Wassail – Sea Cider (Saanichton, BC, Canada)

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Wassail – Sea Cider., 16% (now 14%) ABV, 750ml, (Saanichton, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft cider*)

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from the seacider.ca website:

Waes Hail! To your health! Spiced with orange peel and star anise (now cloves), our Wassail spiced cider harkens back to the wassailing tradition of drinking spiced cider and singing to the apple orchard. This scared away evil spirits to ensure a bountiful harvest. Raise a glass of Wassail to good health, a good harvest, and good cider!

The Story: 

Sea Cider’s Owner Kristen was inspired to create a traditional winter warming cider that embodied all the traditional Wassail characteristics and leant itself to the traditions of wassailing. Wassailing refers to drinking and singing to the health of an orchard. An ancient practice from southern England that’s still performed at Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse today. The purpose of wassailing is to awaken the cider apple trees and scare away evil spirits ensuring a good harvest. Wassailing also refers to the tradition of raising a glass with good friends and neighbours in celebration of the season.”

Tasting Notes:

Appearance: Rich amber, gently effervescent
Aromas, flavours: Candied orange peel, caramel apple, hints of clove, cinnamon and nutmeg
Acid/sweetness: Semi-sweet, good acid balance
Mouthfeel: Smooth, long finish

Food Pairings:

This winter warmer is perfect just as is, or paired with your favourite seasonal dishes. The candied orange peel, caramel apple aromas and flavours, and hints of clove and cinnamon make this perfect for pairing with sausages, sausage meat stuffing, roasted pork, duck and of course turkey. A great fit for all your traditional sides too: garlic mashed potatoes, braised winter vegetables, and roasted turnips. The spices ensure it’s also ideal with strong cheeses, apple pie, apple crisp, pumpkin pie and of course Figgy Pudding.


  • Style: (orange peel, star anise – spiced) Apple Cider
  • Taste: Big star anise cinnamon candied orange peel spiced apple juice tangy sour
  • Where I got it : Legacy Liquor / Vancouver
  • How much: $16.50 CAD (after 10% off) – 750ml., March 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to cider aficionados: definitely

Visual: (old labeling prior to 2015, cellared for 4 years). Pours clear orange amber with no head, lots of slow and steady micro streams.

Nose: big clove aroma with cinnamon and orange peel. (lvl-9)-pungency

Attack: crisp, thicker mouthfeel

Mid-palate: light fizzy, star anise, alcohol zing and mild heat, fruity (lvl-7-sweetness), apple juice backbone, cinnamon, tangy sour candied orange

Finish: residual sticky sugars, apple juice & star anise exhale.

Summary: Lots of spices augment the clean apple backbone in this one, making it quite an interesting cider. It drinks something like a mead but lighter 0n the palate, especially at the finish. Beautiful aroma.

Dana IPA is Dead – Brewdog (Scotland)

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Dana IPA is Dead (single hop IPA), 6.7% ABV – 75 IBU, 330ml. (part of a 4-pack), (Ellon, Scotland)

-Summary of the four hop varieties:

  • Dana (Slovenia) = grassy, mango, light spicy
  • East Kent Goldings (UK/USA) = blackberry
  • El Dorado (Yakima) = peach, watermelon, pear
  • Waimea (NZ) = tangelo, grassy

 

on the front-right label and from ratebeer.com:

“…Each  IPA contains the same malt backbone and is brewed to be 75 IBU and is enthusiastically kettle hopped and dry hopped with Waimea, El Dorado, Dana & East Kent Goldings…”

A pseudo noble hop. Noble like a mother fucking king. But not a boring king. Noble like a chain smoking, pimp of a pinball wizard king. Apparently, they are the best kind.
Hailing from Slovenia, Dana was originally cross bred from the German Hallertau Magnum and native Slovenian varieties. Like any good faux noble hop should it infuses a rustic, musty spiciness into a classic beast of a malt base, just like your grandfather’s old school aftershave.
This hop of Eastern European origin is best enjoyed whilst dreaming up a song about a lovely donkey that fell in love with a princess that is destined to take the Eurovision song contest by storm.


  • Style: (single hop, Dana) India Pale Ale
  • Taste: Grassy mango toffee malt light spicy medium bitter hops
  • Where I got it : Brewery Creek / Vancouver
  • How much: $17 (after 10% off) CAD – 4pack of 330ml., September 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Visual: (Cellared for 2 years). Pours orangish brown with suspended sediment, thin hazy layer of micro retention, just a few micro bubbles of activity.

