Muskoka Brewery Seasons Change (Moonlight Kettle Series 2017) – Saison at 6.5% ABV | 25 IBU

Muskoka Brewery Seasons Change (Moonlight Kettle Series 2017) Saison at 6.5% ABV | 25 IBU (C$3.46 at NLC Stavanger, 341 ml, best before 10-Dec-2017, acquired 30-Sep-2017, reviewed 30-Sep-2017)

Appearance: clear pale gold with a short, short-lived fizzy white head diminishing rapidly to nearly nothing, no lacing. (2/5) Aroma: coriander, floral, light raspberry, earthy funk. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter, moderate spice. (6/10) Medium slightly slick body, moderate carbonation, off-dry lightly bitter slightly spicy finish. (3/5)

A bit heavy-handed in the spice, floral, and alcohol notes, in my opinion. The coriander in particular grows and threatens to overwhelm all else. Not very exciting, and too heavy in both flavour and alcohol for my preferred interpretation of the style. (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Unibroue La Terrible – Belgian Strong Dark Ale at 10.5% ABV | 15 IBU

Unibroue La Terrible Belgian Strong Dark Ale at 10.5% ABV | 15 IBU (C$2.58 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 341 ml, packaged on 30-Sep-2016, acquired 15-Feb-2017, reviewed 28-Sep-2017)

Appearance: murky brown with two fingers of dense creamy beige head, excellent retention and moderate lacing. (4/5) Aroma: mild, dark roasty malts, chocolate, dried dark fruits, vanilla, nuts. (8/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate-low bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium-full body, moderate carbonation, off-dry mildly warming finish. (4/5)

Another really solid Belgian from Unibroue. Despite the complexity of the flavours, this is approachable and easy-drinking. Probably the most impressive part of this one, though, is the very mild character for such a high ABV, which manifests only as a mild warming. (16/20)

My 246th from the 2010 Edition of 1001 Beers You Must Taste Before You Die, 235th from the 2013 edition, and 259th combining both editions.

8/10 #1001beers #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Dageraad Brewing Antwerpen – Abbey Tripel at 8.5% ABV

Dageraad Brewing Antwerpen Abbey Tripel at 8.5% ABV (C$10.25 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 750 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 23-Sep-2017, reviewed 25-Sep-2017)

Appearance: cloudy straw with three towering fingers of fluffy white head, excellent retention, moderate lacing. (4/5) Aroma: boozy stone fruit, floral, grainy pale malt, coriander, white pepper. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Medium-light body, moderate-high carbonation, dry bitter slightly spicy finish. (4/5)

So, buying this, the conversation went something along the lines of “Oh, I’ve got this new Dageraad…” “Yes” “But I didn’t say what it was.” “I don’t care.” So, I guess you could say I’m a little biased. Bias aside, this is my kind of Tripel: low sweetness, boozy noble hops, and a bone dry finish. But, holy hell, is that last inch yeasty! (I suspect there might be a little gastrointestinal response to that later tonight, but that’s to be expected when you drink a few billion living things, right?) Pretty solid, if a touch heavy-handed. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Village Brewery Merchant – Hefeweizen at 5.2% ABV

Village Brewery Merchant Hefeweizen at 5.2% ABV (C$8.79 at Quarry Park Calgary Co-Op, 650 ml, packaged on 31-Jul-2017, acquired 18-Sep-2017, reviewed 25-Sep-2017)

Appearance: cloudy straw with one fat finger of fluffy white head, good retention, spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: banana, cloves, yeasty wheat, light bubblegum, hint of bandaid. (6/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate-low bitter. (7/10) Medium-light body, moderate carbonation, off-dry short finish. (3/5)

Meh. Hefeweizens are fairly pedestrian at the best of times – I think I’ve rated only about five at 8 or higher – so this is a hard style to impress me with. Mind you, I’ve rated a whole bunch lower than this, too – and some of those were German, so there’s that. Overall, not terrible, and I would probably have rated it at least half a point to one point higher, were it not for that hint of band-aid on warming. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Annex Ale Project Great Leap Forward Imperial Red IPA – American Double / Imperial IPA at 8.2% ABV

Annex Ale Project Great Leap Forward Imperial Red IPA American Double / Imperial IPA at 8.2% ABV | 75 IBU (C$7.98 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 650 ml, packaged on 5-Sep-2017, acquired 23-Sep-2017, reviewed 24-Sep-2017)

Appearance: hazy red-tinged deep amber with two fingers of fluffy beige head, excellent retention, heavy chunky lacing. (5/5) Aroma: toffee, boozy toasted malt, citrus, pine. (7/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, high bitter. (7/10) Medium slightly slick body, moderate carbonation, off-dry lingering bitter finish. (4/5)

Ooookay then… I’d love to have been a fly on the wall during the meeting where it was decided that the greatest mass murder in history would make a cool beer name. (About 30-45 million dead. Look it up. Not to mention, the failure it represented probably directly led to the Cultural Revolution and another 30 million dead.) There’s been a little push-back against certain Russian Imperial Stout names for similar insensitivity, so it wouldn’t surprise me to see this go a little sideways too. Not to mention, “Imperial Red IPA” isn’t actually a formally recognized style (though I’ve had one or two with such an appellation in the past, e.g. Amager Bryghus’ Linda The Axe Grinder). So, after all that verbiage, I’ve still said nothing about the beer. Well… it’s actually pretty decent – probably the best I’ve had by them. Almost as good as Linda, in fact, though it gets there in a different way: it looks better, but doesn’t smell or taste quite as good. But it’s smooth, and though it’s slightly boozy on the nose, there’s little warning that it’s going to sneak up on you and whack you in the back of the head. That said, I’ll forgo further comparisons to mass murder… (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Annex Ale Project Fourth Wave – Sour / Wild Ale at 7.5% ABV

