Lone Wolf IPA – Fernie Brewing (Fernie, BC, Canada)

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  • My Rating: B-

Lone Wolf IPA – Fernie Brewing, 6.5% ABV – 650ml., (Fernie, BC, Canada)

from ratebeer.com:

“After many a request, plea, rally and occasional riot, Fernie Brewing has succumbed to the needs of the people. May we present to you our Lone Wolf IPA. A new 650ml product, this IPA has four select malts in combination with four classic hop varieties & time honored traditional brewing methods including dry hopping, resulting in a golden ale with exceptional flavour & complexity. A true IPA in every sense.”

  • Style: India Pale Ale
  • Taste: Softly bitter grapefruit hopped, brown sugar malts
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $5.50 – 650ml., March 2014
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: 50/50

Visual: Pours clear maple syrup orange/brown with minimal creamy head, thin layer of retention, some lacing, countless active streams.

Nose: sweet malts with a bit of honey and brown sugar (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: sharp-crisp hoppy bittersweetness

Mid-palate: cream-fizzy mouthfeel, (lvl-7)-malty sweetness, (MAIN) malts, brown sugar, honey, mild grapefruit

Finish: subtle bitter-hopped attack, lingering brown sugar malted hopped finish.

Summary: A rather softly hopped IPA and more on the sweet side. Drinkable and enjoyable, although it lacks some character.

Hoptimized Apple Cider – Merridale Ciderworks (Cobble Hill, BC, Canada)

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  • My Rating: D

Hoptimized Apple Cider – Merridale Ciderworks , 7.0% ABV – 650ml., (Cobble Hill, BC, Canada)

on the front side label:

“Hoptimized – Look closer, it’s a cider, not a beer! A real, all-natural craft cider that has  been HOPTIMIZED – made with COWICHAN VALLEY APPLES and finished with aromatic ISLAND-GROWN HOPS. A GLUTEN-FREE REFRESHING BEER ALTERNATIVE. We think Hoptimized is the perfect bridge between cider and beer, one that fans of either drink can enjoy anytime!”

  • Style: (hopped) Apple Cider
  • Taste: Dry-tart woody apple cider vinegar
  • Where I got it : Brewery Creek
  • How much: $11 (after 10% off) – 650ml., October 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to cider aficionados: no

Visual: Hopped apple cider; say what?! Sounds interesting, and certainly my first. Pours light golden apple juice yellow with zero head and with just a barely visible layer of micro bubbly ringed retention, several slow streams in the center.

Nose: Sweet-tart-tangy-fruit woody apple juice with some funk. (Smells good) (lvl-8)-pungency

Attack: dry tartness incoming acidity

Mid-palate: palate roughness (lvl-0)-sweetness, absolutely dry, vinegar acidic tanginess, (MAIN) woody red apples, yeastiness

Finish: residual acidic sourness, almost salty-hopped fruity apple finish.

Summary: For some odd reason the hoppiness I get from this cider is mixed with saltiness, particularly at the finish. Mixed with it’s bone dry profile, I cannot say I like this. Drinkable, but barely. Stick with Henry Westons Medium Dry Cider (B) if you like your ciders dry.

Aotearoa Pale Ale – Tuatara Brewery (Reikorangi, NZ)

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  • My Rating: B

Aotearoa Pale Ale (APA) – Tuatara Brewery , 5.8% ABV – 500ml., (Reikorangi, NZ)

on the back label:

“There’s a pile of clichés we won’t deploy here attesting to the fact that you can never take anything in this world for granted. Sure enough, just as Tuatara’s beloved American Pale Ale looked like getting bigger than Texas, our supply of the mighty American hops that defined it started to go wobbly on us. Undeterred, we set to crafting a local solution. Aotearoa Pale Ale takes the spirit of the old APA and reanimates it with a hopping regime that’s as kiwi as a 25 year mortgage. The same-but-different local recipe (Pacific Jade, Cascade, Sauvin and Wai-iti for all you trainspotters) is well within the remit of the original APA, but with a deep, long, new age flavour profile.”

  • Style: (American-style) Pale Ale
  • Taste: Hoppy-bitter + citrus sweet pale ale
  • Where I got it : Legacy Liquor Store
  • How much: $8 (after 10% off) – 500ml., December 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Visual: Pours clear golden orange with a decent lasting small foamy head, sticky lacing, lots of activity.

Nose: sweet citrus hops, mild malts (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: bitter citrus hops

Mid-palate: (lvl-5)-citrus/bitter sweetness, (MAIN) orange, sweet grapefruit bittersweet hops, yeasty malts

Finish: lingering grassy bitter hops, off-dry citrusy bitter sweetness.

Summary: A pale ale with a pronounced yet gently balanced hoppy-citrus bittersweet profile. Extremely drinkable, even as it warms. Recommended.

Winter Beeracle – Dead Frog Brewery (Aldergrove, BC, Canada)

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  • My Rating: B+

Winter Beeracle – Dead Frog Brewery, 7.5% ABV – 650ml., (Aldergrove, BC, Canada)

on the front side label:

“Our Winter Beeracle is a warm, deep mahogany ale with rich, complex malt flavours and a sweetness to compliment the season. The warmth of the beer is punctuated by deep malt flavours from chocolate malts, a hint of vanilla in the aroma and flavour, and a dry citrus finish. All the flavours come together to create a rich, delicious winter ale.

