White Cranberry Wine – Blue Heron Fruit Winery (Pitt Meadows, BC, Canada)

  • My Rating: [B]

TL:DR – “Very sippable fruity cranberry, with balanced mouthfeel textures. Solid.”

White Cranberry Wine (NV) – Blue Heron Fruit Winery, 11% ABV, 750 ml., (Pitt Meadows, BC, Canada) (*local BC fruit wine*)

on the back label:

“Owned and operated by Flynn Farms Ltd., the Blue Heron Winery is located approximately 30km east of Vancouver in scenic Pitt Meadows. The Flynn family has been growing cranberries and blueberries for over half a century. Now, through the Blue Heron Winery they bring to you a full selection of fine fruit wines. Contains sulphites.”

  • Style: (Cranberry) Fruit Wine
  • Taste: fruity juicy balance tangy tart cranberry subtle cinnamon
  • Where I got it : @Winery
  • How much: $14 CAD – 750 ml., sometime in 2018
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No
  • Recommended: decent
  • What made an impression: Balanced textures and clean flavour

Visual: Pours slightly hazy dull copper orange-peach with a bubble or two along the perimeter.

Nose: tangy prickly acidic red fruit, mildly raspberry-esque. (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: crisp, clean entry, incoming fruity

Mid-palate: fruity brightness, (lvl-3-sweetness), clean cranberry juiciness, subtle tang, light acidity

Finish: residual fruity cranberry juice, cinnamon, soft tart sticky gums

Summary: Very pleasant and enjoyable textures and taste from start to finish. The cranberry flavor is some depth but isn’t incredibly complex. Luckily, the supporting acidity and sweetness help by adding repeatable sippability. Much much better than the Fort Wine White Cranberry I had in the previous post.

Central City / Parallel 49 – 2018 Calendar Alpine Adventure Pack Day 2 – P49 Pils (Dryhopped Pilsner)

  • My Rating: [C+]

TL:DR – “subtle bitter easy drinking pils. Grainy, lightly sweet, but a bit metallic. Meal beer.”

Central City / Parallel 49 – 2018 Calendar Alpine Adventure Pack Day 2 – P49 Pils (Dryhopped Pilsner), 5.0% ABV, 341 ml., (Vancouver, BC, Canada) (*local BC Craft beer*)

on the front-left label:

“A beer worthy of defending the realm over! We’ve taken our pilsner to new heights by dry hopping it to bring out even more spicy and herbal noble hop aromas. Grab your squire and trusty steed to protect this fine brew from any who would seek to deny you from enjoying it.”

  • Style: Pilsner
  • Taste: soft grainy straw malt light sweet subtle hop bitter metallic
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $75 CAD – 24×341~355 ml., November 2018
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No
  • Recommended: not really
  • What made an impression: balanced easy drinking

Visual: Cool art, smooth sticker label. Pours mildly hazy light golden orange with minimal head, a thin layer of micro retention, some lacing, lots of active singular micro bubble streams.

Nose: bright tangerine citrusy sweet malt, slight farty (lvl-7)-pungency

Attack: crisp bite, soft creamy

Mid-palate: (lvl-2-sweetness), grainy-hay/straw malt

Finish: bright citrusy hop-slightly green, subtle bitter, slight metallic grain

Summary: A balanced and easy-drinking malty-light citrus-subtle bitter hopped pils. A good meal beer, decent as a sipper but light-medium depth = refreshing but doesn’t satisfy a curious palate.

Vidal Icewine 2007 – Peller Estates (Ontario, Canada)

  • My Rating: [B+]

TL:DR – “Intense grape-raisin with some pineapple-mango nuances. Great stuff.”

Vidal Icewine Private Reserve 2007 – Peller Estates, 11.5% ABV – 200 ml., (Niagaro-on-the-lake, Ontario, Canada)

on the back label:

“This rare wine is made from frozen Vidal grapes hand picked at night below -10C in the middle of Canada’s cold winter. One drop of nectar is pressed from each grape to produce this luscious highly aromatic wine. Intense flavours of tropical fruit, peaches and honey are followed by a refreshing lingering finish…”

  • Style: (Vidal) Icewine
  • Taste: Fruit grape-raisin soft tropical liquid sweet
  • Where I got it : Superstore / Edmonton
  • How much: $18.29 – 200 ml., sometime in 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: Yes
  • Recommended: Yes
  • What made an impression: clean complex enjoyable flavour

Visual: (cellared for 11 years). Pours copper brownish orange, clear as water.

