StarGazer Chamomile Wheat – Canuck Empire Brewing (Aldergrove, BC, Canada)

StarGazer Chamomile Wheat – Canuck Empire Brewing (brewed at Deadfrog Brewery), 6.0% ABV, 650ml., (Aldergrove, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft brew*)


printed on the front-right label:

“Chamomile Wheat is summer in a bottle. The beer pours a hazy golden straw colour. Aromas of wheat and chamomile intertwine with a touch of honey. Light wheat flavours blend with raspberry and chamomile on the palate to create a refreshing summer beer. Delicious.”

Ingredients: Water, Malts: (Wheat, 2-Row, Munich 30), Organic Dried Chamomile Floweres, Raspberry Blossom Honey
, Hops: (Saaz), Yeast

(right)


  • Style: (flavoured – Chamomile) Wheat Ale
  • Taste: crisp slightly dry grainy barley malt soft tangy chamomile slight honey
  • Where I got it : Liquor Barn, N. Bby
  • How much: $6.30 (after 10% off) – 650ml., October 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: nope

Visual: (cellared for 1.5 years). Pours clear pale golden orange without much of a head, ringed retention with a large island, very clustered active streams.

Nose: big chamomile, slight liquid barley malt (lvl-8)-pungency

Attack: dry crisp, grainy barley malt impression

Mid-palate: (lvl-3-sweetness), grainy light toffee barley malt, soft prickly tangy sour

Finish: mild sweet wheat malt w/ palate roughness, dry chamomile exhale, honey, residual metallic barley malt

Summary: Surprisingly not a whole lot of wheat, I mostly get barley and chamomile. A decent drinkable brew but the chamomile is rather dull. Not bright nor quenching enough for wheat ale.

London Dry Gin Round 8 – Fords (Champ) VS Bloom (Challenger)

Here’s another 2017 round of the gin battles, making this Round 8 to date. We have the previous, newly crowned champ Fords versus the beautifully bottled Bloom.


[CHAMPION from Round 7, winning out over Pink 47]

1) Ford’s Gin London Dry – 45% ABV – 750ml., The 86 Co. (England), $43.70 CAD,  Jan 2017 – BC Liquor Stores

  • distilled by 8th gen Master distiller Charles Maxwell and Simon Ford of The 86 Co.
  • 9 botanicals: Italian juniper, Romanian coriander seed, Spanish lemon peel, Haitian/Moroccan bitter orange peel, Turkish grapefruit peel, Chinese jasmine, Italian/Moroccan orris powder, Polish angelica, Indonesian cassia
  • botanicals steeped for 15 hours, cooked for 5 hours

(right)wp-1484984451298.jpg(left)wp-1484984459747.jpg

<VS> Challenger:

2) Bloom Premium London Dry Gin – 40% ABV – 750ml., G&J Greenall (England), $53 CAD,  sometime in 2015-16 – BC Liquor Stores

  • 29 international awards since 2008 (bloomgin.com)
  • created by one of world’s few female master gin distiller, Joanne Moore
  • includes juniper berries from Tuscany, chamomile from France, honeysuckle and pomelo from China
  • affinity for strawberry, rose, lemon, and pear when creating cocktails
  • quality wood top-authentic cork stopper (as opposed to being a cheap aluminum screw top cap)

(right)(cork stopper)

<Criteria>

Nose: Ford exhibits a mostly clean grassy-mineral juniper body with hints of its unique ingredient jasmine, with a bit of alcohol detection at the deep backend. Bloom… what?? had to do a double take; Extremely different with a chamomile-honeysuckle-soft pomelo identity, whilst being very clean from start to finish. It’s a close one but I prefer the brightness of Bloom. Bloom takes it.

Taste & Texture: Ford comes out swinging with an aggressive tangy alcoholic medium harshness, thicker oily viscosity, cinnamon-juniper-jasmine, prickly numbing tongue, menthol throat warmth finish. Blooms is less thick than its competitor, floral-honeysuckle and chamomile up front, light-medium alcohol burn mixed with pomelo citrus while juniper kicks in at the late mids until the finish. Very mild throat burn and a rather clean but unfortunately short finish. There’s about a medium level of depth of flavour for Bloom but the duration of flavour seems too short. I definitely enjoy the flavour, but Ford is simply a more robust gin. Ford gots it.

