Postmark Brewing Mosaic IPA – American IPA at 5.9% ABV | 54 IBU

Postmark Brewing Mosaic IPA American IPA at 5.9% ABV | 54 IBU (C$7.19 at Oak & Vine, 650 ml, no bottle date or best before, acquired 1-Apr-2017, reviewed 1-Apr-2017)

Appearance: clear deep gold with two fingers of rocky eggshell head, excellent retention and chunky soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: dank resiny pine, tropical fruit, caramel malt, earth. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body tending slightly watery, moderate carbonation, off-dry moderate bitter finish. (3/5)

A little on the boring side for Mosaic hops, if I’m honest. Yes, there’s some West Coast weed-like character on the nose, but I’d be happier if it were brighter. This feels just slightly prosaic, not helped by the way the body falls off a little watery. I don’t mean to damn it with faint praise, but it feels like it wouldn’t take much to make this a really special IPA, but as it stands, it’s not. (In fact, it feels a lot more like an APA.) Enjoyable, sure – but it falls just a little short of remarkable. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Driftwood Brewery Venatrix Framboise 2016 – Sour / Wild Ale at 7% ABV

Driftwood Brewery Venatrix Framboise 2016 Sour / Wild Ale at 7% ABV (C$15.99 at Oak & Vine, 650 ml, bottle date 6-Jan-2017, acquired 11-Mar-2017, reviewed 1-Apr-2017)

Appearance: muddy deep red with a fat finger of fizzy light beige head diminishing rapidly (and loudly!) to a thin skim, no lacing. (3/5) Aroma: tart raspberries, yeast esters. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate tart, low bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium-light body, lively carbonation, off-dry mild tart finish. (3/5)

Huh. Well, I was initially excited by this – I mean, Driftwood is one of the most reliable breweries I can think of: of the 13 or so of theirs I had tried prior to this one, nine were 7/10 or better. So, I was pretty chuffed to see something by them I hadn’t tried, and in a style I enjoy, so I bought it gleefully. Then I started reading reviews, and had regret. It took me a few weeks to screw my courage to the sticking place and give it a try, whereupon I was sort of perversely disappointed to find that it wasn’t actually terrible. The aroma, while simple, is fairly authentic raspberry, and the taste is balanced sweet and tart, with a dry finish. And no, no phenols for me. (And yes, I’m sensitive to them – I usually get burnt rubber, instead of the “bandaid” description most people use, but regardless of what you call it, there’s none of that here.) On the other hand, it’s pretty straightforward, with no interesting complexity. OK, but not exciting. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Four Winds Brewing Co. Apparition West Coast White Ale – Belgian IPA at 6% ABV | 60 IBU

Four Winds Brewing Co. Apparition West Coast White Ale Belgian IPA at 6% ABV | 60 IBU (C$9.00 at Oak & Vine, 1 l, no bottle date or best before, acquired 1-Apr-2017, reviewed 1-Apr-2017)

Appearance: hazy straw with a large fluffy white head, good retention and moderate lacing. (4/5) Aroma: coriander, pine, grapefruit, crackery malt, pineapple, mild banana, light funk. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate carbonation, dry moderate bitter and lightly spicy finish. (3/5)

First impressions were that it was only vaguely Belgian, and not really “white” as such (far too clear!). I initially thought the aromas were mild to the pint of muted, but as the pint progressed, complexity started to become apparent. The more of this I drink, the more I like it. Not bad at all, in the final analysis. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Sierra Nevada Tropical Torpedo – American IPA at 6.7% ABV | 55 IBU

Sierra Nevada Tropical Torpedo American IPA at 6.7% ABV | 55 IBU (C$3.41 at Oak & Vine, 355 ml, bottle date 14-Feb-2017, acquired 1-Apr-2017, reviewed 1-Apr-2017)

Appearance: clear pale amber with a large fluffy ivory head, good retention and well-defined lacing. (5/5) Aroma: tropical fruit, resiny pine, caramel malt, citrus, floral. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry lingering bitter oily and spicy finish. (3/5)

Not quite as tropical as I was expecting on the nose or the tongue, but it kind of sneaks up on you. By the third or fourth sip, the juicy fruit flavour is fully developed, and a lingering oily hop bitterness is beginning to take hold. I think I like this slightly better than the original version: yes, the ABV is marginally lower (6.7%, compared to 7.2% for the original) but it also has a slightly less emphatic malt presence, allowing the hops to shine through more clearly. Much brighter than the malt-heavy, nearly DIPA style of the original, and preferable. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Canmore Brewing Company Railway Avenue Rye IPA – American IPA at 6% ABV | 60 IBU

