Saturday, February 26, 2011

Duel of the Dunkels

I bought a six pack of Phillips Dr. Funk to watch the Superbowl. To those that know me, watching me buy beer in a @#$#@ing nightmare. The average person takes 3 minutes to buy beer at Cook Street CBAW. I was in there for 20 minutes! After much debate I decided to go local and buy some Phillips. My first impression was that this beer tasted metallic, overly roasted bitter and too much like cream corn. Perhaps I was being a little harsh so I decided to do a head to head with a known Bavarian/Munich Dark Lager. It doesn't end well.

Dr Funk Dunkel =4/10
Ratebeer 3.3/5 3 ratings
Beer Advocate C+

The nose on this one was slightly vegetally with roasted nuts, baseball mitt and whole grain toast. The mouthfeel was a little thin but do-able. Up front there is a pronounced metallic bitterness that I couldn't place. Once that left, a good wash of roasted malts took over: faint chocolate, toast and almonds. Aftertaste was clean with only a slight astringent snap of roast nuts remaining. Perhaps I was a little harsh on my first assessment, this was not too bad. As it warmed up the roasted vegetables got more pronounced.

Taste +2
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content 0 5%
Value 0
Appearance +1 (everyone likes a potential copyright infringement lawsuit).


Ayinger Altbairisch Dunkel =7/10
Ratebeer 3.58 95th percentile
Beer Advocate B+

The nose was fainter, no vegetal, with whole wheat toast and weak coffee. There is a difference between whole wheat and whole grain toast; I can't believe I just said that. While lighter in colour it was smoother in taste. No bitterness up front, just a creamy wash of caramel, toasted almonds, cold coffee and cheap dry chocolate. Very smooth and creamy; truly a pleasure to drink. Little residual flavours, only an enjoyable warmth of caramel. The flavours changed little as the brew warmed up, maybe a little more roasted coffee. BTW if you spell this beer in Scrabble you instantly win.

Taste +4
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content 0 5%
Value +1
Appearance +1 (the colour of the pour is an amazing deep mahogany)

Needless to say I slammed the Funk back and savoured the remaining Ayinger.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Gueuze 100% Lambic Bio (Cantillon)

For those who may not be familiar: anything by Cantillon is glorious lambic goodness. This is a blend of 1,2 and 3 year old lambics in a re-fermented bottle. To make everything better it is organic.

Gueuze 100% Lambic Bio (Cantillon) = 8/10
Ratebeer 3.77 98th percentile
Beer Advocate A-

Nose: spicy,sweet and sour with lemon and yeast
Mouthfeel: light and effervescent, med-full, crisp yet sour
Taste: like sparking wine but not mouth pucking dry, lemon and citrus and low carbonation, wool blanket, straw, lot o-stuff
Aftertaste: a sour crispness at end.
Opinion: Yucky, no one should have to try this beer. Retailers all remaining stock can be sent to my house!

Taste +5
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content 0 5%
Value +1
Appearance +1

Storm Black Currant Lambic
Vicardin (Tripel-Gueuze)
Mort Subite Gueuze

Back Hand of God Stout (Crannog)

This was enjoyed on tap at the Railway Club; a great place for guys like me to go and get picked up by cougars. It made me feel youthful again; I have a young face so I was almost as old as these ladies. Luckily they left me alone so I could enjoy my beer and watch the band.

This is a beer that has reached cult status; like Rogue's Dead Guy and Fat Tire. It might soon be a CAMRA Victoria requirement that members drink at least two pints a month of this beer at Christie's pub. That way the pour will always be fresh.

Back Hand of God Stout (Crannog) = 7/10

Ratebeer 3.24 66th percentile
Beer Advocate A-

Oh glorious burnt nose: speak to me your tales of roasted Tim's coffee and bitter chocolate. Nourish my palate with your dark chocolate shouts and licorice whispers. I will forgive the stale Tim's coffee rings on my tongue because your thinness is desirable. There is no need to coax one last tickle of roasted bitter chocolate; yet it is short lived.

