IPA – pFriem (Hood River, OR, USA)


TL:DR – “some orange citrusy NUMBING toffee barley malt, decent, but I needs me MORE CITRUS in my IPAs.”


India Pale Ale – pFriem, 7.2% ABV, 1 pt 0.9 oz., (Hood River, Oregon, USA)


-First, how the heck to pronounce pFriem?!? Check out this youtube vid:

Also, it’s the last name of the brewmaster and co-owner of the brewery, Josh pFriem. Read his story on their homepage.


on the back label:

“Pale Ales have only gotten better since they arrived in 18th century India. pFriem IPA builds on that legacy with big hops, huge citrus aromas, and a candy-like malt. Drink up, guv’nor.”


  • Style: India Pale Ale
  • Taste: citrus numbing toffee barley malt smoothish
  • Where I got it : High Point / Vancouver
  • How much: $6.30 CAD (after 20% off) – 1 pt 0.9 oz, October 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No
  • Recommended: sure
  • What made an impression: smooth mouthfeel, easy 7.2%

Visual: (cellared for 1.5 years). Pours light golden orange with a 2cm pillowy head, half sticky lacing, spotty island with ring, lots of steady micros streams.

Nose: toffee barley malt, big orange citrus background (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: thicker-crisp, almost minty

Mid-palate: mild tongue numbing, orange citrus hops, (lvl-4-sweetness), tangy-toffee barley malt,

Finish: cuts to off-dry, mandarin orange-pine exhale, mild resiny hops, lengthy manageable bitterness

Summary: I like the start to finish creamish thick mouthfeel and smooth ABV, as well as the soft citrus and controlled sweetness of the malt base; The piney numbness that occurs from about 1/4 to 3/4 I’m not particularly crazy about, but it’s balanced enough to be enjoyable. Good brew that exudes quality and complexity. (Also shoutout to laurenjlloyd for recommending this beer!)

Pale Ale Américaine – Les Trois Mousquetaires (Brossard, QC, Canada)


TL:DR – “dryish cereal barley malt with some wet cork aftertaste, overall boring.”


Pale Ale Américaine – Les Trois Mousquetaires, 5% ABV, 650 ml., (Brossard, Quebec, Canada)


on the back label:

“Here’s a most surprising and refreshing pale ale. Its hop leaves, grown on American soil, balance out lightly caramelized cereals with powerful citrus notes.”


  • Style: American Pale Ale (APA)
  • Taste: dry light metallic cereal-biscuit barley malt dull soft bitter
  • Where I got it : 16th St. Liquor / W. Vancouver
  • How much: $9 CAD (after 10% off) – 650 ml., August 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No
  • Recommended: No
  • What made an impression: the dryness of the malt

Visual: (cellared for 6 years). Twisty steel top cap that broke, composite cork, hefty bottle. Pours clear copper orange with a nice 2 cm head,  fine micro retention, very active clustered activity.

Nose: cereal barley malt, biscuity, light toffee. (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: dry-crisp,

Mid-palate: dry low metallic, cereal-biscuity barley malt, (lvl-1-sweetness), wet cork

Finish: dull subtle bitter hop

Summary: No power citrus notes detected in the advertised back label, but likely because of cellaring this for 6ish years. Decent mouthfeel, but the overall character of the cereal barley malts are quite boring. A disappointing Trois Mousquetaires brew.

BC Gin Round 6 – Victoria (Champ) VS Yaletown

Victoria Gin is back at it again entering round 6 against the local downtown Vancouver distillery’s Yaletown Gin. Wax-topped, corked, hand-label, and fancy flat bottled, is Yaletown gin is as good as it looks? Let’s find out how it does against the R3-R5 champ, Victoria Gin.


