Hop down to Seattle

Took the opportunity to head off to Seattle for the weekend. Great City, beautiful to look at, (skyline is incredible), fun place with lots to do. Friendly people everywhere. Many have compared it to Vancouver BC of the 80’s (Vancouver’s best time in my opinion). Did something unusual, leaving almost all of my electronics at home, as well as my DLSR. Travelling light, only my Galaxy S3, Nikon Point and shoot and a half-filled backpack. Went down somewhat prepared for what I wanted to do/see (Museum of Flight being the top of the list!) , although it was going to be a little restrictive time-wise as the World Cup is ongoing and I need to watch. Yes NEED…. We stayed in a bit of a dive – I refer you to the Hotels.com TV ad with Captain Obvious , only thing missing was the finger (yes I looked).Welcome back to the 90's


Seattle005 Seattle001
On the plus side there was a pub was less than a quarter of a block away. The Bull Pen Pub A spanish looking place with some questionable neighbours, but seemed like a working man’s pub, great service, good food, cold beer (and a good selection), reasonable prices and for those interested A daily steak special. We spent our two evenings watching both Stanley Cup and World Cup there.

The Bull Pen Questionable neighboursThen we spent the afternoon at Pikes Market, pretty busy place but very interesting. Of course being there we made sure that we popped in for a quick taste at Pikes Brewery. Had myself a Space Needle Golden IPA and My wife had the Kiltlifter. Picked up a bottle of Pike Monks Uncle Tripel Ale, for later this week. Always quality brews, just wish we had stayed closer to Pikes so we could partake in a few more…Pikes Brewery Pikes Brewery 2

Lastly, if you take a trip to Seattle make a point of dropping in on St Andrew’s Pub on North Aurora, Not only is it an incredible British style pub with a great selection of food and drink, (check here for their Scotch Menu), it is also one of the friendliest neighbourhood pubs around, with TV screens everywhere broadcasting sporting events and even has a family room. Worth the trip there.





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Black Jackal – Imperial Coffee Stout. Incredibly drinkable. Thanks Matt!

Newest release Phillip’s Brewing Co, Located in Victoria British Columbia. Black Jackal – Imperial Coffee Stout coming in at 8%. Incredible coffee smell as soon as it opened, subtle flavour but not that cheap bitter coffee, but some high-end dark-roasted depth of flavour expected out of the best beans and roasting houses, oh wait supposed to be talking about the beer, I digress. OK let’s start at Imperial Stout, I only drink Stout and Porter through the winter months, something very traditional about it, and I do like going traditional routes, spending time learning about the history that led them to become “Traditional”, like time travelling. So starting with a comparison between Stouts.. number 1 – very nice stout, bitter finished edge as it should be. Colour is incredible almost as nice as the Russian Imperial Stout from The Log House Brewery in Nanaimo, so dark you could put a 100 W bulb behind it and see nothing. I know this is a limited release so grab as much as you can, money well invested. Truely a well made Flavoured stout, without covering up the most important parts. Great brew for sitting around the fire on a cool winters eve, Enjoy

Phillips Brewing Victoria BC CA. Imperial Coffee Stout

Phillips Brewing Victoria BC CA. Imperial Coffee Stout

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Rogue Breweries – VooDoo Doughnut Bacon Maple Ale

I was alerted to a very small batch (12 bottles) of Rogue’s VooDoo Doughnut special release being available at our local Private Liquor Store, Cascadia. Timing was perfect as I was heading past there on the way from work. Snagged a bottle. Have to be honest about my Bias though, it’s not that I lack an open-mindness to willingly try new “mash-ups”, I have never been one of these people who is not willing to do so, and look forward to the experience, but sadly much of them do not live up to an experience that creates a need for a repeat. Of course some do, like grilled cheese and peanut butter sandwiches… trust me incredible. That said many of the attempts to marriage non-traditional flavours to traditional brews fail, for me. Well’s and Young’s Banana Bread Beer, released at the beginning of the year springs to mind, sorry just does not work for me. Many fruit beers also suffer, Cannery Breweries Blackberry Porter is one that excels in a mouth bursting come together.  Just wanted to be upfront about a possible bias I may have.

Rogue Breweries have a brilliant reputation, with a range of brews and hard liquor that would make a larger brewery/Distiller shy away in shame. From the Dead Guy to Imperial IPA’s and Stouts. A bucket list of must try’s (and try and try agains). Started in 1988 in Ashland then quickly moving/expanding to Newport, it’s a great story you can read here.

Anyway on to the tasting, you cannot begin without saying something about the bottle itself, if anything screamed out Doughnut, this bottle would be that. Sadly though it left one expectant about the contents being the same vibrant colour, although not sure I would really want my Ale to look like Baja Rosa. 😉

Once opened, you can smell the Doughnut Factory in all its Candied glory, Maple and Yes even Bacon waft in the senses, honestly didn’t think that together would be as nice smelling  or as inviting as it is. I am really going to have to make my way to VooDoo Doughnut next time I am down there, for one of their VooDoo Dolls or Maple Bacon Bars.  The pour itself further release the sweetness, the colour was a copper slightly darker than a traditional Ale, little head, which dissipated fairly quick, as you would expect from the lighter beers (Ale). The taste, well while the maple and smoky Apple-wood bacon were present and accounted for, the sweetness seemed to overpower this, and sadly, take away from the tasting. As a dessert Ale to be shared this is brilliant, but only in smaller doses. A great conversation drink, but I think most people will spend more time talking about the bottle and ingredients than praising the Ale itself.

Not on my Try again list.

