Graham Cracker Ale – Hearthstone Brewing Co. (North Vancouver, BC, Canada)

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Graham Cracker Ale – Hearthstone Brewing Company, 8.0% ABV – 30 IBUs, 473 ml., (North Vancouver, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft beer)


printed on the back of the can:

“In 1829, Presbyterian minister Sylvester Graham invented the graham cracker in an attempt at staving off an epidemic that was sweeping the nation – masturbation.

As a tribute to Reverend Graham, we decided to concoct a graham cracker brew with 50 kg of graham crackers in each batch, resulting in notes of honey, vanilla and all around graham cracker goodness.

So instead of knocking one out this evening, how about knocking one back with Hearthstone! Cheers!”


  • Style: (flavoured – graham cracker) American Strong Ale
  • Taste: Sweetish toffee bran cookie bitter hop astringent biscuity malt
  • Where I got it : High Point / Vancouver
  • How much: $4.15 CAD – 473ml., February 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: …mmm, nah.

Visual: Pours medium dark brown with a smallish head, sticky lacing, a thin layer of retention, singular steady streams here and there.

Nose: sweet toasted cookie malt (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: crisp bite

Mid-palate: creamy-crisp, (lvl-5-sweetness), bran cookie, soft transitional sour astringency, background bitter hops

Finish: vanilla, toasted biscuity toffee malt exhale.

Summary: It sounded gimmicky at first (~a la pizza beer), but actually, it’s quite drinkable with decent depth, complexity and balance. Somewhat astringently hoppy in the finish.

Wild Goose Riesling 2010 (Okanagan Falls, BC, Canada)

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  • My Rating: [B-]

Riesling (God’s Mountain Vineyard) – Wild Goose Vineyards, 13.6% ABV – 750ml, (Okanagan Falls, BC, Canada) (*local BC wine)


on the back label:

“God’s mountain Vineyard is one of the most spectacular and rugged sites in the Okanagan. Grown in clay and sand solids, their roots esconced in deep gravel deposits, these 18 year-old vines are meticulously tended using biodynamic growing techniques. The result is a smaller but more concentrated fruit, floral, clover, apple and mineral flavours with clean citrus notes. This dry wine pairs beautifully with cheeses, chicken, pork, and seafood.”

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  • Style: (vintage, Riesling) White Wine
  • Taste: Tangy fruity citrus apple acidity sour-puckery tart minerality
  • Where I got it : Firefly / Vancouver
  • How much: $23 CAD (after 10% off) – 750ml., May 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: yes
  • Would I recommend this to white wine lovers:

Visual: Screw-top cap. Pours very light sunshine yellow.

Nose: red and green apple, hints of soapy pear. (lvl-3)-pungency

Attack: white wine citrus acidity

Mid-palate: pronounced tangy acidity, light sour green apple, (lvl-1-sweetness), soft bright minerality

Finish: stealth alcohol throat warmth, tart-puckery, white grapey exhale

Summary: Decently drinkable, but not remarkably memorable. A good sipper.

Imperial White IPA – Bridge Brewing Co. (North Vancouver, BC, Canada)

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Imperial White IPA – Bridge Brewing, 8.0% ABV – 75 IBUs, 650ml., (North Vancouver, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft brew*)


printed on the front-right label:

“Clocking in at 75 IBU and 8.0% ABV, this bold yet balanced Imperial White IPA is well hopped with Magnum, Centennial, and Nelson Sauvin hops. Aged with White Wine Oak, look for hints of fresh crushed gooseberries, passionfruit, and white peach along with light oaky tannins.”


  • Style: (white wine oak aged) Imperial IPA
  • Taste: Tangy creamy thick subtle white peach bright fruity toffee malty biting dry hops
  • Where I got it : Liquor Barn, N. Bby
  • How much: $8.25 (after 10% off) – 650ml., December 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados:

Visual: Pours cloudy orange-brown with a very small foamy head, 1mm layer of retention, clusters of slow steady micro streams.

Nose: faint peachy apricot (lvl-3)-pungency

Attack: crisp-thicker-full, incoming fruity hops

Mid-palate: cascading creaminess, (lvl-5-sweetness), white peach, fruity bright-half toffee barley malt, tangy

Finish: biting dry bitter hops, white oak, residual malts.

Summary: The advertised fruit flavours of gooseberry, passionfruit and white peach are slightly exaggerated with mostly white peach being displayed. Solid nevertheless, enjoyable texture and flavours.

Coffee Blonde – Spinnakers Brewpub (Victoria, BC, Canada)

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Coffee Blonde – Spinnakers Brewpub, 4.5% ABV – 25 IBU, 650ml., (Victoria, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft beer)

-some info on cold brew coffee


on the front-right label:

“COFFEE BLONDE. A slightly different take on a beer and coffee, this beer starts with a crisp pilsner malt base and gets its roasty, chocolatey flavours from Fernwood coffee cold brew and Sirene cocoa husk. Add to that a nice creamy mouthfeel”

Ingredients: aquifer water, malted barley, Fernwood cold brew coffee, Sirene cocoa husk, hops, yeast.

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  • Style: (flavoured – Fernwood cold brew coffee) Blonde Ale
  • Taste: Thick coffee roasted barley chocolate mild oyster exhale
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $6.70 CAD – 650ml., February 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: nope

Visual: Pours golden yellow orange with a massive, forever-lasting huge foam-bubbly head, thick retention, clusters of very active streams – beautiful sight.