Taste +4
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content 0 5.2%
Value +1
Appearance +1

The Great Irish Stout Blind Taste Test
Blackheart Oatmeal Stout (Nelson)
Old #38 Stout

Belgian Ale (Yaletown Seasonal)

This was the last stop on our pub crawl. I didn't ask a lot of questions about this beer, and frankly, our server could have cared less to answer. Most of the people around us had glasses full of pale yellow swill- idiots!

Belgian Ale (Yaletown Seasonal) =5/10

It was a Belgian strong ale alright; tart yeasts, apricots and light citrus flavours were abundant. As was the slight lemon grass and alcohol warmth. The slightly sour linger was a pleasant ending. It was OK, but I have had better - many better.

Taste +3
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content +1 (prob over 6%)
Value 0
Appearance 0

Cleveland Steamer

Also had this at Dix Brewpub. Cleveland Steamer by the now defunct Aksarben brewery in Nebraska; at least that is the name that comes up in ratebeer. This was a California Common style for similar to the Anchor Steam.

Cleveland Steamer = 5/10
Ratebeer 2.3/5 - 2 ratings

With a colour of dark tea, I did not place much faith that this was a California Common style. It was very yummy; slightly yeasty with a tart citrus snap and lemons. The astringency was on the good side and the lemon rind linger was a little long. You could barely make out any toasted caramel malts. Tasty and creamy but not a Cali common.

Taste +3
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content 0 5.4%
Value +1
Appearance 0

Anchor Steam

Dix Grand Cru Damage Control

Little did I know that I was drinking this on Dix Brewpub's last day. Had I of known, I would have asked to keep the glass. Gord had the IPA and quite liked it.

Dix Grand Cru Damage Control = 8/10
Ratebeer 3.42/5 - 4 ratings

Only a faint whiff of solvent and plum escaped from this understated brown fluid. The slickness of each sip coated everything with plums, cherries and nail polish. Bordering on the intense; the sweet solvents left a long lingering of plum and mixed dark fruit salad. Very sad thinking back and knowing that this place is gone.

Taste +4
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content +1 9.5%
Value +1
Appearance +1 (any pub that has peanut shells on the floor is a great place)

Dick Grand Cru and Loss
Monk's Mistress
Delirium Tremens

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Cuvee D'Hiver (Driftwood)

On Ratebeer this is labeled as a wild/soul ale. Yet the Driftwood label says "Farmhand" which usually refers to a Saison. However you pour this one, it's delicious. The Cuvee is really good but I think people might be disappointed. Sadly it does not live up to Driftwood uber-awesome release status. It is very unfair because this brew is excellent and complex, but it is not super delux. Singularity was frighteningly delectable and Old Cellar is the stuff of legends. Whenever someone mentions Belle Royal, I still salivate. It should be noted that this release uses locally grown and malted barley from Mike Doehnel. Two other local beers have used this barley: Philips Pail Ale and Spinnakers Happy New Beer.

Cuvee D'Hiver (Driftwood) = 7/10

Once you pull the cap the aromas just ooze out. The spicy, peppery yeasts hit one nostril, while the lemons and fruits get the other. Every sip is very effervescent with lots of carbonation that sandblast the palate from start to finish. Each sip is very peppery and a little tart but the sweetness of the lemons and pineapples are not lost. There is also a bit of straw/honey sweetness; luckily the Cuvee is not mouthpuckeringly dry like some saisons. All these zesty flavours sadly do not linger long.

Taste +3
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content +1 6.5%
Value +1
Appearance +1 (nice artwork and a glorious sunshine yellow pour)

Deckhand Saison (Lighthouse)
Moinettes Dupont
Pretty Things Jack D'Or

Monday, February 21, 2011

Wilco Tango Foxtro (Lagunitas)

Apparently this beer is referencing a Wilco album called "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot". I have actually heard of the band Wilco; my friend Gord really likes them. This usually means I won't. I just bought it for the initials.

