Wychwood (Marstons plc) Hobgoblin Gold – Golden Ale at 4.5% ABV

Wychwood (Marstons plc) Hobgoblin Gold Golden Ale at 4.5% ABV (C$3.99 at NLC Stavanger, 500 ml, best before 17-Apr-2016)

Appearance: clear pale gold with one finger of rocky white head, good retention and  lacing. (4/5) Aroma: grassy hops, grapefruit, pale malt, faint wheat and honey. (6/10) Taste: mild to moderate sweet, mild to moderate bitter. (5/10) Palate: light body, lively to moderate carbonation, off-dry medium duration finish. (4/5)

Starts off with a nicely hoppy aroma – too bad it doesn’t translate through onto the tongue. Tastes somewhat more like a pale euro lager than a hoppy ale. The aromas fade fairly quickly, too. I’m also deeply disappointed that the Nelson Sauvin hops don’t seem to be coming through – I’m getting none of those vinous grapey notes I associate with that hop. For all that, a pleasant and refreshing beer, especially after a hard day working in the yard. (12/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Brewery Ommegang Game of Thrones Three Eyed Raven – Saison at 7.2% ABV

Brewery Ommegang Game of Thrones Three Eyed Raven Saison at 7.2% ABV (C$12.96 at NLC Gander, 750 ml, no bottle date or best before)

Appearance: clear brown with one finger of tan head, good retention and  spotty lacing. (4/5) Aroma: wheat, banana, coriander, mild dark roasty malts. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, mild bitter. (6/10) Palate: medium body, lively to moderate carbonation, medium duration finish. (4/5)

Whaaa? “Saison”? I don’t think so, Skippy. “Dunkel,” sure. “Hefe,” possibly. “Saison”? Nope, nuh-uh, no way, no how. (BJCP says “high fruitiness”, “low to medium-high spicy or floral hop”, “peppery rather than clove-like”. Swing and several misses. This thing is wheat, banana, coriander – in other words, a hefe.) So, again, the age-old question: grade it according to the nominal style (fail) or what it really is (decent)? Split the difference, I guess. (12/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Muskoka Brewery Summerweiss – Hefeweizen at 5.0% ABV

Muskoka Brewery Summerweiss Hefeweizen at 5.0% ABV (C$3.99 at NLC Gander, 473 ml, best before 19-Sep-2015)

Appearance: hazy pale gold with a short white head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: banana, clove, bready yeast. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, mild to moderate bitter. (6/10) Palate: light body, lively to moderate carbonation, medium duration finish. (3/5)

Meh. A decent – if uninspiring – interpretation of a fairly uninspiring style. No real negatives, but it’s just not exciting. Got bored and dumped the second half. (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Central City Brewing Red Racer ISA – Session IPA at 4.0% ABV

Central City Brewing Red Racer ISA Session IPA at 4.0% ABV (C$3.98 at NLC Gander, 473 ml, packaging date 13-Mar-2015)

Appearance: clear deep gold with one finger of white head, good retention and lacing. (4/5) Aroma: mild, pithy grapefruit, tropical fruit, grassy, pale malt. (6/10) Taste: mild sweet, mild to moderate bitter. (6/10) Palate: light body, moderate carbonation, off dry mildly bitter short finish. (3/5)

Slightly disappointing: initially the aroma is pleasantly (though mildly) hoppy, with a little clean pale malt in the background. It fades surprisingly quickly, though, and the hoppiness never really translates through into the flavours. It’s not bad for a hot afternoon refresher, though. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Brasserie Cantillon Rosé de Gambrinus – Fruit Lambic at 5% ABV

Brasserie Cantillon Rosé de Gambrinus Fruit Lambic at 5% ABV (€6.00 at Cantillon, 750 ml, bottle date 29-Apr-2015 best before 29-Apr-2025)

Appearance: clear ruby red with a short frothy pink head diminishing rapidly to a thin skim, no lacing. (4/5) Aroma: raspberries, vinegar, funk, stone fruit, leather, tobacco, woody. (9/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderately strong tart. (9/10) Palate: light to medium body, lively to moderate carbonation, dry intensely tart finish. (5/5)

So good. Intense raspberry that in no way feels artificial, blending perfectly with a loverly tart lambic base, with overarching complicating notes of horseblankety funk, leather, wood, and, let’s face it, just about anything else you can think of. This is a new bottle that I just recently obtained at the brewery, so the fruit is still very much dominant at the forefront. I‘ve had a 2014 vintage in my cellar for just about a year now, that I’m going to continue to cellar for a while longer – maybe another year or two – before seeing what happens as the fruit fades and the lambic is allowed to gain ground. (18/20)

