Bannerman Brewing Co. Dream Time – American Double / Imperial IPA at 8% ABV

Bannerman Brewing Co. Dream Time American Double / Imperial IPA at 8% ABV (C$10.99 at Bannerman Brewing Co., 945 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 10-Jul-2019, reviewed 10-Jul-2019)

Appearance: opaque deep gold with one fat finger of fine pale ivory head diminishing gradually to a thin cap and ring, moderate stringy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: juicy citrus, pale malt, vanilla, stone and tropical fruit, pine & grass. (9/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter, light tart. (9/10) Palate: medium slightly sticky body, moderate-soft carbonation, medium duration mildly warming slightly tart finish. (4/5)

Nice – these guys are clearly killing it. Earlier today they had on offer a very nice Lager and an even nicer APA, and now this DIPA raises the bar yet again. Very similar to the APA, but with the lactose vanilla being somewhat more pronounced. Despite that and the fruit character, the sweetness is never excessive. Easy drinking despite the high ABV – a couple of these and it really would be dreamtime! (17/20)

8.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Bannerman Brewing Co. Thirst Trap – American Pale Ale at 5.5% ABV

Bannerman Brewing Co. Thirst Trap American Pale Ale at 5.5% ABV (C$8.99 at Bannerman Brewing Co., 945 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 10-Jul-2019, reviewed 10-Jul-2019)

Appearance: opaque deep gold with one fat finger of fine pale ivory head, good retention and moderate stringy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: juicy stone and tropical fruit, citrus, pale malt, vanilla, hints of pine & grass. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-low bitter, light tart. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate-soft carbonation, medium duration mild bitter slightly tart finish. (4/5)

Big fruity aroma and flavour dominated by fuzzy peach candy, but with a little juicy citrus and vanilla backing, and the merest hints of some greener notes of pine and grass. Big creamsicle flavour for an APA, and lovely to sip on while BBQing some sausages! (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Firestone Walker Brewing Company Stickee Monkee 2016 Vintage #3 – Abt / Quadrupel at 11.6% ABV | 35 IBU

Firestone Walker Brewing Company Stickee Monkee 2016 Vintage #3 Abt / Quadrupel at 11.6% ABV | 35 IBU (C$28.81 at Oak & Vine, 650 ml, packaged on 18-Apr-2016, acquired 26-Apr-2017, reviewed 9-Jul-2019)

Appearance: clear ruby brown with one finger of fluffy light beige head diminishing gradually to a thin ring, minimal lacing. (4/5) Aroma: coconut, oak, vanilla, molasses, tobacco, hints of stone and dark dried fruits. (8/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate bitter. (9/10) Palate: medium slightly slick body, moderate-high carbonation, slightly sticky warming lingering mild bitter finish. (5/5)

Despite being a different recipe than the 2017 vintage I had immediately before – the lower ABV and higher IBUs made that abundantly apparent – the use of the same yeast and similar barrel ageing has resulted in a strong family resemblance. It’s even less stickee than its younger brother, in no small part driven by its significantly higher carbonation on a slightly lighter body, but shares much of the same aroma and flavour. The sweetness and rich flavours work better with the thicker body and softer carbonation of the younger vintage, in my opinion, but this is still excellent, and highly enjoyable. (17/20)

8.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Firestone Walker Brewing Company Stickee Monkee 2017 Vintage #4 – Abt / Quadrupel at 12.5% ABV | 26 IBU

Firestone Walker Brewing Company Stickee Monkee 2017 Vintage #4 Abt / Quadrupel at 12.5% ABV | 26 IBU (US$11.75 at Beer Thirty Bottle Shop & Pour House, 355 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 21-Jun-2017, reviewed 9-Jul-2019)

Appearance: clear ruby brown with one finger of fluffy light beige head diminishing gradually to a thin ring, minimal lacing. (4/5) Aroma: coconut, oak, vanilla, molasses, tobacco, hints of stone and dark dried fruits. (8/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, low bitter. (9/10) Palate: medium slightly slick body, moderate-soft carbonation, slightly sticky warming lingering mild bitter finish. (5/5)

I know that beer styles in general tend to be a bit fuzzy, and “Quads” have a particularly wide range of possible characteristics, but one could just as easily have called this an American Strong, or a BSDA, or who knows what else. What matters here is that it’s got a lovely rich aroma that turns into an even better dessert-like flavour that is nonetheless not excessively sweet. Not quite as stickee as one might expect given the name, in fact, but still a bit so. There’s a distinct warming in the finish, but nowhere near as emphatic as the firmly-into-double-digit-territory ABV might suggest, and it stays smooth from the first sip to the final finish. Considering how good this is, I’m super excited that the next one on my rotation is the vintage from the previous year, with another full year of cellaring under its belt! (18/20)

9/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Apex Predator Brewing (Bench Creek Brewing) Whiskey Gap – English Strong Ale at 10.5% ABV

Apex Predator Brewing (Bench Creek Brewing) Whiskey Gap English Strong Ale at 10.5% ABV (C$6.93 at Collective, 473 ml, packaged on 22-Apr-2019, acquired 8-May-2019, reviewed 4-Jul-2019)

Appearance: clear ruby brown with one fat finger of fluffy light beige head diminishing gradually to a thin ring, moderate stringy lacing. (3/5) Aroma: sweet caramel, bourbon, red grape must, molasses, vanilla, slight metallic upon warming. (7/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate-high bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium slightly slick body, moderate-lively carbonation, sticky lingering bitter warm (tending hot) finish. (3/5)