Nose: pukey sour coffee acidity – background lager malt (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: super sharp crisp bite

Mid-palate: fizzy-creamy, grainy pils barley malt, (lvl-3-sweetness), nutty cocoa

Finish: cold brew soft coffee w/o bitterness, lingering sweet barley malt

Summary: Crisp, smooth and drinkable but not terribly complex or deep. An interesting twist to a would be boring blonde, but still rather weak in body.

McCools Hazelnut Porter – Hearthstone Brewing Co. (North Vancouver, BC, Canada)

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McCools Hazelnut Porter – Hearthstone Brewing Company, 5.0% ABV – 25 IBUs, 500 ml., (North Vancouver, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft beer)


printed on the back of the can:

“The Celts believed hazelnuts gave one wisdom. There is an ancient tale where nine hazelnut trees grew around a sacred pool, dropping into the water nuts that were eaten by salmon, who absorbed the wisdom.

A Druid teacher caught one of these special salmon and asked a student to cook the fish, but not to eat it. While he was cooking it, a blister formed and the pupil used his thumb to burst it, which he then sucked to cool, thereby absorbing the fish’s wisdom. This boy was called Fin McCool and he went on to become on of the most heroic leaders in Gaelic mythology.” (also found on wiki)

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  • Style: (flavoured? – hazelnut) Porter
  • Taste: Straightforward dry roast bitter malt generic nutty
  • Where I got it : High Point / N. Burnaby
  • How much: $4.00 CAD – 500ml., February 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: nah

Visual: Pours dark brown with minimal head, half layer of micro retention, thicker viscosity, clusters of micro streams around the perimeter.

Nose: nutty malt deep roast. (lvl-4)-pungency

Attack: crisp, slick-mildly thicker viscosity

Mid-palate: dry bitter deep roast barley, continued-crispness/tingly-fizzy, (lvl-3-sweetness), nutty-woody, caramel malty

Finish: lingering roast bittersweetness, subtle hop bitterness.

Summary: Decent big roast flavour with generic nutty bitterness. Straightforward, not that intriguing.

Gray Monk Odyssey III (Port-Style) (BC, Canada)

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  • My Rating: [B-]

Odyssey III – Gray Monk Estate Winery – NV (solera process since 2005), 19.8% ABV, 500 ml., (Lake Country, BC, Canada) (*VQA BC wine)


printed on the back of the bottle:

“In the true family tradition of Gray Monk, Odyssey III signifies three generations of commitment to bringing the very best to your table.  Full bodied, rich and elegant flavours reminiscent of black cherry, raspberry and chocolate. This fortified red wine is equally delicious being served on its own, with Stilton and other blue cheeses or with full-flavoured fruit desserts.”

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  • Style: (Port / Port-Style) Fortified Wine
  • Taste: Tangy alcoholic cherry raspberry chocolate warmth tart
  • Where I got it : Liquor Barn, N. Burnaby
  • How much: $25 CAD (after 5% off) ($17.39 @Gray Monk online) – 500ml., January 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: nah
  • Would I recommend this to port wine aficionados: good flavour for a good price

Visual: (NV, cellared for 4 years). Pours dark magenta, slow runny legs.

Nose: cab sauv red wine, tingly-airy dark fruity alcoholic background, (lvl-3)-pungency

Attack: immediate tangy alcohol hit, dark fruity tangy acidity

Mid-palate: woody black cherry, rich fruity (lvl-6-sweetness), raspberry, continued eau-de-vie alcohol

Finish: chocolate, soft tartness, alcohol heat/throat warmth, raisin exhale

Summary: All flavours as advertised, solid richness, solid drinkability. A tad watery in the entry, could use a bit more body in the mids.

Domaine de Terrebrune Bonnezeaux 2006 (Late Harvest) (France)

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  • My Rating: [C+]

Domaine de Terrebrune Bonnezeaux 2006, 13% ABV, 500 ml., (Notre-Dame-d’Allençon, France)


from the Domaine de Terrebrune website:

“Famous desert wine, the colour is gilded with green reflections. The nose is fine and subtle, in mouth it expresses the acacia, fern, and citrus fruits. In age the flavours change : honey, lime and stone taste with rifle. Serve it in medium temperature : 12 °C, taste it in apéritif, with a foie gras, white meats, strong cheeses, blue cheeses. A young Bonnezeaux can be serve with shellfish (lobster). The Bonnezeaux is a high-class wine of guard, sometime centenary but ten years is good enough. This wine represents the Chenin from the Loire, an outstanding wine, something very rare.”

-actually, I prefer it at room temperature, around 21°C, so that it becomes slightly more viscous and you get more deep warmth.


  • Style: (Bonnezeaux – Chenin Blanc) Late Harvest Dessert Wine
  • Taste: Tangy sweet light sour acidic apple lime honey nectarine short length
  • Where I got it : Liberty Wines, Granville Island
  • How much: $38 CAD, (after 10% off) – 500ml., August 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: nah
  • Would I recommend this to dessert wine aficionados: not worth the $$$

Visual: (2006 Vintage, cellared for 10 years). Pours clear light golden orange.

Nose: tangy citrusy sweet apple-pear. (lvl-4)-pungency

Attack: chilled=thin viscosity, warm=slightly thick, incoming sugars

Mid-palate: sweet-sour acidic tang, dense (lvl-7-sweetness) sugar hit, medium body, apple, lime, honey, alcohol zingy

Finish: nectarine exhale, woody throat warmth, short flavour finish

Summary: Not particularly memorable since I had a fantastic Donnafugata Ben Ryé Passito yesterday [A-]. Somewhat lacking in full bodyness and length, the flavours are simplistically good but over too quickly.