Central City Brewers + Distillers Red Racer Wonderful Winter – Witbier at 5% ABV | 20 IBU

Central City Brewers + Distillers Red Racer Wonderful Winter Witbier at 5% ABV | 20 IBU (C$3.00 at Oak & Vine, 330 ml, packaged on 4-Nov-2017, acquired 7-Jan-2018, reviewed 10-Jan-2018)

Appearance: hazy straw with one finger of off-white head diminishing gradually to a thin cap, no lacing. (2/5) Aroma: doughy wheat, cooked vegetables, coriander, sulphur. (3/10) Taste: moderate sweet, mild bitter. (3/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry slightly spicy finish. (3/5)

 Well, it’s not white, and it smells foul (and doesn’t taste any better). I hope it’s an off bottle, and considered not reviewing it at all. Drain poured most of it. Just plain terrible. (6/20)

3.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Central City Brewers + Distillers Red Racer Low Rider Sugarplum – Berliner Weisse at 3.9% ABV | 15 IBU

Central City Brewers + Distillers Red Racer Low Rider Sugarplum Berliner Weisse at 3.9% ABV | 15 IBU (C$3.00 at Oak & Vine, 330 ml, packaged on 5-Nov-2017, acquired 7-Jan-2018, reviewed 10-Jan-2018)

Appearance: clear pink-tinged deep gold with a short, short-lived fizzy head, no lacing. (3/5) Aroma: vanilla, plum, lactose, spices. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate tart, low bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate carbonation, creamy tart finish. (3/5)

Not bad as such, and certainly nowhere near as sweet as the aroma promises it’s going to be, but intensely weird. Though, I guess, how could a sugarplum beer be anything but? In addition, it’s got big problems structurally, with the small head dropping off immediately to nothing, and no lacing. The carbonation could be higher, too. I can’t help but think this particular flavour profile (especially the lactose) would be better suited to some other style than a Berliner Weisse.  (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Collective Arts Brewing Collective Project/ Gose with Guava – Gose at 4.9% ABV | 12 IBU

Collective Arts Brewing Collective Project/ Gose with Guava Gose at 4.9% ABV | 12 IBU (C$4.50 at The Brewer’s Apprentice, 473 ml, packaged on 23-Oct-0201, acquired 7-Jan-2018, reviewed 10-Jan-2018)

Appearance: opaque pale gold with one finger of creamy white head, good retention and moderate stringy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: guava, floral, wheat, mild funk, light brine. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, low bitter, mild tart. (8/10) Palate: off-dry medium body tending slightly thick, moderate carbonation, medium duration mildly tart & salty finish. (4/5)

Loads of guava. Like, fruit juice levels of guava. The body isn’t heavy – barely medium weight – but has a fruit juice thickness or creaminess. The addition of the guava makes this much better than their base Prophets & Nomads Gose. I like this a whole bunch. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Bellwoods Brewery Barn Owl (No. 10) – American IPA at 6.5% ABV

Bellwoods Brewery Barn Owl (No. 10) American IPA at 6.5% ABV (C$19.00 at The Brewer’s Apprentice, 500 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 7-Jan-2018, reviewed 9-Jan-2018)

Appearance: hazy pale gold with three fingers of loose white head diminishing gradually to a thin cap, minimal lacing. (3/5) Aroma: apricot, pineapple, leather, light oak, hint of red wine. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter, mild tart. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry medium bitter mild tart finish. (4/5)

I missed out on snagging a Barn Owl (though not this batch) by a day or so the last time I made it to Bellwoods on an overnight in Toronto, so I’m not too annoyed at paying double the price it would’ve been at the brewery, to snag one in Alberta. (Actually, three – I bought a couple more at Willow Park today, for three bucks cheaper. Those are intended for long-term cellaring.) As far as the beer itself goes, well, it’s a bit of a mixed bag. It’s sure not pretty, but Brett makes that hard. I’m going to criticize just a little the apricot: it’s so heavy that it dominates, even over the Brett. It’s pleasant, sure, but I would’ve preferred a little less, to allow the Brett and red wine foeder character a chance to show. I’m very happy that I’ve got some for cellaring, because I think allowing the fruit to fade a little while the Brett digs in might put this where I’d like it be. This is very good as it stands, but I’ve got high hopes that I’m going to be re-rating this higher in a year or two. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Base Camp Brewing Company Ultra Gnar Gnar IPA – American IPA at 6.7% ABV | 60 IBU

Base Camp Brewing Company Ultra Gnar Gnar IPA American IPA at 6.7% ABV | 60 IBU (C$3.00 at Oak & Vine, 355 ml, packaged on 30-Oct-2017, acquired 7-Jan-2018, reviewed 9-Jan-2018)

Appearance: hazy pale amber with one finger of fluffy off-white head diminishing rapidly to a thin cap, spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: toffee & caramel, citrus, hint of pine & grass. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry medium finish. (3/5)

