Red Racer Snickerdoodle Pumpkin Ale – Central City Brewers (Surrey, BC, Canada)

Red Racer Snickerdoodle Pumpkin Ale – Central City Brewers & Distillers, 5.0% ABV, 650 ml., (Surrey, British Columbia, Canada) (*local BC craft beer*)

-2017 pumpkin beers are finally here! Here’s the 1st of 2017.

printed on the front-left label:

Like a delicious Pumpkin Snickerdoodle, this craft beer creation is infused with real pumpkin, fall spice flavour, and has a smooth, creamy centre.

Ingredients: water, malted barley , pumpkin puree, lactose, hops and spices.


and in case you were wondering what’s a snickerdoodle (via wiki):

“A snickerdoodle is a type of cookie made with butter or oil, sugar, and flour, and rolled in cinnamon sugar. Eggs may also sometimes be used as an ingredient, with cream of tartar and baking soda added to leaven the dough.”

  • Style: (flavoured – pumpkin, lactose, spices) Spiced Ale
  • Taste:
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $6.30 CAD – 650 ml., September 2017
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: nope, weak body

Visual: Pours clear copper brown with a dissipating 1mm head, ringed retention, scattered loose singular streams.

Nose: nutmeg-cinnamon, brown sugar malt. (lvl-7)-intensity

Attack: crisp-light fizzy, malty sweet impresion

Mid-palate: lengthy cinnamon/nutmeg spices, pumpkin base, brown sugar malt-(thin), (lvl-5)-sweetness,

Finish: mild lactose, residual malt body

Summary: The pumpkin-spices to malt body ratio is off; The barley malt base is too weak and lacks length and carry while the pumpkin and spiced flavours gradually dominate from the start of the mids onward. The lactose adds a bit of thicker mouthfeel at the end but by then the malt body has already stopped short. Drinkable, but below average – not worth your time.

BC Gin Round 4 – Victoria (Champ) VS Queensborough (Challenger)

Welcome welcome welcome, and welcome again to the fourth round of the BC gin battle. Up first we have the newly crowned champ from R3, Victoria Gin up against Queensborough (QB) small batch dry gin. QB is the updated and permanent gin the liquor portfolio of Central City Brewers + Distillers, their older gin being Seraph Gin which lost out in R2 here.

1) Victoria Gin – Victoria Distillers – 45% ABV – 750ml., Sidney, BC, $46 CAD (8/2017) @ BCLiquor

  • new label and bottle since spring 2016, ,
  • 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) Queensborough small batch dry gin – Central City Brewers + Distillers – 43% ABV – 750ml., Surrey, BC, $46 (9/2017) @ BCLiquor

  • juniper sourced from BC interior, spruce tips from Vancouver Island.
  • 2017 Double gold @ San Diego Intl spirits competition
  • 2017 Double gold @ San Fran World spirits competition
  • etc etc a few more accolades


Nose: VG is clean, no doubt about it. There are hints of citrus, and soap, with some juniper in the backend. QB is reminds me of the banana-rose like quality of Wallflower, but only half the intensity and leaning more toward the rose. There’s a sense of the green spruce tips in there as well. VG = star anise, QB = spruce mineral. Both are clean and enticing.

Taste & Texture: VG hits you up front with a soft sweetness, followed by juniper, cinnamon, star anise, big licorice, a bit of citrus, and some medium throat heat – overall, clean flavours and smooth transitions. QB‘s entry is very bright and juicy with juniper berry at the start but there’s immediate alcohol detection and invasive heat from the get go. VG takes a different approach by gradually building up the heat. In any case, QB showcases green spruce, jasmine, mild rose and citrus notes, and slight licorice juniper at the finish. As a sipper, VG by TKO smoothness, hands down.

Final Notes:

  • Victoria Gin, the winner of rounds 3 and 4 is cool and composed which is remarkable considering its 45% ABV. It will make a smooth cocktail.
  • Queensborough Gin displays a superb bright fruity spruce-juniper-jasmine profile that would make any cocktail unique and flavourful, but there is an overall alcoholic harshness.

