Lemon Gin Saison – Bridge Brewing Co. (North Vancouver, BC, Canada)

Lemon Gin Saison (Seasonal) – Bridge Brewing, 5.5% ABV – 24 IBUs, 650ml., (North Vancouver, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft brew)


printed on the front-right label:

“Brewed with the addition of juniper berries, lemon peel, coriander, and pink peppercorns, and fermented with a French Saison yeast, this beer is unique and super drinkable. Juniper, used in moderation, emphasizes the gin flavours, while coriander adds depth and complexity. The Saison yeast used expresses peppery, spicy and citrusy notes, which play well with the lemon zest and pink peppercorn.”

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  • Style: (flavoured – juniper berry, lemon peel, coriander, pink peppercord) Saison
  • Taste: Lemon citrusy tang soft banana wheat malt dry subtle hopped bitter
  • Where I got it : Bottle Jockey / N.Bby
  • How much: $7.65 (after 12.5% off) – 650ml., March 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: doesn’t taste as advertised

Visual: Pours opaque golden orange with a massive, ultra-foamy lasting head, half sticky lacing, singular steady micro streams.

Nose: yeasty, mild fart, very mild pukey pineapple wheat malt. (lvl-4)-pungency

Attack: crisp bite, fine-fizzy

Mid-palate: juniper berry, tangy lemon citrus acidity, light sour funk, dry rough grainy wheat malt, (lvl-3-sweetness),

Finish: hint pink peppercorn/coriander exhale, stealth light bitter hops, residual tangy malt.

Summary: Not exactly bursting with bright lemon or juniper flavours, there is some lemony acidic tang, but the main taste is the wheat malt. Acceptable body and mouthfeel, I was just expecting more.

Oldhand Coffee IPA – Ravens Brewing Company (Abbotsford, BC, Canada)

Oldhand Coffee IPA – Ravens Brewing Company, 6.0% ABV – 70 IBU, 650ml, (Abbotsford, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft beer*)


on the front-left label:

“THE SKINNY: Combining two worlds into one, the bright, juicy tropical flavours and aromas of Galaxy and Amarillo hops are presented alongside a delicately roasted Honduran coffee which provides caramel and fruit characteristics. With an assertive bitter back bone, this IPA is unexpected, but deliciously satisfying.”

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  • Style: (flavoured – coffee beans) India Pale Ale
  • Taste: Roasted coffee malt background citrus acidity toasty toffee barley malt burnt astringent bitter hopped finish
  • Where I got it : Bottle Jockey / N.Bby
  • How much: $7 CAD (after 12.5% off) – 650ml., February 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: nope

Visual: Pours almost clear pale orange-brown with a small 1cm head, a thin spotty layer of retention, mostly sticky lacing, clusters of tight micro streams emerging from the base.

Nose: light roast coffee mixed with toffee sweet barley malt, background alcohol (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: soft crisp-almost creamy

Mid-palate: coffee malty, subtle background coffee acidity, (lvl-4-sweetness), roasted toffee barley malt, orange/tangerine citrus

Finish: caramel, roasty dry coffee exhale, light burnt cocoa bitter, astringent lingering dry grapefruit citrus hopped bitter

Summary: Decent mouthfeel and coffee malty flavour but I’m not liking the astringent rough bitter finish. The hops are a bit harsh and gives the impression of mistakenly burnt malt. I had Rogue’s Cold Brew IPA several weeks ago and this IPA just pales in comparison.

London Dry Gin Round 6 – Tanqueray No. 10 (Champ) VS Boodles (Challenger)

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This is Round 6 in the Gin battle, where two bottles go head-to-head and the winner moves on. Last round we had Tanqueray No.10 winning and now we have it up against Boodles British Gin. Let’s duel!


[CHAMPION from Round 5, eeking out a win against the game Pink 47]

1) Tanqueray No. 10 London Dry Gin – 47.3% ABV – 750ml., Diageo (London, but distilled in Scotland), $46 CAD @ BC Liquor Stores

  • the name No.10 comes from their “Still No.10”, aka “Tiny Ten”
  • recipe contains at least: Tuscan juniper, angelica root, coriander, and licorice.
  • recipe also includes use of fresh citrus fruits, including: white grapefruit, lime, orange, as well as chamomile flowers.

[VS]

[CHALLENGER]

2) Boodles British Gin London Dry – 45.2% ABV – 750ml., Cock Russell and Company (UK), $29 CAD, November 2014 @ BC Liquor Stores

  • distilled from British wheat
  • recipe includes the traditional herbs as well some unique such as nutmeg, sage and rosemary
  • no citrus ingredients in the recipe. The distillers expect the imbiber to add a citrus component  to their cocktail.

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Criteria:

Nose: T.10 is mellow up front, followed by nasal tingliness and some minerality. Boodles on the hand burns your nasal cavity straight out of the gate, very harsh. There is some rosemary/sage plus some juniper mixed in there but overall the alcohol is quite apparent. T.10 is simply gentle and welcoming on the nose.

