Kaffee Coffee Blonde – Steel & Oak Brewing Co. (New Westminster, BC, Canada)

Kaffee Coffee Blonde – Steel & Oak Brewing Company, 5.1% ABV – 17 IBU, 650ml., (New Westminster, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft beer)


on the front-right label:

“Locally roasted coffee, sourced from small holder farmers in Ethiopia’s Guji Sidama region, provides a rich yet delicate floral aroma with notes of brown sugar, grapefruit and caramel. A German malt base provides a crisp finish and a subtle biscuit flavour which plays with the wondrous coca and roasted flavours that the coffee provides.”

(right)


  • Style: (flavoured – Coffee) Blonde Ale
  • Taste: Grainy biscuity nutty coffee dull basic barley malt
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $7.50 CAD – 650ml., August 2017
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: no

Visual: (Guji Sidama region coffee bean edition) Pours clear golden yellow with a 3cm dissipating head, ringed retention, loose mix of slow and  and fast streams.

Nose: cacao-y nutty light roast coffee beans, background farty barley malt (lvl-7)-pungency

Attack: crisp bite, light frothy CO2, light coffee malty impression

Mid-palate: (lvl-3-sweetness), cocoa caramel nutty coffee, basic-thin liquid barley malt

Finish: hints of brown sugar, lingering biscuity grainy barley malt

Summary: The coffee flavour provides a good burst of flavour from the start to the mids but after that the barley malt base is just too basic and dull to carry it. The result is a beer that is decent at the start but falls flat by the end. A bit above average, but I’d still have a Rogue Cold Brew IPA [B+] if I wanted a non-stout coffee beer.

Punk IPA (5.6%) – Brewdog (Ellon, Scotland)

Punk IPA (5.6%) – Brewdog, 5.6% ABV, 330ml., (Ellon, Scotland)


description from ratebeer.com:

Ingredients: Extra Pale Malt; Chinook, Ahtanum, Amarillo, Cascade, Simcoe, Nelson Sauvin hops. IBUs 45
This fresh, full flavour natural beer is our tribute to the classic IPAs of yester-year. The post modern twist is the addition of amazing fruity hops giving an explosion of tropical fruit flavours and a sharp bitter finish.


  • Style: India Pale Ale
  • Taste: Medium crisp dull CO2 biscuity barley malt stealth orange stealth bitter
  • Where I got it : Legacy Liquor / Vancouver
  • How much: $4.25 CAD (after 5% off) – 330ml., November 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: no, not enough body

Visual: (cellared for 2 years). Pours almost clear marmalade orange, not much head, a half layer of micro retention, scattered loose streams.

Nose: toffee biscuity barley malt, hints of hops. (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: medium crisp, dull CO2,

Mid-palate: (lvl-4-sweetness), sligtht tingly, light grainy-light biscuity barley malt, gentle stealth orange citrus notes

Finish: super stealth soft hop bitter, grainy barley exhale

Summary: Very smooth without much lingering hop bitterness unlike North American IPAs. It seems to lack punch and depth characteristic of the other Brewdog brews I’ve had. Perhaps its due to the 2 year cellaring.

BC Gin Round 4 – Victoria (Champ) VS Queensborough (Challenger)

Welcome welcome welcome, and welcome again to the fourth round of the BC gin battle. Up first we have the newly crowned champ from R3, Victoria Gin up against Queensborough (QB) small batch dry gin. QB is the updated and permanent gin the liquor portfolio of Central City Brewers + Distillers, their older gin being Seraph Gin which lost out in R2 here.


1) Victoria Gin – Victoria Distillers – 45% ABV – 750ml., Sidney, BC, $46 CAD (8/2017) @ BCLiquor

  • new label and bottle since spring 2016, , victoriadistillers.com
  • 10 botanicals including: juniper berries, coriander, angelica, orris root, star anise, orange & lemon peel, cinnamon, and rose petals. (…and the 10th one?)
  • 2016 Winner, Vancouver International Spirits Competition
  • 2016 Gold, Beverage Testing Institute Awards

[VS]

2) Queensborough small batch dry gin – Central City Brewers + Distillers – 43% ABV – 750ml., Surrey, BC, $46 (9/2017) @ BCLiquor

  • juniper sourced from BC interior, spruce tips from Vancouver Island.
  • 2017 Double gold @ San Diego Intl spirits competition
  • 2017 Double gold @ San Fran World spirits competition
  • etc etc a few more accolades

Criteria:

Nose: VG is clean, no doubt about it. There are hints of citrus, and soap, with some juniper in the backend. QB is reminds me of the banana-rose like quality of Wallflower, but only half the intensity and leaning more toward the rose. There’s a sense of the green spruce tips in there as well. VG = star anise, QB = spruce mineral. Both are clean and enticing.

Taste & Texture: VG hits you up front with a soft sweetness, followed by juniper, cinnamon, star anise, big licorice, a bit of citrus, and some medium throat heat – overall, clean flavours and smooth transitions. QB‘s entry is very bright and juicy with juniper berry at the start but there’s immediate alcohol detection and invasive heat from the get go. VG takes a different approach by gradually building up the heat. In any case, QB showcases green spruce, jasmine, mild rose and citrus notes, and slight licorice juniper at the finish. As a sipper, VG by TKO smoothness, hands down.


Final Notes:

  • Victoria Gin, the winner of rounds 3 and 4 is cool and composed which is remarkable considering its 45% ABV. It will make a smooth cocktail.
  • Queensborough Gin displays a superb bright fruity spruce-juniper-jasmine profile that would make any cocktail unique and flavourful, but there is an overall alcoholic harshness.

