Oyster Stout – Upright Brewing (Portland, OR, USA)

Oyster Stout (a stout brewed with oysters) – Upright Brewing, 6.25% ABV, 1 pt. 9.4 fl.oz. (Portland, Oregon, USA)

info from ratebeer.com:

Collaboration with Jason McAdam. A distinctly full-bodied and creamy stout with a touch of brine on the finish.

The “base” beer is a strong (medium strength by most standards, 16.6 plato) stout. We used chocolate wheat instead of the usual barley version along with a pinch of rolled rye.

In the end we decided to add roughly ten gallons of oyster “liquor” that Jason picked up fresh from the coast off a train. We didn’t want to brew an oyster stout without any oyster meat though so we also picked up eight dozen DeCourcy oysters from B.C. and cooked them during the kettle boil. After eating all the wort-soaked meat we cleaned and saved the shells to add later to the beer, post fermentation, like dryhopping.”

  • Style: (flavoured – oyster) Stout
  • Taste: Rich dark malt sweet molasses dark fruit mocha roast
  • Where I got it : Brewery Creek / Vancouver
  • How much: $11 (after 10% off) – 1 pt. 9.4 fl.oz., March 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yep
  • What left an impression: rich, lengthy body

Visual: (cellared for 5 years). Hefty bottle. Pours jet black-brown with a small 1mm head, a thin layer of bubbly retention, barely visible scattered micro slow streams.

Nose: dark fruity malts (lvl-8)-pungency

Attack: creamy-crisp-thicker, sweet dark malt impression

Mid-palate: milky-creamy mocha, (lvl-5-sweetness), sweet roasted dark malt, oyster-fishy sour undertones, molasses-dark fruit, nutty

Finish: roasted coffee exhale, lingering bittersweet malty roast

Summary: A very bold and rich sweet stout with big dark fruit and roasted coffee notes, with the oysters seeming to add creamy depth a touch of salty-sour backdrop to an excellent base.

Salted Caramel Brownie Brown Ale – New Belgium Brewing (Fort Collins, CO, USA)

Salted Caramel Brownie Brown Ale – New Belgium Brewing, 6.25% ABV, 12 fl.oz., (Fort Collins, Colorado, USA)

on the front-right label:

When two B Corps come together, delicious ideas are created. Our mutual dedication to using business as a force for good means you get to enjoy this brown ale laden with chcolaty, salted-caramel, vanilla goodness while helping Protect Our Winters combate climate chagne. Dig in!”


  • Style: (flavoured – salted caramel brownie) Brown Ale
  • Taste: Artificial sweet nutmeg toffee barley malt
  • Where I got it: Bottle Jockey / N. Burnaby
  • How much: $3.50 (after 10% off) – 12 fl.oz., February 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: no way

Visual: Pours dark brown without much of a head, ringed retention with an island, a few slow singular streams.

Nose: sweet caramel barley malt (lvl-3)-pungency

Attack: crisp, tingly, overly sweet malt impression

Mid-palate: artificial biscuity, plain barley malt, cloying (lvl-9-sweetness),

Finish: nutmeg, residual excess sweetness

Summary: Way too cloying sweet with a non-appealing artificial brownie flavour that ruins the overall experience. Not in the least like salted caramel and certainly nothing like a brownie. Not recommended. The worst I’ve had from New Belgium to date.

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.”


  • 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.


  • 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.

Phillips Union Cherry Flavoured Whiskey (Princeton, MN, USA)

  • My Rating: [D+], not recommended.

Cherry Flavoured Whiskey – Phillips Union (Phillips Distilling Company), 35% ABV, 750ml., (Princeton, Minnesota, USA)

My thoughts:

-When I drink whiskey I like it both neat or in a classic cocktail, especially a Manhattan. Here we have a flavoured whiskey that could potentially be decent as a sipper, or perhaps enhance the Manhattan experience. In my experience, ‘flavoured’ spirits can vary from intolerable to pedestal worthy. Let’s jump into it shall we?

from the Phillips website:

“Phillips Union Whiskey is the first-ever blend of Kentucky Bourbon and Canadian Whisky. It’s a smooth, flavorful spirit, without burn or bitterness, that comes in cherry and vanilla flavor, as well as the easy-sipping original.”

