Michele Chiarlo Nivole Moscato d’Asti (Calamandrana, Italy)


  • My Rating: B

Nivole Moscato d’Asti 2007 (DOCG) – Michele Chiarlo, 5% ABV, 375ml, (Calamandrana, Italy-Northwest)

From wiki:

“DOCGDenominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (controlled designation of origin guaranteed)

A notable difference for wines is that DOCG labelled wines are analysed and tasted by government–licensed personnel before being bottled. To prevent later manipulation, DOCG wine bottles then are sealed with a numbered governmental seal across the cap or cork.”


  • Style: (sweet crackling wine) Moscato d’Asti
  • Taste Profile:
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores (no longer available – Sept/13)
  • How much: $18 – 375ml, sometime in 2010
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: perhaps in the late, late future
  • Would I recommend this to wine aficionados: yes; and non-drinkers alike

Visual: It’s all sealed professionally including the numbered gov’t seal, nice touch. Pours light yellow with crackling effervescence, a few lasting bubbles hugging the perimeter.

Nose: mainly (7)red apple and light (3)pear on the nose. (7)aromatic strength.

Attack: incoming fruity (7)dense sugars

Mid-palate: fizzy-light crackling mouthfeel, (5)sweetness, (MAIN) (8)red apple, green apple (HINT) lime, pear, light soapiness

Finish: red apple exhale, clean-bodied, light (1)tangy & (3)tart, mildy (3)sweet fruity finish.

Summary:  A supremely easy-drinking bottle of Moscato d’Asti, as almost all bottles are. Fruity apple body with balanced sweetness and acidity, even as it warms. (Note: all numbers above are on a 10-point intensity scale, with 1 being weak and 10 being the strongest)

Pumpkin Ale – Steamworks (Vancouver, BC, Canada)


  • My Rating: C

Pumpkin Ale – Steamworks Brewery, 6.5% ABV, 650ml, 25 IBU, (Vancouver, BC, Canada)

Ingredients: water, barley malt, PUMPKIN PUREE, hops, yeast, spices (CINNAMON, GINGER, NUTMEG, CLOVES)

  • Style: (seasonal, pumpkin) Spiced Ale
  • Taste Profile: cream-fizzy malts -> brown sugar/ginger/cinnamon/pumpkin -> ginger spicy/malty spiced dry bitter hopped finish.
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $5.50 – 650ml, September 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: no

Visual: Beautiful artwork printed on the bottle; it shows care and pride even for short-term seasonal brew, kudos. Pours dark copper-reddish with a nice-sized foamy head, a bit of lacing, thin layer of retention, lots of fast activity.

Nose: brown sugar malts with some metallic notes. Cinnamon and caramel as well. (6)aromatic strength

Attack: creamy-fizzy mouthfeel, malty (7)sweetness

Mid-palate: (MAIN) brown sugar malts, ginger dryness, cinnamon, pumpkin (3)saltiness

Finish: (2)ginger spiciness, residual sugars, malty pumpkin spiced light (3)bitter hopped finish.

Summary:  I like this more than the GI Pumpkining I had yesterday. Better packaging, visually, more character and depth, however it’s astringent with the dominant dry ginger bitterness. (Note: all numbers above are on a 10-point scale, with 1 being weak and 10 being the strongest)

The Pumpkining – Granville Island Brewery (Vancouver, BC, Canada)


  • My Rating: C

The Pumpkining – Granville Island Brewery, 6% ABV, 650ml, 15 BU, (Vancouver, BC, Canada)

‘Tis the season of Halloween and now that I’m too old to go “trick or treating”, what better way to get comfortable with the rainy weather season than to kick back and enjoy a nice spiced pumpkin ale.


  • Style: (seasonal, pumpkin) Spiced Ale
  • Taste Profile: fizzy-crisp -> cola/toffee malts -> trace cinnamon/nutmeg/anise/thinnish malty finish.
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $5.50 – 650ml, September 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: ye…no. Not awesome enough.

Visual: Definitely a new label for 2013. It might be the same brew but this time it’s clear that the taproom IN Vancouver brewed this and not the Granville Island Brewery in Kelowna that produces all their larger batch beers. I’m not sure if the is the same as last year’s brew since the label and name of the beer have totally changed. I still have a bottle of 2011 lying around so I’ll get around to comparing them eventually… Pours clear dark copper brown without much head, thin ringed retention, clusters of activity.

