Old Sarsaparilla – Phillips Brewing Co. (Victoria, BC, Canada)

Old Sarsaparilla Root Beer Style Ale – Phillips Brewing Company, 5.0% ABV, 650 ml., (Victoria, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft beer*)

on the front-right label:

“The stranger: Say friend, d;ya have a good sarsaparilla?

Bartender: We’ve got Phillips old sarsaparilla.

The stranger: That’s a good one.”

Ingredients: water, malted barley, hops, sarsaparilla, wintergreen, anise seed, spearmint, licorice, ginger, nutmeg and yeast


  • Style: (root beer spices) Spice/Herb Beer
  • Taste: Mainly toffee barley malt off-dry wintergreen-sarsaparilla-nutmeg exhale no thin carry
  • Where I got it : Legacy liquor / Vancouver
  • How much: $5 (after 10% off) – 650 ml., November 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: nah

Visual: (cellared for 5 years). Pours translucent medium dark copper brown with a dissipating 2mm head, ring and island retention, singular fast loose streams.

Nose: sarsaparilla/wintergreen, hints of nutmeg, caramel malt – quite inviting. (lvl-7)-pungency

Attack: off-dry thin body impression, light crisp

Mid-palate: (lvl-2-sweetness), grainy toffee metallic barley malt dominant

Finish: wintergreen-sarsaparilla exhale, nutmeg, anise seed-licorice, subtle hops, flat no carry residual thin barley malt.

Summary: The initial sips are somewhat disappointing in that you get mainly a toffee barley malt bomb without the accompanied sugar rush you usually get in a beverage label “sarsaparilla/root beer”. Most of the spices are discernible at the finish, quite nice; I’m not liking the thin watery mouthfeel and lack of carry of the barley malt though.

Leifur Nordic Saison – Borg Brugghus (Reykjavik, Iceland)

Leifur Nordic Saison – Borg Brugghus (brewed at Ölgerðin Egill Skallagrímsson), 6.8% ABV, 330ml., (Reykjavik, Iceland)

on the back label:

“LEIFUR is named after t he Icelandic explorer Leifur (the Lucky) Eiriksson the first European to land in North America – almost 500 years before Christopher Columbus. Leifur landed in a luscious place with plentiful salmon, vines and grapes so named the land Vinland.”


  • Style: Saison
  • Taste: Heavy honeyed chamomile slight salty tangy candi barley malt
  • Where I got it : Bottle Jockey / N.Bby
  • How much: $3.95 (after 12.5% off) – 330ml., February 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: nah

Visual: Pours bright marmalade orange with a smallish dissipating head, ringed with spotty island retention, clusters of micro steady streams.

Nose: heavy honeyed barley malt. (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: crisp bite, light tingly-fizz, dense honey malt impression

Mid-palate: honey-chamomile, (lvl-5-sweetness), almost salty alcohol detection, slight tanginess, light candi barley malt

Finish: residual honeyed barley malt

Summary: This drinks more like a Belgian tripel with it’s chamomile honey profile as opposed to the banana-citrusy wheat malt I usually find in typical saisons. There’s also a bit of saltiness in the mids which I found distracting.

Plum Cider – Salt Spring Wild Cider House (Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada)

Plum Cider (blended with apple cider) – Salt Spring Wild Cider House, 6.8% ABV, 750 ml., (Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada) (*local BC cider*)

on the front-left label and a pic of an Italian prune plum:


“Homegrown Italian prune plums straight from our farm and blended with organic apples make this a refreshingly distinct cider. Not too sweet, this unique fruit fusion allows the richness of the plums and the delicate tartness of the apples to shine through. Viva la prugna!”


  • Style: (flavoured – Italian prune plum) Apple Cider
  • Taste: Fizzy-frothy semi-sweet apple juicy straw/raspberry soft tangy acidic
  • Where I got it : Brewery Creek / Vancouver
  • How much: $17.70 CAD (after 10% off) – 750ml., March 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to cider aficionados: non-noteworthy

Visual: Bailer-top resealable cap. Pours slightly hazy rose red with dissipating fizz w/o a head, one tight clusters as well as several single streams.

