Black Butte 23rd Birthday Reserve – Deschutes (Bend, Oregon, USA)

Black Butte 23rd Birthday Reserve – Deschutes, 10.8.% ABV, (Bend, Oregon)

On the front and back label:

“Black Butte XXIII: Porter brewed with cocoa nibs, orange and natural flavors added, with 25% aged in Bourbon Barrel. XXIII. So where to next? What’s 2011’s rich imperial take on Black Butte Porter? Just for kicks, you dream. Orange zest perhaps? From Spanish Oranges, Seville, to be exact. And Chocolate nibs. Pampered nibs from the artisanal alchemists at Theo’s. Maybe some chilies? Pasilla Negra only, please. That would be crazy wouldn’t it? Welcome to crazy. Get it while you can.”

My notes:

  • My Rating: A+
  • Why I like: wow amazing unique flavour
  • Where I got it: Brewery Creek
  • How much: $30 , 1pt 6 fl.oz., 10/2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: yes
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours jet black, minimal head, micro CO2, thin ringed retention. A lot of coffee, caramel and malts on the nose. This beer is an OMG beer. Bold flavours of malted caramel up front, smooth 6/10-sweetness level milk chocolate, orange oil in the background, orange peel near the finish along with a spicy peppery finish. Toffee from the bourbon barrel aging, and a bit of roast coffee as well. High complexity, high depth, excellent transitions, excellent carry, long length, excellent drinkability. The ABV is well hidden and this is a delight to drink. Try it before I buy all of the rest available.

Louis Roederer Cristal Champagne (France)

Notes: initially very active co2 streams, later slow moving delicate bubbles. Green apples in the nose. Green apple flavour, very tart, melon, 5/10 sweetness, long finish.

Hr. Frederiksens Væsel (Weasel) Brunch (Imperial Stout)- Mikkeller (Denmark)

Hr. Frederiksens Væsel (Weasel) Brunch (Imperial Stout)- Mikkeller, 10.7% ABV, (Denmark)

My notes:

  • My Rating: A
  • Why I like: great body, texture, and flavour
  • Where I got it: Firefly
  • How much: $20 , 50cl, 3/2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: maybe with friends
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours jet black, nice frothy foamy head, micro CO2. Massive roasted coffee nose. Right away there is a burst of roasted coffeebitter milk chocolatedemerara sugar, figs, prunes, cocoa nibs, burnt malts, all the while with a very whipped creamy mouthfeel, and subdued alcohol even though you can detect its presence. Finish is ultra-long and a sharp bitter lingering coffee bitter. High complexity, high depth, excellent transitions, excellent carry, great drinkability. It is very similar to their beer geek brunch.

Sparkling Riesling NV – Dr. Loosen (Germany)

Sparkling Riesling NV – Dr. Loosen, 12% ABV, (Germany)

On the back label:

“Sparkling wine has a rich tradition in the Old World. This one is made from crisp, fruity Riesling, the grape that made Germany famous. Try it and see what it does for your world. Pop. Clink. Sparkle!”

My notes:

  • My Rating: C-
  • Why I don’t like: overly sweet and cloying
  • Where I got it: BC Liquor stores
  • How much: $18 , 750ml, 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to Champagne aficionados: no way

Tasting notes: pours clear light yellow, a multitude of super-active CO2 streams, large CO2 bubbles. Sugary white table grape and green apple on the nose. Sugar hits you right away, 8/10-level sweetness (03 on the BCL scale), much too sweet and unbalanced, tastes of white grape, candied green apple, but fights with the alcohol for presence on the palate. Sugar and alcohol flood the palate all at once. Not that enjoyable.

Gose – Upright Brewing (Portland, OR, USA)

Gose – Upright Brewing, 5.2% ABV

“A wheat beer brewed with coriander and salt

My notes:

  • My Rating: B+
  • Why I like: good body for low ABV
  • Where I got it: Brewery Creek (?)
  • How much: ~$12 , 1 pt. 9.4 fl.oz., 2010
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours clear amber yellow with a sizable thick foamy head, some retention, lots of active CO2 streams, sticky lacing. Bright sweet wheaty malts and apricot on the nose. 7/10-level sweetness fruity banana, apricot up front, great fullness, medium malts, yeast, coriander in the background, creamy mouthfeel, and the salt kicks in near the finish, which is clean, crisp, and leaves only a hint of roughness on the tongue. Medium complexity, medium depth, great transitions, great carry, great drinkability. Great balance of flavours and texture.

 

Crooked Tooth – Phillips Brewing (Canada)

Crooked Tooth – Phillips Brewing , 5% ABV, (Victoria, BC, Canada)

“brewed with pumpkin and spices”

My notes:

  • My Rating: C+
  • Why I like: nice spices
  • Where I got it: BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $6 , 650ml, Halloween, 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours clear orange with a shade of brown, almost zero head, a few slow-moving CO2 streams. Baked pumpkin pie on the nose. Tastes of cinnamon, nutmeg, light caramel up front, tingly-creamy mouthfeel, but body fizzles in the mids to the finish. Finishes watery, malty, and leaves a roughness on the tongue. Medium complexity, medium depth, good transitions, okay carry, good drinkability. A decent pumpkin ale, not the best, but worthy of trying once.

