Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale – St. James’ Gate Brewery (Dublin, Ireland)

Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale – St James’ Gate Brewery (Diageo), 4.3% ABV, 500ml., (Dublin, Ireland)

  • Style: (widgeted + nitrogen) Irish Ale
  • Taste: Dull flat sweet lightly toasted barley malt slight metallic
  • Where I got it : traded with a friend
  • How much: $3.30 CAD – 500ml., Winter 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: no

Visual: Widget with CO2 + nitrogen. Initial pour has the cascading draught head, subsequent pour leaves a small 1mm head, half moon layer of retention, slow and steady loose clusters of streams.

Nose: very faint light toasted sweet barley malt. (lvl-3)-pungency

Attack: flat, gentle (lvl-3-sweetness)

Mid-palate: dull carbonation, lightly toasted barley malt

Finish: barley malt grainy, light metallic

Summary: It drinks pretty dull and flat like the other nitrogenated beers I’ve had. The flavour is very one-note and basic. Uninteresting, but somehow I got a buzz from 4.3%.

Mon Cheri – Spinnakers Brewpub (Victoria, BC, Canada)

Mon Cheri (Strong Belgian Style Ale with Cherries) – Spinnakers Brewpub, 8.2% ABV, 650ml., (Victoria, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft beer*)

on the front-left label:

“Brewed with the finest malted barley, imported hops, a traditional Belgian yeast, fresh Saanich Peninsula cherries, and our own deep well pure mineral water.”


  • Style: Fruit Beer
  • Taste: Barely tingly dull cherry fruity short barley malt
  • Where I got it : Legacy Liquor / Vancouver
  • How much: $9 CAD (after 10% off) – 650ml., March 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: no

Visual: (cellared for 4 years). Pours opaque cloudy red currant colour with barely any head, very thin ringed retention, suspended micro sediment, just a few bubbles here and there.

Nose: light red fruity sour barley malt, pie crust. (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: slightly thicker viscosity, barely tingly

Mid-palate: soft tart, mellow dull cherry flavour, (lvl-4-sweetness), soft short sour, sustained tangy, brown sugar barley malt, controlled acidity, thinnish body

Finish: almost salty, residual red fruity barley malt

Summary: The cherry fruit flavour is underwhelming and the Belgian ale profile is short and unremarkable – put them together? No surprise, nothing special. It’s drinkable at least for 8.2%.

Habanero Hard Cider – Finnriver Cidery (Chimacum, WA, USA)

Habanero Hard Cider – Finnriver Cidery, 6.5% ABV, 16.9 oz., (Chimacum, Washington, USA)

On the front-right label:

“Finnriver’s Habanero Cider release was inspired by the quest for something strange and a hankering for heat. In the winter of 2013, cold days on the farm coincided with the annual Strange Brew Festival in Port Townsend, WA. This gave our crew the inspiration to take the hottest thing we could get our hands on and blend it into our hard cider. The combination of chili heat and tart apple, mellowed by a dash of sweet, makes for a memorable fermented adventure. Enjoy in any latitude with rice and beans, fish tacos, burritos of all kinds, or just a crackling bowl of chips & salsa.”


  • Style: (flavoured – habanero) Apple Cider
  • Taste:
  • Where I got it : Bainbridge / Burnaby
  • How much: $17.40 CAD (after 10% off) – 16.9 oz., February 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to cider aficionados: yes

Visual: Batch #115B, hand numbered. Pours slightly hazy light orange-yellow with no head, some bubbles clinging to the mid-section of the glass, very active tight micro clusters.

Nose: sweet apple juice, nasal-tingly/cough-inducing habanero spicy. (lvl-8)-pungency

Attack: tart dry crisp juicy apple

Mid-palate: habanero med-high spicy heat, (lvl-2-sweetness), habanero flesh, thinnish green apple juice

Finish: lingering habanero biting heat, residual fleshy apple

Summary: Certainly drinks like an aggressively experimental brew. Not quite full-feeling enough in the mids to balance out the heat. And a fair warning: don’t inhale while drinking.

Garún Icelandic Stout – Borg Brugghus (Reykjavik, Iceland)

Garún Icelandic Stout – Borg Brugghus (brewed at Ölgerðin Egill Skallagrímsson), 11.5% ABV, 11.2 fl.oz., (Reykjavik, Iceland)

on the back label:

“Garún is named for the strong and brave heroine of one of Iceland’s most popular folktales “The deacon of Dark River (Myrká).” A tale of ghosts, undying love, and life triumphing over death told against the backdrop of elements essential to Iceland’s character: ice, snow, and flooding waters whirling dark and mysterious. The same elements that inspire this rich, intense, bold and swirlingly varied Icelandic stout. Garún is a dark aura of intense richness and haunting aroma with notes of chocolate, licorice and coffee. Skál!”


