Soul Style IPA – Green Flash Brewing Co. (San Diego, CA, USA)

Soul Style IPA – Green Flash Brewing Company, 6.5% ABV – 75 IBU, 12 fl. oz., (San Diego, California, USA)

on the front-right label:

Our brewers rip-creating huge and complex double and triple IPAs at the pinnacle of craft beer enlightenment. Soul Style IPA is their effortless and pure manifestation of the single IPA. Simcoe, Citra and Cascade hops are layered, allowing bright tropical waves of flavorful citrus and floral notes to break gently on the palate. Get stoked on a laid back single and ride the wave to soothe your soul.” Best by 23 APR 16


  • Style: India Pale Ale
  • Taste: Even balanced sweet malt/citrus hop/light grassy oil medium sharp bitter hops
  • Where I got it : Bottle Jockey / N.Bby
  • How much: $3.50 (after 12.5% off) – 12 fl.oz., March 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: not in my top 5

Visual: Pours clear light copper orange with a medium lasting head, 1mm retention, lots of singular steady micro streams.

Nose: tangerine-mild peach hop oils, background malts.(lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: crisp, smooth fine CO2, immediate soft bitter

Mid-palate: (lvl-5-sweetness), sweet barley malt, bright tangerine citrus hops

Finish: resiny-grassy, medium sharp long lingering bitter grapefruit hopped finish.

Summary: (mine had Best by 23 APR 16). A good even balance of malt and hops while showcasing a decent amount of tangerine brightness from the hops. The length and depth of the citrus aren’t particularly noteworthy however.

2015 Celebration Fresh Hop IPA – Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. (Chico, CA, USA)

2015 Celebration Fresh Hop IPA – Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. , 6.8% ABV, 12 fl.oz., (Chico, CA, USA)

on the bottle neck:

“A special ale for the holidays, Celebration IPA features the first hops of the growing season. This pioneering ale is full of complex flavors and aromas from the generous taste of whole-cone American hops.”

on the back label:

“We first brewed Celebration IPA in the winter of 1981. Each year, we use only the first fresh hops of the growing season to create this complex and robust ale. Layered pine and citrus hop aromas balance delicately against the rich, malt sweetness to shape this bold wintertime classic.”


  • Style: India Pale Ale
  • Taste: Sweet toasty biscuity barley malt light tangy pine dandelion medium bitter hops
  • Where I got it: Bottle Jockey / N. Bby
  • How much: $3.50 (after 12.5% off) – 12 fl.oz., February 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: yes
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: not really

Visual: Pours dark copper brown with a small dissipating head, ringed retention with almost a full layer, singular tight steady streams.

Nose: faint generic light citrus hop oils, faint barley malt. (lvl-2)-pungency

Attack: crisp bite, tingly-micro-fizzy

Mid-palate: toasted biscuity barley malt (lvl–sweetness), tangy-almost lemony citrus, medium bitterness

Finish: pine, dandelion, lingering bitter hops on the tongue.

Summary: Is this really a fresh hop IPA? I don’t get any green in the hops at all; The barley malt body is quite big and almost too aggressive without letting any fresh hop shine through. Overall it’s above average, but unstructured and incoherent at points. (10/31/16 Note: mine had a packaged date of 10/19/15 so that’s undoubtedly why I didn’t get fresh hop oils in it.)

Passion Fruit Kicker – Green Flash Brewing Co. (San Diego, CA, USA)

Passion Fruit Kicker – Green Flash Brewing Company, 5.5% ABV – 5 IBU, 12 fl. oz., (San Diego, California, USA)

on the front-right label:

We’ve kicked it up a notch by adding a tropical twist to this refreshing ale. Get amped on Passion Fruit Kicker—a jaw-dropping, mouth-watering, smooth brew with sweet, tart, fruity flavor. We layer passion fruit tea and passion fruit juice with wheat malt and 2-row malted barley to bring you this exhilarating crowd pleaser. Your palate will do a 360 for more of this luscious wheat ale.


  • Style: (flavoured – passion fruit tea, passion fruit juice) Wheat Ale
  • Taste: Juicy fruity passion fruit pineapple soft tart-tangy subtle tea minor palate roughness
  • Where I got it : High Point / Vancouver
  • How much: $2.70 (after 20% off) – 12 fl.oz., October 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: worth a go

Visual: Pours translucent yellow straw orange without much of a head, thin ringed retention

Nose: soft sour-tangy, very light fruity funk, real passionfruit juice(lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: medium-tart, soft crisp bite

Mid-palate: juicy passion fruit, (lvl-3-sweetness), pineapple, wheat malt, passion fruit seeds

Finish: subtle dried tea notes, wheat malt palate roughness, soft lingering sour-tangy

Summary: Very juicy and bright fruity, and very little if any funk/pukiness that you would expect from the passion fruit additions – well done. Mostly clean except for a bit of manageable palate roughness at the finish.