Ingredients: Water, malted barley, hops, yeast, vanilla extract, orange peel
Malts: 2 Row, Biscuit, Cara 60, Chocolate
Hops: Cascade, Perle”

  • Style: (spiced) Winter Ale
  • Taste: Vanilla malt sweet goodness
  • Where I got it : Firefly
  • How much: $7 (after 10% off) – 650ml., January 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: probably not
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Visual: Who here has tried licking a steel street post in the middle of winter? (Fyi don’t do it…) Pours beer bottle brown with barely any head, thin ringed retention, several slow streams, minor lacing.

Nose: lots of vanilla (extract) and sweet malts. (lvl-7)-pungency

Attack: crisp, vanilla malts

Mid-palate: fizzy-crisp, (lvl-7) malty sweetness, underlying citrus acidity, (MAIN) huge vanilla extract, caramel malts, minor citrus oils, sweet chocolate

Finish: lingering vanilla, malty bright sweet, subtle soft hopped finish

Summary: This is an unexpectedly delicious, brew. It is quite aggressive with the vanilla flavouring but works out well with the orange and sweet malts to balance it out. Recommended to try at least once.

Mischief Belgian-Style Ale – The Bruery (Placentia, CA, USA)

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  • My Rating: A

Mischief Belgian-Style Ale, unfiltered, bottle-conditioned – The Bruery, 8.5% ABV – 1 pt. 9.4 fl.oz., (Placentia, CA, USA)

on the front label:

“Not quite evil, yet not to be trusted, this Golden Ale is effervescent, dry, hoppy and crisp-you’ll want to keep an eye out.”

  • Style: (Belgian-style) Strong Ale
  • Taste: Creamy/fizzy stone-fruity malt beer, alcohol well-hidden
  • Where I got it : Brewery Creek
  • How much: $11 (after 10% off) – 1 pt. 9.4 fl.oz., September 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: yes!
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Visual: In a quality, thick, hefty bottle. Pours slightly translucent bright golden orange, with a massive lasting ultra-creamy head, sticky lacing, tons and tons of fast activity. Beautiful Visually.

Nose: Enticing fruity peach-apple. (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: half creamy/fizzy, incoming dense malts

Mid-palate: light tangy, continual tingly/fizzy texture, (lvl-6)-fruity sweetness, (MAIN) malts, honey, apricot, alcohol detection+bitterness

Finish: cuts off-dry, light-medium hopped bitterness + dense fruity malt finish.

Summary: Clean fruity flavours with excellent textural mouthfeel from start to finish. Recommended, especially chilled.

Passionfruit Wine – Lulu Island Winery (Richmond, BC, Canada)

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  • My Rating: C-

Passionfruit Wine 2006 – Lulu Island Winery, 12% ABV, 500ml, (Richmond, BC, Canada)

On the back label:

“The Passion fruit evokes ideas of love and desire, and we are sure once you taste this wine that is exactly what you will feel, a love and desire to try more! We carefully craft our wine using the pulp oft his exotic fruit, which is imported all the way from Asia. This wine is both sweet and tart at the same time, with rich, tangy aromas that will leave you wanting more. All it takes is one sip to fall in love.” (please note I write passionfruit as one word but sometimes you see it as ‘passion fruit’, two words)

  • Style: (passionfruit) Fruit Wine
  • Taste Profile: Extremely dense sour/tart/tangy/sweet passionfruit
  • Where I got it : @Winery
  • How much: $19 (after 10% off) –375ml, March 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to the curious: not highly, but could  be subbed for a liqueur

Visual: Fermented and bottled in Canada but made from imported ingredients. The 2006 cork unfortunately disintegrated upon opening. Pours a lustrous orange/red, almost clear with miniscule suspended floaties.

Nose: a sweet syrupy tropical blend, mild caramelization (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: intense sour/tartness (lvl-10)

Mid-palate: ultra tangy-sour, dense (lvl-8)-sweetness, (MAIN) passionfruit, blood orange sourness,

Finish: very acidic tangy, mild alcoholic warmth, candy-esqe sour/sweet finish.

Summary: Extremely sour-tart-tangy and suitable for the adventurous, sweet wine lovers. The flavour/sourness profile is unique although it’s definitely not for everyone.

Floreffe Prima Melior – Brasserie Lefebvre (Rebecq-Quenast, Belgium)

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  • My Rating: B-

Floreffe Prima Melior – Brasserie Lefebvre, 8% ABV – 330ml., (Rebecq-Quenast, Belgium)

Ingredients: water, barley malt, roasted malt, hop, canesugar, yeast, spices.

  • Style: Belgian Strong Ale
  • Taste: honeyed brown sugar malted strong ale
  • Where I got it : W. 16th Liquor Store
  • How much: $4 (after 10% off) – 330ml., September 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Visual: Pours cloudy cola brown with a massive creamy-foamy head, good retention, lots of steady streams.

Nose: Caramel malt, brown sugar, honey, minor alcohol detection (7/10-pungency)

Attack: sharp-heavy sugar hit

Mid-palate: (9/10)-cola sweetness, creamy-fizzy mouthfeel, (MAIN) caramel malts, brown sugar, honey, cola (star anise/clove)

Finish: minor hopped bitter/mainly malty sweet finish.

Summary: A very full and sweet beer, quite a typical Belgian Strong Ale. Not outstanding but no slouch either.