Central City Brewers + Distillers Red Racer Superfruit IPA – American IPA at 5.8% ABV | 65 IBU

Central City Brewers + Distillers Red Racer Superfruit IPA American IPA at 5.8% ABV | 65 IBU (C$2.90 at Collective, 500 ml, packaged on 13-Jul-2018, acquired 14-Aug-2018, reviewed 14-Aug-2018)

Appearance: hazy pale amber with one fat finger of loose white head diminishing gradually to a thin skim and ring, spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: mango, passionfruit, bready caramel, light pine. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, high bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry lingering bitter finish. (4/5)

You know what? I’ve been married to the same woman for 24 years next week, and faithful to her for longer than that. I’ve got nothing to prove to anybody, so I’m sufficiently secure in my sexuality that I have no problem proclaiming my love of Superfruit. … though, “love” might be a bit excessive. “I like you so let’s see where this goes”, perhaps? Would that make me alcoholically bicurious? (And the price is certainly right, so is that a factor?) (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Mikkeller Hop Terroir: Centennial / Belgium – American IPA at 6.8% ABV

Mikkeller Hop Terroir: Centennial / Belgium American IPA at 6.8% ABV (C$9.80 at Collective, 500 ml, best before 21-Nov-2018, acquired 14-Aug-2018, reviewed 14-Aug-2018)

Appearance: opaque straw with two fingers of loose white head diminishing gradually to a thin ring, no lacing. (3/5) Aroma: citrus flesh, pith, and zest, dank resiny weeds, grainy pale malt. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium-light body, soft carbonation, off-dry medium duration finish. (4/5)

Well… that worked out pretty much exactly as I’d hoped it would when I decided which one of these I’d drink first. I’m not surprised, mind you – I fully expected Mikkeller and de Proef to be capable of doing precisely what they did here: showcase the hops, with the background malt being identically the same. So, instead of the dill pickles and coconut in the Sorachi Ace varietal, we’ve got citrus flesh, pith, and zest, with just a hint of dank resiny weediness (verging on – but not actually reaching – green onion or cattiness). I keep waiting for the cat piss to hit, but it just doesn’t, much to general approbation.

And now, having done my research, I realize there are two more brothers from another mother out there, just waiting to be reviewed: the same two hops, but sourced in the US instead of Belgium. And, in retrospect, their existence is the only thing that makes the naming make sense: clearly “varietal” and “terroir” are not the same thing. Man… I have to drink more Sorachi Ace? The things I do for science… (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

 

Mikkeller Hop Terroir: Sorachi Ace / Belgium – American IPA at 6.8% ABV

Mikkeller Hop Terroir: Sorachi Ace / Belgium American IPA at 6.8% ABV (C$9.80 at Collective, 500 ml, best before 14-Dec-2018, acquired 14-Aug-2018, reviewed 14-Aug-2018)

Appearance: green-tinged opaque straw with two fingers of loose white head diminishing gradually to a thin ring, no lacing. (3/5) Aroma: dill, coconut, citrus, grainy pale malt. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium-light body, soft carbonation, off-dry medium duration finish. (4/5)

Take an excellent NEIPA like, say, Trillium or Tree House, and then replace most of the citrus with dill and coconut, and this is what you end up with. I’m willing to accept that this is a very well-done showcase of these particular hops – but I just don’t like them that much, and think I just have to accept the conclusion that I don’t much like Sorachi Ace hops. (Which is kind of out of character, because I love dill. And coconut.) But, at the end of the day, I don’t think I like dill pickles in my beer. (Though I do sorta love coconut there.) And the dill actually either fades, or you get used to it, so by the end of the pint, you start second-guessing yourself that it really wasn’t all that bad. So, I dunno… Sorachi Hops: the abusive gaslighting boyfriend of the hop world? (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Wild Rose Brewery Rare Brewer’s Select Oud Bruin – Oud Bruin at 6.2% | 15 IBU ABV

Wild Rose Brewery Rare Brewer’s Select Oud Bruin Oud Bruin at 6.2% | 15 IBU ABV (C$11.60 at Crowfoot Wine & Spirits, 750 ml, packaged on 2-Feb-2017, acquired 23-Feb-2017, reviewed 12-Aug-2018)

