He Said Baltic-Style Porter – 21st Amendment Brewery (San Francisco, CA, USA)


TL:DR – “Just ok, the spices+pumpkin give me a gag reflex in the mids. Not my thing.”


He Said (Baltic-Style Porter, lager brewed with pumpkin and spices), 8.2% ABV, 12 fl.oz., (San Francisco, California, USA)


  • Style: (flavoured – pumpkin, spices) Baltic Porter
  • Taste: caramel pumpkin barley malt astringent caraway-gag reflex
  • Where I got it : Trader Joe’s / Seattle
  • How much: $13 USD / $17 CAD – 4 mixed pack x 12 fl.oz., October 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No
  • Recommended: nah
  • What made an impression: astringently spiced, causes gag reflex

Visual: (cellared for 2.5 years). 4-pack aluminum canned, 2 flavours. Pours dark coffee brown with a dissipating 1cm head, fine ringed retention with a half island, singular micro streams along the perimeter.

Nose: caramel barley malt, caramelized pumpkin nuances. (lvl-7)-pungency

Attack: sharp crisp bite, caraway (kind of minty)

Mid-palate: caramel barley malt, (lvl-6-sweetness), cinnamon, caramelized pumpkin, brown sugar

Finish: residual malt sweetness, root beer, very subtle bitter

Summary: On its own, drinkable, above average. But with a meal, it brings out this astringent spice gag reflex (probably the caraway&pumpkin combo) that just doesn’t do it for me. I enjoyed the He Said Belgian-style tripel more.

He Said Belgian-Style Tripel – 21st Amendment Brewery (San Francisco, CA, USA)


TL:DR – “heavily spiced, mostly clean, alcoholic.”


He Said (Belgian-Style Tripel Ale brewed with pumpkin and spices), 8.2% ABV, 12 fl.oz., (San Francisco, California, USA)


  • Style: (flavoured – pumpkin, spices) Belgian Tripel
  • Taste: honey toffee barley malt nutmeg clove alcoholic
  • Where I got it : Trader Joe’s / Seattle
  • How much: $13 USD / $17 CAD – 4 mixed pack x 12 fl.oz., October 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No
  • Recommended: Yes
  • What made an impression: prominent spices

Visual: (cellared for 2.5 years). 4-pack aluminum canned, 2 flavours. Pours golden orange without much of a head, just a slight ring, suspended sediment, slow micro streams.

Nose: nutmeg/cinnamon, toffee honey malt. (lvl-7)-pungency

Attack: crisp, richly spiced base

Mid-palate: (lvl-5-sweetness), honey’d barley malt, roasted pumpkin, slight alcoholic heaviness

Finish: nutmeg, mild cinnamon, clove, subtle bitter

Summary: A brick-ton of spices, but also packed with a solid malt base and a stealth alcohol. Very sippable, but perhaps a bit a palate heavy about 2/3rd through a serving. Could be a bit thicker and smoother, cause the finish is a rather dull.

Pineapple Sculpin – Ballast Point Brewing Co. (San Diego, CA, USA)


TL:DR – “Super smooth balanced tropical IPA, go get it.”


Pineapple Sculpin – Ballast Point Brewing Company, 7.0% ABV, 12 fl. oz., (San Diego, California, USA)


  • Style: (flavoured – pineapple) India Pale Ale
  • Taste: sweet grainy barley malt fruity apricot-pineapple subtle dry grassy bitter hop
  • Where I got it : Cost Plus World Market / The Grove, LA
  • How much: $2.45 USD / $3.19 CAD – 12 fl.oz., March 2018
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: Yes
  • Recommended: Yes
  • What made an impression: extremely easy drinkability, clean flavour

Visual: Pours translucent deep orange with a smallish 3mm head, a thin layer of fine retention, loose clusters of steady micro streams.

Nose: rich light green hoppy-honey barley malt, hints of pineapple. (lvl-7)-pungency.

Attack: creamy-silky-crisp

Mid-palate: fruity apricot, smooth (lvl-5)-sweetness barley malt, subtle dry grassy bitter hops

Finish: grainy barley malt, subtle pineapple exhale, hints of lemon.

Summary: super smooth, virtually zero alcohol detection, masterfully crafted.

Farmer’s Reserve Blueberry – Almanac Beer Co. (San Jose, CA, USA)

Farmer’s Reserve Blueberry (Sour ale aged in wine barrels with blueberries) – Almanac Beer Company, 7% ABV – 12.68 fl.oz., (San Jose, California, USA)


on the front-bottom label:

“Every year, the blueberry harvest heralds the coming of summer. We selected the very best hand-picked berries grown in the hills of Butte County, California, and added them to a sour golden ale aged in wine barrels. The resulting beer is infused with the essence of these hewl-like berries, creating a fruity character reminiscent of mom’s blueberry pie and a reminder of long summer days.”

(front)



Visual: (cellared for 1 year). Pours clear garnet red without a significant head, thin ringed retention, lots of active tight micro streams.

