Big Rock Brewery Hefehöpper – Hefeweizen at 5.0% ABV

Big Rock Brewery Hefehöpper Hefeweizen at 5.0% ABV ($4.88 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 650 ml, no bottle date or best before)

Pours hazy straw with a short, short-lived white head and no lacing. (3/5) Nose is initially banana, cloves, yeasty wheat, fades to grassy hops and pale malt. (5/10) Taste is moderate sweet, mild bitter. (5/10) Light bodied, lively to moderate carbonation, brief lightly bitter finish. (3/5)

Well, it is what it is. And what it is, is unfiltered Grasshöpper. It starts off smelling almost like an actual hefeweizen, with some banana and cloves alongside bready yeast notes – but that fades, giving way to some weedy, grassy hops and pale crystal malt. Drink it quickly, I guess? Not bad, and certainly an improvement over a standard lager – or for that matter, a good many kristallweizens – but there are lots of more interesting beers out there at that price point. (10/20)

5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Stone Brewing Company / Ecliptic Brewing / Wicked Weed Brewing – Points Unknown IPA – American Double / Imperial IPA at 9.5% ABV

Stone Brewing Company / Ecliptic Brewing / Wicked Weed Brewing Points Unknown IPA American Double / Imperial IPA at 9.5% ABV ($9.39 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 650 ml, bottle date 23-Apr-2015)

Pours clear pale amber with two fingers of off-white head diminishing gradually to a thin cap, patchy lacing. (3/5) Nose is complex: Belgian yeast, juniper, pithy citrus, pine resin, tropical fruit and pale malt. (8/10) Taste is moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Medium bodied, moderate carbonation, lingering bitter and growing boozy finish. (4/5)

What the serious hell is THAT? Smells sorta like a Belgian tripel that’s been cut half and half with a Stone IPA. With a splash of gin and tonic for flavour. Which are, like, three of my favourite things. That said, there’s no way this is worth the premium – but damn you, Stone, for being a big guy pretending to be a little guy! You know I’m just gonna keep paying for your oh-so-delicious products no matter what you charge! (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Black Market Brewing Co. Rye IPA – American IPA at 7.5% ABV

Black Market Brewing Co. Rye IPA American IPA at 7.5% ABV ($6.52 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 650 ml, bottle date 23-Apr-2015)

Pours clear to slightly hazy pale amber with two fingers of ivory head diminishing gradually to a thick cap, good lacing. (3/5) Nose is bright citrus and tropical fruit, pale malt, pine resin, mild rye. (8/10) Taste is moderate sweet, moderate bitter, light sour. (7/10) Medium bodied, moderate carbonation, lingering bitter finish. (4/5)

Quite a pleasant rye IPA – very well-balanced, both in terms of the hop bittering and the pale malt, but also in the contribution of the sour rye. I’ve found that rye IPAs can sometimes be a bit aggressive in the rye notes – which isn’t necessarily a negative – but it’s interesting to have one that’s a bit more even-handed in its approach. I have to say, I’m liking this brewery – solid products, if not quite stellar. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

R & B Brewing Company (Howe Sound) Raven Cream Ale – Cream Ale at 4.8% ABV

R & B Brewing Company (Howe Sound) Raven Cream Ale Cream Ale at 4.8% ABV (Gift – thanks Doug! – 341 ml, no bottle date or best before)

Pours clear medium amber with one finger of off-white head diminishing rapidly to a tenacious cap, patchy lacing. (3/5) Nose is caramel, bready yeast, nutty, faint chocolate, smoke, and vinegar. (4/10) Taste is moderate sweet, mild bitter, light tart and smoke. (4/10) Light to medium bodied, lively to moderate carbonation, mildly bitter tart and smokey finish. (3/5)

What are the odds of me getting two broken BC beers, from two different brewers, and two different sources, in one day? When I say “broken”, I mean in terms of hitting the style, not necessarily in terms of drinkability. As drinkability goes, it’s not bad – a very lightly smokey sour, almost like a gose, or a mild sour brown. As a “cream ale”. it’s an utter disaster. Dunno how to rate this – I’d rather have it than a macro lager, but not by much. (9/20)

4.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Parallel 49 / Firehall – Brewery Brews Brothers One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer Barrel Aged Smoked Scotch Ale – Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy at 8.5% ABV

Parallel 49 / Firehall Brewery Brews Brothers One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer Barrel Aged Smoked Scotch Ale Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy at 8.5% ABV ($2.63 at Andrew Hilton Wine & Spirits, 341 ml, no bottle date or best before)

Pours clear medium amber with one finger of light tan head, good retention and excellent lacing. (4/5) Nose is smoke, citrus, caramel malt, lightly boozy dark fruit. (7/10) Taste is moderate sweet, mild tart, light bitter. (7/10) Light to medium bodied, lively to moderate carbonation, mildly tart and lightly bitter longish finish. (4/5)

Well, I dunno what the heck this is, but it’s not much like a Wee Heavy. Smokey and sour, with just a hint of scotch ale maltiness in the middle. The longish finish is mildly tart and lightly bitter, with only a very mild warming from the fairly beefy ABV. The tartness might well be due to an infection, but if so it’s a serendipitous one, because it makes this stand out as a unique and interesting version of what I consider to be a dreadfully dull style. Worth trying with an open mind. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Parallel 49 / Persephone – Brews Brothers Stormy Monday N2 Smoked Brown Ale – Brown Ale at 4.5% ABV

