Friday, October 30, 2009

Midas Touch and How Far Will You Drive For Cheap Beer


I love good science, but this one is wacky. In the August 2009 edition of Journal of Health Economics, researchers studied the purchasing behavior of households near an international border with lower taxes on the other side. They should have called me first, I could have told them the answer. Supermarkets near the border had lower sales of alcohol and tobacco than those stores further away from the border. I was shocked! Please note sarcastic use of punctuation. Also households near the border reported buying 37% more beer than those further away from the border. The researchers found these results, "straightforward and intuitively pleasing." These results dissipated when the drive was over 2 and 1/2 hours long.

There was one interesting finding; there were more drunk driving arrests nearer the border. This is does not really prove anything, but provides more empirical evidence that higher taxation of alcohol leads to fewer alcohol related highway crash deaths.


Midas Touch Dogfish Head


Ratebeer 3.51 88th percentile
Beer Advocate B+

This brew is based on an ancient Turkish recipe. Apparently it is brewed using the original ingredients from the 2700 year old drinking vessels discovered in the tomb of King Midas.

Taste +3

The nose is sweet white grape juice, cane sugar and a slight floral smell (saffron). The orange coloured liquor slips about the mouth leaving a sweet grape and honey flavour everywhere. This is followed by an alcohol warmth and slight tartness. It reminds me of a barley wine.
Aftertaste +1

It is sweet and warming but ends quickly and clean.

Alcohol Content 9% +1

Value 0

It was a nice beer/mead beverage, but I would not get it again. Just a tad on the sweet side.

Ingame Enhancement 0

It is getting harder to drink while playing NFS-Shift on the PS3. The driving action is too quick.

Overall 5/10

This is a very interesting brew for a new taste adventure, but not something you want to bring to a poker party.

Routes Des Spice (Dieu Du Ciel)
Palo Santo Marron

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Adam Hair of the Dog


Adam Hair of the Dog

Ratebeer 4.12 100th percentile
Beer Advocate A-

Taste +5

The nose is something to be feared. It was thick with raisin, plum and dark sugar but oddly no ethanol. The tartness of this brew makes it ideal for sipping. A beer thick and silky with flavours of rum soaked plums, dark honey and wood is something to be savoured.

Aftertaste +2

The long tart finish is laced with dried fruit flavours.

Alcohol Content +1 10%

I thought I would taste the alcohol more..

Value +1

This is a great old world style ale.

Ingame Enhancement +1

No gaming tonight but I did go and pick up my Twitterdeal of a $8 bottle of good wine from Liquor Plus. Thanks @Rod_Phillips.

Overall 10/10

This beer has a lot of flavours going on. Too many for me to fully describe, check it out for yourself.

Old Cellar Dweller Barley Wine (Driftwood)
Legacy Ale (Swans)
Green Flash Barleywine

Pike Entire Wood Aged Stout 2009


Pike Entire Wood Aged Stout 2009

Ratebeer 3.77 95th precentile
Beer Advocate A-

I picked this up from the Pike Place Brewery. Wow this is a fun place, highly recommended. The food was great, atmosphere was fun and kids were welcome. I was there for their 20th anniversary party, purely by coincidence.

Taste +5

I was fearful because the nose was very light, but you could pick up burnt wood, coffee, bitter chocolate and vanilla. Pouring this beer was hard because it produced a huge fluffy head that never entirely went away. I should have used a shaker glass instead. The taste was just like the nose but only much richer. It is not often that you get a hop bitterness the is hard to distinguish from a bitter sweet chocolate ending. This brew was thick, rich and chewy. As it warmed up, it only got sweeter and smoother. It was not bitter at all.

Aftertaste +2

A very long, dry roasted coffee and bitter chocolate was a welcome ending.

Alcohol Content +1 9.5%

It was no where to be seen, either in the nose or the flavours.

