8 Wired Brewing Company A Fistful of Cherries (2016) – Sour / Wild Ale at 6.7% ABV

8 Wired Brewing Company A Fistful of Cherries (2016) Sour / Wild Ale at 6.7% ABV (C$14.44 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 500 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 23-Sep-2017, reviewed 16-Oct-2017)

Appearance: slightly hazy ruby red with one finger of loudly fizzy pinkish head diminishing rapidly to nothing, no lacing. (3/5) Aroma: intense sour cherry, mild yeast, hint of balsamic vinegar. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high tart, minimal bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate carbonation, tart short finish. (4/5)

I’m a big fan of this brewery, so I had high expectations for this. And, to be fair, it’s pretty much what it says on the label: a fistful of cherries. Delivered at high speed, still in the fist, right between the eyes. It’s not so much a one-trick pony, as a kick in the head from a pony. It doesn’t have the complexity of a true Kriek, but the cherries taste real, it’s not too sweet, and it’s more than a little bombastic. Good stuff! (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Brouwerij Van Steenberge Bornem Tripel – Tripel at 9% ABV

Brouwerij Van Steenberge Bornem Tripel Tripel at 9% ABV (C$5.99 at Oak & Vine, 330 ml, best before 19-Oct-2018, acquired 22-Aug-2017, reviewed 16-Oct-2017)

Appearance: clear pale gold with three fingers (and growing!) of fluffy white head, excellent retention and moderate lacing. (5/5) Aroma: green apples, bready yeast, spices, hint of citrus. (7/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate bitter, light tart. (7/10) Palate: medium-light slightly slick body, moderate-high carbonation, off-dry mildly warming lightly spicy finish. (4/5)

Well, it’s a damned sight better than their Dubbel, that’s for sure. A bit too sweet for my preferred interpretation of the style, though, and lacking a certain depth and complexity of flavour. On the other hand, it’s seriously easy-drinking for 9% ABV, with the alcohol really only becoming apparent as a slick slickness in the body and a mild warming in the finish. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Brouwerij Van Steenberge Bornem Dubbel – Dubbel at 7.2% ABV

Brouwerij Van Steenberge Bornem Dubbel Dubbel at 7.2% ABV (C$5.99 at Oak & Vine, 330 ml, best before 31-Aug-2018, acquired 22-Aug-2017, reviewed 16-Oct-2017)

Appearance: clear amber-brown with one finger of fluffy light beige head, excellent retention and moderate lacing. (5/5) Aroma: mild, toffee, dark fruit, spice, banana. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (6/10) Palate: medium-full body tending slightly thin, moderate to soft carbonation, off-dry mildly warming lightly spicy finish. (3/5)

A charitable description of this beer might be “subtle”. A less charitable interpretation might be “bland”. What’s there is fine, what there is of it. But even after warming, the aromas and flavours never really get all that interesting. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Innis & Gunn Brewing Company Vanishing Point – Imperial Stout at 11% ABV

Innis & Gunn Brewing Company Vanishing Point Imperial Stout at 11% ABV (C$13.54 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 500 ml, packaged on 26-Jul-2017, acquired 12-Oct-2017, reviewed 15-Oct-2017)

Appearance: clear brown with deep amber relief at the margins, one finger of rocky beige head, good retention and patchy lacing. (3/5) Aroma: bourbon, oak, dark roasted malt, hints of dark fruit, coconut, nuts. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body tending slightly thin, moderate carbonation, lingering bitter warming finish. (4/5)

It’s been a long time since I’ve been suckered into buying an Innis & Gunn beer. I mean, let’s face it, I knew going into this the most likely outcome was mediocrity, possibly with flashes of competence. But, they suckered me in with the “200 days aged in first fill barrels” schtick. What that ends up translating to, is sharp bourbon notes on top of weak darkly roasted malts, with a thin-tending body. So, yeah – a thin, hot, mess. I’d say there’s a very good chance I’ll never buy another I&G beer ever again, so let’s just call this the point where I vanish. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Sierra Nevada Narwhal Imperial Stout (2016) – American Double / Imperial Stout at 10.2% ABV | 60 IBU

Sierra Nevada Narwhal Imperial Stout (2016) American Double / Imperial Stout at 10.2% ABV | 60 IBU (C$4.99 at Oak & Vine, 355 ml, packaged on 5-Aug-2016, acquired 27-Mar-2017, reviewed 15-Oct-2017)

Appearance: opaque black with no relief at the margins, one finger of fluffy beige head diminishing gradually to a thin cap, minimal lacing. (3/5) Aroma: dark roasted malt, coffee & chocolate, liquorice, boozy dark dried fruit, hint of smoke. (8/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate-high bitter. (8/10) Palate: full slick body, moderate carbonation, sweetish lingering bitter warming finish. (4/5)

Huh. I’m a little on the fence here. I mean, yeah, it’s good, and all – but it’s not what I was expecting. It’s definitely not thin, or metallic, or (ahem) boring… but it… well… hints at it. Just slightly. I couldn’t really point to any one thing and call it lacking (well, except for the relatively poor retention and lack of lacing) but it’s just not getting me excited. (16/20)

My 236th from the 2013 Edition of 1001 Beers You Must Taste Before You Die (new to that edition) and 260th combining both editions.