Nose: pumpkin pie spiced sweet caramel malts on the nose. (6)aromatic strength.

Attack: light fizzy mouthfeel

Mid-palate: creamy (6)sweetness, (MAIN) cola, toffee malts, (HINT) pumpkin

Finish: light burpy, thin-water body, mild ANISE/NUTMEG/CINNAMON exhale, thin malty finish.

Summary: Clean flavours and crisp clean palate after sipping. Flavour profile is quite like an alcoholic cola, without the excessive sweetness. The thin body and lack of depth don’t make this a winner. (Note: all numbers above are on a 10-point scale, with 1 being weak and 10 being the strongest)

Belgian Tripel – Mikkeller (Copenhagen, Denmark)


  • My Rating: B+

Belgian Tripel – Mikkeller, 9.0% ABV, 330ml, (Copenhagen, Denmark)

on the back label:

“Tripel brewed with: water, malt, OAT, WHEAT, candy sugar, SWEET ORANGE PEEL, CORIANDER, and yeast.”


  • Style: (Belgian-style) Abbey Tripel
  • Taste Profile: sharp crisp malts -> silky/malts/honey/citrus -> coriander/peel bitter/alcohol/malty finish
  • Where I got it : Sherbrooke (EDM)
  • How much: $5 (after 10% off), June 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Visual: Kiddish artwork, still cool in my book. Pours cloudy golden orange with lots of suspended chunky sediment, decent-sized dissipating creamy head, thin layer of retention, some visible slow-moving streams.

Nose: sweet HONEYED malts (typical tripel-style), mild citrus & floral notes.

Attack: dense incoming sweet malts

Mid-palate: ultra-silky creamy mouthfeel, (MAIN) toffee malts, honeyed sweetness(8) orange citrus, (HINT) mild sour/tanginess

Finish: burpy CO2, coriander/yeasty, orange peel bitterness(5), alcohol detection(9), malty bittersweet lingering finish.

Summary: It packs a potent punch. Flavourful and drinkable, another good brew from Mikkeller. (Note: all numbers above are on a 10-point scale, with 1 being weak and 10 being the strongest)

Intrigue Riesling 2010 (Lake Country, BC, Canada)


  • My Rating: C

Intrigue Riesling 2010, 12.5% ABV, 750ml, (Lake Country, BC, Canada)

on the back label:

“The RIESLING was grown in beautiful Lake Country on a west facing slope. The light crop load and intense summer heat allowed the aromas and flavours to concentrate in the berries. This wine has a very prominent CITRUS AROMA balanced with GRANNY SMITH APPLES and notes of classic PETROL. The fruit forward flavours are balanced with the bright acidity that will excite your palate. The richness that follows will leave your mouth watering.”

  • Style: Riesling
  • Taste Profile: super sour -> sweet/sour green apple/pear/sour & tart -> tangy/acidic sour/
  • Where I got it : Legacy Liquor
  • How much: $19 (after 10% off), May 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to white wine aficionados: no

Visual: Pours clear light golden yellow with watery legs.

Nose: green apple, minerality, mild tart/tangy apple juice, mild peach (5-aromatic strength)

Attack: overwhelming sourness(10)

Mid-palate: dense apple sweetness(6), medium tartness, (MAIN) green apple, (HINT) pear, petrol bitterness (!, really), apricot

Finish: persistent tanginess(7), acidic sourness(9), thickened saliva(5), lingering sour-tangy apple finish.

Summary: First initial sips are unbalanced and out of whack; The sourness is way too aggressive at first but you gradually get used to it. Decent flavour and body follow once you accept its extroverted nature. It’s not something I’d recommend but I’m glad I tried it anyway.(Note: all numbers above are on a 10-point scale, with 1 being weak and 10 being the strongest)

It’s Alive! – Mikkeller (Copenhagen, Denmark)


  • My Rating: A-

It’s Alive! (grey label, original version) – Mikkeller, 8% ABV, 750ml, (Copenhagen, Denmark)

from ratebeer.com:

It’s Alive! is Mikkellers answer and tribute to the trappist beer Orval. It’s Alive is an easy-to-drink beer, with a lot of hops. The color is amber, the foam is high, white and dense. The potent Brettanomyces culture makes It’s Alive continue to develop in the bottle.
Ingredients : Water, malt (pale and cara), light candy, hops (hallertauer and styrian goldings), yeast and brettanomyces.”

