The Tin Whistle Brewing Company Rattlesnake ESB – Premium Bitter / ESB at 6.5% ABV

The Tin Whistle Brewing Company Rattlesnake ESB Premium Bitter / ESB at 6.5% ABV (Gift – Doug B, 650 ml, no bottle date or best before, acquired 17-Aug-2016, reviewed 17-Aug-2016)

Appearance: clear medium gold with one finger of rocky ivory head, good retention and patchy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: bready and grainy caramel malt, floral, light grassy and citrus. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (6/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, lingering bitter finish. (3/5)

A decent ESB, with dominant sweet caramel malt and a mild floral/grassy hop character. Not my favourite style by a long shot, but a decent example of the style regardless. Lingering bitter makes this a little more emphatic than typical for the style, which I appreciate. Solid. Thanks, Doug! (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Fernie Brewing Company The Real Peel Grapefruit IPA – American IPA at 6.4% ABV

Fernie Brewing Company The Real Peel Grapefruit IPA American IPA at 6.4% ABV (C$7.99 at Quarry Park Calgary Co-Op, 650 ml, best before 1-Jan-2017, acquired 17-Aug-2016, reviewed 17-Aug-2016)

Appearance: clear pale gold with two fingers of rocky white head diminishing gradually to a thick cap, spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: pithy grapefruit, pale crackery malt, grass. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (7/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, lingering bitter finish. (4/5)

My second “grapefruit IPA” of the day, and this one is more like it: spicy and sharp grapefruit on the nose, and a biting bitter on the tongue. Still nothing like a Grapefruit Sculpin, for example, but a decent citrusy IPA. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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4 Mile Brewing Co. Cactus Grapefruit IPA – American IPA at 6% ABV

4 Mile Brewing Co. Cactus Grapefruit IPA American IPA at 6% ABV (C$7.49 at Quarry Park Calgary Co-Op, 650 ml, no bottle date or best before, acquired 17-Aug-2016, reviewed 17-Aug-2016)

Appearance: clear pale amber with one fat finger of creamy off-white head, good retention and lacing. (4/5) Aroma: melon/prickly pear, caramel, white grapefruit pith. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (6/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, drying slightly tart finish. (3/5)

“Cactus Grapefruit IPA, huh? Sure, why the hell not?” And, y’know, I’ve had worse beers. Much worse. Today. But, to be completely honest, not getting a whole lot of grapefruit here. Things are dominated by a green melon note (which I can only assume is prickly pear, not having ever actually eaten one), with a mild citrusy pith coming in fairly late. The bitterness is quite vegetal in nature, and lingers. Not unpleasant, but not really what the label promises, if you ask me. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com\DPR_0035-3

New Belgium Brewing / Hopworks Urban Brewery Fat Tire and Friends Fat Sour Apple Ale – Sour / Wild Ale at 5.9% ABV

New Belgium Brewing / Hopworks Urban Brewery Fat Tire and Friends Fat Sour Apple Ale Sour / Wild Ale at 5.9% ABV (C$3.12 at Quarry Park Calgary Co-Op, 355 ml, best before 20-Nov-2016, acquired 17-Aug-2016, reviewed 17-Aug-2016)

Appearance: clear deep gold with a short, short-lived off-white head, no lacing. (3/5) Aroma: apples, butyric, bready caramel, light burnt rubber. (4/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter, light tart. (4/10) Medium body, lively carbonation, off-dry and slightly tart finish. (3/5)

Part of the “Fat Tire and Friends Collabeeration Pack”. Wish I could say I was wrong about my prediction for this, but, well, I can’t. Smells like apple cider, tastes like puke and burnt rubber. OK, OK, I exaggerate – slightly. Tastes like apple cider, puke, and burnt rubber, happy? I mean, yeah, of course I’d rather drink this than Bud Lite Lime, but that’s not saying a whole lot, is it? Can’t really recommend this one, unless you’re possessed of a morbid curiosity. (9/20)

4.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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New Belgium Brewing Company Fat Tire Amber Ale – Amber Ale at 5.2% ABV

