Cuvée Bru Druivenbier – Big Rock Brewery (Calgary, Alberta, Canada)

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  • My Rating: C+

Cuvée Bru Druivenbier 2013 – Big Rock Brewery, 6% ABV – 750ml., (Calgary, Alberta, Canada)

from the Big Rock Brewery website:

Magic Resides Where Grape and Grain Collide

Balanced like a luminous bubble upon the delicate wire betwixt the grape and grain, Big Rock’s effervescent new experiment will book your taste buds on a glamorous cruise into exciting new waters. Legend tells of a Belgian brewer who, in one of those magical moments when luck fuses gleefully with genius, blended the gentle sweet snap of grape with the robust sensuousness of a young ale. Big Rock has captured that golden moment of eureka with its exciting new Druivenbier – Flemish for ‘grape beer’. Glistening Pinot Gris grapes have been plucked from the warm bosom of Therapy Vineyards on the Naramata Bench near Penticton, BC. These grapes were then introduced to a sophisticated blend of three of Big Rock’s finest malts. This is a true Druivenbier – rarely seen in North America, and uncompromisingly elegant to the last puckish bubble”

on the back label:

“One day, some of Therapy Vineyard’s finest Pinot Gris grapes from Naramata, British Columbia fell in love with a mild and refreshing Big Rock ale. Cuvee Bru is the sparkling gem that came from their union: delightful, intriguing, and just scandalous enough to make society pages. This is one sophisticated libation you’ll want to know.”

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  • Style: (Pinot Gris – Fruit Beer) Druivenbier
  • Taste: Sweet Malt liquor with grape juice & sourness
  • Where I got it : Legacy Liquor Store
  • How much: $13 (5% off) – 750ml, March 2014
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: 50/50

Visual: Pours copper pale orange (Welch’s white grape juice) with minimal head, a very thin layer of retention, a bit of lacing, lots of steady evenly spaced streams.

Nose: musky liquid barley malt (aka Malt liquor), medium bright grape juice, apple juice. (lvl-7)-pungency

Attack: juice-like sugars, sweet-crisp

Mid-palate: thickish viscosity, (lvl-7)-long sweetness, (MAIN) malt liquor, barley, fruity white grape, liquid malt sweetener.

Finish: tamed acidity, light sour/tangy, more barley malt, a touch of bitterness, malty sweet finish.

Summary: Drinks like a white grapey Colt 45, but with sweetened almost artificially. Can’t say I loved this one bit it is decent when properly chilled and straight out of the bottle.

Ale Brewed w/ Anaheim & Marash Chilies – New Belgium Brewing (Ft. Collins, Colorado, USA)

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  • My Rating: B

Ale Brewed w/ Anaheim & Marash Chilies – New Belgium Brewing & Cigar City Brewing Collaboration, 8.5% ABV – 1 pt. 6 fl.oz., (Fort Collins, Colorado, USA)

Printed n the front right-side:

“We’re about to light up Florida with this Cigar City collaborative brew. Our Belgian yeast tangos with Anaheim and Marash peppers along with loads of citrusy hops to create an ale full of spice. Aged on Spanish cedar to salute our mutual love for wood!”

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  • Style: (Anaheim, Marash Chili, Spanish Cedar) Barrel-aged Spiced Ale
  • Taste: Sweet orange citrus sweet caramel malty pepper woody heat
  • Where I got it : Legacy Liquor Store
  • How much: $11 (5% off) – 1 pt. 6 fl.oz., March 2014
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Visual: Pours clear copper-orange with a smallish head, thin sticky lacing, a thin layer of retention, several slow streams.

Nose: caramel malts, mild but apparent orange citrus (lvl-4)-pungency

Attack: light oily, crisp mouthfeel, bitter hops

Mid-palate: immediate pepper vegginess, light tingly, (lvl-6)-sweetness, (MAIN) caramel malts, orange

Finish: light spicy heat, soft citrus bitter hops, woody malty sweet finish.

Summary: Great full-bodied flavour, complexity and mouthfeel. I particularly dig the balanced citrus and heat elements.

Wild Ride 2nd Anniversary Beer – Parallel 49 Brewery (Vancouver, BC, Canada)

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  • My Rating: C+

Wild Ride 2nd Anniversary Beer – Parallel 49 Brewery, 9.0% ABV – 650ml, (Vancouver, BC, Canada)

On the front left-side label:

“The last two years have been more than a little crazy around here, and what better way to celebrate than with a beer to match. This Belgian-style golden strong is finished with brettanomyces – exploding with funky and fruity flavours. So strap yourself in, it’s going to be a wild one.”

  • Style: Belgian-Style Strong Ale
  • Taste: Barley malt red apple
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $6.50 – 650ml., July 2014
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: not that special

Visual: Pours clear deep golden yellow with a smallish head, sticky lacing, a thin layer of retention, many clustered steady streams.

Nose: medium sour-acidic, non-aggressive barnyard, barley malts, apple cider. (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: smooth micro bubbly mouthfeel, crisp bite

Mid-palate: light sour, some funk, (lvl-6)-sweetness, (MAIN) mild alcohol detection, barley malts, metallic, red apple juice

Finish: burpy, yeasty, very subtle hops, lingering barley sweet finish.

Summary: Pretty decent and quite drinkable for a high ABV beer. Flavours aren’t that deep, ie. not bold.

