秋田美桜酵母ビール (Akita Biyōkōbo Beer) – 湖畔の杜ビール (Kohan no Mori Beer) (Akita, Japan)

秋田美桜酵母ビール (Akita Biyōkōbo Beer) – Kohan no Mori Beer, 5.5% ABV, 330 ml., (Akita, Japan)

on the front:

“桜の木に住んでいた自然酵母の力をかりました”, which I translate as:

“We borrowed the natural power of the yeast living in the cherry blossom tree”

  • Style: Sour/Wild Lager?
  • Taste: Smooth crisp bite apple sweet lager barley malt gentle hints of sour
  • Where I got it : Tokyo
  • How much: ¥450 ($5.70 CAD) – 330 ml.,  September 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: nah

Visual: Pours almost clear golden yellow with a decent sized foamy head, a 2mm layer of retention, mostly thick sticky lacing.

Nose: lager barley malts, hints of apple. (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: crisp, fruity barley malt

Mid-palate: (lvl-5-sweetness), light citrusy-grainy lager barley malt, mild wild yeasty tanginess

Finish: clean, trace amounts of bitter hops.

Summary: Not quite sure the exact style, but definitely not a spiced/herb/veg beer. It drinks like a hybrid ale mouthfeel body/lager barley malt and just a touch of sourness from the wild yeast. Mildly interesting, very drinkable.

Puck The Beer Petite Saison – North Coast Brewing (Fort Bragg, CA, USA)

Puck The Beer Petite Saison – North Coast Brewing, 4% ABV, 12 oz., (Fort Bragg, California, USA)

description from ratebeer.com

“First brewed to celebrate our 25th anniversary, the beer now known as PUCK, a petite saison of just over 4% ABV, won a place in our hearts and in our year-round portfolio of beers. Brewed with premium Pils and wheat malts and fermented with the same yeast strain used to make our renowned Saison, Le Merle, Puck is sharp and spritzy with a delicious flowery, spicy dry-hop aroma—the perfect accompaniment to any celebration, big or small.

  • Style: (session) Saison
  • Taste: Sessionable crisp mandarin orange grainy lager malt slight tart rough
  • Where I got it : Legacy Liquor / Vancouver
  • How much: $3.50 CAD (7.5% off) – 12 oz.,  September 2015
  • Do I love this enoughto drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: sessionable and forgettable

Visual: Pours golden orange-yellow with no real lasting head, a thin hazy layer of retention, singular small bubble streams all around.

Nose: orange citrusy barley malt, notes of florals and honey. (lvl-3)-pungency

Attack: super crisp bite, thinner body entry

Mid-palate: (lvl-5-sweetness), mandarin orange, grainy lager malt, tingly-fizzy CO2, short sour tangy

Finish: light metallic pils malt, subtle bitter hops, mild wheat malt rough

Summary: Very nice execution of a 4% beer – good crisp drinkability with orangy malt flavour with just enough depth of body. A bit thin at the start but picks up in the mids and finishes with a gentle hop bitterness. Good quality but not exceptional.

Freigeist Geisterzug Quince Gose – Freigeist Bierkultur (Stolberg, Germany)

Freigeist Geisterzug Quince Gose – Freigeist Bierkultur, 5.2% ABV, 0.5L., (Stolberg, Germany)

on the back label:

“Freigeist is an experimental offshoot of Cologne’s revolutionary small brewery, Braustelle. Here we strive to break the chains of industrial brewing by reviving, and updating, Germany’s unique, historical beer styles.

Based on Freigeist’s ancient spruced gose recipe, Geisterzug Quince features all the complexity, funkiness, and body of the original, but goes one step further by adding tart & flavorful real quince during fermentation.”


  • Style: (flavoured – quince) Gose
  • Taste: Crisp lemon curd milky wheat malt grainy barley balanced sourness
  • Where I got it : Legacy Liquor / Vancouver
  • How much: $10.20 CAD (5% off) – 0.5L., May 2016
  • Do I love this enoughto drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes, it’s a quality beer

Visual: Pours deep golden yellow with a large dissipating frothy head, 2mm layer of fine foamy retention, loose clusters of fast active streams.

Nose: apricot-peachy wheat malt, acidic sourness, background farty barnyard(lvl-4)-pungency

Attack: crisp-tart-sour

Mid-palate: tingly-fizzy full CO2 mouthfeel, (lvl-4-sweetness), lemon curd, milky wheat malt, grainy barley malt, controlled sourness, a touch of saltiness

Finish: lemony quince/pear exhale, super subtle low bitter hops

Summary: It’s a sour citrusy wheat ale yes, but they did something special; They expertly controlled the sourness and funk and boosted the flavour with quince to give it a clean and balanced fruity-sour-tart-fizzy drinking experience.

