Karbach Brewing Weekend Warrior Pale Ale – American Pale Ale at 5.5% ABV | 40 IBU

Karbach Brewing Weekend Warrior Pale Ale American Pale Ale at 5.5% ABV | 40 IBU (US$1.16 at Spec’s, 355 ml, bottle date 23-Jan-2017, acquired 6-Mar-2017, reviewed 7-Mar-2017)

Appearance: clear pale amber with one finger of rocky ivory head, good retention and patchy lacing. (3/5) Aroma: toasted and caramel malt, citrus, tropical fruit, pine, grass. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-mild bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium-light body tending slightly watery, moderate carbonation, off-dry short finish. (3/5)

Not a bad little APA, and I could forgive the tendency of the body to drop off to watery given the style, but the malt is a little forward for my preferred implementation of the style. It isn’t unbalanced as such, but it’s certainly more malt dominant than I’d like it to be. Very drinkable, though. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Brasserie McAuslan Griffon Rousse – American Amber/Red at 4.5% ABV | 25 IBU

Brasserie McAuslan Griffon Rousse American Amber/Red at 4.5% ABV | 25 IBU (C$11.50 on tap at Hurley’s Irish Pub YUL, reviewed 4-Mar-2017)

Appearance: clear reddish deep amber with a short creamy ivory head settling rapidly to a thin skim, patchy lacing. (3/5) Aroma: caramel and toffee, toasty malt, light herbal. (6/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate bitter. (6/10) Palate: medium slightly slick body, moderate-soft carbonation, medium duration finish. (3/5)

Fairly outrageous pricing for a plain-Jane Irish Red, but I guess that’s par for the course when you’re stuck in an Irish pub in the high-security post-screening part of YUL. (I feel very secure. And significantly poorer.) Decent enough example of the style, malt-dominated but well-behaved, with none of the diacetyl this style can be so prone to. I have a high opinion of McAuslan, and this isn’t a let-down: to the extent it’s possible to do a good Irish Red, they’ve done it. I really find these way too sweet for my preference these days, though, which makes it hard to be impartial. A bit old-fashioned, and good(-ish) – but one’s my hard limit. (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Brasserie Archibald West Coast IPA – American IPA at 7.1% ABV | 70 IBU

Brasserie Archibald West Coast IPA American IPA at 7.1% ABV | 70 IBU (C$9.50 on tap at Archibald YUL, reviewed 4-Mar-2017)

Appearance: hazy pale gold with a short creamy white head settling rapidly to a thin skim, patchy lacing. (3/5) Aroma: citrus, resiny pine, tropical fruit, pale malt. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry lingering bitter finish. (4/5)

Fairly typical A/IPA starts-with-C hop profile, with a hint of West Coast dank. Decently clean and balanced, with just enough pale malt backing to support the middling-high bitterness. No real complaints here, but some structural improvements would be nice – as in, I’d like better head retention to protect the carbonation and aromas, which drop off as the pint progresses. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Breakside Brewery Salted Caramel Stout – Sweet Stout at 6.7% ABV | 31 IBU

Breakside Brewery Salted Caramel Stout Sweet Stout at 6.7% ABV | 31 IBU (C$11.50 at Sundance Wine Market, 650 ml, no bottle date or best before, acquired 28-May-2016, reviewed 3-Mar-2017)

Appearance: clear deep ruby brown with one fat finger of fluffy beige head, moderate retention and patchy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: chocolate, roasty dark malt, caramel, lactose. (6/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate bitter, light salt. (7/10) Palate: medium-full body, soft carbonation, dry slightly briny mild bitter warming finish. (3/5)

I was hoping for a little more little more dessert-in-a-glass, but not bad. Body is a decent weight for the style, and in fact would be quite capable of supporting more emphatic salted caramel. A bit more bombast would go a long way here. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Category 12 Brewing Excitation Cacao Nib Espresso Stout – American Stout at 6.4% ABV | 30 IBU

Category 12 Brewing Excitation Cacao Nib Espresso Stout American Stout at 6.4% ABV | 30 IBU (C$9.50 at Zyn, 650 ml, bottle date 3-Jan-2017, acquired 16-Feb-2017, reviewed 3-Mar-2017)

Appearance: nearly opaque deep brown with brown highlights around the margins, one fat finger of fine creamy beige head, moderate retention and patchy lacing. (3/5) Aroma: cacao, espresso, light ash and liquorice, hint of resin. (6/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body tending slightly thin, moderate-soft carbonation, dry mild bitter finish. (3/5)

Feels slightly thin – a little more body would work with the chocolate notes. On the up side, the espresso presence is mild and well-balanced, not tasting overextracted as so often happens with this style. Not bad, but not exactly memorable, either. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Brasserie Dunham Propolis – Saison at 5.2% ABV | 18 IBU

Brasserie Dunham Propolis Saison at 5.2% ABV | 18 IBU (C$8.62 at NLC Stavanger, 750 ml, no bottle date or best before, acquired 25-Feb-2017, reviewed 3-Mar-2017)

