Russell Brewing Company East Coast IPA – American IPA at 6% ABV | 53 IBU

Russell Brewing Company East Coast IPA American IPA at 6% ABV | 53 IBU (C$4.29 at Oak & Vine, 473 ml, packaged on 4-Jun-2018, acquired 19-Jul-2018, reviewed 19-Jul-2018)

Appearance: cloudy, sediment-filled pale gold with one fat finger of loose white head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, moderate lacing. (2/5) Aroma: citrus, pine, doughy malt, melon, dank earth. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, slightly sticky moderate bitter finish. (4/5)

Starts off looking fairly hideous, and although it claws its way up from there, it doesn’t ever fully recover. I can’t quite put my finger on the wrong note in the aroma here: it’s not quite an off-flavour, but it’s not entirely welcome, either – call it a combination of doughy yeast and overripe melon, maybe? It’s also not really completely in-spec for what I’d call an NE-style. It’s got the juiciness going on, sure, but the hop character is more traditional A/IPA, or West Coast IPA, especially with that slight dankness, and a heavier bitterness on the tongue than is desirable for the style. It’s a decent beer, but like so many of Russell’s offerings, it falls somewhat short. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

O.T. Brewing Company 5 Hundie Hazy IPA – American IPA at 6.5% ABV | 50[?] IBU

O.T. Brewing Company 5 Hundie Hazy IPA American IPA at 6.5% ABV | 50[?] IBU (C$3.00 at Oak & Vine, 355 ml, packaged on 13-Jun-2018, acquired 19-Jul-2018, reviewed 19-Jul-2018)

Appearance: hazy pale gold with one fat finger of loose white head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, moderate lacing. (3/5) Aroma: juicy orange, tropical fruit, caramel, pine. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, slightly sticky moderate bitter finish. (4/5)

Very similar to, and yet a distinct improvement over its baby brother APA, with boldly juicy aroma and flavour. Despite being brand new, these guys clearly know what they’re doing. (And, hey, look at that! They date their cans! Why does that seem so difficult for other brewers to figure out?) (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

O.T. Brewing Company Flagstick Hazy Pale Ale – American Pale Ale at 5.2% ABV | 40[?] IBU

O.T. Brewing Company Flagstick Hazy Pale Ale American Pale Ale at 5.2% ABV | 40[?] IBU (C$3.00 at Oak & Vine, 355 ml, packaged on 29-Jun-2018, acquired 19-Jul-2018, reviewed 19-Jul-2018)

Appearance: hazy pale straw with one fat finger of rocky white head, excellent retention and moderate lacing. (4/5) Aroma: juicy orange, tropical fruit, pale malt, light pine. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry mild bitter finish. (4/5)

Yet another new (brand-new – they haven’t even opened their tasting room doors yet!) Calgary brewery. Not complaining – I love the craft beer explosion taking place in the province! Nor am I unhappy with the way everybody and their dog is doing hazy juice bombs these days – keep ‘em coming! And this beer in particular is a decent interpretation of the hazy style, albeit as an APA, instead of an IPA. To the extent I have any complaints, it’s that the aroma and flavour are both on the light side, making this behave somewhat like a watered-down IPA, instead of a highly flavourful low(er) ABV beer. It’s not at all bad, but I do wish it were a bit more emphatic. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Phillips Brewing Company Levidrome Imperial Regal Lager – American Double / Imperial Pilsner at 7% ABV | 20 IBU

Phillips Brewing Company Levidrome Imperial Regal Lager American Double / Imperial Pilsner at 7% ABV | 20 IBU (C$8.49 at Oak & Vine, 650 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 21-Jun-2018, reviewed 18-Jul-2018)

Appearance: very slightly hazy pale straw with two fat fingers of rocky white head, excellent retention and heavy lacing. (5/5) Aroma: herbal, crackery malt, grass, floral. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry medium bitter lightly warming finish. (4/5)

Yes, I know what a levidrome is. Yes, I knew what it was before buying this beer. And yes, going with a geeky name and a high ABV is a pretty reliable way to positively predispose me towards a Lager. (Though, I must admit, I have no clue what the _Don Quixote_ label symbolism is in aid of.) Did it work? Well, put it this way: the only other Imperial Lagers I’ve rated this highly are Evil Twin and Lagunitas. Heady company, indeed. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Moody Ales Sublime Pineapple Hefe Weizen – Hefeweizen at 4.8% ABV | 16 IBU

Moody Ales Sublime Pineapple Hefe Weizen Hefeweizen at 4.8% ABV | 16 IBU (C$8.99 at Oak & Vine, 650 ml, packaged on 24-Apr-2018, acquired 21-Jun-2018, reviewed 18-Jul-2018)

Appearance: opaque straw with a massive rocky white head, excellent retention and clingy, soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: pineapple, wheat, banana, floral. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate tart, mild bitter. (6/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate carbonation, off-dry short mild bitter finish. (3/5)

“Sublime” might be gilding the lily just a tad. Let’s worry about “adequate” first, OK guys? Because I’m not sure you’ve mastered that, yet. On the nose, this is dominated by the pineapple adjunct, which carries through with the tart flavour (though, thankfully, the sweetness remains restrained). I don’t dislike pineapple, but this seems to be a bit of a one trick pony in that regard, and the base Hefe is very much mailing it in. On the other hand, I sorta like the fact that this thing ends up dryer than your average Hefe, and the tart mouth feel leans this more to the Hopfenweisse side of things, albeit without a whole lotta hop character. Dunno – I’d like to like this more than I do… but I don’t. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Vancouver Island Brewing Tidal Series: Grapefruit Agave Gose – Gose at 5% ABV