1) Victoria Gin – Victoria Distillers – 45% ABV – 750ml., Sidney, BC, $47 CAD (4/2018) @ 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) Yaletown Small Batch BC Gin – Yaletown Distilling Company, 42.0% ABV – 375 ml., Vancouver, BC, $27 (11/2015) @ BCLiquor

  • 8 botanicals, including Italian juniper, West African grains of paradise, liquorice root, and bitter almonds.
  • hand numbered bottle and barrel as well as the the distiller’s name


Criteria:

Nose: VG this time around is lemon balm minty, slight alcohol detection, and mostly clean. There’s a subtle but evident rose petal presence. YT is very juniper-forward, nasal-tingly manageable alcohol detection. Pretty typical. When compared side-by-side, VG definitely comes across as more elegant and refined. VG it is.

Taste & Texture: VG is quite minty, with an alcoholic rose petal edge, background juniper and coriander, citrus oils, slow alcoholic heat, and a very aromatic star anise exhale. YT has significantly more heat from start to finish, big berry juniper base accompanied by initial soapiness, woody licorice, spicy grains of paradise, and cinnamon. Sipping one after another, it’s clear that VG is smoother even at a higher ABV, but YT has a tad bit more depth. Still, if I had to choose one to sip, it would be VG.


Final Notes:

  • Victoria Gin has a very pleasant lemon balm minty, rose petal with a star anise exhale profile. Very clean and smooth to sip, also dynamic in a cocktail
  • Yaletown Gin is an enjoyable juniper-forward gin with a mostly clean spicy grains of paradise and cinnamon character. This definitely hold up in a cocktail.
  • Victoria Gin is $7 cheaper ($47 vs $54 (2x$27)@ BCL)

Verdict: Victoria Gin, mainly because of it’s unique (and delicious) floral taste profile. Pair that with being clean and smooth and you have a potential long-time reigning champ, as evidenced by winning rounds 3-6. Yaletown Gin is by no means bad as everybody has their own flavour preferences.

Evergreen Ale – Phillips Brewing Co. (Victoria, BC, Canada)


TL:DR – “plain sweet barley malt with a bit of honey spruce. Not terribly exciting.”


Evergreen Ale (ale with spruce tips) – Phillips Brewing Company, 5.5% ABV, 650 ml., (Victoria, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft beer*)


on the front-right label:

“This beer is rooted in Vancouver Island tradition-literally. Just like the first beers brewed in BC by Captain Cook back in 1778, local hand-picked spruce tips give this coniferous ale a crisp pine flavour!”


  • Style: (spruce tips) Herb Ale
  • Taste: sweet grainy barley malt subtle spruce honey
  • Where I got it : 16th St. Liquor / W. Vancouver
  • How much: $5 CAD (after 10% off) – 650 ml., August 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No
  • Recommended: no
  • What made an impression: clean and drinkable

Visual: (cellared for 6 years). Pours cloudy copper orange with a small dissipating 1mm head, a thin layer of retention, suspended bits of sediment, just a few bubbles here and there – not much.

Nose: honey-toffee malt, green sprucey overtones – very inviting. (lvl-7)-pungency

Attack: soft crisp, airy-green, spruce bitter undertones

Mid-palate: (lvl-3-sweetness), bready sweet barley malt, honey, more subtle spruce, subtle tart

Finish: off-dry grainy malt, candy toffee exhale.

Summary: Too bad it doesn’t taste as inviting as it smells. Mostly sweet malt with a bit of spruce nuance, it drinks rather straightforward and basic. A bit above average, but not something I’d keep on my hard drive.

Rum Cask – Innis & Gunn (Edinburgh, Scotland)


TL:DR – “tiresome I&G sweetness after 1 glass, toffee barley malt with a touch of oak. Average.”


Rum Cask (beer aged in rum barrels) – Innis & Gunn, 7.4% ABV, 1 pt 9.4 fl.oz., (Edinburgh, Scotland)


on the back label:

“Since discovering the secrets and joys of maturing beer in oak barrels we have been on a journey of further discovery, which has lead us to some pretty incredible taste experiences. Rum Cask is one of our firm favourites! A slow maturation using American oak and rum infused oak has imparted this beer with a delicious warming character that is bursting with fruit and lively spiciness.”


