Ska Brewing Company Modus Hoperandi – American IPA at 6.8% ABV

Ska Brewing Company Modus Hoperandi American IPA at 6.8% ABV ($1.88 at Specs Main Branch, 355ml, best before 23-Mar-2015)

Pours hazy medium amber with one finger of off-white head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, spotty lacing. (4/5) Nose is piney resin, pithy citrus, mild caramel malt, faint tropical fruit. (7/10) Taste is moderate sweet, moderately strong bitter. (7/10) Medium body, moderate to low carbonation, building bitter finish. (4/5)

A fairly emphatic A/IPA that comes pretty close to a DIPA in pretty much every regard: intensity of flavour, ABV, IBU’s (65), colour, and body. Although it’s not malt forward by any means, the malt is lurking not far under the surface, and I expect this one could get fairly caramelly, fairly quickly, as it ages. As it stands, though, it’s a nice, sharply bitter IPA with good support from the malt. (15/20)

My 130th from the 2013 Edition (new to that edition) and 144th combining both editions.

7.5/10 #1001beers #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Brouwerij De Brabandere Petrus Aged Pale – Sour / Wild Ale at 7.3% ABV

Brouwerij De Brabandere Petrus Aged Pale Sour / Wild Ale at 7.3% ABV ($4.20 at Specs Main Branch, 330ml, no bottle date or best before)

Pours hazy straw with a short loose foamy head diminishing rapidly to a thin skim, spotty lacing. (3/5) Nose is mild barnyard funk, cidery apple, woody and vinous notes. (8/10) Taste is mild sweet, moderate tart, mild funk. (7/10) Light body, moderate to low carbonation, dry tart funky finish. (4/5)

An extremely well-behaved sour/oude bruin that would probably make a great introductory beer for those interested in expanding their horizons to include sours. The taste is actually nowhere near as sour as the aroma would suggest – to the point where I was actually a little disappointed (but a neophyte might be relieved). Pleasant cider and vinous notes are present, and it continues to open up as it warms. The sweetness is quite restrained and the finish moderately dry, make this a very nice sipper. (15/20)

My 136th from the 2010 Edition of 1001 Beers, 129th from the 2013 Edition, and 143rd combining both editions.

8/10 #1001beers #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

North Coast Brewing Company Pranqster – Belgian Strong Pale Ale at 7.6% ABV

North Coast Brewing Company Pranqster Belgian Strong Pale Ale at 7.6% ABV ($1.84 at Specs Main Houston, 355ml, no bottle date or best before)

Pours cloudy medium gold with a short, short-lived white head diminishing rapidly to a thin skim, patchy lacing. (3/5) Nose is bready malt, ripe fruit, banana and faint cloves. (7/10) Taste is moderate sweet, moderate bitterness. (6/10) Medium body, low carbonation, creamy and spicy finish. (3/5)

An acceptable – if not stellar – Belg-ish pale. A shade too sweet for my preference, and lacking the crispness and dryness I associate with BSPAs. A decent American interpretation of this Belgian style, especially for the price. (14/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Dogfish Head Brewery Raison D’Extra – Belgian Strong Dark Ale at 18% ABV

Dogfish Head Brewery Raison D’Extra Belgian Strong Dark Ale at 18% ABV ($11.57 at Specs Main Houston, 355ml, bottle date 21-Nov-2014)

Pours murky medium brown with a short, short-lived light tan head diminishing rapidly to a thin skim, patchy lacing. (3/5) Nose is boozy raisins and other dark fruit, hot alcohol. (8/10) Taste is moderate sweet, mild bitterness, strong alcohol. (8/10) Full body, low carbonation, slick and boozy finish. (4/5)

A bit… “enthusiastic”. Might benefit from some cellaring to blend and mellow the flavours and the still-moderate harshness of the very high ABV. Sweet without being cloying, and with an interesting richness and depth of flavour. Not without its attractions, and very drinkable, but a bit of a velvet-covered hammer to the head. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Victory Brewing Company DirtWolf – Imperial / Double IPA at 8.7% ABV

Victory Brewing Company DirtWolf Imperial / Double IPA at 8.7% ABV ($2.37 at Specs Main Houston, 355ml, best before 10-Mar-2015)

Pours clear pale gold with a short, short-lived white head diminishing rapidly to a thin skim, patchy lacing. (3/5) Nose is pine, citrus, tropical fruit, mild caramel malt, floral notes. (8/10) Taste is mild sweet, moderate to strong bitterness. (8/10) Medium body tending to heavy, moderate to low carbonation, slightly creamy and oily with a lingering bitter finish. (4/5)

Nicely balanced yet hop forward DIPA, with just enough malt to support the hops – just the way I like my DIPA’s! Pleasantly fruity and juicy, with a very well-integrated ABV. Definitely a go-to DIPA. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Victory Brewing Company Vine to Victory Harvest Ale – American Pale Ale at 6.5% ABV