Nose: brown sugar toffee malts. (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: half-slick, low CO2

Mid-palate: grassy hop oil, bright (lvl-5-sweetness), mango toffee malt

Finish: background light sourness-tangy, light spicy pine exhale, lingering medium bitter hops.

Summary: Smooth drinkability just like the rest of their single hops. Half grassy, half mango toffee malt character. Pretty good.

Goldings IPA is Dead – Brewdog (Scotland)

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Goldings IPA is Dead (single hop IPA), 6.7% ABV – 75 IBU, 330ml. (part of a 4-pack), (Ellon, Scotland)

-so far my personal preference: El Dorado > Goldings > Waimea

on the front-right label and from ratebeer.com:

“…Each  IPA contains the same malt backbone and is brewed to be 75 IBU and is enthusiastically kettle hopped and dry hopped with Waimea, El Dorado, Dana & East Kent Goldings…

Good old East Kent Goldings. Elegant and refined and like a quintessential English gentleman, inherently boring. Boring that is unless you put the amplitude into overdrive and hope the living daylights out of the beer with it.  This is East Kent Goldings re-invented and re-imagined and shows just what can be done with English hops if you use enough of them. An often overlooked hop superstar, normally getting lost in a woeful stream of conformist brown ales made by sleepy cask ale brewers. But not anymore. Classic Empire with an anarchic twist. God save the Queen. In this amped up Goldings reincarnation expect to be slammed with floral lavender, a fruity riot of blackberries and spiced pears, bumble-gum plums and the illusion of thyme. It reminds me of the apricot marmalade by grandmother used to make.


  • Style: (single hop, East Kent Goldings) India Pale Ale
  • Taste: Blackberry toffee malt soft bitter hop
  • Where I got it : Brewery Creek / Vancouver
  • How much: $17 (after 10% off) CAD – 4pack of 330ml., September 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: sure

Visual: (Cellared for 2 years). Pours pale orange-brown with suspended sediment, no head, a few big bubbles on the surface, no activity.

Nose: faint berries, toffee malt (lvl-4)-pungency

Attack: crisp, low CO2

Mid-palate: brightness, tangy blackberry, (lvl-5-sweetness), toffee malt backbone

Finish: red grape exhale, soapy, soft bitter hops.

Summary: Slightly heavier on the palate than the Waimea and El Dorado, fantastic distinct blackberry aroma.

El Dorado IPA is Dead – Brewdog (Scotland)

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El Dorado IPA is Dead (single hop IPA), 6.7% ABV – 75 IBU, 330ml. (part of a 4-pack), (Ellon, Scotland)

-so far: El Dorado > Waimea (in terms of distinct hop flavour)

on the front-right label and from ratebeer.com:

“…Each  IPA contains the same malt backbone and is brewed to be 75 IBU and is enthusiastically kettle hopped and dry hopped with Waimea, El Dorado, Dana & East Kent Goldings…

The Pacific North West of America is home to the brand speanking new El Dorado Hop. America is not just about cheer-leaders, a silly version of football, elastic top jeans and cheeseburgers. They grow remarkable hops and El Dorado is a killer example of this, embodying all that is good about American hops and then some. A new hop on the block, it may even seduce you into thinking the American Dream is not just a catch phrase to sell movies and elect Presidents. Fearfully hard to resist, this beer is loaded with tropical fruits, pear, watermelon, candy floss and stone fruit. Devilishly moreish.


  • Style: (single hop, El Dorado) India Pale Ale
  • Taste: Toffee malt subtle peach/pear/watermelon/apricot soft hops
  • Where I got it : Brewery Creek / Vancouver
  • How much: $17 (after 10% off) CAD – 4pack of 330ml., September 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: a nice showcase of El Dorado hops

Visual: (Cellared for 2 years). Pours cloudy brownish-orange without a significant head, a clump of bubbled retention, virtually no activity.

Nose: faint toffee barley malt, more pronounced musk. (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: low CO2, thicker mouthfeel

Mid-palate: light tingly, (lvl-6-sweetness), toffee barley malt, peach/apricot, hints of pear

Finish: hints of watermelon, delayed subtle soft bitter hop, PAPAYA exhale.