A bit underwhelming, if I’m honest. The aroma doesn’t strike me as particularly harmonious, with the red wine notes playing less than nicely with the bourbon. Maybe the intent here was for the sharpness of one to temper the heat of the other, but it just seems like they’ve ended up with both. Not only that, but the vinous notes start to become somewhat metallic upon warming. As well, the body, already surprisingly light for the style, exhibits a thinning slickness from the high alcohol content that’s only emphasized by the unexpectedly high carbonation. Nothing here is really objectionable, but it somehow ends up being less than the sum of its parts, and is OK at best. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

S.Y.C. Brewing Co Fjord NEIPA – American IPA at 6% ABV

S.Y.C. Brewing Co Fjord NEIPA American IPA at 6% ABV (C$4.41 at Collective, 473 ml, packaged on 5-Jun-2019, acquired 14-Jun-2019, reviewed 3-Jul-2019)

Appearance: opaque medium gold with two fingers of rocky off-white head, good retention and moderate stringy lacing. (3/5) Aroma: tropical and stone fruit, citrus, pine. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-low bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body falling off slightly watery, moderate-soft carbonation, off-dry medium duration bitter finish. (3/5)

Not surprisingly, the “Fjord” name refers to the Norwegian farmhouse yeast used to brew this, which I guess makes this a Kviek (though they don’t use that term anywhere). I like the hop selection as well, especially the Mosaic and Vic Secret, though I’m not opposed to Bru-1. The carbonation seems a bit low, resulting in it falling off a bit watery towards the end, and the appearance is slightly more “muddy” than “hazy”, but otherwise a pretty decent pint. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Deschutes Brewery Just Tapped Series: Botanic Ale – Spice / Herb / Vegetable at 7% ABV | 15 IBU

Deschutes Brewery Just Tapped Series: Botanic Ale Spice / Herb / Vegetable at 7% ABV | 15 IBU (C$3.64 at Collective, 355 ml, packaged on 26-Mar-2019, acquired 28-May-2019, reviewed 30-Jun-2019)

Appearance: heavy particulate in clear straw under a short, short-lived pearlescent head and minimal spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: lemongrass, juniper, ginger, floral, spices. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, light tart, low bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate carbonation, slightly sticky and tart finish. (4/5)

Well, it said “botanic”, and it’s botanic all right. Not bad, actually, and definitely lighter and more refreshing than you might expect for a 7% beer. The sweetness is surprisingly restrained but the floral notes end up being slightly perfumy and mouth-coating despite the mild lingering tart – one is definitely enough. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Two Sergeants Brewing Inc. 17 Pounder Left Coast IPA – American IPA at 5.6% ABV

Two Sergeants Brewing Inc. 17 Pounder Left Coast IPA American IPA at 5.6% ABV (C$4.01 at Collective, 473 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 14-Jun-2019, reviewed 28-Jun-2019)

Appearance: clear medium amber with four fingers of fluffy ivory head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (3/5) Aroma: grainy caramel, pine, leafy weeds, citrus, earth. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (6/10) Palate: medium body, moderate-lively carbonation, off-dry lingering bitter slightly astringent finish. (3/5)

Foamy as hell and almost impossible to pour, making me think it’s an infected can, but there were no off flavours or other clear indications of infection. (On the front end, anyway – as the pint progressed, the lingering bitter started to become slightly astringent, again making me think there might be an infection here.) The colour is slightly dark for an AIPA, making me think it was going to be more of an EIPA, but the hops are definitely American, and sorta left coast-ish, if somewhat old-fashioned. OK, but certainly nothing exciting. (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Folding Mountain Brewing / Apex Predator Brewing Hour 12 IPL – India Pale Lager at 5.5% ABV

Folding Mountain Brewing / Apex Predator Brewing Hour 12 IPL India Pale Lager at 5.5% ABV (C$3.92 at Collective, 473 ml, packaged on 21-May-2019, acquired 14-Jun-2019, reviewed 26-Jun-2019)

Appearance: clear pale amber with one fat finger of rocky pale ivory head, excellent retention and moderate soapy lacing. (5/5) Aroma: pine, caramel, citrus, floral, earth. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry lingering bitter finish. (4/5)

Nice – that’s a Lager with some balls. Yes, I know Lagers don’t have to be pale, flavourless, and watery – so why do so many brewers choose to make them that way?  Some might find this too bitter, especially in the finish, but I like it. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Blackberry Farm Brewery Barrel Series Brett Saison (2017) – Saison at 7.5% ABV

Blackberry Farm Brewery Brett Saison Saison at 7.5% ABV (C$14.99 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 375 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 27-May-2019, reviewed 24-Jun-2019)

Appearance: slightly hazy pale gold with one fat finger of loose fluffy white head diminishing gradually to a thin cap, spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: vinous white grape, stone fruit, field berries, dry hay. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate tart, mild funk, light bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium-light body, lively carbonation, off-dry crisp mildly tart and funky warming finish. (4/5)

Despite the extended time in the bottle, I found the Brett to be quite restrained here, both in terms of the body (the head doesn’t blow up like Brett often does) and the funk, which is present but quite mild. I’ll voice my perennial complaint about the ABV being too high for a truly traditional Saison: yes, I could easily drink five litres of this in the run of a farm day, but my ploughed furrows might not be very straight! All in all, though, pleasant and lively, and quite refreshing. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Beer Reviews