Belhaven Brewery Inter-Galactic Dry Hop Lager – Euro Pale Lager at 5% ABV | 30 IBU

Belhaven Brewery Inter-Galactic Dry Hop Lager Euro Pale Lager at 5% ABV | 30 IBU (C$3.20 at NLC Stavanger, 330 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 29-May-2017, reviewed 31-May-2017)

Appearance: clear medium gold with a short, short-lived fizzy head, no lacing. (2/5) Aroma: sweet caramel, lemony citrus, grainy and biscuity malt, floral. (5/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, mild bitter. (5/10) Palate: medium-light body, lively carbonation, sweetish finish. (3/5)

Wow – that’s even worse than their English Strong. I was cautiously optimistic that a “dry hop lager” with “bright fresh citrus” on the label might actually check more than one of the three boxes, but I guess not. Really not a very pleasant offering at all. Think I’ll put Belhaven on the list right next to Innis & Gunn – you know which list I mean… (10/20)

5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Belhaven Brewery Speyside Oak Aged Blonde Ale – English Strong Ale at 6.5% ABV | 25 IBU

Belhaven Brewery Speyside Oak Aged Blonde Ale English Strong Ale at 6.5% ABV | 25 IBU (C$3.20 at NLC Stavanger, 330 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 29-May-2017, reviewed 31-May-2017)

Appearance: clear deep gold with a short, short-lived fizzy head, no lacing. (2/5) Aroma: caramel and toffee, vanilla, wood, whiskey, metallic. (6/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, mild bitter. (5/10) Palate: medium body, lively carbonation, sweet mildly warming slightly metallic finish. (3/5)

Malt dominated and really far too sweet for my preference. I had a sneaking suspicion “Belhaven” wasn’t a “real” brewery when I bought this, and sure enough, turns out it’s Greene King. ‘Nuff said. (11/20)

5.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Halcyon Barrel House Infinity Mirror – American IPA at 6.5% ABV

Halcyon Barrel House Infinity Mirror American IPA at 6.5% ABV (Review bottle provided by Halcyon Barrel House, 750 ml, packaged on 2-May-2017, acquired 30-May-2017, reviewed 31-May-2017)

Appearance: opaque pale amber with two fat fingers of rocky white head, good retention and minimal lacing. (3/5) Aroma: dry hay funk, tropical fruit, red wine, biscuity malt, wood, leather, floral. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter, light funky tart. (8/10) Palate: medium body, lively carbonation, dry mild bitter and lightly funky finish. (3/5)

Disclosure: this review bottle was provided by the brewer free of charge. This is the first release from a new branch of Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company, dedicated to wilds and sours: https://www.halcyon.beer/news/2017/5/25/infinity-mirror.

I read the brewer’s notes prior to opening this, and I was pleasantly surprised at how balanced the vinous red wine notes were. I’ve had red wine barrel aged beers before, and in my experience it’s easy for them to be utterly dominated by vinous woody notes. Here, however, the dominant aromas are a characteristic dry funky hay brett and sweet tropical fruit, with red wine playing a mild supporting role. The aromas are interestingly complex without being too busy, and there’s a light fruitiness on the tongue before the dry brett finish comes into play. Truth be told, I’m a little disappointed that I opened this as fresh as I did (it just showed up in the mail yesterday) because I think I’d enjoy letting the brett really dig in and get established in this – if I get the chance, I’ll pick up another for extended cellaring. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

The Pump House Brewery Limited Crafty Radler Grapefruit & Tangerine – Radler at 4.7% ABV | 5 IBU

The Pump House Brewery Limited Crafty Radler Grapefruit & Tangerine Radler at 4.7% ABV | 5 IBU (C$3.39 at NLC Stavanger, 473 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 29-May-2017, reviewed 30-May-2017)

Appearance: hazy medium gold with one finger of fizzy pinkish-tinted head diminishing rapidly to a thin skim, no lacing. (2/5) Aroma: grapefruit, sweet tangerine, light grainy malt. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate tart, low bitter. (6/10) Palate: light body, fizzy carbonation, semi-sweet tart finish. (3/5)

As usual, I enjoy Radlers too much to be truly objective in my rating. Is this a high-quality, nuanced and challenging brew? No. Would I drink another 5 or 6 on a patio? Yes. It’s sweet, but not cloying, and the flavours seem at least reasonably authentic. And nearly 5% ABV for a Radler? Hell yeah! (11/20)

5.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Lost Craft Brewing Co. Sirius Premium Pale Ale – American Pale Ale at 4.9% ABV | 33 IBU

Lost Craft Brewing Co. Sirius Premium Pale Ale American Pale Ale at 4.9% ABV | 33 IBU (C$3.57 at NLC Stavanger, 473 ml, packaged on 25-Apr-2017, acquired 29-May-2017, reviewed 30-May-2017)

Appearance: initially clear pale amber (grows cloudy in the final inch) with two fingers of rocky off-white head diminishing gradually to a persistent cap, moderate patchy lacing. (3/5) Aroma: citrus, grass, pale malt, hint of pine. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (5/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry slightly oily bitter finish. (3/5)