Taste & Texture: Once again I’m reminded of the slick and silky mouthfeel of T.10 with the first sip. Big grapefruit citrus as usual along with background juniper, a touch of spiced heat, and lingering throat warmth encompasses its flavour profile. Boodles is just a smidge less thick, alcohol tingly and tongue numbing in the mids, sweet wheat malt, grassy juniper body, and very mild hints of sage and rosemary (not enough to discern them). Surprisingly there’s not as much heat as the nose suggests, just a moderate amount. Although T.10 does actually taste a bit soapyI still prefer it.

Final Notes:

  • These completely opposite gins: Tanqueray No.10 = grapefruit citrus bomb, Boodles = herbal grassy juniper

Extra battle – [Boodles VS Pink 47]

Outcome: Pink 47 is even waterier in mouthfeel than Boodles but it packs much more round fullness than the its UK companion. Now I finally see why Pink 47 has so many accolades, it drinks like a well-aged scotch or bourbon with superb length and depth. Pink 47 is levels above Boodles.

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After much thought (clouded by alcohol), I’ve decided to renounce Tanqueray No.10 as the champ and crown Pink 47 as the NEW CHAMP

London Dry Gin Round 5 – Tanqueray No. 10 (Champ) VS Pink 47 (Challenger)

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Tonight makes it Round 5 of the Gin VS challenge and this time we have the previous rounds new title holder Tanqueray 10 up against an virtually equal ABV’d Pink 47. Let the Gin battle begin!


[CHAMPION from Round 4, dethroning Bulldog Gin]

1) Tanqueray No. 10 London Dry Gin – 47.3% ABV – 750ml., Diageo (London, but distilled in Scotland), $46 CAD @ BC Liquor Stores

  • the name No.10 comes from their “Still No.10”, aka “Tiny Ten”
  • recipe contains at least: Tuscan juniper, angelica root, coriander, and licorice.
  • recipe also includes use of fresh citrus fruits, including: white grapefruit, lime, orange, as well as chamomile flowers.

[VS]

[CHALLENGER]

2) Pink 47 – 47% ABV – 700ml., Old St. Andrews (UK), ~$40 CAD no longer sold at BC Liquor Stores

  • beautiful diamond shaped bottle – inspired by the legendary Khavaraya pink diamond
  • 4x distilled
  • recipe includes 12 botanicals: juniper berries (Tuscany), coriander seeds (Morocco), two types of Angelica roots (Saxony and ?), lemon and orange peel (Spain), orris root (Italy), almonds (Spain), licorice roots (China), cassia bark (Indochina), nutmeg (West Africa) – [actually that’s only 11…]
  • accolades include: International Spirits Challenge 2012 Gold, 69th 2012 Annual Wine & Spirits WSWA Silver, 5***** rating from Paul Pacult 2012, etc, etc, (18 awards and counting)

Criteria:

Nose: Starting off with T.10, the base grain spirit immediately jumps out with the ethyl alcohol and partial soapiness. It doesn’t have a ton of aroma with it, only a bit of citrus oil in the background. P47 noses quite similarly with the alcohol detection but is backed up by juniper notes, some rootiness, and significantly more nasal burn. Bottom line, T.10 = sweeter, muted alcohol. P47 = harsh alcohol detection. Tanqueray No.10 wins the aroma test.

Taste & Texture: T.10 first, it is slightly thicker in viscosity while the tongue gets coated with ctirus oils. A big grapefruit burst grabs your attention followed by juniper, and then the lime/orange oils. There’s a slight prickly sensation as well, and then comes the lasting throat warmth. Lingering bitter citrus oils at the finish. On to the P47, it feels noticeably thinner in the mouth than T.10, big juniper flavour from the get go, some citrus in the mids, cassia and coriander in finish. The flavour is quite full but the alcohol is also harsher. Subsequent sips numb the tip of the tongue. Bottom line, although I appreciate the big flavour of P47, Tanqueray No.10 is silkier in texture and better in smooth flavour delivery.

Final Notes:

  • Still lovin’ the grapefruit citrus of Tanqueray No.10, lots of throat heat for the 47.3% ABV.
  • Full, rounded bodied juniper (and more) profile of Pink 47, but it also comes with nasal burn
  • Both achieve different goals: Tanqueray No.10 = grapefruit-lime-orange, Pink 47 = full flavoured juniper-citrus-rooty spice. Depends on what you prefer.

