Last Week’s Craft Beer Tasting Notes—Jan 23–29 (26 Beers Reviewed)


Holy cow! I drank a lot of beer last week. I didn’t realize quite how much until I wrote it all down. Looks like 26 individuals with a couple of repeats. No wonder my Monday was so rough!

These are just snippet reviews or in some cases just tasting notes, so don’t expect any fancy talk! The order is pretty random, because ranking them is way too subjective.

Eleventy One Imperial Stout – Torchlight Brewing

I pulled this one of of my “cellar” (it’s a Rubbermaid tote) after aging it for a year. After a year of aging this full-bodied imperial stout had become really smooth and drinkable, with notes of coffee, liquorice, dark chocolate, and raisins. I wish I had another!

Brett IPA – Category 12 Brewing

Category 12 continues their “Elemental” series of wild and sour ales with this simply named Brett IPA. I’ve tried a lot of Brett IPAs over the years and this was one of the very best I’ve ever had. Having aged in second-use red wine barrels for several months the Brett. has developed wonderful tropical fruit notes and funkiness in the beer. It’s glorious. I need to do a full review of this one!

Grand Reserve 17 (2016) – Unibroue

Always a classic, this Belgian-style strong dark ale had a rich malt profile highlighted by delicious Belgian yeast esters and phenols, which gave it notes of cloves and banana.


You can’t go wrong with Mikkeller. This one really packed in the coffee flavour, but also had hints of nuts and chocolate. The mouthfeel is really creamy thanks to the addition of lactose.

Windrose – Steel & Oak

This four grain porter is brewed with oats, rye, wheat, and barley to give it one of the most smooth and silky mouthfeels I’ve ever experienced in a stout. It had hints of chocolate, caramel, and toffee. So good!

Woolly BuggerHowe Sound Brewing

This annually releases barley wine from Howe Sound just seems to get better every year! This year’s was really smooth, with rich caramel malt notes and hints of plum and other dark fruits. Not as boozy as you’d expect from an 11% beer. I love when a barley wine doesn’t need aging, though of course I got a second just for that reason.

Colour & Shape IPA – Superflux Brewing

My second can of this heaven in a can. It’s so good that I’m rationing myself in case I can’t get it again for a while. See my full review.

Day Blink pale ale– Twin Sails Brewing

I’ve probably mentioned that I’m not a big pale ale drinker, but this 100% Simcoe hopped pale ale had delicious fruity notes of peach and apricot and a touch of resinous undertone that made it immensely drinkable for a hop head like me!

Induction Dubbel – Category 12 Brewing

This delicious Belgian-style dubbel is one of the best non-Belgian dubbels I’ve ever tried. It’s right up there with Dageraad’s stuff. It has notes of figs, raisins, dates, molasses, and a touch of hops in the finish.

Old Rye Ale – Category 12 Brewing

This rich and malty imperial ale is packed with dry and spicy rye, with a touch of earthy hops to balance it out. They have this on tap at Whole Foods, which makes it my new favourite grocery store.

Atomic Gluten BombSooke Oceanside Brewery

This dark winter wheat ale is a big malt bomb with hints of dark fruit, orange, chocolate, and caramel. It’s rather delicious!

Stuck In the Mud – Sooke Oceanside Brewery

Made with cold brew coffee from Stick in the Mud this smooth porter is well balanced, with a nice rich coffee flavour that doesn’t overpower the malt backbone.

Route des ÉpicesMicrobrasserie Dieu du Ciel!

This is a very interesting rye beer that is brewed with fresh peppercorns. It has hints of  chocolate, caramel, and dark fruit, but the spiciness of the pepper is the main player, especially when combined with the rye!

Vortex Porter – Riot Brewing Co.

This was a medium bodied porter with a strong coffee flavour and hints of chocolate and nuts. It was good, but not mind-blowing.

Sour Bayard – Strange Fellows Brewing

Strangely, this wasn’t really that sour, but there’s a hint of lactic acid that made the palate tingle. To be honest, it was more like a saison, with a touch of banana and spicy clove.

642 scotch ale (cask) – Sooke Oceanside Brewery

I got the very last pour out of the cask, so it didn’t have a lot of carbonation; however, it was quite flavourful down at the bottom, with hints of of wood and peat.Could have done with a bit more body.

Hot Take 0 IBU IPA– Twin Sails Brewing

This 0 IBU IPA was an interesting experiment, but I wouldn’t drink it regularly. You wait for the bitterness, but it never comes.It was almost like tropical fruit juice.

La Buteuse – Trou du Diable

Oh man, Trou du Diable never disappoints. This was an amazing tripel, with tons of fruity ester flavour and a crisp dry finish.

Bourbon barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout – Moody Ales 

At first this was a bit boozy, but after I allowed it to breath a little it mellowed out nicely. The wood, malt, and bourbon are balanced really well here.

Saison Cassis / Saison Mangue / Saison Framboise – Powell Brewery

Powell Brewery went and made three different fruit saisons, which they then barrel aged for three month. The fruit came through really well with a touch of woodiness in the finish. They were all amazing, but the cassis was my favourite!

Pothole Filler stout  – Howe Sound Brewing

An old classic, I’ve been drinking this bad boy for years. It’s big and boozy with notes of barley, molasses, chocolate, coffee, and liquorice.

Rune Stone peated Scotch ale – Bad Tattoo Brewing

Oh my! This was an interesting scotch ale. It has a rich malt profile with a touch of caramel and a ton of smokey peat. It’s just like a peated Scotch, which I love! I wish I could get more of this. One downside was that it was over carbonated.

Fat Tug IPA– Driftwood Brewery

What can I say about this king of IPAs that hasn’t been said already? It’s basically a double IPA in disguise and is a dank resin monster. Two pints of this at 1 a.m. on Wednesday night did not lead to a happy Thursday morning!

Uganda Sipi Coffee brown ale – Bridge Brewing

I liked this one, but found the body a little thin and the coffee flavour a little light. Maybe it’s because my palate is so used to coffee porters and this was a brown ale. It’s hard to say for sure.