Title retained = Victoria Gin by Victoria Distillers, but Queensborough is still an excellent and recommended gin


Timbertrain Coffee Stout – Russell Brewing Co. (Surrey, BC, Canada)

Timbertrain Coffee Stout – Russell Brewing Company, 6.5% ABV – 50 IBUs, 650ml., (Surrey, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft brew*, seasonal)

on the front-left label:

“Rusell presents our newest seasonal release; Timbertrain Coffee Stout. With a beautifully rich malt base and a healthy does of cold pressed espresso our brewers have created a beer that is so much more than a breakfast drink.”


  • Style: (flavoured – coffee) Dry Stout
  • Taste: Woody nutty bitter roast dry coffee roast barley mild vanilla
  • Where I got it : Legacy Liquor / Vancouver
  • How much: $6.70 CAD (after 10% off) – 650ml., December 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: good, not great

Visual: (cellared for 1.5 years). Pours deep coffee brown with a massive long lasting ultra foamy head, thick sticky lacing, a few visible micro bubbles surfacing.

Nose: sweet nutty woody roasted coffee, caramelized barley malt (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: dry crisp, bright coffee malt impression

Mid-palate: tingly-bubbly, (lvl-1-sweetness), mildy burnt, deep roast coffee, vanilla, slight sour acidic brightness, roasted barley malt

Finish: residual woody roast, subtle bitter hops, lingering roast malt

Summary: Plenty of coffee influence in here, a robust balanced dry body. I prefer a sweeter stout, but this is pleasantly solid nonetheless. Better at 20°C.

Red Racer Habanero Stout – Central City Brewers (Surrey, BC, Canada)

Red Racer Habanero Stout – Central City Brewers & Distillers, 8.5% ABV, 650 ml., (Surrey, British Columbia, Canada) (*local BC craft beer*)

printed on the front-left label:

“Red Racer habanero stout is a classical Russian imperial stout with subtle addition of habanero chilis to create a warming and spicy mouth feel. Pronounced notes of coffee and chocolate balanced with Northwest hops and a touch of heat produce an exceptional imperial stout.”


  • Style: (flavoured – habanero) Imperial Stout
  • Taste: balanced sweet soft roasted barley malt chocolate light coffee negligible heat
  • Where I got it : Liquor Barn / Burnaby
  • How much: $6.50 CAD (after 10% off) – 650 ml., December 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: nah, not memorable

Visual: (cellared for 1 year). Pours clear and a very dark brown without much of a head, a thin ring with a medium island, micro bubbles surfacing here and there.

Nose: chocolatey roasted barley malt, molasses, hints of nutty coffee. No notes of habanero. (lvl-7)-pungency

Attack: light tingly-soft crisp, sweet roasted malt impression

Mid-palate: slight thicker mouthfeel, 50/50-bitter/milk chocolate, (lvl-6-sweetness), soft roasted barley malt, licorice

Finish: nutty coffee, very  subtle non-invasive heat, light bitter cocoa, residual bittersweet roasted barley malt

Summary: There’s no real standout flavours or textures but the overall tranquil balance of soft roast, sweetness, and alcohol means that this brew still goes down easy after the halfway mark. Good quality craftsmanship permeates the palate from start to finish.

Coco Nuts Porter – Russell Brewing Co. (Surrey, BC, Canada)

Coco Nuts Porter – Russell Brewing Company, 5.5% ABV – 50 IBUs, 650ml., (Surrey, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft brew*, seasonal)

on the front-left label:

“Why not celebrate a little winter cheer with a tropical delight? Russell Brewing Company has gone coco for Coconut Porter. Subtle sweet notes of those palm tree eggs are put into the brew at just the right time and combined with light carbonation, we have, as they say. NAILED IT!”


  • Style: (flavoured – coconut) Porter
  • Taste:
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $6 – 650ml., Winter 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados:

Visual: Pours jet black without much of a head, thin ringed retention, fine wet lacing, barely visible fast clustered streams.

