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.

Royal Jamaican Alcoholic Ginger Beer – Big City Brewing (Kingston, Jamaica)

Royal Jamaican Alcoholic Ginger Beer – Big City Brewing Company, 5% ABV, 330ml., (Kingston, Jamaica)

info from ratebeer.com

“Brewed using the finest Jamaican Ginger, considered to be the finest in the world. Other ingredients include Cascade hops, Jamaican cane sugar, and Royal Jamaican new crop rum.”

  • Style: (flavoured – Jamaican ginger, cane sugar, rum)
  • Taste: Cane sugary sweet BIG throat heat-warmth soft ginger
  • Where I got it : ??? / Vancouver
  • How much: ~$4 CAD – 330ml., ???
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: no

Visual: Cheap label. Pours pale straw white wine yellow with no head and barely any carbonation.

Nose: ginger beer soda – cane sugar and ginger overtones. (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: light syrupy thicker, low CO2

Mid-palate: big (lvl-9-sweetness), med-high throat HEAT, mellow ginger flavour, cane sugar

Finish: lingering throat warmth, subtle diluted rum caramels

Summary: This drinks like an aggressively sweetened cooler but at least there’s the big ginger throat heat that keeps it interesting texturally. The barley malt is nowhere in sight.

Mexican Chiapas Cold Pressed Coffee Ale – Howe Sound Brewing (Squamish, BC, Canada)

Mexican Chiapas Cold Pressed Coffee Ale – Howe Sound Brewing, 5.5% ABV – 22 IBU, 1L., (Squamish, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft beer*)

on the front-left label:

This smooth amber ale is conditioned with cold brewed coffee to give a bold aroma and flavour of fresh coffee with roasted, earthy, caramel, and nutty notes.


  • Style: (flavoured – Galileo cold brew coffee) Amber Ale
  • Taste: Sweet heavy nutty caramel roasted barley malt muddled coffee soft bittersweet finish
  • Where I got it : Legacy Liquor / Vancouver
  • How much: $11 CAD (after 5% off) – 1L., November 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: no, cold brew not integrated well enough

Visual: 1L bailer top bottle. Pours clear copper brown with a very small dissipating 1mm head, singular fast streams.

Nose: clean aromatic roasted cold pressed coffee (lvl-8)-intensity

Attack: light crisp, light fizzy-tingly

Mid-palate: nutty (lvl-8-sweetness), sticky caramel roasted barley malt heaviness, background subtle coffee sour, muddly coffee astringency

Finish: nutty coffee exhale, soft bittersweet roast

Summary: Lots of caramel barley sweetness but I find the cold brew coffee notes to be out of key and slightly astringent. The amber ale base is also too thin and doesn’t possess enough carry. Far better examples of cold brew additions are Central City’s Imp Coffee Stout [A-] and Rogue’s Cold Brew IPA [3.9/5].

Phillips Snowcase 2015 Calendar Day #1 – Anxiety Ale


Phillips Snowcase 2015 Calendar Day #1

Anxiety Ale – Phillips Brewing, 8.0% ABV – 341ml., (Victoria, BC, Canada)

-2015 is nearing its end and 2016 is just around the corner. This time of year brings 2 annual beer calendars to Beautiful British Columbia, one of which is Victoria’s Phillips Snowcase. Last year I failed to finish the 2014 calendar tasting due to other… tasting commitments, but this year will be different, I promise! Also it’ll be easier this year since they only have so many new brews to include in the box. Without further ado, let’s kick off 2015’s close and welcome the New Year!


(It took me 1 year to get through 15 beers…)


on the front-right label:

“The holidays are full of surprises and not all of them are welcome. Despite the seasonal pressures , we hope you enjoy the fermented surprises our elves have tucked away for the next 23 days This first beer is full of rich Belgian flavour and pours a deep red due to the addition of beets. Welcome to the Snowcase!”

  • Style: (Beet) Flavoured Ale
  • Taste: Crisp sweet barley malt subtle beet earthy
  • How much I got it for: $80.50 CAD, November 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: don’t buy Snowcase just for this

Visual: Pours clear reddish orange, barely any head, ringed retention, lots and lots of very fast steady streams.

