Mikkeller Metal Henry Schwarzbier – Schwarzbier at 5.5% ABV

Mikkeller Metal Henry Schwarzbier Schwarzbier at 5.5% ABV (C$5.80 at Sherbrooke Liquor, 330 ml, best before 30-Nov-2017, acquired 17-Dec-2016, reviewed 7-Oct-2017)

Appearance: clear brown with one finger of creamy beige head, good retention and moderate lacing. (4/5) Aroma: mild, roasted malts, cocoa & coffee, red berries & dark fruit, ash. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter, light tart. (7/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, dry medium duration slightly smoky finish. (4/5)

Not really all that schwarz, is it? More braun, if you ask me. Colour complaints aside, this is quite pleasant, mild and approachable, yet with some pleasant complexity and depth of flavour. Could be a good one for someone unfamiliar with the style. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Mikkeller Vienna Lager – Amber Lager/Vienna at 4.3% ABV

Mikkeller Vienna Lager Amber Lager/Vienna at 4.3% ABV (C$5.80 at Sherbrooke Liquor, 330 ml, best before 20-Oct-2017, acquired 17-Dec-2016, reviewed 7-Oct-2017)

Appearance: clear pale amber with two fingers of fluffy white head, excellent retention and thick chunky lacing. (5/5) Aroma: grainy pale malt, bready caramel, grass, hint of butterscotch. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry medium duration finish. (4/5)

Lots of flavour for something so light in ABV. I suppose it would be unkind of me to point out that that flavour is malt, instead of hops. Of course, that’s not really a complaint, given the style. All in all, a pretty dead-nuts-on interpretation of the style, if perhaps with just the slightest of Belg-ish hints. Doesn’t seem to have been harmed by my running up near the BB date, either, except perhaps the hint of butterscotch in the end – which again, is not really present as an off flavour. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company The Spice Principle – Spice / Herb / Vegetable at 5.6% ABV | 20 IBU

Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company The Spice Principle Spice / Herb / Vegetable at 5.6% ABV | 20 IBU (C$6.02 at NLC Stavanger, 600 ml, packaged on 16-Aug-2017, acquired 30-Sep-2017, reviewed 6-Oct-2017)

Appearance: hazy straw with one fat finger of fluffy white head diminishing gradually to a thick persistent cap, spotty lacing. (4/5) Aroma: coriander, pepper, mustard, ginger, nutmeg – oh, hell, the entire spice cabinet – and some banana and bubblegum. (7/10) Taste: moderate-high spice, moderate sweet, low bitter. (7/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, lingering warming spicy finish. (4/5)

I’m not generally a big fan of spiced beers, except perhaps in the depths of winter, by a roaring fire, while deep in the grip of a maudlin combination of solstice cheer and seasonal affective disorder. And, since I was outside in a T-shirt today, nah, not so much. And, holy hell, that’s a lot of spice! (The brewer notes indicate coriander, turmeric, cumin, fenugreek, cayenne, black pepper, yellow mustard, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and nutmeg – and yes, I’m getting all of that. Except maybe “fenugreek.” What the hell’s fenugreek?) I waffled wildly on the aroma and taste scores for this one, all the way from 5 to 8 for each. Ultimately, though, this is interesting and well done, if not everybody’s cup of tea. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company Cranberry Derby – Fruit / Vegetable Beer at 6.3% ABV | 30 IBU

Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company Cranberry Derby Fruit / Vegetable Beer at 6.3% ABV | 30 IBU (C$6.02 at NLC Stavanger, 600 ml, packaged on 17-Aug-2017, acquired 30-Sep-2017, reviewed 6-Oct-2017)

Appearance: clear ruby-tinged deep amber with one fat finger of loose off-white head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: mild, cranberry, grainy malt, floral, flaked oat. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate tart, mild bitter. (7/10) Medium-light body, moderate carbonation, mildly tart medium duration finish. (4/5)

Not bad, actually. Reasonably light and easy-drinking, and I think it might be the first of Beau’s “Wild Oats” series I’ve had that actually contained oats, so bonus points, I guess? Cranberry definitely dominates, though that said it, and everything else, tends to the mild side. Sweetness is mild yet the tart doesn’t overwhelm. And, it’s (Canadian) Thanksgiving weekend, so the flavour is seasonally appropriate. Not overly exciting perhaps, but it’ll do. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Sawdust City Brewing Company Sägemehl Stadt Festbier – Oktoberfest / Märzen at 5% ABV | 25 IBU

