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.

BC Gin Round 6 – Victoria (Champ) VS Yaletown

Victoria Gin is back at it again entering round 6 against the local downtown Vancouver distillery’s Yaletown Gin. Wax-topped, corked, hand-label, and fancy flat bottled, is Yaletown gin is as good as it looks? Let’s find out how it does against the R3-R5 champ, Victoria Gin.


1) Victoria Gin – Victoria Distillers – 45% ABV – 750ml., Sidney, BC, $47 CAD (4/2018) @ BCLiquor

  • new label and bottle since spring 2016, , victoriadistillers.com
  • 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

[VS]

2) Yaletown Small Batch BC Gin – Yaletown Distilling Company, 42.0% ABV – 375 ml., Vancouver, BC, $27 (11/2015) @ BCLiquor

  • 8 botanicals, including Italian juniper, West African grains of paradise, liquorice root, and bitter almonds.
  • hand numbered bottle and barrel as well as the the distiller’s name


Criteria:

Nose: VG this time around is lemon balm minty, slight alcohol detection, and mostly clean. There’s a subtle but evident rose petal presence. YT is very juniper-forward, nasal-tingly manageable alcohol detection. Pretty typical. When compared side-by-side, VG definitely comes across as more elegant and refined. VG it is.

Taste & Texture: VG is quite minty, with an alcoholic rose petal edge, background juniper and coriander, citrus oils, slow alcoholic heat, and a very aromatic star anise exhale. YT has significantly more heat from start to finish, big berry juniper base accompanied by initial soapiness, woody licorice, spicy grains of paradise, and cinnamon. Sipping one after another, it’s clear that VG is smoother even at a higher ABV, but YT has a tad bit more depth. Still, if I had to choose one to sip, it would be VG.


Final Notes:

  • Victoria Gin has a very pleasant lemon balm minty, rose petal with a star anise exhale profile. Very clean and smooth to sip, also dynamic in a cocktail
  • Yaletown Gin is an enjoyable juniper-forward gin with a mostly clean spicy grains of paradise and cinnamon character. This definitely hold up in a cocktail.
  • Victoria Gin is $7 cheaper ($47 vs $54 (2x$27)@ BCL)

Verdict: Victoria Gin, mainly because of it’s unique (and delicious) floral taste profile. Pair that with being clean and smooth and you have a potential long-time reigning champ, as evidenced by winning rounds 3-6. Yaletown Gin is by no means bad as everybody has their own flavour preferences.

Broken Resolution Cherry Baltic Porter – Parallel 49 Brewing Co. (Vancouver, BC, Canada)


TL:DR – “not the cleanest of flavours, but delivers sweet dark roasted chocolatey cherry malt”


Broken Resolution Cherry Baltic Porter (limited release) – Parallel 49 Brewing Company, 8.5% ABV, 650 ml., (Vancouver, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft beer*)


on the front-left label:

“The wagon didn’t want you on it anyhow. Grab ahold of something that’s worth breaking your resolution for, you filthy animal.”

Ingredients: pils, munich, crystal, chocolate, midnight wheat, magnum, mittlefrueh, saccharomyces, tart cherry puree.


  • Style: (flavoured – cherry) Baltic Porter
  • Taste: sweet dark roasted chocolatey muddled cherry mild sour-tart unclean
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $5.75 CAD – 650 ml., March 2018
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No
  • Recommended: not really
  • What made an impression: hidden ABV

Visual: Pours dark beer bottle brown with a bit of dissipating head, ringed retention w/ a small island, tight and steady singular streams along the perimeter.

Nose: sweet dark roasted malt, chocolate-cherry overtones – very inviting. (lvl-9)-pungency.

Attack: soft crisp, incoming dark-fruity malt

Mid-palate: roasted dark chocolatey malt, slight burnt, (lvl-6-sweetness), subtle tangy-tart, light dissipating astringent sour, non-descript cherry background

Finish: cocoa, slight metallic, lingering dark roasted malt, slight woody bitter roast

Summary: Well-masked alcohol, very sippable. A good depth of aromatic roasted malt paired with a decent tangy-tart cherry backdrop. Above average, it delivers in advertised flavour, bit it comes across as brash and somewhat unclean.

BC Gin Round 5 – Victoria (Champ) VS Long Table

All right 2018, let’s do this! In round 5 of the gin battle we have the 2017 winner Victoria up against the local Long Table located in downtown Vancouver. Both weighing in at 45% ABV and Victoria made with 2 more botanicals than Long Table, which one will dominate the taste buds? Let’s do this, guy.


1) Victoria Gin – Victoria Distillers – 45% ABV – 750ml., Sidney, BC, $46 CAD (1/2018) @ BCLiquor

  • new label and bottle since spring 2016, , victoriadistillers.com
  • 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

[VS]

2) London dry gin – Long Table Distillery – 45% ABV – 750ml., Vancouver, BC, $53 (1/2018) @ BCLiquor


Criteria:

Nose: VG has a medium cleanliness with flavours of juniper and bright citrus emerging from the detectable alcohol. LT is duller with rounded edges, slightly creamy with grassier notes. The LT alcohol detection is much more apparent with just a bit of harshness on the nose. Although VG comes across as slightly soapyVG is the winner.