Nose: sour acidity, beet rootiness in the background, mild funk (lvl-4)-pungency

Attack: crisp, thin viscosity, fizzy CO2

Mid-palate: thin-bodied, (lvl-6)-sweetness, (MAIN) sweet liquid malt, subtle beetroot earthiness, almost salty

Finish: lingering malt, mild palate rough finish.

Summary: Is this really and 8%’er?? ABV is undeniably well hidden from start to finish, drinks more like a 5%. Beetroot is there in the mids but it doesn’t elevate the beer profile. Coincidentally I’ve been eating air-fried beets for the past couple of days and I can surely identify its presence in this brew. Overall just an average drinkable beer, though not very inspiring being the 1st of 24.

Red Racer Maple Bacon Ale – Central City Brewing (Surrey, BC, Canada)


Red Racer Maple Bacon Ale – Central City Brewing, 5% ABV, 650ml., (Surrey, BC, Canada) (*local craft beer*)

  • Style: (maple bacon) Flavoured Amber Ale
  • Taste: Thin sweet toffee malt light smoky
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $5.60 – 650ml., May 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: skip it

Visual: Pours pale copper brown without much head, a thin half layer and ring of micro bubbles, lots of varied tight knit and steady streams.

Nose: medium caramel malts, savoury toastedness, a touch of nutty alcohol. (lvl-3)-pungency

Attack: thin-tingly-crisp, underlying light sourness

Mid-palate: bright (lvl-5)-sweetness, watery mouthfeel, (MAIN) caramel malts

Finish: sweet toffee malt, hint of maple, light smoky exhale, mild palate rough finish.

Summary: Very plain, no prominent maple nor bacon flavours as advertised. The body is too thin and the flavours are forgettable.

Bubbie’s Brew Jelly Doughnut Ale – Parallel 49 Brewing (Vancouver, BC, Canada)


Bubbie’s Brew Jelly Doughnut Ale – Parallel 49 Brewing, 8.0% ABV, 650ml, (Vancouver, BC, Canada) (*local craft beer*)

printed on front-left:

“What. You’re so busy you can’t even visit? You’ve gotten so skinny! Why not fill up on this certified kosher jelly doughnut ale? It’s so good that you’ll want to drink it for more than just eight crazy nights… Even Bubbuie would approve. L’chaim!”

Ingredients: pilsner, munich, flaked wheat, victory, C40, C120 malts, hallertau, middelfreu, raspberry extract, water, yeast.


  • Style: (Jelly doughnut) Flavoured Ale
  • Taste: Malty too sweet raspberry jammy astringent
  • Where I got it : @Brewery
  • How much: $6 – 650ml., December 2014
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: save your $$$

Visual: Pours brown-red with practically no head, a very thin layer of micro retention, some bubbles here and there, no steady streams.

Nose: sugary raspberry jam, brown caramel malts in the background, it does smell like a jelly donut, or rather those jam center thumbprint cookies. (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: thicker viscosity, low CO2

Mid-palate: (lvl-8)-heavy sweetness, flat mouthfeel, (MAIN) raspberry jam, bready malt -> *astringent dryness*

Finish: raspberry jam exhale, dry mouth finish.

Summary: Initially starts out with micro bubbles, halfway through it drinks flat. Flavour and body peters out in the mids to finish. Tastes of overly sweet raspberry jam and malt with a flat backbone. Nothing good except the high ABV which hits pretty stealthily.

Ginger Beard – Wychwood Brewery (Witney, England)


Ginger Beard – Wychwood Brewery, 4.2% ABV, 500ml, (Witney, England)

printed on the back label:

“A traditionally crafted beer infused with fiery root ginger to deliver a refreshing, spicy finish with a lot of bite.”


  • Style: (ginger) flavoured ale
  • Taste: ginger syrup light mold
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $3.50 – 500ml., sometime in 2014
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: heck no

Visual: Pours clear beer bottle brown with minimal head, a thin layer of ringed retention, micro bubbles, lots of fast clustered streams.

Nose: bursting bright sweetened ginger beer soda, malts mixed in. (lvl-8)-pungency

Attack: ginger syrup, immediate (8/10)-lvl sweetness

Mid-palate: (MAIN) candied ginger

Finish: veggie mold exhale, light ginger throat warmth

Summary: This is like drinking ginger syrup with alcohol, not good at all. It hardly resembles a beer nor a ginger beer soda. The only redeeming feature is the authentic ginger burn at the finish.