WINNER = I prefer Tanqueray N.10

Coastal Blue – Todd Creek Craft Cider (Victoria, BC, Canada)

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Coastal Blue (Cider w/ Blueberries) – Todd Creek Craft Cider Inc., 6% ABV, 750ml, (Victoria, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft cider*)


on the front-left label:

“For a true West Coast flavour; Islanders love their ample fresh fruit every summer. We’re a little spoiled that way… and this cider celebrates being spoiled! This is not a sugary or sweet cider. Coastal Blue is a special blend of our craft cider and local blueberry juice sourced from the Island and the Lower Mainland. The blueberry juice adds a fabulous fruit flavour to the cider and is perfect of a hot summer day!”

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  • Style: (flavoured – blueberry juice, maple syrup) Apple Cider
  • Taste: Tangy soft acidic very woody blueberry apple light smoky tart
  • Where I got it : Libations / Vancouver
  • How much: $16.70 CAD (after 10% off) – 750ml., February 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to cider aficionados: enjoyable 1x only

Visual: Glass bottle with a handle, unique. Pours magenta purple with no head, bubbles hugging the side of the glass, suspended micro sediment, micro bubbles here and there.

Nose: musky blueberry, applewood smoky, background apple cider. (lvl-7)-pungency

Attack: tangy-light crisp/half flat

Mid-palate: tangy acidity, (lvl-6-sweetness), blueberry juicy body, medium sour-dissipating, woody apple juice

Finish: light smoked wood exhale, mildly tart-sticky sugars

Summary: First and foremost, let me say it: I like wood! And there’s lots and lots of it in this one from start to finish. Authentic non-candied blueberry flavour. Wished for a bit more body, more CO2, and more punch this being only 6%.

Vexillum Imperial IPA – Four Winds Brewing (Delta, BC, Canada)

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Vexillum Imperial IPA – Four Winds Brewing Co., 9% ABV, 650ml, (Delta, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft beer*)


on the front-left label:

Vexillum, an ancient Imperial Roman symbol for strength and nobility. This insistently hoppy IPA reveals notes of Grapefruit and Melon while finishing bitter, yet affably balanced.

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  • Style:Imperial IPA
  • Taste: Full tangy tangerine sweet malt grapefruit/melon hop exhale
  • Where I got it : traded with my brother
  • How much: ~$9 CAD – 650ml., Sometime in 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: 50/50

Visual: Pours golden orange with virtually no head, very thin hazy layer of retention, slow steady streams.

Nose: tangerine grassy hops, background alcohol. (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: onset of heavy alcohol, micro half-creamy, mildly slick

Mid-palate: alcohol detection, tangerine hop oils, (lvl-6-sweetness), fruity-citrus malt, tangy

Finish: soft grapefruit bitter hops, lingering full maltiness, faint melon exhale

Summary: smooth-full tangy citrus malt, alcoholic but overall quite clean. Solid.

Bittersweet – Sea Cider (Saanichton, BC, Canada)

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Bittersweet – Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse, 7.2 ABV, 750ml, (Saanichton, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft cider*)

from the seacider.ca website:

Bittersweet apples are the backbone of traditional English cider and are some of the rarest apples in Canada. We grow several of these prized varietals, which can be heart breaking to grow, yet produce some of the world’s finest cider. Our Bittersweet cider is an off-dry sparkler expressing the classic phenolic character of this coveted fruit. Raise a glass of Sea Cider to a bittersweet tradition!

The Story:
Sea Cider’s Bittersweet is a cider truly rooted in tradition. Dabinetts, Yarlington Mills and other English bittersweets have been patiently cultivated on Sea Cider’s farm to bring you this rare libation. While most people would consider bittersweet apples inedible in a culinary sense, their bitter flavour imparts a cider full of character. These apples are high in tannin, low in acid and provide the classic flavour of the finest English ciders. Enthusiasm for these varietals and their importance in cider making apples goes back to the 13th century! In a market increasingly dominated with ciders made from dessert apples, Bittersweet brings the classic phenolic character that can only come from the true cider-making apples of yesteryear.

Tasting Notes:

  • Appearance: Clear, bright, amber
  • Aromas, flavours: Phenolic, spicy, cut apple, orchard leaves
  • Acid/sweetness: Off-dry
  • Mouthfeel: Soft astringency, gently effervescent

  • Style: Apple Cider
  • Taste: Crisp tart sweet apple juice very subtle bitter
  • Where I got it : Bottle Jockey / N.Burnaby
  • How much: $15 CAD (after 12.5% off) – 750ml., September 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to cider aficionados: yes

Visual: Pours clear pale orange-yellow, dissipating fizz with large bubbled ringed retention, spread out clusters of active streams.

Nose: acidic apple juice with hints of grape, a bit of woodiness (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: crisp, incoming puckery tart

Mid-palate: light-med sour tart, (lvl-4-sweetness), sticky apple sugars, tangy apple juice, soft woodiness, medium tart

Finish: subtle bitterness, light burpy, sticky gums, red apple juice exhale, residual sour acidity.

Summary: Drinks like a sour, light-tart puckery Martenelli apple juice with undetectable alcohol.