Annex Ale Project Fourth Wave Sour / Wild Ale at 7.5% ABV (C$6.62 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 650 ml, packaged on 23-Aug-2017, acquired 23-Sep-2017, reviewed 24-Sep-2017)

Appearance: opaque pale amber with one finger of loose white head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, patchy lacing. (3/5) Aroma: lactic sour, tropical fruit, citrus, stone fruit, light funk. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate tart, mild funk, minimal bitter. (7/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry moderate tart mildly funky finish. (3/5)

Not bad for a kettle sour, but hardly remarkable. Lactic sour dominates over a variety of dry hopped fruit notes. Middle-of-the-road tartness neither gets out of control nor inspires any particular excitement. OK, but no better than that. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Blindman Brewing / Yellow Dog Brewing Co. Hoppy Saison (Terminus Series No. 2) – Saison at 6% ABV | 4 IBU

Blindman Brewing / Yellow Dog Brewing Co. Hoppy Saison (Terminus Series No. 2) Saison at 6% ABV | 4 IBU (C$3.21 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 473 ml, best before 12-Dec-2017, acquired 23-Sep-2017, reviewed 24-Sep-2017)

Appearance: opaque straw with one finger of loose white head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, patchy lacing. (3/5) Aroma: bright citrus, tropical fruit, crackery malt, mild coriander, light funk. (9/10) Taste: moderate-low sweet, mild funk, minimal bitter. (9/10) Medium-light body, moderate carbonation, dry mildly funky slightly spicy finish. (4/5)

Really nice, and exactly what it says on the label: a hoppy saison. Bright citrus leads the way as soon as the can is cracked, and a juicy fruit character stays present throughout, tempered somewhat by the building (but mild) coriander and gentle farmhouse funk. Despite the bright hop aroma, there is minimal bitterness, and the finish is dry without being bitter. The label notes say they hopped it with with some of their favourite hops – Galaxy, Mosiac, and Citra – which, coincidentally enough, are also some of my favourite hops! I also agree completely with the final sentence in the notes: “This gives us an amalgamation of a classic dry saison with a New England-style pale ale/IPA.” and in fact that’s exactly what I thought when pouring it. A stonking good collaboration and highly recommended. (17/20)

8.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Belching Beaver Brewery Hop Highway IPA – American IPA at 7.3% ABV | 65 IBU

Belching Beaver Brewery Hop Highway IPA American IPA at 7.3% ABV | 65 IBU (C$10.05 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 650 ml, packaged on 11-Jul-2017, acquired 23-Sep-2017, reviewed 23-Sep-2017)

Appearance: clear pale gold with two fat fingers of dense white head, excellent retention and moderate lacing. (4/5) Aroma: pine, citrus, caramel, floral, hints of white wine & earth. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (8/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry lingering bitter slightly spicy finish. (4/5)

Very easy-drinking for 7.3%, with a bright hop blend on the nose and decent malt support. Glad I got to it well under the magic 90 day window for hoppy IPA’s, because I suspect this won’t age well at all. Really, my biggest complaint for this one is the name and the mascot, which frankly looks entirely too much like a chirping gopher (of which I’ve shot a very large number) for me to enjoy unreservedly. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Belching Beaver Brewery Here Comes Mango IPA – American IPA at 6.60% ABV | 55 IBU

Belching Beaver Brewery Here Comes Mango IPA American IPA at 6.60% ABV | 55 IBU (C$10.05 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 650 ml, packaged on 8-Aug-2017, acquired 23-Sep-2017, reviewed 23-Sep-2017)

Appearance: clear straw with two fat fingers of dense white head, excellent retention and moderate lacing. (4/5) Aroma: tropical fruit (mango & pineapple), wheat, citrus. (8/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate-high bitter. (7/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, sweetish lingering bitter finish. (3/5)

I liked this a bit more at the outset than I did at the finish. The aroma starts strong with lots of mango, sweet pineapple, and wheaty malt. But, as the pint progresses, that sweetness begins to build and linger on the tongue. I wouldn’t call it cloying, exactly, but it’s definitely sweeter than I prefer, and begins to overwhelm the hops. By the end, I wouldn’t be ordering a second one. (But bonus points for the _Blazing Saddles_ reference in the name.) (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Citizen Brewing Company Batch No. 2 North West Pale Ale – American Pale Ale at 5.5% ABV | 50 IBU

Citizen Brewing Company Batch No. 2 North West Pale Ale American Pale Ale at 5.5% ABV | 50 IBU (C$2.87 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 473 ml, packaged on 19-Sep-2017, acquired 23-Sep-2017, reviewed 23-Sep-2017)

Appearance: clear pale amber with two fingers of fluffy ivory head, good retention and moderate lacing. (4/5) Aroma: citrus, pine, grainy caramel, hint of tropical fruit, light floral. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (6/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, medium duration moderate bitter finish. (4/5)

Much better than their Session Ale. Fruity hops and caramel malt strike a decent balance, with neither being particularly dominant. I’d like brighter hops and cleaner malt, but it’s not bad. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com