Kona Brewing Company Wailua Wheat – American Pale Wheat Ale at 5.4% ABV | 15 IBU

Kona Brewing Company Wailua Wheat American Pale Wheat Ale at 5.4% ABV | 15 IBU (C$3.00 at Oak & Vine, 355 ml, packaged on 8-Sep-2017, acquired 21-Jun-2018, reviewed 21-Jun-2018)

Appearance: slightly hazy pale gold with one finger of fluffy white head diminishing rapidly to a thin skim, minimal lacing. (3/5) Aroma: tropical fruit, wheat, light grass. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, sweetish medium duration mild bitter finish. (3/5)

The tropical fruit (passionfruit, I guess) makes this act a little oddly with regards to  sweetness: it doesn’t taste excessively sweet, exactly, but it lingers and gets a little sticky even so. That is, it tastes and acts sweeter than it actually is, which isn’t a positive for me. Not bad, but not a winner, either. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Ninkasi Brewing Company Yours Truly – Blond Ale at 4.3% ABV | 20 IBU

Ninkasi Brewing Company Yours Truly Blond Ale at 4.3% ABV | 20 IBU (C$3.00 at Oak & Vine, 355 ml, best before 26-Jun-2018, acquired 21-Jun-2018, reviewed 21-Jun-2018)

Appearance: clear straw with one fat finger of creamy white head, excellent retention and well-defined soapy lacing. (5/5) Aroma: citrus, floral, bready malt, hint of pine. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry medium duration mild bitter finish. (4/5)

That’s surprisingly good, actually. I generally find the Blond Ale style to be fairly boring, but in addition to being the best example of the style I’ve ever had, this is a solidly enjoyable beer in its own regard. It’s a bit excessively floral on the nose, but it’s easy-drinking regardless, just like the label says. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Central City Brewers + Distillers Red Racer Low Rider Series Raspberry – Fruit / Vegetable Beer at 3.5% ABV

Central City Brewers + Distillers Red Racer Low Rider Series Raspberry Fruit / Vegetable Beer at 3.5% ABV (C$3.00 at Oak & Vine, 355 ml, packaged on 13-Sep-2017, acquired 21-Jun-2018, reviewed 21-Jun-2018)

Appearance: clear ruby red with one finger of loose pale pink head diminishing gradually to a thin skim and ring, spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: raspberry, pale malt, light grass, hint of citrus. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate tart, low bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate-high carbonation, off-dry lightly tart finish. (4/5)

Not a lot going on here other than raspberry, but to be fair, it’s decent raspberry: not sweet or artificial, finishing pleasantly tart and refreshing. Mind you, after my twelve hour workday, I’d probably be refreshed by just about anything. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

3 Fonteinen Brouwerij Ambachtelijke Geuzestekerij Oude Geuze Cuvée Armand & Gaston – Gueuze at 5.5% ABV

3 Fonteinen Brouwerij Ambachtelijke Geuzestekerij Oude Geuze Cuvée Armand & Gaston Gueuze at 5.5% ABV (C$16.08 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 375 ml, packaged on 27-Jan-2017, best before 26-Oct-2037, acquired 23-Feb-2018, reviewed 20-Jun-2018)

Appearance: hazy pale amber with two fingers of fluffy ivory head, excellent retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: complex, horseblankety funk, green apple, oak, leather, tobacco. (9/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate funky tart, low bitter, hint of brine. (9/10) Palate: medium-light body, lively carbonation, dry funky tart finish. (5/5)

Visually somewhat darker than the base Oude Geuze, but the aroma and flavours, though slightly darker, aren’t otherwise that much different. It’s not clearly better than the regular version, but it is slightly different, so that’s gotta count for something, right? (18/20)

9/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

3 Fonteinen Brouwerij Ambachtelijke Geuzestekerij Oude Geuze – Gueuze at 6% ABV

3 Fonteinen Brouwerij Ambachtelijke Geuzestekerij Oude Geuze Gueuze at 6% ABV (C$11.86 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 375 ml, packaged on 9-Mar-2016, best before 26-Oct-2036, acquired 23-Feb-2018, reviewed 20-Jun-2018)

Appearance: hazy pale gold with two fingers of fluffy ivory head, excellent retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: complex, horseblankety funk, green apple, oak, leather, tobacco. (9/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate funky tart, low bitter, hint of brine. (9/10) Palate: medium-light body, lively carbonation, dry funky tart finish. (5/5)

Been a long time since I had one of these, so I figured I’d re-review it prior to doing its special version that’ll follow. And yeah, it’s pretty much exactly how I remember it. To hell with all those kettle sours everybody and their dog is doing these days – this is how you do a sour beer. (18/20)

9/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company Belgian-Style Black Ale – Belgian Ale at 5.6% ABV | 30 IBU

Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company Belgian-Style Black Ale Belgian Ale at 5.6% ABV | 30 IBU (C$7.95 at Andrew Hilton Wine & Spirits, 600 ml, packaged on 19-Jan-2018, acquired 18-Jun-2018, reviewed 19-Jun-2018)

Appearance: clear ruby brown with two fingers of fluffy mocha head, good retention and moderate stringy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: dark chocolate, roasty malt, toasted bread, molasses. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter, mild spice. (6/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry moderate bitter slightly metallic finish. (3/5)

