Sunday, January 31, 2010

Golden Ale Salt Spring Island


Golden Ale Salt Spring Island
American Blonde Ale

Ratebeer 2.85 29th percentile
Beer Advocate A-

Taste +2

The nose is nutty with hints of digested fruits. Average taste of tart honey with a bitter snap at the end.

Aftertaste 0

It was clean and dry with a wisp of honey.

Alcohol Content 0 5%

Value 0

If you like blonde/pale ales, this will be sure to please. I am just not a fan of this style

Ingame Enhancement 0

This was one of the brews at the Epic Tactical Nuclear Penguin tasting party.

Overall 2/10

It was pleasant drinking beer. The was just no excitement, but this is just the way it is with a blonde ale. Certainly a big step above the macro swill blonde ales.

Trappist Achel Blonde

Saint-Martin Blond

Red Racer White Ale


Red Racer White Ale
Wheat/Witbier Ale

Ratebeer 2.97 37th percentile
Beer Advocate B+

Taste +2

Nothing really shocking in the nose: wheat, grass, lemon and orange spice. The taste is right with a slight lemon/orange citrus hints. There is also the tang of yeast/wheat but it just seems so uninspired.

Aftertaste 0

It was dry and clean with the simplest of yeast and citrus tang.

Alcohol Content 0 5%

Value 0

The wife liked it.

Ingame Enhancement 0

Nope.

Overall 2/10

It was a mass appeal Belgian wit beer. All the standard flavours were there: wheat, orange, lemon and yeast. It was just a little lack-luster for a beer snob like me.

Red Racer Classic Pale Ale
Estrella Damm Inedit

Allagash White

Anchor Porter


Anchor Porter

Ratebeer 3.85 98th percentile
Beer Advocate A-

Taste +4

I was so happy to find this brew at the Penny Farthing CBAW in Oak Bay. The nose is glorious with roast, vanilla, cocoa and dark chocolate. It was nicely carbonated and tingly on the tongue. The mouthfeel was medium and slightly rich. I loved the very roasted bitter chocolate and vanilla flavours.

Aftertaste +2

It lingered forever with the dry, roasted cocoa. It was not a mouth coating aftertaste. Oddly, the bigger the sip the longer it lasted.

Alcohol Content 0 5.4%

Value +1

I can see this being a staple in my fridge.

Ingame Enhancement +1

Spent part of the night playing Burn Zombie Burn on the PS3. It is a simple top down, cartoon gun wack. It was fun and well worth the $10.

Overall 8/10

This is a great porter. There is the richness, roast and chocolate that every porter lover craves.

Black Butte Porter

Granville Island Porter
Samuel Adams Honey Porter

Fireside Winter Ale


Fireside Winter Ale (Salt Spring Island)

Ratebeer 2.33 13th percentile
Beer Advocate C

Taste +2

The nose smells lightly of dark fruit, caramel and alcohol. There was a light, creamy mouthfeel with a hint of maple syrup and spice. The taste was quite light for a beer this strong. It's caramel backbone was a little weak. There was no hiding the alcohol burn/tingle.

Aftertaste +1

It was lightly caramel sweet with a palate cleansing alcohol burn. It was very dry cider like.

Alcohol Content +1 7%

It burns like a bad urinary tract infection.

Value 0

It was nice but not exciting.

Ingame Enhancement 0

No nothing; I'm done here.

Overall 4/10

It was a below average winter warmer. The caramel and spices were there, but just not enough.

Lions Winter Ale
Lighthouse Winter Ale
Winterbier Dopplebock

Sergeant's IPA


Sergeant's IPA

Ratebeer 3.36 76th percentile
Beer Advocate A-

Taste +3

The nose is a true West Coast IPA with the earthy grapefruit hops and light, grassy malts. The citrus hops give a pleasant buttery mouthfeel. There is just enough of a palate slap before the hops yield a light bread and caramel malt.

Aftertaste +1

There is a nice coating of citrus and pine hops but it faded too quickly.

Alcohol Content 0 5.5%

Value +1

This is an excellent IPA for under 5$ for a bomber. It will certainly be a regular purchase.

Ingame Enhancement +1

Nope no gaming again, just watched a movie on the PS3. It was Up In The Air and was very good.

Overall 6/10

This was a nice surprise; it was a good and hoppy IPA. Don't let the low price fool you. I plan to go out and try all the other Old Yale brews.

Hop Goblin IPA
Pelican IPA
Driftwood Satori Harvest IPA

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Hop Head Double IPA


Hop Head Double IPA

Ratebeer 3.6 85th percentile
Beer Advocate A-

Taste +3

It sure is a double IPA, you can smell it. The mild citrus and grassy hops just leap from the glass. This mixes well with the faint malt sweetness. The sip is all hop piney, resiny, spicy and astringent. There is a slight burn at the end, could be alcohol or hops.

