Dogfish Head Punkin Ale (Delaware, USA)

Dogfish Head Punkin Ale, 7% ABV – 12 fl.oz., (Milton, Delaware, USA)

On the front label:

“A full-bodied brown ale brewed with real pumpkin, brown sugar, allspice, cinnamon & nutmeg.”

  • Style: (pumpkin) Spiced Beer
  • My Rating: A-
  • Taste Profile: Caramel malts/fizzy -> cinnamon/nutmeg/pumpkin -> malty light bitter clean finish.
  • Where I got it: Brewery Creek
  • How much: ~$18/6, Autumn 2010
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: yes
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours cloudy orange brown with a smallish head, thin ringed retention, not much CO2 activity. Caramel malts, cinnamon, and nutmeg on the nose. Drinks with intense thick caramel malts up front, nicely spiced with strong notes of cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice, pumpkin, slightly fizzy, finishing malty and clean light bitter. Medium complexity, medium depth, good carry, good transitions, good drinkability. Super solid.

La Frenz Riesling 2009 (Canada)

La Frenz Riesling 2009, 11.0% ABV – 750ml, (Penticton, BC, Canada)

from the La Frenz website:

“This variety should be delicate and elegant in structure which can only be achieved with super gentle fruit handling in the winery. The hallmark of great riesling are flavors of honey, lime, and even green apple: this vintage is loaded with fruit concentration. The palate is just off dry with just enough residual sugar to balance the natural acidity of the variety. This wine was recently compared in style to the great rieslings of Eden Valley, Australia, and given the wine’s track record I tend to agree!”

  • Style: (Vintage) Riesling
  • My Rating: C+
  • Taste Profile: Fruity apple/lime/pear -> sour/tang -> clean med-deep finish.
  • Where I got it: Direct website order
  • How much: $19, Aug 2010
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to white wine aficionados: 50/50

Tasting notes: pours clear light golden yellow wit ha few bubbles hugging the glass. Inviting lime-pear-apple on the nose. Drinks with a straight-forward fruitiness up front, red and green apple, lime, pear, transitioning into medium acidity, 4/10-sweetness, bright tang, med-deep sour, clean finish. Definitely goes down much easier with food to coat the mouth, otherwise the acidity(6)/(sweetness(4) balance is off for me.

Nickel Brook Green Apple Pilsener (Ontaria, Canada)

Nickel Brook Green Apple Pilsener, 4.0% ABV – 473ml, (Burlington, ON, Canada)

On the back of the beer:

“This one of a kind beer is brewed as a pilsner style, and then combined with natural apple juice and essences. Refreshingly smooth with a clean crisp finish, which compliments or combines for cooking with any poultry, pork or seafood dish. Brewed at 4% alc. vol this is the perfect beer alternative for those looking to try something new.”

  • Style: Fruit Beer
  • My Rating: D+
  • Taste Profile: Yeast/roughness -> apple juice/tang -> dry rough finish.
  • Where I got it: Legacy Liquor
  • How much: $5 (after 10%),  Sept 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: no

Tasting notes: pours golden mildly cloudy yellow-slightly-orange with a with nice massive creamy head, not much lacing, thin retention, lots of streams. Muddled apple juice on the nose. Drinks yeasty 6/10-sweet up front, airy, roughness on the tongue, apple juice, light tang, rough dry finish. Low-med complexity, low depth, no good carry, okay transitions, not that good drinkability.

Bushmills White Label Irish Whiskey (Ireland)

Bushmills White Label Irish Whiskey, 40% ABV – 750ml, (Country Antrim, Ireland)

On the back label:

“Welcome to Bushmills, on Ireland’s rugged Antrim coastline, a region with a license to distil granted in 1608 and still home today to Ireland’s oldest working distillery… and one of its finest whiskeys. Triple distilled for smoothness, Bushmills is a whiskey with notes of honey, ripe fruit and sweet spice.”

  • Style: (Blended) Irish Whiskey
  • My Rating: C+
  • Taste Profile: Green apple -> caramel/alcohol/warmth -> clean finish.
  • Where I got it: BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $32, Summer 2010
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to whiskey aficionados: not fully

Tasting notes: pours golden filtered apple juice yellow. Caramel and alcohol burn on the nose. Drinks with a green apple aroma, 6/10-sweetness, light caramel, alcohol in the mids, numbness, warmth, smooth and light flavour, watery viscosity, finishing clean. Low-medium complexity, medium depth, good smoothness, good sippability.

Somersby Apple Cider (Denmark)

Somersby Apple Cider, 4.5% ABV – 500ml, (Denmark)

  • Style: Apple Cider
  • My Rating: C+
  • Taste Profile: Apple juice -> light tart/sprite -> clean finish.
  • Where I got it: Legacy Liquor
  • How much: ~$3,  2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to cider aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours clear light golden yellow, minimal head, ringed retention, a few slow moving streams. Clean apple juice on the nose. Dense candy-like green apple juice flavour up front, mellow 6/10-sweetness, gentle effervescence, mild cloying, light tartness, sprite-like lemon/lime, ultra clean finish. Low-medium complexity, medium depth, great transitions, good carry, excellent drinkability.