“Belgian-Style”, huh? Belgium has many styles of beer, so that doesn’t exactly narrow things down much, does it? Mind you, that’s not too far off the mark, since the character actually is all over the place. There are hints of Belgian Strong here, as well as Saison and Schwarzbier. Nowhere near as heavy as it looks, which isn’t necessarily a criticism, but the slight metallic note is a definite negative, albeit a small one. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company Cavalier Bleu – American IPA at 6% ABV | 50 IBU

Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company Cavalier Bleu American IPA at 6% ABV | 50 IBU (C$9.95 at Andrew Hilton Wine & Spirits, 600 ml, packaged on 8-Mar-2018, acquired 18-Jun-2018, reviewed 19-Jun-2018)

Appearance: hazy purple with two fingers (and growing) of dense creamy mauve head, excellent retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: pine, citrus, caramel, blueberry, hint of creamy lactose. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter, light tart. (7/10) Palate: medium slightly creamy body, moderate carbonation, off-dry moderate bitter finish. (4/5)

Bit of an odd beer, with the blueberry present without overwhelming the underlying citrus and pine of the base IPA. I don’t think there’s actually any lactose in this, but there’s a hint of creamy sweetness that suggests blueberry ice cream. Despite that, there’s still significant bitterness and an off-dry finish. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Anchorage Brewing Company / Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales Calabaza Boreal – Saison at 7% ABV | 40 IBU

Anchorage Brewing Company / Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales Calabaza Boreal Saison at 7% ABV | 40 IBU (C$12.95 at Andrew Hilton Wine & Spirits, 750 ml, packaged on 1-Nov-2015, acquired 18-Jun-2018, reviewed 18-Jun-2018)

Appearance: clear straw with two fingers of fluffy growing white head, excellent retention and moderate soapy lacing. (5/5) Aroma: sharp grapefruit pith and flesh, dry hay funk, leather, peppercorn, oak. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter, light tart. (8/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate-high carbonation, dry moderate bitter and tart finish. (4/5)

High hopes here – Anchorage and Jolly Pumpkin? Sign me up! And, damn, if that ain’t some serious shit right there. I’m a bit disappointed that the grapefruit doesn’t come through as strongly as was promised by the label, but to be honest I’m such a fiend for grapefruit at this point that you’d pretty much have to inject the beer into a whole Ruby Red and serve it to me with a straw to make me happy. This, however, compensates for that absence pretty well, with Mosaic and Galaxy hops, oak foudres, Saison and Brett yeasts – it’s like they know me. More to the point, the only pumpkin here is in the brewery name, which is all to the good, as far as I’m concerned: coming off frost warnings on Father’s Day and having to put on an extra coat to stay around the post-feast campfire, I don’t even want to think about fall yet. Or at all, actually. Is the retirement fund to the point where I can biannually swap hemispheres and avoid that shit yet? No? Fuck. More beer! (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Medicine Hat Brewing Co. Topaz APA – American Pale Ale at 4.9% ABV | 49 IBU

Medicine Hat Brewing Co. Topaz APA American Pale Ale at 4.9% ABV | 49 IBU (C$7.95 at Andrew Hilton Wine & Spirits, 946 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 18-Jun-2018, reviewed 18-Jun-2018)

Appearance: clear pale amber with two fingers of fluffy growing ivory head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: citrus, caramel, stone fruit, hard water minerality, hint of green onion and cat piss. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body tending slightly thin, m/low carbonation, lingering building bitter finish. (4/5)

The last beer I can think of that specifically mentioned having Topaz hops was Oskar Blues IPA, which is pretty good company to be keeping. This would appear to be a single-hop implementation, and it’s pretty good, as far as it goes. It helps that I’m a sucker for ANZ hops, of course, but in general Topaz seems to be a fairly well-rounded hop, with decent dry-hopping capabilities in addition to clean bittering (though it’s no Galaxy). It does, however, have a tendency to get a bit sharpish in the finish, with a hint of green onion and cat piss that, though not unheard-of, isn’t entirely welcome either. There are some structural issues here, too: despite the energetic gas release upon decapping and the enthusiastic head, the carbonation doesn’t sustain well, and the body tends to the thin side. On the up side, I always enjoy the confirmation bias of finding yet another beer obeying that 10:1 IBU:ABV ratio. Decent, if not exactly memorable. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams) Samuel Adams Utopias (2013) – Barley Wine at 28% ABV

Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams) Samuel Adams Utopias (2013) Barley Wine at 28% ABV (C$198.99 at NLC Howley Estates, 710 ml, no bottle date or best before, reviewed 15-Jun-2018)

Appearance: cloudy medium amber with no head or lacing. (4/5) Aroma: boozy dark fruit, raisins, maple, earth. (9/10) Taste: moderately strong sweet, mild bitter. (9/10) Palate: medium-full syrupy body, flat carbonation, boozy finish. (4/5)

I first opened this very bottle more than two years ago, and tonight I finish it off with a full-to-the-brim final glass. And, as far as I can tell, it’s remained utterly unchanged in the intervening time, with the possible exception of the appearance being cloudier as a result of my pouring in the lees. There’s certainly no oxidation present, and since it was still to start with, there was no carbonation to lose. This basically looks, smells, and tastes like a sherry or a port, albeit a particularly strong one. The flavour remains smooth, with much less sweetness than expected, and though it’s hot, it’s not aggressively so. A unique brew that’s been a privilege to sample, and I freely admit to getting a little emotional over the bottle’s demise. (17/20)

8.5/10 #1001beers #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Beer Reviews