Mangoes on the Run Mango IPA – Innis & Gunn (Edinburgh, Scotland)


TL:DR – “Hoppyish mango fruit, not super juicy. Bitterness takes over. Just okay.”


Mangoes on the Run Mango IPA – Innis & Gunn, 5.6% ABV, 500 ml., (Edinburgh, Scotland)


  • Style: (flavoured – Mango) – IPA
  • Taste: fruityish mango malty bitter hops
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $3 CAD – 500 ml., July 2018
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No
  • Recommended: nah
  • What made an impression: detectable ipa and mangoness

Visual: Oversized aluminum can. Pours clear copper orange with a half island and ringed retention, steady micro streams.

Nose: bright fruity mango-citrus hop oils, very clean. (lvl-8)-pungency

Attack: crisp, background bitter

Mid-palate: (lvl-4-sweetness), mango fruity malt, stealth prominent bitter hops

Finish: persistent bitter hop

Summary: Decent integration of tropical hops and real mango flavour. Nothing particularly special, just overall solid.

He Said Baltic-Style Porter – 21st Amendment Brewery (San Francisco, CA, USA)


TL:DR – “Just ok, the spices+pumpkin give me a gag reflex in the mids. Not my thing.”


He Said (Baltic-Style Porter, lager brewed with pumpkin and spices), 8.2% ABV, 12 fl.oz., (San Francisco, California, USA)


  • Style: (flavoured – pumpkin, spices) Baltic Porter
  • Taste: caramel pumpkin barley malt astringent caraway-gag reflex
  • Where I got it : Trader Joe’s / Seattle
  • How much: $13 USD / $17 CAD – 4 mixed pack x 12 fl.oz., October 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No
  • Recommended: nah
  • What made an impression: astringently spiced, causes gag reflex

Visual: (cellared for 2.5 years). 4-pack aluminum canned, 2 flavours. Pours dark coffee brown with a dissipating 1cm head, fine ringed retention with a half island, singular micro streams along the perimeter.

Nose: caramel barley malt, caramelized pumpkin nuances. (lvl-7)-pungency

Attack: sharp crisp bite, caraway (kind of minty)

Mid-palate: caramel barley malt, (lvl-6-sweetness), cinnamon, caramelized pumpkin, brown sugar

Finish: residual malt sweetness, root beer, very subtle bitter

Summary: On its own, drinkable, above average. But with a meal, it brings out this astringent spice gag reflex (probably the caraway&pumpkin combo) that just doesn’t do it for me. I enjoyed the He Said Belgian-style tripel more.

He Said Belgian-Style Tripel – 21st Amendment Brewery (San Francisco, CA, USA)


TL:DR – “heavily spiced, mostly clean, alcoholic.”


He Said (Belgian-Style Tripel Ale brewed with pumpkin and spices), 8.2% ABV, 12 fl.oz., (San Francisco, California, USA)


  • Style: (flavoured – pumpkin, spices) Belgian Tripel
  • Taste: honey toffee barley malt nutmeg clove alcoholic
  • Where I got it : Trader Joe’s / Seattle
  • How much: $13 USD / $17 CAD – 4 mixed pack x 12 fl.oz., October 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No
  • Recommended: Yes
  • What made an impression: prominent spices

Visual: (cellared for 2.5 years). 4-pack aluminum canned, 2 flavours. Pours golden orange without much of a head, just a slight ring, suspended sediment, slow micro streams.

Nose: nutmeg/cinnamon, toffee honey malt. (lvl-7)-pungency

Attack: crisp, richly spiced base

Mid-palate: (lvl-5-sweetness), honey’d barley malt, roasted pumpkin, slight alcoholic heaviness

Finish: nutmeg, mild cinnamon, clove, subtle bitter

Summary: A brick-ton of spices, but also packed with a solid malt base and a stealth alcohol. Very sippable, but perhaps a bit a palate heavy about 2/3rd through a serving. Could be a bit thicker and smoother, cause the finish is a rather dull.

