To Øl Mr. Orange – Premium Bitter / ESB at 7% ABV | 49 IBU

To Øl Mr. Orange Premium Bitter / ESB at 7% ABV | 49 IBU (C$8.70 at Sherbrooke Liquor, 330 ml, best before 8-Mar-2018, acquired 17-Dec-2016, reviewed 4-Feb-2018)

Appearance: hazy medium gold with two fingers of dense creamy white head, excellent retention and heavy, soapy lacing. (5/5) Aroma: citrus flesh and peel, toasted malt. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry oily astringent finish. (4/5)

I have no idea what makes this an ESB, but I like it! If you ask me, it’s more like an American Pale with citrus adjunct, not an ESB, but what the hell do I know? (Well, perhaps not – there’s definitely a toasted malt component in there, and none of the pine I’d expect if this were an APA or A/IPA. So, fine, it’s an ESB. A heavily hopped, citrus adjunct, beefy ABV ESB.) They weren’t kidding when they called it Mr. Orange, though, because that’s by far the dominant character, right down to an oily orange peel astringent finish. Good stuff. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Driftwood Brewery Latus Sour Ale (2017) – Sour / Wild Ale at 6.8% ABV

Driftwood Brewery Latus Sour Ale (2017) Sour / Wild Ale at 6.8% ABV (C$12.85 at Hume Hotel Liquor Boutique, 650 ml, packaged on 1-Dec-2017, acquired 30-Jan-2018, reviewed 3-Feb-2018)

Appearance: clear ruby-tinged amber-brown with a short-lived fizzy head and no lacing. (3/5) Aroma: tart raspberry, stone fruit, oak, mild funk. (9/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate tart, mild funk. (9/10) Palate: medium-light body, lively carbonation, dry tart lightly funky finish. (5/5)

This might be one of the best (if not the best) non-Belgian Flanders Red/Browns I’ve had. After far too many bandwagon kettle sours, it’s ever so nice to get a real barrel-aged sour, and this is quite a good barrel-aged sour, with plenty of depth and complexity, while remaining approachable. I’m a bit of a sucker for this style, so I might be a touch enthusiastic in my scoring, but only a touch. (And, so common an occurrence for Driftwood as to hardly merit mention, yet another gorgeous label.) (17/20)

8.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Phillips Brewing Company Phantoma Pomegranate Dark Saison – Saison at 6.2% ABV

Phillips Brewing Company Phantoma Pomegranate Dark Saison Saison at 6.2% ABV (C$6.60 at Hume Hotel Liquor Boutique, 650 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 30-Jan-2018, reviewed 3-Feb-2018)

Appearance: clear ruby brown with two fingers of creamy beige head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: molasses, Swedish berries, wheat, black pepper, light tart, weedy grass, hint of smoke. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate tart, mild bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, medium duration lightly tart finish. (4/5)

One thing you might notice to be completely absent from my description: pomegranate. Not that that’s particularly surprising, given that it’s a pretty mild flavour, so I’m chalking up the red berry flavour to the missing pomegranate. Both it and the molasses are mild and even-handed, but the base beer just doesn’t taste very Saison-ish. Pleasant enough, I suppose, but a bit of a kitchen sink of flavours. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Omnipollo Bianca Mango Lassi – Gose at 6% ABV

Omnipollo Bianca Mango Lassi Gose at 6% ABV (C$8.79 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 330 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 18-Nov-2017, reviewed 3-Feb-2018)

Appearance: slightly hazy pale gold, short short lived white head, minimal lacing. (3/5) Aroma: mango, citrus, wheat, light brine. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate tart, light bitter, light salt. (8/10) Palate: medium-light body, lively carbonation, tart lightly salt finish. (4/5)

A pleasant, refreshing gose. The mango is emphatic without being overwhelming, as is the tartness, while the light brine tempers the tart and invites the next sip. It’s a bit high in ABV for the style, perhaps, but it’s not intrusive. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Mikkeller / Anchorage Brewing Company AK Alive! – American Wild Ale at 8% ABV

Mikkeller / Anchorage Brewing Company AK Alive! American Wild Ale at 8% ABV (C$12.02 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 750 ml, packaged on 1-Jul-2016, acquired 13-Dec-2017, reviewed 2-Feb-2018)

Appearance: cloudy pale amber with one fat finger of loose off-white head, good retention and spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: bready yeast, white wine, stone fruit, horseblankety funk. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter, mild funk. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry moderate lightly funky finish. (4/5)