  • Style: (rum barrel aged) English Strong Ale
  • Taste: cloying sweet toffee grainy-ricey barley malt
  • Where I got it : 16th St. Liquor / W. Vancouver
  • How much: $8 CAD (after 10% off) – 1 pt. 9.4 fl.oz., August 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No
  • Recommended: no
  • What made an impression: dat I&G sweetness (excessive)

Visual: (cellared for 6 years). Pours translucent root beer brown with a smallish fine ringed retention, lots of steady micro fine streams.

Nose: caramelized barley malt (lvl-4)-pungency

Attack: crisp, incoming heavy sweetness

Mid-palate: brown sugar barley malt, soda-like cloying (lvl-7-sweetness), grainy-ricey rum, oaked caramel

Finish: molasses exhale, dry alcoholic

Summary: That trademark I&G sweetness shows up again in this one, overshadowing the subtle oak infusion in the toffee barley malt. Two-note at best, there’s not much this beer offers past one glass. Just average. Slightly higher ABV than their “Rum Aged” variation.

Apricot Dessert Wine 2009 – Elephant Island Winery (Naramata, BC, Canada)

  • My Rating: [C+]

TL:DR – “rounded apricot-plum flavour, but tangy sourness sweetness tires the palate”


Apricot Dessert Wine 2009, 9% ABV – 375 ml., (Naramata, British Columbia, Canada) (*local BC fruit wine*


  • Style: (Apricot) Dessert fruit wine
  • Taste:
  • Where I got it : Newport Liquor / Port Moody
  • How much: $23 CAD –375 ml., May 2010
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No
  • Recommended: no
  • What made an impression: huge fruity sourness

Visual: (cellared for 9 years). Pours slightly hazy dull copper brown, a few bubbles along the perimeter.

Nose:  (lvl-2)-pungency

Attack: big sour, medium tart, juicy entry

Mid-palate: rich sour apricot, japanese plum, controlled (lvl-7-sweetness), tangy-soft acidic sour

Finish: residual sugars and tang

Summary: Lots of sourness and tanginess in this one, medium bodied with decent complexity. The flavour is mostly clean but after sipping this without a meal, the sourness becomes a bit harsh and the sweetness too candy-like. A bit above average.

Red Racer Lucky Dog – Central City Brewers (Surrey, BC, Canada)


TL:DR – “discernible kumquat flavour, but overall falls flat”


Red Racer Lucky Dog (wheat ale brewed with kumquats) – Central City Brewers + Redpoint Brewing Company collaboration, 5.6% ABV, 650 ml., (Surrey, British Columbia, Canada) (*local BC craft beer*)


on the back label:

“To celebrate the Chinese New Year and the Year of the Dog, Red Racer teamed up with Taiwan’s Redpoint Brewery. Made using kumquats, this is an easy drinking fruit forward beer that is both complex and very refreshing. Bring in the new year with a bit of luck and a delicious craft beer.”


  • Style: (flavoured – Kumquat) Wheat Ale
  • Taste: kumquat peel vegginess off-dry low depth pithy soft bitter seed
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: ~$6 CAD – 650 ml., March 2018
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No
  • Recommended: no
  • What made an impression: discernible kumquat flavour

Visual: Pours translucent golden orange without a head, large bubbles clinging to the side of the glass with a ring not that much activity.

Nose: very faint citrus peel oils. Not much there. (lvl-2)-pungency

Attack: light crisp, soft tingly

Mid-palate: kumquat juiciness and peel, persistent almost saltiness pith & seed, tip of tongue numbness, (lvl-2-sweetness), mild citrus tang

Finish: grassy-grainy, soft wheat malt tart, mild palate dry wheat malt, bitter seeds

Summary: Decent complexity all things considered, but the final result of the kumquat and wheat malt isn’t particularly noteworthy here. At least I can distinctly taste the flavour of the fruit, though I can easily forget I had this one. Lacking depth.