New Belgium Brewing Company Fat Tire Amber Ale Amber Ale at 5.2% ABV (C$3.12 at Quarry Park Calgary Co-Op, 355 ml, best before 6-Nov-2016, acquired 17-Aug-2016, reviewed 17-Aug-2016)

Appearance: clear deep gold with one finger of creamy ivory head, good retention and lacing. (4/5) Aroma: biscuity caramel malt, nutty, grassy/herbal, very slight butyric. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (6/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, odd-dry medium finish. (3/5)

Was slightly shocked to discover I had never actually formally reviewed this one before. Fairly meh-tastic – and that’s after correcting for my general disdain for the style. Don’t get me wrong, it’s pretty easy-drinking, and despite my noting a slight butyric, it’s not actually offensive: it’s just not very interesting. Got this as part of the “Fat Tire and Friends Collabeeration Pack”, and I wish I could say I hold out high hopes for the others (I mean come on, collaborators include Allagash, Avery, and Firestone Walker) – but I don’t, much. (13/20)

6.5/10 #1001beers #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Tree House Brewing Company Green – American IPA at 7.5% ABV

Tree House Brewing Company Green American IPA at 7.5% ABV (US$3.75, Trade from Bayman 4048 – thanks Norm!, 473 ml, bottle date 9-Aug-2016, acquired 12-Aug-2016, reviewed 16-Aug-2016)

Appearance: opaque pale amber with two fingers of creamy ivory head, good retention and lacing. (4/5) Aroma: tropical fruit, tangerines, green grass, light resiny pine. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (8/10) Medium body, moderate-soft carbonation, drying slightly sticky finish. (4/5)

An excellent example of Galaxy hopping, but in my opinion too restrained. I mean, OK, it’s not calling itself a DIPA the way Bright does, so I shouldn’t be expecting that level of hop bomb goodness – but this, though hoppy, is positively polite, and really isn’t “sharply bitter” like the commercial description claims. If the references are to be believed, this thing has a much higher IBU rating than Bright (90, versus Bright’s 75), but despite the forbidding opaque orange juice-like appearance, it’s soft-bodied and mild, bitter but not aggressive. Batch variations, maybe, but it’s not quite what I was expecting. I guess it boils down to me marking this down because it’s too easy to drink? (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Tree House Brewing Company Bright – American Double / Imperial IPA at 7.8% ABV

Tree House Brewing Company Bright American Double / Imperial IPA at 7.8% ABV (US$4.30, Trade from Bayman 4048 – thanks Norm!, 473 ml, bottle date 10-Aug-2016, acquired 12-Aug-2016, reviewed 16-Aug-2016)

Appearance: hazy pale amber with one fat finger of creamy ivory head, good retention and lacing. (4/5) Aroma: short-lived resiny pine, tropical fruit, citrus, herbal, pale malt. (9/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (8/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, drying slightly sticky finish. (4/5)

If you have the means to enjoy one of these at less than a week old, I highly recommend it. The flavour profile, particularly the aromas, changes fairly dramatically as the beer warms: upon initial opening, a sharp (and yes, dare I say, bright) resiny pine fills the room, but this shortly fades to be replaced by a pleasant blend of tropical fruit and citrus, with an herbal edge. On the tongue, a moderate-high bitter remains throughout, but the character changes somewhat from an herbal, almost grassy note, to a hint of not-quite-onion. (None of the cattiness I sometimes get with Mosaic, though.) Not sure why they consider this to be a Double at 7.8% ABV, while their Green, at 7.5%, is not, but in any case it doesn’t come across as one: the bitterness is big but not overwhelming, the body is soft and pleasant, and the ABV is completely absent on the nose or the tongue. A very enjoyable DIPA. (17/20)

Edit: After trying the Green, I now know why this is both “bright” and “double.” It’s much clearer than Green, presumably because it’s filtered, and it’s much, much more bitter and emphatic than Green. By comparison to Green, it’s definitely both bright and double.