Wilco Tango Foxtrot (Lagunitas) =9/10
Ratebeer 3.63 96th percentile
Beer Advocate B+

This one is described as an "Imperial Brown Ale", it tastes more like a Cascadian dark. The nose is all big IPA with citrus, pine, resins and a hint of light chocolate. Always very hop assertive with an everlasting citrus/pine flavour. Your lips are burning after a 50/50 mix of alcohol and hops pounding. The malts are hidden but try hard to reveal their caramel, chocolate and cherry character. I'm sure the IBU reading of 64.20 is in reference to something else.

Taste +4
Aftertaste +2
Alcohol Content +1 7.83%
Value +1
Appearance +1 (WTF!)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Petrus Special

I took a wrong turn and ended up at Chambar in Vancouver. I know that I can be a food/beer snob and I felt uncomfortable in this place. Don't ask how much this beer cost per glass.

Petrus Special = 6/10
Ratebeer 2.89 39th percentile
Beer Advocate B-

Very malty nose with plums and faint cloves can be expected from a dark Belgian like this one. It was very velvety with plums, cherries, dark sugar and a slight alcohol warmth. This slick, wet brew stayed on the tongue with lingering sweetness. Their description was "evocative of green grapes with a gentle touch of copper." I have been licking my copper bracelet for an hour and have yet to discern any sort of gentle tastes.

Taste +3
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content +1 6.5%
Value 0 (not for $10 a glass)
Appearance +1 the ambiance made up for high price

Brasserie Des Rocs Brune and no time for small talk
Brooklyn 2
Monk's Mistress

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Tsunami Stout (Pelican)

It's a stout, but luckily not a disaster

Tsunami Stout (Pelican) = 8/10
Ratebeer 3.87 99th percentile
Beer Advocate A-

Now this is a stout. The nose is all about the roasted chocolate and dark fruits. Each sip also pays tribute to the style: creamy, no alcohol with vanilla, roasted chocolate and faint offering of dark fruit. These tasty bits grab on to your tongue and never let go. It was not overly sweet, but just right.

Taste +4
Aftertaste +2
Alcohol Content +1 7%
Value +1
Appearance 0 (lame label)

Green Flash Stout and Frustration
Hockley Stout
Pot Hole Filler

Big Red Imperial Ale (Southern Tier)

I like Southern Tier, they make good beer. Enough said; I really must plow through the back log of beer reviews. Thank goodness for 33beers and my obsessive hobby tendencies.

Big Red Imperial Ale (Southern Tier) =8/10
Ratebeer 3.54 94th percentile
Beer Advocate B+

The nose was sweet like bubblegum and cotton candy, yet fruity. There was a tad bit of spicy hops but mostly floral. It was creamy on the tongue but the alcohol burn was not far behind. Once the shock and awe was over, lots of malts flavours were around: grassy, caramel and a little roast. The hops were the confusing part; is that pineapple, resin, citrus and bubblegum? This deserves another sip, there is a lot to take in.

Taste +3
Aftertaste +2
Alcohol Content +1 9%
Value +1
Appearance +1

Green Flash Hop Head Red
Captain Sigs Northwestern Ale
Phillips Double Dragon 2010

St. Rogue Dry Hopped Red Ale

No preample. It's Rogue, it's dry hopped, yum!

St. Rogue Dry Hopped Red Ale = 7/10
Ratebeer 3.53 94th percentile
Beer Advocate B+


Oddly faint on the nose, but the roasted/caramel malts with citrus and floral hops foreshadow greatness. Up front it was very hop assertive: loads of spicy citrus, piney and quite dry. This hop blast fades to reveal a roasted caramel malt base. At the end a long bitter astringency lets you know PNW hops were here. A hop head must, but not stellar.

Taste +4
Aftertaste +2
Alcohol Content 0 5.2%
Value +1
Appearance 0

Yukon Red Amber Ale
Skyhopper Amber Ale
Drop Top Amber Ale (Widmer)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Grow Hop Centennial (Phillips)

This is brilliant. A mixer pack with just hoppy beers; this will have hopheads everywhere rejoicing. It is also stellar marketing. To get the limited release hoppy beer you must buy the whole pack; it worked on me. I'm glad I did. The box contains two old favourites (Hop Circle and Skookum) with two new friends (Grow Hop Centennial and Krypton Rye).