Sawdust City Brewing Company Sägemehl Stadt Festbier Oktoberfest / Märzen at 5% ABV | 25 IBU (C$4.48 at NLC Topsail Road, 473 ml, packaged on 15-Sep-2017, acquired 5-Oct-2017, reviewed 6-Oct-2017)

Appearance: clear deep gold with one fat finger of loose off-white head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: caramel & toasted malt, bready yeast, grass & herbs. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Medium slightly chewy body, moderate carbonation, medium duration finish. (4/5)

A fairly middle-of-the-road interpretation of a fairly middle-of-the-road style. Pleasant sweet and toasty bready malt character dominates over mild noble hops, with an easy-to-drink medium body and a fairly clean finish. That said, in my opinion it’s nowhere near as good as their IPA or even their SIPA. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company Sergeant Stripes – Foreign / Export Stout at 7.9% ABV | 45 IBU

Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company Sergeant Stripes Foreign / Export Stout at 7.9% ABV | 45 IBU (C$6.02 at NLC Stavanger, 600 ml, packaged on 15-Aug-2017, acquired 30-Sep-2017, reviewed 4-Oct-2017)

Appearance: clear ruby brown with one fat finger of loose beige head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, moderate lacing. (3/5) Aroma: blackstrap molasses, chocolate and coffee, caramel, liquorice. (7/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Medium-full body tending slightly thin, soft carbonation, off-dry slightly astringent warming finish. (3/5)

Meh. I find this to be a style that’s really hard to do right, and this… well… doesn’t. I mean, it not bad, but it’s a long way from great. Sweet, tending strong, but thinnish, with a slightly overdone roasted malt profile. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a drain pour or anything, but I wouldn’t bother with it a second time. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Anchorage Brewing Company The Tide and Its Takers (Batch #5) – Tripel at 9% ABV | 30 IBU

Anchorage Brewing Company The Tide and Its Takers (Batch #5) Tripel at 9% ABV | 30 IBU (C$17.99 at Oak & Vine, 750 ml, packaged on 1-Sep-2016, acquired 31-Jul-2017, reviewed 4-Oct-2017)

Appearance: slightly hazy straw with one finger of fizzy white head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, moderate lacing. (3/5) Aroma: white grape must, wood, lemon zest, earthy funk. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter, light tart, minimal funk. (8/10) Medium-light body, lively carbonation, dry mildly tart lightly funky finish. (4/5)

A decent enough Tripel, with restrained sweetness, lively carbonation, and a decently dry finish. I must, however, admit to a certain disappointment at how very mild the Brett character is, despite more than a year in the bottle. Good, but a fair ways from great, especially for the price. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Brasserie Dunham Saison Cassis – Saison at 6.5% ABV

Brasserie Dunham Saison Cassis Saison at 6.5% ABV (C$11.23 at NLC Stavanger, 750 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 30-Sep-2017, reviewed 3-Oct-2017)

Appearance: hazy ruby red with one finger of dense creamy pink head, good retention and moderate lacing. (4/5) Aroma: black currant, musty funk, grainy wheat, light black pepper. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate tart, light funk, minimal bitter. (8/10) Medium-light body, moderate-high carbonation, off-dry mildly tart lightly funky finish. (4/5)

Another solid performer by Dunham. This is pretty much what it says on the label: a cassis-dominated Saison. It’s actually more like a Kriek than anything, since the blackberry flavour is so dominant, and the spice so very mild. (There’s a slight downside there, in that it tends a bit simplistic as a result.) Despite the strong fruit flavour, though, the sweetness remains restrained, and the finish is off-dry. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Dandy Brewing Company The Jungle Bird – Sour Red/Brown at 5% ABV

Dandy Brewing Company The Jungle Bird Sour Red/Brown at 5% ABV (C$7.36 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 650 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 25-Apr-2017, reviewed 1-Oct-2017)

Appearance: clear cola brown with one fat finger of fine light beige head, good retention and patchy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: mild, brown sugar, pineapple and tropical fruit, lime. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate tart, mild bitter. (7/10) Medium-light body, moderate-high carbonation, off-dry mildly tart finish. (3/5)

Not unpleasant for a kettle sour. Mild aromas include brown/Demerara sugar, pineapple and other tropical fruits, and a pleasant lime tartness. This last comes through on the tongue, particularly in the finish. Pretty decent overall. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com