Ninkasi Brewing Company Easy Way – Session IPA at 4.7% ABV

Ninkasi Brewing Company Easy Way Session IPA at 4.7% ABV (C$3.58 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 355 ml, no bottle date or best before, acquired 23-Jul-2016, reviewed 24-Jul-2016)

Appearance: clear pale gold with one finger of rocky white head, good retention and lacing. (4/5) Aroma: lemony citrus, pine, crackery pale malt, grass, floral. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Medium-light body, lively carbonation, crisp moderately bitter finish. (4/5)

The label just calls this an IPA, but I’d consider it more of a S/IPA, both in terms of ABV and body. That being said, it doesn’t seem thin or watered-down. They’ve certainly done a good job of keeping bright hoppy flavours while lowering the gravity. Good example of the style, if not particularly memorable. This would be a good beer for a hot day on a sunny patio. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Le Trou du Diable Le Coq – Sour / Wild Ale at 6.5% ABV

Le Trou du Diable Le Coq Sour / Wild Ale at 6.5% ABV (C$21.49 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 750 ml, bottle date 26-May-2016, acquired 23-Jul-2016, reviewed 23-Jul-2016)

Appearance: cloudy ruby red with one finger of rocky pink head, good retention and patchy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: sour cherry, mild horseblankety funk, light balsamic vinegar. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate tart, light funk. (9/10) Medium-light body, moderate carbonation, crisp tart and lightly funky finish. (4/5)

I was caught bit flat-footed by the explosive decapping, but grabbed the glass in time to save most of the subsequent gusher. Thankfully – because I will now impart pretty much the highest compliment I could give: in a blind tasting, you might be able to convince me this was a Cantillon Kriek. Well… y’know… if I had already been drinking… or had a cold… OK, fine, it smells like a Cantillon Kriek, OK? …sort of… The flavours don’t quite have the depth and complexity, and it’s not quite so bone-dry and champagne-like, nor is it the same crystal-clear ruby – but man, still very, very good. Call it 90% of a Cantillon for 60% of the (domestic) price? Totally worth it. (17/20)

8.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Dageraad Brewing Blonde IPA – Belgian IPA at 7.5% ABV

Dageraad Brewing Blonde IPA Belgian IPA at 7.5% ABV (C$9.29 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 650 ml, no bottle date or best before, acquired 23-Jul-2016, reviewed 23-Jul-2016)

Appearance: cloudy pale gold with two fingers of loose off-white head, good retention and lacing. (4/5) Aroma: tropical and stone fruit, dry hay, pale malt, Belgian yeast, mild pine, light horseblankety funk. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter, mild funk, light tart. (7/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry bitter and lightly funky finish. (4/5)

I’ve come to expect good Belgian interpretations from these guys, and this doesn’t disappoint. It’s similar to their Blonde, certainly, but the Amarillo hops are definitely changing the complexion of things. There’s still the strong family resemblance imparted by their house yeast, of course, but in this particular case, it takes a long time for that characteristic brown apple note to develop (and when it does it’s less noticeable than I’ve found it to be in their other beers). Ultimately I don’t think it’s better or worse than the Blonde – just different. And different is always good. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Bomber Brewing Company Bomber Brewing IPA – American IPA at 6.3% ABV

Bomber Brewing Company Bomber Brewing IPA American IPA at 6.3% ABV (C$2.17 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 355 ml, bottle date 24-Jun-2016, acquired 19-Jul-2016, reviewed 23-Jul-2016)

Appearance: slightly hazy pale amber with two fingers of loose ivory head, moderate retention and lacing. (3/5) Aroma: citrus, pine, caramel malt, floral/herbal. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Medium slightly oily body, moderate carbonation, off-dry lingering bitter finish. (3/5)

Not terrible, by any means, but it’s an older-style A/IPA, with significant malt presence. There’s a decent amount of starts-with-C hopping there, but it’s not as bright as I’d like it to be. Good, not great. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Willow Park Wine & Spirits (2016-07-23)

Hey, look! I found some beer! Who’d’a thunk it?

Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel! Petit Détour
Bench Creek Brewing Naked Woodsman
Blindman Brewing American Brown Ale
Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel! Petit Détour
Brauerei Heller-Trum / Schlenkerla Aecht Schlenkerla Eiche
Cannery Brewing Company Drupaceous Apricot Wheat Ale
Dageraad Brewing Blonde IPA
Driftwood Brewery Entangled
Le Trou du Diable Le Coq
Ninkasi Brewing Company Easy Way
Phillips Brewing Company Atomic Buffalo Smokey Red Saison
Village Brewery Rancher

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#ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Troubled Monk Brewery Pesky Pig – American Pale Ale at 5% ABV

Troubled Monk Brewery Pesky Pig American Pale Ale at 5% ABV (C$2.33 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 355 ml, bottle date 6-Jul-2016, acquired 19-Jul-2016, reviewed 23-Jul-2016)

Appearance: clear pale gold with two fingers of loose ivory head, moderate retention and patchy lacing. (3/5) Aroma: pithy grapefruit, pine, crackery pale malt, grass, floral. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Medium-light body, moderate carbonation, off-dry moderately bitter finish. (4/5)

