Moscato D’asti 2009 – G.D. Vajra (Italy)

Moscato D’asti 2009 – G.D. Vajra (med-lightly carbonated), 5.5% ABV, (Barolo, Italy)

On the back label:

“The winery is located on the West side of Barolo, in the village of Vergne. The grapes are all estate grown from a 40 hectare site, situated at an altitude from 350 up to 480 metres a.s.l. The wines are made with many years of experience and tradition; combining modern technology with generations of experience and indigenous varieties. The wines are elegant, fragrant, fruity with the ability to age for several years. This wine has a great backbone of acidity with layers of fruit and spice; and will drink well with many traditional Italian dishes such as pasta, as well as roast chicken, beef and lamb dishes.

My Notes:

  • My Rating: B+
  • Why I really like it: fruity elegant with finesse
  • Where I got it: Taphouse liquor store (West Van.)
  • How much: ~$25-$30 for a 375ml, Winter 2010
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: Yes, with friends
  • Would I recommend this to wine afficianados: Absolutely

Tasting Notes: pours light sunshine yellow with a small but decent head that quickly dissipates, gentle CO2 streams, staying bubbles in the glass. Fragrant bouquet of summer peaches, apricots, pineapple, hint of minerals, and touch of floralness. When chilled drinks 5/10 sweetness, hits 7/10 and slightly cloying syrupiness after 10 minutes. Crisp acidic backbone, fruity body, good sweetness, very gentle/soft carbonation = great texture. Recommend 150ml pours – any more leaves sugar in the mouth.

Mavrodaphne of Patras dessert wine – Achaia Clauss (Greece)

Mavrodaphne of Patras dessert wine – Achaia Clauss, 15% ABV, (Greece)

My Notes:

  • My Rating: C+
  • Why I kinda like it: deep flavour
  • Where I got it: W. 16th
  • How much: $20 for a 750ml, Winter 2010
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No
  • Would I recommend this to wine afficianados: No

Tasting Notes: pour deep syrupy red, thick viscosity, velvety on the mouth. Tastes of prunes, red raisins, minor oak, 9/10 sweetness (too sweet for me). Not particularly complex – okay for a casual dinner party but not terribly wow.

La Trappe Tripel Trappist Ale – Brouwerij de koningshoeven, 8% ABV, (Netherlands)

On the side label

“Discover this speciality of “La Trappe Ale”, with its pleasant fullbodied taste. Taste the Silence.”

My Notes:

  • My Rating: B-
  • Why I like it: sweet caramel and full-bodied
  • Where I got it: St. Johns Liquor
  • How much: $10 for a 750ml, Oct/2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No
  • Would I recommend this to beer afficianados: Yes

Tasting Notes: pours light copper brown, smallish thick head, tons and tons of CO2 streams, sticky lacing. A bit of malt on the nose. 8/10 quite sweet caramel malts up front, 7/10 bitter mids, fruity fig element, lingering bitter malted finish. Halfway through the bottle, the sweetness level becomes too aggressive and somewhat unenjoyable. Medium complexity, medium-high depth, long length, great carry, minor sweetness imbalance, soft tingly carbonation. The flavour of the alcohol is quite apparent in the mids and distracts from the smoothness of the experience.

Old Hooky – Hook Norton Brewery, 4.6% ABV, (Oxon, UK)

On the back label:

“A beautifully balanced beer, fruity by nature with a well-rounded body and the suggestive echo of crystal malt. Brewed for the discerning drinker, try it as an accompaniment to meat dishes. Cheers!”

“We have been brewing award winning beers since 1849. Our traditional Victorian tower brewery, deep in the Oxfordshire countryside, is still powered by a steam engine.”

“Our beers contain natural ingredients – malted barley and wheat, hops and yeast. With pure spring water from our own spring-fed well.”

