Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company Golden Vox by k-os – Rye Beer at 6% ABV | 46 IBU

Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company Golden Vox by k-os Rye Beer at 6% ABV | 46 IBU (C$5.12 at NLC Howley Estates, 600 ml, bottle date 28-Sep-2016, acquired 23-Nov-2016, reviewed 24-Nov-2016)

Appearance: clear pale gold with one finger of fluffy white head, good retention and moderate lacing. (3/5) Aroma: grainy malt, grassy, light rye. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, mild bitter, light peppery spice. (6/10) Medium-light body, moderate carbonation, sweetish mildly bitter and lightly spicy finish. (3/5)

Pretty boring, actually. Nothing’s offensive, but nothing stands out. There’s not a lot of rye grain character, though it does start to become a little apparent in the lightly spicy finish. Only the slightest hint of the supposed whiskey ageing becomes apparent at the very end, as the beer warms – I’m not sure I would’ve caught it had I not read the brewer’s notes. Definitely comes across more as a lagered ale, than a rye beer (to its detriment). (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company Ginger Wolf (Wild Oats Series No. 67) – Hopfenweisse at 6.5% ABV | 22 IBU

Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company Ginger Wolf (Wild Oats Series No. 67) Hopfenweisse at 6.5% ABV | 22 IBU (C$6.23 at NLC Howley Estates, 600 ml, bottle date 17-Aug-2016, acquired 23-Nov-2016, reviewed 24-Nov-2016)

Appearance: clear pale gold with two fat fingers (and growing) of fluffy ivory head, excellent retention and well-defined lacing. (4/5) Aroma: ginger, citrus, melon, tropical fruit, wheat malt. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, mild bitter, light peppery spice. (7/10) Medium-light body, moderate carbonation, sweetish bitter and building spicy finish. (4/5)

Quite good, but I’m not entirely convinced it’s as good as their Wag the Wolf Hopfenweisse. The ginger adds an interesting element, and isn’t as aggressive as the ginger presence in e.g. a ginger beer. However, it certainly lingers in the nose and builds on the tongue, eventually dominating over almost everything else. Unlike the Wag the Wolf, there’s no beautiful room-filling hop aromas immediately upon decapping, though they are present underneath the ginger. An interesting variation, but in this case I think I prefer the original. (15/20)

7.5/510 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company One Ping Only (Wild Oats Series No. 56) – Baltic Porter at 8.5% ABV | 34 IBU

Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company One Ping Only (Wild Oats Series No. 56) Baltic Porter at 8.5% ABV | 34 IBU (C$6.23 at NLC Howley Estates, 600 ml, bottle date 8-Sep-2016, acquired 23-Nov-2016, reviewed 23-Nov-2016)

Appearance: clear ruby brown with two fingers of creamy light beige head, good retention and well-defined lacing. (4/5) Aroma: molasses, deep roasty chocolate, dark boozy fruit, coffee.  (7/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, medium bitter. (7/10) Medium-full slick body, soft carbonation, off-dry bitter finish. (4/5)

I usually find Baltic Porters a bit too sweet, but this one is nicely balanced. The sweetness is emphatic, but not overwhelming, and is balanced by a smooth body and moderate bitterness. In this case, one ping is enough. (15/20)

7.5/510 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company Return of the Mumme (Wild Oats Series No. 55) – Mumme at 5.8% ABV | 35 IBU

Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company Return of the Mumme (Wild Oats Series No. 55) Mumme at 5.8% ABV | 35 IBU (C$6.23 at NLC Howley Estates, 600 ml, bottle date 12-Sep-2016, acquired 23-Nov-2016, reviewed 23-Nov-2016)

Appearance: slightly hazy medium to deep amber with two fingers of pillowy light beige head, good retention and lacing. (4/5) Aroma: complex botanicals, spicy, woody, black tea, clover, caraway seed, ginger, pine resin. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, medium bitter. (7/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry bitter and slightly spicy finish. (3/5)

