Garrison Brewing Company Juicy! Double IPA – American Double / Imperial IPA at 8% ABV

Garrison Brewing Company Juicy! Double IPA American Double / Imperial IPA at 8% ABV (C$3.83 at NLC Howley Estates, 473 ml, packaged on 2-Jun-2017, acquired 12-Jul-2017, reviewed 12-Jul-2017)

Appearance: clear pale amber with one fat finger of fluffy off-white head, good retention and patchy lacing. (3/5) Aroma: grapefruit juice and zest, caramel malt, resiny pine. (8/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, high bitter, moderate spice. (8/10) Palate: medium-full body, moderate carbonation, off-dry lingering bitter and mildly spicy finish. (3/5)

Surprisingly decent AIIPA from Garrison, with hints towards the NEIPA style, but it doesn’t quite get there. For one thing, don’t let the chill haze on my glass fool you: it’s crystal clear. For another, there’s a resiny, spicy, almost West Coast note going on – it’s not dank, but it’s not far off. OK, fine, if you want to be technical about it, they never actually say it’s supposed to be an NEIPA, but they do say “East Coast style”, and “juicy”, so the implication is rather powerful. Anyway, good, but not rock-your-world good. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Big Rock Brewery Belly Flop – Grisette / Petit Saison at 3.9% ABV

Big Rock Brewery Belly Flop Grisette / Petit Saison at 3.9% ABV (C$2.55 at Oak & Vine, 355 ml, best before 16-Oct-2017, acquired 26-Apr-2017, reviewed 11-Jul-2017)

Appearance: clear pale gold with a short, short-lived fizzy white head, no lacing. (2/5) Aroma: stone fruit, apple, grainy pale malt, hint of band-aid and funk. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate tart, low bitter, light spice. (6/10) Palate: light body, lively to moderate carbonation, crisp tart finish. (3/5)

I was tempted to do a one-line review: “Drop the ‘Belly’,” but that would actually have been a bit unfair. It’s not actually bad, although there is a hint of rubber/band-aid in there. On the up side, the fruit feels fairly authentic, but it’s not enough to salvage this – overall it’s just a bit blah. (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

To Øl No Regrätze – Grätzer / Grodziskie at 4% ABV | 33 IBU

To Øl No Regrätze Grätzer / Grodziskie at 4% ABV | 33 IBU (C$8.40 at Sherbrooke Liquor, 330 ml, best before 15-Oct-2017, acquired 17-Dec-2016, reviewed 10-Jul-2017)

Appearance: clear straw with one finger of creamy white head, excellent retention and lacing. (5/5) Aroma: tart lemon, pome fruit, hardwood smoke, grainy pale malt, grass. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate tart, low bitter. (7/10) Palate: light body, lively carbonation, crisp tart lightly smoky finish. (4/5)

A pretty interesting take on a style I freely admit I’m not all that familiar with – I think this is my third Grätzer / Grodziskie ever – but I am fairly conversant with smoked beers and with sours, so I think I can muddle along. Gotta say, I quite like this. The smoke starts off slightly dominant, but fades to a decent balance. Citrus and pome fruit notes remain strong throughout, a lot like a Berliner Weisse, making for a refreshingly tart finish. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Blindman Brewing Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout – American Double / Imperial Stout at 11.6% ABV

Blindman Brewing Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout American Double / Imperial Stout at 11.6% ABV (C$8.90 at Liquor Crossing Red Deer, 355 ml, packaged on 7-Feb-2017, acquired 27-May-2017, reviewed 9-Jul-2017)

Appearance: opaque black with the merest hint of brown relief around the margins, a short loose light beige head diminishing gradually to a thin ring, patchy lacing. (3/5) Aroma: malty coffee and chocolate, bourbon, toasted coconut, alcohol, vanilla bean. (7/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate-high bitter. (7/10) Palate: full slick body, soft carbonation, lingering bitter and warming slightly edgy finish. (4/5)

Well, it’s not bad. It’s not great, either, mind you. Structurally, it leaves a bit to be desired, as I’d like to see some better head, retention, and lacing. On the nose, the alleged toasted coconut is a bit of a latecomer to the party. And, the finish verges on aggressive, with a hot solvent note. I’d be interested in seeing how this developed with some ageing, were it not for the fact that I don’t entirely trust cans for that task. Yeah, it sounds like I’m being pretty dismissive, but it’s actually halfway decent overall.

(For record-keeping/search purposes, according to their website this is a barrel-aged version of Ichorous, even though that name appears nowhere on the label.) (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Brewsters Brewing Company Blue Monk Bourbon Barleywine (2016) – American Barleywine at 11.8% ABV | 60 IBU

Brewsters Brewing Company Blue Monk Bourbon Barleywine (2016) American Barleywine at 11.8% ABV | 60 IBU (C$7.79 at Quarry Park Calgary Co-Op, 330 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 17-Feb-2017, reviewed 9-Jul-2017)

Appearance: clear medium amber with one finger of rocky light beige head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, patchy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: orange peel, bourbon, bready caramel malt, toasted coconut, dark fruit, oak, resin. (8/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate-high bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium-full slightly slick body, soft carbonation, lingering bitter and warming finish. (4/5)

Well, that’s a bit of a pleasant surprise. Unlike last year’s version, which I found a little edgy even after a year’s cellaring, this is quite mild. In addition to a restrained note of bourbon and oak, I’m getting toasted coconut as well. This is really mellow, well-balanced, and surprisingly easy-drinking for the weight. Unlike last year’s, this one actually represents a clear improvement over the base version. Now I’m really interested to see what this becomes after a year or two of cellaring! (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Brewsters Brewing Company Blue Monk Barleywine (2016) – American Barleywine at 10% ABV | 60 IBU