Imperial Russian Stout – Brouwerij Emelisse (Netherlands)

Imperial Russian Stout – Brouwerij Emelisse, 11% ABV, 33 cl., (Kamperland, Netherlands)

  • Style: Imperial Stout
  • Taste: Superbly hidden ABV smooth thick composed sweet roasted barley malt cocoa bittersweet finish
  • Where I got it : Bainbridge Liquor / Vancouver
  • How much: $5.70 CAD (after 10% off) – 33 cl., February 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: worth a try

Visual: Pours jet black with a small slowly dissipating head, micro fine ringed retention with a medium island, barely visible far scattered super slow micro streams.

Nose: sweet medium roast barley malt, molasses, hints of vanilla. (lvl-7)-pungency

Attack: half thick-slick, subtle crisp

Mid-palate: medium-heavy thick barley malts, (lvl-7-sweetness), medium woody roast, cocoa,

Finish: background alcohol tangy on the tongue, soft burnt bittersweet, half licorice notes, vanilla, lingering roasted barley notes

Summary: 11% ABV nowhere to be seen –  almost completely hidden alcohol unless you look for it. Impressively balanced sip from start to finish. It doesn’t have particularly bold flavours but what is noticeable about this one is its agreeable entry and its firm body. Great composure.

Chaider Spiced Chai – Schilling Hard Cider (Auburn, WA, USA)

Chaider Spiced Chai – Schilling Company, 6.2% ABV, 22 fl.oz., (Auburn, Washington, USA)

Ingredients: Fresh pressed apple juice, custom organic Dragonfly Chai Mix (Rooibos, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Clove, Black Pepper, Ginger, Proprietary Spice Blend), Yeast.

  • Style: (spiced – chai spices) Apple Cider
  • Taste: Easy-going pronounced cinnamon-clove juicy apple-pear
  • Where I got it : Uwajimaya / Seattle
  • How much: $7.88 USD = $10.18 CAD – 22 fl.oz., October 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to cider aficionados: 50/50, it worked for me

Visual: Pours clean apple juice yellow with shade of brown, ringed retention no major head, clusters of slow steady streams.

Nose: huge cinnamon-nutmeg-cardamom-clove spice blend, brown sugar-honey (lvl-10)-pungency

Attack: mild crisp, fruity sweet

Mid-palate: mildly cloying (lvl-7-sweetness), clove, subtle ginger, apple-pear juice, medium tangy-light acidic, light caramelized brown sugar

Finish: soft tart palate roughness, lingering apple juice sugars, light honey, cinnamon bark exhale

Summary: Aromatically gorgeous. Very flavourfully spiced, me being a big fan of masala chai. There’s a bit of dullness in the apple but the spices keep it lively. It goes down very easily.

Road Trip – Lighthouse Brewing (Victoria, BC, Canada)

Road Trip Fresh-Hopped Dark Ale – Lighthouse Brewing, 6.2% ABV, 1 pt. 6 fl.oz., (Victoria, BC, Canada) (*local BC Craft beer*)

on the front-right label:

“Fresh-hopped or wet-hopped beers use fresh, green whole, undried hops directly from the hop bines, and can only be brewed at hop harvest time. Road Trip is an American-style hoppy brown ale brewed this year with Cascade and Chinook hops picked fresh at Chilliwack Hop Farms.”


  • Style: (fresh-hopped) Brown Ale
  • Taste: Sweet brown sugar barley malt background resiny green hops gag reflex finish
  • Where I got it : Liquor Barn / N. Bby
  • How much: $7 (after 10% off) – 650ml., December 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: nah

Visual: Love the artwork, big fan of the Beatles. Pours very dark brown with minimal head, thin ringed retention with a medium island, scattered singular streams.

Nose: sweet brown sugar barley malts, cocoa (lvl-7)-pungency

Attack: very crisp bite

Mid-palate: brown sugar barley malt, (lvl-6-sweetness), airy-green grassy hops,

Finish: low hop bitterness, light toasty barley malt, residual lingering med sweetness, cocoa exhale

Summary: The initial brown sugar malty sweet attack is pleasant but once the hops kick in it becomes too resinous-airy and looses its structure. The finish has a bit of a gag reflex.

Cuvée des Jacobins Rouge – Brouwerij Omer Vanderghinste (Bellegem, Belgium)

Cuvée des Jacobins Rouge – Brouwerij Omer Vanderghinste, 5.5% ABV, 330 ml., (Bellegem, Belgium)

on the neck label:

“a Flanders Red Sour Ale with pronounced sourness offset by a cascade of beautiful, complex flavors. Spontaneous fermentation imbues Rouge with hints of stone fruit, cocoa, apple and cherries. Oak barrels aging for minimum 18 months imparts a gentle vanilla note.”

  • Style: (barrel aged – oak) Flemish Sour/Wile Ale
  • Taste: SOUR puckery acidic light cherry pukey woody red wine vinegar apple tart-dry finish
  • Where I got it : Bottle Jockey / N. Burnaby
  • How much: $5.45 (after 12.5% off) – 330 ml., February 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: high ratings, but nah

Visual: Pours clear copper brown with a smallish head, thick ringed retention, clusters of active micro streams.

