Prairie Artisan Ales Standard Saison – Saison at 5.6% ABV

Prairie Artisan Ales Standard Saison Saison at 5.6% ABV (US$2.37 at Specs Main Branch, 355 ml, bottle date 29-Jul-2016, reviewed 25-Jan-2016)

Appearance: cloudy straw with two fingers of rocky ivory head, excellent retention and lacing. (5/5) Aroma: coriander, lemony citrus, crackery malt, white pepper, dry musty hay. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-low bitter, light funky tart. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate-low carbonation, lightly funky finish. (4/5)

Decent complexity, some lightly sour lemon and mild barnyard funk intermingled with various spices and crackery (or maybe doughy) malt. If you enjoy the style, this is worth trying. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

New Belgium Brewing Company Citradelic Tangerine IPA – American IPA at 6% ABV

New Belgium Brewing Company Citradelic Tangerine IPA American IPA at 6% ABV (US$1.58 at Specs Main Branch, 355 ml, best before 5-Jun-2016, reviewed 25-Jan-2016)

Appearance: clear pale gold with one fat finger of medium dense off-white head, excellent retention and lacing. (5/5) Aroma: citrus, pale malt, tropical fruit. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate carbonation, crisp and clean finish. (4/5)

Nice. For me, IPAs and added citrus, whether it’s grapefruit, tangerine, or kumquat, just work so well together. For that matter, I’m a sucker for a half strength radler, but this is if anything the best of both worlds: lots of citrus flavour from the hops and the juice, yet a respectably moderate ABV. Light and easy drinking, lots of fun. I like this a lot. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Victory Brewing Company Hop Ranch Imperial IPA – American Double / Imperial IPA at 9% ABV

Victory Brewing Company Hop Ranch Imperial IPA American Double / Imperial IPA at 9% ABV (US$3.46 at Specs Main Branch, 355 ml, best before 7-May-2016, reviewed 25-Jan-2016)

Appearance: clear pale gold with one finger of eggshell head, minimal retention, moderate clingy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: tropical fruit, floral, citrus, pale malt, pine. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry mildly warming finish. (3/5)

The hops don’t seem to be as pungent as I would’ve expected – certainly there’s not a lot of the pungent sharp citrus the label promises. That might also be a function of the high-ish ABV, which otherwise really only manifests as a gentle warming. It’s more or less hop-forward, though, and at least it’s not one of those heavily caramel malt DIPAs. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Sierra Nevada 2016 Beer Camp Tropical IPA – American IPA at 6.7% ABV

Sierra Nevada 2016 Beer Camp Tropical IPA American IPA at 6.7% ABV (US$1.23 at Specs Main Branch, 355 ml, bottle date 16-Dec-2015, reviewed 25-Jan-2016)

Appearance: hazy medium gold with a short, short-lived off-white head, moderate clingy lacing. (3/5) Aroma: tropical fruit, citrus, pale malt, pine, onion. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry slightly sweet finish. (3/5)

Not as tropical as I was hoping, actually, and the little bit of onion seems to grow as it warms. I don’t dislike it, but it’s not the beer I was hoping it would be. Decent, but don’t break your neck looking for it. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Independence Brewing Co. Stash IPA – American IPA at 7% ABV

Independence Brewing Co. Stash IPA American IPA at 7% ABV (US$2.73 at Specs Main Branch, 355 ml, bottle date 7-Jan-2016, reviewed 24-Jan-2016)

Appearance: hazy pale gold with a short ivory head, good retention and well-defined lacing. (4/5) Aroma: tropical fruit, citrus, pale malt, dank, onion. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, high bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry lingering bitter finish. (3/5)

I was sort of expecting brighter hops for something so fresh. The aromas also don’t really seem to communicate the true bitterness of this thing – it doesn’t smell anywhere near as massively bitter as it ends up being on the tongue. The dankness (“stash”, geddit?) starts to come through a bit more as it warms, but so does the onion, so that’s a little bit of a double-edged sword. Ultimately, though, it’s an impressively easy drinking beast for 7% and 100IBU. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Abita Brewing Company Grapefruit Harvest IPA – American IPA at 6% ABV

Abita Brewing Company Grapefruit Harvest IPA American IPA at 6% ABV (US$2.09 at Specs Main Branch, 355 ml, best before 10-May-2016, reviewed 24-Jan-2016)

