Razz Cider – Scenic Road Cider Co. (Kelowna, BC, Canada)


TL:DR – “just sweet, not complex enough flavour”


Razz Cider (apple cider with raspberries) – Scenic Road Cider Co., 6.9% ABV, 500 ml., (Kelowna, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft cider*)


on the front-right label:

“This cider is made exclusively with local dessert apples and raspberries including apples grown by us. Our craft ciders are hand blended in small batches. Authentic, artisanal, always. From our backyards to your bottle.”


  • Style: (flavoured – raspberry) Apple Cider
  • Taste: Cloying authentic basic raspberry-apple light sour acidic
  • Where I got it : High Point / Vancouver
  • How much: $9.40 (after 20% off) – 500 ml., October 2017
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Recommended: no
  • What made an impression: hidden ABV, but basic boring flavour

Visual: Pours rosé pinkish-orange, clear as water, no head or retention, several steady slow micro streams, micro bubbles along the perimeter.

Nose: very clean raspberry, red apple backdrop, bright fruity acidity. (lvl-7)-pungency.

Attack: crisp-tart, light CO2

Mid-palate: sustained tartness, (lvl-6-sweetness), tangy medium-sour raspberry, background basic apple juice

Finish: residual apple acidity, compounding cloying sugars, red apple exhale

Summary: Its sweetness and one-note, low-depth raspberry-apple flavour profile make this one drink more like a cooler than hardcore craft cider. It comes across as basic yet drinkable, hence forgettable. Too bad since the nose was rather appealing. Well-hidden ABV at least.

Melvin Hubert MPA – Melvin Brewing Co. (Alpine, Wyoming, USA)


TL:DR – “big orange citrus went down smooth. Great stuff.”


Melvin Hubert MPA – Melvin Brewing Co., 6% ABV, 12 fl.oz., (Alpine, Wyoming, USA)


on the front-right label:

“Hubert, if I didn’t know you better, I might take you for an IPA, but after one sip, I knew you were a Pale Ale. With you sleek sophisticated approach to life and you general debonaimess. You smell of hoppy pleasure and the balance you possess is stunning. I promise not to misunderestimate you.”


  • Style: American Pale Ale
  • Taste: smooth balanced tangerine sweet barley malt smooth subtle bitter length
  • Where I got it : High Point / Vancouver
  • How much: $3.50 – 12 fl.oz., October 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Recommended: yes
  • What made an impression: big tangerine flavour

Visual: (cellared for 1.5 years). Aluminum can. Pours cloudy orange creamsicle with a small 1mm head, fine ring with a thin layer of retention, barely visible close knit micro streams.

Nose: orange citrusy hopped malt, light dank, big brightness. (lvl-8)-pungency.

Attack: sharp crisp bite, tingly mouthfeel

Mid-palate: tangerine, (lvl-3-sweetness), bursting orange barley malt

Finish: mild grainy exhale, lingering tangerine citrus subtle bitter hops, slight grassiness

Summary: A great balance of hops and malt, with a very appealing and appetizing orange citrus flavour profile. I wished for a bit more fullness and length in the mids but this went down just fine.

BC Gin Round 5 – Victoria (Champ) VS Long Table

All right 2018, let’s do this! In round 5 of the gin battle we have the 2017 winner Victoria up against the local Long Table located in downtown Vancouver. Both weighing in at 45% ABV and Victoria made with 2 more botanicals than Long Table, which one will dominate the taste buds? Let’s do this, guy.


1) Victoria Gin – Victoria Distillers – 45% ABV – 750ml., Sidney, BC, $46 CAD (1/2018) @ 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) London dry gin – Long Table Distillery – 45% ABV – 750ml., Vancouver, BC, $53 (1/2018) @ BCLiquor


Criteria:

Nose: VG has a medium cleanliness with flavours of juniper and bright citrus emerging from the detectable alcohol. LT is duller with rounded edges, slightly creamy with grassier notes. The LT alcohol detection is much more apparent with just a bit of harshness on the nose. Although VG comes across as slightly soapyVG is the winner.

Taste & Texture: VG, upon the first sip, the beautifully aromatic star anise jumps out, fruity juniper in the mids with strong citrus overtones backing it up until the finish. LT despite being a London Dry style, surprisingly comes across as sweeter up front, thicker viscosity, muddly grassy juniper, licorice-coriander alcohol numbing mids, mild cinnamon, citrus undertones, slight nutty – almost salty finish. LT displays a pleasant balanced roundness. In terms of explicit and distinguishable flavour, Victoria takes the cake. VG wins.


Final Notes:

  • Victoria Gin is much brighter, thinner in mouthfeel, soapier, has a bit more roughness, but is overall has and displays strong notes of star anise and orange citrus.
  • Long Table London Dry Gin is creamier, showcases balanced ingredients of grassy juniper and mild citrus
  • Victoria Gin is $7 cheaper ($46 vs $53 @ BCL)

Verdict: Victoria Gin is my preference and winner. Nevertheless Long Table London Dry Gin is quality gin but it doesn’t have any standout flavours despite being balanced.

