Booze I've Tried
Parallel 49’s Black Hops Cascadian Dark Lager (6.5%AbV)
It’s pretty much a sure thing I’ll like any beer with the words “Cascadian Dark” in it’s title. Pacific northwest flavour!

Parallel 49’s Black Hops Cascadian Dark Lager (6.5%AbV)

It’s pretty much a sure thing I’ll like any beer with the words “Cascadian Dark” in it’s title. Pacific northwest flavour!

An “East meets West” collaboration beer featuring the collective talents of BC’s Central City Brewers (responsible for the Red Racer series of beers) and Ontario’s Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery. It’s an Imperial “Double Red” Ale charting in at a mighty 9.5% AbVI love that the label is a true collaboration with elements from both companies branding melded together to make one kickass label.It’s a very dark red colour with a good couple fingers of dense but fluffy head. Surprisingly clear. Aroma is sharp and astringently hoppy with notes of copper, caramel, and biscuits.Flavour is POW, RIGHT IN THE KISSER! Unsurprising, perhaps, considering it IS an imperial ale, but worth a tip of the hat nonetheless. Initially very dry and crisp, with a robust hoppy bitterness. It’s backed up with a broad warm flavour that really coats the palate. This really is a red ale at it’s best. The middle is rich and coppery with spicy gingerbread notes and might almost be a bit sweet, but it’s balanced by the continuing presence of the dry hoppy flavours. The finish is the first time the malty cereal notes really make themselves known, and even then they’re blended with the predictable bitterness. Aftertaste has some serious hangtime.I can’t remember how much I paid for this one. If it was 6 or so bucks I’ll try a few more before they sell out. If it was 10 or 11 bucks I’ll probably just keep it to the one, but will also consider it money well spent as this was indeed a delicious beer.

An “East meets West” collaboration beer featuring the collective talents of BC’s Central City Brewers (responsible for the Red Racer series of beers) and Ontario’s Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery. It’s an Imperial “Double Red” Ale charting in at a mighty 9.5% AbV

I love that the label is a true collaboration with elements from both companies branding melded together to make one kickass label.

It’s a very dark red colour with a good couple fingers of dense but fluffy head. Surprisingly clear. 

Aroma is sharp and astringently hoppy with notes of copper, caramel, and biscuits.

Flavour is POW, RIGHT IN THE KISSER! Unsurprising, perhaps, considering it IS an imperial ale, but worth a tip of the hat nonetheless. Initially very dry and crisp, with a robust hoppy bitterness. It’s backed up with a broad warm flavour that really coats the palate. This really is a red ale at it’s best. The middle is rich and coppery with spicy gingerbread notes and might almost be a bit sweet, but it’s balanced by the continuing presence of the dry hoppy flavours. The finish is the first time the malty cereal notes really make themselves known, and even then they’re blended with the predictable bitterness. Aftertaste has some serious hangtime.

I can’t remember how much I paid for this one. If it was 6 or so bucks I’ll try a few more before they sell out. If it was 10 or 11 bucks I’ll probably just keep it to the one, but will also consider it money well spent as this was indeed a delicious beer.

Phillips Brewing Co’s Electric Unicorn White IPA (6.5%AbV)
"Best enjoyed while riding a mystical mono-horned laser beast, racing through the galaxy to the sonic backdrop of screaming metal guitars"
Pours a hazy golden straw colour with a finger of dense frothy head. Tons of sediment, which I’m not always a fan of, but on this kind of beer I pour it all in, because that’s where the flavour is.
Aroma is oranges and lemons, wheat, coriander, freshly cut grass, and summer. Yes, they managed to fit an entire season in this beer. The hops are definitely there too, but they’re playing second fiddle.
Initial sip is crisp and slightly dry. Very thirst quenching and actually has more body than I was expecting. Lemon and coriander are the first things you taste. Then mid palate BAM! HOPS! I was starting to worry there for a second since they weren’t really noticeable in the aroma. Also getting some wheat, orange, and more spices. The finish is the first time I’ve really noticed any sort of maltiness; kind of a nice change-up. Very mild aftertaste with just a tiny shot of citrus and next to no hang time aside from some coriander.
A very tasty beer that manages to pack in a lot of flavour while remaining light and refreshing. I can see this being a perfect beer for drinking in a backyard with friends while getting sunburnt. I think it would go great with a fruit plate.. especially watermelon. 
This beer kind of restores my faith in Phillips a bit. Lately they’ve been making a lot of small batches of “creative and interesting” beers that don’t always live up to the hype, but when they stick to what they’re good at they can knock it out of the park. I like this beer.