  • Style: Imperial Stout
  • Taste: Easy sweet roasted chocolate barley malt some coffee licorice
  • Where I got it : Bottle Jockey / N.Bby
  • How much: $4.15 (after 12.5% off) – 11.2 fl.oz., November 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: easy for 11.5%

Visual: (cellared for 1 year). Pours jet black, barely any head, a super thin ringed retention, a few small islands and a few bubbles here and there.

Nose: sweet dense roasty-toasty barley malt, molasses, light coffee. (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: much thicker viscosity, trace tingly-fizzy

Mid-palate: background subdued tangy alcohol, chocolate, (lvl-6-sweetness), liquid roasted barley, intermixed coffee notes, subtle sweet licorice

Finish: residual chocolate barley malt

Summary: Wow, drinks a lot smoother than a 11.5% should. It goes down easy but I feel it’s missing some pop to make it really stand out.

Pale Ale – Four Winds Brewing Co. (Delta, BC, Canada)

Pale Ale – Four Winds Brewing Co., 5.2% ABV – 38 IBU, 330 ml, (Delta, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft beer*)

on the back label:

“Our American-style pale ale is a tribute to the origins of craft-brewed beer. A dynamic duo of Cascade and Centennial hops combine for a refreshingly bitter ale, varied with the subtle maltiness that gives way to a clean, brisk finish.”

Ingredients: Pale, munich, caramel pilsen and crystal malt. Chinook, cascade and centennial hops.


  • Style: American Pale Ale (APA)
  • Taste: Smooth crisp peach-citrus metallic dry grainy toffee barley malt
  • Where I got it : traded with my brother
  • How much: $priceless – 330 ml., sometime in 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: just okay

Visual: Pours clear copper brown with a smallish 1cm head, a spotty 1mm layer of retention, clusters of very active streams, sticky lacing.

Nose: toffee malt with light citrus hops (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: soft smooth & crisp

Mid-palate: peach-citrus hop oils, (lvl-3-sweetness), dry metallic, grainy toffee barley malt

Finish: lengthy hopped soft dry bitterness

Summary: Pretty decent, good a good balance of hop and barley grain profile. A tad too metallic for my tastes and the hops are on the dull side.

Strawberry Lambicus – Timmermans (Belgium)

Strawberry Lambicus – Brouwerij Timmermans, 4% ABV, 33 cl., (Itterbeek, Belgium)

“The World’s Oldest Lambic Brewery” (founded in 1781)

Ingredients: water, fruit juice (strawberries 11.5%), barley malt, sugar wheat, flavourings hops, antioxidant: E300.

  • Style: (strawberry) Fruit – Lambic
  • Taste: Aromatic authentic tangy-sweet strawberry light sour background barley rough wheat malt
  • Where I got it : Legacy / Vancouver
  • How much: $6.90 CAD (after 10% off) – 33cl., November 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: taste not worth my $

Visual: Aluminum foil covered. Pours opaque cloudy scarlet red with a nice 2cmm frothy head, 1mm layer of retention, clusters of very active micro streams.

Nose: huge authentic fruity sweet strawberry puree, magnificent. (lvl-10)-pungency

Attack: tangy-tart, subdued sour, fruity sweet

Mid-palate: (lvl-6-sweetness), real strawberry-tangy puree, background barley malt

Finish: wheat malt rough palate dry, strawberry exhale

Summary: The barley tastes very generic and is mainly covered up by the strong fruity strawberry presence. Decent strawberry flavour, but it comes across as very candy-esque, straightforward, and uninteresting after a few sips. Wicked aroma though.

Starry Night (Sparkling Wine) – River’s Bend Winery (Surrey, BC, Canada)

  • My Rating: [C-]

Starry Night – River’s Bend Winery (permanently CLOSED), 12.0% ABV, 750 ml., (Surrey, BC, Canada) (*local BC wine*)

on the back label:

“A blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay this sparkling wine is made in the classic Champagne method with aromas of fresh-baked bread, walnuts, citrus and violets.”


  • (permanently CLOSED)
  • Style: (Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, champagne method) Sparkling Wine
  • Taste: Dull buttery off-dry generic white wine curd soft tangy sour
  • Where I got it : Kensington VQA (perma Closed) / Burnaby
  • How much: $28 CAD – 750ml., December 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to fruit wine aficionados: not at all

Visual: (cellared for 4 years). Resealable plastic cork, twisty steel top cap, foil cover. Pours medium apple juice yellow with lots of fizzy activity, clusters of steady streams (< champagne), large bubbles hugging the glass.

Nose: buttery sweet baked bread, “DIY ehrenfelser” I did way ages ago (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: tingly-fizzy, soft-sour crisp acidity

Mid-palate: butter, (lvl-1-sweetness), generic dull white wine, curd, continued medium short sourness

Finish: hints of sprite, almost salty-savoury nut finish.

Summary: Definitely a starter to a meal wine, with a drier mouthfeel and sourish disposition to help open up the palate. It went pretty well with my mushroom burger, but pretty meh on its own. The effervescence disappears after a couple of hours even after re-corking.