Title retained = Victoria Gin by Victoria Distillers, but Queensborough is still an excellent and recommended gin

 

Himalayan Blackberry Wine – Kermode Wild Berry Wines (Dewdney, BC, Canada)

  • My Rating: [B-]

Himalayan Blackberry Wine – Kermode Wild Berry Wines,12% ABV, 750 ml., (Dewdney, BC, Canada) (*local BC Wine*)


on the back label:

“Served slightly chilled, this wine is sure to please one and all with its exceptional body and full-flavored finish. These blackberries are harvested in BC’s lush Fraser Valley where the mountains meet the meadows, by dedicated locals who hand pick these voluptuous berries at the peak of ripeness. Enjoy this complex off-dry wine with any occasion.”

(back)


  • Style: (wild blackberry) Fruit Wine
  • Taste:
  • Where I got it : Liquor Depot @Cambie / Vancouver
  • How much: $21 CAD – 750 ml., sometime in ’11-’12
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to fruit wine aficionados: no, too plain

Visual: (cellared for at least 5 years). Pours clear dark magenta.

Nose: super fruity bright tangy blackberry juice, superbly clean. (lvl-10)-pungency

Attack: tangy fruity bright

Mid-palate: alcoholic zingy, (lvl-2-sweetness), background light alcoholic warmth, deep rich tangy blackberry, big tangy-firm acidity, building tartness

Finish: berry exhale, tart gums

Summary: Very drinkable with a clean and welcoming fruity entry displaying authentic blackberry depth and juiciness. As with most fruit wines, it becomes predictable after a glass.

Polaris Julebryg – Nanoq Beer Co. (Quqortoq, Greenland)

Polaris Julebryg – Nanoq Beer Company (dead homepage), 6.0% ABV, 50 cl., (Quqortoq, Greenland)


on the back label in Danish:

“Denne julebryg fra Grønland er opnævnt efter Polaris, Nordstjernen. Polaris har altid været vores og julemandens ledestjerne. Denne julebryg dufter og smager af julens sødme og er sammensat af de bedste råvarer, det reneste grønlandske vand – og tilsat indlandsis samt krydderier, som sammen vækker den rigtige julestemning i os alle. ”

(google translation):

This Christmas break from Greenland is established after Polaris, Nordstjernen. Polaris has always been our leader and Santa’s leader. This Christmas wreath smells and tastes of Christmas sweetness and is made up of the finest raw materials, the cleanest Greenlandic water – and added icecream and spices that together bring the true Christmas atmosphere together.


  • ]
  • Style: English Strong Ale
  • Taste:
  • Where I got it : 16th St Liquor / W. Vancouver
  • How much: $7 CAD (after 10% off) – 50 cl., September 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: no

Visual: (cellared for 5 years). Pours clear copper brown with no real head, a thin haze on top, not much activity.

Nose: sweet toffee barley malt (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: crisp, sweet malt impression

Mid-palate: (lvl-4-sweetness), toffee barley malt, mild metallic tang

Finish: barley malt exhale

Summary: An easy drinking, no frills beer. Not terribly exciting, but no major flaws either, except for the dull appearance.

Dark Island Reserve – Orkney (Stromness, Scotland)

Dark Island Reserve – Orkney Brewery (Sinclair Breweries), 10% ABV, 330ml., (Stromness, Scotland)


on the bottle neck label:

“Dark Island Reserve is a rich, robust ORCADIAN ALE. After a gentle fermentation at our brewery in Quoyloo, the beer is finished in old oak casks formerly used to MATURE FINE MALT WHISKIES. This unhurried process creates a timeless classic full of fruit, spice, oak and roast malt aromas. An Extraordinary ale.”

(neck)


  • Style: (scotch barrel aged) Old Ale
  • Taste: Thick heavy sweet balanced tangy molasses brown sugar caramelized barley malt
  • Where I got it : Liquors Hasegawa / Tokyo
  • How much: 900¥ ($9.90 CAD) – 300ml., November 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: 50/50

Initial tasting 2012/05/16, [A-] Rating.


(2nd tasting, 5 years later)

Visual: Bailer top re-sealable cap. Pours cola dark brown with no head, micro bubbles along the perimeter, no activity, but a few bubbles surfacing now and then.

Nose: thick brown sugar sweet caramelized malts, molasses. (lvl-7)-pungency

Attack: slight oily, thick malt impression

Mid-palate: heavy brown sugar molasses, (lvl-6-sweetness), tangy backdrop, caramelized medium boozy barley malt, nutmeg

Finish: dates, vanilla, woody whisky exhale, residual barley malt

Summary: Thick and full but still manageable on the palate. Not enough smoothness in the mouthfeel to round it out. Still delicious though.

Mandarin IPA – 4 Mile Brewing Co. (Victoria, BC, Canada)

  • My Rating: [B+]

Mandarin IPA – 4 Mile Brewing Company, 6.5% ABV, 650ml., (Victoria, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft brew*)


  • Style: (flavoured – mandarin orange) Wheat Ale
  • Taste: Bursting mandarin orange toffee malt grapefruit bitter hops
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $6.50 CAD – 650ml., August 2017
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: yes
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yep

Visual: Pours translucent brown-orange with a low head, ringed retention

Nose: bright clean mandarin orange (lvl-9)-pungency

Attack: crisp, malty sweet impression

Mid-palate: bursting mandarin juicy, (lvl-4-sweetness), toffee malt

Finish: soft tangy prickly bitter hops, orange oil exhale, red grapefruit

Summary: A very bright and orange citrus fruity IPA that displays a super clean flavour profile and carries with it an extremely likable drinkibility. One the most surprising flavoured IPAs I’ve had this year.