Phillips Brewing Co’s Electric Unicorn White IPA (6.5%AbV)

"Best enjoyed while riding a mystical mono-horned laser beast, racing through the galaxy to the sonic backdrop of screaming metal guitars"

Pours a hazy golden straw colour with a finger of dense frothy head. Tons of sediment, which I’m not always a fan of, but on this kind of beer I pour it all in, because that’s where the flavour is.

Aroma is oranges and lemons, wheat, coriander, freshly cut grass, and summer. Yes, they managed to fit an entire season in this beer. The hops are definitely there too, but they’re playing second fiddle.

Initial sip is crisp and slightly dry. Very thirst quenching and actually has more body than I was expecting. Lemon and coriander are the first things you taste. Then mid palate BAM! HOPS! I was starting to worry there for a second since they weren’t really noticeable in the aroma. Also getting some wheat, orange, and more spices. The finish is the first time I’ve really noticed any sort of maltiness; kind of a nice change-up. Very mild aftertaste with just a tiny shot of citrus and next to no hang time aside from some coriander.

A very tasty beer that manages to pack in a lot of flavour while remaining light and refreshing. I can see this being a perfect beer for drinking in a backyard with friends while getting sunburnt. I think it would go great with a fruit plate.. especially watermelon. 

This beer kind of restores my faith in Phillips a bit. Lately they’ve been making a lot of small batches of “creative and interesting” beers that don’t always live up to the hype, but when they stick to what they’re good at they can knock it out of the park. I like this beer.

Saltspring Island Ales’ Crème Brûlée Vanilla Stout (8%AbV)
Another offering from Saltspring Island Ales, available exclusively at Liquor Plus locations. I’m not sure, as a consumer, that I really like this kind of exclusive distribution deal. Victoria does have a lot of liquor stores, but it’s still a small enough town that everyone should be able to get a couple cases. Just my 2 cents.
As with most stouts, I took it out of the fridge 30-40 minutes before cracking it, so it would taste like something besides cold beer =)
This beer pours a totally opaque inky black with a finger and a half of dense cappuccino coloured head that had excellent retention. Minimal lacing
Aroma is noticeably roasty and dominated by a bold maltiness. The vanilla is definitely in there too, but it wasn’t quite as bold as I was expecting. That’s not a bad thing, as it’s pretty easy to just pour in a crapload of vanilla and bit more challenging to get it balanced with the other elements. Some strong chocolatey notes as well as bit of toffee in the background.
Initial sip is luxuriously rich and velvety like a good milk stout ought to be. It took me a few sips to even get past the texture to start actually tasting this beer =) Getting some lactose on the tip of the tongue as well as a boatload of dark chocolaty malt flavour. Just behind that are some smokey caramel and toffee notes, just like cracking into the actual dessert. The middle is where the vanilla really lets you know it’s there, and it’s balanced by a noticeably rich, creamy, and slightly sweet custard like element. That sounds a bit gimmicky, but it’s not really! It’s just leftover sugars from the lactose. Someone knew *exactly* what they were doing when they decided to make this beer. The finish is rich, thick, and predominantly malty but with a strong vanilla undertone. I can’t say that I’ve really noticed any hoppiness to this beer whatsoever, but I think I might be getting a hint of them here. It’s a little sharper and dryer than the beer has been up to this point. The aftertaste is caramel, espresso, and a final salute of vanilla. it has some decent hangtime.
I rather liked this beer and I’ll be rushing out to buy a couple more before they’re gone, but it’s not something I’ll drink a ton of. It’s definitely a bit desserty, and a full bottle was starting a become a bit much towards the end. I will say this would be one hell of a great beer to share with somebody though, especially over a rich dessert. Certainly worth a try.

Saltspring Island Ales’ Crème Brûlée Vanilla Stout (8%AbV)

Another offering from Saltspring Island Ales, available exclusively at Liquor Plus locations. I’m not sure, as a consumer, that I really like this kind of exclusive distribution deal. Victoria does have a lot of liquor stores, but it’s still a small enough town that everyone should be able to get a couple cases. Just my 2 cents.

