Leffe, (Belgium)

Which I like better: Leffe Blonde

1) Blonde, 6.6% ABV

My Notes:

  • My Rating: C+
  • Why I like it: very crisp and drinkable
  • Where I got it: BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $15, 6x330ml
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No, not complex enough
  • Would I recommend this to beer afficianados: No

Tasting Notes: pours glowing dark orange, small head, nice lacing, thin layer of retention, ultra-micro CO2, tons of active CO2 streams. Consume between 5-6C. Medium-thick malts on the nose. Starts very creamy, 6/10 sweetness, mainly malts, banana and faint notes of honey and chamomile. Finishes malty 3/10-bitterness. Low-medium complexity, medium depth, medium bitter length, not much carry, good transitions, great drinkability. Not much in terms of a wide range of flavours, but extremely crisp and pairs well with heavy foods – creamy pasta, meat, lamb, pizza, etc.

2) Brune, 6.5% ABV

On the back label:

“The authentic Belgian abbey beer: The roasted barley malts give this Leffe Brune its sweet caramel yet bitter taste”

My Notes:

  • My Rating: C+
  • Why I like it: sweet caramel malts
  • Where I got it: Legacy Liquor Store
  • How much: $17, 6x330ml (after 10%)
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No, not complex enough
  • Would I recommend this to beer afficianados: No

Tasting Notes: pours milk chocolate brown, nice thick foamy head, thick retention, sticky lacing, plethura of CO2 streams. A bit of malt on the nose, but otherwise rather muted. Detection of alcohol up front, fizzy tingly and then creamy CO2, caramel malts, fig/date/redberry fruitiness, 7/10-sweetness level, roasted 6/10-bitterness level with a dry lingering alcoholic finish. Low-medium complexity, medium depth, medium length, okay carry, good transitions, great drinkability. A decent beer but too sweet for my tastes. A 6-pack is overkill.

Rémy Martin Petite Champagne Cognac VS, 40% ABV, (France)

  • double distilled in copper pot stills
  • aged for a minimum of 2 years in French oak barrels

My Notes:

  • My Rating: C+
  • Why I like it: pleasantly sweet with hints of peach
  • Where I got it: BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $60, 750ml
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No, not rich enough
  • Would I recommend this to cognac afficianados: No

Tasting Notes (straight, 15+ min airing): pours golden brown, barely thicker than water. Oak, vanilla, and Persian lime on the nose. 7/10 sweetntess, tastes of lime, peach, vanilla (all as advertised on their website) and caramel. Somewhat thin viscosity for my liking. Medium warmth, tingly light-medium alcohol burn in the nose, slight numbness on tongue.

Cuvée des Trolls spéciale 10 Years – Brasserie Dubuisson freres, 7% ABV, (Pipaix, Belgium)

On the back of the bottle:

“Brewed in limited quantity, this 10th anniversary edition accentuates the delicate qualities and fruity aroma of Cuvée des Trolls thanks to the bottle refermentation.”

My Notes:

  • My Rating: A-
  • Why I like it: solid balanced fruity-malty-bitter-hoppy beer
  • Where I got it: Brewery Creek (?)
  • How much: $10, 75cl
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No, don’t love it enough
  • Would I recommend this to beer afficianados: Yes

Tasting Notes: pours cloudy amber yellow, decent sized foamy head, layer of micro CO2 retention, sticky lacing all around, plentiful active CO2 streams. Sugared malts on the nose. Drinks with an extremely smooth and creamy mouthfeel, apricots, grapefruit tang/bitterness, malts, 6/10-sweetness level, finishes clean with a slight warmth. Minor alcohol detection throughout. Medium complexity, med-high depth, short-med length, good carry, good transitions, excellent drinkability. Superb quality beer.

Blanche de Chambly – Unibroue (Canada)

Blanche de Chambly – Unibroue, 5% ABV, (Quebec, Canada) (listed in “1001 beers you must taste before you die”)

On the back label:

Blanche de Chambly honours Captain Jacques de Chambly, who built historic Fort Chambly on the Richelieu River in 1665 to defend Montreal and the colony. Dispatched by King Louis XIV to lead the fighting Carignan-Salières Regiment, he achieved the legendary Iroquois peace of 1667. He was awarded the title of Seigneur of the region (today Chambly). Officers and soldiers were also encouraged to stay. Many of them married Filles du Roi and prospered.

Blanche de Chambly has an alluring pale golden color, effervescent foam and a subtle bouquet of spice and citrus notes. It is mildly malty, slightly sweet and refreshingly thirst quenching.”

My Notes:

  • My Rating: B-
  • Why I like it: clean refreshing citrus ale
  • Where I got it: BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $6, 750ml
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No, not complex enough
  • Would I recommend this to beer afficianados: Yes

Tasting Notes: pours cloudy yellow-orange, small dissipating head, small CO2, thin layered and ringed retention, lots of medium-speed moving CO2 streams. not much lacing. Light malts and aromatic sweet lemon/orange citrus on the nose – very bright and inviting. Half-creamy mouthfeel, 4/10-sweetness, tangerine citrus without the bitter peel, trace amounts of coriander, slightly milky, fragrant oranges on the exhale. Finishes off-dry and 1/10 bitterness. Slightly watery mouthfeel. Low-medium complexity, low-medium depth, medium length, okay carry, good balance and transitions, great drinkability. A very nice “light” summer beer that brings to mind images of sunny beaches.

