New Belgium Brewing Company Voodoo Ranger Liquid Paradise IPA – American IPA at 7.8% ABV | 44 IBU

New Belgium Brewing Company Voodoo Ranger Liquid Paradise IPA American IPA at 7.8% ABV | 44 IBU (US$2.31 at Specs Main Houston, 355 ml, packaged on 17-Dec-2018, best before 28-Apr-2019, acquired 3-Mar-2019, reviewed 21-Mar-2019)

Appearance: slightly hazy pale gold with one finger of fine white head, good retention and minimal lacing. (4/5) Aroma: tropical fruit, citrus, caramel, stone fruit, light floral and pine. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, medium duration bitter mildly warming finish. (4/5)

Solid. Not quite NEIPA levels of juiciness (or haze, for that matter) but I’m not sure that was actually the intent, so that’s fine. The ABV is relatively high for a straight IPA, and it shows as a mild warming in the finish, but isn’t intrusive. The bitterness strikes me as being somewhat more empathic than the 44 IBU would suggest, but it’s balanced throughout and into the finish. Nothing really stands out, but rather than damn it with faint praise, I’ll say it’s simply a solid, thoroughly enjoyable modern IPA. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Texas Ale Project Texas Blood R&D Series Blood Orange IPA – American IPA at 6.5% ABV | 40 IBU

Texas Ale Project Texas Blood R&D Series Blood Orange IPA American IPA at 6.5% ABV | 40 IBU (C$3.45 at Specs Main Houston, 355 ml, packaged on 14-Nov-2019, acquired 3-Mar-2019, reviewed 21-Mar-2019)

Appearance: slightly hazy pale gold with one finger of fine white head, good retention and minimal lacing. (4/5) Aroma: juicy oranges, grainy caramel, light pine. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, medium duration bitter finish. (4/5)

I like it. Big blood orange presence dominates both the nose and the tongue, almost to the point of making it Radler-Like. Purists might pooh-pooh it, but I’m a sucker for Radlers. Most importantly, there’s a solid hop bitterness in the finish, preventing the juice character from becoming overly sweet. Well-balanced and enjoyable. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery Live Transmission – American IPA at 6.3% ABV

Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery Live Transmission American IPA at 6.3% ABV (C$3.83 at NLC Stavanger, 473 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 17-Mar-2019, reviewed 19-Mar-2019)

Appearance: slightly hazy pale gold with one fat finger of pillowy white head, excellent retention and moderate soapy lacing. (5/5) Aroma: citrus, creamy lactose, tropical fruit, coconut, pale malt, pine, green tea. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate-high carbonation, medium duration bitter finish. (4/5)

I’ve gotten to the point where I tend to pass on the “Milkshake IPA” style – I find the way the lactose sweetness blunts the bitterness tends to give a slightly cloying result. On the other hand, Flying Monkeys isn’t scared of bitterness, so I had hopes that the one would offset the other. And, I gotta say, I’m shocked at how well this ends up working. If you’re a purist, you could totally go a full two points lower on both aroma and taste, simply because the flavour choices are so extremely untraditional. You can’t argue with the appearance, though, and in my opinion the slightly higher-than-normal carbonation works well to counteract any cloying tendency of the lactose, so I’d argue the body score is pretty solid too. Ultimately, this is very well executed, even if it isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, but certainly not a beer that invites ambivalence. It’s pretty much a “love it or hate it” type of deal – and I’ve got more than enough negativity in my life, so I’m coming down on the side of love. (17/20)

8.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

YellowBelly Brewery Patrick’s Pale Ale – American Pale Ale at 4.6% ABV | 50 IBU

YellowBelly Brewery Patrick’s Pale Ale American Pale Ale at 4.6% ABV | 50 IBU (C$10.08 at NLC Stavanger, 1 l, best before 23-Apr-2019, acquired 18-Mar-2019, reviewed 18-Mar-2019)

Appearance: clear medium gold with one finger of fine white head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: citrus, tropical fruit, pale malt, floral. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body tending slightly thin, moderate carbonation, medium duration bitter finish. (3/5)

The last version I had of this was 2017, hopped with Sorachi Ace. This year’s blend of Topaz, Nugget, and Cascade is a definite improvement, albeit pretty similar to the 2016, if I remember correctly. A significantly lighter ABV than previous revisions makes it just slightly thin, but not excessively so, and makes finishing off a couple of pints after a big supper less of a chore. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Clifford Brewing Co. Devil’s Punchbowl – India Pale Lager at 4.8% ABV | 35 IBU

Clifford Brewing Co. Devil’s Punchbowl India Pale Lager at 4.8% ABV | 35 IBU (C$3.66 at NLC Stavanger, 473 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 17-Mar-2019, reviewed 17-Mar-2019)

Appearance: cloudy pale straw with one finger of rocky white head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: citrus, grainy and bready malt, grass, DMS. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate carbonation, off-dry slightly astringent moderate bitter finish. (3/5)

Not bad, but a bit thin and astringent, and a hint of DMS becomes ever more apparent as it warms. On the up side, it’s light enough that you can easily pound it back before it warms, so problem solved, I guess? (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Collective Arts Brewing IPA #8 – American Double / Imperial IPA at 8% ABV

