Friday, December 26, 2008

Phillips Burley Wine 2008

Phillips Burley Wine 2008

Ratebeer 3.34 73 percentile
Beer Advocate B+

No preamble, just straight to the review.

Taste +2

The nose is nothing but grain (barley) and alcohol. The first sip is a strong bite of bitter/sour fruits which is strangely addictive. The next flavour that follows is the slight bitterness of hops. There is almost no carbonation. Overtop of it all is a big mouthful of sweet bing cherries.

Aftertaste 0

You are left with this mouthful of rotting fruit that slowly fades.

Alcohol +1 9.5%

Ouch, one can easily drink this beer very quickly. You can taste the alcohol, but the big malt and fruit flavours make it more palatable.

Value +1

In terms of alcohol to cost ratio, this one can't be beat at $5 for 650ml.

Ingame Enhancement +1

After quickly finishing off this beer, the zombies didn't seem so scary.

Overall 5/10

This is a beer to have once a year, and that is about it

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Duckstein Ale


Duckstein Ale (Germany)

Ratebeer 2.98 42 percentile
Beer Advocate B-

I have often seen this brew in the BC Liquor stores. Never tried it, so here I go. It is labeled as a Copper-Gold Weizen (Wheat) beer that has been matured in beechwood casks.

Taste +4

This is actually pretty good beer. The nose is all sweet dark fruits, wood and malt. The first taste is not very heavy, but it does slowly build up. You can pick out tastes of peaches, light clove, wood and raisins. There is just the slightest ting of bitterness.

Aftertaste +1

The flavour does fill the mouth but quickly vanishes to leave a residue of slightly spiced apple.

Alcohol Content 0 5%

Value +1

Why to foreign beers always come in 500ml sizes? This one is not too bad at $3.

Ingame Enhancement 0

I must start leaving this category out; I often forget what I did after drinking. Lets say that this was my reward for rescuing a kitten from a tree.

Overall 6/10

This is a good beer; I will most certainly buy this one again. It has a good amount of flavour for not a lot of money.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Great Irish Stout Blind Taste Test



F: I have been looking forward to this article for quite a while; The Great Irish Stout Blind Taste Test.
M: For once I have to agree, but this by no means a complete test.
F: No way, we were only able to obtain the big three exported Irish Dry Stouts (Guinness, Murphy's and Beamish).
M: This test was done just like the Pepsi Taste Challenge, only we used beer. We each got three unmarked glasses and had to taste each one and try to guess the beer.

Beer #1 (Murphy's)

F: This one poured to leave a creamer, more bubbly head. It had the most malty sweetness, with a touch of chocolate and coffee. I rate this beer #1 and guess Beamish.
M: Tastes like a watered down real stout. I rate this beer #2 and guess who cares.
Beer #2 (Beamish)

F: This one is more chocolaty, a little more roasty and a little more watered down than the rest. I rate this beer #2 and guess Murphy's.
M: Yup, tastes like a stout. I rate the beer #3 and I guess you should shut up.

Beer #3 (Guinness)

F: This is Guinness, I have drank enough of these to recognize the very creamy head and carbonation on the inside of the glass. This is the most bitter of the lot, with the standard watered down slightly bitter aftertaste. I rate this beer #3
M: Thanks for ruining the taste test jerk. This one actually has some full flavour. I rate this beer #1 and just to piss you off I will guess Murphy's.

Overall winner Beer #1 Murphy's

Rate Beer 3.34 73rd percentile
Beer Advocate B+

Taste +3

This is your classic example of Dry Irish Stout at its best. You have to wait for this beer to settle after its poured. It give off almost no nose, maybe a bit of toast. The flavour is quite watery; but after a good mouthful you can pick up mild tastes of malt, chocolate and coffee.

Aftertaste +1

Goes down real easy, with just the slight lingering of coffee and chocolate sweetness.

Alcohol Content -1 4.0%

These are easy drinking beers for sure. You can't drink to many though; they sit like a heavy meal in your gut.

Value 0

Sadly cans of Murphy's are not available in BC. Guinness has the market totally cornered. This brew is available on tap at a few higher end gastro-pubs around Victoria.

