Side Launch Brewing Side Launch Wheat – Hefeweizen at 5.3% ABV

Side Launch Brewing Side Launch Wheat Hefeweizen at 5.3% ABV (C$3.01 at NLC Stavanger, 473 ml, packaging date 21-Jul-2015)

Appearance: hazy straw with a short, short-lived white head, no lacing. (2/5) Aroma: banana, citrus, wheat, cloves. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, mild tart, very mild bitter. (5/10) Palate: medium-light body, lively carbonation, semi-crisp finish. (3/5)

There are GPS coordinates on the side of the can in large letters: 43º17’42″N, 86º52’40”W. These coordinates are somewhere near (but not precisely at) the middle of Lake Michigan, and not at all near the brewery location in Collingwood, Ontario. I don’t get it. I also don’t entirely get this beer – it’s a fairly mainstream interpretation of the style, sweet enough to be mistaken for a Rickard’s White, and really not all that interesting. (11/20)

5.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

De Struise Brouwers Pannepot (2014) – Abt / Quadrupel at 10% ABV

De Struise Brouwers Pannepot (2014) Abt / Quadrupel at 10% ABV (€3.95 at de Biertempel Brussels, 330 ml, best before 3-Nov-2019)

Appearance: murky brown with one finger of dense mocha head, good retention and spotty lacing. (4/5) Aroma: dark dried fruit, floral perfume, molasses, alcohol, coffee. (9/10) Taste: moderate-strong sweet, light bitter and faint tart. (9/10) Palate: medium-full body, low carbonation, warming finish. (4/5)

A very good example of the style – hearty flavour, decent body, and a mild-mannered yet pleasantly warming ABV. Not deeply complex, but still very good. (18/20)

My 201st from the 2010 Edition (189th from the 2013 edition), and 211th combining both editions.

9/10 #1001beers #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Brasserie Saint James Third Man Abbey – Tripel at 8.4% ABV

Brasserie Saint James Third Man Abbey Tripel at 8.4% ABV (US$13.49 at Total Wines & More, Henderson NV,  750 ml, no bottle date or best before)

Appearance: clear medium gold with one finger of dense white head, good retention and lacing. (4/5) Aroma: stone fruit, sweet malt and honey, bready yeast, banana, floral. (6/10) Taste: moderately strong sweet, mild bitter, light pepper. (6/10) Light to medium body, moderate carbonation, lightly spicy finish. (3/5)

Not bad, but a bit sweeter than I’d prefer. I suspect a fair bit of that is the high ABV, which also comes through as a warming in the finish and a slight harshness at the back of the throat. The stone fruit and apple also start to taste a little browned as the bottle progresses and the hop character fades. Mind you, that description probably sounds a bit more negative than I intended – ultimately this is a decent, if unremarkable, tripel. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Brasserie Saint James Daily Wages – Saison at 6.7% ABV

Brasserie Saint James Daily Wages Saison at 6.7% ABV (US$13.49 at Total Wines & More, Henderson NV,  750 ml, no bottle date or best before)

Appearance: clear pale straw with one finger of fluffy white head, good retention and lacing. (4/5) Aroma: stone fruit, pale malt, peppercorns, light earthy funk, hint of Belgian yeast/banana. (8/10) Taste: mild sweet, moderate bitter, light tart and pepper. (8/10) Light to medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry crisp bitter and lightly spicy finish. (4/5)

Nice. A solid, classic saison. They emphasize the addition of green peppercorn on the label and in the description, but it’s really not emphatic, and integrates very well with the style. An enjoyable and fairly authentic-tasting implementation of one of my favourite styles, with a dry finish making it decently sessionable. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Brasserie Saint James Red Headed Stranger – Saison at 7.4% ABV

Brasserie Saint James Red Headed Stranger Saison at 7.4% ABV (US$13.49 at Total Wines & More, Henderson NV,  750 ml, no bottle date or best before)

Appearance: clear red-tinged medium amber with a fat finger of fluffy light tan head diminishing gradually to a thick cap, spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: caramel malt, pepper, dark fruit, citrus, light funk, spice. (7/10) Taste: mild sweet, moderate bitter, light tart and pepper. (7/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry crisp bitter and lightly spicy finish. (4/5)