As with most stouts, I took it out of the fridge 30-40 minutes before cracking it, so it would taste like something besides cold beer =)

This beer pours a totally opaque inky black with a finger and a half of dense cappuccino coloured head that had excellent retention. Minimal lacing

Aroma is noticeably roasty and dominated by a bold maltiness. The vanilla is definitely in there too, but it wasn’t quite as bold as I was expecting. That’s not a bad thing, as it’s pretty easy to just pour in a crapload of vanilla and bit more challenging to get it balanced with the other elements. Some strong chocolatey notes as well as bit of toffee in the background.

Initial sip is luxuriously rich and velvety like a good milk stout ought to be. It took me a few sips to even get past the texture to start actually tasting this beer =) Getting some lactose on the tip of the tongue as well as a boatload of dark chocolaty malt flavour. Just behind that are some smokey caramel and toffee notes, just like cracking into the actual dessert. The middle is where the vanilla really lets you know it’s there, and it’s balanced by a noticeably rich, creamy, and slightly sweet custard like element. That sounds a bit gimmicky, but it’s not really! It’s just leftover sugars from the lactose. Someone knew *exactly* what they were doing when they decided to make this beer. The finish is rich, thick, and predominantly malty but with a strong vanilla undertone. I can’t say that I’ve really noticed any hoppiness to this beer whatsoever, but I think I might be getting a hint of them here. It’s a little sharper and dryer than the beer has been up to this point. The aftertaste is caramel, espresso, and a final salute of vanilla. it has some decent hangtime.

I rather liked this beer and I’ll be rushing out to buy a couple more before they’re gone, but it’s not something I’ll drink a ton of. It’s definitely a bit desserty, and a full bottle was starting a become a bit much towards the end. I will say this would be one hell of a great beer to share with somebody though, especially over a rich dessert. Certainly worth a try.

Rogue Ales’ Chatoe Rogue First Growth Roguenbier Rye Ale
Another entry in Rogue’s “GYO” (Grow Your Own) series of beers where all the hops, barley, and in this case Rye, are all lovingly & painstakingly grown on their own farms in Oregon. 
Pours a somewhat hazy mahogany brown colour with a finger or so of fizzy almond coloured head.
Aroma is rich and earthy with many malty cereal notes present; Rye obviously being predominant, but also quite a bit of barley. Some smokey and toasted bread notes coming through as well.
Despite being a bit light bodied, there is a lot of nuanced flavour going on here. Initially it tastes like a dark German ale, with a bit of fizz on the tongue. For the most part it’s dry, but there are some creamy smooth elements in the middle. *Lots* of rye flavour… arguably the most I’ve had in a beer before. A bit of a metallic copper flavour in the middle, as well as some hoppy bitterness which is oddly contrasted/followed by a slight caramel sweetness. It totally works; in between sips I was almost drooling for more! The finish is actually quite rich and smokey and really balanced with the toasted earthiness of the rye and barley melding perfectly with the bitterness of the hops. This was probably my favorite part of this beer. The aftertaste is dry and smokey, and reminds me of a campfire.
This would be a great beer to drink with any sort of BBQ. A pulled pork (or brisket & blue cheese!) sandwich would be my first choice. It would probably go brilliantly with a well smoked salmon as well. I wasn’t sure about this beer after the first few sips, but it totally won me over. I would try it again.

Rogue Ales’ Chatoe Rogue First Growth Roguenbier Rye Ale

Another entry in Rogue’s “GYO” (Grow Your Own) series of beers where all the hops, barley, and in this case Rye, are all lovingly & painstakingly grown on their own farms in Oregon. 

Pours a somewhat hazy mahogany brown colour with a finger or so of fizzy almond coloured head.

Aroma is rich and earthy with many malty cereal notes present; Rye obviously being predominant, but also quite a bit of barley. Some smokey and toasted bread notes coming through as well.

Despite being a bit light bodied, there is a lot of nuanced flavour going on here. Initially it tastes like a dark German ale, with a bit of fizz on the tongue. For the most part it’s dry, but there are some creamy smooth elements in the middle. *Lots* of rye flavour… arguably the most I’ve had in a beer before. A bit of a metallic copper flavour in the middle, as well as some hoppy bitterness which is oddly contrasted/followed by a slight caramel sweetness. It totally works; in between sips I was almost drooling for more! The finish is actually quite rich and smokey and really balanced with the toasted earthiness of the rye and barley melding perfectly with the bitterness of the hops. This was probably my favorite part of this beer. The aftertaste is dry and smokey, and reminds me of a campfire.