  • Style: (flavoured – cherry) Whiskey
  • Taste: Liquor Depot / Edmonton
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $31.10 CAD – 750ml., October 2009
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this whiskey aficionados: no
  • Would I recommend this in a cocktail: no

Visual: (cellared for 8 years). Pours a very light honey brown, noticeably lighter in colour than other whiskeys.

Nose: medicinal sweet cough syrup cherry, background medium nasal tingly, grain alcohol notes. (lvl-7)-pungency

Attack: incoming sweetness, fruity impression

Mid-palate: (lvl-6-sweetness), cough syrup cherry,

Finish: dull caramel whiskey, medium alcohol heat, light throat warmth, residual ‘cherry’ exhale

Overall smoothness: not good, too sweet and rough in the mids.

Summary: I don’t know where they got this “natural cherry flavour” from but it surely doesn’t taste like any naturally grown cherry that I’ve ever had. The whiskey base is too weak and one-note to hold up to the overbearing cherry. You get a 70% fake cherry and 30% whiskey experience. Thus, as a sipper – No good; Ok, so how about in one of my favs, a Manhattan?

(2:1, 3 dashes Angostura, cocktail cherry garnish)

Notes: In this cocktail I used dry vermouth instead, accounting for the inherent sweetness of Phillips Union Cherry. The result? Still too much of the medicinal cherry sweetness up front, weak whiskey mids and the vermouth kicking in at the finish. The transitions between the layers are too rough, making the experience unelegant, but at least drinkable. I would rather have a higher quality bourbon/whiskey in PU Cherry’s place in order to pump up the caramel and woody notes. Thus, in a cocktail, No good. Bottom line: not recommended.

Pipewrench Gin Barrel Aged IPA – Gigantic Brewing Co. (Portland, OR, USA)

Pipewrench Gin Barrel Aged IPA – Gigantic Brewing Company, 8% ABV – 85 IBU, 22 oz., (Portland, Oregon, USA)

on the front-right label:

“Our Gigantic IPA aged in Ransom Old Tom Gin barrels for 3 months. Botanicals from the gin meld perfectly with the citrusy hops and subtle wood in an incredibly complex beer.”


  • Style: (Ransom Old Tom Gin barrel aged) IPA
  • Taste:
  • Where I got it : Bottle Jockey / N.Burnaby
  • How much: $9 (after 10% off) – 22 oz., September 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: doubt it
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: YES

Visual: Pours opaque deep coral pink with a large supremely foamy long-lasting head, thick sticky lacing, clusters of active micro streams – Flawless appearance.

Nose: floral orange citrusy sweet malt with some tangy curd (lvl-7)-pungency

Attack: silky-fine creamy-crisp, airy alcoholic, sweet malt impression

Mid-palate: fruity juniper/crème de violet, (lvl-4-sweetness), soft tangy citrus curd, toffee malt

Finish: soft dry woody oak, dry gin edginess, stealth low bitter hops

Summary: A deeply interesting IPA that absorbs compound flavours from both the gin and wine that were aged in that same barrel (Wine -> Ransom Old Tom Gin -> Gigantic IPA). An IPA at heart with a prominent floral gin component as well as a woody nuance. The finish is slightly alcoholic aggressive. I’d love to try more gin BA beers.

Obsidian Stout – Deschutes Brewery (Bend, OR, USA)

Obsidian Stout – Deschutes Brewery, 6.4% ABV, 12 fl.oz., (Bend, Oregon, USA)

  • Style: (dryish) Stout
  • Taste: Dryish bitter roasted coffee fruity barley malt lingering roast bitter
  • Where I got it : Bottle Jockey / Burnaby
  • How much: $3.50 CAD (after 10% off) – 12 fl.oz., February 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: sure

Visual: (cellared for 1 year). Pours ultra dark brown without a head but temporary surfacing bubbles, thin ringed retention, barely visible singular micro streams.

Nose: toffee malt, sweet cocoa, chocolate truffle. (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: off-dry crisp, roasty malt impression

Mid-palate: background controlled acidity, (lvl-3-sweetness), coffee fruity overtones, medium dry roasted barley malt

Finish: long-lingering medium bitter dry woody roast, roasted exhale

Summary: Lots of lengthy roasted malts with a just enough sweetness and acidity to balance it out. Medium bodied, low creaminess. Smooth drinkability.