Nose: grapey-berry apple juice, medium acidic tang. (lvl-4)-pungency

Attack: fizzy, off-dry, tart, fruity apple impression

Mid-palate: (lvl-3-sweetness), tart-tangy sour red apple juice, generic berry/grapish overtones

Finish: tart acidic, medium sour, thin carry

Summary: Despite the quality bottle, label, pricetag and appearance, this drinks rather average at best. Dominated mostly by sour apple, the plum hardly makes an appearance to warrant calling it a “plum cider”.

Salted Caramel Stout – Breakside Brewery (Portland, OR, USA)

Salted Caramel Stout – Breakside Brewery, 6.7% ABV, 1 pt 6 fl.oz., (Portland, Oregon, USA)

from ratebeer.com:

A dessert stout brewed with lactose caramel and fleur de sel, inspired by our friends Tyler & Kim Malek at Salt & Straw. Tyler has been working on perfecting a lactose caramel syrup that mimics the flavor in his sea salt and caramel ice cream. After a few test blends, we’re worried that this might be the most addictive dessert beer ever made.

  • Style: (flavoured – salt, caramel) Stout
  • Taste: Medium sweet caramel light roasted barley malt subtle salt-caramel
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $9.42 CAD – 1 pt. 6 fl.oz., February 2017
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: yes
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: for sure

Visual: Pours ultra dark brown with a creamy 2cm frothy head, sticky lacing, a thin layer of fine retention, singular fast as well as clustered steady micro streams.

Nose: initially light plasticky; sweet roasted barley malt (lvl-4)-pungency

Attack: crisp-creamy-thicker, sweet roasted malt impression

Mid-palate: liquid light roasted barley malt, (lvl-5-sweetness), background balanced stout sour, cascading creaminess, subtle alcohol detection

Finish: slight dark caramel, traces of salt, chocolate, smooth and clean bittersweet light roast

Summary: Extremely drinkable with subtle caramel and even subtler salt and bittersweetness to augment the main stout body. Wished for some vanilla to put it over the top. Still great.

Fameuse 2011 – Rustic Roots Winery (Cawston, BC, Canada)

Fameuse 2011 (apple cider and plum wine blend) – Rustic Roots Winery, 11.5% ABV, 750 ml., (Cawston, BC, Canada) (*local BC cider*)

description from the Rustic Roots website, and a photo of a Fameuse apple and Santa Rosa plums:


“This beautiful sparkling Rosé, made with the Fameuse Apples from the almost Century Old Fameuse Apple tree that stands as our label, is blended with 30% Santa Rosa Plum.  Aromas of Apple Blossom, Strawberry, Raspberry and a touch of caramel are well balanced on the palate with creamy bubbles that roll across the finish.”

  • Style: (flavoured – 30% Santa Rose Plum) Apple Cider
  • Taste: Fizzy-frothy semi-sweet apple juicy straw/raspberry soft tangy acidic
  • Where I got it : Legacy Liquor / Vancouver
  • How much: $23 CAD (after 10% off) – 750ml., September 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to fruit wine aficionados: way, yes way

Visual: (cellared for 6 years). Quality frosted hefty bottle & sturdy cap. Pours light blush pink with a plethora of clustered champagne-like activity, quickly dissipating soda-like 1cm head.

Nose: mainly semi-sweet apple juice with a bit of alcohol detection and slight berry notes. (lvl-4)-pungency

Attack: fizzy-tingly-crisp, fruity slight acidic impression

Mid-palate: fizzy-frothy mouthfeel, green apple, apple wine tangy acidity, (lvl-3-sweetness), mild strawberry, background red apple juice, subtle short sour

Finish: hint of raspberry, lingering tart sticky gums, mild alcoholic bitter, fruity apple exhale

Summary: Full flavour bouquet at 16°C. Lots of lively mouthfeel here with a solid-bodied fruity apple-berry chassis. Its semi-sweet sugar level is appreciated as it doesn’t leave a cloying feeling in the mouth. Would be excellent with a meal.

