Strawberry Wine – Krause Berry Farms (Langley, BC, Canada)

  • My Rating: [B]

Strawberry Wine (non-vintage) – Krause Berry Farms & Estate Winery, 11.5% ABV – 375 ml., (Langley, BC, Canada) (*local BC wine*)

  • Style: (Strawberry) Fruit Wine
  • Taste: Authentic bright strawberry juicy jammy tart and tangy acidic
  • Where I got it : @Winery
  • How much: $12 CAD – 375 ml., July 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to fruit wine aficionados: sure

Visual: Non-vintage. Pours squash orange, clear as water.

Nose: bright fruity tangy pressed strawberry juice with the puree intact – delicious. (lvl-10)-intensity

Attack: incoming bright red berry fruity

Mid-palate: sustained acidity, (lvl-3-sweetness), strawberry prickly tanginess, strawberry jam

Finish: light alcoholic heat, med-high tartness, lingering berry flavour.

Summary: Very easy drinking with good berry brightness and an engaging acidic tartness. You can really taste the essence of strawberries in this one; It’s much better than their apple wine I had yesterday [C].

Apple Wine – Krause Berry Farms (Langley, BC, Canada)

Apple Wine (non-vintage) – Krause Berry Farms & Estate Winery, 11.5% ABV – 375 ml., (Langley, BC, Canada) (*local BC wine*)

  • Style: (Apple) Fruit Wine
  • Taste: Basic watery green apple tangy sour acidity
  • Where I got it : @Winery
  • How much: $12 CAD – 375 ml., July 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to fruit wine aficionados: nah

Visual: Non-vintage. Pours very, very light straw yellow, crystal clear, a few micro bubbles along the perimeter.

Nose: acidic tangy filtered apple juice, hints of pear and white grape, a bit of alcohol (lvl-3)-intensity

Attack: watery-tangy entry

Mid-palate: bright acidity, green apple, (lvl-2-sweetness), medium sour tangy hit

Finish: hints of lime, green apple exhale

Summary: I starts out with a rather unimpressive thin entry, followed by only a basic green apple flavour and okay acidity. It didn’t strike me as particularly refined or complex, just apples juice, yeast and some fermentation. Skip it.

Oatmeal Stout – Samuel Smith’s – (Tadcaster, England)

Oatmeal Stout – Samuel Smith, 5% ABV, 550ml., (Tadcaster, England)

on the back label:

“An opaque, wonderfully silky and smooth textured ale with a complex, medium dry palate and bittersweet finish. Brewed with well water (the original well sunk in 1758 is still in use), malted barley, roasted barley, oatmeal, yeast and hops, Fermented in open-topped ‘stone Yorkshire squares’. Celebrated Oatmeal Stout is a style benchmark revived by Samuel Smith’s and the inspiration for hundreds of commercial oatmeal stouts.”

  • Style: (Oatmeal) Sweet Stout
  • Taste: Fruity berry tangy light sour roasted barley malt chocolate
  • Where I got it : Bottle Jockey / N.Bby
  • How much: $6.85 (after 10% off) – 550ml., February 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: yes
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: 50/50

Visual: Foil sealed cap. Pours super dark brown with a dissipating very small head, a half-sized island with thin ringed retention, steady tight streams.

Nose: sweet caramel, light roasted barley malt, a bit of bourbon booze. (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: flat slick-crisp

Mid-palate: underlying light tangy-sour brightness, tingly CO2, (lvl-6-sweetness), raspberry, brown sugar, roasted barley, woodiness

Finish: lingering maltiness, cardboard, molasses barley exhale

Summary: Quite a bit of tangy fruitness in this one, counterbalanced with sweet roasted barley malt and a bit of bittersweetness at the end. Somewhat lacking in thickness/fullness as well as a creamy mouthfeel. Decent, but not remarkable.

Black Cherry Dessert Wine 2009 – Isabella Winery (Richmond, BC, Canada)

  • My Rating: C-

Black Cherry Dessert Wine 2009 – Isabella Winery, 11% ABV – 375 ml., (Richmond, BC, Canada) (*local BC fruit wine*)

on the back label:

“This is a fun, chillable red wine that offers a hint of spice with just the right amount of sweetness. Ideal with cheesecake or tiramisu.”


  • Style: (Fruit – Black Cherry) Dessert Wine
  • Taste: Very sweet black cherry apple medium throat warmth cloying
  • Where I got it : @Winery
  • How much: $15 (after 15% off) – 375ml., January 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to dessert wine aficionados: nah

Visual: (cellared for 7 years), real cork intact. Pours rich deep blood red, a few micro bubbles along the perimeter.

Nose: dense syrupy/jammy sweet black cherry with some tanginess. (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: sticky fruity dense

Mid-palate: (lvl-10-sweetness), black cherry-red apple hybrid, plum-dark fruit

Finish: residual wave of cloying sugars, throat warmth, mild throat soreness from the sugar

Summary: The first sip or two are very sweet, but after your palate becomes acclimated the fruit flavours emerge. Not that graceful nor balanced.