This would be a great beer to drink with any sort of BBQ. A pulled pork (or brisket & blue cheese!) sandwich would be my first choice. It would probably go brilliantly with a well smoked salmon as well. I wasn’t sure about this beer after the first few sips, but it totally won me over. I would try it again.

Hoisting a pint for a real Canadian legend..
R.I.P. Stompin’ Tom Connors
February 9, 1936 – March 6, 2013
Cheers, eh!
Canada got a bit less stompy today =/
http://youtu.be/mzWwumq9E_8

Hoisting a pint for a real Canadian legend..

R.I.P. Stompin’ Tom Connors

February 9, 1936 – March 6, 2013

Cheers, eh!

Canada got a bit less stompy today =/

http://youtu.be/mzWwumq9E_8

Sunday Lunch Beer: Gigantic Brewing Co’s The Royale (6.3%AbV)
Though I’ve been aware of them for awhile, this might be my first beer from Portland, Oregon based Gigantic. I liked the art nouveau meets 60’s concert poster label, and since I was pretty sure it was a Belgian Ale, which I haven’t had for awhile I decided to give it a shot.
Pours a hazy honey golden color with a mighty 2+ fingers of dense fluffy white head that came out of nowhere and almost overflowed the glass.. I had to get right in there and start slurping. Bubbles are billowing up from the bottom in huge clouds, making for quite a show. Amazing retention on the head, and lots of lacing, which seems to be forming in rings down the side of the glass.
Aroma is sharp and pungent with incredibly strong herbal notes from the hops. Almost smells like freshly chopped up pot mixed with strong  citrus notes. Just a little bit bready, but not too much.
Initial sip is rich and fruity and tastes of pale malts and grapefruit, backed up by a sharp dry blast of hops. This carries through to the middle which adds some more intense grain and cereal flavours and some light, pleasant bitterness. The finish is a little lighter and lets you down gently so the next sip (or gulp) can hit you all over again. It’s dry and hoppy and leaves lots of mild bitterness on the palate.
This was a tasty beer, just what I was in the mood for. I’d buy it once or twice more for sure. It’s a good beer for sipping away at over a period of time while nibbling at snacks, especially cheese.
Worth a try.

Sunday Lunch Beer: Gigantic Brewing Co’s The Royale (6.3%AbV)

Though I’ve been aware of them for awhile, this might be my first beer from Portland, Oregon based Gigantic. I liked the art nouveau meets 60’s concert poster label, and since I was pretty sure it was a Belgian Ale, which I haven’t had for awhile I decided to give it a shot.

Pours a hazy honey golden color with a mighty 2+ fingers of dense fluffy white head that came out of nowhere and almost overflowed the glass.. I had to get right in there and start slurping. Bubbles are billowing up from the bottom in huge clouds, making for quite a show. Amazing retention on the head, and lots of lacing, which seems to be forming in rings down the side of the glass.

Aroma is sharp and pungent with incredibly strong herbal notes from the hops. Almost smells like freshly chopped up pot mixed with strong  citrus notes. Just a little bit bready, but not too much.

Initial sip is rich and fruity and tastes of pale malts and grapefruit, backed up by a sharp dry blast of hops. This carries through to the middle which adds some more intense grain and cereal flavours and some light, pleasant bitterness. The finish is a little lighter and lets you down gently so the next sip (or gulp) can hit you all over again. It’s dry and hoppy and leaves lots of mild bitterness on the palate.

This was a tasty beer, just what I was in the mood for. I’d buy it once or twice more for sure. It’s a good beer for sipping away at over a period of time while nibbling at snacks, especially cheese.

Worth a try.

