Ninkasi Brewing Company Megalodom – American Double / Imperial IPA at 10% ABV | 100 IBU

Ninkasi Brewing Company Megalodom American Double / Imperial IPA at 10% ABV | 100 IBU (C$8.82 at Oak & Vine, 1 l, growler fill, acquired 5-Jun-2017, reviewed 5-Jun-2017)

Appearance: clear medium amber with three fingers of rocky ivory head diminishing to a persistent cap, patchy lacing. (3/5) Aroma: doughy and grainy sweet caramel, boozy stone fruit, citrus, floral, earth and pine. (7/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, high bitter. (8/10) Medium oily body, moderate carbonation, emphatic lingering bitter finish. (3/5)

Double digit ABV and triple digit IBU – what’s not to like, right? Well… a bit, actually. First and foremost (yes, fine, I’m a bit obsessive-compulsive, moving on) why’d they call it “MegalodoM” when the animal was “MegalodoN”? Then you’ve got the malt-forward character (despite the palate-wrecking bitterness) and the poor structural aspects to consider. On the other hand, it’s beefy enough to make that other hand numb in fairly short order, so, umm.. yeah. Would have it again, for sure. But I’d pretend not to like it! (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company Full Time IPA – American IPA at 6.7% ABV | 60 IBU

Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company Full Time IPA American IPA at 6.7% ABV | 60 IBU (C$6.41 at Oak & Vine, 600 ml, packaged on 21-Apr-2017, acquired 5-Jun-2017, reviewed 5-Jun-2017)

Appearance: hazy medium gold with two fat fingers of rocky ivory head, excellent retention and moderate lacing. (4/5) Aroma: oranges and grapefruit, white grape must, resiny pine, tropical fruit. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (8/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, drying bitter and slightly astringent finish. (3/5)

Nice. The combination of Nelson Sauvin and City makes for a pleasant combination of bright citrus and vinous flavours. The bitterness tends strong, but not unbalanced (at least, not for a hophead like myself), although there is a hint of melon peel astringency in the finish that doesn’t really belong. It’s not enough to knock this thing out of world-class territory, though. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Big Rock Brewery Wunderbier – Dunkelweizen at 5% ABV | 18 IBU

Big Rock Brewery Wunderbier Dunkelweizen at 5% ABV | 18 IBU (C$2.99 at Quarry Park Calgary Co-Op, 473 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 25-Apr-2017, reviewed 3-Jun-2017)

Appearance: clear medium amber with one finger of loose beige head diminishing rapidly to a thin ring, no lacing. (3/5) Aroma: toffee, chocolate, banana, nutty, metallic. (4/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, mild bitter. (4/10) Medium-light body, moderate carbonation, sweet short duration slightly astringent finish. (3/5)

Well, I guess that’s fool me twice, huh Big Rock? This appears to be a renamed/rebranded version of their “Dunkleweizen”. Too sweet, with a light body tending watery, and slightly astringent in the finish. And that metallic note isn’t helping matters. Meh. (9/20)

4.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Big Rock Brewery Session IPA – Session IPA at 5.5% ABV | 32 IBU

Big Rock Brewery Session IPA Session IPA at 5.5% ABV | 32 IBU (C$2.99 at Quarry Park Calgary Co-Op, 473 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 25-Apr-2017, reviewed 3-Jun-2017)

Appearance: clear deep gold with one finger of fluffy ivory head diminishing gradually to a thin cap, moderate lacing. (4/5) Aroma: biscuity caramel malt, grass, hint of citrus. (4/10) Taste: moderate sweet, mild bitter. (4/10) Medium-light body, moderate carbonation, off-dry short duration finish. (3/5)

Shame on you, Big Rock. As far as I can tell, this is simply their same old “IPA,” rebranded. And no, there’s actually no more truth to the label now as there was before: this is neither an English- nor an American-style IPA, but rather simply a malty amber. I gotta say, I like the 360/“big mouth” style can – though I’d like it more if it were filled with something I actually enjoyed drinking. (10/20)

5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Bridge Brewing Company Lemon Gin Saison – Saison at 5.5% ABV | 24 IBU

Bridge Brewing Company Lemon Gin Saison Saison at 5.5% ABV | 24 IBU (C$8.61 at NLC Stavanger, 650 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 29-May-2017, reviewed 1-Jun-2017)

Appearance: clear deep gold with two fingers of rocky ivory head that retains poorly, spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: juniper, lemon, wheat, fruity esters. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, mild bitter, light tart. (7/10) Medium-light body, moderate carbonation, off-dry slightly oily light tart finish. (3/5)

I’m re-reviewing this after being somewhat disappointed with last year’s offering: at the time, I was hoping for much more lemon gin, as opposed to the wheaty malt and fruit that dominated. And, lo and behold, this year’s version actually delivers precisely that! I really am getting juniper and lemon as the predominant aromas and flavours, and there’s even a little gin-like oiliness in the finish. It’s still not without issues – it’s too dark, with a disappointing head, and the ABV is tending too high – but all in all it’s a significant improvement over last year. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Le Trou du Diable / Birrificio del Ducato Bella Ciao – Saison at 5% ABV

Le Trou du Diable / Birrificio del Ducato Bella Ciao Saison at 5% ABV (C$6.00 at NLC Stavanger, 600 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 29-May-2017, reviewed 1-Jun-2017)

Appearance: opaque straw with two fingers of fluffy white head, good retention and soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: dry hay, lemon zest, doughy malt, banana, black peppercorns. (8/10) Taste: moderate-low sweet, mild bitter, light peppery spice. (8/10) Palate: medium-light body, lively carbonation, dry slightly spicy finish. (4/5)

Really good “ticks all the boxes” Saison: structurally there’s the requisite large fluffy head with good retention and lacing, light body, lively carbonation, and dry finish. Aromas and flavours are pleasantly funky without sacrificing refreshment, and the ABV is low enough to make it a sessionable thirst quencher. I’ve had a couple of del Ducato beers in the past (in the 2014 and 2016 Advent Calendars) with mixed results: their 2014 Krampus was excellent, but their 2016 Molotov, well, wasn’t. Le Trou du Diable, on the other hand, is reliably excellent: of the almost twenty I’ve tried, I’ve only ever rated one of their beers at less than a 7/10. This collaboration is no exception, and I can recommend it without reservation. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com