All or Nothing Brewhouse Hopfenweisse – Hopfenweisse at 5.1% ABV | 25 IBU

All or Nothing Brewhouse Hopfenweisse Hopfenweisse at 5.1% ABV | 25 IBU (Gift – thanks, Kath M!, 473 ml, bottle date 21-Jul-2016, acquired 14-Dec-2016, reviewed 19-Dec-2016)

Appearance: hazy deep gold with three fingers of loose ivory head, moderate retention and minimal patchy lacing. (3/5) Aroma: banana, wheat malt, coriander, light citrus, hint of bandaid. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (6/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate carbonation, off-dry mildly bitter and peppery finish. (3/5)

Not bad, not great. I tend to like the Hopfenweisse style, but this isn’t a particularly well-balanced implementation of that. It’s OK, but that’s about it. (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Collective Arts Brewing Saint of Circumstance – Blond Ale at 4.7% ABV | 19 IBU

Collective Arts Brewing Saint of Circumstance Blond Ale at 4.7% ABV | 19 IBU (Gift – thanks, Kath M!, 473 ml, bottle date 18-Aug-2016, acquired 14-Dec-2016, reviewed 19-Dec-2016)

Appearance: hazy straw with one finger of fluffy ivory head, excellent retention and moderate lacing. (4/5) Aroma: lemon pulp and zest, wheat malt, grassy/herbal, hint of coriander and white pepper. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate tart, light bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate carbonation, off-dry mildly bitter and peppery finish. (3/5)

A pleasant hybrid ale – I honestly don’t know whether it would be better characterized as a Witbier or an American Pale (or even a session IPA), so I’ve gone with the more general “Blond” moniker. It’s very light, though. That’s not necessarily a criticism, but it definitely makes it a more difficult target to meet. This would probably be a lot more fun if it were a little more… well… everything. As it is, good, but not great. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Wold Top Brewery Shepherd’s Watch (Canadian Edition 2016) – Old Ale at 6% ABV

Wold Top Brewery Shepherd’s Watch (Canadian Edition 2016) Old Ale at 6% ABV (2016 Craft Beer Advent Calendar #19, 330 ml, best before 31-Jul-2017, acquired 25-Sep-2016, reviewed 19-Dec-2016)

Appearance: nearly opaque deep brown with amber-brown highlights, one finger of fluffy tan head diminishing rapidly to nothing, spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: molasses, dark fruit, toffee. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (6/10) Palate: medium body tending somewhat to watery, moderate carbonation, off-dry moderately bitter finish. (3/5)

I was somewhat disappointed to find that Advent day #19 was a repeat beer for me, one that I tried only 8 months ago. Having found it a bit thin at that time, I decided to drink it considerably warmer, and allowed it to get up to about 15ºC. That may have helped somewhat, but to completely honest, I still don’t see a significant difference between this “Canadian Edition” and the original one I had, so here those original notes: “Not unpleasant. Somewhat surprising bitterness in the finish keeps the sweetness under control, without getting astringent. Drinkable example of the style.” (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Bent Stick Brewing Co. Dark Farm – Saison at 5% ABV

Bent Stick Brewing Co. Dark Farm Saison at 5% ABV (C$7.60 at Sherbrooke Liquor, 650 ml, no bottle date or best before, acquired 17-Dec-2016, reviewed 18-Dec-2016)

Appearance: cloudy brown with a fluffy three finger rocky beige head, excellent retention and moderate lacing. (3/5) Aroma: caramel, toasted bread, citrus and grassy. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (6/10) Palate: medium body, lively carbonation, sweetish moderate bitter and lightly spicy finish. (3/5)

Meh – another mess from Bent Stick. Unmanageable head, muddy appearance, and an aroma/flavour profile that’s far more Brown Ale than Saison/Farmhouse. It’s not actually offensive, but I can’t see bothering with another one of theirs. (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Bent Stick Brewing Co. Swap the Hops Pale Ale – American Pale Ale at 5% ABV

Bent Stick Brewing Co. Swap the Hops Pale Ale American Pale Ale at 5% ABV (C$5.56 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 650 ml, no bottle date or best before, acquired 13-Dec-2016, reviewed 18-Dec-2016)

Appearance: hazy deep gold with a massive and growing four fingers of rocky white head, excellent retention and chunky patchy lacing. (3/5) Aroma: citrus, caramel, floral, apple, grainy malt. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (6/10) Palate: medium body, lively to moderate carbonation, off-dry medium bitter finish. (3/5)

Another near-gusher from Bent Stick – I’m starting to sense a pattern here. This one was even more out of control than The Crusher, even with a nearly horizontal pour. Aromas and flavours are very similar to The Crusher, although slightly more pronounced. At least the body and carbonation don’t drop off quite as badly, so I guess it has that going for it. But, seriously, dudes: “hops will vary”, but you don’t have any sort of release date or batch numbering? How about you, ohhhh I dunno, DATE YOUR DAMN BOTTLES? I’ve got one more of theirs to try but I think I might be done with these guys after that – I like to support local brewers, but life’s too short to put up with ones who insist on making all of the most annoying mistakes. (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Bent Stick Brewing Co. The Crusher Lean and Mean ISA – Session IPA at 4.5% ABV

Bent Stick Brewing Co. The Crusher Lean and Mean ISA Session IPA at 4.5% ABV (C$7.60 at Sherbrooke Liquor, 650 ml, no bottle date or best before, acquired 17-Dec-2016, reviewed 18-Dec-2016)

Appearance: hazy deep gold with a massive and growing three fingers of rocky ivory head, excellent retention and chunky patchy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: muted, caramel, citrus, grassy/herbal. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (6/10) Palate: medium-light body tending watery, lively to soft carbonation, short mild bitter finish. (3/5)

I thought it was going to be “The Gusher” when I heard the explosive decapping, but caught it all (although the massive head continued to grow for quite some time). That pillowy head in turn seems to have muted the aromas dramatically. What little aroma there is, is dominated in equal parts by caramel and citrus notes, with a faint herbal or grassy in the finish. The already somewhat light body drops off fairly rapidly to a watery, unimpressive finish, while the initially frothy carbonation diminishes quickly to soft and almost flat. It’s not a bad beer, as such, but it’s almost the perfect poster child for how not to do an ISA. (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Sherbrooke Liquor (2016-12-17)

So, as everybody knows, there is only one good reason to go to Edmonton: to have an excuse to go to Sherbrooke Liquor!