Ingame Enhancement +1

An almost perfect evening. After chugging a few good stouts and calling it science, we headed down the LAN room for some side by side L4D action. The sound delay from each other's speakers was a little disorientating though.

Overall Score 4/10

These beers should always have a reserved spot in your beer fridge. Everybody has a friend that loves a good, cold Irish Stout. I you don't have one, stock your fridge with Murphy's and I will be that friend.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Racer 5 IPA and The Bailout

Flavius: I'm headed to Washington to get some of that bailout money.
Meterman: Don't you mean bail money? Why should the US government give you money?
F: I am just like the little three automakers only smaller. I have an overpaid CEO (my wife), a greedy labour force (my kids) and my end product sucks (my blog).
M: That's right. If you declare bankruptcy, I won't get the $100 you owe me.
F: True. Also the video store, grocery store, liquor store and my psychiatrist will loose a significant amount of revenue.
M: The similarities are spooky. What do you plan to do with your money?
F: Buy a Nissan GT-R.


Racer 5 IPA - Bear Republic


Ratebeer 3.88 98th percentile
Beer Advocate A-

This was another requested review by a shire reader. Usually I am not a fan on IPA's, too much hops.

Taste +3

The nose is straight up phenolic hops. The taste is just like the smell but more. Hops is the dominant taste, but there are also pine, raisins and prunes. There is only the slightest of bitterness; slightly less than grapefruit juice. Underlining the whole taste package is some malt, raisin and prune sweetness. There was no head or carbonation to speak of.

Aftertaste +2

Usually strong IPA's leave this nasty hops coating that you must floss away. This has none of that; just a nice hop residue that coats the mouth. It feels almost silky.

Alcohol Content +1 7%

Just the right amount to add a bit of bite to the hop flavour.

Value 0

It was above average price; I think about $6 for 650ml. But that is the price you pay for an import craft beer.

Ingame Enhancement +1

Just like the beer there was good balance. I watched James Wade and Dennis Priestly go 30 rounds in the 2007 Matchplay; very tense game. Then Meterman and I finished expert level on harvest; died in the rescue truck. It doesn't get any closer than that.

Overall 7/10 VERY NICE

This is one of the few IPA's I would get again. Not at all like other IPA's; a very good balance of hoppy bitterness and malt sweetness. Racer 5 should not be your first IPA, they take a little time to get used to.

Stiegl-Goldbrau Bier and Is Addiction Really So Bad?

Flavius: Meter I think I have a problem.
Meterman: You will have to be more specific; I can name quite a few.
F: I think I'm addicted to Left 4 Dead.
M: Well, has gameplay made you miss work?
F: Nope, I'm unemployable
M: Has gameplay affected your family life?
F: Actually my family likes that I spend less time with them.
M: Has L4D affected you real-life health?
F: I have lost 15 excess pounds because I play so much I forget to eat.
M: Has gameplay been a financial hardship?
F: No, when I play there is no time to spend money on internet porn and collect furbies on Ebay.
M: Well I don't see a problem.

Stiegl-Goldbrau (Austria)- Lager

Ratebeer 2.7 23th percentile
Beer Advocate B-

This is your standard European import lager. Surprise it comes in a 500ml, brightly coloured can.

Taste +2

Standard light lager with not much nose to speak of; perhaps a slight sweet grain/bread smell. The taste starts off with the slight carbonation bite followed by a nice honey/baking sweetness. It follows with the mild hoppy bitterness. It tastes a lot like Blue, only better.

Aftertaste+1

It slowly fades away to leave a fireweed honey taste that coats the mouth.

Alcohol Content -1 4.9%

This is not meant to be a heavyweight beer; something light to enjoy on the patio.

Value +1

Usual value (a.k.a. cheap) price; $2.35 for 500ml. Can be found in almost every BC Liquor store.

Ingame Enhancement +1

It was a shire zombie slaughterfest. Nightware, Meterman and myself did some serious damage on the death toll map. Still couldn't get past the two tanks at the end though.

Overall 4/10

This is a very uneventful, yet easy drinking beer. If you wanted to get a friend to branch out from his/her domestic lager rut, this would be the beer to try. I might get this one again for summertime if I got tired of Corona and lime.