Collective Arts Brewing IPA #8 American Double / Imperial IPA at 8% ABV (C$5.79 at Okotoks Co-Op, 473 ml, packaged on 8-Jan-2019, acquired 15-Mar-2019, reviewed 15-Mar-2019)

Appearance: cloudy pale gold with one fat finger of rocky white head, good retention and moderate clingy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: tropical fruit, citrus, pale malt, resiny pine. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry moderate bitter finish. (4/5)

“Possibly our most beautiful”, huh? Nothing like setting yourself up for failure! I’ll save you some suspense and tell you, right off the hop, it isn’t. It’s close, I’ll give it that, but it clearly isn’t (isn’t clearly?) their best ever. I hasten to add, this is not what you might call “a failure”. I pretty much gauge all of their releases in this series against what I consider to be the high water mark, #4. This is good – nay, excellent – but lacks that hugely juicy citrus punch of that gold standard. To the extent I have any real complaint here, it’s that this first (I think) DIPA offering in the series doesn’t knock it out of the park. Call it an inside-the-park home run. (And why do I keep using baseball analogies when I hate baseball?) On the other hand, a new (to me) ANZ hop? Win! (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Alley Kat Brewing Co. Ivory Dragon – American Double / Imperial IPA at 7.5% ABV | 75+ IBU

Alley Kat Brewing Co. Ivory Dragon American Double / Imperial IPA at 7.5% ABV | 75+ IBU (C$8.39 at Okotoks Co-Op, 650 ml, best before 31-Jul-2019, acquired 15-Mar-2019, reviewed 15-Mar-2019)

Appearance: clear pale amber with one fat finger of fluffy pale ivory head, good retention and moderate stringy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: grassy hay, caramel, melon, faint pine & citrus. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, high bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium slightly oily body, moderate carbonation, off dry mildly spicy warming and lingering bitter finish. (4/5)

“Single hopped with Vic Secret” and I’m shocked. No, seriously: that might actually be my favourite hop, and I’m getting an almost complete lack of Vic Secret character here. The aroma is dominated by grassy hay and clean malt, with a bit of melon following, and maybe just the faintest whiff of citrus and resiny pine – but certainly no hint of the tropical fruit flavours that I so associate with this hop. If pressed I might’ve guessed Cashmere, but I don’t think I’d’ve come up with Vic Secret no matter what. On the up side, it doesn’t drink any more aggressively or harsh than the ABV and IBU would indicate – which is to say, both are emphatically present, but not the point of excess. Certainly not bad, but just a bit “meh”. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Goose Island Beer Company Bourbon County Brand Bramble Rye Stout (2018) – Imperial Stout at 12.7% ABV

Goose Island Beer Company Bourbon County Brand Bramble Rye Stout (2018) Imperial Stout at 12.7% ABV (US$23.00 shared tasting with Norm, 500 ml, packaged on 23-Aug-2019, acquired 27-Feb-2019, reviewed 27-Feb-2019)

Appearance: clear brown with a short beige head diminishing rapidly to a thin ring, no lacing. (3/5) Aroma: blackberries and field berries, rye whiskey, vanilla, chocolate. (9/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate-high bitter, moderate tart. (9/10) Palate: medium body tending thin and slightly slick, moderate carbonation, mildly tart warming finish. (4/5)

Pours surprisingly thin, with a very short-lived head – but that’s pretty much where the disappointment ends. Huge fruity notes on the nose become even more apparent upon warming, and that field berry flavour follows through on the tongue without excessive sweetness. It seems like the thinness of the body actually improves drinkability here given the higher-tending sweetness, stopping it from becoming cloying. Really interesting and lots of fun. (17/20)

8.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Tree House Brewing Company Hedonic Adaptation – Imperial Milk Stout at 9.1% ABV

Tree House Brewing Company Hedonic Adaptation Imperial Milk Stout at 9.1% ABV (US$5.75 shared tasting with Norm, 500 ml, packaged on 23-Nov-2018, acquired 27-Feb-2019, reviewed 27-Feb-2019)

Appearance: solid black with a short beige head diminishing gradually to a thin cap and ring, moderate spotty lacing. (4/5) Aroma: espresso, milk chocolate, coconut. (8/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, high bitter. (9/10) Palate: full body, moderate-soft carbonation, bitter warming mild coconut finish. (4/5)

I was hoping for a repeat performance on the Impermanence, except with coconut instead of maple. However, in this one the coconut never really takes hold hard, nor does that seem to change much upon warming. A solid performer, but it doesn’t quite go to the next level. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Tree House Brewing Company Impermanence – Imperial Milk Stout at 9% ABV

Tree House Brewing Company Impermanence Imperial Milk Stout at 9% ABV (US$5.75 shared tasting with Norm, 500 ml, packaged on 23-Nov-2018, acquired 27-Feb-2019, reviewed 27-Feb-2019)

Appearance: solid black with a short beige head diminishing gradually to a thin cap and ring, moderate spotty lacing. (4/5) Aroma: café au lait, milk chocolate, dark maple syrup. (9/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, high bitter. (9/10) Palate: full body, moderate-soft carbonation, bitter warming sweet maple finish. (4/5)

Really interesting and layered, with dark maple that starts off mild but builds in the finish, and lingers long after the latest sip. When I think of Tree House, I think of IPA’s – specifically NEIPA’s, but this is a very well done change of pace. (17/20)

8.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Beer Reviews