Beer acquired:

8 Wired Brewing Company Wireless IPA
Bent Stick Brewing Co. Dark Farm
Bent Stick Brewing Co. The Crusher
Brasserie Dunham Berliner Mango Weisse
Epic Brewing Utah Sage Saison (Release #31)
Evil Twin Brewing Calypso Single Hop Imperial India Pale American Wheat Lager
Evil Twin Brewing / Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project Ryan and the Gosling
Hornbeer Hophorn
Mikkeller Domino White Lung
Mikkeller Get Wit or Die Tryin
Mikkeller Hop On Drink’In Berliner
Mikkeller Metal Henry Schwarzbier
Mikkeller Mikkelerberger
Mikkeller Real Estate
Mikkeller The Beer Traveler
Mikkeller Tommi’s Beerger Joint
Mikkeller Vestebro Wit
Mikkeller Vienna Lager
Mikkeller Wiezenbock
Mikkeller / Liu Xiaodong Scent on the Air
To Øl LikeWeisse
To Øl Mr. Blue
To Øl Mr. Orange
To Øl Nelson Survin
To Øl No Regratze
To Øl Sur Amarillo
To Øl Yeastus Christus

Birrificio del Ducato Molotov – Spice / Herb / Vegetable at 7% ABV

Birrificio del Ducato Molotov Spice / Herb / Vegetable at 7% ABV (2016 Craft Beer Advent Calendar #18, 330 ml, bottle date 27-Jun-2016, best before 1-Aug-2017, acquired 25-Sep-2016, reviewed 18-Dec-2016)

Appearance: hazy medium gold with one finger of white head diminishing quickly to a persistent thick cap, moderate lacing. (3/5) Aroma: brown apple, yeasty malt, very light spice. (5/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-low bitter, mild spice. (5/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, medium duration slightly spicy finish. (3/5)

Advent calendar day #18 is pretty boring. Based upon my admittedly limited experience with Italian beers, I tend to find them a pretty middle-of-the-road bunch, and this is no exception. “Proudly brewed with wasabi and appetite for destruction” this might be, but said appetite for destruction does not seem to extend to one’s taste buds, because any wasabi in this is well in the background. For the most part, this comes across as an unremarkable golden ale until well into the glass, at which point a hint of warming becomes apparent (and I might be tempted to conclude this was as much due to the 7% ABV, as to wasabi, were it not for the way it tends to build in the sinuses). (11/20)

5.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

MONYO Brewing Black Alligator – Imperial Dark Saison at 9% ABV | 19.5 IBU

MONYO Brewing Black Alligator Imperial Dark Saison at 9% ABV | 19.5 IBU (2016 Craft Beer Advent Calendar #17, 330 ml, best before 30-Jun-2017, acquired 25-Sep-2016, reviewed 17-Dec-2016)

Appearance: clear deep brown with one finger of loose beige head diminishing rapidly to a thin ring, no lacing. (3/5) Aroma: vinous red berries, chocolate, roasty malt, peppery spice, dried fruit, leather. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-low bitter, mild spice. (7/10) Palate: medium body, lively carbonation, slightly funky warming finish. (3/5)

Advent calendar day #17 brings (I think) my first ever Hungarian beer. Aside from my standard rant about how saisons shouldn’t be high in alcohol, this is actually fairly decent. The warming finish seems to be due in equal parts to the 9% ABV and to the presence of peppers, but it’s fairly well-balanced. I drank it fairly warm, which might have been a contributor to a fairly explosive decapping and short-lived gusher, but I caught it all with the glass so no harm done. The carbonation stayed fairly high throughout, which helps keep this from feeling overly heavy, which is to the good for the stated style. Speaking of which, stylistically, I’ve lumped this in with Dieu Du Ciel!’s Isseki Nichō, but it isn’t quite as good. Still and all, fairly pleasant. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Brewski / Evil Twin Brewing Gno More Gnomes – Barley Wine at 10% ABV

Brewski / Evil Twin Brewing Gno More Gnomes Barley Wine at 10% ABV (2016 Craft Beer Advent Calendar #16, 330 ml, best before 13-Jul-2018, acquired 25-Sep-2016, reviewed 16-Dec-2016)

Appearance: cloudy medium to deep amber with one finger of rocky beige head, good retention and minimal lacing. (3/5) Aroma: figs and dark fruit, toffee, plums and raisins. (8/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium-full slightly slick body, low carbonation, sweet warming finish. (4/5)

Y’know, I’m really starting to enjoy a good Barley Wine – and day #16 of the Advent calendar brings us a good Barley Wine. It’s Evil Twin, so need I say more? (OK, fine, I might not need to say more, but I will, because that’s how I roll, y’all. This is nice – figs and other dark fruit masterfully blended with a double-digit ABV that never becomes intrusive. Gets just slightly harsh in the finish, which is why I’ve marked it down slightly, but it’s quite nice otherwise.) (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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