Nose: blueberry overtones, sour pukey funk. Not too enticing. (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: big puckery sour

Mid-palate: (lvl-3-sweetness), blueberry vinegar, red wine vinegar, blackberry

Finish: lengthy wet woody funk, lingering tart acidity

Summary: Big sourness from start to finish with decent juiciness in the mids, with enough balance to make it continuously sippable. Although not my favourite style, this exhibits an underlying composed sense of quality in craftsmanship.

Victory at Sea – Ballast Point Brewing Co. (San Diego, CA, USA)

Victory at Sea (Porter with coffee & vanilla, Imperial Porter) – Ballast Point Brewing Company, 10.0% ABV, 22 fl.oz., (San Diego, California, USA)


on the front-right label:

“Our Victory at Sea Imperial Porter is a bold, smooth brew with just the right amount of sweetness. We infused this robust porter with vanilla and San Diego’s own Caffe Calabria coffee beans. The subtle roasted notes and the minimal acidity of the cold brewed coffee balanced perfectly with sweet caramel undertones of the malt, a winning combination for your palate.”

(right)


  • Style: (flavoured – vanilla, coffee bean) Imperial Porter
  • Taste: Smooth roasted coffee malt subdued alcohol-acidity integrated vanilla
  • Where I got it : Sherbrooke / Edmonton
  • How much: $13 CAD (after 10% off) – 22 fl.oz., March 2017
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes!

Visual: (cellared for 0.5 years). Pours beer bottle brown without much of a head, half layer of lasting retention, micro streams surfacing,

Nose: sweet roasted barley malt, vanilla, roasted coffee bean, caramel brown sugar malt. Can’t get much better than this. (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: mild slick/thicker-soft crisp, roast malt impression

Mid-palate: subdued zingy alcohol, soft background sourness, (lvl-7-sweetness), roasted coffee, caramel roast barley malt

Finish: vanilla, residual sweet malt, roasted coffee malt exhale, alcohol hit, roasted bitter hops

Summary: What on earth?! Impossibly smooth and very drinkable for a 10%. It does get somewhat heavy 2/3 through, but I appreciate the robust roasted coffee malt profile and integrated vanilla that makes each sip a delight. Excellent quality, wishing for more creamy milkiness to make it truly phenomenal.

Orange Avenue Wit – Coronado Brewing Co. (Coronado, CA, USA)

Orange Avenue Wit – Coronado Brewing Company, 5.2% ABV, 1 pint 6 fl.oz., (Coronado, California, USA)


printed on the back of the bottle:

This So-Cal take on a traditional witbier honors Coronado’s main street, which is home to our brewpub and was once lined with orange trees. Bolstered by orange zest, coriander and orange blossom honey, it’s Belgium by way of Coronado. Expect a refreshing, light-bodied brew rife with citrus zing and a hint of earthy spice.

(back)


  • Style: (flavoured – orange zest, coriander, blossom honey) Witbier
  • Taste:
  • Where I got it : Legacy Liquor / Vancouver
  • How much: $8.22 CAD (after 5% off) – 1 pt. 6 fl.oz., November 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados:

Visual: (cellared for 2 years). Pours opaque orange with a massive slowly dissipating bubbly head, 1mm layer of retention, clusters of micro streams.

Nose: honeyed lager malt with orange overtones, semi-bright (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: crisp, full-CO2

Mid-palate: (lvl-4-sweetness), orange zest undertones, sweet wheat malt

Finish: subtle off-dry coriander, big honey exhale

Conclusion: A good integration of the 3 listed aromatics in balanced harmony. It is very drinkable but doesn’t leave much of a lingering impact as it is only light-medium in depth. Decent.

Aftermath Pale Ale – Black Market Brewing Co. (Temecula, CA, USA)

Aftermath Pale Ale – Black Market Brewing Company, 5.8% ABV, 1 pt. 6 fl.oz., (Temecula, California, USA)


on the front-right label:

We created ‘Aftermath’ as an extremely drinkable Pale Ale that wasn’t just a reproduction of everyone else’s Pale Ale. Our unique blend of multiple hop varieties adds HUGE hop aroma and flavor, with none of the overwhelming bitterness of an IPA

(right)


  • Style: American Pale Ale (APA)
  • Taste: Smooth balanced bitter hop-metallic barley malt
  • Where I got it : High Point / Vancouver
  • How much: $9.10 CAD (after 20% off) – 1 pt. 6 fl.oz., October 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: not memorable

Visual: Pours clear dark mahogany brown without a significant head, ringed retention with a large island, very steady micro streams

Nose: fragrant 50/50 citrus hops-sweet barley malt (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: crisp, soft-creamy, bitter hopped malt impression

Mid-palate: (lvl-3-sweetness), citrusy stealth sharp bitter hops, metallic barley malt,

Finish: dry grass hoppy bitter

Summary: A very smooth sippable brew of sharp bitter hops that linger until the finish that is accompanied by a healthy dose of barley malt forming a robust body of drinkable pleasure. Can’t say I’ll remember this, but it was a good go.