Final Notes:

  • Ford has a +body, +length, +depth, but unfortunately -smoothness and +burn = will work better in a cocktail with many ingredients
  • Bloom has a unique floral-citrus flavour profile but a weaker body = suitable in a cocktail with few ingredients
  • I would stock both, as both are delicious

but if I had to pick a winner to go to the next round, WINNER = Fords Gin

Elijah Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout – Longwood Brewery (Nanaimo, BC, Canada)

Elijah Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout (Imperial Stout) – Longwood Brewery, 8.2% ABV – 650ml., (Nanaimo, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft beer*)


on the front-right label:

“Small Batch Series #3. Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout Aging for 6 months in ‘Ex’ Heaven Hills Bourbon barrels has transformed this Imperial Stout into an Ode to Elijah Craig; the founder of charred oak barrel aging.”

(right)


  • Style: (Heaven Hills bourbon barrel aged) Imperial Stout
  • Taste: Big dark winey pukey sour light wet woody barley malt roasted exhale
  • Where I got it : Bottle Jockey / N. Burnaby
  • How much: $8.60 CAD (after 12.5% off) – 650ml., February 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: nah, not the BBA imp stout you want

Visual: (cellared for 1 year). Pours jet black with a lasting medium 2cm thick frothy head, tight clusters of micro streams, no lacing.

Nose: mild funk’d light tangy roast barley malt. (lvl-3)-pungency

Attack: creaminess, immediate acidity, soft crisp, sour malt impression

Mid-palate: big tangy sourness (!?), (lvl-4-sweetness), light wet woody barley malt, sour dark winey prune

Finish: cacao, sour pukey, lingering sweet barley malt, roasted exhale, subtle stealth bitter hops

Summary: Totally NOT what I was expecting – Big acidic dark fruity sourness complimented by roasted malt in BA imp stout?? Nonetheless it is decently balanced and still interestingly drinkable. The sourness is a bit harsh for a stout, I would rather more dark caramel roast instead. The more I drink it, the more apparent the sourness becomes offensive – rogue yeast for sure.

La Divine Comédie Wit Pils du Purgatoire – Le Trou du Diable (Shawinigan, QC, Canada)

La Divine Comédie Wit Pils du Purgatoire – Le Trou du Diable & Dieu du Ciel! collaboration, 5.4% ABV, 600ml., (Shawinigan, Quebec, Canada)


on the back label:

“Cette Wit-pis <nouveau mondes> est la seconde collaboration de la série Purgatoire entre les brasseries Le trou du diable et Dieu du Ciel! Il s’agit du’une bière voilée qui offre un nez malté aux accents de fruits de la passion et de mangues. La bouche offre une belle fraîcheur de blé suivi d’une finale exotique et mordante.”

(google translate):

This Wit-pis <new worlds> is the second collaboration of the series Purgatory between breweries Le trou du diable and Dieu du Ciel! It is a veiled beer that offers a malty nose with accents of passion fruit and mango. The mouth offers a nice freshness of wheat followed by an exotic and biting finale.

Ingredients: water, malted barley, rye malt, malted wheat, hops, yeast.

(back)


  • Style: (wheat malt, rye malt) Pilsener
  • Taste: Biting bitter hopped slight tropical fruity rye-wheat-barley malt lingering dry hops
  • Where I got it : Legacy Liquor / Vancouver
  • How much: $8.70 (after 10% off) – 600ml., November 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: 50/50

Visual: (Their own bottle for their brewery, raised lettering and devil on the bottom, odd size 600ml). (Cellared for 2 years). Pours cloudy orange-yellow with a smallish dissipating 1cm head, thin ringed retention with a spotty island, sporadic singular streams.

Nose: peachy wheat malt, hints of banana (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: crisp, dry hoppy fruity malt impression

Mid-palate: biting bitter hops, (lvl-2-sweetness), peach-mango notes, fruity barley-wheat malt blend

Finish: prickly rye malt, lingering prominent dry hopped bitterness

Summary: Overall quite quenching straight out of the bottle, but the hopped bitterness becomes a bit harsh as it warms. All around good quality texture, flavour, and composition.

