Ehrenfelser – Lake Breeze Winery (Naramata, BC, Canada)

Ehrenfelser 2009 – Lake Breeze, 13.8% ABV, (Naramata, BC)

On the back label:

“A Lake Breeze ‘customer favourite’. Flavours and aromas of apricot and peach define this off-dry aromatic wine.”

  • My Rating: B
  • Why I like it: good body and balance of fruit and sweetness
  • Where I got it: Lake Breeze Winery
  • How much:  $19, 750ml,  Summer 2010
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: nah
  • Would I recommend this to wine aficionados: sure

Tasting notes: pours golden yellow/orange, clear and clean. A bit of red apple juice on the nose. Solid depth and richness of up front, 7/10-level sticky sweetness, transitions into flavours of red apple, apricot, and yellow peach. Finishes soft but sugary. Medium complexity, medium depth, good carry, good transitions, very good drinkability. It gets a bit heavy after a multiple sips but very good nonetheless.

Beer Geek Brunch Weasel High Land Edition – Mikkeller (Denmark)

Beer Geek Brunch Weasel High Land Edition – Mikkeller, 10.7% ABV, (Brewed in Denmark)

  • My Rating: B+
  • Why I like it: great smoothness for 10% abv
  • Where I got it: W. 16th
  • How much: $10 (after 10%), 1 pint 6 fl.oz., Feb/2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: nah
  • Would I recommend this to beer afficianados: yes

Tasting notes: pours inkjet black, minimal head and minimal CO2, sticky lacing, barely any retention, no visible CO2 streams. Coffee, oak, vanilla on the nose. 7/10-level soft sweetness hits first, then comes the barrage of coffee, vanilla, caramel, lightly smoked oak, dark bitter chocolate, prune/fig finish, creamy mouthfeel, bittersweet lingering finish with a slight dryness like when you eat 90% cacao chocolate. High complexity, high depth, great transitions, great length, great drinkability. Every sip is slightly different which makes drinking this a real pleasure. It hits pretty hard halfway through.

Vedi Alco Pomegranate wine – Vedi Wine , 12% ABV, (Armenia)

  • My Rating: B-
  • Why I like it: inviting nose and fruity drinkability
  • Where I got it: Sherbrooke Liquor (Edm, AB)
  • How much:  ~$16 (after 10%), 750ml,  Fall 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: maybe in a cocktail
  • Would I recommend this to fruit wine aficionados: sure

Tasting notes: pours ruby red and crystal clear. A very clean and refreshing pomegranate + raspberry cocktail juice on the nose. 5/10-level sweetness up front, tastes of pomegrante, raspberry, trace bitterness mixed with slight oak, and 8/10-level tartness in the mid until the finish. Low-medium complexity, medium depth, good transitions, good carry, good drinkability. Overall above average and a positive experience.

Brother David’s Triple Abbey Style Ale – Anderson Valley Brewing (Boonville, CA, USA)

Brother David’s Triple Abbey Style Ale – Anderson Valley Brewing, 10% ABV, (Boonville, California)

On the side of the front label:

“We had to conjure up the high Priestess of fermentation to help formulate and create this rare hand-crafted ale. It is luxuriant and smooth and at 10%, more than a little wild and bound to raise your spirits. Open a bottle and greet the high Priestess. You are worthy.”

  • My Rating: B+
  • Why I like it: great smoothness for 10% abv
  • Where I got it: W. 16th
  • How much: $10 (after 10%), 1 pint 6 fl.oz., Feb/2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: nah
  • Would I recommend this to beer afficianados: yes

Tasting notes: pours copper orange, almost no head, thin ringed retention, some slow-moving CO2 streams. Mainly malts on the nose. A burst of medium malts up front, honey, chamomile, brown sugar, slightly hoppy and finishes alcoholic. Medium complexity, medium depth, good transitions, good carry, great drinkability. Not super complex but quite smooth for 10% ABV.

