H. P. Bulmer (Heineken) Strongbow British Dry – Cider at 5.3% ABV

H. P. Bulmer (Heineken) Strongbow British Dry Cider at 5.3% ABV (C$3.82 at NLC Stavanger, 440 ml, best before 31-May-2017, acquired 7-Sep-2016, reviewed 4-Oct-2016)

Appearance: crystal clear pale straw with a short fizzy white head dropping rapidly to a thin skim, no lacing. (3/5) Aroma: sweetish and tart green apple, mildly earthy/funky. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate tart. (6/10) Medium-light body, moderate carbonation, crisp dry short finish. (3/5)

Yeah, another “all apple, all the time” cider. But, despite being mass-market plonk, this really isn’t bad. It’s nicely dry, with a tart, puckering finish that keeps the sweetness firmly in check. You could do a lot worse – for example, those hellaciously sweet domestic ciders. Plus, I got a free glass! (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Fuggles & Warlock Craftworks Kiwami Plum Sour – Sour / Wild Ale at 6.3% ABV | 7 IBU

Fuggles & Warlock Craftworks Kiwami Plum Sour Sour / Wild Ale at 6.3% ABV | 7 IBU (C$9.50 at Sundance Wine Market, 650 ml, bottle date 1-Apr-2016, acquired 19-Aug-2016, reviewed 3-Oct-2016)

Appearance: opaque pale amber with one finger of fizzy off-white head settling gradually to a persistent creamy cap, patchy lacing. (3/5) Aroma: red grape must, stone fruit, lactic, wheat malt. (6/10) Taste: moderate-low sweet, moderate tart, low/no bitter. (6/10) Medium-light slightly creamy body, moderate carbonation, off-dry tart medium duration finish. (3/5)

A bit of a strange beer, that starts off smelling like red grape must, but tastes and finishes like pureed fruit baby food (peaches, maybe, more than plums). On the up side, the sweetness is actually more restrained than initially apparent, dropping off rapidly and leaving an off-dry, slightly astringent mouth feel. Not a lot of complexity, and I wasn’t the least bit surprised to see it was a kettle sour. Credit where credit is due for using real plums, but that doesn’t save this thing from the doldrums of mediocrity. If a traditional barrel-aged sour is a symphony of flavour, this is a kazoo. Playing the Circus Theme. (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Peller Estates No Boats on Sunday – Cider at 5.3% ABV

Peller Estates No Boats on Sunday Cider at 5.3% ABV (C$3.86 at NLC Stavanger, 500 ml, no bottle date or best before, acquired 17-Jul-2016, reviewed 2-Oct-2016)

Appearance: crystal clear pale straw with a short, short-lived white head, no lacing. (4/5) Aroma: sweetish and tart green apple, mildly earthy. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate tart. (6/10) Medium-light body, moderate carbonation, crisp off-dry medium duration finish. (3/5)

Not a lot to say about this, as it’s very much a case of “apple, and not much else”. Tending a bit to the sweet for my preference, but otherwise pleasant. (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Brasserie Dunham Saison du Pinacle – Saison at 6.5% ABV | 52 IBU

Brasserie Dunham Saison du Pinacle Saison at 6.5% ABV | 52 IBU (C$13.99 at Liquor Depot McKenzie Town, 750 ml, no bottle date or best before, acquired 19-Sep-2016, reviewed 2-Oct-2016)

Appearance: hazy medium gold with two fingers of rocky light ivory head, excellent retention and lacing. (5/5) Aroma: dry barnyardy funk, crackery malt, tropical fruit, pithy grapefruit, floral. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter, moderate funky tart. (8/10) Medium-light body, lively to moderate carbonation, bone dry verging on astringent moderate bitter and funky lingering finish. (4/5)

I dunno that it’s the “pinnacle” of saisons, but dammit, it’s close. Complex aromas are dominated but not overwhelmed by a pleasant dusty funk, and the flavour is nicely balanced by an emphatic bitter. The PNW and ANZ hops provide an enjoyable combination of vinous fruit and citrus that bolster, rather than obscure, the underlying barnyardy funk. I suppose the hop character adds to my usual complaint about beefy ABV presence to make this a fairly out-of-spec Saison, but I have to say I quite enjoy it. Definitely edging into world-class territory regardless of whether you consider it a Saison or a BSPA. (17/20)