Monday, December 15, 2008

White Bark Wheat Ale and A Shameless Plug

Flavius: We need to get more readers. Maybe my friends could plug the website when they play.
Meterman: Sure. Why not check your Facebook page for your friend options. Sadly, I don't think your Mom plays Left 4 Dead.
F: My Mom is my only friend on Facebook. Why don't you ever accept my invites?
M:No way, I have higher standards, but I am a friend of you Mom's. BTW she rocks at CS 1.6!
F: Maybe we should try the porn keywords for more spider-bot hits.
M: Great idea, it worked well for your Mom's blog.

White Bark (Unfiltered Wheat Ale) - Driftwood Brewery
Ratebeer 2.94 Unrated percentile
Beer Advocate ?


This brew is from the new guys in Victoria. This town certainly has enough capacity for new brewers.

Taste +4

This is a very nicely done wheat ale; very light with hints of wheat, citrus fruits and coriander. Beers this light usually have that yeasty bread taste which is nice.

Aftertaste +1

It quickly fades away and you can taste the aromatic barley and light orange.

Alcohol 0 5.0%

Enough said; at this strength you could drink a few and not worry about losing consciousness.

Value +1

It is similarly priced with other local craft beers; about $4.5o for 650ml. In this case it is a great deal for the flavour you get.

Ingame Enhancement +1

Any day that you can come in from sledding to shoot zombies in foot-race mode is a good day.

Overall 7/10 VERY NICE

This is a very easy drinking beer. Most likely I will buy this one again.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Instigator Dopplebock - A New Hope

Flavius: www.left4beer.com is now up and running.
Meterman: Spending $10 for a domain to spruce up your crappy google blog doesn't make these rantings any more enjoyable.
F: This new year will be better. We now have a great banner from T3-Neon.
M: Graffiti in a bathroom doesn't improve the stink. BTW, Neon your banner is very nice. I only visit this blog to look at your artwork.
F: This year we will get more subscribers..
M: Hah, maybe your readership will double; then you will have two readers. Three if you count your Mom.

Instigator Dopplebock (Phillips Brewery)
Ratebeer 2.97 41st percentile
Beer Advocate B


Phillips is a local brewery favourite. Their lineup is a good mix of standards and bolder brewing attempts. The nice part is that they often will release limited brewing runs through the year.

Taste +1

The nose has a little whiff of wet laundry. I had to taste it twice to make sure I wasn't drinking water. There is only the slightest bite of sweet licorice, malt and chocolate. The more you drank the more you could pick these tastes out. Imagine if you took a Hermannator and added water, that is what this beer tastes like. I had a slight cold so I had my wife confirm my tastings; she concured.

Aftertaste 0

It fades very quickly to leave a slight raisin and malt sweetness.

Alcohol +1 8.5%

You can't taste the alcohol at all on this beer.

Value 0

You can pick this one up almost everywhere in Victoria for about $4.50 for 650ml.

Ingame Enhancement 0

Spend the night in real life. I watched Terry Jenkins beat the Canadian John Part in the World Match Play Dart Championship.

Overall 2/10 Meh

It was a very easy drinking beer; kinda like a cup of cold tea. Say you money and buy a six pack of Hermannator instead. It does have a cool trailer though. I have a vague memory that last years batch tasted better.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Hermannator Ice Bock and Zombies Wedgies

Flavius: Left4Dead was frustrating as hell last night; I got killed by the tank 3 times.
Meterman: I thought you would be accustomed to sucking at videos games by now.
F: Not that, it was just like being in high school and getting a wedge from a football jock.
M: I can see the similarities: overly muscular person, bad complexion, not too bright and only goal in life is to cause you pain.
F: And why do you guys always follow two steps behind me during game play?
M: Oh, no reason zombie bait.

Hermannator Ice Bock (Vancouver Island Brewery) Seasonal

RateBeer: 3.38, 75th Percentile
BeerAdvocate A-


The release of this beer is a happy time for many Vancouver Islanders. Not only does it signal the beginning of the holiday season, but easily enables us to quickly dull the pain resulting from a visit by your in-laws.

