Annex Ale Project Concrete Jungle Tart Pineapple Saison – Saison at 6.3% ABV

Annex Ale Project Concrete Jungle Tart Pineapple Saison Saison at 6.3% ABV (C$7.07 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 650 ml, packaged on 14-Jul-2017, acquired 25-Aug-2017, reviewed 26-Aug-2017)

Appearance: cloudy and dirty pale amber with one fat finger of loose off-white head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, no lacing. (2/5) Aroma: baker’s yeast, caramel, tart tropical fruit. (5/10) Taste: moderate sweet, mild bitter, light tart. (6/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate carbonation, off-dry mild bitter finish. (3/5)

I… dunno. I don’t like to issue ultimatums – or, hell, pretend to know what I’m talking about – but I keep being at least a little bit disappointed by these guys. This is another dirty-looking beer, but additionally layers on a fairly ham-fisted mess of baker’s yeast. There’s some fairly generic tropical fruit lingering in the background, but it’s neither particularly tart, nor particularly pineapple. It’s a bit of a train wreck, if I’m honest, and begins to strain my inclination towards giving local breweries the benefit of the doubt. (11/20)

5.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Persephone Brewing Company Multigrain Saison – Saison at 6% ABV | 25 IBU

Persephone Brewing Company Multigrain Saison Saison at 6% ABV | 25 IBU (C$9.49 at Oak & Vine, 650 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 22-Aug-2017, reviewed 26-Aug-2017)

Appearance: slightly hazy pale gold with one finger of dense fluffy white head, excellent retention and heavy soapy lacing. (5/5) Aroma: clove, spicy rye, banana, lemon zest, light funk. (8/10) Taste: moderate-low sweet, moderate bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate carbonation, dry crisp lightly bitter and funky finish. (4/5)

Solid Saison. Tends slightly high in the ABV and the peppery spice for my preferred interpretation of the style, but overall it’s lots of fun. That makes a tie, for first place, in one night, in two wildly disparate styles, for the best beers I’ve ever had from these guys. Someone’s stepping up their game! Plus, it’s multigrain, so it’s healthy, right? (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Persephone Brewing Company Amarillo Pilsner – Czech Pilsener at 5% ABV | 25 IBU

Persephone Brewing Company Amarillo Pilsner Czech Pilsener at 5% ABV | 25 IBU (C$9.49 at Oak & Vine, 650 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 22-Aug-2017, reviewed 26-Aug-2017)

Appearance: slightly hazy pale straw with one finger of rocky white head,  excellent retention and heavy soapy lacing. (5/5) Aroma: lemon, peach, crackery pale malt, grass. (8/10) Taste: moderate-low sweet, moderate bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate carbonation, crisp lightly bitter finish. (4/5)

My kind of Pilsener: dominated by bright lemony hops, with a clean crackery malt backbone, and fruity peach in the bitter finish. Not a whole lot more to say here: this is right up there in the top five or six Pilseners I’ve had. Worth trying if you can find it, but it looks like it might be a one-off from early July, so chop chop! (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Zero Issue Brewing Dystopia (Issue 2) – White IPA at 6.3% ABV | 53 IBU

Zero Issue Brewing Dystopia (Issue 2) White IPA at 6.3% ABV | 53 IBU (C$2.94 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 473 ml, packaged on 29-Jun-2017, acquired 25-Aug-2017, reviewed 26-Aug-2017)

Appearance: hazy straw with heavy particulate, one fat finger of loose white head diminishing gradually to a thick persistent cap, moderate lacing. (3/5) Aroma: Belgian yeast esters, clove, lemon zest, biscuity malt, floral, white pepper, resiny pine. (8/10) Taste: moderate-low sweet, moderate bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate-high carbonation, dry crisp bitter finish. (4/5)

Well, it’s official: I’m fairly impressed by these guys. Yes, again, aesthetics are my biggest complaint: this one had huge particulate chunks, and less-than-optimal retention and lacing. I guess I should’ve paused and swirled at the two thirds mark to get the correct “white” appearance and hide the particulate, but to be honest, it didn’t occur to me. (Didn’t stop me from pouring and drinking the last inch of grapefruit juice-looking lees from the bottom of the can, though.) But aroma, flavour, and body were all pretty good, so overall I’m fairly happy with it. Not to mention, right off the hop these guys are putting BB dates on their cans? Nicely done indeed. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Zero Issue Brewing Multiverse (Issue 1) – American Pale Ale at 5.4% ABV | 42 IBU

Zero Issue Brewing Multiverse (Issue 1) – American Pale Ale at 5.4% ABV | 42 IBU (C$2.87 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 473 ml, packaged on 29-Jun-2017, acquired 25-Aug-2017, reviewed 26-Aug-2017)

Appearance: hazy medium pale amber with three fingers of fluffy ivory head, good retention and moderate lacing. (3/5) Aroma: citrus, tropical fruit, grainy pale malt and caramel, pine, earth. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry medium duration bitter finish. (4/5)