This might well the the beer that took the shine off the apple for two breweries simultaneously for me. I’ve had some really good beers from both (including at least one really good collab – Invasion IPA) but they’re also both quite capable of stumbling. (Mikkeller in particular, since he does, what, a zillion unique beers a year? So even a small failure ratio blows up pretty quickly.) And this is, if not actually off-putting, at least well under the high water mark for either brewer. I mean, sure, the heavy doughy yeast is similar to e.g. Council Brewing, but it still smells reminiscent of cheap homebrew to me. So, perhaps I’m viewing this through the filter of a misspent youth, but it’s just not working for me. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Fernie Brewing Company Nighthawk Farmhouse IPA – Belgian Ale at 6.4% ABV | 50 IBU

Fernie Brewing Company Nighthawk Farmhouse IPA Belgian Ale at 6.4% ABV | 50 IBU (C$7.45 at Fernie Mountain Spirits, 650 ml, best before 31-Jul-2018, acquired 31-Jan-2018, reviewed 2-Feb-2018)

Appearance: slightly hazy pale amber with two fingers of fluffy ivory head, excellent retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: citrus zest, floral, coriander, dill, dry funk. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter, light dry funk. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, dry moderate bitter finish. (4/5)

This would appear to be brand spankin’ new, since the official release party was only a week ago, and the web site calls it a February release. (Gee, it’s almost like I bought this really close to where it was brewed…) Gotta say, I like this. I haven’t been a big fan of Sorachi Ace hops in the few other examples I’ve tried, but in this context, they really seem to work. Their dill aspect in particular, which I found somewhat objectionable in other beers, works well with the Belgian yeast notes and coriander. Interesting and well-balanced. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Mt. Begbie Brewing Co. White Knuckle WIPA – White IPA at 5.6% ABV | 42 IBU

Mt. Begbie Brewing Co. White Knuckle WIPA White IPA at 5.6% ABV | 42 IBU (C$7.20 at Fernie Mountain Spirits, 650 ml, packaged on 23-Jun-2017, acquired 31-Jan-2018, reviewed 2-Feb-2018)

Appearance: hazy particulate-laden pale gold with two fat fingers of rocky white head, excellent retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: floral, wheat, citrus peel, coriander, chamomile. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, dry moderate bitter finish. (4/5)

Probably wouldn’t have bought this had I noticed and figured out the tiny cryptic date stamp while I was in the store, since it at least visually appears slightly elderly, what with the extra-chunky particulate. However, it still smells and tastes pretty good, although with a hop character that I’d call muted at best. I understand this is hopped with Mosaic, but I’m not getting much of that. The chamomile and coriander are both light, and work well with the dry finish. Might not be everybody’s cup of tea (hah!) but decent enough. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Lighthouse Brewing Co. Numbskull Rotator #2 Ahtanum Hops Edition – American Double / Imperial IPA at 9.1% ABV | 70 IBU

Lighthouse Brewing Co. Numbskull Rotator #2 Ahtanum Hops Edition American Double / Imperial IPA at 9.1% ABV | 70 IBU (C$8.60 at Hume Hotel Liquor Boutique, 650 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 30-Jan-2018, reviewed 1-Feb-2018)

Appearance: clear pale amber with two fingers of fluffy white head, excellent retention and moderate soapy lacing. (5/5) Aroma: caramel, grapefruit, earth, floral, pine, weeds. (6/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, high bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, lingering building bitter warming finish. (4/5)

Definitely an older style DIPA, with caramel malt leading the way over a blend of citrus, floral, and pine. Not really all that interesting, but not bad, and boozy good fun when you get right down to it. And yes, it does get your skull fairly numb, so there’s that. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Red Arrow Brewing Company Piggy Pale Ale – American Pale Ale at 5% ABV | 37 IBU

Red Arrow Brewing Company Piggy Pale Ale American Pale Ale at 5% ABV | 37 IBU (C$7.05 at Fernie Mountain Spirits, 650 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 31-Jan-2018, reviewed 1-Feb-2018)

Appearance: clear pale amber with two fingers of fluffy white head, excellent retention and moderate soapy lacing. (5/5) Aroma: doughy caramel, mild citrus, weedy grass. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (6/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, moderate bitter finish. (3/5)

The best thing about this beer is that the name makes me hum NiN’s March of the Pigs. Actually, that’s the best thing by far. Other than that, it’s a pretty boring, malty Pale, tending more English than American. Oh, and it’s pretty. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Persephone Brewing Company New Wave IPA – American IPA at 6.5% ABV | 25 IBU

Persephone Brewing Company New Wave IPA American IPA at 6.5% ABV | 25 IBU (C$7.80 at Hume Hotel Liquor Boutique, 650 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 30-Jan-2018, reviewed 31-Jan-2018)

Appearance: hazy pale gold with two fingers of fluffy white head, excellent retention and moderate soapy lacing. (5/5) Aroma: tropical fruit, citrus, pale malt, dank resin. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, moderate bitter finish. (4/5)

So, the label claims they were over-contracted for “all the best hops” so they whacked a bunch of Simcoe, Citra, and Eureka into this. Works for me: big juiciness and mild dank. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com