Grow Hop Centennial (Phillips) 2011 =9/10

Ratebeer 3.9/5 (two reviews - Thanks CapFlu)
Beer Advocate A-

Individual hop beers are getting pretty popular; Grow Hop focuses on the Centennial. This hop variety is very Cascade-like: lots of floral, citrus and some pine. Boy does this beer deliver the citrus goodness. It is everywhere: the nose, upfront, backend and after very burp. There is a bit of floral and pine mixed in for good measure. The citrus invokes thoughts of pomelo and limes. Bready malts are barely noticeable and the astringency is present but not overpowering. You might call this one a bright hoppy brew.

Taste +4
Aftertaste +2
Alcohol Content +1 6%
Value +1
Appearance +1

Pelican IPA
Celebration Ale 2009
Citra IPA (Dead Frog)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Highland Cask Innis and Gunn

You either like the Innis and Gunn style or you don't. All of their beers are barrel aged, but the wood style varies. They usually share common flavour profiles.

Highland Cask Innis and Gunn = 7/10

Ratebeer 2.78 32nd percentile
Beer Advocate B-

The nose is classic I&G: sweet with vanilla, honey, butterscotch and fruits. This one had a mystery sweetness. I assume it was heather because the box said so; I will make a mental note to smell heather next time I see some. The flavour followed the nose and delivered sweet vanilla, wood, light peat, fireweed honey and a vague fruitiness. A creamy ending only left more vanilla and butterscotch. The I&G style is either on your love or loath list.

Taste +3
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content +1 7.1%
Value +1
Appearance +1 (Always have classic boxed packaging)

I&G Canadian Cask 2009

I&G Rum Cask and a health kick

Double Dragon 2011 (Phillips)

It is very awkward when you do not finish a beer. This was not accidental; it was intentional. Breweries always produce quality beers that everyone will enjoy, right? If the beer tastes bad, it is my palate that's flawed. I tried a beer yesterday that I thought was pretty good, but others - whose opinions I value - didn't like it. Today I tried the new Phillips Double Dragon and didn't like it at all. Yet others in the blogosphere thought it was alright. So what do I think about these differences of opinions and questioning of my palate choices: GREAT, bring it on! Being a beer geek is all about exploring and trying new styles. You can like or dislike whatever you choose, but you must give a reason. Here is mine.

Double Dragon 2011 (Phillips) = -3/10


It all started great with a faint nose of slight citrus and watery caramel. Things started to go bad when the medium-full mouthfeel delivered too much alcohol burn. It all fell apart; the dirty caramel became overwhelmed by this unfocused hop bitterness. It was all over the place: mineral, grapefruit pith, herbal and medicinal. There was no focus. Then the aftertaste of soapy bitterness and dry herbal made me question my desire to have another sip. I tried again after it warmed up. It didn't help. My wife came through with the voice of reason,"if you really don't enjoy it, don't finish it." The remaining bottle was deposited in the sink.

Taste -2
Aftertaste -1
Alcohol Content +1 8.2%
Value -1
Appearance +1 (This is my favourite label by Phillips)

I liked the Dragon last year.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Hoperation (Phillips)

I feel that my postings must be stepped up a notch. L4B is not the only beer blog in town. I used to compete with Dave, but he is too busy getting pounded by demolition to post. Not sure what Dan is doing? Perhaps he is working on his latest uber-post or just slacking. Now there is this new guy in town: DamnBeerBlogger. He/She is very long winded but very entertaining. He also must be related to Rex Murphy or owns a thesaurus because he uses a lot of big words. Time for L4B v 2.0.

This beer is good. It tastes like nice stuff and not like cabbage.

Hoperation Tripel Cross (Phillips) = 9/10


Supposedly this brew will replace the Surly Blonde Ale; thank goodness. Maybe it is just me but the Surly has gotten blander over the years. This is a new combination of two old favourites: a Belgian IPA. Imagine a great IPA and use a Belgian yeast to add those spicy and peppery phenols to the brew. Truly a thing of beauty when pulled off correctly, as with this example. The nose is big with a strong, but varied hop variety. It strayed into the tropical fruit arena with a bit of tangerine and spice. The malts were there - yes, yes apricots, cereal and honey - but what about the spicy phenols and dry-side hops? It had it all: yeasty, sweet hops, tangerine, cotton candy, topical fruit, apricots and peppery spices. The full body left a long alcohol warmth of hop soup and white pepper residue. It was no Orval or Le Freak but darn close. Definitely made up for the Dr. Skunk Funkle.