Organic Apricot Ale – Samuel Smith’s (Tadcaster, England)

Organic Apricot Fruit Ale – Samuel Smith, 5.1% ABV, 550 ml., (Tadcaster, England)

on the back label:

“Handcrafted at Melbourn Bros’ tiny brewery set in a time warp in Stamford using the old manually operated brewing equipment. finest organically grown barley and wheat are used to create a complex ale which having undergone primary and secondary fermentation with different yeasts and extended maturation, is taken to Samuel Smith’s small, independent British brewery at Tadcaster. There it is blended with pure organic apricot fruit juice and a previously cellared organic brew – creating an unparalleled fruit ale. The smooth distinctive character of the matured ale serves as the perfect counterpoint to the pure organic fruit juice.”


  • Style: (Apricot) Fruit Beer
  • Taste: Super apricot fruit forward wheat malt tangy slight sour
  • Where I got it : Firefly / Vancouver
  • How much: $6 (after 10% off) – 550 ml., May 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: yes
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: sure

Visual: (cellared for 4 years). Pours cloudy pale apricot orange with a smallish dissipating head, thick ringed retention, half lacing, clusters and of very active streams.

Nose: fragrant unfiltered tangy apricot puree, slight alcoholic edge. (lvl-9)-pungency

Attack: crisp, thicker, mild fizzy-tingly, bright-fruity tangy

Mid-palate: background subdued barley malt, sweet wheat malt, (lvl-4-sweetness), soft unintrusive sour, very fruity apricot puree

Finish: subtle bitterness, a bit of wheat malt palate dry

Summary: Super fruity and a whole lot of authentic apricot flavour with enough grain malts to balance it out. Very easy drinking, but I find the finish somewhat short.

Ginger Perry – Sea Cider (Saanichton, BC, Canada)

Ginger Perry – Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse, 5.5% ABV, 750ml, (Saanichton, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft cider*)

(no longer available on their website, checked 2/2017)

on the back label:

“Ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg were prized by European explorers. Finding new routes to source these spices led to Cabot’s voyage of discovery in 1497 and Victoria’s early tea culture. Sea Cider pays homage to the history with Ginger Perry, made from the pears of early British Colonialists and the spices traded by our seafaring ancestors. Raise a glass of Sea Cider to the voyage of discovery!”


  • Style: (flavoured – ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon) Pear Cider
  • Taste: Sour vinegary soft puckery acidic ginger/nutmeg pear wine tart sticky gums
  • Where I got it : Firefly / Vancouver
  • How much: $16 CAD (after 10% off) – 750ml., December 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to cider aficionados: discontinued, but worthy

Visual: (cellared for 5 years). Bailer top re-sealable bottle. Pours crystal clear light yellow with quickly disappearing fizz, a few singular streams, no head, thin spotty-ringed retention.

Nose: nutmeg, slight cinnamon, apple-pear wine (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: sour-vinegary, crisp light fizzy, slightly thicker

Mid-palate: (lvl-2-sweetness), mild tart-medium sour acidic, medium puckery, benign ginger notes, pear wine

Finish: persistent puckery acidity, nutmeg and pear juice exhale, sticky gums.

Summary: Good body, robust and noticeable advertised spices, complete with a sour-puckery-vinegary backbone that engages the palate nicely. Lightly carbonated, but sufficient.

Wild Washington Apple Cider – Tieton Cider Works (Tieton, WA, USA)

Wild Washington Apple Cider Semi-dry, 7.0% ABV, 500ml, (Tieton, Washington, USA)

on the front-right label:

“Washington State grows remarkable apples and this sophisticated cider is a tribute to its origins. It’s sharp with a pronounced mineral quality that satisfies the most refined cider palates, but it also carries enough green apple and preserved lemon flavors to appeal to a more universal audience.

Pair with all meat dishes from Hamburgers to Marinated and Grilled Meats, poultry stews like Coq au Vin, Pastas with spicy sauces and Gnocchi in Sage Butter.