T.O. Bevy Blacur (Canada)

T.O. Bevy Blacur – Totally Organic Beverages, 5% ABV, (Winnipeg, MB)

Ingredients: filtered water, organic conc pear juice, organic alcohol, organic conc black currant juice, organic natural black currant flavor

  • My Rating: B+
  • Why I like it: 0.1% trace of alcohol, ‘that smooth
  • Where I got it: Cat and Fiddle (Poco)
  • How much: $5 (after 10%), 330ml, Dec/2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: yep cause I bought them all
  • Would I recommend this to chix: yes definitely

Tasting notes: pours super dark purple, zero CO2. Black currant on the nose. Drinks like a spiked Ribena (black currant juice) but with zero alcohol nastiness. Slight pear flavour, rich dark black currant depth. Super easy drinking. Also 100% organic, which is nice.

Brooklyn Black Ops – Brooklyn Brewery (Brooklyn, NY, USA)

Brooklyn Black Ops – Brooklyn Brewery, 10.7% ABV, (Brooklyn, NY)

On the back label:

“Brooklyn Black Ops does not exist. However, if it did exist, it would be a robust stout concocted by the Brooklyn brewing team under cover of secrecy and hidden from everyone else at the brewery. Supposedly ‘Black Ops’ was aged for for months in bourbon barrels, bottled flat, and re-fermented with Champagne yeast, creating big chocolate and coffee flavors with a rich underpinning of vanilla-like oak notes. They say there are only 1,000 cases. We have no idea what they’re talking about”

  • My Rating: A
  • Why I like it: extremely nice balance of alcohol and flavour
  • Where I got it: Legacy Liquor
  • How much: $27 (after 10%), 1 pint 9.4 fl.oz., Winter 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: YES
  • Would I recommend this to beer afficianados: YES

Tasting notes: pours coffee black, minimal head, layered retention, barely visible slow-moving CO2 streams. Big roasted coffee and alcohol on the nose. Huge chocolate and roasted coffee up front, high depth in the mids, fades into caramel and oaked vanilla. Controlled 5/10 level-sweetness, subdued alcohol presence, creamy mouthfeel and crisp and mildly bitter finish. Med-High complexity, high depth, great carry, great transitions, fabulous drinkability. Super smooth for 10.7% ABV and great flavour to boot; so glad I picked up 2 bottles.

St-Ambroise Framboise – McAuslan (Montreal, Quebec, Canada)

St-Ambroise Framboise (Summer Seasonal) – Brasserie McAuslan, 5% ABV, (Montreal, Quebec, Canada)

On the back label:

“Behind the magnificent ruby-red colour, St-Ambroise Raspberry Ale reveals its refreshing charm from the moment you encounter its bouquet and flavour. Its delicate fruit aromas marry perfectly with the pleasant hop character typical of all St-Ambroise ales. Brewed just once a year – it’s a unique summertime treat!”

(Ingredients: water, malt, hops, red raspberry juice concentrate)

  • My Rating: B-
  • Why I like it: real raspberry flavour
  • Where I got it: W. 16th (?)
  • How much: ~$12, 6x341ml, Summer 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: perhaps with friends
  • Would I recommend this to beer afficianados: Yes

Tasting notes: pours cloudy brownish/red with a decent dissipating head, layer of retention, some sticky lacing, some slow-moving CO2 streams near the surface. Fruity red raspberries on the nose. Burst of 4/10 sweet aromatic red raspberries initially, transitions into 5/10-level sourness that isn’t overpowering but balanced with brown sugar malts, a silky creamy mouthfeel in the mids, finishing with a minor tartness and 6/10-level caramel sweetness & bitterness. Medium complexity, medium depth, good transitions, good carry, good drinkability. The finish ends a little rough in the mouth.