Canmore Brewing Company Railway Avenue Rye IPA American IPA at 6% ABV | 60 IBU (C$3.00 at Oak & Vine, 473 ml, bottle date 10-Feb-2017, acquired 27-Mar-2017, reviewed 31-Mar-2017)

Appearance: clear pale amber with two fingers of fluffy ivory head diminishing rapidly to a thick cap, patchy lacing. (3/5) Aroma: floral, citrus, spicy rye, caramel malt. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter, mild spice. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry mildly bitter and spicy finish. (3/5)

Bonus points right off the hop for a brand-new local brewery to be dating their beers! Yay! (And I note that I’ve got lot 0002A – extra bonus points for the sheer chutzpa in thinking they needed a lot numbering system capable of accommodating twenty-six thousand lots. {Yes, I know 9999 times 26 is 259974 – but you could start your numbering at 0000A. So there.})  A friend of mine who lives in Canmore told me he recently picked up some cans at the brewery still labelled “Test Brew”, which gives you some idea of how early in the development curve this thing is. And, it’s not bad. Personally, I prefer a bigger rye bite in a Rye IPA, but there’s something to be said for understated, I guess. The rye does build and linger, giving a finish that grows in spiciness as the pint progresses. Yes, I’ve had better Rye IPAs, but this ain’t ‘arf bad. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Trolley No. 5 Brewpub First Crush – White IPA at 6.2% ABV | 36 IBU

Trolley No. 5 Brewpub First Crush White IPA at 6.2% ABV | 36 IBU (C$1.92 at Quarry Park Calgary Co-Op, 355 ml, no bottle date or best before, acquired 28-Mar-2017, reviewed 31-Mar-2017)

Appearance: cloudy pale gold with two fingers of loose white head diminishing rapidly to a thick creamy cap, moderate lacing. (4/5) Aroma: coriander, citrus zest, wheaty malt, tropical fruit. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter, mild spice. (6/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate carbonation, off-dry mildly bitter and spicy finish. (3/5)

This is the first proper review I’ve done of a Trolley 5 beer: I did three (Derailed Pale Ale, High Five IPA, Hey Porter) at the Alberta Craft Beer Charity Festival about six months ago, and graded them from 6/10 to 7/10 – but as they were three among twenty-some-odd, they don’t really stand out. (Six ounce tasters, not pints, I hasten to add!) This, unfortunately, also doesn’t really stand out. Heavy coriander is really the only remarkable aspect of this (and not necessarily in a good way), making it somewhat more appropriate to a Witbier or Hefe, than a White IPA. The hop character is mild to the point of muted, making this a bit muddled and boring. Interestingly, one of the best examples of the style I’ve had is another local brewer, Ribstone Creek, whose Great White Combine is really stellar. This, well, isn’t. (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Dead Frog Brewery Rocket Man Pale Ale – American Pale Ale at 5% ABV | 24 IBU

Dead Frog Brewery Rocket Man Pale Ale American Pale Ale at 5% ABV | 24 IBU (C$3.00 at Oak & Vine, 341 ml, no bottle date or best before, acquired 27-Mar-2017, reviewed 31-Mar-2017)

Appearance: clear pale amber with two fingers of fluffy ivory head, good retention and patchy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: caramel, citrus, floral, vegetal. (5/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (5/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry mildly bitter finish. (3/5)

Definitely heading in the wrong direction with tonight’s Pale Ales. The label claims “A crisp and refreshing pale ale with smooth malt flavours and a tropical citrus aroma”. Well… no. There’s malt, sure – but other than that, nah, swing and a miss. (11/20)

5.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Whistler Brewing Co. Function Junction Northwest Pale Ale – American Pale Ale at 4.8% ABV | 38 IBU

Whistler Brewing Co. Function Junction Northwest Pale Ale American Pale Ale at 4.8% ABV | 38 IBU (C$3.49 at Oak & Vine, 500 ml, no bottle date or best before, acquired 27-Mar-2017, reviewed 31-Mar-2017)

Appearance: initially clear medium gold but subsequent heavy particulate, one fat finger of fluffy white head, good retention and minimal lacing. (3/5) Aroma: pine, grapefruit, caramel, herbal. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (6/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate carbonation, off-dry mildly bitter finish. (3/5)

Meh. I’m not sure if this is bland by nature, or just elderly – certainly, the heavy particulate at the end of the can suggests age, but there’s no date stamp, so…? In any case, it’s bland now. (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com