Nose: sweet medium roasted barley malt, slight burnt brown sugar (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: soft crisp, tingly-fizzy bite

Mid-palate: (lvl-5)-sweetness, background soft sour, thinnish mouthfeel, roasted barley malt

Finish: lingering slight sourness,  subtle coconut exhale, residual clean roasted barley malt

Summary: Mainly roasted barley malt with some coconut and a bit of brown sugar and coffee notes. I found myself able to constantly sip this since the overall balance of flavour was there, but the depth and fullness of body is lacking.

Starry Night (Sparkling Wine) – River’s Bend Winery (Surrey, BC, Canada)

  • My Rating: [C-]

Starry Night – River’s Bend Winery (permanently CLOSED), 12.0% ABV, 750 ml., (Surrey, BC, Canada) (*local BC wine*)

on the back label:

“A blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay this sparkling wine is made in the classic Champagne method with aromas of fresh-baked bread, walnuts, citrus and violets.”


  • (permanently CLOSED)
  • Style: (Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, champagne method) Sparkling Wine
  • Taste: Dull buttery off-dry generic white wine curd soft tangy sour
  • Where I got it : Kensington VQA (perma Closed) / Burnaby
  • How much: $28 CAD – 750ml., December 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to fruit wine aficionados: not at all

Visual: (cellared for 4 years). Resealable plastic cork, twisty steel top cap, foil cover. Pours medium apple juice yellow with lots of fizzy activity, clusters of steady streams (< champagne), large bubbles hugging the glass.

Nose: buttery sweet baked bread, “DIY ehrenfelser” I did way ages ago (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: tingly-fizzy, soft-sour crisp acidity

Mid-palate: butter, (lvl-1-sweetness), generic dull white wine, curd, continued medium short sourness

Finish: hints of sprite, almost salty-savoury nut finish.

Summary: Definitely a starter to a meal wine, with a drier mouthfeel and sourish disposition to help open up the palate. It went pretty well with my mushroom burger, but pretty meh on its own. The effervescence disappears after a couple of hours even after re-corking.


BC Gin Round 2 – Wallflower (Champ) VS Seraph (Challenger)

Here’s the 2nd round of the BC Gin battle. We have the winner from last round, Wallflower Gin up against a now discontinued bottle of Seraph Gin. Central City has replaced the latter  with Queensborough Gin, which will be battling in a later round. Let’s get to it!

1) Wallflower Gin – Odd Society Spirits, 44% ABV – 750ml., Vancouver, BC, ~$50 CAD @Distillery

  • batch #, year, hand labeled
  • real wood cork top, synthetic rubber plug
  • hefty bottle, unique shape – ++ great. Sticker label – hand numbered and year
  • maceration AND vapour extraction used to obtain flavour
  • 100% BC grown barley, west coast and international botanicals



2) Seraph Gin – Central City Brewers & Distillers – 40% ABV – 750ml., Surrey, BC, $35 CAD (10/2015) @ BCLiquor

  • no longer sold (5/2017), info referenced from
  • glass + rubber stopper = unique
  • 100% BC malted barley, 2x distilled, 1st time through column, 2nd in a copper pot with “hanging basket” method of botanical flavour infusion


Nose: Starting out with Wallflower (WF), it gives me a gentle creaminess with soapy banana and juniper, followed by sweet ethyl alcohol, just a bit of agitated nasal tingliness and coming out rather clean at the finish. Seraph has an interesting jackfruit-guyabano nose, but is slightly intruded upon by a harsher alcoholic backdrop. WF = brighter, soapy | Seraph = darker, jackfruit. Winner = Wallflower, it’s more inviting.

Taste & Texture: WF comes out with bright soapy juniper, cinnamon bark, and some spiciness in the backend. Seraph feels much thicker in the mouth, and gives an almost salty-savour impression. It’s somewhat coconut plasticky but in an okay kind of way, mild juniper in the mids, finishing with harsher alcohol. Soap VS plastic, take your pick. I choose soapy WF, bright beats dull.

Final Notes:

  • Wallflower Gin exhibits notes of soapy juniper and slight floral brightness
  • Seraph Gin is darker and has flavours of plasticky banana.

Winner of RD1 and RD2 = Wallflower Gin by Odd Society Spirits