruce) that would eventually become perennial loser Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker, he is most recognized for his work training future stars, particularly Bill Goldberg.

Hornswoggle – World Wrestling Entertainment

Sticking with professional wrestling, years after Braun, another shot was taken at the character, this time using a little person. Originally named Little Bastard, the character soon evolved into Hornswoggle (which means to cheat, swindle, hoodwink, or hoax), helping Irish bruiser Finlay score a number of underhanded victories. Hornswoggle has gone on to become a fan favourite, while enjoying high-profile roles such as joining D-Generation X as their mascot, being the illegitimate son of WWE Chairman Vince McMahon, winning the Cruiserweight Title, and holding the position of anonymous General Manager of Monday Night Raw.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish/Boston Celtics Leprechauns

These famous logos and mascots have helped define both squads. For Notre Dame, the team had gone through a number of nicknames (Catholics, Hoosiers, Rockmen, Bulldogs) before settling on the Fighting Irish. This was done because a leprechaun joined the cheerleading squad and has remained on the team’s sideline ever since. As for the Celtics, their mascot Lucky was designed by the brother of legendary coach Red Auerbach. Complete with shillelagh and shamrock-adorned attire, it just doesn’t get much more Irish… although Lucky lacks the red locks we usually associate with leprechauns.

The Leprechaun – Leprechaun Movies

Played by little person Warwick Davis (of Willow and Harry Potter fame), The Leprechaun horror movie franchise has spawned six films and is due for a reboot with the aforementioned Hornswoggle (real name Dylan Postl) taking over the lead role. Falling in line with recent movie trends, the new film will be an origin story. Back to the original series, premises ranged from The Leprechaun tracking down his stolen gold, to searching for a bride, and even rampages through Las Vegas, space, and Compton, California (in the ghetto!). The first installment even featured a young and unknown Jennifer Aniston… she ended up doing pretty well for herself!

leprechaun-back2thahood

Seriously, they did not one, but two Leprechaun films set in “Tha Hood”!

Brian Connors – Darby O’Gill and the Little People

This Disney live action movie features a horde of leprechauns led by Brian Connors, the ‘King of the Leprechauns’. Connors and O’Gill are friendly adversaries, each trying to outsmart the other. O’Gill, an elderly groundskeeper is trying to capture Connors and be granted three wishes, hoping to set his daughter up for a happy life. Conners was played by Jimmy O’Dea, an Irish comedian and songwriter. Sean Connery is also in the film and he even sings! Legend has it that his role as Michael McBride, the daughter’s eventual love interest, led to him being cast as James Bond.

Shado – Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law

Known as Shado the Brain Thief because he possesses telepathic abilities, this leprechaun lawyer uses his powers to mess with opposing counsel and juries and manipulate them for his own gains. If Mrs. Sip (also a lawyer) was capable of telepathy, she’d be even more of a legend than she already is… which is due largely in part to her association with the Sip Advisor. Anyhoo, Shado is voiced by Toby Huss, who provided the dialogue for a number of characters on King of the Hill, including Cotton Hill, Kahn Souphanousinphone, Joe Jack, and M.F. Thatherton.

Ireland: The Emerald

Mar 20

  • 2 oz Irish Whiskey
  • 1 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • Dashes of Orange Bitters
  • Garnish with Orange Zest

I hope everyone finds their pot of gold at the end of the rainbow… that is, unless you have to battle a deranged leprechaun to get at your cash money. My advice is to wait until the little guys tucker themselves out before achieving your treasure. Kind of like I do with my desire to high-five monkeys!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
This is basically a Manhattan variation and it was decent. Whenever I make a drink with Orange Bitters, I go a little crazy with the dashes and that’s not a bad thing. I thought the Orange Zest bits looked pretty darn good, if I don’t say so myself. Party on!

January 18 – Crouching Tiger

Counter Culture

I fell asleep during the movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, despite the fact I thought I’d enjoy the fantastical martial arts film with a name that sounds like a wicked sex position. This is far from the first popular film (at least according to most of the world) that I have walked away from disliking. Here are the top five movies I refuse to watch, despite their large fan base:

#5: The Hunger Games

Okay, so I only saw the first entry of this series, but it will be hard for Mrs. Sip to get me to return for more. Sorry to drop a spoiler for those who haven’t seen the film, but I absolutely hated how they built up this entire competition for what seemed like forever, only to kill off half the competitors immediately. Then, the fact producers wanted the film to be PG-13 eliminated any chance of serious themes from the book being examined. And so, we slowly wound our way to the inevitable and predictable finish. The Japanese flick Battle Royal is a far better offering in the realm of kids being challenged to kill one another in the name of survival.

#4: Moulin Rouge

Good lord, Mrs. Sip loves her musicals. The Sip Advisor, however, despises any media that is largely based around singing. Tragically, I’ve been dragged to a number of films or forced to watch movies where even the simplest dialogue is crooned. I’m not talking about Disney or other animated offerings, but live action movies where song and dance drives the entire production. Back to Moulin Rouge, I’ve actually been outside of the cabaret club in Paris, France and even without entering, cold chills were running through my system and I suffered flu-like symptoms just being in its presence.

#3: Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit

Middle Earth is simply a place I don’t want to visit… and I definitely don’t want to get stuck there for six movies and 525 hours (running time is purely an estimate of Peter Jackson’s need to have super extended versions of his films). For most of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Mrs. Sip and I watched the DVD’s and I made sure a clause was put in our contract that we’d halt the movie half way through to take a break playing pool or throwing darts or something else to get me through the second half of the film. The tactic was not very successful with regards to my overall enjoyment.

#2: The Matrix

I just don’t understand these films and the truth of the matter is, I don’t really want to. When I saw the first installment many moons ago, all I could think about was how hungry I was. Thankfully, my McDonald’s feast afterwards wasn’t as disappointing as my cinema choice. Sadly, Mrs. Sip loved that first movie, so when the sequels arrived and we were now dating, I was dragged to midnight openings like I was some nerd who enjoys standing in lines for his entertainment. I only do that at Disneyland, thank you very much!

#1: Star Wars

Mrs. Sip was absolutely shocked when we started dating and I told her I had never seen the original Star Wars trilogy. She had grown up on the films and in short order, made me watch all three of the original releases. I’ve never really been a huge fan of science fiction. I think some of the concepts are neat, but in general, the whole space setting isn’t my cup of tea and too much fantasy and made up stuff irritates me. I must say, this was one of the few new experiences we shared that summer that I didn’t enjoy!

Super Saturday Shot Day: Crouching Tiger

Crouching Tiger Shooter

  • 0.5 oz Tequila (I used Hornitos)
  • 0.5 oz Lychee Vodka/Liqueur
  • Splash of Lychee Juice
  • Garnish with Lemon Wedge

Looking back at my list, not only are most of my selections popular movies, they’re god damn franchises, meaning I’m usually forced to sit through multiple movies I’d rather not see. Movies like Twilight and Titanic should have made the list, but I’ve actually been able to avoid watching any of these, so I’ll just leave them off and pretend they don’t exist!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
This shot was pretty strong, thanks to the Tequila and my choice to go with Lychee Vodka rather than Lychee Liqueur. I added the splash of Lychee Juice to try and lighten the recipe and that helped in getting the flavour across. A decent shooter, but nothing to go out of your way for.