Raj Mahal India Ale – Off the Rail Brewing Co. (Vancouver, BC, Canada)

Raj Mahal India Ale – Off The Rail Brewing Company, 5.0% ABV – 38 IBUs, 650 ml., (Vancouver, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft beer*)

Canadian brewing awards 2016 Gold Medal

Ingredients: water, barley, hops, yeast, kaffir lime leaf, lemongrass

  • Style: (flavoured – kaffir lime, lemongrass) India Pale Ale
  • Taste: Uneventful tangy citrus grainy barley malt
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: ~$6.50 CAD – 650 ml., mid 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: nah, no gold medal from me

Visual: Pours translucent golden orange with no real head, just a bit of a spotty island, a few singular slow streams.

Nose: light fart, subtle rosey barley malt. (lvl-2)-intensity

Attack: crisp, incoming malt

Mid-palate: bright medium citrusy tangy, toffee barley malt, (lvl-4-sweetness), thinnish mouthfeel, slightly tangy kaffir lime leaf

Finish: tingly mouthfeel, subtle lemongrass, grassy grainy metallic barley malt, background soft bitter hops

Summary: If this one won the CBA 2016 Gold Medal, then all the others must have been really lackluster. This is just a bit above average; the lemongrass is barely there and the kaffir lime leaf only seems to keep it at the same level as opposed to kicking it up a notch.

Sikera (Apple-Icewine) – Isabella Winery (Richmond, BC , Canada)

  • My Rating: FAIL

Sikera (apple wine & Icewine blend) – Isabella Winery, 11% ABV – 200 ml., (Richmond, BC, Canada) (*local BC fruit wine*)

on the back label:

“A truly unique wine. This tantalizing blend of apples and Icewine is full of flavours that are reminiscent of apple pie. Exquisite with cheese or delightful on its own.”


  • Style: (Apple wine + Icewine blend) Dessert Wine
  • Taste: Moldy cloying sweet apple syrup generic icewine
  • Where I got it : @Winery
  • How much: $10 (after 15% off) – 200 ml., January 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to dessert wine aficionados: never

Visual: (cellared for at least 3 years), real cork intact. Pours deep brandy orange, clear as water.

Nose: syrupy apple juice, icewine grapey density. (lvl-8)-pungency

Attack: thick incoming sugars

Mid-palate: background rotten fruit/mold (I suspect from the cork), (lvl-10-sweetness), dense apple juice, generic sweet grapey icewine

Finish: very cloying sugars, apple juice exhale, residual light tangy

Summary: Very basic apple sweetness with some icewine notes, but there’s no structure or complexity to it, just cloying. To top it off it had a moldy flavour to it which got somewhat covered up by the sugars. The last 50mls were a drain pour. Absolutely awful.

GoT Three-eyed Raven – Brewery Ommegang (Cooperstown, NY, USA)

Game of Thrones #5 Three-eyed Raven (Dark Saison Ale), 7.2% ABV, 750 ml., (Cooperstown, NY, USA)

-What does beer and Game of Thrones have to do with each other? Absolutely nothing; do I care? Absolutely not! I love GoT and Ommegang so of course I have to try this.

on the front-right label:

“From the darkness I watch you. All of you, all of your lives, with a thousand eyes, and one. Abiding in the shadows of this dark saison lie beguiling and entrancing aromas and flavors – girded by crisp, lasting herbal hop notes, and a yeasty, spicy finish. Pour slowly, to not disturb yeast sediment, but with vigor to make a luxurious head and free the bouquet.


  • Style: (Dark) Saison
  • Taste: Sour tangy panela barley malt banana wheat malt airy toasty prune roasted exhale
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $12.40 CAD – 750 ml., February 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: interesting but not memorable

Visual: Hefty bottle, corked with a twisty steel cap. Pours dark cola brown with a large frothy head, good retention, just a bit of lacing, clusters of active streams.

Nose: lightly caramelized banana wheat malt, slight cotton candy (lvl-4)-pungency

Attack: crisp-smooth, light tingly fizzy

Mid-palate: panela barley malt, tangy banana wheat airy, (lvl-7-sweetness), toasty bready, dark fruit-prune, medium tangy-sour

Finish: light roasted malt exhale

Summary: Quite an interesting taste profile of tangy brown sugary banana wheat malt – all the while smooth and at a potent ABV. It’s just a bit too sour-tangy in the mids for my liking.

Jack Hammer Ruthless IPA – Brewdog (Scotland)

Jack Hammer Ruthless India Pale Ale, 7.2% ABV, 330ml., (Ellon, Scotland)

description from ratebeer.com:

Ruthless India Pale Ale

Start with a colossal grapefruit aroma. Pile on bitterness after thumping bitterness, and ride the anarchy wherever it takes you. The caramel razor is sharp, but the resinous bite drills straight through your taste buds.