McWilliam’s Hanwood Estate Moscato (NV) – (South Eastern Australia)

  • My Rating: [A-]

McWilliam’s Hanwood Estate Moscato (Non-Vintage), 6.0% ABV, 750ml., (South Eastern Australia)

on the back label:

“With floral aromas, this wine has a delightful bouquet. Its lively palate displays peach, citrus and honey with a full bodied sweetness balanced by a refreshing mouth feel.”

  • Style: (Frizzante – Moscato) White wine
  • Taste: Inviting fruity bright sweet peach pear elderflower tangy
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $15 – 750ml., sometime in 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: sure
  • Would I recommend this to white wine aficionados: just for fun, not to impress

Visual: Twist cap top. Pours with bubbles settled at the bottom of the glass, clear light yellow, no activity.

Nose: bright fruity floral notes of peachy pear and touch of elderflower. (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: bright welcoming fruitiness

Mid-palate: (lvl-7-sweetness), peach, pear, elderflower, tangy lemon-lime acidity,

Finish: light tart, trace amounts of cloying sugar, onset of heartburn

Summary: Super playfully fruity controlled sweet and hardly expensive. Recommended for parties, with a meal, or as a palate cleanser, this one is extremely easy to drink. Might cause heartburn for some.

Boxer Hard Root Beer – Minhas Craft Brewery (Monroe, WI, USA)

Boxer Hard Root Beer – Minhas Craft Brewery, 5.5% ABV, 330 ml., (Monroe, Wisconsin, USA)

  • Style: (flavoured – Root Beer) Spiced Beer
  • Taste: Generic root beer vanilla nutmeg cane sugar heavy sweet heartburn
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $13.85 CAD – 6x330ml., April 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: for root beer and soda lovers

Visual: 6pack of 330ml. Pours dark root beer brown with large soda CO2 bubbles clinging to the side of the glass, no head, clusters of active streams.

Nose: big artificial root beer soda, cane sugar (lvl-8)-pungency

Attack: thicker-slick mouthfeel, crisp burpy soda CO2

Mid-palate: (lvl-8-sweetness), cane sugar, artificial root beer flavouring, big nutmeg numbness,

Finish: molasses sweet, huge vanilla, mildly cloying, onset of heartburn.

Summary: The taste and mouthfeel is that of a soda instead of a beer, giving me a impression of a Barq’s/A&W/Mugs, mostly artificial (no wintergreen/sarsaparilla/sassafras). It does however taste rather good with the vanilla, molasses, cane sugar, and blend of other subtle spices. This is easy to kick back with a meal or just to quench your thirst. Warning though, it is sweet like a soda and may those who are prone to it heartburn. Much better than mixed vodka and root beer.

Craft Cider – Dominion Cider Co. (Summerland, BC, Canada)

Craft Cider – Dominion Craft Cider Co., 6.5% ABV, 500ml, (Summerland, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft cider*)

on the front-right label:

“Small-batch craft cider made with heirloom apples in Summerland, BC.

We named our cidery after the Dominion Experimental Farms, an agricultural network stretching from coast to coast created in the late 1800s to support Canadian farmers. Dominion Experimental Farms has more than a century of history in Summerland, BC, where we make our cider today. It’s a name that means collaboration, innovation and heritage – values that inspire us a Dominion Cider Co.

We produce our cider on our family farm with heritage apple varieties that have be cultivated in the Okanagan for generations. Taste the distinctive flavours of the region with us.”


  • Style: Apple Cider
  • Taste: Clean crisp tangy lightly sweet red apple
  • Where I got it : Brewery Creek / Vancouver
  • How much: $7.80 CAD (after 10% off) – 500ml., March 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to cider aficionados: nothing extravagant

Visual: Pours clear light golden yellow with no head, micro bubbles along the perimeter, singular steady streams.

Nose: red apple juice with a touch of yeasty acidity – very clean (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: big crisp bite, off-dry entry

Mid-palate: (lvl-2-sweetness), hints of green apple, tangy light acidity, clean red apple juice, tingly-light bubbly CO2, apple peel

Finish: light tartness, apple juice exhale

Summary: A pretty straightforward and clean red apple cider experience. Underneath the clean flavour there is a touch of apple peel subtlety along with the a sparkling wine-like bubbly acidic backbone. Still, it’s not a cider I will remember.

