Wild Rose Brewery Gose Rider Barrel Aged (2015) – Gose at 4.5% ABV

Wild Rose Brewery Gose Rider Barrel Aged (2015) Gose at 4.5% ABV (C$13.49 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 650 ml, no bottle date or best before)

Appearance: slightly hazy deep gold with one fat finger of dense eggshell head, good retention and lacing. (4/5) Aroma: tart citrus, wheat, vinous red wine, oak, coriander. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, mild bitter, mild tart, light salt. (7/10) Medium-light body, light tart and salt finish. (3/5)

A decent enough example of the style, but there’s a little bit of a disconnect between the aroma and the taste: it smells like a sour, but tastes more like a gose. Which is actually a little bit of a disappointment, since I prefer sours to goses. Still, definitely better than the non-barrel-aged version – which might well have been quite an old bottle. (If memory served, it was also the first gose I ever tried.) (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Green Flash Brewing Co. West Coast IPA (2015) – American Double / Imperial IPA at 8.1% ABV

Green Flash Brewing Co. West Coast IPA (2015) American Double / Imperial IPA at 8.1% ABV (C$9.29 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 650 ml, no bottle date or best before)

Appearance: slightly hazy pale amber with one fat finger of tan head, good retention and excellent lacing. (4/5) Aroma: pine, citrus, caramel malt, tropical fruit. (8/10) Taste: moderate strong sweet, strong bitter. (8/10) Medium-full body, off-dry lingering bitter finish. (4/5)

Not a whole lot different than the 2014. Big piney hops with an emphatic malt background attenuating the hop bittering. Seems a bit more intense than the last time I had it – maybe I just got a newer bottle this time. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Phillips Brewing Company Super Cooper Fourteenth Anniversary Ale – American Double / Imperial IPA at 11.6% ABV

Phillips Brewing Company Super Cooper Fourteenth Anniversary Ale American Double / Imperial IPA at 11.6% ABV (C$7.49 at South Trail Calgary Co-Op, 650 ml, no bottle date or best before)

Appearance: hazy pale amber with one finger of rocky ivory head, excellent retention and lacing. (4/5) Aroma: oaky bourbon, vanilla, citrus, stone fruit, caramel. (6/10) Taste: moderate-strong sweet, strong bitter, moderate alcohol. (6/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, warm tending to hot whiskey finish. (3/5)

A bit of a weird beast. Lots going on, including a pretty hot woody bourbon presence, but it’s not actually offensive. …well, OK, maybe it’s a little offensive – in the “best defence” sense of the word. By which I mean, it proactively beats the snot out of your tastebuds so there won’t be any backtalk from those traitorous little rabble-rousers, then proceeds to lay waste to your central nervous system. I respect that. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Cannery Brewing Company L’Orage Noir – Belgian Strong Dark Ale at 9% ABV

Cannery Brewing Company L’Orage Noir Belgian Strong Dark Ale at 9% ABV (C$9.75 at Sundance Wine Market, 650 ml, no bottle date or best before)

Appearance: clear brown with a brief fizzy head and no lacing. (3/5) Aroma: dark dried fruit, roasty grains, stone fruit, brown sugar, faint solvent. (6/10) Taste: moderate-strong sweet, light bitter. (6/10) Palate: medium body tending a little to the thin, low carbonation, mildly warming finish. (3/5)

A fairly pedestrian North American implementation of a BSDA. Not bad, but a bit thin and unremarkable. Sorry, maybe I’m just spoiled by having had the opportunity to try the real deal on multiple occasions, but this just isn’t getting me all that excited. (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Central City Brewers + Distillers Red Racer Maple Bacon Ale – Amber Ale at 5% ABV

Central City Brewers + Distillers Red Racer Maple Bacon Ale Amber Ale at 5% ABV (C$6.75 at Sundance Wine Market, 650 ml, no bottle date or best before)

Appearance: clear pale amber with one finger of light tan head, good retention and spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: savoury and smoky, biscuity, caramel. (5/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-light bitter, light salt. (5/10) Palate: medium to thin body, moderate carbonation, lingering bitter finish. (3/5)

Meh. I’m not getting a whole lot of bacon or maple. There is a slightly savoury or smoky flavour, but it’s not clearly bacon. A thin and not all that interesting amber. (11/20)

5.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Big Rock Brewery Alastair’s Bonnie Fantastic Ale – Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy at 5.8% ABV

Big Rock Brewery Alastair’s Bonnie Fantastic Ale Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy at 5.8% ABV (C$2.53 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 650 ml, no bottle date or best before)