Hoegaarden Rosée (Belgium)


TL:DR – “drinks like a berry cooler, noticeable artificial sweetener after effects”


Hoegaarden Rosée (raspberry-flavoured white beer beverage) – Hoegaarden Brewery, 3.0% ABV, 250 ml., (Hoegaarden, Belgium)


Ingredients: Ale, concentrated fruit juice (raspberry, apple, strawberry, elderberry), Invert sugar, citric acid, natural raspberry flavour, acesulfame-potassium.


  • Style: (flavoured beer) Cooler
  • Taste: generic red berry fruity easy-drinking palate rough
  • Where I got it : Firefly / Vancouver
  • How much: $9 CAD (after 10% off) – 4 pack x 250 ml., February 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No
  • Recommended: no
  • What made an impression: easy drinking, but damn palate rough

Visual: (cellared for 5 years). 4-pack aluminum cans. Pours clear rosé pink with a light shade of brown, fine ringed retention, a few bubbles surfacing.

Nose: berry nuanced light malt, slight cloying foreshadowing. (lvl-4)-pungency

Attack: crisp bite, fruity-sweet

Mid-palate: light burpy, generic soda-esqe raspberry-strawberry, (lvl-5-sweetness)

Finish: artificial sweetener roughness, slight residual jammy fruity

Summary: Basic and drinkable, more of a party drink to wash down potluck food. You’ll get a buzz while chowing down that food to get rid of that artificial sweetener nastiness.

Raspberry Wheat – Phillips Brewing Co. (Victoria, BC, Canada)


TL:DR – “basic lightly raspberry flavoured boring wheat ale. Palate is rough after drinking.”


Raspberry Wheat – Phillips Brewing Company, 5.0% ABV, 650 ml., (Victoria, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft beer*)


on the front-right label:

“A crisp, dry and refreshing summer beer. Brewed with BC raspberries for a full nose and crisp finish, this beer pairs well with sunglasses and patios.”


  • Style: (raspberry) Fruit Beer
  • Taste: light raspberry light body wheat ale palate rough
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: ~$6 CAD – 650 ml., sometime in 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No
  • Recommended: no
  • What made an impression: palate roughness at the end

Visual: (cellared for 6 years). Pours blush red with a dissipating 1cm head, fine ringed retention with an island, raspberry sediment, slow and steady micro streams.

Nose: clean fruity raspberry juice, inviting. (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: crisp

Mid-palate: thin mouthfeel, off-dry, (lvl-2-sweetness), fruity raspberry jam

Finish: dry wheat malt, raspberry exhale, mild artificial sweetener-like roughness

Summary: A very basic and straightforward lightly flavoured raspberry wheat ale, not much body or depth to speak of. It’s just an easy-drinking brew, barely above average, hardly recommendable nor memorable. The best aspect is the nose.

BC Gin Round 8 – Victoria (Champ) VS Ampersand

BC Gin here we go again! Back again from R3-R7 (technically only R7), we have the Victoria Gin (actually V+) up against the award winning Ampersand Gin, made with organic ingredients. Is organic better, or shall the previous dominating champ take it again? Let’s find out!


1) Victoria Gin – Victoria Distillers – 42.5% ABV – 750ml., Sidney, BC, $47 CAD (5/2018) @ BCLiquor

  • new bottle and lower ABV from 2016 onward (was 45%).
  • 2016 Winner, Vancouver International Spirits Competition.
  • 2016 Gold, Beverage Testing Institute Awards.

[VS]

2) Ampersand Gin – Ampersand Distilling Co., 43.8% ABV – 750 ml., Duncan, BC, $40 CAD @craft show (11/2016)

  • Made with organic BC wheat, and 8 organic and wild harvested botanicals.
  • Voted BC’s Best Gin BC Distilled 2016, 2017.

.


Criteria:

Nose: VG is rather muted with just a slight mineral alcoholic juniper-ness in there. It’s rather clean though. &G (Ampersand Gin) hits a citrus note, blended with a kind of custardy brightness. Lemon meringue, that’s it, or like a lemon vodka. Both are superbly clean, but &G is just that more interesting. &G has the nose.