A different kind of saison, to be sure – kind of analogous to red ales, in that it’s malt-forward, but it doesn’t feel unnatural or forced. It’s still got a lot of the saison characteristics I enjoy – some funkiness, light peppery spice, and a dry crispness. And yeah, that’s a pretty big ABV for the style, but it’s well done and doesn’t make it hot or impart any solvent tones. A pleasant shoulder style for a shoulder season. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Big Rock Brewery Brewmaster’s Limited Edition Wai-Iti Wheat Ale – American Pale Wheat Ale at 6.0% ABV

Big Rock Brewery Brewmaster’s Limited Edition Wai-Iti Wheat Ale American Pale Wheat Ale at 6.0% ABV (C$2.00 at South Trail Calgary Co-Op,  330 ml, no bottle date or best before)

Appearance: slightly hazy medium gold with two fingers of rocky ivory head, excellent retention and lacing. (5/5) Aroma: tropical fruit, citrus, grassy, wheat. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderately strong bitter. (8/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, lingering bitter finish. (4/5)

This has to be one of the tastiest and bitterest Big Rock beers I’ve tried to date, but the flavour profile is completely unlike what I was expecting. This is described as a “wheat ale”, so I was expecting something like a witbier – but this is much more like an APA or even an A/IPA, with mild wheat underneath. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Redhook Ale Brewery Long Hammer IPA – American IPA at 6.2% ABV

Redhook Ale Brewery Long Hammer IPA American IPA at 6.2% ABV (C$2.00 at South Trail Calgary Co-Op,  355 ml, bottle date 29-Dec-2014)

Appearance: clear pale gold with a short soapy ivory head diminishing gradually to a thin cap, patchy lacing. (3/5) Aroma: caramel malt, pine resin, citrus, grassy. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (6/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, medium duration bitter finish. (3/5)

Yeah, OK, bit of a shelf turd. The dry hopping seems to have faded a little (hardly surprising, given the age) leaving the base medium IBU rating. Not unpleasant, but not all that interesting. (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Ninkasi Brewing Company Ground Control – Russian Imperial Stout at 10% ABV

Ninkasi Brewing Company Ground Control Russian Imperial Stout at 10% ABV (C$29.75 at Sundance Wine Market, 650 ml, no bottle date or best before)

Appearance: nearly opaque black with one finger of creamy tan head, excellent retention and lacing. (5/5) Aroma: roasty dark malt, dark chocolate, liquorice/star anise, boozy dark fruit, lightly nutty. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, mild bitter. (5/10) Full body, moderate carbonation, lingering slightly sticky finish. (4/5)

Woo! My beer’s been to space! … still kinda sucky, though… And really, very, quite seriously, not worth the price. Sweet suffering hell, thirty bucks a bottle? What was I thinking? … Oh, right, my beer’s been to space! Woo! (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Whistler Brewing Co. Dubbel Down – Dubbel at 7.5% ABV

Whistler Brewing Co. Dubbel Down Dubbel at 7.5% ABV (C$17.90 at Hume Hotel Liquor Boutique, 950 ml, best before 1-Jan-2016)

Appearance: clear medium amber with one finger of creamy light tan head, excellent retention and moderate lacing. (4/5) Aroma: brown sugar, dark dried fruit, mild roasty malt. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, mild bitter. (7/10) Medium-full body, moderate carbonation, off-dry medium duration finish. (4/5)

Heckuva dubbel. Not even close to worth the price, mind you, but heckuva dubbel. (Seriously? Eighteen bucks a litre, when I can get Westmalle, the reference dubbel – as in, “we invented the style” – for fifteen per litre? Bad brewer! No cookie for you!) Still… good dubbel. And, I gotta say, I love the Boston Round “hand me my medicine” bottle. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Devil’s Canyon Brewing Company California Sunshine Rye IPA – American IPA at 7.1% ABV

Devil’s Canyon Brewing Company California Sunshine Rye IPA American IPA at 7.1% ABV (C$8.62 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits  650 ml, no bottle date or best before)

Appearance: slightly hazy pale amber with two fingers of rocky off-white head, excellent retention and lacing. (5/5) Aroma: citrus, resin, floral, sour rye, caramel malt, doughy bread. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter, light sour. (7/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, lingering bitter finish. (4/5)

Not bad, but it could use a little more definition on the tongue. The aromas are promising, but they quite don’t deliver on the tongue. Somewhat surprisingly, despite the added sharpness of the rye, it’s not quite as bitter as the high IBU would suggest it’s going to be. Still, a decent enough drink. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com