Taste +5

The pouring of this beer leaves no head due to little carbonation. Immediately you drink in the nose of iced licorice. Once the beer hits your tongue, the flavours of dark chocolate are everywhere. Luckily it lacks the bitterness you might expect; this beer is nicely balanced with a dark licorice sweetness.
Aftertaste +2

After the alcohol ting fades, you notice more of those lingering flavours of bitter chocolate and sweet licorice.

Alcohol Content +1 9.5%

You can sure taste it on this beer. Be very careful, this beer goes down easy.

Value +1

This beer has three things going for it; its local, it only costs $13 for a six pack and you can get it everywhere.

Ingame Enhancement +1

Tonight Meterman was on diaper duty, so I tried my luck with a random L4D match. Perhaps I play this game too much; I had higher numbers that all three other players combined. Most of my damage came from friendly fire! One tip, if you have a shotgun; wait until the zombies are really close before you fire.

Overall 10/10 PERFECTION

If I could only have one beer on a deserted island, this would be it. Sadly it is not available year round.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Tripel Karmeliet (Belgian White beer)

This is one of those Belgian white beers that you seem to find almost everywhere;both in liquor stores and cold beer and wines. I'm a easy sell for an overpriced imported beer with a nice label. Does this really make me an pretentious beer snob? Perhaps you shouldn't answer that. I know the image shows this beer in a brandy snifter, which is not the correct glass for this beer. The glassware selection at the CLAN ARC lounge currently does not include a Trappist Style Tulip glass. This is more evidence in favour of the beer snob.. I'll be quiet now.

Tripel Karmeliet

Beer Advocate A-
Rate Beer 3.9 98th percentile

Taste +4

At first pouring there was a generous white, fluffy head that quickly dissipated. The nose was sweet like yeast and fresh bread; maybe a little honey. The flavour was classically triple Belgian beer: bright tasting, with lots of citrus fruit bite, green apple and pineapple. There was an above average amount of fizz, but this is normal for a bottle fermented beer. Overall a quite sweet beer.

Aftertaste +1

The citrus tang slowly faded to leave a clean residual sweetness.

Alcohol +1 8.4%

The alcohol was hidden very well behind the pineapple and fruit flavours.

Value 0

This was not a cheap beer at $3.25 for 330ml. It was sure good though.

Ingame Enhancement 0

Meh, Sunday had no game tonight, folded baby clothes instead.

Overall 6/10

I liked this beer. Enough said. If you want to find something similar pick up a La Fin Du Monde by Unibroue; this one is a Clan ARC favourite.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Stone Bitter Oatmeal Stout and Failure

Flavius: I didn't get the Tim Hortons job.
Meterman: Shocking. Lets try to improve your interview questions.
M:"What was you last employer's opinion of you?"
F:Very low, his last words to me were, "I never want to see your ugly face again."
M:"What do you see as most attractive about the job?"
F: The lack of responsibility, subervision and little accountability.
M:"What are your long term goals"
F: Try to reduce my number of court appearances.
M: I find it hard to believe you are unemployed.


Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout (12th Anniversary) by Stone Brewing
Ratebeer.com 3.85 97th Percentile
BeerAdvocate.com A-

This was an impulse buy at a Whole Foods in Las Vegas. I am truly a sucker for oatmeal stouts and cool looking bottles.

Taste +4

Ouch, this is a full-on oatmeal stout; sharp bitter chocolate and coffee/espresso flavours hit you right away. The nose is of burnt toast and ethanol. It feels almost as thick as oatmeal when you drink it.

Aftertaste +2

Very impressive finish; once the bitter chocolate and coffee fades you can pick up hints of raisins, vanilla and so many more.

Alcohol +1 9.2%

You can sure taste it on this one. The flavour seems right at home with this strong tasting beer.

Value 0

If you factor in airfare, Whole Paycheck markup and travel time this gets to be one expensive beer.

Ingame Enhancement +1

This night was the monthly Clan ARC PS3 Gran Turismo and beers night (a.k.a drinking and driving). It was also a plus because Meterman didn't wake up nauseatingly hung over.