Appearance: cloud medium gold with a short, short-lived off-white head, patchy lacing. (3/5) Aroma: grapefruit, bready malt, stone and tropical fruit. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter, mild tart. (7/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate-low carbonation, off-dry lightly tart finish. (3/5)

I might be a touch generous with my rating here, but I’m a sucker for a grapefruit IPA. That said, I’d like this more if there were more of it. I can see the argument for subtlety, but I don’t tend to be a subtle kind of guy. More is always better, right? Good fun, if not great. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Harpoon Brewery Harpoon IPA – English IPA at 5.9% ABV

Harpoon Brewery Harpoon IPA English IPA at 5.9% ABV (US$2.26 at Specs Main Branch, 355 ml, best before 15-Jan-2016, reviewed 24-Jan-2016)

Appearance: hazy pale gold with one finger of ivory head, good retention and patchy lacing. (3/5) Aroma: floral, bready malt, grassy, pine, hint of citrus. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate-low carbonation, off-dry finish. (3/5)

Definitely a more English-style IPA, with the hops, any least on the tongue, being less well-defined and sharp than the typical American versions. Don’t get me wrong, we’re not in ESB territory or anything, and there’s a little bit of stone and tropical fruit coming out as it warms, but it’s definitely a milder implementation. Not unpleasant by any means, and I don’t think being a week after the best-by date hurt this too much. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Green Flash Brewing Co. Hop Odyssey Citra Session IPA – Session IPA at 4.5% ABV

Green Flash Brewing Co. Hop Odyssey Citra Session IPA Session IPA at 4.5% ABV (US$2.52 at Specs Main Branch, 355 ml, best before 15-Dec-2015, reviewed 24-Jan-2016)

Appearance: hazy pale gold with one finger of ivory head, good retention and patchy lacing. (3/5) Aroma: citrus rind, tropical fruit, resin, bready malt, lightly dank and/or catty. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate carbonation, off-dry finish. (4/5)

Bearing in mind that this is intended to be a low ABV sessionable ale, it’s pretty good. That said, it’s a bit thin in the mouth and the flavours just don’t seem to pop, though it doesn’t seem to have been deeply harmed by being a bit past its best-by. And, as I’ve usually found to be the case with single-hop ales, the flavours seem to lack dimension. On the up side, the Citra doesn’t come through as offensively catty the way it sometimes can, though there is a not-unpleasant suggestion of that in there, particularly as it warms. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Mikkeller US Alive! – Belgian Strong Pale Ale at 8% ABV

Mikkeller US Alive! Belgian Strong Pale Ale at 8% ABV (C$5.36 at Andrew Hilton Wine & Spirits, 330 ml, best before 5-May-2021, reviewed 22-Jan-2016)

Appearance: clear pale amber with one fat finger of ivory head, excellent retention and chunky lacing. (4/5) Aroma: grapefruit, stone fruit, caramel malt, dried dark fruit, light brett funk. (8/10) Taste: moderate-low sweet, moderate-high bitter, mild funk. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry finish. (4/5)

A very pleasing BSPA, with lots of wild character. I like it, and it’s certainly worth trying – and I don’t mean to damn with faint praise here, but: it’s not quite as interesting as I was hoping/expecting it would be. A little more tartness or a little more sweetness might bring this a little more alive… so to speak. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Cascade Brewing Sang Rouge (2013) – American Wild Ale at 8.4% ABV

Cascade Brewing Sang Rouge (2013) American Wild Ale at 8.4% ABV (C$29.32 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 750 ml, no bottle date or best before, reviewed 22-Jan-2016)

Appearance: nearly opaque brown with red-tinged amber-brown highlights, short off-white head that rapidly settles to a thick cap, minimal lacing. (4/5) Aroma: tart red berries, woody, vinous red grape, vinegar and soya sauce, tobacco and leather, light funk. (9/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high tart. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate-low carbonation, dry tart finish. (4/5)

Call it an “NW style sour ale” if you like, call it an “American Wild,” doesn’t much matter: this is a Flanders red. And a darned good one, at that. Massive fruity tart, red wine and leather, with a hint of umame, oaky and dry finish. Really, really nice (if not the “blood red” of the label). (17/20)

8.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com