Taste +4
Aftertaste +2
Alcohol Content +1 8%
Value +1
Appearance +1 (nice label as always)

New Belgium Trippel
Piraat
Le Freak and Video Game May Help ADHD

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Iceberg Strong Pale Ale (Spinnaker's)

I learned lots of interesting stuff about the craft brewing industry whilst having a pint with the VIB guys. Some of it good, some of it bad and some not to be repeated. It might spoil peoples' vision about certain craft breweries. What I will tell you is that if the cask ale served at the Beagle Pub tonight came in bottles, I would buy several six packs. Well done Chris, it was delicious. The new beers from Phillips will be out soon, and I hear some of them are pretty good. Hopefully I can review them before that DamnBeerBlog guy. That is the correct blog name so I am not being rude. The Surly Blonde Ale will be sorely missed; I personally enjoyed the nail polish nose and green apple aftertaste.

Iceberg Strong Pale Ale = 8/10
Ratebeer 3.29 65th percentile
Beer Advocate A

I picked this up recently at the brewpub. The nose of truly effulgent with the hops (floral, pine and slight citrus). Despite the light soapiness and faint vegetal, I really liked this beer. The big florals up front gave way to lesser pine and citrus followings. The malts were very light with honey and dry grass. After it left the mouth, your scrapped tongue was painted with a hop head delight. It was all floral and pine hops. I take back, almost everything, bad said about Spinnaker's beers.

Taste +4
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content +1 6%
Value +1
Appearance +1 (fun label, elegant colour and nice lacing)

Russel IP'eh
Captain Sigs Northwestern Ale
Fat Tug IPA

Monday, February 7, 2011

Chigo Wine Cellar/EPIC beer fridge update

Update from previous Wine Cellar conversion.

File this fridge under your get what you pay for. It looks really cool, but it really is kinda shitty. But I would spend the same amount of money and do it again.

The Bad
  • The power went off and I cannot remember which buttons I pushed to make it read in Celsius; not that it was that accurate anyways. The directions gave no indication that anything other than Fahrenheit could be displayed. There are two digital thermometers from eBay to monitor temperature.
  • A mysterious pool of water formed at the bottom of the fridge. In its defense, it is sitting next to a fish tank.
  • The shelves are wooden slats, perfect for holding wine bottles on their side. Not so good for upright beer bottles (see mod below for solution).
  • No internal LED lighting. Might work on that.
  • When full, pulling out the shelves is a little sketchy.
The Good
  • Looks awesome. Nice fake cherry wood side panels and glass door.
  • It keeps beer cold.
  • Very quiet.
To solve the upright bottles from falling over in the slats I put some metal mesh on the shelves. Some Daiso (love this store) BBQ grills were cut to size with a Dremel. This worked perfectly and did not interfere with air flow. It cost me $6.

Next, shelves were spaced a little further apart to allow better spacing for the 355ml, 650ml and 750ml bottles.

Finally the beer porn!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Citra IPA (Dead Frog)

Citra is the new superstylin' hop variety introduced in 2008. Sierra Nevada funded the research for the development of this hop. They also own most of the fields where it is grown. It is a hybrid variety consisting of 50% German Hallertauer Mittelfrüh, 25% U.S. Tettnanger and 25% East Kent Golding, German, Brewers Gold, and other unknown hops. The Torpedo is the greatest dietary source of this hop, but it has appeared in other big IPA brews. Phillips Hop Donkey contained some Citra.

Citra IPA (Dead Frog) = 6/10
Ratebeer
Beer Advocate B-

The aromas are glorious: massive citrus, resin, a little wood, but mostly a tropical fruit salad. A great astringency with every gulp is really this brews only bad side. Other than that is it a hophead delight: mega citrus (tropical) hops, pineapple, pomelo, bready malts and maybe a little lime. Its ending is slick and leaves your tongue coated with dry resin and pomelo. A unique hop experience.


