the Hostler – The BX Press Inc. (Vernon, BC, Canada)

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BX Press the Hostler – The BX Press Inc., 7% ABV, 500ml, (Vernon, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft cider)


on the front-right label:

“Refreshing and authentic, this thirst-quenching cider is our salute to the Barnyard’s Express (BX) Hostlers. These agile old horsemen were charged with caring for the renowned company horses at each station along the Cariboo Road. Trained for staging alone, these spirited steeds required great skill to handle. Proud of their work, hostlers vied with one another to turn out their teams in the finest condition, and impress the stagecoach passengers.

Dedicated to our orchard and passionate about our cider. ‘The Hostler’ takes us a full year to craft. Starting as delicate blossoms which slowly transform into sugar-rich fruit, each batch is carefully hand-picked, pressed, and matured. It is not until the next season’s buds are opening that our apples are re-introduced to the world as crisp, sparkling cider.

Whatever the season, share in the fruits of our labour today, and enjoy a bottle of hardworking Hostler spirit.”

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  • Style: (Organic) Apple Cider
  • Taste: Clean off-dry balanced med-soft acidic tang red apple
  • Where I got it : Brewery Creek / Vancouver
  • How much: $8.70 CAD (after 10% off) – 500ml., March 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to cider aficionados: not too special

Visual: Pours crystal clear straw yellow, no head, fast, medium-sized bubble streams.

Nose: watery apple juice, a touch of apple wine. (lvl-4)-pungency

Attack: dry, apple fruity-crisp

Mid-palate: clean tangy acidic backbone, hints of lime/minerality, apple cider vinegar, soft dissipating sour, red apple, (lvl-2-sweetness)

Finish: medium tart, red apple juice exhale, sticky

Summary: It being on the dry side, you get to appreciate the subtle nuances of the acidity along with the bright clean apple flavour. All around clean.

Elderflower Kettle Sour – Bridge Brewing Co. (North Vancouver, BC, Canada)

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Elderflower Kettle Sour – Bridge Brewing, 4.9% ABV – 18 IBUs, 650ml., (North Vancouver, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft brew)


printed on the front-right label:

“…Tart and refreshing, this beer was inspired by the Brewmaster’s Mother with fresh aromas of a spring garden. Elderflowers give a gentle floral brightness to this crisp kettle-soured ale. Lightly hopped with Galaxy and Centennial hops to provide a background of nectarine and citrus.”

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  • Style: (flavoured – Elderflower) Sour Ale
  • Taste: Mostly controlled big sour dry elderflower grapefruit flesh tangy toasty barley malt
  • Where I got it : Brewery Creek / Vancouver
  • How much: $6.95 (after 10% off) – 650ml., March 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: nah

Visual: Pours translucent brown amber with a small dissipating 2mm head, thin layer of micro retention, clusters of fast active tiny streams.

Nose: tangy elderflower, toasty toffee barley malt, alcohol (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: acidic sour-tart

Mid-palate: continued rounded fleshy grapefruit sour, tangy-puckery-tart, elderflower, (lvl-4-sweetness), background barley malt

Finish: toasty, nectarine exhale, lingering hop gentle bitter, grainy barley malt.

Summary: Big yet mostly controlled sourness with a dehydrated elderflower taste. Decent complexity but nothing that makes it epic.

Cluster Single-Hop IPA – Double Mountain Brewery (Hood River, OR, USA)

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Cluster Single-Hop IPA – Double Mountain Brewery, 7.3% ABV – 85 BU, 1 pint 0.9 fl.oz., (Hood River, Oregon, USA)


on the front-left label:

“Clusters were the dominant hop variety in the U.S. for a few centuries. They lend this fine beer their unique aromas, full of citrus fruit and herbal goodness.”


  • Style: (Single hop – Cluster) India Pale Ale
  • Taste: Cascading micro CO2 pineapple-peach med-sharp bitter hops
  • Where I got it : Bottle Jockey / N. Burnaby
  • How much: $6.40 CAD (after 12.5% off) – 1 pt. 0.9 fl.oz., November 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: decent, but nah.

Visual: Pours translucent muddy amber with a tiny dissipating head, thin half island retention, partial lacing, mixed tight and loose singular streams.

Nose: pineapple, fishy-grassy hops. (lvl-4)-pungency

Attack: crisp-almost creamy

Mid-palate: fine micro CO2, pineapple-peach dry bitter hops, (lvl-3-sweetness), fleshy apple, citrusy-tangy barley malt

Finish: lingering medium-sharp hoppy bitter finish.

Summary: A solid, quality texture with smooth transitions and an agreeable flavours. Not overly bitter, it maintains a very nice balance of citrus-sweet malt-bitter hops-crisp creamy mouthfeel.

Luminescent Chocolate Coconut Porter – Deep Cove Brewers (North Vancouver, BC, Canada)

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Luminescent Chocolate Coconut Porter – Deep Cove Brewers and Distillers, 5.8% ABV – 650ml., (North Vancouver, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft beer)


on the front-left side label:

“The bio-luminescent jellyfish of Deep Cove are well known for unexpectedly lighting up the dark waters with a phosphorescent glow. This porter has the power to do the same for beer drinkers who are looking for a flash of the unexpected that won’t soon be forgotten.

Tasting notes: warming and sweet, toasted coconut, rich chocolate, light roast malt, deep mahogany colour.”