The fact that this is apparently simply a renamed version of Sextant’s “Why So Sirius?” – in itself a contract brew – would not tend to endear this beer to me, even without the “Premium” on the label. (Though I suppose the fact that I never tried Sextant’s version, and the fact the Lost Craft bought Sextant, goes a ways towards ameliorating the former, if not the latter.) Though, y’know, it’s actually not terrible. A bit bland on the nose and on the tongue, yet with a finish that feels slightly like citrus oil and makes it feel slightly more bitter than the IBU would suggest. (11/20)

5.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Lost Craft Brewing Co. Revivale Premium Lagered Ale – Kölsch at 4.8% ABV | 19 IBU

Lost Craft Brewing Co. Revivale Premium Lagered Ale Kölsch at 4.8% ABV | 19 IBU (C$3.57 at NLC Stavanger, 473 ml, packaged on 11-Apr-2017, acquired 29-May-2017, reviewed 30-May-2017)

Appearance: clear pale straw with a thick fluffy white head diminishing gradually to a thick cap, patchy lacing. (3/5) Aroma: grass, crackery malt, light sulphur and citrus. (5/10) Taste: moderate sweet, low bitter. (5/10) Palate: light body, moderate carbonation, crisp lightly bitter finish. (3/5)

A delicate style, and a difficult one to get right, even when you don’t have “Premium” on the label. This isn’t too far out of spec, I suppose. Slightly better than their Red, perhaps, but not much more inspiring. OK for a thirst quencher, but not much else. (11/20)

5.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Lost Craft Brewing Co. Crimzen Premium Red Ale – American Amber / Red Ale at 4.7% ABV | 28 IBU

Lost Craft Brewing Co. Crimzen Premium Red Ale American Amber / Red Ale at 4.7% ABV | 28 IBU (C$3.57 at NLC Stavanger, 473 ml, packaged on 20-Apr-2017, acquired 29-May-2017, reviewed 30-May-2017)

Appearance: clear medium amber with one fat finger of fluffy ivory head diminishing rapidly to a thin cap, patchy lacing. (3/5) Aroma: toasted grain, caramel, grass. (5/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-low bitter. (4/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry mild bitter and slightly astringent finish. (3/5)

Yeah, I know: it has “Premium” on the label, say no more. Boring at best, with a slightly unbalanced astringency in the finish. Don’t bother. (10/20)

5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Coronado Brewing Company Guava Islander Tropical IPA – American IPA at 7% ABV | 65 IBU

Coronado Brewing Company Guava Islander Tropical IPA American IPA at 7% ABV | 65 IBU (C$9.29 at Thumbprint Craft Beer Market, 650 ml, packaged on 11-Jan-2017, acquired 27-May-2017, reviewed 27-May-2017)

Appearance: slightly hazy pale gold with three fingers of fluffy ivory head, excellent retention and chunky, soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: vinous white grape, tropical fruit, citrus, crackery malt, earth, pine. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, drying mild bitter and slightly astringent finish. (3/5)

Guava? If you say so. Personally, I’m getting more of a vinous white grape must, layered on top of the “usual suspects” starts-with-C hops, mediated by a little melon rind-like tropical fruit and crackery pale malt. Gotta say, if I’m being totally honest, I’m a fair bit less than impressed with Coronado after the three I tried this evening. Technically and structurally they’re fine (generally speaking, pretty as hell) but the flavours and balance leave much to be desired. Gee, who could’ve expected something coming from California to be pretty, but without much substance? (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Coronado Brewing Company / Cigar City Brewing Conquista – American IPA at 6.5% ABV | 55 IBU

Coronado Brewing Company / Cigar City Brewing Conquista American IPA at 6.5% ABV | 55 IBU (C$10.59 at Thumbprint Craft Beer Market, 650 ml, packaged on 14-Mar-2017, acquired 27-May-2017, reviewed 27-May-2017)

Appearance: clear medium gold with two fingers of fluffy white head, good retention and moderate lacing. (4/5) Aroma: citrus, pineapple, bready malt, resiny pine. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry lingering bitter finish. (3/5)

Sometimes the whole is less than the sum of its parts – and that seems to be the case here. I generally enjoy both both Coronado and Cigar City, but this collaboration isn’t all that exciting. Kind of a traditional, malt-heavy (albeit not dominant) A/IPA. Well-crafted, but not very interesting. On the other hand, it was an excuse to listen to Procul Harum’s Conquistador, so there’s that…

(14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Coronado Brewing Company Waylaid White IPA – White IPA at 6.5% ABV | 55 IBU

Coronado Brewing Company Waylaid White IPA White IPA at 6.5% ABV | 55 IBU (C$10.59 at Thumbprint Craft Beer Market, 650 ml, packaged on 6-Apr-2017, acquired 27-May-2017, reviewed 27-May-2017)

Appearance: clear straw with three fingers of fluffy white head, excellent retention and well-defined lacing. (4/5) Aroma: coriander, citrus, crackery malt, white pepper, tropical fruit. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (6/10) Palate: medium-light body, lively to moderate carbonation, off-dry bitter and lingering spicy finish. (3/5)

Pretty clear for a “White”, if you ask me. I can’t find an ingredients list, but this thing must have added spices, and a lot of them. To my nose, citrus takes a back seat to coriander, and white pepper beats out any pineapple or tropical fruit notes. There’s some pleasing complexity, fair enough, but it’s a bit obscured by the heavy-handed spice. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com