Aftertaste +1

Naturally it is slightly bitter, burning and dry. Probably 1/2 from the hops and 1/2 from the alcohol.

Alcohol Content +1 8%

Yup it burns.

Value 0

It was a little too harsh, bitter and burning for me. This was a sipping and not a swigging DIPA.

Ingame Enhancement 0

Good news, they are releasing Zombieland on DVD soon. The bad news is that I have to wait until next week.

Overall 5/10

Tree Brewing's new DIPA will appeal to hop heads everywhere. Sadly IMHO there was not enough sweetness to balance the large hop bitterness (pine and spice).

Rogue Yellow Snow IPA
Green Flash Imperial IPA
Phillips Crazy 8's

Spy Porter (Tree Brewing)


Spy Porter (Tree Brewing)

Ratebeer 3.21 63rd percentile
Beer Advocate B+

Taste +2

The nose is very light, almost lager like. There was a vague grain-like sweetness, light caramel and a wisp of roast. It was very carbonated and dry with a good dose of roast. The brew also provided a slight bready taste with weak coffee and bitter chocolate.

Aftertaste +1

The big carbonation tang cleansed the palate very well. Everything went away except for a woody smoke residue. Much like a rauchbier only less, much less.

Alcohol Content 0 5%

Value 0

It was a porter, but just lacked the richness. It felt a little watered down.

Ingame Enhancement 0

Nope I'm done here.

Overall 3/10

Technically it was a porter, but it just felt a little weak. If you wanted to say you tried a full, robust porter with roast, chocolate and coffee; this one is not it. That being said it will appeal to almost every beer drinker with not being overpowering.

Black Boss Porter
Raspberry Porter (Tree Brewing)
Elysian Perseus Porter

Trappistes Rochefort 6


Trappistes Rochefort 6

Ratebeer 3.77 97th percentile
Beer Advocate A-

Taste +5

Any bottle that reads Rochefort is golden. This is the lightest of the Rochefort numbers and the nose reflects it. There are sweet fruits, rock candy and slight hints of cherries. Every sip delivers a creaminess composed of light nuts, pale fruits which is slightly dry. At the end you are graced with a snap of tartness like sultan raisins.
Aftertaste +1

The slightly dry, tart and fruit sweetness doesn't last too long.

Alcohol Content +1 7.5%

Value +1

Golden, pure golden.

Ingame Enhancement +1

No gaming tonight, just drinking great beer. Yes, I am artificially inflating the score.

Overall 9/10

A strong, light Belgian ale the way it should be; it was sweet, fruity with no yeast.

Rochefort 10
Rochefort 8
Chimay Blue

Friday, January 29, 2010

Isenbeck Dark


Isenbeck Dark
Dunkel

Ratebeer 2.53 16th percentile
Beer Advocate B

I tried this brew on tap at Passeros Greek restaurant in Victoria. Not certain why a Greek restaurant had a German beer on tap. BTW the food was excellent with a large selection of vegetarian options. The place was full of regulars and the waiter knew almost everyone by name.

Taste +2

It is a standard dark Euro lager. The nose is faint of roast, dark malts and fermented fruits. The nice and fizzy brew delivers the required light milk chocolate and roast. I liked the silky mouthfeel; but then again who doesn't.

Aftertaste 0

It had an odd menthol coolness at the end. The barest of hop bite upon exit. There was maybe a bit of light caramel and toffee too.

Alcohol Content -1 4.8%

Value 0

It was good but not overly flavourful.

Ingame Enhancement 0

No gaming tonight, but I did go and see The Princess and the Frog. It was a good, old fashion Disney with simple animation, singing and dancing. One of the main characters bites it in the end thought.

Overall 1/10

It was decent dunkel beer; sweet and malty were the main flavours. Nothing really exciting.

Baron Bohemian
Warsteiner Dunkel
Dunkel Weiss (Great Divide)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Rogue Mogul Madness Ale


Rogue Mogul Madness Ale

Ratebeer 3.48 87th percentile
Beer Advocate B+

Taste +4

Wow, it has a super big malty nose that is more like a doppelbock. Other pleasantries in the nose include spicy hops, roast and chocolate. The taste is something else with caramel, mild molasses and sweet chocolate. There is also vanilla in there that is enhanced by the sharp hop bite at the end. Can I also taste a bit of chalk? Must be the glass. For those keeping track, there are 68 IBUs.

Aftertaste +2

Just like a skiing injury, the taste lingers a long time. There are equal parts astringent hops, dark sugar sweetness and big earthy hops.
Alcohol Content +1 6.25%

Value +1

This is like a great dopplebock with a hoppy edge.