Skaha Summer Ale – Cannery Brewing (Penticton, BC, Canada)

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  • My Rating: C+

Skaha Summer Ale – Cannery Brewing, 5% ABV, 20 IBU – 650ml, (Penticton, BC, Canada)

On the front left-side label:

“Skaha Lake is one of the freshwater lakes that surround Penticton in the beautiful Okanagan Valley. Time honoured summer traditions such as rock climbing and cliff diving have made the Skaha Bluffs famous.”

On the front right-side label:

“This blonde ale is a refreshing, thirst quenching beer that is perfect for a hot Okanagan day. Using different hops each year will give this ale a distinct flavor and unique aroma. The addition of white wheat malt and German ale yeast create a body that is soft and delicate with a crisp, dry finish.”

  • Style: Blonde Ale
  • Taste Profile: Crisp sweet hopped barley malt
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $5 – 650ml, July 2014
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: nothing outstanding

Visual: Pours golden yellow with a smallish creamy head, sticky lacing, a thin layer of retention, several slow streams.

Nose: faint apple juice, hints of malts (lvl-2)-pungency

Attack: crisp barley malts

Mid-palate: tingly-fizzy-crisp. (lvl-4)-sweetness, (MAIN) barley malt, red apple, grainy

Finish: very soft bitter hops, hopped bitter-sweet barley finish.

Summary: Drinks more like a crisp lager than a wheat ale. A very nice crisp mouthfeel perfect for hot summer days and nights. Recommended as a meal beer.

Osprey Pear White IPA – Tin Whistle Brewing (Penticton, BC, Canada)

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  • My Rating: C+

Osprey Pear White IPA–  The Tin Whistle Brewing Co., 6.5% ABV – 650ml, (Penticton, BC, Canada)

On the front side label:

“This unfiltered White IPA combines the fruity, aromatic character of Belgian yeast with pear and apple forward hops and fresh pressed Okanagan pears to create a beer that soars to new heights.”

  • Style: (Pear) Flavoured White IPA
  • Taste Profile: Bright wheat malt pear bitter peel hops
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $5.75 – 650ml, July 2014
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: no

Visual: Pours golden deep yellow with a smallish lasting creamy head, a bit of lacing, clusters of medium-speed activity.

Nose: fruity wheat malts, pear, Riesling wine. (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: crisp tingly, pear

Mid-palate: bitter hops, (lvl-4)-sweetness, (MAIN) wheat malts, pear, hints of red apple

Finish: breadiness, bitter peel biting hoppiness, dry bitter hopped finish.

Summary: Good transition from pear fruity malts to bitter hops. Quite drinkable but not a whole lot of depth. The body fades at the finish. Decent.

Kelp Stout – Tofino Brewing (Tofino, BC, Canada)

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  • My Rating: C

Kelp Stout – Tofino Brewing, 6% ABV – 650ml, (Tofino, BC, Canada)

On the front side label:

“If there’s one sentiment that’s constantly repeated among craft beer drinkers it is, ‘This beer is good but it needs more seaweed!’ If we’ve heard it once, we’ve heard it a thousand times. Well folks, message received. Tofino Brewing Company presents to you the Kelp Stout. A dark, rich, full-bodied ale brewed with locally harvested kelp, giving it a unique umami-type quality to this complex beer.”

  • Style: (Kelp) Flavoured Stout
  • Taste Profile: Salty roasted malt brown sugar coffee soy sauce
  • Where I got it : Legacy Liquor Store
  • How much: $8 (after 5% off) – 650ml, March 2014
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: no

Visual: KELP! I need somebody… Pours super dark brown with a small quickly dissipating head, not much retention, lots and lots of fast activity.

Nose: sweet brown sugar malts, mild roasted coffee. (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: incoming med dark malts

Mid-palate: immediate seawater saltiness, tingly-fizzy, (lvl-5)-sweetness, (MAIN) brown sugar malts, light roast, cola, mild soy sauce

Finish: lingering salty, malty, soft bitter hops, malty sweet/salty finish.

Summary: It has the saltiness of the sea but not quite the seaweed or “vegginess” of kelp. Overall the stout is okay, a nice twist, but not that memorable.

Blanc Evolution – Moa Brewing (Marlborough, New Zealand)

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  • My Rating: C+

Blanc Evolution – Moa Brewing, 6.2% ABV – 375ml, (Marlborough, New Zealand)

On the front-side label:

“Moa Blanc Evolution is bottle fermented in the Belgian-style with a small amount of coriander added during its extended maturation time giving it a unique spiciness. Described as a rich, mouth-filling beer, it’s really a true wheat lover’s beer and a staple of the Moa Reserve range. ”

  • Style: Witbier
  • Taste: Tangy med-sour wheat malt pineapple/peach coriander dry
  • Where I got it : Legacy
  • How much: $6 (after 10% off) – 375ml., August 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Visual: Composite corked. Pours almost clear pale orange with virtually no head but lots of very hard to see steady streams.

Nose: wheaty citrus malts, pineapple, peach. (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: crisp sweet malts

Mid-palate: tangy, medium sour, (lvl-4)-sweetness, (main) wheat malts, hints of pineapple, hints of peach

Finish: coriander dryness, dry fruity malt finsh.

Summary: Pretty straightforward with a good body and texture. It could be better visually.