Not too much gnarly about this – big malt front end, with at best moderate citrus, and a very faint pine. Yeah, OK, it’s got 60 IBU on the tongue, but it’s a blunt bitter, with no real edge or character. This might’ve been shocking if it were still the nineties (and people still used the word “gnarly”) but doesn’t hold a candle to modern A/IPA’s. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Parallel 49 Trash Panda IPA – American IPA at 5.5% ABV

Parallel 49 Trash Panda IPA American IPA at 5.5% ABV (C$2.67 at Quarry Park Calgary Co-Op, 355 ml, packaged on 22-Nov-2017, acquired 5-Jan-2018, reviewed 9-Jan-2018)

Appearance: hazy pale amber with one finger of fluffy off-white head, good retention and moderate lacing. (4/5) Aroma: orange peel & flesh, pale malt, pineapple, mild dank pine. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry medium finish. (4/5)

This has two hops I’ve never heard of: Cashmere and Loral, in addition to Simcoe and Citra. Cashmere comes from Cascade and Northern Brewer, but with higher alpha acids, while Loral is more noble-like. There’s certainly a lot of hop-derived citrus character in there, as well as a little tropical fruit coming across as sweet pineapple. I’ve called the sweetness “moderate”, but the fruit character makes it hint at sweeter than that, particularly in the finish. Still, tasty and easy to drink. Stupid name, though. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Charles Wells Brewery (Marston’s) Wells IPA – English IPA at 5% ABV

Charles Wells Brewery (Marston’s) Wells IPA English IPA at 5% ABV (C$3.00 at Oak & Vine, 500 ml, packaged on 23-May-2017, acquired 7-Jan-2018, reviewed 9-Jan-2018)

Appearance: clear medium amber with one finger of fluffy ivory head, good retention and moderate lacing. (4/5) Aroma: caramel, biscuity malt, grass, cooked vegetables. (4/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (4/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry medium finish. (3/5)

This is precisely what I expected: malt-heavy, with only the faintest whiff of grassy hops. Nothing negative about this as such – it’s just very, very boring. In a blind tasting, I’d probably identify this as a bitter. Drank half, sink poured the rest out of sheer boredom. (10/20)

5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Siding 14 Brewing Co. Ten-Wheeler – American IPA at 6.5% ABV

Siding 14 Brewing Co. Ten-Wheeler American IPA at 6.5% ABV (C$3.00 at Oak & Vine, 355 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 7-Jan-2018, reviewed 8-Jan-2018)

Appearance: hazy particulate-laden deep gold with one fat finger of rocky white head, good retention and moderate lacing. (4/5) Aroma: doughy yeast, biscuity malt, citrus, resiny pine. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry lingering bitter finish. (3/5)

Sometimes you take a total flyer and it pays off. This… well… didn’t. It’s not bad, just a bit doughy. OK, really doughy. Really, really doughy. Did I mention it’s doughy? Because it’s doughy. Just so we’re clear on that. Once you get past that… eventually… there’s some citrus and pine. And it’s nicely bittered, especially in the finish. But so very doughy. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Odin Brewing Company Galactic Space Dragon – American IPA at 6.5% ABV | 65 IBU

Odin Brewing Company Galactic Space Dragon American IPA at 6.5% ABV | 65 IBU (C$3.00 at Oak & Vine, 355 ml, packaged on 20-Oct-2017, acquired 7-Jan-2018, reviewed 8-Jan-2018)

Appearance: hazy particulate-laden pale gold with one fat finger of rocky white head, good retention and moderate lacing. (4/5) Aroma: citrus, pale malt, pine. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry medium duration finish. (4/5)

Like there was any chance I wasn’t going to buy a beer called Galactic Space Dragon. (And somewhat shockingly, it’s not made by Clown Shoes.) Not to mention, the can bears what I suspect is equal parts slogan, aphorism, and admonition: “Sky above. Earth below. Beer within.” Works for me! … at least until you get upside-down on the beer within, I suppose? As far as the beer goes, it’s another wannabe NE/IPA from the West Coast – which is apparently fast becoming a thing, so I guess I need to start using the WNEIPAFTWC acronym now? It’s hazy and sorta juicy, sure, but also brings in a slightly dank West Coast pine. S’OK. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Twin Sails Brewing Street Legal IPA – American IPA at 6.5% ABV | 45 IBU

Twin Sails Brewing Street Legal IPA American IPA at 6.5% ABV | 45 IBU (C$4.99 at Oak & Vine, 473 ml, packaged on 17-Nov-2017, acquired 7-Jan-2018, reviewed 8-Jan-2018)

Appearance: hazy particulate-laden medium gold with one fat finger of rocky white head diminishing rapidly to a thin cap, moderate lacing. (3/5) Aroma: citrus, grainy caramel, pine, dank. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry medium duration finish. (4/5)

Oh, gee, look at that, another pot reference beer name. (Sorta). I dunno, not bad? It’s less than two months old, but poured nearly clear until the final inch or so, when a chunk of trub dropped into the glass. Kinda makes me feel like the haziness isn’t so much a stylistic choice, as just plain old laziness. Maybe I’m being too harsh on this, but I’m just not feeling the love here. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com