Appearance: clear brown with a short fizzy beige head diminishing rapidly to a thin ring and spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: complex, red wine and balsamic vinegars, cherry, oak, raspberry, caramel. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate tart, low bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate-high carbonation, off-dry crisp mildly warming finish. (4/5)

The label says cherries, raspberries, and saskatoon berries, but I can’t say I’m actually getting any of the saskatoons – maybe just the merest hint, in the finish (though I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have identified that on my own, and I used to have my own saskatoon bushes). Overall, it’s a pretty decent Oud Bruin, with pleasant mildly acetic vinegar, red wine, and barrel notes in addition to the tart berries. (The guidelines say the mild sourness shouldn’t be vinegary, but I actually like it like this, so I might be ranking aroma and flavour just a titch high.) (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Dildo Brewing Co. 11-Aug-2018

Dildo Brewing Co. 11-Aug-2018

  1. Blonde Root 80 Blonde Ale at 5% ABV | 14 IBU. Fruity, pale malt, citrus, grass. Moderate sweet, m/low bitter. Pleasant robustly flavoured blond. 7/10
  2. Red Rocks Ale Irish Red at 5.5% ABV | 26 IBU. Sweet caramel, toasted bread, mild fruit/berry. Moderate sweet, moderate bitter. Malty without being too sweet. 7/10
  3. Stout Dildo Dry Irish Stout at 4.5% ABV | 25 IBU. Molasses, coffee, anise/liquorice, cocoa, mild medicinal herbal. Moderate sweet, moderate bitter. Off-dry balanced finish. Good even in warm weather! 7.5/10
  4. I’se da bye PA American IPA at 6.5% ABV | 55 IBU. Juicy citrus, pine, floral. Moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. Off-dry finish but drops off slightly watery. Very nice flavour and would clearly be the best of the four with better carbonation. 7.5/10

Live music, kid friendly, decent pub grub, good beer, and a name that makes me snigger like a 12-year-old. What’s not to like?

Quidi Vidi Brewing Company Three Seasons – Saison at 5.1% ABV | 26 IBU

Quidi Vidi Brewing Company Three Seasons Saison at 5.1% ABV | 26 IBU (C$3.65 at NLC Howley Estates, 473 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 10-Aug-2018, reviewed 10-Aug-2018)

Appearance: opaque straw with a short creamy white head diminishing gradually to a thin skim and ring, spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: coriander, band-aid, citrus, pepper, metallic. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-low bitter. (6/10) Palate: medium body, moderate-high carbonation, drying short duration spicy finish. (4/5)

I dunno, I’m starting to worry I’m losing my mind, or maybe my sniffer is as broken as my give-a-shitter, but I’m getting band-aid phenolics here too – which makes it the past three new beers in a row, and two in a row from this brewery. On the up side, the carbonation is nice and lively, and the finish the clean and crisp, making it refreshing overall. It’s not bad overall, but it’s not wowing me. (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Port Rexton Brewing Company Come Out Wit Ya – Witbier at 4.7% ABV

Port Rexton Brewing Company Come Out Wit Ya Witbier at 4.7% ABV (C$6.65 at Port Rexton Brewing Company, 950 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 10-Aug-2018, reviewed 10-Aug-2018)

Appearance: opaque medium gold with one finger of creamy white head diminishing gradually to a thin skim and ring, spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: mild, band-aid, coriander, grainy wheat, herbal, pepper. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-low bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry slightly sticky mildly spicy finish. (3/5)

The phenolics in this style should be coriander-like, or perhaps banana and/or bubblegum if you lean more to the German style (i.e. Hefe instead of Wit) but I’m getting plastic band-aid / burnt rubber over top of the coriander. I’m totally second-guessing myself on this, because I got exactly the same thing last night in a Lager, of all things, and She Who Must Be Obeyed says she can’t smell it at all, so… (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Quidi Vidi Brewing Company Fogtown Lager – American Pale Lager at 5% ABV

Quidi Vidi Brewing Company Fogtown Lager American Pale Lager at 5% ABV (C$3.65 at NLC Stavanger, 473 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 9-Aug-2018, reviewed 9-Aug-2018)

Appearance: clear straw with one finger of fluffy white head diminishing gradually to a thin smirk and ring, spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: bready yeast, apples, grass, band-aid, faint diacetyl, hint of peat. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-low bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate-high carbonation, short clean finish. (4/5)