For blitzing the mediocre, raising hell and revelling in the aftermath, Jack Hammer is the end of the line. The hopped-up, pucker-mouthed terminal extreme of craft brewing. This beer is bitter. Very bitter. If you push that button, don’t say we didn’t warn you…

OG: 1069
IBU’s: Hopped to 200+ theoretical IBUs
Malts: Extra Pale
Hops: Centennial & Columbus, dry hopped with Citra, Amarillo and Simcoe

  • Style: India Pale Ale
  • Taste: Fantastic smooth crisp yellow grapefruit toasty toffee barley malt soft grassy hop long bitter
  • Where I got it : Legacy Liquor / Vancouver
  • How much: $4.75 CAD (after 5% off) – 330ml., November 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes, Brewdog never fails

Visual: Pours marmalade orange with large suspended bits, a very small dissipating head, thin ringed retention with spotty islands, slow sporadic streams.

Nose: super bright orange-grapefruit hop oils (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: thicker-crisp bite

Mid-palate: orange-mango hop oils, controlled zingy alcohol detection, (lvl-6-sweetness), yellow grapefruit, grassy-green hop cones

Finish: tongue numbness, toasty toffee barley malt aftertaste, long bitter hopped finish

Summary: A really, really nice showcase of a quality IPA. Balanced sweet grapefruity malts with a superb smooth-thick mouthfeel, and the hops are bold yet never overbearing. I particularly like the re-emergence of the barley malt at the finish. Very round and profound. Recommended.

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

Freigeist Geisterzug Rhubarb 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 rhubarb during fermentation.”


  • Style: (flavoured – rhubarb) Gose
  • Taste: “chilled lemon tea” – tangy tart soft sour lemon rhubarb berry tea-like barley malt
  • Where I got it : Legacy Liquor / Vancouver
  • How much: $9.65 CAD (5% off) – 0.5L., May 2016
  • Do I love this enoughto drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: quite peculiar

Visual: Pours pale reddish-brown with no head, very thin ringed retention, several slow steady streams.

Nose: iced lemon tea (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: crisp, low CO2, immediate tartness

Mid-palate: more tartness, lemon, rhubarb-red berries, medium sour-tangy subtle pukey, (lvl-4-sweetness), biscuity malt backbone

Finish: a touch salty, dry palate rough, somewhat thin

Summary: Interesting in that the more drink it, the more you want to drink it – the tangy sour fruitiness is satisfying while tart finish yearns for another sip. Strange as it may seem, it tastes like a fruity lemon tea, but barley subbed in for the tea.

2016 Beer Camp Tropical IPA – Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. (Chico, CA, USA)

2016 Beer Camp Tropical IPA – Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. , 6.7% ABV, 55 IBU, 12 fl.oz., (Chico, CA, USA)

printed on front label on the neck:

“This new equatorial IPA features intense hop varietals bursting with aromas reminiscent of island fruit, including notes of mango, papaya and bitter orange, for a tropical take on the IPA.”

on the back label:

“Beer Camp is the perfect way for us to experiment with new flavor directions in beer. Each spring, we feature our favorite collaboration from camp. This year’s selection blends intensely aromatic hop varietals to create an IPA filled with fruit aromas of mango and papaya.”


  • Style: India Pale Ale
  • Taste: Some mango-papaya toffee barley malt lingering bitter hops
  • Where I got it: BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $18.75 – 6×12 fl.oz., June 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: yes
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: I’d buy a single, but not a 6-pack

Visual: 6-pack. Pours translucent deep orange with a very small dissipating head, a thin layer of micro retention, lots of fast steady streams.

Nose: mango hop oils, background toffee barley malt. (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: crisp, thicker-smooth viscosity

Mid-palate: (lvl-5-sweetness), mango-papaya notes, background toffee barley malt

Finish: a touch thin, bitter peel hops, slight grassy, lingering medium bitterness

Summary: Superb creamy smooth entry, compounding bitterness from the hops with each sip. The palate gets fatigued a little over halfway through a 12oz. Decent, but one is enough. I prefer a Ballast Point Sculpin for tropical IPA flavours.

Jardinier – The Bruery (Placentia, CA, USA)

Jardinier (Belgian-style Pale Ale) – The Bruery, 4.9% ABV – 1 pt 9.4 fl.oz., (Placentia, CA, USA)

on the back label:

“Jardinier, which is French for ‘gardener’, was inspired by the fresh, thirst quenching beers on the Belgian dinner table. A perfect beer for any occasion, casual or ornate. Jardinier is best enjoyed fresh. The ideal serving temperature is 45°F (7°C). Best servied in a tulip or wine glass.”


  • Style: Belgian Ale
  • Taste: Creamy crisp soft bodied tangerine wheat malt dry wheat malt
  • Where I got it : Bottle Jockey / N. Burnaby
  • How much: $11.80 CAD (after 12.5% off) – 1 pt. 9.4 fl.oz., February 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: no, only slightly engaging

Visual: Hefty bottle. Pours opaque pale golden orange with a LARGE foamy head, 3mm retention with sticky lacing, barely visible singular micro streams.

Nose: pineapple wheat, Belgian yeasty, tangerine. (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: crisp, foamy-airy CO2, light-bodied entry

Mid-palate: tangy banana wheat malt, yeasty-airy, (lvl-2)-sweetness, background soft bitter hops, tangerine hop oils,

Finish: pineapple exhale, wheat malt palate rough DRY

Summary: Solid quality mouthfeel, decent body for a less than 5%er, good brightness as advertised. Not particularly deep (as expected), some palate roughness in the finish. A table beer indeed, not too interesting.