Appearance: cloudy medium amber with one finger of light tan head, good retention and lacing. (3/5) Aroma: peaty malt, grassy hops. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (6/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, lingering bitter finish. (3/5)

(That price is misleading – Dave the Beer Guy gives me his discount, and apparently they marked this one up by a factor of five or so, with the proceeds going to charity.) I’m not generally a big fan of this style, but at least this one has a hoppy bitter finish. OK, but not great. (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Mill Street Brewery Lemon Tea Beer – American Pale Lager at 5% ABV

Mill Street Brewery Lemon Tea Beer American Pale Lager at 5% ABV (On tap at Mill Street Brewpub YYZ)

Appearance: cloudy pale amber with one fat finger of creamy eggshell head, good retention and heavy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: sweet lemon iced tea, light wheat. (7/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, slightly sticky finish. (4/5)

Surprisingly drinkable for a fairly sweet beer. The hop presence is is fairly low, but it interacts well with the black tea flavour to give an overall bitterness that’s more emphatic than it would otherwise have been. It reminds me of sweet iced tea (but the real brewed stuff, not the cheap fake stuff). (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery Genius of Suburbia ISA – Session IPA at 3.8% ABV

Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery Genius of Suburbia ISA Session IPA at 3.8% ABV (C$1.88 at Bishop’s Cellar, 355 ml, no bottle date or best before)

Appearance: cloudy medium gold with a short eggshell head diminishing rapidly to a thin skim, patchy lacing. (3/5) Aroma: tropical fruit and bready caramel, light citrus and pepper, some herbal. (6/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate bitter. (6/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate-low carbonation, off-dry medium bitter finish. (3/5)

I guess the biggest upside for this is that the flavour in no way hints to the very low ABV – it drinks pretty much like any number of full-on IPA’s I’ve had, though perhaps with a slightly lighter body. The down side is, it’s really not my preferred style of SIPA (or any IPA, for that matter), in that the malt is too emphatic. It might not be malt-forward as such, but the malt is definitely present and makes this sweeter than I’d like, particularly for a session beer. (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery 12 Minutes to Destiny Hibiscus Pale Lager – American Pale Lager at 4.1% ABV

Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery 12 Minutes to Destiny Hibiscus Pale Lager American Pale Lager at 4.1% ABV (C$1.88 at Bishop’s Cellar, 355 ml, no bottle date or best before)

Appearance: cloudy light purple with a short pinkish head diminishing rapidly to a thin skim, patchy lacing. (3/5) Aroma: raspberry, floral, pale malt. (8/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, light bitter, light tart. (8/10) Palate: light body, moderate-low carbonation, slightly sticky and lightly tart finish. (3/5)

Y’know what, you can call me a 12 year-old girl, but I sorta like this. I don’t know that I would’ve identified the floral as hibiscus – if anything, I might’ve said roses – but it ends up tasting a lot like a Big Turk bar. The little bit of tartness prevents the sweetness from becoming sickly, but I’m not sure I’d want more than one. Fine as a thirst quencher after a dry afternoon in class. Somewhat to my surprise, I think I like this better than Dieu du Ciel’s Rosée d’Hibiscus or Stone’s Hibiscusicity. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Brasserie Dunham / Kissmeyer Beer Leo’s Early Breakfast IPA – American IPA at 6.2% ABV

Brasserie Dunham / Kissmeyer Beer Leo’s Early Breakfast IPA American IPA at 6.2% ABV (C$3.83 at Bishop’s Cellar, 341 ml, no bottle date or best before)

Appearance: muddy opaque deep gold with a short ivory head diminishing rapidly to a thin skim, patchy lacing. (3/5) Aroma: black tea, bergamot, tropical fruit, citrus, light caramel, earthy. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderately strong bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate-low carbonation, medium duration bitter finish. (4/5)

The appearance is a bit misleading on this: during most of the pour, it was looking like a bright and clear deep gold / pale amber, but the last half-inch turned out to be chock full of particulate and what looks to be tea. I could’ve poured it a lot cleaner, but didn’t. (One might therefore argue it actually deserves a 4/5 instead a 3/5 for appearance, but that wouldn’t change the overall score.) Very nice other than that, with the name certainly giving you a hint of what’s to come: lots of black tea and tropical fruit (guava puree), playing well with the Nelson Sauvin hop (which I particularly like). The tea bitterness also works well with the hop bittering, making this taste more bitter than the 50IBU would suggest. It’s pretty rare for me to have beer with breakfast, but I could be convinced to have one of these! (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com