I can’t say I had a lot in the way of expectations here – I mean, it’s a Lager. And bearing none of the qualifiers that might pique my interest, like “Hoppy” or “Dry-Hopped”. No, I bought this more out of a sense of obligation to try everything locally produced that I possibly can, combined with curiosity whether the new “craftier” brewery management would result in this being more than just a plain old Lager. Long story short: it doesn’t. In fact, I was less than impressed to detect both a phenolic band-aid note and a faint buttery diacetyl. Neither are excessive, but they certainly serve to keep this thing from being a breakthrough success in my opinion. On the up side, there’s decent robustness to the flavour, and it finishes well. Very much a “it’s cold and wet” situation – drink it quick and move on. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Deschutes Brewery Black Butte XXVIII – Imperial Porter at 11.8% ABV | 51 IBU

Deschutes Brewery Black Butte XXVIII Imperial Porter at 11.8% ABV | 51 IBU (C$23.99 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 650 ml, packaged on 13-Jun-2016, acquired 18-Sep-2016, reviewed 8-Aug-2018)

Appearance: clear deep brown with one finger of loose beige head diminishing gradually to a thin ring, spotty lacing. (4/5) Aroma: complex, smoke, chocolate, oak, citrus, bourbon, vanilla, dark fruit. (9/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate-high bitter. (9/10) Palate: medium-full slightly viscous body, moderate-low carbonation, dry building bitter warming finish. (4/5)

Yes, this might be kind of an odd choice for one of the hottest days of the year, but I’m enjoying my nicely cool basement media room, and figured, why not? Like my sticker says, life is short so drink good beer – and they’ve taken a lot of swings at getting this one right, so I figured it should at the very least qualify as “good”. It took a bit of hemming and hawing for me to zero in on this particular one, since I have multiples of multiple vintages of the birthday reserve in my cellar, but I figured this could be the sweet spot for tasting, and if the mood takes me I can try one of my two one-year-older ones in quick succession to compare, or give them another year in the cellar before splitting one out, while still continuing to build on my four-year-plus run of vintages for a future vertical. (Yes, I actually plan tastings years ahead. Sad, huh?)

Anyway. Beer. This is interesting, all right, and lots of fun. I noted smoke as my first aroma note, which it was, but in a relatively short-lived fashion. Fairly early into the glass, the chocolate, woody bourbon, and citrus notes take the helm, and the peated malt retires gracefully to the background. It’s tempting to say there’s a milk chocolate note there, but I think that’s more a function of the combination of vanilla and cocoa, than any real lactose aspect. Orange peel and dark fruits are buried fairly deep and never really come to the forefront, but provide a nice background for the aforementioned. All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable slow sipper, complex without being overly busy. I’m looking forward to several years of comparing differing flavour and ageing profiles. (17/20)

8.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Brasseur de Montréal Série l’Amer IPA – American IPA at 6.8% ABV | 60 IBU

Brasseur de Montréal Série l’Amer IPA American IPA at 6.8% ABV | 60 IBU (C$3.83 at NLC Stavanger, 473 ml, packaged on 6-Jun-2018, acquired 5-Aug-2018, reviewed 6-Aug-2018)

Appearance:  slightly hazy pale amber with one fat finger of pale ivory head, good retention and heavy, soapy lacing. (5/5) Aroma: mild, grainy caramel, resiny pine, earth, faint citrus. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (6/10) Palate: medium slightly oily body, moderate carbonation, dry moderate bitter finish. (3/5)

Ask and ye shall receive, apparently: just a couple of days ago I said I’d like to try a cleaner, less adjunct-heavy product by this brewer, and lo and behold but what should show up at the store? (Maybe I ought to speculate about how I should try Brazilian supermodels, or a life of leisure after winning the lottery?) So, yeah… seems a bit churlish of me to complain about this now now, but that’s exactly what I’m gonna do. It’s not bad, but if you consider this an American IPA (I’m not sure I do, because to be honest, the hop character is much more English, even if the high bitterness isn’t), it’s a “old-school” one, heavy on the malt, with what little hop aroma there is dominated by a resiny pine instead of the “bright citrus overtone” promised by the label. It’ll do, especially after a day climbing a ladder and working over my head, but it’s definitely an unremarkable, middle-of-the-pack kind of offering. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Beer Reviews