8/10 BOOM ZOMBIESHOT

This review is a little bit biased, stouts are my favourite beer. This one certainly made into the top five.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Rogue Morimoto Black Soba Ale and a Career Change

Flavius: I have decided to get a new job.
Meterman: I thought you liked working in the health care field as a high price consultant.
F:It gets a little tedious, caring for people.
M:Where have you applied?
F: Tim Hortons. It's closer to my house and I like donuts.
M: @#$#, Well let me help you with some interview questions. "What is your biggest challenge? How did you deal with it."
F: Getting out of bed this morning. I called in sick to work.
M:"Describe you relationship with superiors"
F: Back-stabbing arrogance.
M: "Why did you leave your last job?"
F: Restraining order.
M: This might take more work.

Rogue Morimoto Black Obi Soba Ale

Rogue is known for their much better than average beers. The XXX Stout in the ceramic, pot topper bottle is not to be missed.

Taste +2

This was actually quite a dark ale; I think it tasted more like a stout or porter. Like all dark ales, there was a pronounced malt sweetness balanced with a slight vinegar sourness. Hidden amongst the strong chocolate flavours were hints of pepper. The bottle said there were "hints of nut flavours", I didn't taste any of that.

Aftertaste 0

There was a nice coating of sweet malt and chocolate than vanished quickly.
Alcohol 6% +1

They give the Plato value of 12, which is about 6% alcohol.
Value 0

This was not a cheap beer, Rogue beers never are. Usually they are worth every penny. Sadly this one was not.
Ingame Enhancement +1

As always, any day playing left 4 Dead is a good day. Meterman and I finished the farmhouse finale.

Overall 4/10

This was a nice beer, perhaps I expected too much. Great excitement fills my heart whenever I find a good selection of Rogue beers. These beers are usually outstanding and something to be enjoyed. Perhaps the pinnacle of brewing. While it was above average; this brew did not stand out.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

La Binchoise Brune - Belgian

Flavius: Hey Meter, we got fan mail.
Meterman: Must be for me.
F: "Dear Clan ARC, I think your reviews are crap. You only give positive reviews;therefore, you must be puppets of the industry. I hope you catch a horrible disease for your disservice to your readers, your country and the world. In closing you suck. Love Anon.
P.S. Meterman don't forget to bring home some bread for the family dinner Sunday.
P.S.S. Flavius you double suck."
M: Aren't Mom's great.

La Binchoise Brune - Belgium

It is rare to find a beer that I don't like..

Taste -3

This beer tastes like burnt malt and BBQ'ed cherries. It had so much carbonation that I thought someone sat on my bottle and farted. Its nose was similar to composting apricots.
Meterman: It was like chewing on the salty side of a BBQ'ed steak.

Aftertaste -1

None what so ever, thank goodness. There was the slight tinging of a mesquite campfire.

Alcohol +1 8.2%

I had to find at least one good thing to say about this beer. You sure could taste the alcohol.

Value -1

It cost about $3 for a 330ml stubby bottle. Did I mention it tasted like toothpaste made with bacon and burnt hair.

Ingame Enhancement -1

I had to brush my teeth and pour this crap down the toilet. On the plus side, it did shatter my palate and Labatt Blue tastes great now.

Overall -5/10 Brewed with dead insects

I should have know that any beer with a bunch of mimes with stupid mustaches and green glasses on the bottle should be avoided.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Tree Brewing - Midwinter Spiced Ale and Anger Management

Flavius: I'm mad.
Meterman: So. Should this concern me, because I don't feel anything.
F: This COD is frustrating; I suffer from P.I.S.S.E.D Syndrome
M: They have drugs to help with that leaky.
F: Not that, this:
Painkiller
Instigated
Strategic
Strike
Ending in
Death Syndrome

M: Oh that. That's where he tubes you 5 times in a row, air strikes you, then calls in a chopper to chase you around the map?
F: Right. I even started an online support group at www.fear-the-pp-no-more.com
M: You really gotta start planing better use of acronyms yellow boy.

Tree Brewing - Spiced Midwinter Ale.