Value +1

Bonus points given for beautiful packaging, the wax sealing was a nice touch. This would be interesting to cellar if you could wait that long

Ingame Enhancement +1

It is not often that you get a versus game of L4D going. Nothing is better than vomiting all over your friends, even if it is only virtual.

Overall 10/10

A perfect score for a prefect strong, bitter-sweet stout.

Obsidian Stout and Self Improvement
Blackheart Oatmeal Stout
Pike XXXXX Stout

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Canoe Club Dark Cherry Porter

Canoe Club Dark Cherry Porter

Not rated on ratebeer or Beer Advocate

Great, another flavoured porter. Why can't we get a plain porter anymore?

Taste +3

This one is very drinkable, with a nose of roasted malt and general sweetness. But the taste is more defined, darkly sweet cherry syrup that is not too sweet. This is paired with a rich, roasted chocolate backbone.

Aftertaste 0

It was very clean like water. If I had to say something it would be a slightly sweet, roasted bread.

Alcohol Content 0 ?

I didn't see it listed but I assume it was 5% or less.

Value +1

Despite being a flavoured porter, it was good.

Ingame Enhancement +1

Two words - Zombieland! This movie is hilarious, go and see it.

Overall 5/10

All the beers on tap at this Victoria Brew Pub are excellent.

Tin Whistle Chocolate Cherry Porter and Playing the Field
Raspberry Porter Tree Brewing
Swan's Coconut Porter

Friday, October 23, 2009

Gentleman Jims Ginger Ale

Gentleman Jims Ginger Ale (Phillips)

Ratebeer 3.38 5 ratings
Beer Advocate B-


Taste +2

There is not much to the nose except fresh sweet ginger, not the spicy kind. The taste is tangy ginger over the top of a caramel ale. There was a bit of spiciness at the start, followed by a caramel sweet middle and a spicy ending.

Aftertaste +1

It was very dry and clean, with a slight warming ginger coating. The spiciness coats the lips and mouth.

Alcohol Content 0 5%

Value 0

It was nice but Granville Island's was better and spicier.

Ingame Enhancement 0

No gaming, just an office party at Smugglers Cove Pub. Glad to see lots of local drafts on tap like Driftwood and Phillips.

Overall 3/10

A good ale enhanced with strong, fresh ginger. It was delicious and unique.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Chapeau Kriek Lambic and Boozy Energy Drinks Make You Dumb

I like energy drinks. My favourite one is old school, American Mountain Dew. In the August 2009 edition of Human Psychopharmacology, researchers tested the effects of alcoholic energy drinks on mental functioning. I'm sure you can guess the answer. No surprises here, those subjects that drank Sparks (6%ABV) scored lower on mental test than subjects that drank Green Monster or placebo (7-UP). The mental tests involved memory recall, visuospatial, language and attention tests. Of note in this study, subjects who drank Green Monster had greater attention scores and were more likely to sue Vermont microbrewers.

Chapeau Kriek Lambic

Ratebeer 2.74 24th percentile
Beer Advocate B-

Lambics are one of the oldest style of beers available. These are wheat beers that are spontaneously fermented by naturally occurring yeasts. Often lambics are light in alcohol and taste, which makes them perfect for flavouring. The addition of fruit juices is a popular theme.

Taste +5

There is a strong nose of ripe bing cherries and that is all you can smell. This brew goes down with the same tastes as a cocktail. It is very sweet with heavy flavours of syrupy cherry juice. The heavy carbonation only seems to enhance the wonderful flavours.

Aftertaste +1

A very syrupy tartness finishes clean and dry after about 10 seconds.

Alcohol Content -1 3.5%

This is meant to be a beer to be enjoyed by anyone at anytime.

Value +1

If you ever wanted your wife/girlfriend to try a beer, this would be the gateway beer. As I mentioned before it is very similar to a fruity cocktail.

Ingame Enhancement +1

No gaming, but I did sit at my dinner table, sip this beer and my neighbors kid mow my lawn. Watching her work hard made this beer even more refreshing.