My Notes:

  • My Rating: B-
  • Why I kinda like it: Great complexity for a low ABV beer
  • Where I got it: Legacy Liquor Store
  • How much: <$6 for a 500ml, Summer 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No
  • Would I recommend this to beer afficianados: Yes
  • Listed in the “1001 beers you must taste before you die”

Tasting Notes: pours amber-orange-brown, decent thick head, sporadic sticky lacing, micro CO2, lots of CO2 streams. Medium malts on the nose. 5/10 mildly citrus fruitiness upfront mixed with medium malts and hints of nuttiness. Stays sweet through the mids and smoothly transitions into an off-dry hoppy bitterness that lingers at the top of mouth and partially down the throat. This beers drinks strangely “warm” and the carbonation is so ultra soft that all the flavour sensations are vibrant and clean <- quite unique. Medium-high body (amazing for 4.6% ABV), medium complexity, medium-long length, medium depth, 7/10 carry. Brewed with barley and wheat. Solid, worth 1x try.

Mocha Porter – Rogue, 5.1% ABV, (Newport, OR)

On the side label:

“Ruddy-brown in color, a bittersweet balance of malt and hops, yet a surprisingly light and refreshing taste.”

My Notes:

  • My Rating: B-
  • Why I kinda like it: Clean mocha flavour
  • Where I got it: Brewery Creek
  • How much: <$7 for a 650ml, Summer 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No
  • Would I recommend this to beer afficianados: Yes

Tasting Notes: pours ultra dark brown, thick decent head, small and micro CO2, thick sticky lacing, barely detectable CO2 streams due to the darkness. A bit of malt on the nose, nothing else otherwise. Rush of bittersweet chocolate and a slight coffee edge up front, very minor coffee sourness in the mid, deep medium bitter long lingering finish. Low-medium complexity, medium-high depth, long length, but a rather short carry, medium-bodied with slightly watery viscosity. Overall pretty good going down, but rather one-note and not enough to come back for more.

    Sugar Moon Maple – Garrison Brewing (Canada)

    Sugar Moon Maple – Garrison Brewing, 6.3% ABV, (Halifax, NS, Canada)

    On the side label:

    “A true Canadian ale brewed with Nova Scotian maple syrup. Dark, smooth and tasty, best enjoyed under a cold sugar moon!”

    My Notes:

    • My Rating: D+
    • Why I kinda like it: N/A
    • Where I got it: W.16th (?)
    • How much: <$7 for a 500ml, Spring 2011
    • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No
    • Would I recommend this to beer afficianados: No

    Tasting Notes: pours almost clear light maple syrup brown, small head, thick and sticky lacing, several CO2 streams. Strong maple syrup on the nose. Smokey malty start with 7/10 sweetness with flavours of maple and brown sugar in the mids and a mild bitter finish. Astringent sourness at the start which I DON’T LIKE. Med-light bodied, with most of the intensity coming from the maple flavours. This is the 2nd tasting and this time I notice the off-putting sourness that persists to the finish. I don’t recommend. The Fernie Sap Sucker Maple Porter is much better.

    Sap Sucker Maple Porter – Fernie Brewing (Canada)

    Sap Sucker Maple Porter – Fernie Brewing, 5.5% ABV, (Fernie, BC)

    On the side label:

    “You love it with pancakes or porridge, so why not porter? Our unique and flavourful maple porter uses maple syrup, brewed to create a darkly delicious and truly Canadian taste, perfect for any occasion.”

    My Notes:

    • My Rating: C+
    • Why I kinda like it: fruity coffee and mildly roasted malts
    • Where I got it: BC Liquor Stores
    • How much: $5 for a 650ml, Summer 2010
    • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No
    • Would I recommend this to beer afficianados: No

    Tasting Notes: pours onyx black, decent thick 1cm head with sticky lacing all around, almost invisible CO2 streams. Minor malted coffee on the nose. Huge torrent of fruity coffee up front, followed by mellowed nutty roasted malts with only a very minor hint of maple syrup. The maple is kind of in the background during the whole experience, but not prominent enough to discern. Finishes mildly sour 6/10 coffee bitter, but overall crisp and clean. Coffee on the exhale. Medium complexity, medium depth, low-medium length, low-medium carry. Overall a good session beer but no WOW factor to keep me coming back for a 2nd.