Anchorage Brewing Company / Tired Hands Brewing Company Migrating Eyes (Batch #1) – Saison at 8% ABV

Anchorage Brewing Company / Tired Hands Brewing Company Migrating Eyes (Batch #1) – Saison at 8% ABV (C$9.72 at Collective, 375 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 9-Jan-2020, reviewed 21-Jan-2020)

Appearance: hazy pale gold with a short, short-lived loose white head, no lacing. (3/5) Aroma: stone fruit, citrus, dry hay funk, cereal grains. (8/10) Taste: moderate tart, moderate-low sweet, moderate-low bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate carbonation, drying tart finish. (4/5)

Ugly as sin, but otherwise quite pleasant – not unlike the fish on the label, I guess. Stone fruit and citrus balance well on the nose, with a small but definite Brett funk coming to play. On the tongue, sweetness is restrained and the mouthfeel dry without becoming astringent, allowing the tartness to shine. Good stuff. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Belly Hop Brewing Dragonfly Hazy – American IPA at 6% ABV

Belly Hop Brewing Dragonfly Hazy – American IPA at 6% ABV (C$3.91 at Collective, 473 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 9-Jan-2020, reviewed 20-Jan-2020)

Appearance: slightly hazy pale amber with two fingers of fine ivory head, excellent retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: floral, caramel, stewed fruit, light pine, earth. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (6/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, lingering bitter finish. (3/5)

The hell? They’ve got a Dragonfly APA and a Dragonfly IPA? And their “Hazy IPA” is far less hazy than their APA? And neither are listed on their web site? It’s clearly not just a rename, because the ABVs are different. Oh, here we go: their latest F***book photo of their chalkboard reads “Dragonfly Hazy IPA ⭐︎New Recipe!!”. But in fact, it looks like they didn’t even change the rest of the description, just erased “American Pale Ale” and replaced it with “PA”, and then later on replaced that with “Hazy IPA”. Yeesh… why do people have to make it so difficult to cleanly categorize things? They seem to be flailing a bit here, and this isn’t clearly an improvement over the previous incarnation I had. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Banded Peak Brewery Up Track IPA – American IPA at 5.8% ABV | 40 IBU

Banded Peak Brewery Up Track IPA – American IPA at 5.8% ABV | 40 IBU (C$4.45 at Collective, 473 ml, packaged on 9-Dec-2019, acquired 9-Jan-2020, reviewed 17-Jan-2020)

Appearance: hazy pale gold with two fingers of rocky white head, good retention and spotty lacing. (4/5) Aroma: juicy tropical fruit, citrus, pale malt, pine. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, smooth medium bitter finish. (4/5)

A well-balanced IPA that runs pretty much down the middle of the road for the style stylistically and structurally. Solidly made, with no one thing standing out in particular, other than the pleasantly juicy aroma. Just a pleasant, easy-drinking example of the style, whose restrained ABV means you can drink as many of them as you like. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Phillips Brewing Company Brut Force Champagne IPA – American IPA at 7% ABV

Phillips Brewing Company Brut Force Champagne IPA – American IPA at 7% ABV (C$3.91 at Collective, 473 ml, best before 25-Apr-2020, acquired 9-Jan-2020, reviewed 17-Jan-2020)

Appearance: slightly hazy pale straw with one fat finger of rocky white head, excellent retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: citrus zest, crackery pale malt, orchard fruit, petrichor, pine, herbs. (7/10) Taste: moderate-low sweet, low bitter, light tart. (7/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate-high carbonation, off-dry crisp finish. (4/5)

Not as bone dry as I like a Brut to be, but decent enough. Initial apple juice gives way to more complex citrus, herbal, and mineral notes. The ABV presence is balanced, neither too emphatic nor too light. Middle of the pack for Phillips, and not really one of their strongest IPAs, but OK for a change. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Endeavour Brewing Company Sudden Draft – American IPA at 6.8% ABV | 63 IBU

Endeavour Brewing Company Sudden Draft – American IPA at 6.8% ABV | 63 IBU (C$4.09 at Collective, 473 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 9-Jan-2020, reviewed 16-Jan-2020)

Appearance: clear medium amber with one fat finger of rocky ivory head diminishing gradually to a thin cap, moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: bready caramel, nuts, citrus, stone fruit, pine, grass. (6/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate-high bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, lingering building bitter slightly astringent finish. (3/5)

I waffled back and forth a couple of times classifying this: is it an AIPA or an EIPA? The dominance of caramel and nuts is very much in the English style, but the hop character and pronounced bitter tends much more American. Ultimately that’s where I end up: American, because I can’t conceive of an English being so bombastic in its overall profile. That bombast, especially on the tongue, is probably this thing’s saving grace, saving it from being boring, making it instead merely a throwback to the AIIPAs of the former decade. TL;DR: old-fashioned AIPA/AIIPA. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Cabin Brewing Company Super Duper Saturation – American Double / Imperial IPA at 8% ABV | 45 IBU

Cabin Brewing Company Super Duper Saturation – American Double / Imperial IPA at 8% ABV | 45 IBU (C$4.68 at Collective, 473 ml, packaged on 30-Dec-2019, acquired 9-Jan-2020, reviewed 15-Jan-2020)