Overall 8/10

This is a wonderful, fruity and refreshing beer. You must like things sweet in order to appreciate this brew.

Mort Subite Gueuze

Longwood Dunkelweizen

Longwood Pub Dunkelweizen

Ratebeer 2.89 with 8 ratings
Beer Advocate B-

This is another sampling from the Naniamo brewpub. This is still a wheat style beer. With addition of darker malts you in theory could taste richer flavours like toffee, chocolate and roast.

Taste +1

The nose is very faint of wheat and slightly caramel. The flavour is a little watery but the wheat and malt sweetness still come through. After a good hit of caramel a pleasant flowery hop bitterness washed it all away. Maybe there was a bit of bruised banana in there, but that would be a stretch.

Aftertaste 0

A clean ending and that was it.
Alcohol Content 0 5%

Value 0

It was OK but I'm not digging it.
Ingame Enhancement 0

This lackluster beer did not enhance my video gaming experience at all. All I could think about was other brews in my beer fridge to make my palate happy.

Overall 1/10

This just seemed a little off for a Dunkel.

Baron Bohemian
Warsteiner Dunkel

Sunday, October 11, 2009

St. Peters Honey Porter


St. Peters Honey Porter

Rate beer 2.82 29th percentile
Beer Advocate C+
Taste +4

The nose of fireweed honey fills the room and hides all other aromas from this dark brew. Your first taste, and every taste, is predominated floral sweet, dark honey. Only the slightest of roasted malt and bitter chocolate breaks through this thick honey veil.

Aftertaste +1

It is all honey that coats your upper palate and slowly fades away.

Alcohol Content -1 4.5%

Value +1

It was very unique, but you must like a strong honey flavour.

Ingame Enhancement 0

No gaming tonight. Just sat with the little one and watched Monsters vs. Aliens.

Overall 5/10

If you like a honey heavy sweet beer with a little roast on the side, then this one is for you. Did I mention that it was sweet?

Tin Whistle Chocolate Cherry Porter and playing the field

Black Boss Porter
Snoqualmie Steam Train Porter and New Parts

GI Bitter 2009


Granville Island Bitter 2009

Rate beer 3.16 56th percentile
Beer Advocate A-

This is one of the seasonal beers that was only available at the Granville Island Brewery. Almost every month they brew a limited release of beers in a variety of styles. I think this is an excellent idea, it keeps things fresh and gives brewers a chance offer new tastes to loyal drinkers. Phillips Brewing also does this, but they are not that good at announcing what is upcoming.

Taste +3

There is an initial caramel and earth sweetness, with a good dose of carbonation. The nose is very pale with just a hint of bitterness. Your ending is a slight citrus bitterness that is not overpowering, but very refreshing.

Aftertaste +1

It is dry and lightly astringent. The citrus bitterness lasted for only a few seconds.

Alcohol Content -1 4.8%

This is meant to be a quaffing beer.

Value +1

This is the sad part with the seasonals; they do not last very long. I have an extra one in the fridge that was going to be a gift for my father. This plan might need to be altered.

Ingame Enhancement +1
After a few pitchers of beer at Canoe Club it was off to see Zombieland. It was definately worth the price of admission; I might even go back on see it again. BTW we had the dark cherry porter and their bitter. Both were nice and drinkable; but I have this thing against flavoured porters.

Overall 5/10

Sadly you will have to wait until next year to try this limited release again. I found it to be a very well balanced and mildly bitter. It was a very refreshing and easy drinking beer. Remember easy drinking does not have to mean flavourless.