 

710 Oaked Stout – Faculty Brewing Co. (Vancouver, BC, Canada)


(TL:DR – “Oaked stout?! At first I was like ‘oh yeah!’ but after the first few sips I was like ‘oh, this kinda sucks'”)


710 Oaked Stout – Faculty Brewing Co., 5.0% ABV – 20 IBU, 650ml., (Vancouver, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft beer)

-Faculty Brewing Co.! Located in central Vancouver off of Main st. where all the hip breweries are popping up left, right and center. This is the first brew that I’m trying of theirs and it gives me the impression of them being just and “average” brewery. Let’s hope they can up their brew game in the future releases.


on the front-right label:

“Aromas of vanilla from American Oak complement the roasted character of this dry stout.”

(right)


  • Style: (flavoured – American oak chips) Dry Stout
  • Taste: semi-sweet roasted barley malt light coffee chocolate oak exhale sourish
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $7.70 – 650ml., January 2018
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Recommended: no
  • What made an impression: weak barley malt mids

Visual: Pours thicker viscosity dark coffee brown without much of a head, a very thin ringed retention, mild oil slick on the surface, slow micro stream along the perimeter. Uneventful.

Nose: roasted barley malt, hints of caramel coffee, cocoa notes, oak presence. (lvl-7)-pungency.

Attack: crisp-dull CO2, underwhelming entry

Mid-palate: (lvl-3-sweetness), background short sourness, low depth roasted barley malt,

Finish: watery mouthfeel, muddled caramel-vanilla, mild oak exhale, lingering roast malt

Summary: The flavours are okay but this tastes rather basic and fails to wow. The stout base doesn’t feel full enough and the sour notes in the mids detracts from the dark notes. Just an average brew with some oak influence, not memorable.

Witches Brew – Brouwerij Van Steenberge (Belgium)

Witches Brew (Belgian Tripel) – Brouwerij Van Steenberge, 9.3% ABV – 750 ml., (Ertvelde, Belgium)

(from the brewers of the iconic Gulden Draak and Piraat)


on the back label:

Enjoy this bottle conditioned blond triple living ale. Its pleasant hoppyness is masterly balanced with a soft round and joyous sweetness, enveloped in a radiating glow.

It will put a spell on you!”

(back)



Visual: (cellared for 6 years). Twisty steel cap with composite cork. Pours translucent dirty copper orange with a large 1 inch frothy head, sticky lacing, a fine layer of micro retention, clusters of micro steady streams. Suspended bits of sediment along with some black bits, likely from the cork.

Nose: honey-chamomile sweet malt, hints of apple (lvl-8)-pungency

Attack: crisp-tingly-full

Mid-palate: alcoholic heavy, sticky (lvl-7-sweetness), honey barley malt, chamomile, background subtle tangy

Finish: apple-honey exhale, residual weighty alcohol

Summary: A decent, heavy-hitting tripel, but after one glass the alcohol becomes too overbearing and the sugars overpowering the palate. Can’t say I loved it, but I can sense the quality of craftsmanship.

Spiced Apple Ale – Spinnakers Brewpub (Victoria, BC, Canada)

  • My Rating: [FAIL]

Spiced Apple Ale – Spinnakers Brewpub, 5.5% ABV – 10 IBU, 650ml., (Victoria, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft beer*)


on the front-right label:

“SPICED APPLE ALE: A blend of BC grown apple cider and a spiced amber ale, this fall treat is brewed to be enjoyed as the leaves change colour and the bounty of the season is ready to harvest.”

Made with: aquifer water, apple cider, barley, hops, yeast, spices.


  • Style: (flavoured – apple cider, spices) Amber ale
  • Taste: Palate rough tart tangy background acidic pukey weak apple barley unclean
  • Where I got it : Tobys / N. Vancouver
  • How much: $8.50 CAD (after 10% off) – 650ml., January 2018
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Recommended: avoid like herpes
  • What made an impression: weak ale base, clashing of flavours

Visual: Pours clear light copper brown with no head, a very hazy light layer of micro retention w/ thin ring, spread out steady micro streams.

Nose: light woody apple cider, nutmeg/cinnamon (lvl-4)-pungency

Attack: crisp, rough tangy entry

Mid-palate: tangy pukey apple cider, light tart, (lvl-3-sweetness), rough acidity, light body grainy barley malt

Finish: dry palate rough, unclean muddled spices

Summary: An awful blend of beer and cider – the tangy apple cider notes completely clash with the weak and thin barley beer base. The spices used hardly add any element of depth or interest except to enhance the nose. A complete waste of time, money and calories. In fact, I doubt I’ll ever purchase any bottle of Spinnakers in the future.

Doppel Shot Doppel Bock – Maui Brewing Co. (Kihei, Maui, Hawaii)

Doppel Shot Doppel Bock (Limited release) – Maui Brewing Company, 8.2% ABV – 12 fl.oz., (Kihei, Maui, Hawaii)


on the front-left of the can:

“Not your everyday Doppelbock! This unique Doppelbock was brewed to showcase the fresh roasted Yellow Caturra MauiGrown coffee from Ka’anapali, Maui. This beer is rich in pale malt character and brings slight sweetness to compliment the smooth character of the coffee. The darker color comes from the heavy coffee addition.”