Appearance: slightly hazy straw with one finger of fizzy white head diminishing rapidly to a thin skin, minimal lacing. (3/5) Aroma: honey, pale malt, grassy hay, white pepper, lemon zest, bready yeast. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, mild bitter. (7/10) Palate: Light body, moderate carbonation, off-dry sweetish finish. (3/5)

A pretty straightforward table saison, if a bit too sweet for my preference. Not getting much in the way of specialty grains, either. I think I’d like this a lot more if it were dryer, or if there were some rye notes to balance the honey sweetness – or, preferably, both. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Brasserie Dunham Saison Rustique – Saison at 6% ABV | 22 IBU

Brasserie Dunham Saison Rustique Saison at 6% ABV | 22 IBU (C$8.62 at NLC Stavanger, 750 ml, no bottle date or best before, acquired 25-Feb-2017, reviewed 2-Mar-2017)

Appearance: hazy straw with one fat finger of fluffy white head, excellent retention and chunky lacing. (5/5) Aroma: coriander, white pepper, lemon zest, yeast, light funk. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, mild bitter, light funk. (7/10) Palate: Medium-light body, moderate carbonation, off-dry lightly funky finish. (4/5)

A pleasant and quaffable Saison, despite the ABV tending slightly to the high side for the style. Definitely worth looking for. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Kleinbrouwerij De Glazen Toren Ondineke Oilsjtersen Tripel – Abbey Tripel at 8.5% ABV

Kleinbrouwerij De Glazen Toren Ondineke Oilsjtersen Tripel Abbey Tripel at 8.5% ABV (C$15.00 at Zyn, 650 ml, bottle date 5-Aug-2015, best before 5-Aug-2017, acquired 16-Feb-2017, reviewed 2-Mar-2017)

Appearance: clear straw with one fat finger of fluffy white head diminishing rapidly to a thin skim, moderate lacing. (4/5) Aroma: sweet grainy pale malt, citrus, yeast, floral, melon, grass. (5/10) Taste: moderate sweet, mild bitter. (6/10) Palate: Medium-light body, moderate carbonation, off-dry sweetish warming finish. (3/5)

A very strange beer. It starts off smelling like nothing so much as an adjunct lager – no lie: it smells exactly like a Bud Lite – but as it warms, a little complexity becomes apparent. A little. Not much. Some Belgian yeast character develops as it warms, but remains mild while a sweetish alcohol warmth remains present throughout. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Big Rock Brewery #Albertabeer Dark Wheat Ale Unity Brew 2016 – Dunkelweizen at 6.2% ABV | 12 IBU

Big Rock Brewery #Albertabeer Dark Wheat Ale Unity Brew 2016 Dunkelweizen at 6.2% ABV | 12 IBU (C$2.79 at Quarry Park Calgary Co-Op, 473 ml, best before 3-Jul-2017, acquired 14-Feb-2017, reviewed 1-Mar-2017)

Appearance: clear medium amber with one fat finger of loose ivory head diminishing rapidly to nothing, no lacing. (2/5) Aroma: caramel/toffee, dark fruit, banana. (6/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, low bitter. (6/10) Palate: Medium slick body, moderate carbonation, sweetish mildly bitter finish. (3/5)

(Collaboration with Boiling Oar Brewing, Alley Kat Brewing Company, Wild Rose Brewery, Village Brewery, Last Best Brewing And Distilling, Trolley 5 Restaurant & Brewery, Ribstone Creek Brewery, The Dandy Brewing Company, Brewsters Brewing Company, Yellowhead Brewing, Troubled Monk Brewery, The Grizzly Paw Brewing Company, Half Hitch Brewing Company, and Banded Peak Brewing.) I wanted to like this, but, well, I don’t, much. I was going to blame it on the “too many cooks” phenomenon – having big involvement from the provincial brewers sounds all well and good in theory, but really, 200 people starts to sound like beer by committee – but the fact is, this tastes an awful lot like Big Rock’s Dunkleweizen. Like this one, I found it to be too sweet and pretty plain. In fact, if anything it’s even less interesting, with less hop character. Nothing offensive, but I can’t see bothering to make an effort to find it, either. (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Stone Brewing Company Old Guardian Dry Hopped with Pekko Hops (2016) – American Barleywine at 11% ABV | 75 IBU

Stone Brewing Company Old Guardian Dry Hopped with Pekko Hops (2016) American Barleywine at 11% ABV | 75 IBU (C$13.50 at Zyn, 650 ml, bottle date 4-Feb-2016, acquired 16-Feb-2017, reviewed 1-Mar-2017)

Appearance: hazy deep amber with one finger of creamy ivory head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, patchy lacing. (3/5) Aroma: complex, toffee, resin, orange peel, dried fruit, nuts, oak. (8/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, high bitter. (8/10) Palate: Medium slick body, moderate carbonation, lingering bitter warming finish. (4/5)

Not much in the way of a hop profile for this. My intention was to try this bottle new…ish… and age another, but at a year old, it seems like the hops are already long gone. I guess at this point I don’t have a lot of options other than proceeding with that plan, but I don’t expect a lot of further change in another year or two. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good, but I’m not detecting a whole lot of variation from the baseline. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com