Ingame Enhancement +1

I am now fully hooked on Defense Grid. I hope there is a recovery program out there after I finish all the levels.
Overall 9/10

This beer has big tastes on both sides. There is the big caramel and dark sugar malts which is barely contained by the big citrus and earthy hops.

Stone Vertical Epic 9/9/9

Widmer Bros Cherry Oak Doppelbock
Ommegang Three Philosophers

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Three Beavers (Howe Sound)


Three Beavers (Howe Sound)
Imperial Red Ale

Beer Advocate A+ (1 rating)

I like this brewery for two reasons. The beers are usually very good and extremely drinkable. The beers are also packaged in 1 liter resealable bottles; so they are perfect for home brewing.

Taste +4

A most pleasant, caramel maltiness burst through the huge pillowy head. The distinctive citrus, floral and spicy aroma from the cascades could also be noted. Every sip had a chewy and juicy sensation on the palate. There was a good mix of bready malts, slightly spicy, with the classic citrus (tangerine) cascade tang.

Aftertaste +2

It left a peanut butter like coating everywhere. The residual hops left a citrus and alcohol tingle on the tongue.

Alcohol Content +1 7.5%

It was a little stronger, but it enhanced the hop tingle.

Value +1

This was a great tasting beer. And at under $8 a bottle I might pick up one more.

Ingame Enhancment +1

Did the Hard Rain map on advanced. It is always great to play with 3 real people for a change. Those guys are very nice and always let me carry the grenade launcher. Why do they always stand so far behind me?

Overall 9/10

This is a great drinkable beer with above average flavour. It was the citrus bite from the cascades, nice bready malt and a chewy mouthfeel. Sadly it only comes in the liter size.

Double Dragon Red Ale (Phillips)
Nelson Faceplant Ale and a new beginning
Arrogant Bastard Ale

Friday, January 22, 2010

Dogfish Head 60min IPA


Dogfish Head 60min IPA

Ratebeer 3.74 96th percentile
Beer Advocate A-

Taste +4

The nose is sweet like grapefruit with a small bit of pine. There is also a vague floral and candy sweetness. The taste is all hop sweetness like ruby red grapefruit. There is also a pronounced oily slickness with sweet oranges. For all those people who keep scores, it has 60 IBUs.

Aftertaste +1

The creamy, oily, sweet grapefruit vanished fast but leaBoldves a half version of itself behind. It is very palate cleansing.

Alcohol Content +1 6%

Value +1

This is a great, readily available IPA.

Ingame Enhancement +1

This was sampled in Gord's basement office; so many big IPA's, so little time.

Overall 8/10

This beer defines the style of American IPA. It has it all: sweetness, citrus, pine, cedar and palate cleansing. YUM!

Red Racer IPA and the Bailout

Dogfish Head 90min IPA
Stone IPA

Reissdorf Kolsch


Reissdorf Kolsch

Ratebeer 3.14 60th percentile
Beer Advocate B+

This was the real treat at the Tactical Nuclear Penguin Tasting Party. It was the direct opposite in taste to the Penguin. The Kolsch was light, grassy and flowery.

Taste +4

The nose was very faint but hints of topical fruits and fireweed honey could be noted. Every sip was very light, crisp and dry. The tongue was lightly graced with honey, bread and grasses. People really under appreciate a light and refreshing brew.

Aftertaste +1

It was very crisp and dry with a slight sweetness.

Alcohol Content -1 4.8%

Not all beers need to be strong to be pleasing to the palate.

Value +1

This was an uncomplicated and refreshing beer.

Ingame Enhancement +1

No one expected this brew to impress the beer geeks after the Penguin.

Overall 6/10

It was very light and refreshing. You could drink these all day long on a warm patio and be one happy person. I also had a Kolsch style at Spinnakers and found it just as refreshing.

Bitburger Pils and Palms Springs
Steam Whistle Pilsner

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tactical Nuclear Penguin Tasting Party

Twitter can be a wonderful thing. After I came into possession of the TNP, a quick tweet went out to see if others in Victoria wanted to try this much sought after beer. Jeff from Vancouver Island Brewery picked up the message and helped me set things up. Nine Victoria beer geeks gathered to enjoy good beers and beer inspired food.

But first the food. Wives are awesome, she created an impressive spread of food:
- Guinness soaked deviled eggs.
- Puff pastry pizzas with portobello mushrooms, shallots, pesto and goat brie. The mushrooms and shallots were sauteed in Southern Tier Unearthly IPA.
- Vegan chocolate brownies made with Brooklyn chocolate stout.
- Herman's boozy balls made with Hermannator ice bock.
- Hummus with Brooklyn chocolate stout.
- Basil beer bread made with Paulaner Salvator.
You can always tell the quality of food by the amount of leftovers you have to take home. There were none.