Our fresh pressed juice comes from apples grown in the Pacific Northwest. We blend American, English, and French cider varieties essential for the complexity you will find in our ciders. Enjoy well chilled.”


  • Style: (semi-dry) Apple Cider
  • Taste: Plain flat CO2 woody red-green apple juice tart
  • Where I got it : Liquor Barn / N.Burnaby
  • How much: $18.60 CAD (after 10% off) – 500ml., December 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to cider aficionados: no

Visual: Pours translucent unfiltered apple juice light orange with a shade of red, absolutely no head,  a few tight clusters of micro activity.

Nose: unfiltered woody apple juice, rather clean. (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: tangy juicy flat CO2

Mid-palate: light sour acidity, (lvl-2-sweetness), apple wine, red apple juice

Finish: woody green apple peel exhale, tart sticky gums

Summary: Pretty straightforward soft woody red-green apple blend, moreso on the red side. I’m not liking the lack of carbonation which dulls the drinking experience and accentuates the tartness. Also hte body is a tad thin. Just average.

Espresso Stout – Brouwerij Emelisse (Netherlands)

Espresso Stout – Brouwerij Emelisse, 9.5% ABV, 33 cl., (Kamperland, Netherlands)

info from ratebeer.com:

“The Emelisse Stout is enhance by a blend of fine Italian espresso beans used in the brewing process. It boasts a blend of 90% Arabica and 10% Robusta, which combine to give the Emelisse Espresso Stout an extra-spicy, full-bodied palate.”

  • Style: (flavoured – espresso) Imperial Stout
  • Taste: Dynamic bittersweet deep roasted coffee light acidic barley malt dark fruit vanilla cocoa lengthy finish
  • Where I got it : Bainbridge Liquor / Burnaby
  • 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: yep, especially if you like bittersweet stouts

Visual: Best at 12°C stated on the label. Pours super dark brown without a head, ultra thin ringed retention with a very thin spotty island of retention, hard-to-see steady micro singular streams.

Nose: med-dark roasted barley malt, molasses, caramel (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: crisp, liquid-thick viscosity

Mid-palate: micro light tingly, coffee acidity, (lvl-4)-sweetness, deep roasted nutty bitter coffee mixed with sweet roasted barley malt = bittersweet, date-fig

Finish: woody vanilla undertones, dry cocoa, dark chocolate, lengthy residual coffee-barley malt.

Summary: I prefer it at 16°C as opposed to the recommended 12°C, I notice deeper bittersweet coffee notes at right at the start of the mid-palate. At 18°C the dark fruit notes of the coffee appear, think date/fig. In conclusion, a really interesting imp stout that changes in flavour profile as the savour each sip – recommended. Exception lingering of residual flavours at the finish.

Kapittel Watou Tripel Abt – Brouwerij Van Eecke (Belgium)

Kapittel Watou Tripel Abt – Brouwerij Van Eecke, 10% ABV, 75cl., (Poperinge-Watou, Belgium)

  • Style: Abbey Tripel
  • Taste: Weighty honey-chamomile barley malt astringent nutty date/cocoa
  • Where I got it : Legacy Liquor / Vancouver
  • How much: $4.70 CAD (after 10% off), December 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: nah.

Visual: Pours dull copper brown-orange with a small 1cm foamy head, super clusters upon clusters of active streams, suspended sediment – glorious.

Nose: yeasty funked out lagered barley malt, with honey notes (lvl-7)-pungency

Attack: crisp-thicker, micro-tingly

Mid-palate: smooth-rounded, alcoholic weighty, almost salty, (lvl-6)-sweetness, honey-chamomile barley malts, off-putting date note,

Finish: clove-banana exhale, nutty cocoa malt, soft bittersweet residual malts

Summary: Visually – great, 10% ABV – wow. The mouthfeel and texture are delightful but I just didn’t appreciate the almost salty note in the mid as well as the dark nutty date flav in the mid to finish; Somehow the honey/floral didn’t match up correctly for my palate.