Brewsters Brewing Company Blue Monk Barleywine (2016) American Barleywine at 10% ABV | 60 IBU (C$4.70 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 355 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 13-Dec-2016, reviewed 9-Jul-2017)

Appearance: clear medium amber with one finger of rocky light beige head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, moderate lacing. (4/5) Aroma: orange peel, bready caramel malt, dark fruit, resin. (6/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate-high bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium-full slightly slick body, soft carbonation, lingering bitter and warming finish. (4/5)

I intended to drink this while it was still relatively fresh, to establish a baseline for the second one, which I’ll cellar for a couplethree years. Eh – close enough. Hardly surprising, but it’s pretty similar to the year-old 2015 I tried late last year. It might be a touch smoother, actually, despite being younger. Definitely an easier-drinking example of the style. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Brouwerij de Molen / Hair of the Dog Binkie Claws = Doggie Claws – Barley Wine at 13.4% ABV

Brouwerij de Molen / Hair of the Dog Binkie Claws = Doggie Claws Barley Wine at 13.4% ABV (C$9.49 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 330 ml, packaged on 5-Aug-2015, best before 5-Aug-2017, acquired 16-Apr-2016, reviewed 9-Jul-2017)

Appearance: opaque medium amber with a short beige head diminishing rapidly to a thin ring, minimal lacing. (3/5) Aroma: toffee, orange, dried fruit. (8/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, high bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium-full slick body, soft carbonation, lingering bitter and warming finish. (4/5)

Yes, I know, hottest part of the year and I’m drinking Barleywine – if brains were black powder, I wouldn’t have enough to blow my nose! In my defence, I’ve been saying for ages that I need to drink down my collection, so instead of buying a bunch of new patio-style beers, it’s Barleywine tonight, and maybe even an Imperial Stout if I stay vertical long enough. As for how this is, well, it’s a decent enough Barleywine. The nose is all about malt and citrus, while on the tongue it’s big bitter and big booze. Dunno what the IBUs are for this thing, but I’m guessing north of 85, and you can definitely taste every iota of the 13.4% ABV. Subtle as a brick, but pretty well done. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Mikkeller Vestebro Wit – Witbier at 4.5% ABV

Mikkeller Vestebro Wit Witbier at 4.5% ABV (C$5.80 at Sherbrooke Liquor, 330 ml, best before 13-Oct-2017, acquired 17-Dec-2016, reviewed 9-Jul-2017)

Appearance: opaque pale gold with two fingers of fluffy white head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: orange peel, coriander, doughy wheat, herbal, earth. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-low bitter, light tart. (8/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate carbonation, crisp lightly spicy and tart finish. (4/5)

Tasty! Given the BB date, I assumed this thing was on the older side, so I made sure to give it the bottle a good roll and swirl before uncapping and trying an inverted/submerged pour. Complete success: I got the requisite “white” colour, and a nicely towering fluffy white head that retained well. Bright citrus and pleasant spice led the way over doughy wheat and an herbal, earthy end. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Prairie Artisan Ales Prairie Weisse – Berliner Weisse at 3.9% ABV | 15 IBU

Prairie Artisan Ales Prairie Weisse Berliner Weisse at 3.9% ABV | 15 IBU (US$2.99 at Knightly Spirits Orange Blossom Trail, 355 ml, packaged on 5-Jul-2016, acquired 15-May-2017, reviewed 9-Jul-2017)

Appearance: clear straw with a short, short-lived white head, no lacing. (3/5) Aroma: green apple, wheat, lemon, oak. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high tart, low bitter. (6/10) Palate: light body, lively carbonation, crisp tart finish. (4/5)

An odd little Berliner Weisse, dominated by green apple and almost cider-like. Really not what I was expecting, and not entirely a success. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Latitude 33º Brewing Lifted Embargo IPA – American IPA at 7.1% ABV | 67 IBU

Latitude 33º Brewing Lifted Embargo IPA American IPA at 7.1% ABV | 67 IBU (C$10.49 at Oak & Vine, 650 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 3-Jul-2017, reviewed 8-Jul-2017)

Appearance: clear pale amber with three fingers of loose fluffy pale ivory head, excellent retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: citrus, grainy caramel, resiny pine, green weeds. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium slightly oily body, moderate carbonation, off-dry lingering bitter finish. (4/5)

OK, seriously: what embargo? Is this made with Cuban cigars? What? I’m so confused…

So, I might’ve erred slightly in my drinking order with the three Latitude 33º beers I tried tonight: I went on the basis of increasing IBU, thinking that doing the lower bitterness ones first would to some extent preserve my palate for the subsequent higher bitterness examples. Then that ¡Mangoveza! came along and blew hell out of my taste buds with a hefty dose of habanero. So, I might be doing this one a bit of a disservice, on account of my numb tongue.

On the other hand, I’m pretty sure my nose hasn’t been put out of commission, so on that basis, it’s my opinion that this is not quite as interesting as its blood orange or mango adjunct brethren. Which isn’t to say it’s bad: in fact, it’s got a pretty evenly-balanced nose going on, with citrus, caramel, and pine all coming in at pretty much the same intensity. It’s just that, evenly-balanced or otherwise, it just isn’t all that interesting. It hints at greater things, but never quite gets there. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com