Dandy Brewing Company Smoke Boss – Rauchbier at 5.5% ABV

Dandy Brewing Company Smoke Boss Rauchbier at 5.5% ABV (C$8.29 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 650 ml, no bottle date or best before)

Appearance: clear to slightly hazy and particulate-laden brown with two fingers of medium tan head, good retention and moderate lacing. (3/5) Aroma: smoke, vanilla, caramel, hint of bacon. (6/10) Taste: mild sweet, mild bitter, mild smoke. (6/10) Palate: medium body tending a little to the watery, moderate carbonation, short mildly smoky finish. (4/5)

Not bad at all. The smoke is balanced and doesn’t overwhelm the caramel maltiness or the vanilla-like flavour (that I’m assuming is the bourbon-tonka infusion, though I was previously unfamiliar with the tonka bean). Although I’ve noted a slightly watery body, it isn’t a significant drawback since it keeps this thing from becoming too heavy – bear in mind it is a lager, after all, and not a porter or a stout, despite its appearance. I have marked it down slightly for the haze, though: I know it’s bottle-conditioned, and I’ve made allowances for that, but the style is supposed to be “very clear.” Overall, a remarkably even-handed and largely traditional treatment of a challenging style by a young brewery. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Crazy Beard Brewing Crazy Beard Wild Apple Ale – Malt Liquor at 5.2% ABV

Crazy Beard Brewing Crazy Beard Wild Apple Ale Malt Liquor at 5.2% ABV (C$3.29 at Quarry Park Calgary Co-Op, 473 ml, no packaging date or best before)

Appearance: clear pale gold with a short, short-lived head, no lacing. (2/5) Aroma: green apple Jolly Ranchers, not much else. (4/10) Taste: moderately strong sweet, mild bitter, mild tart. (4/10) Palate: light to medium body, moderate carbonation, short finish. (2/5)

Well, that’s really something. What, I’m not entirely sure, but it’s something. To give you some idea of what kind of something it is, RateBeer’s serving recommendations are “shaker,” “lager glass,” and “paper bag.” “Paper bag” is probably the most authentic option. Dominated by syrupy sweet green apple that is, regardless, not entirely fake and unpleasant. And I didn’t go blind, so there’s that. (8/20)

4/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Village Brewery Village Maiden – Session IPA at 4.6% ABV

Village Brewery Village Maiden Session IPA at 4.6% ABV (Gift – thanks +Nathan Ryan! – 330 ml, no bottle date or best before)

Appearance: clear pale gold with one finger of white head, good retention and lacing. (4/5) Aroma: grapefruit, pine, pale malt. (7/10) Taste: mild sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Palate: light to medium body, moderate carbonation, lingering bitter finish. (3/5)

Quite a pleasant session IPA – nicely bright aroma and decent flavour. A little light in both flavour and body, and a bit of a quicker finish, but that’s to be expected for a session ale. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Russell Brewing IP’eh – English IPA at 6.5% ABV

Russell Brewing IP’eh English IPA at 6.5% ABV (C$4.99 atQuarry Park Calgary Co-Op, 650 ml, no bottle date or best before)

Appearance: clear pale to medium amber (some initial chill haze) with one finger of light tan head, good retention and lacing. (4/5) Aroma: caramel and toffee malts, mild grapefruit and pine. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (5/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, moderate duration bitter finish. (3/5)

I was initially going to say “More like IP M’eh”, but that would probably be a little unfair. It’s malt forward but not overly so – certainly consistent with the intended English style. Not getting a lot of the Cascade hops, which makes it nowhere near as good as their IP G’Day in my opinion, but not necessarily any less well-made. The flavour started out being quite a bit less emphatic than the aromas promised, but that might be because I started off drinking it a bit too cold. As the beer warmed, and the chill haze diminished, the flavours woke up as well. If you get the opportunity to try this one, be sure not to drink it too cold. (And, Russell, if you’re really “fanatical about beer”, DATE YOUR DAMN BOTTLES.) (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Mill Street Brew Pub Mill Street Ginger Cat – Witbier at 5% ABV

Mill Street Brew Pub Mill Street Ginger Cat Witbier at 5% ABV (On tap at Mill Street Brew Pub YYZ)

Appearance: hazy pale gold with a short white head, OK retention, spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: wheat, ginger, yeast, very mild banana and bubblegum. (5/10) Taste: moderate sweet, mild bitter, very mild spice. (5/10) Palate: light to medium body, soft carbonation, quick off-dry finish. (3/5)