Taste & Texture: VG, upon the first sip, the beautifully aromatic star anise jumps out, fruity juniper in the mids with strong citrus overtones backing it up until the finish. LT despite being a London Dry style, surprisingly comes across as sweeter up front, thicker viscosity, muddly grassy juniper, licorice-coriander alcohol numbing mids, mild cinnamon, citrus undertones, slight nutty – almost salty finish. LT displays a pleasant balanced roundness. In terms of explicit and distinguishable flavour, Victoria takes the cake. VG wins.


Final Notes:

  • Victoria Gin is much brighter, thinner in mouthfeel, soapier, has a bit more roughness, but is overall has and displays strong notes of star anise and orange citrus.
  • Long Table London Dry Gin is creamier, showcases balanced ingredients of grassy juniper and mild citrus
  • Victoria Gin is $7 cheaper ($46 vs $53 @ BCL)

Verdict: Victoria Gin is my preference and winner. Nevertheless Long Table London Dry Gin is quality gin but it doesn’t have any standout flavours despite being balanced.

 

710 Oaked Stout – Faculty Brewing Co. (Vancouver, BC, Canada)


(TL:DR – “Oaked stout?! At first I was like ‘oh yeah!’ but after the first few sips I was like ‘oh, this kinda sucks'”)


710 Oaked Stout – Faculty Brewing Co., 5.0% ABV – 20 IBU, 650ml., (Vancouver, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft beer)

-Faculty Brewing Co.! Located in central Vancouver off of Main st. where all the hip breweries are popping up left, right and center. This is the first brew that I’m trying of theirs and it gives me the impression of them being just and “average” brewery. Let’s hope they can up their brew game in the future releases.


on the front-right label:

“Aromas of vanilla from American Oak complement the roasted character of this dry stout.”

(right)


  • Style: (flavoured – American oak chips) Dry Stout
  • Taste: semi-sweet roasted barley malt light coffee chocolate oak exhale sourish
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $7.70 – 650ml., January 2018
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Recommended: no
  • What made an impression: weak barley malt mids

Visual: Pours thicker viscosity dark coffee brown without much of a head, a very thin ringed retention, mild oil slick on the surface, slow micro stream along the perimeter. Uneventful.

Nose: roasted barley malt, hints of caramel coffee, cocoa notes, oak presence. (lvl-7)-pungency.

Attack: crisp-dull CO2, underwhelming entry

Mid-palate: (lvl-3-sweetness), background short sourness, low depth roasted barley malt,

Finish: watery mouthfeel, muddled caramel-vanilla, mild oak exhale, lingering roast malt

Summary: The flavours are okay but this tastes rather basic and fails to wow. The stout base doesn’t feel full enough and the sour notes in the mids detracts from the dark notes. Just an average brew with some oak influence, not memorable.

Whiskey Barrel Aged Porter – Powell Street Craft Brewery (Vancouver, BC, Canada)

Whiskey Barrel Aged Porter – Powell Street Craft Brewery, 6% ABV – 27 IBUs, 650 ml., (Vancouver, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft beer*)


on the back label:

“We’ve aged a robust porter for six months in American whiskey barrels. Notes of cherry and vanilla enhance the subtle dark fruit and coffee flavours of this limited edition beer.

(left)


  • Style: (whiskey barrel aged) Porter
  • Taste: Heavy sweet caramel toffee malt alcoholic vanilla
  • Where I got it : Bottle Jockey / N. Bby
  • How much: $9 CAD (after 12.5% off) – 650 ml., February 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: nah, not enough balance
  • What made an impression: aromatic vanilla from barrel aging

Visual: (cellared for 1.5 years). Pours heart of darkness black with a small 1cm frothy head, 1mm retention, lots of fast tight clustered streams.

Nose: brown sugar molasses malt, vanilla (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: crisp-fizzy-airy, sweet impression

Mid-palate: tingly-bloated, sweet cocoa, cloying heavy (lvl-7-sweetness), light woody, sweet caramel-toffee malt, tangy alcohol

Finish: vanilla, cherry-dark fruit, mild bittersweet

Summary: Decent body, but too much persistent sweetness that becomes cloying and heavy on the palate. The whiskey barrel influence is certainly there, but it’s lacking in creaminess and finesse to balance it out.

Hopopotamus Oak Aged IPA – Big Rock Brewery (Vancouver, BC, Canada)

Hopopotamus Oak Aged IPA (Limited edition), 6.8% ABV, 650ml., (Vancouver, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft beer)


on the back label:

“Surprisingly smooth with a booming bite, this IPA is big on flavour. Hopopotamus packs a punch of citrus and pine, and finishes with the vanilla and caramel sweetness of oak.”

(back)


  • Style: (oak aged) India Pale Ale
  • Taste: Tangy citrus piney sweet toffee vanilla malt soft bitter
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $6.70 CAD – 650ml., September 2017
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yep

Visual: Pours opaque orange-brown with a very small 1mm lasting head, ultra fine layer of retention, scattered steady micro streams.

Nose: orange-piney citrus floral bright hop oils (lvl-8)-pungency

Attack: crisp thicker, heavy sweet malt impression, creamy tingly mouthfeel

Mid-palate: (lvl-6-sweetness), tangy mandarin orange overtones, smooth toffee malt, light oak vanilla, green piney notes

Finish: lingering pine hops, a burst of hop bitter

Summary: Excellent complexity and balance in this one, with the oak playing a prominent yet balanced role in adding warmth and slight woodiness to the citrus piney base IPA. The transition from citrus to oak character is very pleasant and unique. Recommended.