Jester King Brewery Le Petit Prince – Saison at 2.9% ABV

Jester King Brewery Le Petit Prince Saison at 2.9% ABV ($7.25 at Specs Main Branch, 750 ml, bottle date 27-Oct-2014)

Pours cloudy pale straw with one finger of loose white head diminishing rapidly to a thin skim, spotty lacing. (3/5) Nose is lemon zest, brett funk, hay, apples and pears, very light crackery malt. (7/10) Taste is moderate sweet, moderate tart, mild bitter. (7/10) Light body, prickly to moderate carbonation, crisp tart finish. (4/5)

Well, that’s unexpected – a restrained, funky, Franco-Belgian style farmhouse saison, from Texas. Cider and champagne characteristics, with a lovely light and crisply carbonated body. Quite refreshing, and yes, it would make an excellent table beer with a light meal. Really, my major complaint is that it’s, if anything, too mild. I don’t mean just the ridiculously low ABV (at under 3%, it’s barely “beer”, is it?) but the total package: the aroma, flavour, and body are all so well-behaved as to barely be present at all. I’d love to see this with its restraints removed, actually… (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Deschutes Brewery Hop Henge Experimental IPA – American Double / Imperial IPA at 9.5% ABV

Deschutes Brewery Hop Henge Experimental IPA American Double / Imperial IPA at 9.5% ABV ($5.99 at Specs Main Branch, 650 ml, best before 04/07/15)

Pours clear pale amber with two fingers of rocky white head, excellent retention and lacing. (5/5) Nose is resiny pine, pithy citrus, tropical fruit, mild caramel malt. (7/10) Taste is moderate sweet, strong bitter. (7/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, slightly sticky finish. (4/5)

Another nice IPA (OK, DIPA) from Deschutes. Similar to Chasin’ Freshies, but heavier and more intense, with a bit more malt, and less fresh juicy citrus. The ABV is well integrated, apparent as a mild warming, but not unpleasant. Decent, if a little blunt – could use more Mosaic sharpness, and less malt. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Ballast Point Brewing Company Dorado – American Double / Imperial IPA at 10.0% ABV

Ballast Point Brewing Company Dorado American Double / Imperial IPA at 10.0% ABV ($10.52 at Specs Main Branch, 650 ml, no bottle date or best before )

Pours clear pale amber with two fingers of rocky ivory head, excellent retention and lacing. (5/5) Nose is resiny pine, pithy citrus, tropical fruit, mild caramel malt. (8/10) Taste is moderate sweet, moderate to strong bitter. (8/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, slightly sticky finish. (4/5)

Very nice DIPA. Leads out with lots of pine and citrus, as well as some juicy tropical fruit. Malt is where it should be – providing support to the hops. And the integration of the ABV is just stellar – hard to believe this is 10%. I’ve had better, and the price is a tad high, but overall very well done. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Stone Brewing Company Smoked Porter with Vanilla Bean 2014 – American Porter at 10.0% ABV

Stone Brewing Company Smoked Porter with Vanilla Bean 2014 American Porter at 10.0% ABV ($9.00 at Zyn, 650 ml, no bottle date or best before )

Pours opaque deep brown with two fingers of loose ivory head, excellent retention and lacing. (5/5) Nose is roasty malts, coffee and chocolate, mild vanilla, very slight smoke. (8/10) Taste is mild sweet, moderate bitter. (8/10) Full body, moderate to low carbonation, off dry finish. (4/5)

Porters aren’t generally my favourites, but this one is quite good. The vanilla is quite restrained, manifesting only towards the end, as the bottle warms. The sweetness is also quite well-behaved, and the lingering bitter finish works well with the mild vanilla. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Upslope Brewing Company Upslope Imperial India Pale Ale – American Double / Imperial IPA at 10% ABV

Upslope Brewing Company Upslope Imperial India Pale Ale American Double / Imperial IPA at 10% ABV ($6.31 at Specs Main Branch, 568 ml, best before 13-Dec-2014)

Pours clear deep gold with one finger of loose white head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, spotty lacing. (4/5) Nose is caramel malt, tropical fruit, pithy citrus, faith hint of resiny pine. (7/10) Taste is moderate sweet, moderate to strong bitter. (7/10) Medium body, low carbonation, slightly sticky finish. (3/5)

Tending to the light-bodied and malt-forward, especially for the style. Yes, it’s six weeks past its best before, but as a high ABV DIPA, that should be somewhat less of a concern. The malt-forwardness can perhaps be explained away by the age, fair enough, but it could stand a bit more robustness in the body and in the carbonation as far as I’m concerned. The integration of the high ABV is pretty impressive, though, and is apparent only as a slight alcohol sweetness in the mid-flavour, and an eventual gentle warming on the finish. I’d like to try this fresher, but as it stands it’s a pretty middle of the pack DIPA. (15/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Saint Arnold Brewing Company Elissa IPA – India Pale Ale at 6.6% ABV