Route des épices – Dieu du ciel (Quebec, Canada)

Route des épices – Dieu du ciel, 5% ABV, (Quebec, Canada)

On the side label:

“La Route des épices est une bière de seigle à laquelle le poivre, ajouté durant le brassage, procure un arôme agréable et des saveurs relevées. En bouche, on retrouve aussi des saveurs de malt, de céréales fraîches, et des notes de fruits, de chocolat et de caramel. En arrière-goût, le poivre revient en force et laisse une agréable sensation épicée sur la langue et l’arrière du palais, permettant d’attendre le juste équilibre entre le piquant et les autres saveurs. La Route des épices est née à notre brasserie artisanale de Montréal en mai 2002.”

Quick translation via Babelfish.com:

“The road of spices is a rye beer which pepper, added during the brewing process, provides a pleasant aroma and flavours identified.” In the mouth, there are also flavors of malt, fresh cereals, with notes of fruit, chocolate and caramel. Aftertaste, pepper is back and leaves a pleasant feeling spicy on the tongue and the back of the Palace, to wait for the right balance between the spice and other flavours. “The road of spices was born in our craft brewery in Montreal in May 2002.”

My Notes:

  • My Rating: A-
  • Why I like it: clean peppercorn flavour, superb balance
  • Where I got it: Firefly
  • How much: ~$3, 341
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: Yes, in a cocktail
  • Would I recommend this to beer afficianados: Yes

Tasting Notes: pours cloudy caramel brown, minimal head, minor ringed retention, micro CO2, very slow moving sporadic CO2 streams, minimal runny lacing. Malts and a bit of caramel on the nose. Thinnish viscosity upon sipping, immediate black and green peppercorns in the background but never overpowering, side-by-side with 2/10 sweet light chocolate, creamy CO2 mouthfeel, and a long 7/10-spiciness finish with some bitter orange peel and off-dryness. Medium-high complexity, long length, medium depth, good carry, fab transitions, splendid drinkability. A lovely beer and and ever better since I love pepper.

Aha Toro Diva Tequila (Mexico)

Aha Toro Diva – 100% Blue Agave tequila plata rosa – NOM 1079, 40% ABV, (Jalisco, Mexico)

Info from ahatoro.com:

  • agave plant grown for 10 YEARS ~6300ft. above sea level near the town of Arandas (next to the village Jesús María) in an ideal cold and semi-dry climate with 6-10 overcast weeks per year.
  • Jimadors harvest the piña (pineapple) with their COAS (hoe-like, with long-blade and long handle)
  • quartered piñas are then COOKED for 2 DAYS in their handmade brick ovens and allowed to REST
  • cooked piñas are then grinded and placed wooden tubs to ferment with natural yeast prepared with the same agave juices
  • distilled in COPPER STILLS, and then passes onto the RECTIFYING STILL (2x heating)
  • *** AHA TORO DIVA is aged for 2 MONTHS in MERLOT CASKS
  • bottled in unique HANDBLOW GLASSES with EMBOSSED LABELS

My Notes:

  • My Rating: C+
  • Why I like it: smoked salmon and slightly fruity, unique
  • Where I got it: BC Liquor stores
  • How much: $90, 750ml
  • Would I ever buy another bottle to sip? No
  • Would I recommend this to tequila afficianados: Yes if you haven’t tried it before

Tasting Notes (straight, 5 minutes of airing): pours with a very light yellow-orange-pink hue, very clear, fast moving runny legs leaving raindrops on the walls. Some peaty smoke on the nose, oak, agave nectar, slight tingly alcoholic burn tickling the nose, and smoked salmon (!). Drinks with 5/10 sweetness, red cherries, soft tingly and numbness in the mids, gentle nasal burn and long 8/10 warmth, minor spiciness near the finish. Sadly there’s this aspartame/sucralose “roughness” at the end that is off-putting.

Alberta Premium Rye Whiskey (Canada)

Alberta Premium 100% Canadian Rye Whiskey – Alberta Distillers Limited, 40% ABV, (Calgary, Canada)

On the back label:

“Alberta Premium is an authentic rye that is still made the traditional way from the finest Canadian prairie rye grain and glacier-born rocky mountain water.”

My Notes:

  • My Rating: C
  • Why it’s okay: drinkable and mixable
  • Where I got it: BC Liquor stores
  • How much: $24, 750ml
  • Would I ever buy another bottle to sip? No
  • Would I recommend this to whiskey afficianados: perhaps, good bang for the buck

Tasting Notes (straight, after 10 minutes breathing, with a salad+hot perperoncinos): pours yellow-golden hue, lighter than copper, super clear, runny legs. Thicker than water viscosity, 4/10 sweetness, notes of CARAMEL, LIGHT OAK, VANILLA and then transitions into a SPICY KICK (interacts very well with the hot peppers) and ends BUTTERY-SWEET. Alcoholic burn is 6/10, warm and subtle near the finish. The body feels somewhat thin and watery – I wish there were more depth.