Tree Brewing products regularly finds their way into my beer fridge. They make good (not great but above average) beer at reasonable prices. You can also find a large selection at most BC Liquor stores.

Taste +2

A nice red/amber ale aroma of not much, maybe a little malt, a little fruit and a little spicy. The keyword here is little. The flavour is your standard spiced ale; clover, nutmeg and cinnamon. There is also a nice sweetness, almost like gingersnap cookies. The taste reminds me of mulled wine. It is refreshing to taste a little alcohol tanginess.

Aftertaste +1

The spicy sweetness coats the mouth and lasts for a while.

Alcohol 6.5% +1

The label says "Strong Ale"; strong is a relative term.

Value 0

At $5 for 650ml it is not the best deal out there. BTW Holsten Mailbock is on sale right now for less than $2 for 500ml at 7.5% WOOT.

Ingame Enhancement 0

Couldn't get on the shire; so I did the finale airplane map in COD. Meh.

Overall 4/10

This was nice beer. If you are looking for a change of pace check it out.

Local 1 - Brooklyn Brewery


No sleep 'til Brooklyn Local 1 is reviewed. This beer just looks impressive; massive 750mlish (1 Pint, 9.4 fl oz), 9% alcohol, bottle refermented and corked.

Taste +4

Once this puppy is opened the nose of malt, bread and spice is everywhere. The taste is just as you would expect; mildly bitter with a nice sweetness chaser. If you were to put it in a category, it would be a Belgian. But there are still the flavours of bitter apple, citrus fruits and banana. This brew is a little on the sweet side, but not too much. Be warned it is very drinkable.

Aftertaste +2

A short lingering of spice (cloves and nutmeg) balanced with the sweet malt that just stops at the right time.

Alcohol Content +1 9.0%

Ouch, I finished the whole bottle before getting to the first safe house in Left 4 Dead. You can hardly taste the alcohol on this one.

Value +1

I forgot how much I paid for this one, but I would buy it again. I think it came from the Strath or Penny Farthing.

Ingame Enhancement +1

This was consumed on my first L4D online co-op. There is great pleasure derived from blasting zombies when you can't really feel your hands.

Overall 9/10 BOOM ZOMBIESHOT

This beer actually drew my attention away from gameplay, that must mean it's a great beer.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Okanagan Spring Black Lager and Fast Cars

Flavius: I have got to get me one of these!
Meterman: Please don't tell me you are reading Tiger Beat Magazine.
F: Nope. Performance Car UK Edition. They are releasing a new Scirocco.
M: Now that is a beautiful car: 2.0 Turbo, 197BHP, 206 lb of torque, 0-60MPH in under 7 seconds. Where are you gonna drive that thing in the city, to and from the library?
F: I might drive up and down parking garages really fast.

Okanagan Springs Black Lager

I had high hopes for this beer. Usually Okanagan Springs puts out beers that all kinda taste the same, but something this dark is unusual.

Taste +2

This beer gave the nose a standard lager, with a little bit extra of dark roasted malt and molasses. The first taste was a very light hint of dark chocolate and espresso. There was just the standard amount of fizzy. It might be classified as a bold oatmeal chocolate stout for beginners.
Meterman: I think this beer was a huge let down. It was like getting a sports car and revving the engine. The first initial taste was great; hints of dark chocolate and malt building.. This might actually be a great tasting beer. Then you drop it into gear and the wheels fall off.

Aftertaste +1

Just a very, very light taste of dark chocolate was left, but it faded quickly.

Alcohol Content 0 5.0%

What is it with mass preoduced beers that only have 5.X%.

Value +1

A standard six pack of bottles is only $11.25

Ingame Enhancement 0

Played the COD after a few month break; got owned by Grandpa no less. Then it was the Killhouse map, had to leave. You either love that map or hate it. I shot zombies instead.

Overall 4/10

This is a very drinkable beer, just like everything else Okanagan Spring makes. Not that this is bad.
Meterman: This is a gateway beer. Get your friends hooked on this stuff and they will never go back to boring lagers again. Next you can move onto Young's Chocolate Stout and finally Rogue XXX Imperial Stout. Now they will have a raging craft beer habit.