Raspberry Wheat – Phillips Brewing Co. (Victoria, BC, Canada)

TL:DR – “basic lightly raspberry flavoured boring wheat ale. Palate is rough after drinking.”

Raspberry Wheat – Phillips Brewing Company, 5.0% ABV, 650 ml., (Victoria, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft beer*)

on the front-right label:

“A crisp, dry and refreshing summer beer. Brewed with BC raspberries for a full nose and crisp finish, this beer pairs well with sunglasses and patios.”

  • Style: (raspberry) Fruit Beer
  • Taste: light raspberry light body wheat ale palate rough
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: ~$6 CAD – 650 ml., sometime in 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No
  • Recommended: no
  • What made an impression: palate roughness at the end

Visual: (cellared for 6 years). Pours blush red with a dissipating 1cm head, fine ringed retention with an island, raspberry sediment, slow and steady micro streams.

Nose: clean fruity raspberry juice, inviting. (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: crisp

Mid-palate: thin mouthfeel, off-dry, (lvl-2-sweetness), fruity raspberry jam

Finish: dry wheat malt, raspberry exhale, mild artificial sweetener-like roughness

Summary: A very basic and straightforward lightly flavoured raspberry wheat ale, not much body or depth to speak of. It’s just an easy-drinking brew, barely above average, hardly recommendable nor memorable. The best aspect is the nose.

Darksnout Bacon Oatmeal Stout – R&B Brewing Co. (Vancouver, BC, Canada)

TL:DR – “unexpected but controlled sour-tangy, good balanced compexity. Lots of smoke.”

Darksnout Bacon Oatmeal Stout – R&B Brewing Company, 5.4% ABV, 650 ml., (Vancouver, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft beer*)

on the front-right label:

“A delicious full bodied Oatmeal Stout with bacon. The use of smoked malt and house cured bacon from our friends at Cure gives this unusual beer a smoky, tangy edge.”

  • Style: (flavoured – bacon, bourbon barrel aged) Smoked Oatmeal Stout
  • Taste: hickory smoked sour dark fruit malt light bourbon
  • Where I got it : Firefly / Vancouver
  • How much: $7 CAD (after 10% off) – 650 ml., July 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No
  • Recommended: not really
  • What made an impression: tangy-sour, but controlled

Visual: (cellared for 6 years). Pours dark cola brown, soda-like dissipating fizzy top, small bubbles hugging the glass, very active soda-like streams. Looks like a I just poured myself a Coke.

Nose: hickory caramel malt, slight bourbon edge (lvl-7)-pungency

Attack: prominent sourness, light-crisp, dull CO2

Mid-palate: persistent but controlled tangy-sourness, big smokiness, hint of savoury, mild tart, (lvl-4-sweetness), dark fruit malt

Finish: mild bourbon exhale, residual light smokiness

Summary: Somewhat of an acquired taste at first, the complexity and drinkability makes this rather interesting. It leans a bit too much on the sour side and falls a bit flat in the mouthfeel department. Decent, went down easy.

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


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


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.

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.

Broken Resolution Cherry Baltic Porter – Parallel 49 Brewing Co. (Vancouver, BC, Canada)

TL:DR – “not the cleanest of flavours, but delivers sweet dark roasted chocolatey cherry malt”

Broken Resolution Cherry Baltic Porter (limited release) – Parallel 49 Brewing Company, 8.5% ABV, 650 ml., (Vancouver, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft beer*)

on the front-left label:

“The wagon didn’t want you on it anyhow. Grab ahold of something that’s worth breaking your resolution for, you filthy animal.”

Ingredients: pils, munich, crystal, chocolate, midnight wheat, magnum, mittlefrueh, saccharomyces, tart cherry puree.

  • Style: (flavoured – cherry) Baltic Porter
  • Taste: sweet dark roasted chocolatey muddled cherry mild sour-tart unclean
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $5.75 CAD – 650 ml., March 2018
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No
  • Recommended: not really
  • What made an impression: hidden ABV

Visual: Pours dark beer bottle brown with a bit of dissipating head, ringed retention w/ a small island, tight and steady singular streams along the perimeter.

Nose: sweet dark roasted malt, chocolate-cherry overtones – very inviting. (lvl-9)-pungency.

Attack: soft crisp, incoming dark-fruity malt

Mid-palate: roasted dark chocolatey malt, slight burnt, (lvl-6-sweetness), subtle tangy-tart, light dissipating astringent sour, non-descript cherry background

Finish: cocoa, slight metallic, lingering dark roasted malt, slight woody bitter roast

Summary: Well-masked alcohol, very sippable. A good depth of aromatic roasted malt paired with a decent tangy-tart cherry backdrop. Above average, it delivers in advertised flavour, bit it comes across as brash and somewhat unclean.