VIÆMILIA – Birrificio del Ducato (Italy)

VIÆMILIA – Birrificio del Ducato, 5.0% ABV – 330ml, (Roncole Verdi di Busseto (PR), Italy)

from ratebeer.com:

“Viaemilia is a distinctive pils, strong golden color with a tendency to a green shade, dry and strongly characterized by floral aromas coming from the hop variety Hallertau Mittelfrueh. One of the best pilsners in Italy.”

  • Style: Classic German Pilsner
  • World Beer Cup 2010 Kellerbier Silver Award
  • My Rating: B
  • Taste Profile: light malts/hops/yeast -> medium sweetness -> lemon/orange citrus -> crisp bitter finish
  • Where I got it: W.16th
  • How much: ~$5, 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours slightly cloudy amber-yellow with very sizable thick foamy head, lots of slow-moving CO2 streams. Light malts and lemon on the nose. Sharp fizziness up front, light malts and hops and yeast up front, a very soft and gentle bitterness (2/10), ultra-creamy mouthfeel, subtle orange-lemon in the background, medium sweetness (6/10), finishes crisp with a lingering light-medium bitterness (4/10). Medium complexity, med-high depth, great transitions, good carry, great drinkability.

Fat Tug IPA – Driftwood Brewery (Canada)

Fat Tug IPA – Driftwood Brewery, 7% ABV – 650ml, (Victoria, BC, Canada)

On the front label:

“With an extreme power to tonnage ratio, this behemoth velivers a barge load of hops. This unassuming 22 ounces bottle packs 80 IBUs of unrelenting diesel power! Let this Fat Tug pull you in slow and low to Hoppy Nirvana.”

  • Style: India Pale Ale (IPA)
  • My Rating: B+
  • Taste Profile: light caramel malts -> bright tangerine and hops -> grapefruit bitterness -> clean finish
  • Where I got it: BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $5.50, 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours orangish-brown with a smallish head, micro CO”, not much visible CO2 action. Bright tangerine on the nose. Light caramel malts and a very bright hoppy tangerine start, transitions into a sharp fruity grapefruity bitterness, creamy mouthfeel, clean finish. Medium-high complexity, med-high depth, excellent transitions, good carry, great drinkability. A very balanced and well-crafted IPA.

Coopers Extra Strong Vintage Ale (Australia)

Coopers Extra Strong Vintage Ale 2009, 7.5% ABV – 375ml, (South Australia)

On the front label:

“Coopers Vintage has been brewed with choice malts and an extended top fermentation to provide a strong flavoursome ale. Stored under cellar conditions the rich and full flavour of Coopers Vintage will become more complex over an extended period.”

  • Style: English Strong Ale
  • My Rating: B
  • Taste Profile: bittersweet caramel -> toffeed malts -> slightly water mid-finish -> soft malty bitter finish
  • Where I got it: Brewery Creek (?)
  • How much: ~$5, 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: for aging purposes
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours reddish brown, small head, micro CO2. Tastes of bittersweet caramel, toffee, and 5/10 sweet malts. Lingering bitter finish, medium bodied, medium complexity, medium depth. Above average silky mouthfeel, good complexity, good carry, good transitions, good drinkability. Overall solid when in a chilled glass.

Flor de Cana Extra Dry White Rum (Nicaragua)

Flor de Cana Extra Dry, 40% ABV – 750ml, (Nicaragua)

  • Style: White Rum (slow-aged 4 years)
  • Best in Class 2009 Int’l Wine & Spirits London
  • My Rating: C
  • Taste Profile: Caramel/plastic -> vanilla/coconut -> alcohol burn/funk -> spiciness
  • Where I got it: BC Liquor Stores (no longer available since 2012)
  • How much: $22, 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: only if cocktail specific
  • Would I recommend this to rum aficionados: not quite

Tasting notes: pours clear as water. Cane sugar mixed with a medium heavy ethyl alcohol burning presence. Medium sweetness (5/10) with a caramel yet somewhat unpleasant plasticky taste, traces of vanilla and coconut (as advertised) with a hint of spiciness at the finish. Lots of alcohol burn and funk in the mids and finish. Medium complexity, averaqe smoothness, average sippability. Not exactly smooth but does have interesting flavours.

Appleton Estate White Rum (Jamaica)

Appleton Estate White Rum, 40% ABV – 1.14L, (Jamaica)

  • Style: White Rum (aged in SS or plain oak casks for a short while)
  • My Rating: B-
  • Taste Profile:
  • Where I got it: BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $36, 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: maybe/mixer
  • Would I recommend this to rum aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours crystal clear. Brown sugar, sugar cane and light molasses on the nose. Burst of caramel sweetness (6/10), hints of chocolate & cinnamon, transitioning into a burst of warmth, and medium tingly alcohol burn. Medium complexity, good smoothness, good sippability. Quite nice for their cheapest rum.