So, I bought this knowing nothing about this brewery, other than the fact that they apparently like comic books in addition to beer, which places them squarely in the “my kind of geek” category. I guess with no expectations, it’s a bit hard to be disappointed – and I’m not, at all. The aroma is decently hop dominant, with both citrus and tropical fruits leading the way over a pleasant malt base, with pine and earth rounding things out. Flavour follows suit, with well-balanced malt sweetness and moderate or slightly better hop bitterness. As is usually the case, I’d probably like this if it were brighter and hoppier, which I think the malt could sustain. (In fact, I’m not sure why they don’t just call this an IPA.) But that’s a pretty minor, personal preference kind of thing. My biggest beef with this one is the appearance: if they’re going for a Northeast hazy unfiltered look, it’s not working – it just comes off as slightly dirty and muddy. Overall, though, quite a respectable offering from another new local brewery. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Three Ranges Brewing Co. Derailed Pale Ale – American Pale Ale at 5% ABV | 35 IBU

Three Ranges Brewing Co. Derailed Pale Ale American Pale Ale at 5% ABV | 35 IBU (C$3.00 at Oak & Vine, 355 ml, packaged on 8-Mar-2017, acquired 22-Aug-2017, reviewed 26-Aug-2017)

Appearance: slightly hazy medium pale gold with one finger of rocky white head diminishing gradually to a creamy cap, moderate lacing. (3/5) Aroma: pine, grainy pale malt, citrus, grass, vegetal. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (6/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, drying medium duration bitter finish. (3/5)

Not bad, I guess. The aroma is a bit muddled, with a fairly anemic pine and citrus fighting pale malt for dominance, and a note of something I’ve called vegetal, but could as easily be described as floral or melon rind – it’s not really bright and clean, in any case. And though I’ve described the bitterness as moderate, is starts to become a little sharp, almost astringent, particularly in the finish. Not bad, but not without its issues, either. (By the way, Parallel 49? Bit of a dick move issuing a cease-and-desist on the original name of this one, Mile 49. What, you own the number 49 now?) (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Double Mountain Brewery and Taproom Hop Lion – American IPA at 6.7% ABV | 65 IBU

Double Mountain Brewery and Taproom Hop Lion American IPA at 6.7% ABV | 65 IBU (C$6.39 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 500 ml, packaged on 27-Jun-2017, acquired 25-Aug-2017, reviewed 25-Aug-2017)

Appearance: slightly hazy pale gold with two fat fingers of rocky white head, excellent retention and moderate lacing. (4/5) Aroma: dank resiny pine, citrus, tropical fruit, earth. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate carbonation, dry dank medium duration bitter finish. (4/5)

I’d be lion if I said I didn’t like this! Heh heh… (sigh) What? I’m a dad. It comes with the territory. This smells great, and though it took me a little bit, I finally got the reference: it’s a Rasta lion, thus the very dank character (and the label notes about passing it to the left hand side). Bonus points for using “petrichor” as a tasting note, by the way – isn’t that a great word? I called it earth, but sure, petrichor works. Jah love, mon. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Double Mountain Brewery and Taproom Citra Single Hop IPA – American IPA at 6.3% ABV | 60 IBU

Double Mountain Brewery and Taproom Citra Single Hop IPA American IPA at 6.3% ABV | 60 IBU (C$7.39 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 500 ml, packaged on 11-Jul-2017, acquired 25-Aug-2017, reviewed 25-Aug-2017)

Appearance: clear straw with three fingers of fluffy white head, excellent retention and moderate lacing. (4/5) Aroma: bright lemon, tropical fruit, pale crackery malt. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate carbonation, dry medium duration bitter finish. (4/5)

Citra is one of my favourite hops, especially for a single-hop implementation, and this does that very well indeed. Lots of citrus and tropical fruit notes lead the way over a clean pale malt, with no hint of onion or cattiness. Damn fine. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Annex Ale Project / Banded Peak Brewing Shop Swap – American Pale Ale at 4.3% ABV | 21 IBU

Annex Ale Project / Banded Peak Brewing Shop Swap American Pale Ale at 4.3% ABV | 21 IBU (C$7.07 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 650 ml, packaged on 2-Aug-2017, acquired 25-Aug-2017, reviewed 25-Aug-2017)

Appearance: clear pale amber with three fingers of fluffy white head, excellent retention and moderate lacing. (3/5) Aroma: white grape must, tropical fruit, pale malt, citrus, earth. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (6/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry short duration slightly spicy finish. (3/5)

Like most of Annex’ ales I’ve tried so far, this one is slightly on the dirty brown side of pale amber. The aromas and flavours are similarly muddy, with white grape and a punch bowl of tropical fruits out in front of a not-very-clean pale malt backbone, but not really popping. Fairly unremarkable. (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Tree Brewing Co. Cutthroat West Coast Ale – American Pale Ale at 5% ABV | 36 IBU

Tree Brewing Co. Cutthroat West Coast Ale American Pale Ale at 5% ABV | 36 IBU (C$3.00 at Oak & Vine, 500 ml, best before 28-Dec-2017, acquired 22-Aug-2017, reviewed 25-Aug-2017)

Appearance: clear pale amber with one finger of rocky ivory head diminishing rapidly to a thin ring, spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: caramel & toffee, citrus, earth, hint of diacetyl. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (6/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, sweetish short duration slightly buttery finish. (3/5)

There is not one damn thing “West Coast” about this. It’s pleasant enough, sure, but it’s malt-dominant. I mean, it smells like an Amber, an ESB, or maybe even a Dopplebock: all chewy malt and English-style hops. And it doesn’t seem to be age, since the date on the can is the end of December. And lo and behold, when I check their web site, they describe it as “predominant toffee”. What the hell? Words have meaning, folks! Just because you’re on the west coast doesn’t automatically make all your beers “West Coast” style! And then, to top it off, a hint of buttery diacetyl. “West Coast” of where, I ask? England? (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com