8.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Trillium Brewing Company Melcher Street – American IPA at 7.2% ABV

Trillium Brewing Company Melcher Street American IPA at 7.2% ABV (US$4.30, Trade from Bayman 4048 – thanks Norm!, 473 ml, bottle date 5-Aug-2016, acquired 12-Aug-2016, reviewed 14-Aug-2016)

Appearance: opaque pale amber with one fat finger of creamy ivory head, moderate retention and patchy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: resiny dank pine, grapefruit zest, biscuity pale malt, mango and stone fruit, very light cattiness. (9/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (8/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry slightly sticky and mildly warming finish. (4/5)

A very nice example of Mosaic hopping, with a somewhat danker, less juicy aroma than the Congress Street. Still getting citrus, but it’s more grapefruit rind and less juicy orange. There’s also a little stone or tropical fruit in there, but there’s also just a hint of that cattiness you sometimes get with Mosaic, although it’s not overwhelming or off-putting at all. Overall it suffers just a little by comparison to Congress Street. Still an excellent A/IPA, mind you, and highly enjoyable. (17/20)

8.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Trillium Brewing Company Congress Street – American IPA at 7.2% ABV

Trillium Brewing Company Congress Street American IPA at 7.2% ABV (US$4.30, Trade from Bayman 4048 – thanks Norm!, 473 ml, bottle date 4-Aug-2016, acquired 12-Aug-2016, reviewed 14-Aug-2016)

Appearance: opaque pale amber with one fat finger of creamy ivory head, good retention and moderate lacing. (4/5) Aroma: resiny and slightly dank pine, juicy oranges, pineapple, stone fruit, biscuity pale malt. (10/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (9/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry slightly sticky and mildly warming finish. (4/5)

At ten days old, this is the oldest of the four Boston IPA’s that Norm gave me. No, that’s not a typo, and yes, I’m in heaven. Big piney/citrusy/pineappley notes from the Australian Galaxy hops, hints of stone fruit and floral, and just enough biscuity pale malt to support things, with a lovely mouth feel, and just the right amount of gentle warming in the finish. Very well-balanced and just a lovely beer all-round. Huge thanks to Norm for this gem! (18/20)

9/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Saint Somewhere Brewing Company Pays du Soleil – Saison at 8% ABV

Saint Somewhere Brewing Company Pays du Soleil Saison at 8% ABV (US$11.99 at Knightly Spirits Williamsburg, 750 ml, no bottle date or best before, acquired 1-May-2016, reviewed 8-Aug-2016)

Appearance: clear amber-brown with two fingers of growing rocky beige head, moderate retention and patchy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: floral, fruit, orange peel, Belgian yeast, caramel, light horseblankety funk. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter, light funk. (6/10) Medium body, lively carbonation, off-dry slightly sticky finish. (3/5)

I’m not quite sure how best to categorize this: it’s clearly Belg-ish, with elements of Saison, but at least at the outset, it smells and acts a bit like a lambic. There’s some floral (though I’m not sure I could identify a hibiscus to save my life) and generic fruit esters on top of a light tart funk. It starts off rather promisingly, neatly uncorking itself as soon as the cage is released, and initially seems like it’s going to be an effervescent, dry, and rather interesting wild. Unfortunately, all of that falls rather flat – literally as well as figuratively – in rather short order. The carbonation dies off fairly rapidly, along with the head, and no decent lacing develops. As the carbonation dies, the dryness of the body goes away as well, leaving behind a slightly sweeter, slightly stickier ale than was promised by the first few sips. Most damningly, however, the more interesting elements of the aroma also die off fairly rapidly, becoming more brown apple and less tart funk. That’s not to say it’s a complete write-off – it certainly isn’t – but it’s not as good as I initially had hoped it would be. On the upside – well, I say “upside”, but maybe it’s a huge downside for some – that fairly beefy 8% ABV doesn’t become apparent until the bottle is fairly far gone, and you realize you’ve been quaffing 8% beer pretty liberally. Good times! (But yes, again, that’s a bit of a strike if you want to be stylistically pedantic: a near double-digit ABV is not the kind of stuff you want to be quenching your thirst with while working the fields, is it?) (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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