Hermannator Ice Bock (Eisbock) – Vancouver Island Brewery (Victoria, Canada)

Hermannator Ice Bock (Eisbock) – Vancouver Island Brewery, 9.5% ABV – 341ml, (Victoria, BC, Canada)

On the back label:

“Brewed in limited batches each year, Hermannator Ice Bock was first introduced by Hermann, one of our original Brewmasters, during the holidays as a unique gift to his closest friends and customers. Crafted using a signature blend of chocolate and caramel malts, this German Eisbock is slowly cold aged in our cellar for over 3 months. With a dark chestnut colour and full malt body, this specialty winter brew has hints of plum and raisin followed by a dark nut toast, a chocolate fade and a warming brandy like finish.”

  • Style: Eisbock
  • My Rating: B
  • Taste Profile: Creamy/malts -> chocolate/tingliness -> brandy/malty finish.
  • Where I got it: BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: ~$14/6pack, Winter 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours dark cola brown, minimal head, thin creamy retention. Strong caramel malts on the nose. Drinks with a silky creamy mouthfeel, notes of chocolate, malts, coffee, 8/10-sweetness, tingliness in the mids, slight nuttiness and brandy sweetness in the finish. Medium complexity, med-high depth, good carry, good depth, good drinkability. Solid and smooth.

Maker’s Mark Kentucky Bourbon (USA)

Maker’s Mark Kentucky Bourbon, 45% ABV – 750ml, (Loretto, KY, USA)

On the side label:

“Maker’s Mark is America’s only handmade bourbon whisky-never mass produced. Each batch is small-less than 19 barrels-which means we can be choosy about everything we use and everything we do to craft our whisky. That’s why we use the old-style sour-mash method; each new batch of fermentation begins with a little of the last. The results are a more consistent whisky which is unique and full-flavoured.”

  • Style: Kentucky Bourbon
  • My Rating: C+
  • Taste Profile: Alcohol/Sweetness -> maple/caramel/vanilla/cinnamon -> tingly/warmth finish.
  • Where I got it: BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $41, Summer 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to whisky aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours clear caramel copper brown. A nice bright sweet vanilla maple nose. Drinks with a high alcoholic/numbness up front, nice caramel 8/10-persistent sweetness, cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, maple, ending with heat, warmth, tingliness, and light burn. Sweet, not terribly complex or dynamic – a solid mixer, not quite a sipper.

el Jimador Tequila Reposado (Mexico)

el Jimador Tequila Reposado, 40% ABV – 375ml, 750ml, (Jalisco, Mexico)

from the el Jimador website:

“An unbelievably smooth tequila, Reposado, which means “rested” in Spanish. But resting is just the beginning. Made from 100% agave, our proprietary production process and aging in white oak barrels for two months is what gives el Jimador Reposado its golden color and balanced flavor of cooked agave and hints of vanilla and caramel. Smooth and mellow. No wonder this is Mexico’s #1 selling tequila.”

  • Style: Tequila Reposado
  • My Rating: C
  • Taste Profile: Minty/Almond -> Agave/Black Pepper -> Spicy/Warmth Finish
  • Where I got it: BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $30, Summer 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to tequila aficionados: no

Tasting notes: pours light golden yellow, clear as water. Distinct sweet blue agave nectar on the nose along with hints of butterscotch. Drinks with a tingly mint-like mouthfeel up front, almonds, 7/10-agave sweetness, transitioning into a black peppery fieryness and medium warmth down the throat.Bottom line – straightforward, drinkable, not terribly exciting or deep, but gentle and pleasant.

Nightmare on Mill Street Pumpkin Ale – Mill St. Brewery (Toronto, Canada)

Nightmare on Mill Street Pumpkin Ale – Mill St. Brewery, 5% ABV – 355ml, (Toronto, ON, Canada)

On the back label:

“Our Pumpkin Ale is brewed with traditional spices to create a simply delicious beer with subtle flavours and the creaminess of pure vanilla. Based on our Brewmaster’s wife’s pumpkin pie recipe. (we can’t make this stuff up!) Beware…it will soon be gone without a trace.”

Ingredients: water, malted barley, malted wheat, flaked wheat, pumpkin puree, spices, hops, vanilla extract.

  • Style: (seasonal) Pumpkin Wheat Ale
  • My Rating: C+
  • Taste Profile: Ginger/malts -> cinnamon/nutmeg/vanilla -> rough/dry finish.
  • Where I got it: BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $12/6pack, Fall 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: no

Tasting notes: pours clear bottle brown, almost no head nor retention, just a thin ring, a few countable slow streams. Malted pumpkin and cinnamon/nutmeg on the nose. Drinks with a light roasted almost salty ginger up front, medium malts, 6/10-tame sweetness, body thins out in the mids, spices kick in – cinnamon, nutmeg, finishing crisp, partially hopped dry and roughish mildly bitter. Low-medium complexity, low-med depth, okay transitions, flat carry, okay drinkability.

2nd Tasting (Nov.30/2012): interesting aromatic nutmeg on the nose. Body, length and flavour still fall short. C+.

Olympic (Brandy-based cocktail)

Olympic (Brandy-based cocktail)

-45ml Brandy (St-Remy)
-45ml Orange Curacao (Henkes)
-45ml Fresh OJ (Australian naval)

Notes: sweet brandy backdrop with orange on the forefront. Much better mixed together than drinking separately. C+.