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Another WhiskyFest

Well, I was able to attend this year’s Local Victoria Whiskyfest held at the Grand Pacific, Thanks to my Wife’s Birthday present to me, as usual it was a brilliant event with such a vast selection of whiskies from around the world, first up for me was Amrut Distilleries from India who had a great selection on hand including “Two Continents”, Fusion, and their fantastic “Intermediate Sherry Cask”… pure silk… The other big ‘Uns were of course in attendance and all had a fantastic selection of wares, no Alligator from Laphroaig though which kind of surprised me as it appears via email and the web to be the one they are pushing. I do however think this will be my last Local one, as it has just gotten too big/popular for it’s own good. I could not say anything bad about the event, it is world-class and well organized but has become hard to relax with whisky and interact with the Reps, just too much going on and too much noise. No regrets though, as this was my fourth and I will carry forward all the fantastic memories from them… looking for a smaller whisky event, other than the one we put on ourselves.

Speaking of, I have a couple of Haggis (Haggis’ ?) from the local Scottish Butcher, Robert Orr and Sons, just waiting to coordinate everyone’s schedule for our annual (loosely) Scotch & Haggis night. Really looking forward to this one, have a bottle of pretty nice/rare stuff as well as it will be our first try of the Haggis from the Local Butcher, but I have heard many praises about their product. Updates on this soon.

More on Whisky… Ardbeg has decalared June 2, 2012 as Ardbeg Day and are encouraging everyone to start training now for the Islay-Limpics…details here.

Lastly our little city of Victoria (rough pop. estimate of around 90K) just opened another Brewery, Hoyne Brewery, for a total of 8 Mid-sized Micro Breweries, brewing quality product.. pretty damn good for this small town…and for this beer drinker. I picked up a bottle of their Devil’s Dream IPA (Funny enough I thought it was called Devil’s Scream… must remember to put my glasses on prior to reading… damn ageing eyes), a very hoppy experience, beautiful actually, golden colour, well balanced Hops, nice slight bitter aftertaste… will have to try a couple of their other offerings (ok and a couple more of the IPA’s).


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Winter/Christmas Ales 2011

It’s that time of year when my personal tastes change with the season, moving from my favourite hoppy/skunky beers to heavier Stouts, Porters, and Fortified Ales. I always look forward to this change as the brew-masters themselves kick it up a notch, and play with their recipes. There are some old tried and true which I am thankful have not changed, Howe Sound Breweries do the usual double dip in their offerings with “Father John”s Winter Ale” , one of my favourite treats, with a not too heavy finish but full of subtle winter spices. Good Value too, it’s actually a big enough bottle that I don’t mind sharing.. Tis the season and all that. HSB’s other offering is the “Pothole Filler Imperial Stout” think light tones of Chocolate, Licorice, Molasses, Dark as night, but all the goodness to keep you going through lent or any other fasting.. Caution though should be served only slightly cooled to allow the flavours to be enjoyed…
New one from Whistler Brewing Company, A Winter Dunkel, first year in general consumer release, and let me tell you it is a treat. From the time you uncap it, the aroma of Chocolate emanates from the bottle, pour it slowly in a wide mouth glass to allow the citrus flavours to escape as well.. being a Dunkel of course there is a large yeast flavour much as most old world Dunkel’s have. Much lighter that the previous two beers mentioned, but does not lack any of the flavour or enjoyment.


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Winter Ale – Swans/Buckerfield’s Victoria BC

Swan Buckerfield’s Brewery:

Buckerfield Brewpub known as Swan’s has been a favourite Sunday afternoon haunt for me for many years. Nothing finer than walking the downtown core/Harbour doing some serious people watching, then stopping in at Swans for a 6 half glass sampler before heading home. In the summer the patio has its windows wide open and its really a great place to sit with a few friends over a couple of glasses. Yesterday was one of those days I was glad the windows were shut tightly, with a cold Arctic window bringing it down to -2. It was a great day to give their “Winter Ale” a try.

The colour was a reddish Tan but not what I would call a dark beer. The aroma was very inviting, a mix of winter spices and hops. A very light beer swishing around in the glass. The first taste, Orange, Cinnamon and nutmeg, complimented by a slight bitter taste. Unfortunately the flavour dissipates quickly and there is nothing to replace it. No body or length of Character. A little disappointing as this Brewhouse does such incredible craft work like their Gold Medal Winner “Coconut Porter”, their always on Oatmeal Stout, and a limited in pub only “Espresso Porter” (which contained 4000 shots of Espresso.).

If your looking for a quality Winter Ale, I would stick with Howe Sound’s Father John’s Winter Ale, which is as nice at the start as it is a few minutes after your last sip.

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A selection above and beyond!

Half way thru the night and its incredible. The selection of whiskies well lets just say if I was hit by a bus and made lt to the pearly Gates I would hope this is what greets me. Lots more details to come. Met Jim Murray again always a good laugh and great guy. who isn’t jealous of his job?  Haggis tarts! God  their brilliant 

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Amrut Master class

Our first master class has finished and while I have had both single malt and fusion, I was surprised with the additional five selections. Including an amazing sherry casna and a married five times whisky (started in bourbon casks then sherry, rum,Brandy, Port) called Kadhambam.
Some food then onto the main event

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Pre whisky festival android test


A mobile test from my android for live updates from the festival

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6th Annual Victoria Whisky Festival

It’s here! The Victoria Whiskyfest held at the Grand Pacific right in the Inner Harbour. This is my second Whiskyfest in Victoria. Can’t wait, and this year I am also attending the Amrut Master Class tasting, this Distillery is in India and they have a beautiful whisky called Fusion (a blend of Indian Whisky and Scotch). Well much more to come before and during the events.

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