  • Style: (Belgian-style) Strong Ale
  • Taste Profile: creamy sweet/sour -> caramel malts/grapefruit -> grapefruit hoppy bitter finish.
  • Where I got it : Sherbrooke (EDM)
  • How much: $14 (after 10% off), June 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Visual: Cool name, it makes you think of the yeast and bretts used to make this beer. Mikkeller has never let me down, and I highly doubt it would start to do so tonight. Pours medium-light brown with a MASSIVE ultra-CREAMY head, very sticky lacing, lots of foamy retention, and a plethora of activity = all top notch.


Nose: (First have to sip off all that foam to get to the meat… ) Partial red fruity caramel sweetness (almost strawberries) and cereal, rather muted in comparison to the visual. (3/10-aromatic strength).

Attack: incoming sweet and sourness, ultra-creamy/light fizzy mouthfeel

Mid-palate: (MAIN) sweet(8/10) caramel malts, cane sugar, grapefruit (HINTS) chamomile

Finish: light burpy, yeasty, soft/gentle grapefruit hopped bitter end.

Summary: Superb visual and excellent clean flavour. Excellent drinkability and balance. It would need a bit more depth to make it in the A, A+ range, but still highly recommended.

Abstrakt AB:10 – BrewDog (Scotland)


  • My Rating: A

Abstrakt AB:10 (Imperial Brown Ale aged in Spanish Red Wine Barrels), bottled 20/06/12 – BrewDog, 11.5% ABV, 375ml, (Scotland)

more information about abstrakt beer at http://www.abstrakt.com/

from ratebeer.com:

The beer is an 11.5% Imperial Brown Ale which we have aged in amazing Spanish sweet red barrels from Malaga. Stewart Bowman, our Head Brewer, devised an Imperial Brown Ale designed to perfectly complement the wine flavours and extract maximum depth and character from the giant barrels. We also felt the Imperial Brown Ale was ideally suited to be barrel aged and as well as the infusion of the Malaga wine character will also benefit added complexity and maturity from the time in oak.”

  • Style: (red wine barrel) Oak-aged Imperial Brown Ale
  • Taste Profile: brown sugar syrup -> caramel/alcohol/molasses/soy/chocolate -> sweet-sour/coffee/red-fruity sweet malt finish.
  • Where I got it : Brewery Creek
  • How much: $18 (after 10% off), April 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: yes
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Visual: Beautiful simplistic Brew Dog label, corked and twisty-cap top secured green bottle. Pours dark cola brown with a reddish hue, small foamy dissipating head, ringed retention, sedimentation, some slow-moving activity.

Nose: Thick, sweet caramel malts, brown sugar and barley malt.

Attack: thick syrupy mouthfeel

Mid-palate: caramel sweetness(8/10) mixed with minor alcohol detection, (MAIN) molasses, soy sauce, chocolate

Finish: medium sweet & sour, coffee tanginess, red-fruity sweet malty finish.

Summary: Expensive at $18/half bottle but very worth it considering the superb flavour profile, drinkability, potency, and overall high quality craftsmanship.

Somersby Blackberry flavoured Cider (Denmark)


  • My Rating: D+

Somersby Blackberry flavoured Cider, 4.5% ABV, 500ml, (Denmark)

Ingredients: water, apple wine (water, glucose syrup, apple juice concentrate), sugar, apple juice concentrate, carbon dioxide, natural flavour, citric acid (acidifier), potassium sorbate (preservative), colour (ammonia caramel, anthocyanins and carmine). Contains sulphites.

  • Style: (flavoured) Apple Cider
  • Taste Profile: soapy sugariness -> artificial candied blackberry/apple -> cloying/candy-sweet finish.
  • Where I got it : Port Moody Liquor
  • How much: $3, August 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to cider aficionados: no

Visual: Judging by what they put in the ingredient list, it looks to be a whole lot of sugar and apple juice, with several chemicals to enhance the flavour, appearance and texture. It pours clear rosé-orange with a quickly dissipating bubbly head, thin ringed retention, countable steady streams.