Vancouver Island Brewing Tidal Series: Grapefruit Agave Gose Gose at 5% ABV (C$7.99 at Oak & Vine, 650 ml, packaged on 18-May-2018, acquired 21-Jun-2018, reviewed 18-Jul-2018)

Appearance: hazy straw with one finger of loose off-white head diminishing rapidly to a thin ring, no lacing. (2/5) Aroma: wheat, grapefruit, melon, sulphur, brine. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, mild salt, low bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate carbonation, crisp lightly salty finish. (4/5)

Pretty disappointing, overall. I guess the agave is the melon-like aroma I’m getting, which is interesting, but is also a little bit “too little, too late”. The mouthfeel is the clear winner here, and it ends up being refreshing despite the drawbacks in aroma and flavour. But those drawbacks certainly exist, particularly in the lightly sulphurous edge on the aroma. (And speaking as one who grew up on the water, the name ain’t helping much – when I hear “tidal”, I think “stinky shit left behind on the beach”.) (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Central City Brewers + Distillers / Torque Brewing Across the Nation Collaboration: Half Way IPA – White IPA at 6% ABV | 54 IBU

Central City Brewers + Distillers / Torque Brewing Across the Nation Collaboration: Half Way IPA White IPA at 6% ABV | 54 IBU (C$2.47 at NLC Stavanger, 355 ml, packaged on 11-Apr-2018, acquired 13-Jul-2018, reviewed 16-Jul-2018)

Appearance: clear pale amber with one fat finger of loose off-white head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: grainy wheat, citrus zest, pine, earth, spice. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter, light peppery spice. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry bitter slightly spicy finish. (4/5)

Not very “white”, but other than that, a solid enough offering. I’m not sure if there’s actually any spice in this, or whether the earthy, almost coriander-like spiciness is coming from the wheat. It works well with the bitterness, though, resulting a cleaner, more-ish mouth feel. I fly over Manitoba a lot, and never really had reason to stop there – but maybe checking out Torque Brewing might be sufficient justification? (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Central City Brewers + Distillers / Rebellion Brewing Co. Across the Nation Collaboration: Put A Cherry on Hop – American IPA at 6% ABV | 20 IBU

Central City Brewers + Distillers / Rebellion Brewing Co. _Across the Nation Collaboration: Put A Cherry on Hop_ American IPA at 6% ABV | 20 IBU _(C$2.47 at NLC Stavanger, 355 ml, packaged on 27-Mar-2018, acquired 13-Jul-2018, reviewed 15-Jul-2018)_

Appearance: clear pale amber with one finger of loose off-white head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, moderate lacing. (4/5) Aroma: cherry, caramel, lactose, vanilla, faint weedy hops. (7/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate tart, light bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, sweetish mild tart slightly sticky finish. (3/5)

Lots of cherry, not much hop. (Or milkshake, for that matter, though there’s a bit of creamy lactose going on.) I tried three of Rebellion’s offerings on my last trip to SK, and found them to be solid, but somewhat short of great. We’re in similar territory here. I find the sweetness excessive, but freely admit that’s a personal preference, and that others might be OK with it. Other than that, my biggest complaint is the relative absence of hop character despite having it in the name. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Central City Brewers + Distillers / Trailway Brewing Co. Across the Nation Collaboration: Three Beasts – American IPA at 6.6% ABV | 52 IBU

Central City Brewers + Distillers / Trailway Brewing Co. Across the Nation Collaboration: Three Beasts American IPA at 6.6% ABV | 52 IBU (C$2.47 at NLC Stavanger, 355 ml, packaged on 10-Apr-2018, acquired 13-Jul-2018, reviewed 14-Jul-2018)

Appearance: clear deep gold with one finger of loose off-white head diminishing rapidly to a thin ring, spotty lacing. (4/5) Aroma: citrus, caramel, pine, herbal. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate-low carbonation, off-dry lingering bitter finish. (3/5)

The label notes say the three beasts are the three hops used, but doesn’t specify the varietals. Based on the aroma, I’m guessing nothing too exciting, perhaps some usual suspects starts-with-C. “Nothing too exciting” describes the beer overall, actually: there’s nothing off here, and it’s solidly enough done, but it’s certainly not next-level stuff. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Central City Brewers + Distillers / Yukon Brewing Across the Nation Collaboration: Northern Nectar – American Pale Ale at 5.4% ABV | 27 IBU

Central City Brewers + Distillers / Yukon Brewing Across the Nation Collaboration: Northern Nectar American Pale Ale at 5.4% ABV | 27 IBU (C$2.47 at NLC Stavanger, 355 ml, packaged on 6-Apr-2018, acquired 13-Jul-2018, reviewed 14-Jul-2018)

Appearance: clear pale amber with one finger of loose off-white head diminishing rapidly to a thin ring, no lacing. (3/5) Aroma: honey, bready malt, herbal, grass. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, mild bitter, light astringent. (6/10) Palate: medium body, moderate-low carbonation, off-dry mild bitter astringent finish. (3/5)

Fairly disappointing, considering I generally quite like Central’s IPAs – though, truth be told, once you get outside that core competency, things tend to fall off a cliff. I guess factoring in my less-than-impressed history with Yukon, overall it makes sense that this would fail to wow me. I guess this is sort of what it claims on the label, with honey leading the way, but overall it’s just not very interesting, with a weedy, grassy edge that ends up being almost astringent, rather than bitter. It’s not terrible, but if anything I’m being generous with this score, which could be half a point or more lower on the overall. (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Beer Reviews