Raspberry Wheat – Phillips Brewing Co. (Victoria, BC, Canada)


TL:DR – “basic lightly raspberry flavoured boring wheat ale. Palate is rough after drinking.”


Raspberry Wheat – Phillips Brewing Company, 5.0% ABV, 650 ml., (Victoria, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft beer*)


on the front-right label:

“A crisp, dry and refreshing summer beer. Brewed with BC raspberries for a full nose and crisp finish, this beer pairs well with sunglasses and patios.”


  • Style: (raspberry) Fruit Beer
  • Taste: light raspberry light body wheat ale palate rough
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: ~$6 CAD – 650 ml., sometime in 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No
  • Recommended: no
  • What made an impression: palate roughness at the end

Visual: (cellared for 6 years). Pours blush red with a dissipating 1cm head, fine ringed retention with an island, raspberry sediment, slow and steady micro streams.

Nose: clean fruity raspberry juice, inviting. (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: crisp

Mid-palate: thin mouthfeel, off-dry, (lvl-2-sweetness), fruity raspberry jam

Finish: dry wheat malt, raspberry exhale, mild artificial sweetener-like roughness

Summary: A very basic and straightforward lightly flavoured raspberry wheat ale, not much body or depth to speak of. It’s just an easy-drinking brew, barely above average, hardly recommendable nor memorable. The best aspect is the nose.

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.

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.

Spiced Apple Ale – Spinnakers Brewpub (Victoria, BC, Canada)

  • My Rating: [FAIL]

Spiced Apple Ale – Spinnakers Brewpub, 5.5% ABV – 10 IBU, 650ml., (Victoria, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft beer*)


on the front-right label:

“SPICED APPLE ALE: A blend of BC grown apple cider and a spiced amber ale, this fall treat is brewed to be enjoyed as the leaves change colour and the bounty of the season is ready to harvest.”

Made with: aquifer water, apple cider, barley, hops, yeast, spices.


  • Style: (flavoured – apple cider, spices) Amber ale
  • Taste: Palate rough tart tangy background acidic pukey weak apple barley unclean
  • Where I got it : Tobys / N. Vancouver
  • How much: $8.50 CAD (after 10% off) – 650ml., January 2018
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Recommended: avoid like herpes
  • What made an impression: weak ale base, clashing of flavours

Visual: Pours clear light copper brown with no head, a very hazy light layer of micro retention w/ thin ring, spread out steady micro streams.

Nose: light woody apple cider, nutmeg/cinnamon (lvl-4)-pungency

Attack: crisp, rough tangy entry

Mid-palate: tangy pukey apple cider, light tart, (lvl-3-sweetness), rough acidity, light body grainy barley malt

Finish: dry palate rough, unclean muddled spices

Summary: An awful blend of beer and cider – the tangy apple cider notes completely clash with the weak and thin barley beer base. The spices used hardly add any element of depth or interest except to enhance the nose. A complete waste of time, money and calories. In fact, I doubt I’ll ever purchase any bottle of Spinnakers in the future.

Candy Bar Milk Stout – 4 Mile Brewing Co. (Victoria, BC, Canada) 

  • My Rating: [B]

Candy Bar Milk Stout – 4 Mile Brewing Company, 6.5% ABV, 650ml., (Victoria, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft brew*)


Brewed with cacao nibs, peanut butter, vanilla beans and sea salt.


  • Style: (flavoured – cacao nibs, peanut butter, vanilla beans, lactose) Sweet stout
  • Taste: Soft sweet light bitter roast chocolate peanut butter light vanilla clean
  • Where I got it : BC iquor Stores
  • How much: $8.26 CAD – 650ml., December 2017
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Recommended: yes
  • What made an impression: identifiable ingredients

Visual: Pours jet black-brown without much of a head, soda-like activity

Nose: farty nuttiness, dark chocolate. (lvl-4)-pungency

Attack: soft crisp, light tingly

Mid-palate: thicker mouthfeel, lactose milky, (lvl-5-sweetness), chocolate barley malt, bittersweet roast

Finish: peanut butter exhale, mild vanilla, lingering roasted malt

Summary: A delicious balance of flavours and textures with all the listed ingredients identifiable on the palate.

 

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, , 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) 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

Criteria:

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

 

Mandarin IPA – 4 Mile Brewing Co. (Victoria, BC, Canada)

  • My Rating: [B+]

Mandarin IPA – 4 Mile Brewing Company, 6.5% ABV, 650ml., (Victoria, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft brew*)


  • Style: (flavoured – mandarin orange) Wheat Ale
  • Taste: Bursting mandarin orange toffee malt grapefruit bitter hops
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $6.50 CAD – 650ml., August 2017
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: yes
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yep

Visual: Pours translucent brown-orange with a low head, ringed retention

Nose: bright clean mandarin orange (lvl-9)-pungency

Attack: crisp, malty sweet impression

Mid-palate: bursting mandarin juicy, (lvl-4-sweetness), toffee malt

Finish: soft tangy prickly bitter hops, orange oil exhale, red grapefruit

Summary: A very bright and orange citrus fruity IPA that displays a super clean flavour profile and carries with it an extremely likable drinkibility. One the most surprising flavoured IPAs I’ve had this year.