Forest Ginger Cider – Finnriver Cidery (Chimacum, WA, USA)


TL:DR – “well-integrated mild ginger-fir into the solid apple cider base, cloying after a glass”


Forest Ginger – Elijah K. Swan’s Infused Botanical Hard Cider – Finnriver Cidery, 6.5% ABV, 500 ml., (Chimacum, Washington, USA)


on the front-right label:

“Made from a blend of fermented Washington organic and heirloom apples, infused with fresh ginger and the green tips of local fir trees, and organic sugar.”


  • Style: (flavoured – ginger, fir tips) Apple Cider
  • Taste: fruity tangy tart apple light ginger subtle fir slight cloying tart sugars
  • Where I got it : Imperial Bottle Shop / Portland
  • How much: $9 USD – 12 fl.oz., November 2014
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Recommended: yes
  • What made an impression: cohesive apple-ginger-fir flavour

Visual: (cellared for 3.5 years). Pours almost clear light orange-yellow with no head, micro bubbles along the perimeter, a few micro bubbles surfacing here and there – not much.

Nose: ginger-fir-dense apple blend, very aromatic. (lvl-10)-pungency.

Attack: soft crisp, medium tart

Mid-palate: fir tips exhale, clean light ginger w/o heat, fruity tart red-green apple hybrid juicy, (lvl-3-sweetness), background tangy acidity

Finish: fruity apple juice exhale, mild residual cloying tartness

Summary: A big dense apple fruity profile with a cohesive addition of ginger and fir that help elevate the cider to the next level. The fruitiness and tartness become cloying after a glass but that is easily remedied by a few salty bites. Great with a meal.

Long Table Farmhouse Ale – New Belgium Brewing (Fort Collins, CO, USA)


TL:DR – “banana fruity grainy malt character, went down easy”


Long Table Farmhouse Ale – New Belgium Brewing, 6.2% ABV, 12 fl.oz., (Fort Collins, Colorado, USA)


on the front-rightlabel:

“An ode to the communal Saison, LONG TABLE Farmhouse Ale brings together the juicy fruit flavors of Belgian yeast and Nelson Sauvin hops with the spicy and toasty notes of Munich and Rye grains. Grab a seat!”


  • Style: Saison
  • Taste: crisp banana mango grainy wheat-pils malt slight palate rough finish
  • Where I got it : Bottle Jockey / Burnaby
  • How much: $3.40 CAD – 12 fl.oz., February 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Recommended: yes
  • What made an impression: engaging banana-tropical fruit

Visual: (cellared for 2 years). Pours translucent golden orange without much of a head, ring with large island retention, a bit of lacing, scatter singular micro streams.

Nose: banana, liquid pils malt. (lvl-5)-pungency.

Attack: crisp, tingly

Mid-palate: banana wheat malt, (lvl-3-sweetness), off-dry grainy malt, hints of mango

Finish: banana wheat malt exhale, subtle short bitterness, mild palate rough

Summary: Quite a tropical fruity base with a solid grainy malt to back it up. Overall it drank very easy with a bit of minor palate roughness at the finish.

Cosmic Wave Double IPA – Tofino Brewing Co. (Tofino, BC, Canada)


TL:DR – “smoothing drinkable 9%’er, big toffee-caramel malt with a bit of citrus. Guaranteed buzz.”


Cosmic Wave Double IPA – Tofino Brewing Co., 9% ABV, 650 ml., (Tofino, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft beer*)


on the front-left label:

“Join us on a transcendental journey free from the shackles of physical existence and beyond the known realms of consciousness. Let your mind’s eye guide you to the astral planes of extrasensory non-being where we will collectively ride the cosmic waves of unity deep inside the endless barrel of the infinite void. Also, this is a strong hoppy beer.”

(cool story, bra)


  • Style: Double IPA / Imperial IPA
  • Taste: Cloying authentic basic raspberry-apple light sour acidic
  • Where I got it : High Point / Vancouver
  • How much: $7.10 (after 20% off) – 650 ml., October 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Recommended: 50/50
  • What made an impression: solid toffee-caramel malt

Visual: (cellared for 1.5 years). Pours translucent copper brown-orange without much of a lasting head, half sticky lacking, ringed retention with a large island, lots of loose clustered active streams.

