Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Hop Trip Deschutes

Things are not good in the basement. My trusty notebook where I keep my beer tasting notes is almost full. I also have a backlog of almost 40 beers not reviewed. There is an upcoming trip to Toronto which means more research and more notes. I plan to visit Bar Volo, Duggan's Brewery and the big LCBO at Summerhill. Sigh.. But I will do one plug for a cool product, 33 Beers Journal. It is a very handy journal to keep tract of all your beer tasting notes. My only complaint is the 'notes' section is too small. Now that I think about I should order a few more.

Hop Trip Deschutes

Ratebeer 3.63 96th percentile
Beer Advocate A-

Taste +3

There is no mistaking this nose for anything other than a fresh hop monster. The sweet hops are a mix of citrus and cotton candy. This aroma explodes from a tan/ruby body with a wafer thin head. The low carbonation does not distract your senses from enjoying the pale malts. The hops..the hops. They are fresh with sweet citrus, cotton candy and various light fruits. Oddly the mouthfeel is slightly watery. A little light roast flavour appeared as the beverage warmed up.

Aftertaste +1

The finish was clean and slightly sweet. The pale malts fades quickly to leave a mash of citrus hops.

Alcohol Content 0 5.5%

This is only slightly about session strength, but well above in flavour.

Value +1

This was a good beer, but not a good as Driftwood's Satori.

Ingame Enhancement +1

Again with the lag. This is still a Seattle hotel room beer. I actually leave for Seattle again in about a week. It is sad, or good, when most of the beers from the previous trip have not yet been written up.

Overall 6/10

This is a must from any fresh hop lover. The flavour was not monstrous, but clean, sweet and heavy on the citrus hops. Your malt profile was very restrained.

Driftwood Satori
Phillips Grow Hop
Sergeant's IPA

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Epic Beer Fridge Goodness/ Chigo Wine Cellar Review

This is a not a beer review but a story of marital problems with a real happy ending. On April 14, 2010, the Misses declared that all beer must be removed from the second fridge. If this ultimatum was not followed, there would be dire consequences. I never said the marital problems were very serious. Perfect, where can I cellar my beers. The fridge was a little too cold (3-5C) and my basement is prone to temperature increases. What about a wine cellar? This is where the review begins. The best website for beer cellaring is The Brew Basement. It does not get many updates, but the basic information is good. Lovegoodbeer also has a small helpful section.

Costco.ca is a great place to pick up a wine cellar. They often go on sale and delivery is free. A Chigo 96 bottle wine cellar was ordered to ensure marital bliss. I picked it up for $750. It arrived in a few weeks and the delivery guys are only told to deliver it to the front door. After some nice talk, they allowed me to remove the fridge from its bullet-proof cardboard box and helped me put it in my office. "We are not responsible for any damages past this point.", they said. Fair enough, no damage occurred.

Now comes the hard part. Beer is meant to be stored upright, wine is meant to be stored lying down. This means the shelves are very tight. No problem, all the sliding shelves are adjustable. I set the lowest height for standard 350ml, second shelf 650ml bombers and third shelf for big magnums. Pick the tallest bottle from each category as a marker to determine shelf height. I learned, the hard way, that not all 350ml bottles are the same height. The little metal tabs on the shelves had to be pried apart to make them fit into other mounting points. Not a big deal, a flat screwdriver and some muscle power fixed that. This left two narrow shelves; one for aging wine and the other for aging good chocolate. This was the Misses' idea. A good idea would be to find some sort of a thin grating to line the shelves. Sometimes the bottles fall over because they do not sit properly on the wooden slats.

About the fridge. It looks great, but the dual zone temperature control is crap. The temperature on the readout is not what is actually occurring within the fridge. Pick up a cheap digital thermometer from Ebay to confirm actual temperature. With a temperature settings at their lowest, the range is between 12C at bottom and 17C at the top. This is perfect for aging beer, wine and chocolate. The unit is quiet and looks very nice. You might also want to leave a spot for a few beer glasses. The glass door does not in any UV light.