Summary: Drank after Waimea in the same session. More malt forward initially, brighter stone fruity mids with much softer hopped bitterness in the finish. Lots of fruit but less length of flavour.

Waimea IPA is Dead – Brewdog (Scotland)

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Waimea IPA is Dead (single hop IPA), 6.7% ABV – 75 IBU, 330ml. (part of a 4-pack), (Ellon, Scotland)

on the front-right label and from ratebeer.com:

“…Each  IPA contains the same malt backbone and is brewed to be 75 IBU and is enthusiastically kettle hopped and dry hopped with Waimea, El Dorado, Dana & East Kent Goldings…

Waimea is a new hop variety that has both aroma and bittering capability, and is the granddaughter of Pacific Jade. Pacific Jade is also a hop, not a hippy belly dancing gypsy on crack.
It has been described as having intense fresh tangelo, citrus fruit and pine needle characteristics,
High on it’s own alpha, Waimea has a new world flavour, infusing unique fresh crushed citrus aroma and flavour notes into this IPA. Sharp as a razor, this New Zealand hop slices your taste buds with intense fresh tangelo, citrus fruit and pine needle characteristics There is a huge depth flavour with astringent gooseberry balanced against the robust malt base. Throw another shrimp on the Barbie mate and you are all set. New Zealand is near Australia, right?

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  • Style: (single hop, Waimea) India Pale Ale
  • Taste: Tangelo citrus grassy soft bitter toffee malt
  • Where I got it : Brewery Creek / Vancouver
  • How much: $17 (after 10% off) CAD – 4 x 330ml., September 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: not too special

Visual: (Cellared for 2 years). Pours translucent pale orange-brown with minimal head, a thin hazy layer of micro retention, a few small bubbles here and there.

Nose: toffee barley malt, hints of musk. (lvl-7)-pungency

Attack: thin-tongue numbing, low CO2

Mid-palate: tangy, tangelo bitter, (lvl-5-sweetness), light grassy, toffee barley malt

Finish: DRY, lingering malt and soft bitter hops.

Summary: Good smooth mouthfeel with very nice light drinkability. It doesn’t drink as thick nor heavy as it smells.

Rosita (Original) – Cerveses La Gardènia (Spain)

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Rosita (Original) – Cerveses La Gardènia, 5.5% ABV, 500ml., (Tarragona, Spain)

Ingredients: water, malt of barley, sugar, honey, hops and yeasts.


  • Style: (honey, flavoured) Blond Ale
  • Taste: Sharp crisp toasted honey sweet barley malt
  • Where I got it : 16th St. Liquor / W. Vancouver
  • How much: $5 (after 10% off) CAD – 500ml., December 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: nah

Visual: (Cellared for 3 years). Pours cloudy amber brown with a large bubbly dissipating head, 2mm layer of retention, light lacing, very fast singular streams.

Nose: canned mandarin oranges (lvl-4)-pungency

Attack: sharp crisp bite, fizzy-lively mouthfeel

Mid-palate: toasted honey, (lvl-5-sweetness), sweet barley malt

Finish: lingering honey, subtle short bitter hops, liquid barley malt exhale.

Summary: Plain barley malt flavour with a touch of honey, not much character other than the very lively crisp fizzy mouthfeel. Just an average blond.

Big Dry Cider – Left Field Cider Co. (Logan Lake, BC, Canada)

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Big Dry – Left Field Cider Co., 7.2% ABV, 500ml, (Logan Lake, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft cider*)

-for comparison here is the review of their Little Dry Cider [C+].


  • Style: (dry) Apple Cider
  • Taste: Crystal clean red/green apple fruity tangy white wine
  • Where I got it : Legacy Liquor / Vancouver
  • How much: $8 CAD (after 10% off) – 500ml., June 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to cider aficionados: 50/50

Visual: Pours clear light golden yellow, ringed retention, steady singular streams.

Nose: apple juice from concentrate (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: bright fruity, fizzy

Mid-palate: light-med sour tangy acidity, green apple, (lvl-2-sweetness), red apple juice, white wine

Finish: hints of woodiness, thickened saliva, lingering fruity apple exhale.

Summary: Crystal clean flavour, very easy drinkability, but not much complexity. Slightly better than the Little Dry.