Saint Arnold Brewing Company Elissa IPA India Pale Ale at 6.6% ABV (Bottle at IAH, 355ml, no bottle date or best before)

Pours clear pale gold with a short, short-lived off-white head, spotty lacing. (3/5) Nose is doughy yeast, pale malt, earthy and grassy, mild citrus and tropical fruit. (7/10) Taste is moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, slightly sticky lingering finish. (4/5)

Somewhat surprisingly, this is much more a traditional English-style IPA than the American style I was expecting. The flavour of the Maris Otter malt and the yeasty presence certainly temper the hops, and while it’s not necessarily malt-forward, it’s certainly malty (and yeasty). Not bad at all. (15/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Anheuser-Busch InBev Ziegen Bock – Amber Vienna Lager at 5% ABV

Anheuser-Busch InBev Ziegen Bock Amber Vienna Lager at 5% ABV (On tap at IAH Pappadeaux)

Pours pale to medium amber with a short ivory head diminishing rapidly to a thin skim, spotty lacing. (3/5) Nose is grainy caramel malt, toasty and slightly nutty. (5/10) Taste is moderate sweet, almost non-existent bitter. (4/10) Light body, moderate to low carbonation, slightly sticky finish. (3/5)

Thin and light bodied despite the darker colour, certainly nothing impressive in the flavours. Mostly malty and boring, with a little toasted flavour that drops dead pretty quickly. Maybe marginally better than most other AB-InBev offerings. (Didn’t know it was AB-InBev when I ordered it, but there wasn’t much doubt by the time I was finished.) (8/20)

4.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Great Divide Brewing Company Fresh Hop Pale Ale – American Pale Ale at 6.1% ABV

Great Divide Brewing Company Fresh Hop Pale Ale American Pale Ale at 6.1% ABV ($7.88 at Specs Main Branch, 650ml, best before Jan7 2015)

Pours clear pale amber with two fat fingers of rocky white head, good retention, moderate lacing. (4/5) Nose is earthy, grassy, mild pine, pale malt, mild citrus, black tea. (7/10) Taste is moderate sweet, moderate bitter, mild black peppery spice. (7/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry finish. (4/5)

Obviously I’m slow on the uptake, but there’s no way I can be effectively reviewing a wet-hopped beer right now. Shouldn’t have bought it in mid-January, when it was fresh four months ago. It’s still just fine, mind you, but I don’t feel like I’m really appreciating the fresh hops. Good, with a green hoppy bitterness, but without being great. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck St. Louis Gueuze Fond Tradition – Gueuze at 5% ABV

Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck St. Louis Gueuze Fond Tradition Gueuze at 5% ABV ($6.31 at Specs Main Branch, 375ml, bottle date 18-Jul-2012)

Pours slightly hazy pale amber with one finger of loose ivory head diminishing rapidly to a thin skim, no lacing. (4/5) Nose is sour lemon, woody oak, mild dusty and cobwebby vinegar, slight funk. (7/10) Taste is mild sweet, moderately strong tart. (7/10) Medium body, prickly carbonation, dry and tart finish. (4/5)

A fairly plain gueuze – nothing exciting or complex, but decently well-behaved. The sour tartness is strongly pronounced, with restrained sweetness and mild cobwebby funk. (15/20)

7.5/10 #1001beers #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Brouwerij Van Steenberge Monk’s Café Flemish Sour Ale (Bios Vlaamse Bourgogne) – Oude Bruin at 5.5% ABV

Brouwerij Van Steenberge Monk’s Café Flemish Sour Ale (Bios Vlaamse Bourgogne) Oude Bruin at 5.5% ABV ($3.99 at Specs Main Branch, 330ml, best before 23-Mar-2015)

Pours murky and opaque amber brown with one finger of light tan head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, spotty lacing. (4/5) Nose is red fruit, raisins, vinegar, woody and vinous notes. (7/10) Taste is moderate sweet, moderate tart. (7/10) Medium body, moderate to low carbonation, off-dry tart finish. (4/5)

A very mild sour / oude bruin. Aromas of dark, slightly boozy fruit reminiscent of a quadrupel, but with a mildly tart, cidery flavour. Very drinkable and quite refreshing. (15/20)

My 137th from the 2010 Edition (retired from the 2013 Edition) and 145th combining both editions.

7.5/10 #1001beers #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com