So that’s a Mumme, huh? First one for me, which makes it difficult to rate – and odd, which makes it even more difficult to rate. I should point out, though, that “odd” doesn’t necessarily mean “bad”. This is just… odd. It opens up with a combination of nearly medicinal botanicals like dandelion and clover, but then notes of black tea and caraway seed develop, before a lightly spicy, gingery finish with hints of resiny pine. It actually feels a little more bitter than the 35 IBU would suggest, probably due to herbal contributions over and above the straight alpha acids imparted by the hops. I guess it’s sort of like a Gruit, if I had to pick a comparison, but a Christmas blend one. Not unpleasant, and it sort of grew on me as it progressed – but, still: odd. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company Farm Table: Vienna-Style Lager – Vienna Lager at 4.7% ABV | 25 IBU

Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company Farm Table: Vienna-Style Lager Vienna Lager at 4.7% ABV | 25 IBU (C$6.23 at NLC Howley Estates, 600 ml, bottle date 19-Aug-2016, acquired 23-Nov-2016, reviewed 23-Nov-2016)

Appearance: clear pale amber with one fat finger of rocky ivory head, moderate retention and patchy lacing. (3/5) Aroma: grainy and biscuity malt, caramel, light citrus and grassy. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, mild bitter. (7/10) Medium-light body, moderate-soft carbonation, off-dry mildly bitter finish. (3/5)

A pleasant Vienna Lager – nothing challenging, but well-balanced and even-tempered. Since it isn’t one of my favourite styles, I might or mightn’t have bothered to get this had it been on its own, but I don’t mind getting it as one of the 2016 Oktoberfest pack. (Yes, it just showed up at NLC stores, in November. A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.) (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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YellowBelly Brewery Southern Shore Foggy Porter – Porter at 5.8% ABV | 45 IBU

YellowBelly Brewery Southern Shore Foggy Porter Porter at 5.8% ABV | 45 IBU (C$11.03 at YellowBelly Brewery, 1 l, best before 27-Oct-2016, acquired 7-Sep-2016, reviewed 22-Nov-2016)

Appearance: clear amber-brown with one fat finger of fluffy light beige head, moderate retention and patchy lacing. (3/5) Aroma: pine, citrus, dark fruit, banana, nutty and earthy. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Medium body tending slightly watery, moderate-soft carbonation, off-dry mildly bitter and lightly astringent finish. (3/5)

Not your typical porter, by any means. That’s made apparent by the hop character that is still clearly present even though this is a bit past the BB date – and there’s a hint right there that this isn’t a normal porter: the BB date is only a couple of months after it was bottled? Seriously? For a porter? It’s the dry hopping with New World hops that provides the answers: rather than a malt-dominant porter with little in the way of aromatic hopping, and purely noble hops for bittering, this is actually a hop-dominant oddball with lots of pine and citrus elements (in addition to earthy) leading the way over a mild malt base. I was unconvinced with the first few sips, but it grew on me in a big way. It’s not without its flaws – the body is still too thin, in my opinion, and that seems to contribute to sharp astringent note in the finish – but I’m not unhappy I tried it. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Stone Brewing Company Xocoveza – American Double / Imperial Stout at 8.1% ABV | 50 IBU

Stone Brewing Company Xocoveza American Double / Imperial Stout at 8.1% ABV | 50 IBU (Trade – Bayman 4048, 355 ml, bottle date 21-Dec-2016, acquired 1-Nov-2016, reviewed 22-Nov-2016)

Appearance: clear deep brown with one fat finger of fluffy beige head, moderate retention and minimal lacing. (3/5) Aroma: chocolate, chilli, cinnamon and nutmeg, lactose, vanilla. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter, mild spice. (9/10) Medium-full somewhat creamy body, moderate carbonation, off-dry bitter and slightly spicy finish. (4/5)