Taste +3
Aftertaste +2
Alcohol Content +1 6.5%
Value +1 (barely)
Appearance -1 (can we please see something else on your labels besides that flattened amphibian. Brandscaping can be fun when used in moderation.)

Pliny the Elder and Adrenaline Shots
The Seven Sips of the Hopocalypse
Torpedo IPA

Friday, February 4, 2011

Double Decker IPA (Vancouver Island)

I was warned by Jeff that this was not a VIB hopbomb. He said they were going for a 55IBUish English style IPA; something with a little more malt. It is hard to complete in the Victoria IPA hop-slap arena. Everybody makes one: some are good and some are bad. This one puts a new twist on it. It very refreshing to see a new twist on an overdone beer category.

Double Decker IPA (Vancouver Island) = 7/10

The nose really does not give much away: very subdued. There was maybe a little hint of bready/caramel malts and floral/citrus hops. The sip is hop assertive up front; more of the floral and herbal variety. After the bite is gone, a wash of sticky bun malts coats every dental filling. It all ends with an off dry and effervescent residue. Imagine a hop infused bubblegum, that is the last taste sensation. Not a lot of linger, but you crave the next sip. This is not a palate shocking IPA, but it will appeal to everyone. Well done Chris.

Taste +3
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content +1 6.5%
Value +1
Appearance +1

Brockton IPA (Granville Island)
Russell IP'eh
Ranger IPA

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Hop Head Double IPA (Tree Brewing)

I was weak. Whenever I walk into a cold beer and wine store (CBAW) I must buy something. When you walk around a CBAW for 10 minutes and buy nothing it says three things about you:
1. You're cheap and the CBAW had no deals on Molson Cold Shots.
2. You are a complete ignoramus and do not know your pilsner from your pale ale. So you got confused and left.
3. You are a complete beer prick and have tried everything, or their pathetic selection is beneath your highly pampered beer palate.
I didn't want to alert them to my "beer prick" status and bought a respectable -above average - beer purchase. I bought a Tree Brewing limited release. @#$# I should have bought Chimay and looked like a Euro-Snob gastrogeek. Forget it! At least the girl at the till dug me; but I paid with VISA for a $7 purchase!
When you pay with VISA for a sub-$10 purchase it says two things:
1. You have no money and are funding your habits on overdrawn credit.
2. You have tons of dough and collect lots of Air miles points.
I had on a dirty shirt so I'm certain the cute cashier girl thought my current address was a trailer park. I am soooo lucky that I am happily married. Make mental note to buy flowers.

After drinking a bomber of 8.3%ABV, not ABW - please note the smell of maple syrup in the air, I am a little bit surly! Time for a snarky review, sorry Tree Brewing. It's not personal, it's just the beer talking. Maybe it's personal, but it's me not you.. Oh forget it the hole just gets deeper.

Hop Head Double IPA (Tree Brewing) = 8/10
Ratebeer 3.57 95th percentile
Beer Advocate A-

The last thing we need in this province is another @#$@#$ hop-soup tongue slam. Maybe we can include one more, for the sake of niche-tourism. The nose draws me in with alluring resin and bold grapefruits. Each sip is hard to handle with the notable astringency and alcohol warmth. If you persevere, the palate is rewarded with all that your (small) hophead desires. A smashing hop assertiveness with citrus (grapefruit and pomelo) and resin barely contained by the bready malts. At the end: more grapefruit. After I move my tongue around, more flavour pockets provide hoppy bitterness flashbacks. A nice addition to the BC hop-landscape, better than last year.
BTW spend a bit of dough to create some appealing label art.
Yes I know it is the wrong beer glass style. I never get a chance to display my Hacker Oktoberfest beer mug.

Taste +4
Aftertaste +2
Alcohol Content +1 8.3%
Value +1
Appearance 0 (silkscreen label sux)

Swan's Extra IPA
Brockton IPA (Granville Island)
Dogfish Head 90min IPA