(left)



Visual: (cellared for 2 years). 4-pack aluminum cans. Pours clear copper orange, not much of a head, thick ringed retention, a great mix of fast and sporadic large and small bubble streams.

Nose: nutty cocoa roast coffee beans, slight barley malt background. (lvl-7)-pungency

Attack: silky-thicker-crisp

Mid-palate: liquid barley malt, alcohol detection, escalating (lvl-7-sweetness), bittersweet coldbrew coffee

Finish: nutty coffee malt exhale, cacao-caramel, subtle hop bitter, lengthy residual roasted bitter coffee.

Summary: Very good length of coffee flavour as well as depth, but slightly too much alcohol detection in the early mids that builds into a substantial alcohol hit by the late mids. Good drinkability and texture. Solid.

Moa Noir Dark Lager – Moa Brewing (Marlborough, New Zealand) 

Moa Noir Dark Lager (no longer in production) – Moa Brewing Company, 5% ABV – 750 ml., (Marlborough, New Zealand)


on the front-left label:

“Moa Noir is a traditionally brewed European style dark lager with an abundance of distinct aromas and flavours. Chocolate and richly roasted coffee beans dominate the senses with a full flavoured palate, giving Moa Noir a long smooth finish. A perfect beer for the changing of seasons.”



Visual: (cellared for 4 years). Hefty quality bottle, aluminum foil wrapped, twisty steel cap, real cork. Pours dark cola brown with a smallish 1mm dissipating head, a thin micro layer of retention, scattered sporadic streams.

Nose: cocoa light roast grainy barley malt, toffee undertones. (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: crisp, slight tanginess

Mid-palate: wet cork, background mild sour, (lvl-2-sweetness), grainy dry roasted barley malt,
raisin

Finish: mild coffee bean exhale, dry cocoa

Summary: There’s a bit of cork flavour as well a background sourish note that distracts from the roasted malt experience. Overall the body and dark notes are good, but it seems acidic notes aren’t quite in harmony. Decent, but not great.

Double Cyclope – Brasserie Dunham (Dunham, QC, Canada) 

Double Cyclope – Brasserie Dunham, 8.6% ABV – 341 ml., (Dunham, Quebec, Canada)


3x dry-hopped. Hops: citra, ekuanot, el dorado, mosaic, amarillo


  • Style: Double IPA / Imperial IPA
  • Taste: big bright orange citrus bitter resiny hop sweet toffee malt
  • Where I got it : High Point / Vancouver
  • How much: $4.90 CAD (after 20% off) – 341 ml., October 2017
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Recommended: yes
  • What made an impression: big bright orange citrus hops

Visual: Pours clear honey orange without much of a head, a hazy spotty micro layer with ring, lots of singular fast and slow steady streams.

Nose: bright tangerine-mandarin orange hop oils, hints of pomelo. (lvl-8)-pungency

Attack: thicker crisp, fruity citrus impression

Mid-palate: mild alcoholic heaviness, (lvl-4-sweetness), fruity tangerine toffee malt, metallic-resiny bitter

Finish: grapefruit-tangerine exhale, lingering soft bitter orange citrus hops

Summary: Big all around fruity orange citrus notes with soft bitter resiny hops and a solid malt backbone. Very sippable and went down with ease. Quite boozy by the last sip. Recommended.

Apricot Provincial – Funkwerks Inc (Fort Collins, CO, USA) 

Apricot Provincial (Belian-style sour ale brewed with apricots) – Funkwerks, Inc., 4.2% ABV, 11.2 fl.oz., (Fort Collins, Colorado, USA)


on the front-right label:

“Pairs well with pretending to go to the gym.”

“Provincial is our sessionable Belgian-style sour ale brewed utilizing a unique 24-hour warm souring technique using lactobacillus in the wort. We fermented with a Belgian wheat yeast strain famous for a flavors and a dry finish, making it the perfect complement to fruit. This delightfully tart fruit beer is refreshing, with a citrusy apricot aroma that transitions into a subtly sweet and tart finish.”


  • ]
  • Style: (flavoured – Apricot) Sour/Wild Ale
  • Taste: Sour crisp puckery bright apricot lemon roughish wheat malt dry grainy
  • Where I got it : High Point / Vancouver
  • How much: $5.60 CAD (after 20% off) – 11.2 fl.oz., October 2017
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Recommended: yes
  • What made an impression: bright complexity for below 5% ABV

Visual: Bottled on 2017.05.02. Pours cloudy pale straw yellow with a massive dissipating head, bubbly retention, super-fast soda-like streams.

Nose: sour acidic pukey funk, strong apricot and lemony wheat malt overtones. (lvl-9)-pungency

Attack: big crisp tart bite, puckery-sour-tangy

Mid-palate: fizzy, (lvl-2-sweetness), lemony wheat malt,

Finish: dry grainy wheat, mild palate rough, apricot exhale

Summary: Good flavour and complexity for a sub 5% beer. The body peters out in the late mids.