Duchy Original Organic Ale
Bailout Bitter and Carbon Footprints
Redhook ESB

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Westmalle Triple and the Beer Bottle Headshot

It is not often I argue with the awarding of a Nobel Peace Prize, but in this case I must. Over at Improbable Research, a group of Swiss researchers won a satirical IG Nobel Peace Prize for studying whether it is better to be hit over the head with an empty or full beer bottle. If they read the article in the April 2009 issue of the Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine, it would be clear that this was good science. In this case the researchers set out to determine whether full or empty beer bottles are sturdier and if they can withstand the force required to fracture the human skull. It turns out that empty bottles are stronger than full bottles and both are capable of fracturing certain areas of the human skull. At events where fights might break out (weddings) beer bottles can be formidable weapons and their availability should be restricted. The researchers explained that full beer bottles break easier due to internal pressure from carbonation and that beer is an incompressible fluid. Any force to a full beer bottle can increase pressure within the bottle and aid in its destruction. In case you were wondering, they used one half litre Feldschlosschen Original (pale lager) for this experiment. It was not known if they drank the beer in order to obtain empty bottles.

Westmalle Triple

Ratebeer 3.81 98th percentile
Beer Advocate A

I gotta start reviewing crappy beers, so that people don't think I like everything. This bottle will never be broken over anyone's head.

Taste +4

Before the glass gets to my nose I know it will be good. The nose is earthy, with dried fruit (apricots), spices and bread. Every sip is sweet and dry but very good. The alcohol warmth carries the same nose flavours all the way down. The bottle looks familiar, but I just can't put my fat finger on it. Perhaps I am just a bit tired.

Aftertaste +2

The alcohol provides a lot of warmth and kicks of a long residual coating of sweet apricots, yeast and grains. There is a delayed alcohol and yeast bite.

Alcohol Content +1 9.5%

The taste is not noticed but the warmth is appreciated.
Value +1

Any Trappist Ale is a good ale.

Ingame Enhancement +1

Still sick with the H1N1. It really isn't so bad. Drinking too many of these, that would be bad.

Overall 9/10

A very nice sweet, dry and strong Belgian Triple. Delicious.

Other Triples
St. Bernardus Tripel
Karmeliet
Phillips Surly Blonde

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Driftwood Sartori Harvest IPA


Driftwood Sartori Harvest IPA

Ratebeer No Ratings
Beer Advocate No Ratings

This is a wet hopped IPA. Fresh hops were fresh from the Sartori Cedar Ranch and rushed to the brewery.

Taste +4

If you like the fresh hops, this 66IBU beer will make your palate sing. I have a cold, but the clogged nose could still pick out the floral and citrus hops. There was still a little caramel malt hiding in the background. The picture does it justice, the copper-ruby colour supports a medium pillow of head. After the head fades off, the ample carbonation keeps a layer of bubbles there at all times. With every sip, the citrus (grapefruit) and floral hops envelope the whole mouth. This all rides on a earthy caramel sweetness. The whole experience is a little chewy, with bitterness noticed primarily at the back of the tongue.

Aftertaste +1

The aromatic and vaporous citrus hops leaned towards astringent. The finish was sadly rather short lived for a big IPA.

Alcohol Content +1 7%

It was nice to have the extra alcohol to chase this cold away.

Value +1

I picked this up at Liquor Plus for $6.50 for a bomber. It was excellent and I plan to get an extra one or two for my father as a Xmas present.

Ingame Enhancement +1

Under threats of bodily harm from SWMBO, there was no gaming tonight. Tonight I shall only dream of whacking zombies online. And yes I used this category to pad up the score.

Overall 8/10

This is a great Canadian fresh hopped brew. If you love the hops, you will love this one. BTW I like the new bottle.

Pliny the Elder and Adrenaline Shots

Stone IPA
Dogfish Head 90min IPA
Broken Halo IPA

Gulden Draak


Gulden Draak
Belgian Strong Ale/Quadrupel

Ratebeer 3.79 97th percentile
Beer Advocate A-

Taste +4

The colour is something to admire, it is dark ruby almost black. The head takes on the colour of roasted almonds. Alcohol is the predominate aroma with added sweet sherry and berries. This is a big sipful with large helpings of plums, dark sugar and bing cherries. Once the carbonation washes these flavours away, you are left with a little coffee and dark chocolate. From a beer this big it is oddly creamy and smooth despite the alcohol burn.