Dunno what that monk’s got to be troubled about: he’s got a beer in each hand, and he’s riding a pig – what’s not to enjoy? As for what’s inside the can, well, pretty much the same phrase applies: what’s not to enjoy? Nice hoppy nose, decent bitterness, and a pleasantly light and crisp body make this quite an enjoyable APA, as long as you drink it fairly quickly: the citrus and pine do fade, leaving behind the grassiness and an almost lager-y character. Luckily, there’s no reason not to drink it at a reasonably quick pace, so, no harm, no foul. (And I’m utterly thrilled to see another craft brewery in Red Deer. The current proliferation of small craft brewers makes me happy.) (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Nøgne Ø / Mikkeller / BrewDog Horizon Tokyo Black – American Double / Imperial Stout at 16% ABV

Nøgne Ø / Mikkeller / BrewDog Horizon Tokyo Black American Double / Imperial Stout at 16% ABV (C$12.02 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 250 ml, bottle date 29-Nov-2012, best before 29-Nov-2027, acquired 3-Jul-2015, reviewed 22-Jul-2016)

Appearance: opaque black with a short-lived loose beige head, no lacing. (3/5) Aroma: boozy dark fruit, chocolate, liquorice, dark roasty and peaty malt, vanilla. (7/10) Taste: high bitter, moderate-high sweet. (7/10) Full body, soft carbonation, lingering boozy finish. (3/5)

Yeah, it’s another 11 years and then some before the BB date, but it’s good to be proactive, right? I went into this assuming that over three years of ageing should be sufficient to allow this thing to smooth out as much as it was gonna. I might’ve been mistaken. Or maybe this thing is never gonna settle down. Either way, it’s a hot, boozy mess. I’m the last one to criticize a hot, boozy mess, because that pretty much describes me (heyyy-ooo!) but this is just… well… I debated using “harsh”, but, yeah, it’s harsh. Not brutal, perhaps, but definitely harsh. And way overrated: if I’m gonna struggle to drink a mediocre beer, at least let me not have to pay fifty bucks a litre for it? (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Gigantic Brewing Company Superbad (#37) – American Double / Imperial Stout at 9% ABV

Gigantic Brewing Company Superbad (#37) American Double / Imperial Stout at 9% ABV (C$11.99 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 650 ml, no bottle date or best before, acquired 23-Mar-2016, reviewed 22-Jul-2016)

Appearance: nearly opaque black with the merest hint of brown in the margins, one fat finger of dense beige head, moderate retention and minimal lacing. (3/5) Aroma: coffee, cocoa nibs, liquorice, dark fruit, light chili pepper. (8/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate bitter, light spice. (7/10) Medium-full slightly slick body, moderate-low carbonation, off-dry mildly bitter and spicy warming finish. (3/5)

Decent, but not up to the level I was hoping for, if I’m honest. I was expecting, I dunno, more… presence? Ultimately it’s just a little thin, both in body and flavours. It could certainly stand to be more robust. On the other hand, the mild chili pepper spice goes well with the relatively high ABV, helping create a mild diffuse warming. (Yes, I know it’s the middle of summer. I have way too much dark stuff on hand – gotta drink it down!) (14/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Firestone Walker Brewing Company Luponic Distortion Revolution No. 002 – American IPA at 5.9% ABV

Firestone Walker Brewing Company Luponic Distortion Revolution No. 002 American IPA at 5.9% ABV (C$3.33 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 355 ml, bottle date 14-Jun-2016, acquired 19-Jul-2016, reviewed 22-Jul-2016)

Appearance: clear pale gold with two fingers of loose off-white head, moderate retention and patchy lacing. (3/5) Aroma: tropical fruit, melon, crackery pale malt, citrus, floral, light vinous. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Medium-light slightly slick body, moderate carbonation, off-dry mildly bitter finish. (4/5)

Awww yeah… Pleasantly hoppy A/IPA, albeit one verging into ISA territory. Nothing aggressive, and the hops are definitely given a run for their money by the malt. It finishes fairly clean, but there is an almost soapy texture to the body. Still, though, very drinkable, in large quantities should the opportunity present. “Crushable”, as the kids say. (See? I’m hip! With it! Cool! … oh god I’m so old…) (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Ribstone Creek Brewery Great White Combine – White IPA at 5.6% ABV

Ribstone Creek Brewery Great White Combine White IPA at 5.6% ABV (C$2.50 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 355 ml, bottle date 27-Jun-2016, acquired 19-Jul-2016, reviewed 22-Jul-2016)

Appearance: hazy deep gold with one finger of rocky ivory head, good retention and moderate lacing. (4/5) Aroma: clove/coriander, white pepper, citrus, pine, wheat. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter, mild pepper. (8/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, mild bitter and spicy finish. (4/5)

The usual suspects call this an American IPA, but I beg to differ. It’s definitely a White IPA, or a Belgian-style IPA if you want to be old-school about it, but that’s not much more accurate than the A/IPA designation. Ultimately, this is a great example of why BJCP formally added White IPA as a style as of 2015: it really does marry two very disparate styles to create something entirely new. The aromas are definitely dominated by a Witbier-like pepper and coriander, whether actual spice and/or Belgian yeast, but that’s quickly followed by a citrus and pine hoppiness that wouldn’t normally be present in a wit. Nope, this is its own beast, similar to how the Black IPA is, but I think I prefer this style – and the is a good example of that style. Ribstone Creek has really hit this one out of the park. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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