Nose: toffee malt, caramel, slight citrus undertones. (lvl-6)-pungency.

Attack: crisp, thicker mouthfeel

Mid-palate: light tingly, (lvl-7-sweetness), alcohol hit mixed with BOLD toffee-caramel malt, mild orange citrusy tang

Finish: orange peel exhale, resiny light bitter hop, subdued alcohol detection, slight grassy hop note

Summary: Big toffee-caramel malt flavour accompanied by a high but well-hidden ABV content. Smooth and very drinkable, goes nice with a meal. The alcohol hit comes later. This is still sippable and interesting after one glass down and as it decreases in temp. More resiny as it warms. Solid brew.

Razz Cider – Scenic Road Cider Co. (Kelowna, BC, Canada)


TL:DR – “just sweet, not complex enough flavour”


Razz Cider (apple cider with raspberries) – Scenic Road Cider Co., 6.9% ABV, 500 ml., (Kelowna, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft cider*)


on the front-right label:

“This cider is made exclusively with local dessert apples and raspberries including apples grown by us. Our craft ciders are hand blended in small batches. Authentic, artisanal, always. From our backyards to your bottle.”


  • Style: (flavoured – raspberry) Apple Cider
  • Taste: Cloying authentic basic raspberry-apple light sour acidic
  • Where I got it : High Point / Vancouver
  • How much: $9.40 (after 20% off) – 500 ml., October 2017
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Recommended: no
  • What made an impression: hidden ABV, but basic boring flavour

Visual: Pours rosé pinkish-orange, clear as water, no head or retention, several steady slow micro streams, micro bubbles along the perimeter.

Nose: very clean raspberry, red apple backdrop, bright fruity acidity. (lvl-7)-pungency.

Attack: crisp-tart, light CO2

Mid-palate: sustained tartness, (lvl-6-sweetness), tangy medium-sour raspberry, background basic apple juice

Finish: residual apple acidity, compounding cloying sugars, red apple exhale

Summary: Its sweetness and one-note, low-depth raspberry-apple flavour profile make this one drink more like a cooler than hardcore craft cider. It comes across as basic yet drinkable, hence forgettable. Too bad since the nose was rather appealing. Well-hidden ABV at least.

Melvin Hubert MPA – Melvin Brewing Co. (Alpine, Wyoming, USA)


TL:DR – “big orange citrus went down smooth. Great stuff.”


Melvin Hubert MPA – Melvin Brewing Co., 6% ABV, 12 fl.oz., (Alpine, Wyoming, USA)


on the front-right label:

“Hubert, if I didn’t know you better, I might take you for an IPA, but after one sip, I knew you were a Pale Ale. With you sleek sophisticated approach to life and you general debonaimess. You smell of hoppy pleasure and the balance you possess is stunning. I promise not to misunderestimate you.”


  • Style: American Pale Ale
  • Taste: smooth balanced tangerine sweet barley malt smooth subtle bitter length
  • Where I got it : High Point / Vancouver
  • How much: $3.50 – 12 fl.oz., October 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Recommended: yes
  • What made an impression: big tangerine flavour

Visual: (cellared for 1.5 years). Aluminum can. Pours cloudy orange creamsicle with a small 1mm head, fine ring with a thin layer of retention, barely visible close knit micro streams.

Nose: orange citrusy hopped malt, light dank, big brightness. (lvl-8)-pungency.

Attack: sharp crisp bite, tingly mouthfeel

Mid-palate: tangerine, (lvl-3-sweetness), bursting orange barley malt

Finish: mild grainy exhale, lingering tangerine citrus subtle bitter hops, slight grassiness

Summary: A great balance of hops and malt, with a very appealing and appetizing orange citrus flavour profile. I wished for a bit more fullness and length in the mids but this went down just fine.