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  • Style: (flavoured – coconut, cocoa nibs) Porter
  • Taste:
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $6.30 – 650ml., February 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: definitely drinkable

Visual: Pours jet black-brown without much head, thing ringed micro retention, spread out singular steady micro streams along the perimeter.

Nose: rich malted barley, light burnt toasted. (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: crisp, background licorice numbing, half slick-thicker

Mid-palate: light tingly, chocolate, (lvl-5-sweetness), background light sour, roasted barley malt

Finish: cola, brown sugar-coconut, cocoa nib nutty exhale, roast coffee exhale, lingering roasty chocolate

Summary: Surprisingly complex with distinct layered flavours and smooth transitions. It could be slightly less sharp and creamier, but definitely one of better porters I’ve had in a long while.

Black Fox Organic Cider – Dunkertons (Herefordshire, UK)

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Black Fox Organic Cider – Dunkertons Cider, 7% ABV, 500ml, (Pembridge, Herefordshire, UK)


on the back label:

“Dunkertons Cider Mill is set in the ancient parish of Pembridge, an area of farmland, woods and hedgerows, where medieval half timbered villages meet the stone market towns of Wales.

From earlier times, rural communities have told stories of fantastic and unusual creatures which have supposedly lived in their locality. The lush rolling countryside of North West Herefordshire is no exception. Here stories tell of an animal which has evaded capture by farm and huntsman alike: a Black Fox. The red fox has always existed, but the belief grew that there was a fox ‘as black as night, so that it might live in a man’s shadow and so never be seen’.

A favoured haunt of the BLACK FOX is ……………the Cider Orchard.”

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  • Style: (Organic) Apple Cider
  • Taste: Big woody med acidity sweet apple juice vanilla mild white grape medium tart
  • Where I got it : Legacy Liquor / Vancouver
  • How much: $13 CAD (10% off) – 650ml., February 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to cider aficionados: yep, dig the woody

Visual: (cellared for 4 years). Pours almost golden orange, no head, small clusters of slow steady micro streams.

Nose: heavy wet woody yeasty apple wine, vanilla. (lvl-9)-pungency

Attack: crisp bite, incoming tangy

Mid-palate: tangy medium acidity, (lvl-6-sweetness), woody apple juice,

Finish: medium tart, woody exhale, vanilla, white grape

Summary: Big wood vanilla, solid taste and body, all around clean.

Ace of Hokkaido Single Hop Golden Ale – Central City Brewing (Surrey, BC, Canada)

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Ace of Hokkaido Single hop/Sorachi Ace Golden Ale – Central City Brewers + Distillers, 5% ABV, 650ml, (Surrey, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft beer)


on the front-left label:

“Roaming the mountains of Hokkaido’s Sorachi region, the Ace of Hokkaido fearlessly protects those in need. In masked anonymity, a black shitago and sheathed odachi mark the distinctive silhouette that sinks into the darkness of night. The Ace of Hokkaido is the vigilante guardian watching over the villages of Sorachi.”

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  • Style: (Single Hop – Sorachi Ace) Golden Ale
  • Taste: Composed sweet citrus liquid barley malt numbing bitter hop subtle dill
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $6.30 CAD (10% off) – 650ml., May 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: I’ve had more distinct single hopped

Visual: Pours clear golden orange without too much head, thin hazy layer of retention.

Nose: sweet clean liquid barley malt. (lvl-3)-pungency

Attack: crisp-light fizzy, subdued background incoming bitter hops

Mid-palate: (lvl-4-sweetness), medium bright orange/lemon citrus undertones, liquid barley malt

Finish: somewhat metallic, numbing soft hoppy bitter, almost salty dill exhale.

Summary: Not really “in your face” dill and lemons flavours as advertised, but rather subtle and composed. Okay, but the brew didn’t exactly make a Sorachi Ace statement.

Val-Dieu Triple – Brasserie de l’Abbaye du Val-Dieu (Aubel, Belgium)

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Val-Dieu Tripel – Brasserie de l’Abbaye du Val-Dieu, 9% ABV, 33cl., (Aubel, Belgium)


on the back label:

“Val-Dieu is the only TRUE Belgian abbey beer, for it is brewed in the abbey itself, through the ancient infusion method and from the traditional recipe handed down by the monk-brewers of the cistercian Abbey of Val-Dieu. Beer secondary fermentation in the bottle.

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  • Style: Abbey Tripel
  • Taste: Creamy dense sweet honey barley malt tangerine hidden alcohol
  • Where I got it : Bottle Jockey / N.Burnaby
  • How much: $3.30 CAD (10% off) – 33cl., March 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yep, for the love of God.

Visual: Pours pale light golden orange without a significant head, spotty layer of ultra micro bubbles, spread out steady micro clusters of activity.

Nose: honey barley malt, tangerine undertones. (lvl-)-pungency

Attack: Crisp-micro creamy, thicker smooth mouthfeel

Mid-palate: background orange citrusy tangy alcohol mixed with dense (lvl-7-sweetness), honey-sweet, light toasty barley malt

Finish: subtle alcoholic heat, tingly residual honey barley malt, very subtle hops.

Summary: A solid tripel with excellent balance – not too heavy or harsh, good sweetness and that characteristic honey-floral-candi sugar barley malt flavour.