Centennial IPA – Founders Brewing Co. (Grand Rapids, MI, USA)


TL:DR – “Balanced (bitter hop : sweet malt : alcohol) ratios.”


Centennial IPA – Founders Brewing Company, 7.2% ABV – 65 IBUs, 12 fl.oz., (Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA)


on the back label:

“Get ready to bask in the glory of the frothy head’s floral bouquet, relish the citrus accents from the abundance of dry hopping. This one’s sweet, yet balanced, malty undertones shake hands with the hop character for a finish that never turns bitter”


  • Style: India Pale Ale
  • Taste: balanced toffee malt subtle bitter smooth texture
  • Where I got it : Cost Plus World Market / The Grove, LA
  • How much: $1.96 USD / $2.55 CAD – 12 fl.oz., March 2018
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No
  • Recommended: Yes
  • What made an impression: stealth subtle bitter hops for an IPA

Visual: Pours dirty medium copper orange with a small 1cm head with a 1mm fine frothy layer of retention with sticky lacing, very active tight clustered streams.

Nose: toffee bold barley malt, orange citrus hoppy undertones (lvl-5)-pungency.

Attack: thicker-creamy, soft bite

Mid-palate: (lvl-6-sweetness) mixed with light alcohol detection, soft citrus hop, sweet toasty toffee malt

Finish: residual malty, super subtle pine hopped bitter

Summary: The flavours won’t knock your socks off, rather, this one is more about he subtle nuances. Clean subtle bitter hops are balanced in zen-like unison with the malts, alcohol and texture. Smooth.

J.K.’s Northern Neighbour Farmhouse Cider Saskatoon Cuvée – Almar Orchards (Flushing, MI, USA)

J.K.’s Northern Neighbour Farmhouse Cider Saskatoon Cuvée – Almar Orchards, 5.5% ABV, 22 fl.oz., (Flushing, Michigan, USA)


on the back label:

“We invite you to celebrate a collaboration of a few passionate American and Canadian farmers. The fruits of their labor are presented in this bottle, a family reunion of sorts. This delightful cider is made from Michigan apples and a unique Canadian prairie apple, the Saskatoon. Gathered by J.K. from family orchards in Michigan and Saskatchewan, this natural cider has been carefully fermented here at Almar Orchards using our traditional methods. We hope you enjoy sharing this cider that knows no borders with friends, family, and neighbours.”

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  • Style: Apple Cider
  • Taste: Sweet woody tangy-zingy mildly alcoholic apple juicy slightly cloying
  • Where I got it : Uwajimaya / Seattle
  • How much: $9.20 USD = $11.90 CAD, October 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to cider aficionados: a good balance

Visual: Pours orange-red with large suspended bits of sediment, no activity and no head, just a few bubbles clinging to the side of the glass.

Nose: woody apple juice with a some sweet acidity, hint of yeastiness, deep flavour. (lvl-10)-pungency

Attack: incoming dense apple sweetness, thicker mouthfeel, tangy-zingy

Mid-palate: woody apple juice, mild apple cider vinegar tang mixed with hidden alcohol, (lvl-6-sweetness), hints of peach

Finish: slightly cloying sugars, juicy apple-white peach exhale

Summary: Quite an approachable sweet cider with bit woody apple flavour and a bit of tang and sourness to round it out. The sugars become a bit cloying after several sips so this goes best with a savoury meal.

Neapolitan Milk Stout – Saugatuck Brewing Co. (Douglas, MI, USA)

Neapolitan Milk Stout – Saugatuck Brewing Company, 6.0% ABV, 650 ml., (Douglas, Michigan, USA)


description from the Saugatuckbrewing website:

“A perfect blend of classic dry stout character with brilliant flavors of Neapolitan Ice Cream. Experience the nostalgic flavors of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry all in one glass – because sometimes ice cream just isn’t enough.”


  • Style: (flavoured – natural and artificial strawberry-vanilla-chocolate) Stout
  • Taste: Distinct yet artificial strawberry-vanilla-cocoa roasted barley malt cloying plasticky
  • Where I got it : High Point / Vancouver
  • How much: $9.05 (after 20% off) – 650 ml., February 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: gimmicky, at your own peril

Visual: Pours very dark brown with no real head, thin ringed retention, steady streams all around.

Nose: artificial strawberry ice cream, vanilla, subtle malts. Candyesque, but appetizing. (lvl-4)-pungency

Attack: soft crisp, light slick

Mid-palate: aromatic artificial strawberry, long (lvl-7-sweetness)-slight cloying, roasted barley malt

Finish: dark cocoa notes, vanilla extract, lingering plastic artificiality

Summary: Definitely a unique flavour that grabs your attention with the first sip, much like their blueberry maple stout. It does however become very predictable and cloying halfway through. Not a ton of depth but the transitions are decent. I can confidently say I won’t be having another one of these. Artificiality overload.