Now for the beer porn.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Heavy drinking negates benefits of moderate drinking

Now this is an interesting article; at least I think so. In the March 2010 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology, researchers looked into the evidence of moderate alcohol consumption mixed with episodic heavy alcohol consumption. It is known that light to moderate alcohol consumption has a protective effect on the cardiovascular system. The findings in this article suggest that this benefit is lost when people drink heavily once a month. Heavy drinking was defined as more that 60gm of pure ethanol or 5 drinks per session. This brings up an interesting point. Previous studies covering moderate alcohol consumption may have not taken heavy drinking into account, which may lead to non-protective findings. This is relevant because even moderate drinkers have reported episodes of heavy drinking.

This is more evidence to suggest that drinking in moderation is still good for you, but don't overdo it. Don't forget to get your copy of this journal, I'm sure they are flying off of bookstore shelves.

Fruli Strawberry


Fruli Strawberry


Ratebeer 2.61 24th percentile
Beer Advocate B-

Taste +4

I am usually not a fan of flavoured beer, but this one is different. The nose is all about the syrupy strawberries. It is oddly off dry with a creamy tartness of wheat. How could anyone miss the creamy strawberry flavours that dominate the palate. It was not as sweet as one would expect from the nose.


Aftertaste +1

Again, it was an off dry, clean ending with a slight effervescence. The lingering flavour was strawberry candies.

Alcohol Content -1 4.1%

Value +1

This was a very refreshing brew. It was quite sweet, but not sickly. I can't see drinking more than one of these in a session.


Ingame Enhancement +1

This was enjoyed in the luxurious Clive's Classic Lounge at the Chateau Victoria. With opulent surroundings and great drinks, I can see why I keep coming back here.


Overall 6/10

You must like sweet wheats and strawberries to enjoy the Fruli. If this sounds like you, get it before they change the taps.

Mango Weizen
Brussels Fruit Beer Apple
Pyramid Audacious Apricot

Meantime London Porter


Meantime London Porter


Ratebeer 3.59 96th percentile
Beer Advocate A-

Taste +5

For the regular followers of my blog, you know that I love a good porter. This one is the best one to date. It is gloriously toasted with a slight acidic smell similar to coke. Caramel was also present in the aroma. There was low carbonation and the pour gave a dark brown with ruby edges. The taste was very simple; light alcohol warmth with acidic/roasted malts, weak coffee and toast. Your mouthfeel was both acidic and creamy.

Aftertaste +1

The ending was very dry, slightly astringent and acidic.

Alcohol Content +1 6.5%

Value +1

A great London style dry porter.

Ingame Enhancement +1

More Seattle samplings, YUM.

Overall 9/10

This was the best porter sampled to date. It was dry and acidic with roasted malts, coffee, toast and caramel.

Gonzo Imperial Porter
Anchor Porter
Snoqualmie Steam Train Porter

W10 Pitch Black IPA


W10 Pitch Black IPA


Ratebeer
3.5 93rd percentile
Beer Advocate B+

Taste +4

I was not sure what to expect from a black IPA, this is the first one I have ever tried. At first glance the opaque black fluid with good head retention did not seem overly inviting. It was the nose that got me interested: barely roasted and big citrus flavours. The tastes were also quite unique; the big west coast IPA was there. Do I have to mention what a big coast IPA tastes like? This one was not terribly hop assertive, but the addition of debittered black malt gave added flavours. You could pick out roasted barley and chocolate.

Aftertaste +2

It was a long, dry and astringent finish. The welcome mix of citrus and roasted malt made it a pleasant one.

Alcohol Content +1 6.5%

Value +1

This is the perfect blend for those who love big IPAs and roasted porters.

Ingame Enhancement +1

Still in Seattle, still sampling many great beers.

Overall 9/10

This is the perfect brew for someone who thinks they have tried everything. You get the west coast IPA love (citrus, astringent) with the bonus of roasted malts and chocolate. This is very similar to Inquity black ale.

Inquity Black Ale

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Samuel Adams Imperial Double Bock


Samuel Adams Imperial Double Bock
Ratebeer 3.33 85th percentile
Beer Advocate B+

Taste +3

This one is going to be good; the nose is sweet with cherries, caramel and faint alcohol. It's mouthfeel is medium-full, with light carbonation and a creamy texture. The alcohol warms the soul and burns like syphilis in July. On the plus side, it carries the toffee, cherries and mild oak flavours very well.

Aftertaste +1

The sweet alcohol and cherries burns, but it only lasts a few seconds.

Alcohol Content +1 9.5%
That explains the creamy and the burn.

Value +1
If you like'em strong, grab a four pack of this one.Please read the small print, it mentions that this beer will age well. Into the back of the cellar you go.