Taste & Texture: VG starts off darker juniper berried and almost savoury, tangy soft floral, tongue numbing, throat warmth, medium alcohol detection. &G in contrast is immediately bright lemon balm citrusy from the get go, menthol juniper mids, coriander numbing, lime oils, and a juniper exhale. The alcohol is slightly more aggressive in &G, but that’s to say VG is incredibly smooth; My pre-2016 bottle of VG was much smoother than this new bottle. So, we have dark-noted VG vs bright-noted &G, and I fancy &G, it’s just more inviting. &G the new champ!


Final Notes:

  • Victoria Gin, exhibits darker juniper, star anise notes, less uplifting, but can do well in a cocktail. Still a solid gin.
  • Ampersand Gin is very bright lemon citrus with berry juniper, coriander, lime, but also leaks more alcohol on the palate.
  • Ampersand Gin was $7 cheaper ($40 vs $47 CAD -BCL/@website), not sure about &G now.

Verdict: Both are solid gins, one is dark and one is bright so it really depends on your mood, preference, and usage (sip/cocktail). In this BC gin competition, I like a gin to keep me interested with each and every ongoing sip, and Ampersand gin does it better than Victoria so I’ll be taking it along to duke it out in the next round. Cheers!

BC Gin Round 7 – Victoria (Champ) VS Spirit Bear

Victoria Gin is that you? In the new 2016 bottle and a slightly lower ABV (42.5% now, 45% before), is it still as good as the last tasting? It may have a tough time in fighting off the Spirit Bear from Kelowna. Let’s get to it.


1) Victoria Gin – Victoria Distillers – 42.5% ABV – 750ml., Sidney, BC, $47 CAD (5/2018) @ BCLiquor

  • 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) Spirit Bear Gin – Urban Distilleries, 40% ABV – 750 ml., Kelowna, BC, $51 CAD @website (5/2018)

  • 10 botanicals, including juniper berry, coriander, ginger, cinnamon, lemon zest, orange zest, angelica root, hop flowers, lavender, and apple.


Criteria:

Nose: Hmm.. first impression of the post-2016-42.5% ABV VG is that the nose is very underwhelming. I get a bit of plasticky alcohol and not much else. At least it isn’t overly aggressive or offensive. SB has a huge lemon balm and lavender notes but is mixed with a more stinging alcohol presence. Spirit Bear definitely noses better.

Taste & Texture: VG, what happened to you? I remember you being clean and finishing nicely with a star anise exhale. Gone is the serenity and replaced with a more aggressively alcoholic front, distracted juniper mids, finishing with star anise and a persistent alcohol and slight rose background. Maybe it was the fact that my previous bottle was old so that the alcohol was less harsh, but I can tell you than a new bottle of VG isn’t as smooth as it should/could be. Anyhow, SB tastes just like the nose, big on lavender, soapy citrusy apple notes, juniper in the mids along with alcoholic heat, coriander herbal finish. Spirit Bear why you so soapy? You leave a astringent bite-into-a-bar of soap kind of mouthfeel at the end of every sip. Man, VG ain’t as super great as the extinct 45% version, but still I prefer it over SB. VG takes it in R7.


Final Notes:

  • Victoria Gin, or V+ is the updated moniker, is still decent, but the juniper, star anise, and rose notes are more muddled and cloudy. Good, but not great.
  • Spirit Bear has a very distinct lavender, tangy lemon balm, and apple notes, but is quite soapy, hence it’s more suitable in a cocktail.
  • Victoria Gin is $4 cheaper ($47 vs $51 CAD -BCL/@website)

Verdict: Victoria Gin, ugh, not that Spirit Bear is bad; It’s just that Spirit Bear is more of cocktail-specific kind of gin in that it can really make something magical when paired with the right ingredients. In this BC Gin battle however, I’m looking for that all-arounder Gin. Unfortunately this new 42.5% isn’t quite as good the the ol’ 45% pre-2016 one, but it’ll have to do. I expect it to be dethroned in the upcoming rounds though.