Boxing Rock Brewing Co. The Next Chapter Rye India Pale Ale – American IPA at 6.3% ABV

Boxing Rock Brewing Co. The Next Chapter Rye India Pale Ale American IPA at 6.3% ABV (Via trade – thanks, Chris! – 650 ml, bottle date 24-Feb-2015)

Pours clear red-tinged pale to medium amber with one finger of fluffy light tan head, good retention and moderately heavy lacing. (4/5) Nose is spicy and sour rye, caramel malt, pine and citrus hops. (7/10) Taste is mild to moderate sweet, moderate bitter, mild spicy, slight sour. (8/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, mildly bitter and spicy finish. (4/5)

Mmm… I do like a nice RyePA – and this is pretty nice. The rye provides a nice supplement to the bittering hops, adding a little spicy and slightly sour kick. I’m very pleased to have been able to sample this limited distribution (New Brunswick only) brew! (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Boxing Rock Brewing Co. La Rive du Sud – Bière de Garde at 7.5% ABV

Boxing Rock Brewing Co. La Rive du Sud Bière de Garde at 7.5% ABV (Via trade – thanks, Chris! – 650 ml, bottle date 25-Mar-2015)

Pours hazy medium amber with one finger of loose light tan head diminishing rapidly to a thin skim, no lacing. (3/5) Nose is wheat, caramel malt, dark dried fruit, earth and pepper. (7/10) Taste is moderate sweet, mild bitter, mild spice. (8/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, mildly bitter and spicy finish. (4/5)

Not quite like other Bières de Garde I’ve had – much maltier and heavier in the body, but certainly exhibiting unmistakeable Belgian characteristics and quite pleasant overall. A strong contender from a strong brewery. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

No-Li Brewhouse Winter Warmer – American Strong Ale at 7.5% ABV

No-Li Brewhouse Winter Warmer American Strong Ale at 7.5% ABV (C$7.49 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 650 ml, no bottle date or best before)

Pours clear medium amber with one finger of loose tan head diminishing rapidly to a thin skim, moderate patchy lacing. (3/5) Nose is caramel malt, light spices, faint fruit. (5/10) Taste is mild to moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (5/10) Medium to light body, moderate carbonation, mildly bitter and warming finish. (3/5)

Yes, I know it’s a winter warmer – I still have snow in my back yard. That said, not much “winter warmer” character here – light body, not much spice, little warmth. Maybe a bit elderly, but I’d expect the style to hold up better, and I’m even getting a little faint butyric acid. Not one of No-Li’s better efforts. (10/20)

5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Garrison Brewing Company Imperial I.P.A. – American Double / Imperial IPA at 8.0% ABV

Garrison Brewing Company Imperial I.P.A. American Double / Imperial IPA at 8.0% ABV (C$5.99 at NLC Howley Estates, 650 ml, no bottle date or best before)

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

No bottle date, but definitely fresh – hop-forward all the way, bright and sharp, with just enough malt in support. Probably the strongest performer I’ve had from Garrison’s lineup. The ABV isn’t absent, but it’s also not intrusive. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Parallel 49 / Townsite Brewing Inc. – Brews Brothers Les Portes du Pénitencier Black Table Saison – Saison at 5.0% ABV

Parallel 49 / Townsite Brewing Inc. Brews Brothers Les Portes du Pénitencier Black Table Saison Saison at 5.0% ABV (C$2.63 at Andrew Hilton Wine & Spirits, 341 ml, bottle date 11-Feb-2015)

Pours clear amber-brown with one finger of dense light tan head, good retention and minimal lacing. (3/5) Nose is dark malt, mild citrus, faint coffee. (4/10) Taste is mild to moderate sweet, mild bitter, slight sour. (4/10) Medium body tending to watery, moderate carbonation, mildly bitter finish. (2/5)

Aaaand I dunno what the hell this is. Looks fairly pretty, but that’s about the extent of it. A muddled boring mess that tastes like coffee and dishwater, without much saison character to speak of. (8/20)

4/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Parallel 49 / Moon Under Water – Brews Brothers Boom Boom Boom Triple Hop Belgian Tripel – Tripel at 9.0% ABV

Parallel 49 / Moon Under Water Brews Brothers Boom Boom Boom Triple Hop Belgian Tripel Tripel at 9.0% ABV (C$2.63 at Andrew Hilton Wine & Spirits, 341 ml, bottle date 20-Feb-2015)

Pours clear pale straw with a thin white head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, minimal lacing. (3/5) Nose is banana, coriander, bready yeast, mild citrus. (5/10) Taste is mild sweet, mild bitter. (5/10) Light body, moderate to low carbonation, off-dry, sticky, and mildly bitter finish. (3/5)

To be honest, I went into this worried what kind of mess they’d make of one of my favourite styles. And no, they didn’t nail it – not even close – but at least it’s not a complete dog’s breakfast. It’s nowhere near dry enough, and if that’s “triple hopped”, well, I’d hate to see single. One thing it does do well, though, is integrate the ABV: there’s hardly any heat at all, except towards the very end of the glass, and for a near double-digit ABV that’s no mean feat. (10/20)

5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Parallel 49 / Steel & Oak Brewing Co. – Brews Brothers Tiger in Your Tank – Kellerbier at 5.0% ABV

Parallel 49 / Steel & Oak Brewing Co. Brews Brothers Tiger in Your Tank Kellerbier at 5.0% ABV (C$2.63 at Andrew Hilton Wine & Spirits, 341 ml, bottle date 19-Feb-2015)

Pours clear pale amber with one finger of dense off-white head, good retention and no lacing. (3/5) Nose is grainy caramel malt, earthy hops, smoke. (5/10) Taste is moderate sweet, mild bitter, mild smoke. (5/10) Light to medium body, moderate carbonation, lingering mildly bitter and smoky finish. (3/5)

Well, I don’t hate it – and believe me, after the first sniff and sip, that was the direction things were heading. I really wasn’t expecting smoke. And, apparently, neither do the BJCP (2014 draft guide) or the German Beer Institute – I checked: even the amber Franconion Kellerbiers are expected to have bready/toasty and spicy peppery hop aromas, and caramel or biscuity malt are acceptable. “Smoke” isn’t mentioned at all. This would be better classified as a light Rauchbier. As a Kellerbier, it’s a massive failure, but as a Rauchbier, it’s not terrible. (10/20)

5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com