Ingame Enhancement +1

This was a Seattle beer sampler. My notes got a little messy after this one.

Overall 7/10

Yum, this is what every beer lover must have at least once. A good dopplebock that is rich, creamy, lightly fruity with a good alcohol burn.

Phillips Instigator Dopplebock
Doppel-Hirsch
Phillips Springbock

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Phillips Springbock


Phillips Springbock

In order to have a successful blog, I feel it might be necessary to have a witty preamble. All the other cool blogs have them. Beer in BC has lots of great stuff. Small beer is good for a smile, even if his font is a bit small. Perhaps that is just me and I should sit closer. Beer Beats and Bites tops them all, but it it not updated very often. Maybe I should get back into writing lame comedy intros.

Taste +3

When you see a beer this golden, the nose is very predictable. Yup, it is very light of grass, sweet honey and slight citrus. Is golden an actual flavour, because this tastes golden. The medium mouthfeel and low carbonation really add to the refreshing nature of this brew. Alcohol tickles you up front and lasts all the way to the end. In between you get flowery/ mild spicy hops with honey and lemon grass malts. The velvety texture also carries tastes of pale honey and sunflower seeds.

Aftertaste 0

After a quick blast of citrus and spicy hops, it is gone. There might be a little bit of warmth and straw left over.

Alcohol Content +1 6.5%

Value +1

I like it and would recommend this beer to anyone. It is the perfect lawnmower beer with an extra kick of alcohol.

Ingame Enhancement 0

No gaming tonight. On the plus side my beer fridge from Costco arrived today. If you want to cellar beer don't go half way.

Overall 5/10

This was a nice pale bock with a little extra hop kick. Perfect for patios everywhere.

Elysian Ambrosia Maibock
Hermannator Ice Bock and Zombie Wedges
Kozlak Amber

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Fat Cat Brewery Porter


Fat Cat Brewery Porter

Ratebeer 3.41 79th percentile
Beer Advocate B

Whenever I drive through Nanaimo, a stop at the Liquor Depot Crossroads is in order. Their selection of beer is great. I always find something new. They also carry the full line of Fat Cat beers.

Taste +3

Well the nose is right: dry cocoa, roast, chocolate and maybe some molasses. This is an easy drinking porter, but lacks that dry cocoa puckering. The taste parallels the nose with nothing new to report. There might be a little coffee in there. In all fairness, I had a Propeller London Porter a few days ago. The memory of this glorious porter overshadows the Nanaimo contender.

Aftertaste +1

It was off dry, with light cocoa and weak coffee.

Alcohol Content +1 5%

Value +1

This came close to being a zero, but it is a good porter. Not outstanding, but good.

Ingame Enhancement 0

No gaming tonight; just catching up on the backlog of unreviewed beers. I fear the number is over 30.

Overall 6/10

This was a good porter, not too dry. Lots of chocolate and astringent coffee flavours to be had. Most people will like this porter, so please ignore my snobbery.

Granville Island Porter and Real life
Elysian Perseus Porter
Anchor Porter

Green Flash Hop Head Red Ale


Green Flash Hop Head Red Ale

Ratebeer 3.73 98th percentile
Beer Advocate A-

Taste +5

I have never met a Green Flash that I didn't like; no, make that love. The dry hopping of Amarillo gives a big citrus, sweet and slightly fruity nose. This brew wastes no time and instantly delivers the hop punch: astringent, floral, resins, citrus and tangy. Normally all these hops flavour mix together and get lost. Not with this brew; they all line up and present themselves in an orderly fashion. The malts are a true caramel but barely peek through the hop smack. For those keeping score there were 45IBU's.

Aftertaste +2

The alcohol warmth nicely supported the long lingering floral hops. It was not an astringent lingering but it was a tongue coater.

Alcohol Content +1 6.4%

Value +1

Definitely hop head approved. It was very much like the Three Beavers, but slightly better.

Ingame Enhancement +1

This is going for a perfect 10, so why stand in its way. Lets see... I drank this glorious beer after saving a kitten from a burning building while it was snowing.

Overall 10/10

This is a hophead delight. The big hop nose and tastes are off the charts, yet not intimidating. If you care about the malts, the caramel goodness will surely please. I look forward to getting this one again.

Three Beavers
Phillips Double Dragon