Black Jackal Imperial Coffee Stout

Black Jackal Imperial Coffee Stout

Saltspring Island Ales’ Snug IPA (6% AbV)
A so-called “Pub Style” IPA named after “The Snug” at Victoria’s Oak Bay Beach Hotel which apparently was a cozy little private room at the back of their pub.
Pours a clear red-mahogany color (this pic doesn’t do it justice) with a finger and a half of fine almond colored head that retained nicely. Active looking carbonation rising to the top. Excellent lacing down the glass.
The nose is a full and interesting mix of sharp herbal and grapefruit notes from the hops as well as caramel, bread, and light barley aromas. 
Initial sip is “Ooh! This is nice!”. It starts off sharp and crisply refreshing with moderate hoppy bitterness but it’s balanced with some warmth and a bit of sweetness. Almost tastes like they mixed a brown ale and an IPA. It’s got some good initial impact, but it backs off and mellows out out after that while staying fairly rich. The finish is somewhere between floral and herbal with caramel and dried fruit notes. Aftertaste is smooth with some great hop bitterness lingering on the back of the palate for just the right amount of time.
I drank most of this beer by itself to get a feel for it without being distracted by anything, but the last third I had with some salty wheat crackers topped with habanero & jalapeno monterey jack cheese. Ermagerd. Went together amazingly. 
So, I liked this one quite a bit. Reminds me when I used to live basically next door to Spinnakers Brewpub and I’d grab a bottle each of their Fog Fighter and Brown Ales and mix them in equal measures. The best of both worlds. Mmmm!
Recommended.

Saltspring Island Ales’ Snug IPA (6% AbV)

A so-called “Pub Style” IPA named after “The Snug” at Victoria’s Oak Bay Beach Hotel which apparently was a cozy little private room at the back of their pub.

Pours a clear red-mahogany color (this pic doesn’t do it justice) with a finger and a half of fine almond colored head that retained nicely. Active looking carbonation rising to the top. Excellent lacing down the glass.

The nose is a full and interesting mix of sharp herbal and grapefruit notes from the hops as well as caramel, bread, and light barley aromas. 

Initial sip is “Ooh! This is nice!”. It starts off sharp and crisply refreshing with moderate hoppy bitterness but it’s balanced with some warmth and a bit of sweetness. Almost tastes like they mixed a brown ale and an IPA. It’s got some good initial impact, but it backs off and mellows out out after that while staying fairly rich. The finish is somewhere between floral and herbal with caramel and dried fruit notes. Aftertaste is smooth with some great hop bitterness lingering on the back of the palate for just the right amount of time.

I drank most of this beer by itself to get a feel for it without being distracted by anything, but the last third I had with some salty wheat crackers topped with habanero & jalapeno monterey jack cheese. Ermagerd. Went together amazingly. 

So, I liked this one quite a bit. Reminds me when I used to live basically next door to Spinnakers Brewpub and I’d grab a bottle each of their Fog Fighter and Brown Ales and mix them in equal measures. The best of both worlds. Mmmm!

Recommended.

Capital City Brewing Co’s Red Racer Winter Ale (7%AbV)
I drink more than my fair share of Red Racer beers. I was about to review their stout, but I drank all 6 before I got around to it. In general they’re solid drinkable beers and are good value for what you get. Anyways, they’re based out of Surrey, BC
Pours a slightly hazy amber color that really kind of pops while help up to the light. A finger or so of frothy bubble head that settled out fairly quickly. Slight lacing for the first half of the glass, but the froth was all gone after that.
Aroma is rich and malty with a good west coat hop character. Smells like an amber ale, what can I say. Warm and spicy, I bet this’ll be a tasty beer.
Initial sip is sharp and crisp with some moderately aggressive west coast hoppy bitterness that quickly warms up into more of a rich barley cerealness that balances out the hops quite nicely. Tastes of copper with hints of gingerbread and spice. Finish is crisp but complex with the hops and malts coming together nicely. Lots of mildly bitter hops on the aftertaste, which has moderate hangtime.
This is a decent beer. I’d consider trying it again.

Capital City Brewing Co’s Red Racer Winter Ale (7%AbV)

I drink more than my fair share of Red Racer beers. I was about to review their stout, but I drank all 6 before I got around to it. In general they’re solid drinkable beers and are good value for what you get. Anyways, they’re based out of Surrey, BC

Pours a slightly hazy amber color that really kind of pops while help up to the light. A finger or so of frothy bubble head that settled out fairly quickly. Slight lacing for the first half of the glass, but the froth was all gone after that.

Aroma is rich and malty with a good west coat hop character. Smells like an amber ale, what can I say. Warm and spicy, I bet this’ll be a tasty beer.

Initial sip is sharp and crisp with some moderately aggressive west coast hoppy bitterness that quickly warms up into more of a rich barley cerealness that balances out the hops quite nicely. Tastes of copper with hints of gingerbread and spice. Finish is crisp but complex with the hops and malts coming together nicely. Lots of mildly bitter hops on the aftertaste, which has moderate hangtime.

This is a decent beer. I’d consider trying it again.