Hennepin (Farmhouse Saison Ale) – Ommegang (NY, USA)

Hennepin (Farmhouse Saison Ale) – Ommegang, 7.7% ABV, (Cooperstown, NY, USA)

On the back label:

“Father Hennepin was the Belgian missionary who discovered Niagara Falls. Our Hennepin is a rare Saison Farmhouse Ale – pale, hoppy, crisp, and rustic – like Tintin, Magritte, and Audrey Hepburn, Hennepin is famous, but not for being Belgian!”

  • My Rating: B (re-tasted 7/2/2015)
  • Why I like it: crisp + fruity apricot and creamy finish
  • Where I got it: Brewery Creek
  • How much: ~$14, 1 Pint 9.4 fl.oz, Oct/2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No
  • Would I recommend this to beer afficianados: Yes

Tasting notes: pours light amber with a good thick head and layered retention,  sticky lacing, small CO2, lots of active CO2 streams. Hybrid banana & apricot on the nose. Drinks silky creamy up front, tastes of banana, apricot, medium hops, light malt, 6/10-level sweetness, hints of coriander, and transitions into a sharp-aggressive lingering tart, citrus, bitter finish. Medium complexity, medium-high depth, good transitions, great carry, great drinkability. Very nice and balanced for its ABV.


Re-tasted July 2, 2015 (new label):

Visual: (Ingredients include grains of paradise, coriander, ginger and sweet orange peel as listed on the front label.) Pours golden orange with a decent super-fine foamy lasting head, lots of singular streams of activity.

Nose: apple juice, light sweet-sour honey malt, a bit of yeast. (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: crisp, full-fizzy-foamy mouthfeel, metallic bite

Mid-palate: medium sour acidity, (MAIN) dry wheat malt, banana, honey-chamomile

Finish: burpy, ginger dryness mixed with dry hoppy soft bitterness, sweet orange peel and coriander exhale, bitter hopped finish.

Summary: Great full body, complex structure and flavours, partially heavy on the finish.

Blueberry Pail Ale – Phillips Brewing (Victoria, BC, Canada)

Blueberry Pail Ale – Phillips Brewing, 5% ABV, (Victoria, BC)

On the side of the front label:

“Blueberries blueberries it’s that time of year, to grab them by the handfuls and throw them in beer. It’s crisp and refreshing a summertime treat, straight from our magical beer factory. So if you are looking for fun from an ale, try popping the cap on this blueberry pail.”

  • My Rating: C
  • Why it’s decent: solid drinkability and crispness
  • Where I got it: Brewery Creek (?)
  • How much: ~$7, 650ml, 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No
  • Would I recommend this to beer afficianados: If you’ve tried everything else

Tasting notes: pours purplish/red/brown, minimal head, ringed retention with micro CO2, lots of fast-moving CO2 streams. Fruity fieldberries on the nose. Burst of blueberry fruit up front, 5/10-level sweetness, creamy mouthfeel, medium sourness, medium malts, hints of caramel, crisp finish with an off-dry tart finish. Low-medium complexity, medium depth, okay transitions, okay carry, medium bodied. Decent drinkability and okay to try once.

Strawberry Blonde Ale – Tin Whistle Brewing (Pentiction, BC, Canada)

Strawberry Blonde Ale – Tin Whistle Brewing Company, 5% ABV – 650ml, (Penticton, BC)

  • My Rating: C-
  • Why it’s not awesome: too mild of a strawberry flavour, thin
  • Where I got it: Liberty Wines
  • How much: $7, Oct 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No
  • Would I recommend this to beer afficianados: No

Tasting notes: pours cloudy yellow/orange with barely any head, thin ringed retention, a few slow moving CO2 streams. Very faint strawberries on the nose, otherwise, muted. Creamy mouthfeel initially, tastes of light malt, traces of strawberries, tangerine, tingly and thin mids, and ends with a disjointed and mildly bitter finish. Medium complexity, low-medium depth, not-so good transitions, not great carry, thin-bodied. Beer gets slightly better as it warms but finish is rough body is too thin.