Sur Amarillo (sour imperial pale ale) – To Øl (Denmark)

Sur Amarillo (sour imperial pale ale) – To Øl, 7.5% ABV, 33 cl., (Copenhagen N, Denmark)

my first To Øl beer which I’m pretty amped up about given that they and Mikkeller share the same roots. Here’s more info about their story on their website.

on the back label:

“Please welcome Sur Amarillo – a Sour Pale Ale brewed with wheat and dry-hopped over and over with Amarillo hops to give a flowerful tart Imperial Pale Ale.”

Ingredients: water, barley malt, wheat, oats, Amarillo hops, yeast.


  • Style: (imperial, pale) Sour Ale
  • Taste: Pink grapefruit citrusy sour light pukey bitter dry hopped
  • Where I got it : High Point / Vancouver
  • How much: $6.50 CAD (after 20% off) – 33 cl., February 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes, wicked complexity

Visual: Pours cloudy opaque dirty orange/brown with a small 1cm head, a thick fine layer of lasting retention, fast loose clusters of streams.

Nose: bright fragrant citrus hop oils (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: creamy, sharp crisp bite, incoming sour

Mid-palate: smooth CO2, puckery pukey pink grapefruit sour, (lvl-4-sweetness), background citrusy sweet barley malt

Finish: subtle banana wheat malt, residual light tartness, dry bitter hops

Summary: Wow, such an interesting beer put together with distinct elements that transition perfectly. The barley-oats-wheat combo has transformed into a sour-citrusy grapefruit hop bomb – very cool. After having tasted just over a 1000 beers, I’m delighted that there are still unique styles I have yet to try.

Pearsuasion – Forbidden Fruit Winery (Cawston, BC, Canada)

Pearsuasion Dry Pear Table Wine 2008 – Forbidden Fruit Winery, 11.5% ABV, 750 ml., (Cawston, BC, Canada) (*local BC wine*)

on the back label:

“Pearsuasion, our dry Asian Pear table wine, is hand cr afted from Shinseiki and Kosui Asian Pears, grown in the pristine Similkameen Valley.

The ancient Greek poet Homer, in his legendary mythology tale, The Odyssey, described pears, ‘as the gift of the Gods’ and the Roman Goddess of fruit, Pomona, is said to have originally persuaded the local farmers to grow these delicate fruits. Aged briefly with French oak, this golden wine announces bold aromas of fresh pears and citrus. The delicate flavours in our Pearsuasion speak poetically of melting ripe pears, lemongrass, and oak, with a light, smooth, dry finish. This fresh, crisp wine pairs itself beautifully with fresh salads, creamy pastas, light means and cheeses, and on its own slightly chilled.”


  • Style: (dry table wine – Shinseiki & Kosui Asian Pears) Fruit Wine
  • Taste: Clean fruity pear apple soft tangy/acidic bright subtle woody
  • Where I got it : Liquor Depot / N. Burnaby
  • How much: $18 CAD – 650 ml., sometime in 2010
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to fruit wine aficionados: not too exciting

Visual: (2008 vintage, cellared for 8 years). Cork intact. Pours clear medium yellow no bubbles and no sediment.

Nose: clean 65/35 apple juice/pear hybrid. (lvl-4)-pungency

Attack: tangy soft acidic bite

Mid-palate: clean fruity fleshy pear and peel, (lvl-2-sweetness), fruity brightness, apple, hints of lemongrass

Finish: light woody apple exhale, soft tart off-dry residual sugars, lingering fruitness.

Summary: This one is all about big bright fruitness – it tastes like an apple-pear mix with just a enough sugars and acidity to balance it out. It drank best for me at 16°C. Clean but too basic after a glass and half.

Vanderghinste Roodbruin – Brouwerij Omer Vanderghinste (Bellegem, Belgium)

Vanderghinste Roodbruin – Brouwerij Omer Vanderghinste, 5.5% ABV, 25 cl., (Bellegem, Belgium)

on the back label:

“Beer of mixed fermentation, matured in oaken barrels for 18 months. Brewed since 1982.”

  • Style: (Flemish) Sour/Wild Ale
  • Taste:
  • Where I got it : Bottle Jockey / N. Burnaby
  • How much: $3.95 (after 12.5% off) – 25 cl., February 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: sure, quite balanced

Visual: Pours clear light root beer brown with a bit of a dissipating head, medium ringed retention, mixed fast and steady active streams.

Nose: sour pukey, cherry notes, malty backbone. (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: crisp-fizzy, incoming sour

Mid-palate: tingly CO2, med-high puckery sour, light pukey cherry-prune, (lvl-7-sweetness), woody brown sugar barley malt

Finish: lingering dissipating acidity, residual fruity cloying sweetness, palate roughness

Summary: Big sourness right from the get go, balanced well with fruity but cloying sweetness and woody oaked malts. The sugars become heavy about halfway through, but it’s still a quality brew with history. A good flemish, not as good as Duchesse de Bourgogne FWIR [B+].