Victory Brewing Company Vine to Victory Harvest Ale American Pale Ale at 6.5% ABV ($2.37 at Specs Main Houston, 355ml, best before 10-Mar-2015)

Pours clear pale amber with one finger of off white head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, patchy lacing. (3/5) Nose is pine, citrus, black tea, floral notes, mild caramel malt. (8/10) Taste is mild sweet, moderate to strong bitterness. (7/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, astringent bitter finish. (4/5)

A fairly aggressive APA, with a distinctly astringent bitter finish. Lots of flavour, though. If you drink them continuously, the astringent finish isn’t a problem! (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Deschutes Brewery Fresh Squeezed IPA – American IPA at 6.4% ABV

Deschutes Brewery Fresh Squeezed IPA American IPA at 6.4% ABV ($1.75 at Specs Main Houston, 355ml, best before 17-Apr-2015)

Pours clear medium amber with two fingers of light tan head, excellent retention, moderate chunky lacing lacing. (4/5) Nose is resiny pine, juicy citrus and tropical fruit, mild caramel malt. (8/10) Taste is mild to moderate sweet, moderate bitterness. (7/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, balanced bitter finish. (4/5)

Nice go-to IPA – fresh and juicy, lots of citrus and tropical fruit, decent body and finish. Might not be the absolute best IPA out there, but pretty impossible to beat at the price. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Gueuzerie Tilquin Oude Quetsche Tilquin à l’Ancienne – Fruit Lambic at 6.4% ABV

Gueuzerie Tilquin Oude Quetsche Tilquin à l’Ancienne Lambic – Fruit at 6.4% ABV ($15.67 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 375ml, best before 6-Feb-2024)

Pours hazy (first glass) to cloudy (second glass) reddish pale to medium amber with a short loose foamy head diminishing rapidly to nothing, no lacing. (3/5) Nose is dusty barnyard funk, green apple and plums, lemon, woody and vinous notes. (9/10) Taste is mild to moderate sweet, strong tart, mild funk. (9/10) Light body, prickly to moderate carbonation, very dry tart funky finish. (4/5)

Wow. The first sip of this brought me back to childhood, eating damson plums (quetsche) we stole from the neighbour’s trees. Intense plums, piled on top of the beautiful tart and funky flavours of the base lambics. Every sip reveals new aspects and the lovely dry finish leaves you ready to take another fresh crack at it every time. That’s not to say this is hugely different that the Oude Gueze – it isn’t – but the plummy stone fruit aspect is an interesting variation on that theme (even if it does make for a pretty murky brew towards the end of the bottle!). (19/20)

My 128th from the 2013 Edition of 1001 Beers (new to that edition) and 142nd combining both editions.

9/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Gueuzerie Tilquin Oude Gueze Tilquin à l’Ancienne – Gueuze at 6.4% ABV

Gueuzerie Tilquin Oude Gueze Tilquin à l’Ancienne Gueuze at 6.4% ABV ($10.44 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 375ml, best before 6-Feb-2024)

Pours slightly hazy (first glass) to cloudy (second glass) pale gold with one finger of loose foamy head diminishing gradually to a dense half finger cap, spotty lacing. (4/5) Nose is dusty barnyard funk, green apple, lemon, woody and vinous notes. (9/10) Taste is mild to moderate sweet, strong tart, mild funk. (9/10) Light body, prickly to moderate carbonation, very dry tart funky finish. (4/5)

OK, I figured I’d do this one a precursor to the Quetsche, and kinda forgot that I had reviewed it before. But it’s so good, there’s not much harm in me reviewing it again! Not much negative to say here: great depth of flavour, well-behaved funk, and immense tartness cut only slightly by the mild sweetness. I’m fairly convinced I can smell and taste the Cantillon lambic component in this. Much as I love tartness, though, I think it’s just the tiniest bit unbalanced, with a bit too much emphasis on the tart overwhelming the more subtle aspects. (18/20)

9/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Brouwerij Oud Beersel Kriek – Lambic Style at 4% ABV

Brouwerij Oud Beersel Kriek Lambic Style – Fruit at 4% ABV ($18.60 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 375ml, best before 13-Aug-2017)

Pours murky pinkish purple with one finger of loose light purple head diminishing gradually to a thin cap, spotty lacing. (3/5) Nose is sour cherries, light funk, some vinous notes. (8/10) Taste is low to moderate sweet, moderate tart. (8/10) Medium body, moderate to low carbonation, off-dry tart finish. (4/5)

Well, let’s get this out of the way right away: it’s probably not worth the price tag. That being said, it’s a very good, very authentic kriek, if maybe very slightly sweeter than some non-export Belgian krieks I’ve had, like Mort Subite. Pretty similar to the Boon Kriek (and I suspect for good reason since it was apparently originally made by Boon). The cherry taste is neither cloying nor medicinal, making this a very pleasant drink. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com