Nose: Pure soapiness. Aromatized liquid soap, bar soap, you name it. Though not completely unpleasant, all the naturalness of the apple juice is gone.

Attack: sugary (9/10)sweetness, fizzy crispness

Mid-palate: (MAIN) soapy-candied artificial blackberry, dense apple sugars

Finish: medium-cloying, thickened saliva, fizzy burpy candied-sweet finish

Summary: Sadly, the apple in the cider has been highly masked and covered up by artificial (despite “natural flavour” being in the ingredients) blackberry flavouring. McCashin does a much better job with their Fruté flavoured ciders by adding real fruit to their ciders; be sure to grab a 3pack of theirs if you ever see them at your liquor store.

Cloud Horse Mead – Meadow Vista Honey Wines (Kelowna, BC, Canada)


  • My Rating: C+

Cloud Horse Mead 2008- Meadow Vista Honey Wines, 11.8% ABV, 750ml, (West Kelowna, BC, Canada)

on the back label:

“Piper (future Queen Bee) spotted the perfect cloud shape of a cantering horse in the sky while we were mixing our first batch of honey wine. Cloud Horse is a ‘varietal honey traditional mead’ style wine, using honey from a SINGLE FLOWER SOURCE. Enjoy this crisp, dry white honey wine on a blanket in a field watching the clouds go by.”


  • Style: Mead
  • Taste Profile: dense fruity sugars -> honey/red apple/pear/vanilla -> tangy/sour/off-dry finish.
  • Where I got it : Hotel Eldorado (Kelowna)
  • How much: $27, Summer 2010
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to wine aficionados: no

Visual: Winner of the ‘Best Winery at WINEFEST 2010 in Edmonton & Calgary’, a golden sticker is affixed to the bottle neck. Pours clear light golden yellow with a hint of orange colour.


Nose: light tangy red apples and minerality

Attack: dense apple fruit (6/10)sweetness

Mid-palate: cuts off-dry, (MAIN) honey, red apple, melon, pear (HINT) vanilla

Finish: mild tannic, tangy, sour, off-dry fruity finish

Summary: Nothing too memorable. Good balance and flavours, but not something that wow’d me.

Birra Fresca Cucumber Mint IPA – R&B Brewing (Vancouver, BC, Canada)


  • My Rating: D+

Birra Fresca Cucumber Mint IPA – R&B Brewing, 6% ABV, 650ml, (Vancouver, BC, Canada)

on the R&B Brewing website: (link may no longer be valid as this is a seasonal beer)

“Birra Fresca Cucumber Mint IPA is named after agua fresca (“fresh water”), flavoured water and sugar drinks that are found throughout Mexico and other Central American and Caribbean countries. One popular version contains cucumber and mint, and according to the brewery, ‘the thought was that the cucumber mint IPA would be just as refreshing, if not more so.'”

Based on R&B’s Hoppelganger IPA, Birra Fresca is a 6% abv and 50 IBU IPA made using more than 200 organic cucumbers that were sourced locally along with the mint, (50 IBU, 6% ABV)

  • Style: (cucumber & mint) Flavoured IPA
  • Taste Profile: creamy crispness -> cucumber/spearmint/malty -> bitter hops/cucumber/rough bitter finish.
  • Where I got it : Firefly
  • How much: $7 (after 10% off), September 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: no

Visual: Pours cloudy orange/brown with a very small head, sticky lacing, thin layer of micro CO2 retention, lots of activity.

Nose: fragrant grated cucumber and smashed mint (9/10-aromatic strength)

Attack: creamy/light fizzy mouthfeel, crispness

Mid-palate: (MAIN) cucumber, spearmint, malty (6/10-sweetness)

Finish: bitter hops, lingering cucumber, roughish palate finish mixed with vegetative bitterness.

Summary: Although I appreciated the effort and unique flavour combination, this one literally left a bad taste in my mouth. The finish is far too rough in a bitter way and the taste and texture themselves aren’t refined at all. Not worth satisfying your curiosity.