Kinda splits the difference between a witbier and a ginger beer. Sort of like a shandy, but stronger. Not unpleasant, but pretty mild and unremarkable overall. Some folks might like a mild ginger bite, but I prefer something with a little zing, personally. (10/20)

5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Old Yale Brewing Co. Moon Dance Mango Wheat – Witbier at 5.0% ABV

Old Yale Brewing Co. Moon Dance Mango Wheat Witbier at 5.0% ABV (C$6.75 at Sundance Wine Market, 650 ml, no bottle date or best before)

Appearance: cloudy pale gold with a short, short-lived thin white head, no lacing. (3/5) Aroma: wheat, yeast, light mango and other tropical. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, mild bitter. (5/10) Palate: light to medium body, soft carbonation, quick off-dry finish. (3/5)

Kinda boring, really. No big fruit character in the aroma, and only mild hop bitterness on the tongue. Fairly clean finish, though, making it a decent thirst-quencher after a warm day deck building. (10/20)

5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Parallel 49 Brewing Company Corn Hops – American Double / Imperial IPA at 8.2% ABV

Parallel 49 Brewing Company Corn Hops American Double / Imperial IPA at 8.2% ABV (C$6.95 at Sundance Wine Market, 500 ml, no bottle date or best before)

Appearance: hazy pale gold with one finger of rocky white head, good retention and chunky lacing. (4/5) Aroma: bright citrus, pine, tropical fruit, corn syrup and biscuity malt. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, strong bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, building bitter and boozy finish. (4/5)

Interesting. Distinctly DIPA in character, with lots of bright and bitter hops leading the way, followed by a distinct cornflake sweetness that nonetheless doesn’t make you think “cheap adjuncts”. Quite sweet, to the point where the really quite emphatic bitterness doesn’t become apparent until you’re well into it. Dangerous, too – the bottle’s almost gone before the hefty ABV makes itself apparent in the form of a boozy heat in the finish. I have to say, I’m starting to warm up to this brewery. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Iron Fist Brewing Company Uprising – Belgian IPA at 12% ABV

Iron Fist Brewing Company Uprising Belgian IPA at 12% ABV (C$14.95 at Sundance Wine Market, 750 ml, no bottle date or best before)

Appearance: clear pale amber with three fingers of rocky light tan head, good retention and moderate lacing. (4/5) Aroma: floral/herbal, tropical fruit, Belgian yeast, caramel/toffee malt. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, strong bitter. (7/10) Palate: full and sticky body, moderate carbonation, emphatically boozy finish. (4/5)

A beast that certainly does not believe in hiding its light under a bushel. Big and bombastic in every facet: big sweet, big bitter, big head, big caramel colour, big body, big booze. They call it a “Tripel/IPA”, and it certainly has aspects of both styles, but I don’t think you’d be far wrong thinking of it as a “triple IPA” in everything that really matters. (Hops and booze. What? Is there anything else?) Lacking in subtlety – but so am I, so I like this a whole bunch. Kinda reminds me of Arrogant Bastard, actually… (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Molson Coors Canada Rickard’s White – Witbier at 5.4% ABV

Molson Coors Canada Rickard’s White Witbier at 5.4% ABV (C$3.64 at NLC Stavanger, 473 ml, no packaging date or best before)

Appearance: cloudy pale gold with one finger of dense white head diminishing gradually to a thin cap, minimal lacing. (3/5) Aroma: wheat, pale malt, faint orange peel and spices. (4/10) Taste: mild to moderate sweet, mild bitter, slight tart. (4/10) Palate: light to medium body, soft carbonation, off-dry medium duration finish. (3/5)

I usually don’t have the orange slice in witbiers, but this one kind of needs it. Not really getting any banana, either, and the cloves or coriander are buried pretty deeply. “Inoffensive” is about the best one can say for it. (9/20)

4.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Molson Coors Canada Rickard’s Red – Amber Lager/Vienna at 5.2% ABV

Molson Coors Canada Rickard’s Red Amber Lager/Vienna at 5.2% ABV (C$3.64 at NLC Stavanger, 473 ml, no packaging date or best before)

Appearance: clear red-tinted pale to medium amber with one finger of light tan head diminishing gradually to a thin cap, good lacing. (4/5) Aroma: light caramel malt, slightly nutty. (4/10) Taste: mild to moderate sweet, mild bitter. (4/10) Palate: light to medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry medium duration finish. (3/5)

Probably the best thing Molson Coors makes – which, y’unnerstand, isn’t a particularly high bar, but it does mean it pretty much by definition could be worse. Pretty standard domestic amber/vienna/Irish red, so a notch or two better than a macro lager, but hardly interesting. Decent enough thirst quencher with lunch, though. (10/20)

5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com