8/10 #1001beers #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Belching Beaver Brewery Mexican Chocolate Peanut Butter Stout – Milk / Sweet Stout at 7.5% ABV | 28 IBU

Belching Beaver Brewery Mexican Chocolate Peanut Butter Stout Milk / Sweet Stout at 7.5% ABV | 28 IBU (C$10.70 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 650 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 12-Oct-2017, reviewed 15-Oct-2017)

Appearance: nearly opaque black with minimal relief at the margins, one finger of thin fizzy beige head diminishing rapidly to nothing, no lacing. (3/5) Aroma: heavy peanut butter, milk chocolate, light cinnamon. (8/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate bitter, light spice. (8/10) Palate: full slick body, moderate carbonation, sweetish mild bitter and lightly spicy finish. (4/5)

(Formerly known as ¡Viva La Beaver!) I was expecting a bit more spice for Mexican chocolate, but I always find that to be a fine line in beers, and I’m just as happy it didn’t go real spice-heavy. A little spice becomes apparent in the finish, but it’s even-handed and well-balanced. Good fun. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

To Øl Nelson Survin – American Double / Imperial IPA at 9% ABV

To Øl Nelson Survin American Double / Imperial IPA at 9% ABV (C$8.30 at Sherbrooke Liquor, 330 ml, best before 2-Jun-2018, acquired 17-Dec-2016, reviewed 15-Oct-2017)

Appearance: nearly opaque medium amber with one finger of rocky light beige head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, moderate lacing. (3/5) Aroma: toffee & caramel, citrus, stone / orchard / tropical fruit, white grape must, earthy funk. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter, moderate tart. (8/10) Palate: medium-full slightly slick body, moderate carbonation, off-dry lingering bitter and tart finish. (4/5)

Bit of a strange beer here: on the front end it tastes like a sour, but then rapidly transitions through fruity white wine territory before becoming a malt-heavy DIPA for the finish, albeit with some residual tartness. Smells more like a DIPA than a sour, too – and a fairly old-fashioned malt-heavy one, at that. To be fair, it’s probably at least slightly too elderly (though I have no idea how old it actually is because there’s no bottling date) but I’m still well before the BB date, so I dunno. Not without its charms, but a little muddled and not a clear winner. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Crooked Stave St. Bretta Citrus Wildbier Valencia Orange – Sour / Wild Ale at 5.8% ABV

Crooked Stave St. Bretta Citrus Wildbier Valencia Orange Sour / Wild Ale at 5.8% ABV (US$7.99 at Knightly Spirits Orange Blossom Trail, 375 ml, packaged on 1-Aug-2015, acquired 15-May-2017, reviewed 15-Oct-2017)

Appearance: clear straw with one finger of fluffy white head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: lactic tart, orange peel, grainy malt, earth. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high tart, light bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate carbonation, dry lingering tart finish. (4/5)

Lots of tart here, but somewhat surprisingly (and a little disappointingly, if I’m honest) there’s not much Brett funk. I was also surprised there wasn’t more citrus presence from the Valencia oranges. However, both made more of an appearance when I poured in the lees, making me think this would’ve been better had it been fresher. Once I added the lees and things warmed up, the flavours opened up somewhat, and the appearance changed radically, becoming opaque and juice-like. I think I’d recommend swirling this one before pouring, much like one would for a Hefe. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Rogue Ales Dead n Dead – Maibock at 8.2% ABV | 40 IBU

Rogue Ales Dead n Dead Maibock at 8.2% ABV | 40 IBU (C$13.99 at Quarry Park Calgary Co-Op, 650 ml, packaged on 10-Aug-2017, acquired 12-Oct-2017, reviewed 14-Oct-2017)

Appearance: slightly hazy medium amber with one fat finger of creamy ivory head, good retention and lacing. (4/5) Aroma: whiskey, oak, caramel & toffee, dark fruit, vanilla. (8/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate-high bitter. (8/10) Medium slightly slick body, moderate carbonation, sweetish warming finish. (4/5)

Big barrel notes on this. Somewhat surprisingly, despite the high(er) sweetness and the slightly slick body, this never gets cloying. Lots of fun, with a nice warming finish. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Old Yale Brewing Co. Stone Fruit Hibiscus Saison – Saison at 6% ABV

Old Yale Brewing Co. Stone Fruit Hibiscus Saison Saison at 6% ABV (C$7.22 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 650 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 12-Oct-2017, reviewed 14-Oct-2017)

Appearance: near opaque deep gold with two fingers of fluffy off-white head diminishing gradually to a thin cap, patchy lacing. (3/5) Aroma: stone fruit, floral, biscuity malt. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, low bitter, light funk. (7/10) Medium-light body, lively carbonation, off-dry mildly spicy slightly funky finish. (4/5)

Pretty much what it says on the label: stone fruit and floral. Pleasant and approachable, with an emphatic fruit presence that makes it like drinking peach juice. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com