Nose: raisin, honey, fig/date (lvl-9)-pungency

Attack: thicker viscosity

Mid-palate: sugar and alcohol bite, jammy raisin, dissipating (lvl-8-sweetness), mango

Finish: concord grape, sticky raisin, pineapple

Summary: Absolutely delightful. Complex grape flavour accompanied by a the advertised tropical backend. The sugars are intense but scatter quickly enough for the fruitiness to kick in.

The Other Red Raspberry Wine – Barr Estate Winery (Sherwood Park, AB, Canada)

  • My Rating: [C+]

TL:DR – “dull raspberry flavour but has composed tangy-sour-acidic qualities. I’ve had better”

The Other Red Raspberry Wine 201012% ABV – 750 ml., (Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada)

printed on the back:

“Tasting notes: Immerse yourself in the complex aromas and full-bodied flavours of ripe summer fruits and berries. Enjoy The Other Red by itself, with duck breast, or roast pork. Serve cool. Made with loving care from 100% Strathcona County raspberries

  • Style: (Raspberry) Fruit Wine
  • Taste: Dull raspberry soft tangy soft sour firm acidic
  • Where I got it : Sherbrooke (?) / Edmonton
  • How much: ~$30 CAD (?) – 750 ml., sometime in 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No
  • Recommended: not fully
  • What made an impression: decent body, sippable

Visual: (cellared for 8 years). Pours clear dark maroon with a few tiny bubbles along the perimeter. Low legs.

Nose: juicy pressed raspberries with tang and fruity acidity. Smells great. (lvl-8)-pungency

Attack: controlled tart, tangy bite, mild prickly 

Mid-palate: (lvl-3-sweetness), fruity but tangy dry acidity, medium-body dull raspberry, soft sour

Finish: cuts off-dry, hint blackberry woody

Summary: A decent tangy light-medium bodied fruit wine, goes well with a meal. Don’t expect robust or dazzling raspberry flavours in this one, it’s 2-note at with good composure. I’ve definitely had better raspberry wine, check the raspberry wine tag.

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.

BC Gin Round 7 – Victoria (Champ) VS Spirit Bear

Victoria Gin is that you? In the new 2016 bottle and a slightly lower ABV (42.5% now, 45% before), is it still as good as the last tasting? It may have a tough time in fighting off the Spirit Bear from Kelowna. Let’s get to it.

1) Victoria Gin – Victoria Distillers – 42.5% ABV – 750ml., Sidney, BC, $47 CAD (5/2018) @ BCLiquor

  • 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) Spirit Bear Gin – Urban Distilleries, 40% ABV – 750 ml., Kelowna, BC, $51 CAD @website (5/2018)

  • 10 botanicals, including juniper berry, coriander, ginger, cinnamon, lemon zest, orange zest, angelica root, hop flowers, lavender, and apple.


Nose: Hmm.. first impression of the post-2016-42.5% ABV VG is that the nose is very underwhelming. I get a bit of plasticky alcohol and not much else. At least it isn’t overly aggressive or offensive. SB has a huge lemon balm and lavender notes but is mixed with a more stinging alcohol presence. Spirit Bear definitely noses better.

Taste & Texture: VG, what happened to you? I remember you being clean and finishing nicely with a star anise exhale. Gone is the serenity and replaced with a more aggressively alcoholic front, distracted juniper mids, finishing with star anise and a persistent alcohol and slight rose background. Maybe it was the fact that my previous bottle was old so that the alcohol was less harsh, but I can tell you than a new bottle of VG isn’t as smooth as it should/could be. Anyhow, SB tastes just like the nose, big on lavender, soapy citrusy apple notes, juniper in the mids along with alcoholic heat, coriander herbal finish. Spirit Bear why you so soapy? You leave a astringent bite-into-a-bar of soap kind of mouthfeel at the end of every sip. Man, VG ain’t as super great as the extinct 45% version, but still I prefer it over SB. VG takes it in R7.

Final Notes:

  • Victoria Gin, or V+ is the updated moniker, is still decent, but the juniper, star anise, and rose notes are more muddled and cloudy. Good, but not great.
  • Spirit Bear has a very distinct lavender, tangy lemon balm, and apple notes, but is quite soapy, hence it’s more suitable in a cocktail.
  • Victoria Gin is $4 cheaper ($47 vs $51 CAD -BCL/@website)

Verdict: Victoria Gin, ugh, not that Spirit Bear is bad; It’s just that Spirit Bear is more of cocktail-specific kind of gin in that it can really make something magical when paired with the right ingredients. In this BC Gin battle however, I’m looking for that all-arounder Gin. Unfortunately this new 42.5% isn’t quite as good the the ol’ 45% pre-2016 one, but it’ll have to do. I expect it to be dethroned in the upcoming rounds though.

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.