Luciernaga (The Firefly) – Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales (Dexter, MI, USA)

Luciernaga (The Firefly) – Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales, 6.5% ABV – 1pt 9.4fl.oz., (Dexter, MI, USA)

On the front label:

“The Firefly, an artisan pale ale brewed in the Grand Cru tradition. Enjoy its golden effervescence and gentle hop aroma. Coriander and Grains of Paradise round out the spicy palate, melting o so softly into a silken finish of hoppiness and bliss! Make any season a celebration!”

  • My Rating: B
  • Why I like it: reminds me of a beer & fresh pressed apple juice
  • Where I got it: Firefly
  • How much: $16 (after 10%), Dec 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours cloudy orange-brown, decent creamy head, lots of active CO2 streams. Sweet malts and apple on the nose. A burst of fresh pressed unfiltered fresh pressed apple juice, creamy mouth feel, light bitter hops and sweet (7/10) malts, hints of orange, coriander, and grapefruit. Finishes medium sour tangy and mild barnyard. Medium-high complexity, Med depth, great transitions, good carry, great drinkability.

Weizen Bam – Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales (Dexter, MI, USA)

Weizen Bam (Farmhouse Wheat Beer) – Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales, 4.5% ABV – 1 pt 9.4 fl.oz., (Dexter, Michigan, USA)

On the side label:

“The fourth in our Bam Farmhouse series, and perhaps our most adventurous; a traditional farmhouse style hefeweizen. Weizen Bam seamlessly blends traditional German style hefeweizen yeast with our own local wild and sour cultures, for a melange of the most flavorful sort. Ruddy golden, with yeast driven esters of banana, spicy clove, and nutmeg all wrapped up with a generous dose of good-natured rapscallion delight.”

  • My Rating: B-
  • Why I like it: smooth sour ale with a hint of oak
  • Where I got it: W.16th
  • How much: ~$10, Summer 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours translucent bright yellow with a nice thick foamy head, lots of active CO2 streams, sediment at the bottom of the bottle. Pungent sourness and barnyard on the nose. A burst of sourness (10/10) and tartness up front (7/10), barnyard, cloves, nutmeg, tangy mids, banana, white grape, mild dry oak finish. Medium complexity, medium depth, good transitions, good carry, okay drinkability. The sourness and barnyard funk make this one hard for me to love; it’s just not my fav style.

Oro de Calabaza – Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales (Dexter, MI, USA)

Oro de Calabaza (Ale aged in oak barrels, Batch 467) – Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales, 8% ABV – 1 PT 9.4 fl.oz., (Dexter, Michigan, USA)

On the side label:

“Aged in large oak casks and refermented in the bottle, Oro de Calabaza is brewed in the Franco-Belgian tradition of special golden ales. Spicy and peppery with a gentle hop bouquet and the beguiling influence of wild yeast.”

  • My Rating: B+
  • Why I like it: sweet fruity ale with an oaky backdrop
  • Where I got it: W.16th
  • How much: ~$10, Summer 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours cloudy golden yellow with the most massive head I’ve ever seen, keeps on coming out of the bottle for 5 mins, lots of fast-moving CO2 streams. Sour malts and minor barnyard on the nose. Burst of fruity sourness (8/10) up front, sweetness (7/10) tastes of pineapple, mild pepperiness, dryness cuts in with oak woodiness, mild hops, soft dry finish. Medium complexity, med-high depth, good transitions, good carry, good drinkability.

La Roja – Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales (Dexter, MI, USA)

La Roja (Amber Ale aged in oak barrels, Blend 2,2009) – Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales, 7.2% ABV – 1 PT 9.4 fl.oz., (Dexter, Michigan, USA)

On the side label:

“La Roja, an artisan amber ale brewed in the Flanders tradition. Deep amber with earthy caramel, spice and sour fruit notes developed through natural barrel aging. Unfiltered, unpasteurized and blended from barrels ranging in age from two to ten months. Truly an ale of grace and distinction.”

  • My Rating: A-
  • Why I like it: drinks like a smoother lambic/kriek!
  • Where I got it: W.16th
  • How much: ~$10, Summer 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours dark brown-orange with a small creamy-foamy head, lots of slow-moving CO2 streams. Sour cherries on the nose. Holy crap! A burst of of sour cherries up front, mild barnyard, transitions into caramel, oak, plum, with a woody finish. Med-high complexity, med-high depth, great transitions, good carry, very nice drinkabililty. Good variety of flavours ranging from sour to sweet to woody to spice.