Gabbie’s Premium Semi-Dry Cider – Ravenskill Orchards (Gabriola Island, BC, Canada) 

  • My Rating: [C+]

Gabbie’s Premium Semi-Dry Cider – Ravenskill Orchards, 6.5% ABV, 750 ml., (Gabriola Island, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft cider*)

On the front-right label:

“Gabbie’s premium ‘Semi-Dry’ cider is handcrafted in a traditional ‘old-world’ style using ‘new world’ techniques. A perfect blend of distinctive flavour and colourfully named apple varieties such as Yarlington Mill, Newtown Pippin, Kingston Black & Porter’s Perfection.”


  • Style: (semi-dry) Apple Cider
  • Taste: Clean crisp filtered semi-dry apple juice white wine notes tart finish
  • Where I got it : Brewery Creek / Vancouver
  • How much: $18.40 CAD (after 10% off) – 750 ml., March 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to cider aficionados: too ordinary

Visual: Wrinkly paper sticker label. Pours clear dirty yellow with no head, very loose clusters of slow steady streams.

Nose: filtered apple juice, floral perfume (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: very crisp bite, tingly CO2

Mid-palate: clean filtered apple juice, background tangy acidity, (lvl-3-sweetness), chardonnay notes

Finish: tartness, lingering apple aromas, off-dryness

Summary: Pretty ordinary actually, nothing in the flavour strikes me as “premium” at all. It’s clean and direct from start to finish – mainly apple with a hint of wine, but the taste certainly doesn’t justify the price at $20/bottle.

Pumpkin Ale – Laurelwood Brewing Co. (Portland, OR, USA)

Pumpkin Ale (aka Stingy Jack Pumpkin Ale) – Laurelwood Brewing Company, 7.5% ABV – 25 IBU, 22 oz., (Portland, Oregon, USA)

on the front-right label:

Laurelwood Pumpkin Ale is brewed using pumpkin puree and a blend of seasonal spices creating a smooth and robust amber ale.”


  • Style: (flavoured – pumpkin, spices) Spiced Ale
  • Taste: Heavily clove-cinnamon-nutmeg spiced pumpkin sweet toffee malt gaggy finish
  • Where I got it : Bainbridge Liquor / Burnaby
  • How much: $8.75 CAD (after 10% off) – 22 oz., February 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: nah, didn’t love it

Visual: Pours clear copper brown with a very small dissipating head, just a touch of lacing, thick ring of retention, steady spread out clusters of activity.

Nose: cinnamon-nutmeg-clove trifecta mixed with toffee malts and baked pie crust (lvl-6)-intensity

Attack: crisp numbing bite, incoming sticky sweetness

Mid-palate: cascading creamy-tingly mouthfeel, (lvl-7-sweetness), toffee barley malt, pumpkin

Finish: residual cloying sweetness, soft hopped pie spiced bitterness mixed with toffee’d barley malt.

Summary: A ton of pumpkin pie spices but an overly sweet drinking experience halfway through the bottle. The lingering spices at the finish leaves a somewhat unpleasant gag reflex, for me at least anyway.

Stone Stochasticity Project – HiFi+LoFi Mixtape – Stone Brewing Co. (San Diego, CA, USA)

Stone Stochasticity Project – HiFi+LoFi Mixtape, A blend of fresh and barrel-aged ales – Stone Brewing Company, 8.8% ABV, 750 ml., (San Diego, California, USA)

“Fresh and vintage tracks combine for the perfect liquid playlist.

Even before the science of beer was fully understood, those seeking the present the finest iteration of an ale had their ways of ensuring flavors and textures that were a cut above. In Britain, pub owners kept ‘stock ales’ on hand, beers that had been left to mature in vats or oak barrels. During this aging period, the beers would mellow and occasionally develop a twinge of tartness. These publicans were unaware of the oxidative or microbiological reasons for such changes, but found that blending some of their stock ales with  fresh beers-which tended to be overly bitter and smoky-made ideal quaffs for their patrons. For this beer, we have taken a page from this tale of British pub life and blended a stock ale aged more than three months in oak foudres (large wooden fermentation vessels more commonly used by vintners) with a fresh version of that beer to create a perfect harmony spanning end to end on the taste spectrum”


  • Style: (Barrel-aged – 3+ months in Oak Foudres) American Strong Ale
  • Taste: Boozy sweet heavy barley malt backgound citrus tangy bitter hops oaked backdrop
  • Where I got it : High Point Liquor / Vancouver
  • How much: $13.70 CAD (after 15% off) – 22 oz., February 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: best if shared because it is heavy

Visual: Pours translucent frosty orange-brown with barley any head, ringed retention with a big island, a mix of fast and slow streams, no surprise actually.

Nose: boozy caramel barley malts, like a barleywine, a touch of sourness. (lvl-4)-intensity

Attack: micro-creamy smooth mouthfeel

Mid-palate: (lvl-7-sweetness), background tangy citrus, heavy boozy toasted barley malt, tangy-zingy alcohol, subtle smoky

Finish: oaky backdrop, residual barley malt sweet, lingering bitter hops.

Summary: Very smooth entry, a burst of heavy alcoholic barley malts in the mids that is nicely balanced with some tangy bitter hops and an oaky backdrop. Halfway through though it definitely drinks heavy – a bit too alcoholic and sweet if there’s no salty food to go along with it.