8.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Mill Street Brewery Capelin Hound – Session IPA at 4% ABV | 50 IBU

Mill Street Brewery Capelin Hound Session IPA at 4% ABV | 50 IBU (C$8.00 at Mill Street Brew Pub St. John’s, 945 ml, no bottle date or best before, acquired 29-Sep-2016, reviewed 30-Sep-2016)

Appearance: clear deep gold with one fat finger of loose and slightly fizzy white head diminishing gradually to a thin ring, spotty lacing. (4/5) Aroma: grapefruit, floral, pale malt, green onion/catty. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (7/10) Light body, lively carbonation, off-dry moderate bitter finish. (3/5)

Starts off quite promising, with a lovely bright blast of citrus and floral hops upon decapping. I wish I could say that continues, but unfortunately it doesn’t. And yes, I get that it’s a Session IPA, and that it’s very hard to maintain that degree of aromatic hops on a thinner body and malt base. – I’m not critical, as such, just a little disappointed that magic wasn’t actually accomplished. As the initial brightness fades, a little green onion/cattiness becomes apparent, but not to the extent of becoming pleasant. All in all, a very pleasant sessionable ale, and possibly one of the most bitter of this style I’ve ever had. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Mill Street Brewery Cobbler Path – Wheat Ale at 5% ABV | 25 IBU

Mill Street Brewery Cobbler Path Wheat Ale at 5% ABV | 25 IBU (C$8.00 at Mill Street Brew Pub St. John’s, 945 ml, no bottle date or best before, acquired 29-Sep-2016, reviewed 1-Oct-2016)

Appearance: cloudy pink gold with one finger of loose off-white head diminishing gradually to a thin cap, spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: muted, wheat, melon, light berry and citrus. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-low bitter, light tart. (7/10) Light slightly creamy body, lively to moderate carbonation, off-dry slightly tart finish. (3/5)

This is fine – fairly light, easy-drinking, and not overly sweet – but how interesting, really, can a Blueberry Wheat Ale be? I’m not certain how much Mosaic is coming through, but it’s not a bad match for natural blueberry (which, I guess, is part of the reason I can’t really distinguish exactly what notes are coming from where). What this does particularly well, though, is keep an even hand on the blueberry: there’s enough that it’s detectable, but it’s not completely dominant, and it doesn’t taste artificial. I’ve had much worse along these lines, certainly (I’m looking at you, Pump House and Saugatuck!) and I guess I really need to be at least somewhat friendly about a beer named after a path five minutes from my house! (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Brasserie Dunham Gouden Meyer Supermoine – Belgian Strong Pale Ale at 8% ABV | 35 IBU

Brasserie Dunham Gouden Meyer Supermoine Belgian Strong Pale Ale at 8% ABV | 35 IBU (C$16.99 at Liquor Depot McKenzie Town, 750 ml, no bottle date or best before, acquired 19-Sep-2016, reviewed 30-Sep-2016)

Appearance: slightly hazy straw two fingers of fluffy growing white head, excellent retention and well-defined lacing. (4/5) Aroma: floral, honey, citrus, yeast, hay, light funk. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter, light tart. (6/10) Medium-light body turning rapidly watery, prickly carbonation, off-dry moderate bitter and warming finish. (3/5)

I’m not sure what exactly it is about this leaves me a little unimpressed. The initial aromas are promising, similar to other BSPA’s, but no real depth or complexity seems to develop. The medium-light body is initially buoyed by a lively, almost prickly carbonation, but it drops off rapidly to a watery, uninspiring finish. The ABV isn’t overwhelming, but it’s definitely there, almost to the point of slight harshness. Overall, it just feels a little clumsy to me. I also never would have guessed that there was any added citrus, and certainly wouldn’t have been able to pinpoint it as Meyer. It’s fine, and there’s nothing really wrong with it as such, but I’m not sure it’s worth the price tag. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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