Cherry Chocolate Stout (CCS) – Moon Under Water Pub & Brewery (Canada)

Cherry Chocolate Stout (CCS) – Moon Under Water Pub & Brewery, 5% ABV – 650ml, (Victoria, BC, Canada)

  • Style: Sweet Stout
  • My Rating: B
  • Taste Profile:
  • Where I got it: Legacy Liquor
  • How much: $6 (after 10%), May 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours dark cola black, minimal head, micro CO2 and not much retention. Malts and chocolate on the nose. Super silky mouthfeel up front, low carbonation, tastes of chocolate, bing cherries, heavy thick malts, light roasted coffee, and a medium deep lingering bitter finish. Medium-high complexity, med-high depth, good carry, good transitions, good drinkability. Overall a very smooth and appreciable stout with a subtle cherry twist.

Fetzer Valley Oaks Gewurztraminer 2008 (USA)

Valley Oaks Gewurztraminer 2008 – Fetzer, 12.0% ABV – 750ml, (California, USA)

On the back label:

“For decades Fetzer has been dedicated to environmentally sustainable winemaking practices that has created higher quality wines that simply taste better. Look for layers of peach and honeyed apricot with subtle aromas of rose petals and honeysuckle.”

  • Style: White wine, Gewurztraminer
  • My Rating: B
  • Taste Profile: medium sweetness -> peach & honeyed apricot -> mildly tart green apple -> soft sweet finish (when chilled, otherwise cloying)
  • Where I got it: BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $14, 2009
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: yes
  • Would I recommend this to wine aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours clear golden yellow. Half alcohol and peach on the nose with a bit of rose. BCL sweetness of 04 up front, very fruity and meaty with tastes of yellow peach, honey, apricot, light lychee, and mild tart green apple finish. Medium complexity, medium depth, good transitions, good carry, excellent drinkability. Super easy drinking and a delight to sip. It becomes slightly cloyingly sweet after it warms up. *Next day tasting: it loses it fruity elegance and becomes more cloying at the start, and expresses more sourness near the finish.

Pumpkin Ale – Post Road (Brooklyn, NY, USA)

Pumpkin Ale – Post Road,5.0% ABV – 355ml,(Brooklyn, NY, USA)

On the front label:

“In the 18th Century, colonial Americans brewed wonderful and interesting ales by using local ingredients. Barley was the principal ingredient but pumpkins were also used. Pumpkins were favored by brewers for their rich spicy flavors, which melded perfectly with the malted barley. Post Road brings you a delicious rendition of this traditional American classic.”

  • Style: Spiced Pumpkin Ale
  • My Rating: B-
  • Taste Profile: caramel pumpkin -> malts -> cinnamon/nutmeg -> malted bitter finish
  • Where I got it: Brewery Creek (?)
  • How much: ~$15 for 6pack, Autumn 2010
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: no

Tasting notes: pours medium-light brown, minimal head, micro CO2 without much retention. Pungent cinnamon and nutmeg on the nose. Drinks with medium sweetness (5/10), caramel,pumpkin, medium malts, cinnamon, nutmeg, slightly watery in mids, finishes malty and a medium rich bitterness (4/10). Medium complexity, medium depth, good transitions, good carry, good drinkability.

Brown Shugga’ – Lagunitas Brewing (USA)

Brown Shugga’ – Lagunitas Brewing, 9.99% ABV – 12 fl.oz., (Petaluma, CA, USA)

On the front label:

“We believe this Special Ale is Something Unique. Feeding Brown Cane Sugar to otherwise Cultured Brewery Yeast is a’kin to feeding Raw Shark to your Gerbil. It is unlikely to ever occur in nature without Human Intervention. And it looks weird besides. But it has happened and now it’s too late.”

  • Style: Barley Wine
  • My Rating: B-
  • Taste Profile: overly sweet molasses -> caramel & cane sugar -> malted prunes -> med bitter hops
  • Where I got it: Brewery Creek (?)
  • How much: ~$15 for 6pack, Summer 2010
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: no

Tasting notes: pours red-amber-brown with small quickly dissipating head, minor lacing. Aromatic toasted malts and light toffee on the nose. Tastes of major malts and molasses, unrefined cane sugar, sweet fruity prunes, resiny hops, and a sharp medium-long bitter finish. I welcome the complexity but slightly too sweet and hits too hard without a creamy body or silky carbonation to counter-balance the high ABV

Strongbow – H.P. Bulmer (UK)

Strongbow – H.P. Bulmer, 5.3% ABV – 500ml (Can), (England, UK)

  • Style: Dry Apple Cider
  • My Rating: D+
  • Taste Profile: filtered apple juice -> medium tartness -> roughness -> dry finish.
  • Where I got it: BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $12 for 4pack, Summer 2010
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to cider aficionados: no

Tasting notes: pours clear golden yellow with very minimal head, some slow moving CO2 streams. Filtered apple juice on the nose. Starts with a fruity semi-sweet (4/10) burst of filtered Sun-Rype red apple juice, followed by medium tartness (5/10) and then a rough dry and watery finish. Low complexity, medium depth, not so good transitions, okay carry, okay drinkability. It leaves a rough finish on the palate.