Aftertaste +1

After the sweet, dark cherries fade away the alcohol warms you down to your stomach.

Alcohol Content +1 10.5%

Ethanol is all over the aroma, taste and aftertaste.

Value +1

This was a big Belgian that was pleasant on the sweet side.
Ingame Enhancement +1

Today Valve announced the pre-order for Left4Dead2. I can hardly wait to do damage to virtual zombies with frying pans.

Overall 8/10

Spicy, yeasty, alcoholic with dark fruit and sugar, what else would you want in a big dark Belgian ale.

Jolly Abbot Abbey Ale (Granville Island)
La Trappe
Brother Thelonius and Blade Runner Boobs

Rogue Shakespeare Stout


Rogue Shakespeare Stout

Ratebeer 3.89 99th percentile
Beer Advocate A

Taste +4

It poured as black as computer plastic with an espresso crema head. The nose was milder than expected, with faint earth, oatmeal and bitter chocolate. Well, the taste is thick like a good bowl of oatmeal should be. The whole mouth is coated in thick, roasted, bitter chocolate goodness. It is a very quaffable beer despite the massive flavours and coffee notes also.

Aftertaste +2

The roasted oat flavours just coat everything, with a long lingering of bitter mocha.
Alcohol Content +1 6%

You would never know it.
Value +1

If this is not the best oatmeal stout I have ever tried, it ranks a close second.
Ingame Enhancement +1

No gaming tonight, I think the H1N1 got me. The positive score is because this thick brew is chasing the nasties away.
Overall 9/10

Any thick, bittersweet chocolate stout makes me happy. This one makes me double happy.
Other stouts
Drakes Imperial stout and Executive class guilt
Youngs Double Chocolate Stout
Pike XXXXXX Stout

Elysian Ambrosia Maibock


Elysian Ambrosia Maibock
Heller (pale) bock

Ratebeer 3.22 62nd percentile
Beer Advocate B

Taste +3

I love a good bock, they are usually a little on the sweet side. This one gave a nose of pale malt, grains and only the slightest of floral hops. After a good dose of carbonation, you were touched by an assertive floral hop bitterness up front. This then relaxed into a caramel and earthy sweetness. As the brew warmed up a slight, tart and astringent apricot flavour appeared.

Aftertaste +1

It was a nice ending mix of floral hops and caramel sweetness with grass. There was almost a lemony lingering.

Alcohol Content 0 5.9%

It is a brew meant to be enjoyed, not knock over.

Value +1

This was a great beer; I believe it cost me $5 for a 650ml bomber.

Ingame Enhancement +1

I must never say that I will only play one round. You can never quit after one round.

Overall 6/10

This was a lovely lighter bock, sweet and floral. A very easy drinking beer with lots of flavour.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Longwood IPA and beer does a prostate good

Any male drink that can help a male problem is a welcome change. In this study, greater consumption of alcohol lead to a reduced rate of developing an enlarged prostate. This is also called Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia or BPH. What makes this even better was the more you drank, the greater your reduction of risk for developing BPH. Compared to abstainers, those who drank more than 36gm of alcohol daily had a 35% lower chance of developing an enlarged prostate. That works out to about 3 macro lagers a day. Sounds great so far, but it doesn't end so rosy. With increasing alcohol intake, there was a direct increase in lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS). These LUTS could be difficulty voiding, waking up in night to pee or excessive urgency of urination (aka. gotta pee NOW). So it is not very hopeful, you might have a smaller prostate but you are still complaining about the waterworks. The authors felt it made no difference which alcoholic beverage was consumed beer, wine or spirits.
Source: The Journal of Urology, Oct 2009

Longwood IPA

Ratebeer 3.2 58th percentile
Beer Advocate A-

This one comes from the highly recommended brewpub in Nanaimo, BC.