Nose: acidic sour woody, pukey cherry-prune (lvl-8)-pungency

Attack: immediate puckery sour, light crisp

Mid-palate: brown sugar , sour cherry, soft pukey-woody, red wine vinegar bright acidic,

Finish: apple exhale, residual acidity, acidic woody tart-sour dry

Summary: Drinks better at cellar temp, though I’m not getting all advertised flavours such as the stone fruit and cocoa. Plenty of acidic sourness but lacking in standout aromatic flavours or punchy depth. A decent sipper but just had a Cascade Kriek [B-] the other day and it was a grade better.

Cascade Kriek Ale 2014 – Cascade Brewing (Portland, OR, USA)

Kriek Ale 2014 Project – “Ale Aged in Oak Barrels with Cherries” – Cascade Brewing, 8.5% ABV, 1 pt. 9.4 fl.oz., (Portland, Oregon, USA)

on the front-left label:

“This NW style sour ale is a blend of Red ales that were aged in oak barrels with cherries for up to 14 months.”


  • Style: (cherry, oak barrel aged) Sour/Wild Ale
  • Taste: HUGE puckery sour wet oak pukey-woody tart cherry-apple cider vinegar jammy barley malt cherry juice raspberry-pomegranate exhale
  • Where I got it : High Point / Vancouver
  • How much: $43.70 CAD (after 20% off) – 1 pt. 9.4 fl.oz., October 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: price:enjoyment ratio, no

Visual: 2014 Vintage, Hefty bottle, twisty wire cap and composite cork with their name stamp. Bottle-conditioned. Pours clear cherry wood reddish brown without much of head, thin ring with a couple of islands, clusters of micro active streams.

Nose: pukey caramelized brown sugar, tangy red wine vinegar, sour cherry-apple (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: crisp-big SOUR and big TARTNESS

Mid-palate: background pervasive wet woodiness, cherry & apple cider vinegar, ACIDIC-tangy, jammy (lvl-5-sweetness), puckery sour red cherry juice, caramelized barley malt

Finish: unsettling in the stomach, sour raspberry-pomegranate juice fruity exhale

Summary: The 2nd Cascade offering I’ve had the pleasure to try, the 1st being their Apricot [C+]. Yes, complex but again, so puckery sour this has to be minutely sipped. I’m liking the wet oaked woodiness and the dark fruity notes are nice, but I can’t fully endorse it as it just doesn’t hit the proper notes for me. Too vinegary acidic sour, not bright nor refreshing enough.

Strawberry Rhubarb Wine – Rossignol Estate Winery (PEI, Canada)

  • My Rating: [B]

Strawberry Rhubarb – Rossignol Estate Winery, 12% ABV – 750 ml., (Murray River, Prince Edward Island, Canada)

  • Style: (Strawberry, Rhubarb) Fruit Wine
  • Taste: Tangy dense caramelized strawberry jam subtle tart vanilla raspberry
  • Where I got it : ordered from their website/phone
  • How much: $21 CAD (after S&H) – 750 ml., March 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: might put in another later
  • Would I recommend this to fruit wine aficionados: sure

Visual: Non-vintage, cellared for 3 years. Pours clear golden marmalade orange with a few micro bubbles settled at the bottom of the glass.

Nose: tangy sweet strawberry jam, hints of vanilla. (lvl-7)-intensity

Attack: incoming big fruity sweetness-

Mid-palate: half-cloying (lvl-8-sweetness), tangy strawberry jam, subtle rhubarb tart, caramelized fruit sugar

Finish: light alcohol heat, hints of vanilla, raspberry exhale, mild watery viscosity

Summary: Super fruity, a bit cloying but lots of likeable strawberry-raspberry character with just a bit of spice and tartness. Very sippable, quite delicious.

Royal Jamaican Alcoholic Ginger Beer – Big City Brewing (Kingston, Jamaica)

Royal Jamaican Alcoholic Ginger Beer – Big City Brewing Company, 5% ABV, 330ml., (Kingston, Jamaica)

info from

“Brewed using the finest Jamaican Ginger, considered to be the finest in the world. Other ingredients include Cascade hops, Jamaican cane sugar, and Royal Jamaican new crop rum.”

  • Style: (flavoured – Jamaican ginger, cane sugar, rum)
  • Taste: Cane sugary sweet BIG throat heat-warmth soft ginger
  • Where I got it : ??? / Vancouver
  • How much: ~$4 CAD – 330ml., ???
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: no

Visual: Cheap label. Pours pale straw white wine yellow with no head and barely any carbonation.

Nose: ginger beer soda – cane sugar and ginger overtones. (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: light syrupy thicker, low CO2

Mid-palate: big (lvl-9-sweetness), med-high throat HEAT, mellow ginger flavour, cane sugar

Finish: lingering throat warmth, subtle diluted rum caramels

Summary: This drinks like an aggressively sweetened cooler but at least there’s the big ginger throat heat that keeps it interesting texturally. The barley malt is nowhere in sight.