The beer selection was quite impressive. Oddly the beer that stole the show was not the Brewdog; it was a beer much lighter in colour. So how was the Penguin?


Taste +4

This was not a taste for the casual beer drinker. It delivered a harsh and burning alcohol tongue slap. No one in the group could mistake the wood/whiskey flavours. You could also pick up vanilla, caramel, sherry and peat. The Penguin was very boozy and burning. I quite liked the flavour, but I also like a good single malt whiskey. Giving your true opinion of this beer might be similar to telling the Emperor about his new clothes. No one in their right mind is going to say that this beer sucks, since someone shelled out 35 euros for a bottle. At least not while they are still in the same room.

Aftertaste +2

The afterbite is tremendous. Alcohol and a dry astringency lingering, along with the peat and smoke.

Alcohol Content +1 35%

It can be argued that this is not really a beer, but a distilled spirit. There is no hiding the boozy bite. I might retaste this beer diluted down with a bit of water.

Value 0

Yes zero. It was fun once, but I really could find a better use for $35 euros.

Ingame Enhancement +1

This beer did bring together nine strangers for a great party.

Overall 8/10

If you want a radically unique beer tasting experience, then look no further. This big brew offers you something completely different. There are bold tastes of peat, caramel, smoke, wood and alcohol. This brew was a three ring circus for the palate. It was not the big top with the flying trapeze and trained tigers. It felt this beer was more like the bearded lady and the sword swallower.

I am sure other tasters in the room would have scored this beer much, much lower. Especially if they do not like the taste of Scotch.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Hoppe Imperial Extra Pale Ale


Hoppe Imperial Extra Pale Ale
Southern Tier Brewing

Ratebeer 3.66 94th percentile
Beer Advocate A-

Taste +5

Yum! The nose is all floral, earthy hops. With a taste that is creamy sweet, floral and slightly medicinal, I think I am in love! I should also mention the herbal, lemon grass from the malts. The whole package had a creamy, chewy bubblegum like texture.

Aftertaste +2

Usually a pale ale is gone in under 10 seconds. This one makes friends and stays for a long spell.

Alcohol Content +1 8%

Value +1

This is a wonderful, bold and hoppy pale ale.

Ingame Enhancement +1

Still in the basement. It is always nice to find a new beer you really love.

Overall 10/10

The is a great, imperial pale ale. Super sweet hops over a sweet lemon grass bed is a beautiful thing.

Unearthly Imperial IPA
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and a love of dogs
Saltspring Island Pale Ale

Moylander Double IPA


Moylander Double IPA

Ratebeer 3.83 98th percentile
Beer Advocate A-

Taste +4

The big, sweet citrus (grapefruit) hops could be smelled as soon as you opened the bottle. The taste was very palate cleansing with an intense grapefruit and pine bitterness. It was so bitter that it took on a creamy and sweet sensation. The smell kept hitting you whenever you disturbed your glass.

Aftertaste +2

The long oily resin coating left a long streak of astringent grapefruits and pine needles. There was a bit of sweetness there also.

Alcohol Content +1 8.5%

Value +1

This barely got a positive score. It was very hoppy, but on the bitter side.

Ingame Enhancement 0

No gaming this night. Gord and I sat in his basement and sampled a wide selection of IPA's.

Overall 8/10

This is a must for all Hopheads.

Diamond Knot IPA
Unearthly Imperial IPA
Slipknot IPA

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Sailor Hagar ESB

Sailor Hagar ESB

Ratebeer 3.35 68th percentile
Beer Advocate A-

This was sampled on tap at the pub in North Vancouver. I hear that their beers are now brewed by Howe Sound. A very good choice.

Taste +3

A mild aromatic hop is on the nose and slightly spicy on the tongue. This meshes perfectly with the caramel fruity (green apple) malts. This is a great ESB.

Aftertaste +2

The nice long, astringent hoppines resides on a bed of earthy malts. Lovely.

Alcohol Content 0 5.4%

Value +1

The beer was great; the food was average for a pub. The clientele also swore way too much.

Ingame Enhancement +1

Gord and I just sat in the pub, drank beer and made origami animals. In retrospect, it might have looked a bit queer. Two North Van guys alone in a sports bar making origami ducks on a Friday night...

Overall 7/10

It was a well balanced bitter; nicely hoppy and nicely malty. Buy a bottle from the adjacent CBAW store and make origami in the privacy of your own home.

Howe Sound Baldwin and Cooper Best Bitter
Bailout Bitter and Carbon Footprints
Belk's ESB Anderson Valley