Espresso Stout – Brasserie Trois Dames (Saint-Croix, Switzerland)

Espresso Stout (aka La Semeuse espresso stout) – Brasserie Trois Dames, 7.2% ABV, 33 cl., (Saint-Croix, Switzerland)

  • Style: (flavoured – espresso) Stout
  • Taste: Bright coffee fruity low roast sweet barley malt coffee exhale
  • Where I got it : Brewery Creek / Vancouver
  • How much: $6 CAD (10% off) – 375ml., April 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: definitely a unique espresso stout

Visual: (cellared for 3 years). Pours ultra dark brown with a superfine micro layer of head, cascading waves of micro streams all around.

Nose: sweet medium roast nutty coffee, chocolate barley malt. (lvl-7)-pungency

Attack: NO2-like flatish, immediate coffee light sour

Mid-palate: cold brew-like coffee fruity, (lvl-5-sweetness), light roasted barley malt

Finish: root beer/cola malty, dark chocolate, coffee exhale, residual roasty bittersweet

Summary: This is a cool espresso stout – not at all what you might expect. Predominately bright with fruity coffee acidity, the roasted dark notes take a back seat in this surprisingly easy 7.2%. Great stuff.

Saison Rustique – Brasserie Dunham (Dunham, QC, Canada)

Saison Rustique – Brasserie Dunham, 6% ABV – 38 IBU – 750 ml., (Dunham, Quebec, Canada)

  • Style: Saison
  • Taste: Floral peachy prickly wheat malt stealth bitter hops
  • Where I got it : Legacy Liquor / Vancouver
  • How much: $12.80 CAD (after 5% off) – 750 ml., May 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: good quality beer

Visual: Pours cloudy light orange with a large lasting fine foamy head with sticky lacing, fantastic layer of retention, suspended sediment.

Nose: banana wheat malt, peach, light chamomile,  (lvl-3)-pungency

Attack: crisp, background acidity

Mid-palate: background sour, subtle funk, (lvl-3-sweetness), prickly spices, tangy peachy-banana wheat malt,

Finish: stealth bitter hops

Summary: Supremely drinkable and goes very nice with a meal. Good complexity with the fruity peach flavour being the standout.

Lux German-Style Helles Lager – Ninkasi Brewing Co. (Eugene, OR, USA)

Lux German-Style Helles Lager – Ninkasi Brewing Company, 5.0% ABV – 12 fl.oz., (Eugene, Oregon, USA)

on the back label:

Illuminate your palate with this traditional German-style lager. Brewed with premium Pilsner malt and bittered with Hallertau hops, this Helles lager pours champagne in color. Bright, crisp and satisfying, enliven any occasion with Lux.”

  • Style: Helles Lager
  • Taste: Clean crisp sweet lager malt light tangy honey soft bitter hops
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $2.75 CAD (after 7.5% off) – 12 fl.oz., September 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: I’ve had 2 and that’s enough

Visual: Pours light straw yellow, minimal head, thin ringed retention with a medium island, tight clusters of micro streams.

Nose: clean sweet lager malt, mild fart (lvl-3)-pungency

Attack: sharp crispy clean bite

Mid-palate: tingly CO2 mouthfeel, (lvl-3-sweetness), light density grainy pils malt, subtle honey tangy,

Finish: soft gentle bitter hops, lingering sweet barley malt finish.

Summary: Clean and crisp, a very drinkable lager with more depth than and body than the big brews. Not my favourite style but this one is nice and rounded.

Smoked Porter – Stone Brewing Co. (San Diego, CA, USA)

Smoked Porter – Stone Brewing Company, 5.9% ABV, 750 ml., (San Diego, California, USA)

  • Style: (smoked) Porter
  • Taste: Deep roasted subtle smoky dark chocolate barley malt coffee bittersweet hops
  • Where I got it : Bainbridge Liquor / Burnaby
  • How much: $9.30 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: ’tis good

Visual: Pours dark walnut brown with a smallish dissipating head, thin ringed microfine retention, micro streams all around.

Nose: brown sugar barley malts, caramel. (lvl-6)-intensity

Attack: smooth-crisp

Mid-palate: roasted barley malt with underlying coffee sourness, dark chocolate, (lvl-5-sweetness),

Finish: bitter roast, bitter hops,

Summary: The complexity is certainly there and the flavour transitions are seamlessly smooth. Some smoke, but rather reserved and refined – Great balance and finesse.