Winter White Stout – Steamworks Brewing Co. (Vancouver, BC, Canada)

Winter White Stout – Steamworks Brewing Company, 5.1% ABV – 33 IBU, 650 ml., (Vancouver, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft beer)


Malts: Maris Otter, Flaked Barley, Flaked & Golden Naked Oats

Hops: Fuggles, Golding, WGB

Unique: Cacao & Coffee Beans

Colour: Caramel

IBU’s: 33

(left)


  • Style: (cacao bean, coffee bean, oats) Spiced Ale
  • Taste: Astringent sour roast coffee thin barley malt dry cacao subtle bitter hops
  • Where I got it : Legacy Liquor / Vancouver
  • How much: $7.15 CAD (after 10% off) – 650ml., December 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: no

Visual: (cellared for 1 year) Pours clear golden orange with no head, just a very small spotty island and few uneventful bubbles here and there, large bits of sediment in the 2nd pour. Uninspiring.

Nose: roasted coffee, mild cacao notes, (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: thicker mouthfeel, crisp, off-dry coffee malt impression

Mid-palate: (lvl-3-sweetness), background sour coffee bean, resiny metallic hopped, grainy barley malt

Finish: dry cacao-chocolate, residual light tangy sour barley malt, subtle lingering bitter hops

Summary: Not quite the stout I was expecting. I find the sourish roast coffee notes not meshing smoothly with the t00 light of a barley malt base, making it taste like a harsh cold brew coffee. Just a bit above average, better coffee ales out there.

Scarfface Cranberry Orange Wit – Phillips Brewing Co. (Victoria, BC, Canada)

Scarfface Cranberry Orange Wit – Phillips Brewing Company, 5.0% ABV, 650 ml., (Victoria, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft beer*)


on the front-right label:

“Say hello to our little friend! Scarfface is a welcome break from the heavy winter ales, this seasonal offering is snow-packed with enough cranberry and citrus to make a bad guy feel good. The world is yours…and so is this.”

Ingredients: water, barley, wheat, hops, yeast, cranberry juice, coriander, pure orange oil, acacia gum

(right)(left)


  • Style: (cranberry juice, coriander, orange oil) Flavoured Wheat ale
  • Taste: Light pukey palate rough tart tangy unappealing orangish/cranberryish wheat malt
  • Where I got it : Legacy liquor / Vancouver
  • How much: $6.90 (after 10% off) – 650 ml., December 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: no way in frozen hell

Visual: (cellared for 1 year). Pours almost clear pale candy orange without much of a head, ringed retention, scattered small clustered steady streams, minor lacing.

Nose: unappealing orange oil, hints of berries. (lvl-3)-pungency

Attack: crisp-huge tart, light funk’d tart fruity wheat malt impression

Mid-palate: persistent tartness, (lvl-2-sweetness), tangy-tart acidity, background thin orange oil, palate rough soft banana wheat malt

Finish: slight coriander dry, more palate rough tart slight cranberry finish

Summary: Unfortunately none of the particularly advertised flavours shine; the whole experience lacks refinement. There’s also a major palate roughness in here that makes it quite unpleasant to drink by itself. Not recommended, though I can’t remember that last time I had a Phillips brew that wow’d me.

Pêche Mode 2014 – Double Mountain Brewery (Hood River, OR, USA)

Pêche Mode 2014 Belgian Style Sour Ale brewed with peaches – Double Mountain Brewery, 8.6% ABV – 7 BU, 12.7 fl.oz., (Hood River, Oregon, USA)


on the front-left label:

“This Belgian Style Ale is aged for nine months on local Hood River peaches, our special house yeast, and Brettanomyces. Peach aromas shine through a farmhouse of funk and finishes tart and dry. Bottle conditioned.”

(left)


  • Style: (peach) Sour Ale / Fruit beer
  • Taste: Big sour controlled pukey funk dull peach malt tangy tart acidity
  • Where I got it : Legacy Liquor / Vancouver
  • How much: $18.70 CAD (after 10% off) – 12.7 fl.oz., November 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: good, but not worth the imported price

Visual: (cellared for 1 year). Hefty quality bottle. Pours translucent marmalade orange with a smallish long-lasting 2mm head, tight steady-fast clustered streams.

Nose: high acidic sour pukey, fruity alcoholic peach-apricot at the backend (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: huge sour-medium tart impression, soft crisp

Mid-palate: (lvl-2-sweetness), light vinegar, manageable big sour, medium pukey funk, dull peach notes mixed with tangy fruity malt

Finish: medium tart, lingering tangy soft fruity pukey acidity

Summary: Despite its big sourness and pukey nature, this is surprisingly sippable and the ABV is very well hidden. The peach fruitiness is on the dull side but the engaging acidity keeps this one interesting.