9/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Ninkasi Brewing Company / Devil’s Backbone – The Devil Went Down to Oregon Imperial Dark Rye Beer – Rye Beer at 7.2% ABV

Ninkasi Brewing Company / Devil’s Backbone The Devil Went Down to Oregon Imperial Dark Rye Beer Rye Beer at 7.2% ABV (C$9.25 at Zyn, 650 ml, no bottle date or best before)

Appearance: clear deep amber with one finger loose tan head diminishing rapidly to a thin skim, moderate patchy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: caramel/toffee, spicy rye, dark boozy fruit. (7/10) Taste: mild sweet, moderate bitter, mild sour. (6/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, lingering bitter and spicy finish. (4/5)

I find myself liking rye beers more and more, and this doesn’t make me change my mind. The dark spice of the rye complements the hop bitterness and dark boozy raisin notes nicely, making for a full-flavoured and robust beer. That said, the taste is not quite as robust as is promised by the aroma. It’s not light or refreshing by any means, but it is an interesting experience for a connoisseur of the style. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

The Bruery Jardinier – Belgian Pale Ale at 4.9% ABV

The Bruery Jardinier Belgian Pale Ale at 4.9% ABV (US$11.49 at Total Wines & More, Henderson NV, 650 ml, bottle date 2-Apr-2015)

Appearance: cloudy pale gold with one finger white head diminishing rapidly to a thin cap, minimal lacing. (3/5) Aroma: grainy pale malt, coriander, floral, earthy, banana. (7/10) Taste: mild sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Palate: light to medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry bitter and lightly spicy finish. (4/5)

Quite a nice BPA / table beer – rather reminds me of Duvel. The aromas and taste could stand to be a little more robust, I’d like it drier in the finish, and I really don’t appreciate a gusher when I haven’t mishandled the beer at all. That said, all in all, it’s good, but I’m not sure it’s worth the premium price. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Granville Island Brewery Brash Knuckles – American Brown Ale at 5% ABV

Granville Island Brewery Brash Knuckles American Brown Ale at 5% ABV (C$7.49 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 650 ml, no bottle date or best before)

Appearance: clear deep amber with one finger light tan head, good retention and minimal lacing. (3/5) Aroma: dark fruit, chocolate, stone fruit, mild pine. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, mild bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, lightly bitter finish. (3/5)

Sessionable brown ale. Nothing near as “in yo face” as the name would suggest, but also more fun than your typical brown. Hoppy and crisp, with a nice finish. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Dandy Brewing Company Bright Young Things English Summer Ale – English Pale Ale at 5% ABV

Dandy Brewing Company Bright Young Things English Summer Ale English Pale Ale at 5% ABV (C$7.49 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 650 ml, no bottle date or best before)

Appearance: hazy (to chunky) straw with three fingers (and growing) white head, excellent retention and spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: very mild, wheat, citrus, grassy, brett funk. (6/10) Taste: mild sweet, mild bitter, light funky tart. (6/10) Palate: medium to light body, moderate carbonation, short crisp finish. (3/5)

Big-time brett infection leaves a one inch marshmallow at the bottom of the glass, and heavy particulate the bottom of the bottle. I don’t think it’s deliberate, and I’d like to try this the way it was intended to taste. I don’t think it’s an age issue, because these guys are local, and I monitor the shelves pretty closely – but it’d be nice if they’d DATE THE DAMN BOTTLE. These guys are quickly burning through my good will and patience for local micro-brewers. I dunno – for all that, it’s not unpleasant, but it’s not a bright summer pale ale at this point either. (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Gigantic Brewing Co. / Cider Riot! / Beau’s All Natural – Snakebite – Radler at 5.6% ABV

Gigantic Brewing Co. / Cider Riot! / Beau’s All Natural Snakebite Radler at 5.6% ABV (C$7.79 at Sundance Wine Market, 650 ml, no bottle date or best before)

Appearance: slightly hazy straw with a short white head, excellent retention and moderate lacing. (3/5) Aroma: mild, apple, pale malt. (6/10) Taste: mild sweet, mild tart, light bitter. (6/10) Palate: medium to light body, low carbonation, short finish. (3/5)

Quite cidery, with only limited kölsch character, and none of the black currants. Mild and pleasant, but really not all that interesting. (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com