Stag’s Hollow Con-Fusion 2009 (Canada)

Con-Fusion 2009 – Stag’s Hollow, 13.2% ABV, (Okanagan, BC, Canada)

On the back label:

“A heady nose of lycee [sic], melons and the perfume of Spring blossoms, leads to a delightful palate of ripe melons, grapefruit, Asian pears and Turkish Delight candy. Best enjoyed well chilled on the patio with sunshine and good friends. Gewurztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Viognier, Muscat.”

My notes:

  • My Rating: C+
  • Why it’s okay: fruity sweet but cloying
  • Where I got it: VQA Kensington
  • How much: ~$20 , 750ml, 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to wine aficionados: nah

Tasting notes: pours clear light golden yellow. Alcohol and bright green melon on the nose. Drinks very fruity up front, notes of lychee, stone fruit, melon, all the while mixed with the alcoholic backdrop. Medium-cloying sugars in the mid and finishes slightly salty. Can’t say it’s super-refreshing but at least it is quite drinkable.

Chouffe, (Belgium)

Verdict : 1st Place – La Chouffe, 2nd) Houblon 3rd) Mc Chouffe

1) Mc Chouffe, 8% ABV

My notes:

  • My Rating: B
  • Why I love it: malty rich
  • Where I got it: Legacy Liquor
  • How much: $4 , 330ml, 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours dark root beer brown, small head ,sticky lacing, micro CO2, lots of active CO2 streams. Medium malts on the nose. Tastes of malted caramel, alcohol kicks in the mids, 8/10-level heavy sweetness, a bit of roastedness, mild cinnamon/nutmeg spices, cola, silky creamy mouthfeel, finishes rich deep bitter but also alcoholic. Medium complexity, med-high depth, good transitions, good carry, good drinkability. No wow-factor here; I prefer the La Chouffe or the Houblon.

2) La Chouffe, 8% ABV

My notes:

  • My Rating: B+
  • Why I love it: super smooth and crisp
  • Where I got it: Legacy Liquor
  • How much: $4 , 330ml, 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours clear dark amber, almost no head, micro CO2. Minor malts on the nose. 7/10-level sweetness, alcoholic backdrop, sweet malts, honey, chamomile, orange, cinnamon, coriander, creamy mouthfeel, tingly CO2, clean finish with only traces of bitterness. Medium complexity, medium depth, great transitions, good carry, great drinkability. Like the Houblon but without the long lingering bitter finish.

3) Houblon Chouffe – Dobbelen IPA tripel, 9% ABV

My notes:

  • My Rating: B+
  • Why I love it: smoothly crisp
  • Where I got it: Legacy Liquor
  • How much: $4 , 330ml, 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours bright amber yellow, small head, micro CO2. Medium malts on the nose. Burst of 8/10-level sweetness up front, alcoholic malts, orange citrus, dry hops, pine, ends with a long lingering bitter finish. Medium complexity, medium depth, good transitions, good carry, good drinkability. All-around solid tripel.

Mort Subite Kriek (Belgium)

Mort Subite Kriek (Cherry), 4.5% ABV, (Belgium)

About:

“The Kriek Mort Subite is brewed according to the ancestral lambic recipe. This original Belgian beer ferments spontaneously. Enriched with cherries, it matures soft and slowly in oaken casks. To be served cool. Ingredients: water, malted barley, wheat, cherry juice and elderberry juicecorn, sugar, hops.”

My notes:

  • My Rating: A-
  • Why I love it: extremely clean cherry flavour
  • Where I got it: BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $5 , 375ml, 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: yes definitely
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes definitely

Tasting notes: pours clear vampiric red, minimal head with almost no retention, and a few slow-moving CO2 streams. Red cherry juice on the nose. Drinks with a gentle 6/10-level sweetness, cherry juice up front, 3/10-level tartness and a mild sourness, tingly and soft carbonation, light malted finish. Some notes of elderberry with the cherry. Low-medium complexity, low-medium depth, excellent transitions, good carry, great drinkability. Super smooth and easy to drink, solid and always worth a go.

Raspberry Wheat Ale – Granville Island Brewing (Vancouver, BC, Canada)

Raspberry Wheat Ale – Granville Island Brewing, 5% ABV, (Vancouver, Canada)

One the front label:

“Raspberry Wheat Ale combines malt, water, hops, yeast and raspberries to create a light wheat ale with a crisp and distinctive raspberry finish. Raspberry wheat ale can be enjoyed on its own or paired with a variety of fresh fruit dishes, fresh salads, chicken or a light meat. It is a must have for summer evenings or a picnic in the park.”

My notes:

  • My Rating: C
  • Why I don’t like it: thin-bodied, watery
  • Where I got it: BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $6 , 650ml, Summer, 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: not really

Tasting notes: pours clear pinkish-orange with minimal head, a plethora of fast-moving CO2 streams. Aromatic juicy raspberries on the nose. Starts of very promising with flavours of fresh raspberries, strawberries, jam, but ends abruptly with a water mid-palate and flat light malt finish. Low-medium complexity, low-medium depth, below average transitions, crappy carry, good drinkability. While drinkable and refreshing with an outdoor bbq’d meal, I can’t say it’s a good session beer.