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What I'm drinking tonight: East Van Micro Brewery Vancouver Special IPA!

I'm a little under the weather today so this is a mini-review.

It says "Big & Sturdy" on the bottle and that's exactly what this is!  A well made IPA, well hopped ("hop-dominant"), a slightly bitter aftertaste that lingers a bit.  Floral and piney notes, with just a hint of citrus.   This would be best enjoyed in the summer, as it is quite refreshing.  6%abv.

My rating: 8.5/10.  Well done!


What I'm drinking tonight: from Everett Washington, Scuttlebutt Brewing Co.'s Ming the Merciless Imperial IPA!

I was never a really big fan of the Flash Gordon franchise but you'd be hard pressed to come up with a more epic name for a beer than this.  Aptly named, Ming is powerful and terrifying.  But not in a bad way, if you are on its good side! 

This limited release pours to a deep amber, although it's not as dark as it looks when held up to the light.  Powerfully hopped, but Ming has no time for fruity or flowery nonsense.  The delicate dimensions of hoppiness are better left to beers with a beta personality.  What Ming delivers is straight-on conquest of your tastebuds and the smouldering remains of your sobriety!  Although the tongue is met with a forcefully bitter hop assault, the bitterness does not linger.  This makes for a surprisingly satisfying mouthfeel overall.  Reaching deeper into the flavour complex, I notice a bit of caramelly malt, but not enough that I would drink it just for the malt.  Strangely, the most powerful taste element is the alcohol itself!  At 8.7%abv, Ming the Merciless is very much a hi-test to be respected, but it's quite unusual for an ale even this strong to smell and taste so strongly of... alcohol!  It tastes like it could be 20%abv or higher, and reminds me of when in my younger days I would sometimes use beer as a mixer for rum or whiskey!  Is this a genius illusion?  Is it part of Ming's evil plot to usurp your soul as its namesake usurped the planet Mongo?  You'll have to decide.

It's a well executed double IPA, and I appreciate what its creators were going for here.  But to be honest I don't like to be reminded that I might be a borderline alcoholic, so the bizarrely strong flavour of alcohol is actually a minus for me.

My rating: 8/10.  


What I'm drinking tonight: a collaboration brew!  "The Streets" by Main St. Brewing and Powell Street Craft Brewery!

Why I chose this brew: Lately I've been promoting Weird Al Walker's "The Streets" game door on our telnet BBS.  The instant I saw this on the cooler shelf it was a no-brainer what I'd try next!

So it's a Scottish Golden Ale, and to be honest, I am not entirely familiar with the style.  It pours to a very pale golden yellow with a generous, thick white head that dissipates quickly.  It has a strongly yeasty nose, and a peaty presence on the tongue that is familiar to me as a whisky lover but unexpected in a beer.  And yet not unwelcome!  An acquired taste, and not for everyone, but a very good experience overall.

EDIT: It doesn't show well in the picture, but The Streets is ever so slightly cloudy, and by the time I finally got to the bottom of my glass some time after I first posted this, I did notice a small amount of dregs (sediment) at the bottom of the glass.  Again, not for everyone.

My rating: 7/10.  This was an interesting experience, if a bit mild at 4%abv and 20 IBU, but something of a novelty and thus really no one's nightly go-to brew.

$5.99 in the 650ml bomber shown here.


It's Bock!  Vancouver Island Brewery's Hermannator Ice Bock, 2016 edition!

My favourite beer of all time, which I have been drinking since its introduction in the 1990s, is I'm afraid a seasonal.  Generally available from about Halloween to New Year's (and often beyond that in slow years), I eagerly await the end of October every year!  And now it's back, the best beer in the world!

An Eisbock, Hermannator is dark, sweet, and very powerful at 9.5%abv.  Of course, even though Hermannator is brewed from an award winning recipe, every year's batch is a little different, as brewing staff at VIB changes and ingredient quality and variety ebbs and flows with the market, each year's batch of Hermannator is a little different from the last.  Sometimes for the worse but usually for the better!

This year's batch is just slightly more bitter, less malty, and about exactly as sweet as I remember previous years on average.  Overall a really good effort, and I will be drinking plenty more from this batch before the year ends!

About $14 for a six pack most places.  My rating: 10/10!  Still the king!


What I'm drinking tonight: Parallel 49's "187 on an Undercover Hop" Imperial IPA!

I had to buy two of these to review it properly, because after I finished the first one, I was in no state to type!  187 packs a 10.0%abv wallop, and I didn't prepare for that.  So a week later, I got another one, took a few sips, and then sat down to write.

187 is a very strong, very hoppy brew with a strong citrus nose, bitter hoppy mouthfeel (that delivers very little of the citrus the nose promises) and a slightly bitter aftertaste that dissipates quickly.  Pours golden with a generous white head.

A lot of IPAs that incorporate the word "hop" in the name don't quite live up to the hyperbole, but in this case, the use of the word actually understates the hop avalanche that 187 delivers.  This is definitely an IPA lover's IPA, not an introduction to the style.  And I'm an IPA lover, so I found it quite enjoyable, but your mileage may vary.

Perhaps the most pleasant surprise was the price point: despite being a super-high-test aimed at a small segment of enthusiasts, my local  death dispensary priced this 650ml bomber at $5.99 - I've had far worse beers that cost more!

My rating: 8.75/10 - really, really good even if it's not for everyone.

-=( T )=-

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