Taste +3

The nose is right away sweet grapefruit. Your taste is a very simple sweet caramel followed by a floral, grapefruit hops sweetness. This was a very refreshing and drinkable pint, you must like the hops though.

Aftertaste +1

It was almost a +2, but the slight astringent and earth ruined a perfect sweet ruby, red grapefruit finish.
Alcohol Content +1 6.5%

Very well hidden.

Value +1

I liked it. A solid IPA, but not exceptional.

Ingame Enhancement +1

My only weakness is driving games. This week it is Need for Speed:Shift on the PS3. It does not concern me if people think it is a ripoff of GRID and Gran Turismo; Shift is just a lot of fun. All driving games are rip offs of each other. Yes it is a little arcadish, but so what.

Overall 7/10

This is a great, true to the style, IPA.

Stone IPA

Racer 5 IPA and the bailout
Brockton IPA - Granville Island

Allagash White


Allagash White (Batch 71)
Witbeer

Ratebeer 3.53 89th percentile
Beer Advocate A-

Taste +4

Yes, I know the glassware is wrong. The nose is just like a good wheat should be; lemon grass, cloves, bananas and green apples. How can something smell creamy? The taste is just like the nose with added yeast, earth and extra lemon. The high carbonation gave a bit of tangy/bitterness around the edges.

Aftertaste +1

It ended very dry and crisp with only a slight bit of biscuit and grain remaining.

Alcohol Content 0 5.2%

This was never meant to be a big knockdown beer.

Value 0

It was very nice for a witbeer, but I have had other local ones that were just as good. (see below)
Ingame Enhancement +1

Yet another beer sampled from the beer fridge. I hope the boys go home soon, this is getting expensive.

Overall 6/10

This was a good, spicy witbeer. I wish I could get excited, but I can't.

Swan's Tessier's Witbier

Belgian Wit - Granville Island
White Bark Wheat - Driftwood and a shameless plug

Mikkell Beer Geek - Weasel


Mikkell Beer Geek - Weasel
Imperial Coffee Stout

Ratebeer 4.22 100th percentile
Beer Advocate A

Ok, I only bought this beer because it was highly rated at ratebeer.com. Other beers that fell into my basket were Pliny the Elder, Rochefort 10 and Hair of the dog Dave. I didn't read the label closely, time was an issue, only had time to grab and run. So the story begins..

Taste +5

It poured as dark as my parole officers heart, with a short lived espresso gelato head. The aroma must be experienced; sweet roasted espresso, vanilla and bitter chocolate. As the brew warmed up bourbon and ethanol became apparent. Did I mention that it poured thick with sediment? The taste made me weep; very creamy, burnt oat toast, espresso and good bittersweet chocolate (70%+ cocoa mass). It was a very big tasting beer.
Aftertaste +2

There was a never ending bittersweet chocolate that coated everything. Oddly, you pick out citrus hints.

Alcohol Content +1 10.9%

You would never have guessed the high alcohol content, it was hidden well.

Value +1

Upon further reading of bottle "...brewed with Civet coffee..". That explains the $17 bucks a bottle. Meterman then pipes up, "We are drinking cat-scat-coffee-beer? Are you sure that sediment wasn't kitty litter?" It was worth it.

Ingame Enhancement +1

No video games this evening. The boys decimated my beer fridge; Weasel, Allagash White, and Doppel-Hirsch all vanished. I think Kyle drank a Blue Buck also.

Overall 10/10

This was the greatest beer I have ever tried; only slightly better than Rochefort 10. If you can get it, try it.

Other 10/10 beers

Okocim Polish Porter and Wisdom
Obsidian Stout and Self Improvement
Gonzo Imperial Porter
Hermannator Ice Bock and Zombie Wedgies