Everything Wine And More

Mallory Bruinsma
 
April 12, 2016 | Mallory Bruinsma

There's more to Gin than just Juniper

Unique Affordable Gins

It can be hard to try a new type of alcohol because there are so many choices and variations in every category. This is especially true for gin as even the slightest change in botanicals can drastically change the taste. Here are a few of my favorite gins that are easy drinking, reasonably priced, and have truly unique flavours. These are all worth trying whether you are new to gin or have been enjoying it for years.

Bombay Sapphire 40% alc.– $28.49 (750ml)
Bombay Sapphire was the first gin I ever tried and even after tasting more expensive bottles I am still coming back for more. It is a dry style of Gin from London. The botanicals in this gin are angelica, juniper, lemon, grains of paradise, coriander, cubeb berries, orris root, almonds, cassia bark, and liquorice. This Gin gets its botanical notes from Vapour Infusion which is a process that uses heated vapour from the spirit to release the botanical flavours which are in perforated copper baskets.  I enjoy this gin because while flavourful it’s not overpowering.

Ungava 43.1% alc./vol. - $34.99 (750ml)
Ungava is distinguishable by its vibrant yellow vibrant color which comes from rose hips. It is extra special because it is 100% Canadian and uses 100% natural ingredients. It is infused with botanicals from the Canadian north to give it a northern forest taste. In addition to wild rose hip it also has crowberry, cloudberry, Labrador tea, Nordic juniper, and arctic blend. This is currently my favorite gin. When I drink it I feel like I am in the mountains doing a backcountry hike.

Gin Mare 42.7% alc.– $43.99 (700ml)
Greece is my favorite place in the whole world and when I want to imagine that I am there I drink some Gin Mare. It is a Mediterranean style gin distilled primarily from olives, thyme, rosemary, and basil but also has cardamom, coriander, and juniper berries. This gin reminds me of Greek cuisine. This gin is a perfect choice for those who enjoy herbaceous flavours, rather than floral notes.

Dillon’s Small Batch Rose Gin 35% alc./vol. – $27.99 (375 ml)
For those who enjoy floral tastes and aromas this rose gin is a perfect choice. This gin is unfiltered and has a base of 100% Ontario rye dry gin which makes it proudly Canadian. In appearance it has an orange caramel color which comes from the rose hips and petals. The alcohol percent is lower than most gins and it is slightly sweetened which allows it to be used as an aperitif. This gin works very well with tonic because of the added sweetness.

Dictador Treasure, Premium Colombian Aged Gin 43%alc. – $54.99 (700 ml)
This gin is truly unique. It is aged in rum barrels for 35 weeks which gives it a bit of a vanilla flavour.  It is infused with the flavors from citrus peels, berries, and various spices. It is supposed to be reminiscent of a limon mandarino which is a Colombian fruit. The flavour that stood out to me was tangerine. The taste was fresh like the fruit had just been picked off a tree. This gin can be enjoyed on the rocks or in a mix because it is incredibly smooth and flavourful.

Time Posted: Apr 12, 2016 at 10:05 AM
Samantha Torrance
 
April 11, 2016 | Samantha Torrance

Visit Alberta's Best Little Brewery: Bench Creek

I recently visited Bench Creek brewery located just outside of Edson, Alberta. Bench Creek only hit the market this past November and is a small operation that will soon outgrow their current brewing grounds. The brewery resides in the backyard of owner Andrew Kulynych. With just enough space in the warehouse for creating new batches of beer and selling their beer by the pint or growler, the area feels like a home.

Currently only available in kegs, their four different brews are something special. We carry the Naked Woodsman Pale Ale on our growler bar. Check out their website to find out where else you can purchase the White Raven IPA, Black Spruce Porter, and Flint and Steel ISA.

The Naked Woodsman sits at 5.2% ABV with an IBU of 40. It’s complex and distinct with aromas of bright grapefruit, orange hops and home baked bread. Flavours of apricot and peach with subtle citrus coat the mouth with a slight spice on the finish.

The White Raven, my favourite of the Bench Creek brews has an IBU of 72 and ABV of 6.5%. It’s hoppy with intense aromatics of citrus fruits such as grapefruit, orange and some tropical mango. The fruit follows onto the palate with added toffee flavours that cut the bitterness of the beer to make an amazingly refreshing beer with an off dry finish that lingers.

Flint and Steel ISA is Bench Creek’s newest beer to hit the market. At 4.7% it’s smooth and bright. Tropical fruits, melon and caramel fill the air as grapefruit, lemon, malt, and caramel coat the palate. There is just the right amount of bitterness from the hops to give balance and structure to this beer.

The Black Spruce Porter is a classic porter with 5.8% ABV and 40 IBU. Aromas and flavours of coffee, chocolate, and molasses burst through first with sweet hints of raisin easing in on the finish. Herbaceous and floral notes help balance the sweet notes of the beer. Dried fruit and peach finish into a full bodied porter that is perfect for the erratic Alberta weather.

Brewmaster Warren Misik showed my boyfriend and I around the brewery, explaining the different processes and uses of the machinery. We also saw the three original pots used to create the original IPA, Pale Ale, and Porter. No bigger than an industrial pot seen in kitchens, Warren crafted the beers and sent them out to get the Bench Creek name and flavour out there and heard.

This little hole in the wall brewery won’t stay that way for long as these beers gain more and more momentum every day. I suggest visiting them yourself! Purchase a growler, sit and enjoy a pint of what I think is the finest beer Alberta has to offer.

Time Posted: Apr 11, 2016 at 1:10 PM
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