Parallel 49 / Persephone Brews Brothers Stormy Monday N2 Smoked Brown Ale Brown Ale at 4.5% ABV ($2.63 at Andrew Hilton Wine & Spirits, 341 ml, no bottle date or best before)

Pours clear deep amber with three fingers of medium beige head, good retention and no lacing. (3/5) Nose is mild smoke, caramel malt, mild coffee, floral and grassy hops. (5/10) Taste is moderate sweet, mild bitter and smoke, faint sour. (5/10) Medium bodied tending to watery, moderate to low carbonation, moderate duration finish. (3/5)

The smoke is pretty mild and inoffensive, not bringing this into rauchbier territory, but possibly off-putting for someone unfamiliar with that style. The nitrogen charging is a non-factor as far as I can see – I’m not getting any extra nitrogen smoothness, and there’s certainly no cascade or dense head like with a widget. All things considered, a fairly boring brown ale. (10/20)

5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

De Dolle Brouwers Arabier – Belgian Strong Pale Ale at 8% ABV

De Dolle Brouwers Arabier Belgian Strong Pale Ale at 8% ABV (€3.95 at de Biertempel Brussels, 330 ml, best before Nov 15)

Pours cloudy pale gold with lots of particulate on full white head, good retention and lacing. (3/5) Nose is complex: citrus, banana, floral, candi sugar, light earth and brett barnyard funk. (8/10) Taste is moderate sweet, moderate bitter, mild funk. (7/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry mildly boozy and lingering brett bitter finish. (4/5)

The appearance on this one is probably bad as a result of rough handling – the seal got broken during transport today, and half the bottle had spilled, but I figured I might as well salvage the remainder. An interesting combination of floral notes, presumably from the nugget hops, and earthy and brett notes. (15/20)

My 174th from the 2010 Edition (164th from the 2013 edition), and 184th combining both editions.

7.5/10 #1001beers #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Brasserie du Bocq La Gauloise Blonde – Belgian Pale Ale at 6.3% ABV

Brasserie du Bocq La Gauloise Blonde Belgian Pale Ale at 6.3% ABV (€3.50 at Belgian Beer Tradition Rue au Buerre Bruxelles, 330 ml, best before 15-Jul-2016)

Pours slightly hazy pale straw with two fingers of rocky white head, excellent retention and lacing. (5/5) Nose is pithy citrus, wheat, bready yeast, light coriander and tropical fruit. (7/10) Taste is mild to moderate sweet, mild bitter and tart. (6/10) Medium body tending to the watery, lively to moderate carbonation, off dry finish. (3/5)

A nice refreshing BPA – bright and mildly tart, with nicely balanced bitter and malty sweetness. The ABV never really enters into the profile, and isn’t high enough to interfere with the refreshment value. Pleasant, if a bit on the boring side. (14/20)

My 172nd from the 2010 Edition (retired from the 2013 edition), and 182nd combining both editions.

7/10 #1001beers #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

De Dolle Brouwers Stille Nacht – Belgian Strong Pale Ale at 12% ABV

De Dolle Brouwers Stille Nacht Belgian Strong Pale Ale at 12% ABV (€5.60 at Belgian Beer Tradition Rue au Buerre Bruxelles, 330 ml, 2014 vintage)

Pours cloudy pale gold with a short, short-lived white head, minimal lacing. (3/5) Nose is boozy dark fruit, candi sugar, spices, green apple. (6/10) Taste is moderately strong sweet, mild tart. (6/10) Medium slightly oily body, moderate to low carbonation, lingering boozy finish. (3/5)

Well, subtle this isn’t – nor is it light, refreshing, or any of the other adjectives one normally associates with the beers of spring. No, this is very firmly a winter beer – one appropriate for lighting a fire in your belly as you gingerly sip it during the long cold months of torpor. And at a beefy 12%, there’s fire aplenty. I don’t say this often, but this might be too emphatic a beer – a little more even-handedness and balance would go a long way here. Still pretty good, mind you… (12/20)

My 173rd from the 2010 Edition (163rd from the 2013 edition), and 183rd combining both editions.

6/10 #1001beers #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Beer Project Brussels Grosse Bertha – Hefeweizen at 7% ABV

Beer Project Brussels Grosse Bertha Hefeweizen at 7% ABV (€4.20 on Thalys, 330 ml, best before 1-Dec-2016)

Pours hazy pale straw with one finger of white head, good retention and lacing. (4/5) Nose is banana, clove, yeast, herbal and floral. (6/10) Taste is moderate sweet, mild bitter. (6/10) Light bodied, lively to moderate carbonation, semisweet moderate duration finish with a mild alcohol warming. (3/5)

Neither fish nor fowl – it’s got characteristics of both hefes and tripels, making it a little tough to characterise. More importantly, that tends to make it a little muddled: the banana and clove are of course pure hefeweizen, but structurally it’s a bit more like a tripel. The styles do tend to be somewhat complementary, though, so I guess it’s really not all that radical an experiment. (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com