BC Gin Round 5 – Victoria (Champ) VS Long Table

All right 2018, let’s do this! In round 5 of the gin battle we have the 2017 winner Victoria up against the local Long Table located in downtown Vancouver. Both weighing in at 45% ABV and Victoria made with 2 more botanicals than Long Table, which one will dominate the taste buds? Let’s do this, guy.


1) Victoria Gin – Victoria Distillers – 45% ABV – 750ml., Sidney, BC, $46 CAD (1/2018) @ BCLiquor

  • new label and bottle since spring 2016, , victoriadistillers.com
  • 10 botanicals including: juniper berries, coriander, angelica, orris root, star anise, orange & lemon peel, cinnamon, and rose petals. (…and the 10th one?)
  • 2016 Winner, Vancouver International Spirits Competition
  • 2016 Gold, Beverage Testing Institute Awards

[VS]

2) London dry gin – Long Table Distillery – 45% ABV – 750ml., Vancouver, BC, $53 (1/2018) @ BCLiquor


Criteria:

Nose: VG has a medium cleanliness with flavours of juniper and bright citrus emerging from the detectable alcohol. LT is duller with rounded edges, slightly creamy with grassier notes. The LT alcohol detection is much more apparent with just a bit of harshness on the nose. Although VG comes across as slightly soapyVG is the winner.

Taste & Texture: VG, upon the first sip, the beautifully aromatic star anise jumps out, fruity juniper in the mids with strong citrus overtones backing it up until the finish. LT despite being a London Dry style, surprisingly comes across as sweeter up front, thicker viscosity, muddly grassy juniper, licorice-coriander alcohol numbing mids, mild cinnamon, citrus undertones, slight nutty – almost salty finish. LT displays a pleasant balanced roundness. In terms of explicit and distinguishable flavour, Victoria takes the cake. VG wins.


Final Notes:

  • Victoria Gin is much brighter, thinner in mouthfeel, soapier, has a bit more roughness, but is overall has and displays strong notes of star anise and orange citrus.
  • Long Table London Dry Gin is creamier, showcases balanced ingredients of grassy juniper and mild citrus
  • Victoria Gin is $7 cheaper ($46 vs $53 @ BCL)

Verdict: Victoria Gin is my preference and winner. Nevertheless Long Table London Dry Gin is quality gin but it doesn’t have any standout flavours despite being balanced.

 

710 Oaked Stout – Faculty Brewing Co. (Vancouver, BC, Canada)


(TL:DR – “Oaked stout?! At first I was like ‘oh yeah!’ but after the first few sips I was like ‘oh, this kinda sucks'”)


710 Oaked Stout – Faculty Brewing Co., 5.0% ABV – 20 IBU, 650ml., (Vancouver, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft beer)

-Faculty Brewing Co.! Located in central Vancouver off of Main st. where all the hip breweries are popping up left, right and center. This is the first brew that I’m trying of theirs and it gives me the impression of them being just and “average” brewery. Let’s hope they can up their brew game in the future releases.


on the front-right label:

“Aromas of vanilla from American Oak complement the roasted character of this dry stout.”

(right)


  • Style: (flavoured – American oak chips) Dry Stout
  • Taste: semi-sweet roasted barley malt light coffee chocolate oak exhale sourish
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $7.70 – 650ml., January 2018
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Recommended: no
  • What made an impression: weak barley malt mids

Visual: Pours thicker viscosity dark coffee brown without much of a head, a very thin ringed retention, mild oil slick on the surface, slow micro stream along the perimeter. Uneventful.

Nose: roasted barley malt, hints of caramel coffee, cocoa notes, oak presence. (lvl-7)-pungency.

Attack: crisp-dull CO2, underwhelming entry

Mid-palate: (lvl-3-sweetness), background short sourness, low depth roasted barley malt,

Finish: watery mouthfeel, muddled caramel-vanilla, mild oak exhale, lingering roast malt

Summary: The flavours are okay but this tastes rather basic and fails to wow. The stout base doesn’t feel full enough and the sour notes in the mids detracts from the dark notes. Just an average brew with some oak influence, not memorable.