Probably the best ale made with peppers I’ve ever had, possibly because the peppers are so very mild. There’s a chilli/chipotle note in the aroma that grows as the beer warms, but it never translates into any real heat on the tongue. As a result, the beer stays smooth and balanced, is sweet without becoming overwhelming, and does a masterful job of hiding the fairly beefy ABV. I’d like to see a fuller and creamier body (maybe a nitro tap?) and maybe a hint more smoky chipotle and less green vegetal in the chilli, but excellent as it stands. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Muskoka Brewery Shinnicked Stout – American Stout at 5.2% ABV | 19 IBU

Muskoka Brewery Shinnicked Stout American Stout at 5.2% ABV | 19 IBU (C$3.57 at NLC Howley Estates, 473 ml, best before 28-Feb-2017, acquired 19-Nov-2016, reviewed 22-Nov-2016)

Appearance: clear ruby brown with two fingers of fluffy beige head diminishing gradually a to a persistent cap, minimal lacing. (3/5) Aroma: coffee, dark chocolate, roasty malt, dark fruit, light nutty. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-low bitter. (7/10) Medium-full slightly creamy body, moderate carbonation, off-dry mildly bitter and slightly sweet finish. (4/5)

A pleasant, almost Dry Irish-style stout, except for the hint of coffee and slightly higher caramel-like sweetness in the finish. Quite smooth and pleasant, and at only 5.2% ABV, quite approachable. My biggest beef with it is how understated the coffee is: as it stands, one could easily misinterpret the coffee notes as being attributable to the roasted malt, though they do linger in the finish a bit like an iced latte. In my opinion it could easily have been much more emphatic – I’m not sure it’s got the presence to warm you up after a polar bear plunge – but it’s not bad. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Bellwoods Brewery Jelly King – Sour / Wild Ale at 5.6% ABV | 12 [?] IBU

Bellwoods Brewery Jelly King Sour / Wild Ale at 5.6% ABV | 12 [?] IBU (C$6.50 at Trade – Cashout, 500 ml, bottle date 20-Oct-2016, acquired 19-Nov-2016, reviewed 20-Nov-2016)

Appearance: cloudy pale amber with one fat finger of fluffy white head diminishing rapidly to a thin skim, no lacing. (3/5) Aroma: tart stone fruit, lemon zest, resiny pine and cedar. (9/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate tart, low bitter. (9/10) Medium-light body, lively carbonation, short duration tart finish. (4/5)

Ohhh yeah – that’s what I expect from Bellwoods! Massive fuzzy peach sour, with citrus and evergreen notes. The Citra dry-hopping is clearly evident, and (critically) introduces no vegetal onion or cattiness at all. Pretty much nonexistent bitter, but the moderate sweetness is more than adequately tempered by the large but even-handed tartness, and livened by an enthusiastic carbonation. Somewhat surprisingly, given the brewery’s predilections, there’s no funk in this at all – which I guess is indicative of no brettanomyces, and is the reason for the “drink fresh” appellation on the label. A solid and pleasant sour – thanks, Tim! (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Bellwoods Brewery Gotham – Black IPA at 8% ABV | 80 [?] IBU

Bellwoods Brewery Gotham Black IPA at 8% ABV | 80 [?] IBU (C$6.50 at Trade – Cashout, 500 ml, bottle date 20-Oct-2016, acquired 19-Nov-2016, reviewed 20-Nov-2016)

Appearance: clear ruby brown with three fingers of fluffy beige head, good retention and lacing. (4/5) Aroma: pine, citrus, coffee, chocolate, earthy, herbal. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (7/10) Medium-light body, moderate carbonation, medium duration mildly bitter and warming finish. (4/5)

At the start , I was a bit on the fence about this one. It was mild and mellow, almost to the point of losing the thread. But after a bit, it opened up, and developed some interesting depth. Grading this as a Bellwoods IPA, it’s not great – I’d rather have a Witchshark, Jutsu, or Roman Candle, if that’s what I was looking for. But as a subtle, dark malt-present specialty, it’s pretty interesting. Thanks, Tim! (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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