Appearance: near-opaque straw with two fingers of rocky white head, good retention and moderate chunky lacing. (4/5) Aroma: citrus, tropical fruit, oats, dank pine. (8/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate-soft carbonation, moderate bitter warming finish. (4/5)

I complained a bit about the progenitor to this one, saying I’d’ve liked it more if it were either boozier and more emphatic, or less sweet. Well, I’m glad they went with the former, rather than the latter. And boy, did they ever go with more! More Citra, Simcoe, and Amarillo hoppy goodness, on a beefier malt background, with a no-messing-around ABV kick. This is pretty much exactly what I was wishing for when I had Super Saturation. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Dageraad Brewing Irresolution – Belgian Pale Ale at 5.5% ABV

Dageraad Brewing Irresolution – Belgian Pale Ale at 5.5% ABV (C$4.05 at Collective, 473 ml, packaged on 28-Nov-2019, acquired 9-Jan-2020, reviewed 15-Jan-2020)

Appearance: clear straw with two fingers of fine white head, good retention and well-defined creamy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: Belgian esters, citrus, coriander, tropical and orchard fruit, herbal, grass. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, slightly dank funky finish. (4/5)

This is the first time I’ve encountered this beer, but apparently it’s been a tradition with them of several years now, intended to use up their leftover hops at the end of the year. Cute idea, even if it would presumably give rise to some potentially odd combinations. And maybe I’m overly suggestible, but it does seem like I’m getting a wide and gradually changing variety of flavours in the aroma and taste as the pint progresses. A little muddled, perhaps, but no complaints here – but then again, I’m also the one who’ll clean out the holiday leftovers from the fridge without worrying too much about what’s side-by-side on the plate. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Folding Mountain Brewing Ridge Line IIPA – American Double / Imperial IPA at 9.5% ABV | 130 IBU

Folding Mountain Brewing Ridge Line IIPA – American Double / Imperial IPA at 9.5% ABV | 130 IBU (C$4.68 at Collective, 355 ml, packaged on 17-Dec-2019, acquired 9-Jan-2020, reviewed 14-Jan-2020)

Appearance: slightly hazy pale amber with one fat finger of dense ivory head, good retention and heavy soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: zingy tropical fruit & citrus, dank pine, caramel. (8/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, high bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium-full slightly slick body, moderate carbonation, lingering and building bitter warming finish. (4/5)

That’s a weird – and not necessarily in a bad way – combination of flavours. It starts off smelling like sour candies or Jolly Ranchers before a dank pine comes to the fore, but the first sip is actually dominated by a completely unexpected smokiness – like, we’re talking almost Rauch-like levels of smoke. Label notes say it’s hopped with Columbus, Mosaic, and Citra, but offer no explanation for that initial sweet burst on the nose or the lingering smoke. The near-double-digit ABV warming and more-bitter-than-you-can-taste IBUs actually seem to neutralize each other so that neither ends up dominating, achieving a sort of Mutually Assured Destruction détente in the finish. Maybe it’s the old booze hound in me talking, but damn if I don’t like this! (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Foxtail Brewing Co. Next Chapter – American IPA at 6.8% ABV

Foxtail Brewing Co. Next Chapter – American IPA at 6.8% ABV (C$4.14 at Collective, 473 ml, packaged on 17-Dec-2019, acquired 9-Jan-2020, reviewed 14-Jan-2020)

Appearance: clear deep gold with two fat fingers of rocky ivory head, excellent retention and heavy soapy lacing. (5/5) Aroma: mild, citrus, dank pine, caramel. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, lingering bitter finish. (4/5)

Not that I’m complaining, but it seems like new local (well, Alberta, anyway) breweries are popping up faster than I can keep up with them, let alone keep up with every new beer. It’s a little hard to believe, these days, that I used to have to travel to other provinces (or countries!) to find new beers! Of course, the flip side of that coin is that it’s a crowded field and simply being local is no longer sufficient to impress – the beer has to be able to stand on its own merits (not that it never didn’t, in my book, anyway). Along those lines, I mean no disrespect when I say this isn’t all that impressive a beer. It’s pretty as hell, with a clean bitterness, and has absolutely no negative characteristics – but it’s also significantly lacking in the aroma department. I’d rate this higher if the aroma popped more, but it’s really a more traditional – if not flat-out old-fashioned – AIPA in that sense. “Next Chapter”? Not so much. Good, but not great. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Phantom Beer Co. no: 01 (again) – American IPA at 7% ABV | 44.5 IBU

Phantom Beer Co. no: 01 (again) – American IPA at 7% ABV | 44.5 IBU (C$4.00 at Collective, 473 ml, packaged on 25-Oct-2019, acquired 9-Jan-2020, reviewed 13-Jan-2020)

Appearance: near opaque deep gold with two fat fingers of fluffy white head, excellent retention and heavy soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: citrus, dank pine, tropical & stone fruit, caramel. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, medium duration finish. (4/5)

I always like it when a brewery I haven’t been with from the beginning re-introduces prior releases. It’s too bad I didn’t find this earlier, though, because for the style it’s definitely a bit long in the can – I wonder if it might’ve been brighter when fresh. Solid, with a balanced combination of fruit and mildly dank pine. The finish flirts with astringency, but overall is reasonably clean. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Beer Reviews