Liefmans Goudenband – Liefmans (Oudenaarde, Belgium)


TL:DR – “Exceptional and interesting plum-fruity-sour aged brown ale”


Liefmans Goudenband (Sour Brown Ale) – Liefmans, 8% ABV, 750 ml., (Oudenaarde, Belgium)


on the front-right label:

“Liefmans Goudenband is one of the world’s most complex beers. An aged Strong Belgian Brown Ale, it is brewery-cellared for many months until it matures. Only then is it blended and bottled. Historically known as ‘Provision Beer’, Goudenband is superb for further home cellaring, allowing the taste, aroma and body of the beer to continue to evolve. A delectable treat for the beer connoisseur.”


  • Style: Sour Red/Brown Ale
  • Taste: sour plum fruity mild tart slight woody balanced
  • Where I got it : Sherbrooke / Edmonton
  • How much: $18 CAD (after 10% off) – 1 pint 9.4 fl.oz., June 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No
  • Recommended: yes
  • What made an impression: appealing bright fruity flavour

Visual: (cellared for 6 years). Paper wrapped bottled, neat. Corked with a twisty steel cap. Pours dark cola brown with a small dissipating head, chunk bits of sediment in the last pour, a few bubbles here and there, not much.

Nose: light yeasty, slight wet funk, prune-plum, (lvl-6)-pungency.

Attack: hardly any CO2, mildly thicker, light sour-tart entry

Mid-palate: dissipating (lvl-7-sweetness), sour plum, cherry, controlled medium sourness,

Finish: fruity bright counterbalance, light woodiness, residual acidity

Summary: Even without much CO2 mouthfeel, there is a fine sense of balance and body in the sour dark fruity malt profile. The transitions are seamless it goes down super easy.

Straffe Drieling Tripel – Logsdon Farmhouse Ales (Hood River, OR, USA)


TL:DR – “Mostly floral-light citrus bright coriander wheat maltish, stealth alcoholic.”


Straffe Drieling Tripel (organic farmhouse tripel brewed with spice) – Logsdon Farmhouse Ales, 8.8% ABV, 1 pint 9.4 fl.oz., (Hood River, Oregon, USA)


on the front-right label:

“…The tripel style ale is probably the one style most commonly brewed by breweries in all of Flanders. Tripels are characterized by a complex, sometimes mild spicy character. Our Straffe Drieling tripel is brewed with pale malt and grains balanced by a judicious amount of whole cone noble hops and a deft compliment of traditional spice to create the extraordinary flavor of this organic beer.”


  • (now closed, sold and re-opening in 2018)
  • Style: Abbey Tripel
  • Taste: sweet floral-citrus wheat malt subtle tangy-tart light oak
  • Where I got it : Bainbridge / Burnaby
  • How much: $16.45 CAD (after 10% off) – 1 pint 9.4 fl.oz., February 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No
  • Recommended: yes
  • What made an impression: deep and complex

Visual: Warning, extreme gusher upon openings! Pours cloudy dirty orange with a nice 2cm creamy slowly dissipating head, half-sticky lacing, several slow loose streams.

Nose: yeasty apricot, slight alcohol detection, chamomile malt (lvl-6)-pungency.

Attack: light tingly, thicker mouthfeel

Mid-palate: tongue-numbness-airy, tangy, subtle sour, (lvl-5-sweetness) laced with alcohol, floral-lemon citrus sweet wheaty malts, green apple

Finish: coriander dry, light funked woody oak exhale, subtle bitter hops

Summary: A good burst of flavour with depth and a refreshing mouthfeel. The alcohol hits stealth after a glass, but the start-to-finish complexity is keeping me interested.