Sixpoint Craft Ales Bengali – American IPA at 6.6% ABV | 66 IBU

Sixpoint Craft Ales Bengali American IPA at 6.6% ABV | 66 IBU (US$1.99 at Whole Foods Aventura, 355 ml, packaged on 11-Dec-2017, acquired 30-Mar-2018, reviewed 30-Mar-2018)

Appearance: clear pale amber with one finger of rocky white head, good retention and moderate clingy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: resiny pine, citrus, caramel, hint of green onion. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium slightly oily body, moderate carbonation, off-dry lingering and building bitter finish. (4/5)

I don’t mind saying, I deliberately reserved this as my final beer of the evening, because I had such high hopes for it. And yes, it’s definitely the best beer I had this evening. And yet, I must confess, I somehow expected more. Don’t get me wrong, this is world class. But, it seems to suffer somewhat when compared to my recall of some of its brethren. On the other hand, when I check my notes, I see that the three who beat it fairly handily are all DIPAs – Hi-Res, Resin, and Puff – so perhaps I betray my bias for big boozy beers. Mind you, this is just slightly past the magic ninety day mark for the style, so perhaps I’m being slightly unfair on that basis as well. Apparently I’m a bit of a jerk. Anyway, good beer. Would have another. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

JDub’s Brewing Company Up Top! India Pale Ale – American IPA at 6.5% ABV | 55 IBU

JDub’s Brewing Company Up Top! India Pale Ale American IPA at 6.5% ABV | 55 IBU (US$1.99 at Whole Foods Aventura, 355 ml, packaged on 2-Jan-2018, acquired 30-Mar-2018, reviewed 30-Mar-2018)

Appearance: hazy deep gold with one finger of fluffy pale ivory head diminishing gradually to a thin skim and cap, patchy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: citrus, resiny pine, caramel, hints of tobacco and herbs. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry moderate bitter finish. (4/5)

A fairly traditional IPA, but pretty well done. I’ve called it a moderate bitter, but it tends slightly to the high side, although not so much as the aroma might suggest.  A solid enough performer in a crowded field. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Inlet Brewing Company Monk in the Trunk – American Amber / Red Ale at 5.5% ABV

Inlet Brewing Company Monk in the Trunk American Amber / Red Ale at 5.5% ABV (US$1.99 at Whole Foods Aventura, 355 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 30-Mar-2018, reviewed 30-Mar-2018)

Appearance: clear medium amber with a short, short-lived loose ivory head, no lacing. (3/5) Aroma: caramel malt and candi sugar, mild dark fruit, nuts. (7/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate bitter and spice. (7/10) Palate: medium slightly syrupy body, moderate carbonation, lingering sticky and moderate spicy finish. (3/5)

I was expecting to taste a bit more monk than I did. Not that I’ve tasted a whole lot of monks, y’know, but it was… see… oh, skip it. In its defense, it is more Belgian than Amber – but not by a whole lot. I was also a bit disappointed upon closer reading of the label to discover that this isn’t actually a local brew, but contracted out of North Carolina. I’ve nothing against contract brewing as such, but I specifically got this because I thought it was local. Ah well, live and refuse to learn, that’s what I always say! (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Biscayne Bay Brewing Company Miami Pale Ale – American Pale Ale at 5.5% ABV | 66 IBU

Biscayne Bay Brewing Company Miami Pale Ale American Pale Ale at 5.5% ABV | 66 IBU (US$1.99 at Whole Foods Aventura, 355 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 30-Mar-2018, reviewed 30-Mar-2018)

Appearance: hazy pale gold with a short, short-lived loose white head, no lacing. (3/5) Aroma: tropical fruit, citrus, light pine, pale crackery malt. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate carbonation, mild bitter finish. (4/5)

I’m a little on the fence on this one. At the outset, the big tropical fruit notes in the aroma are inviting, and I’d hesitate to say it ever gets excessively sweet or cloying, but eventually it’s got a tendency to become a little… I dunno… perfumy? It’s not bad, but I don’t think I’d go looking for another. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Barrel of Monks Brewing The Wizard – Witbier at 5.5% ABV

Barrel of Monks Brewing The Wizard Witbier at 5.5% ABV (US$1.99 at Whole Foods Aventura, 355 ml, packaged on 26-Feb-2018, acquired 30-Mar-2018, reviewed 30-Mar-2018)

Appearance: opaque straw with a short, short-lived loose white head, no lacing. (3/5) Aroma: mild, orange peel, coriander. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, mild bitter, light tart & peppery spice. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate-low carbonation, lightly spicy finish. (3/5)

Not unpleasant, but definitely on the mild side. The spice isn’t overwhelming, which is good, but everything tends mild, to the point of forgettable. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Omission Brewing Co. Pale Ale – American Pale Ale at 5.8% ABV | 33 IBU

Omission Brewing Co. Pale Ale American Pale Ale at 5.8% ABV | 33 IBU (US$1.99 at Whole Foods Aventura, 355 ml, packaged on 15-Dec-2017, acquired 30-Mar-2018, reviewed 30-Mar-2018)

Appearance: clear deep gold with one finger of loose white head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: muted pine resin, citrus, caramel malt, floral. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (6/10) Palate: medium body, moderate-low carbonation, mild bitter slightly sticky finish. (3/5)

Serviceable enough as a gluten-free beer, I guess, but it suffers by comparison to the real thing. Slightly bland, slightly sticky, and slightly boring. (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Western Newfoundland Brewing Co. Strout River – Stout at 5.5% ABV | 30 IBU

Western Newfoundland Brewing Co. Strout River Stout at 5.5% ABV | 30 IBU (C$10.36 at NLC Howley Estates, 946 ml, packaged on 1-Mar-2018, acquired 28-Mar-2018, reviewed 28-Mar-2018)

Appearance: utterly black with no relief, a short, short-lived beige head. (3/5) Aroma: dark roasty and ashy malt, coffee, dry cocoa. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (6/10) Palate: medium slightly slick body, moderate-low carbonation, lingering bitter slightly astringent finish. (3/5)

I’m not quite sure what about this is not working for me – perhaps it’s a slight overemphasis on the dark malt, but it ends up being a bit burnt and slightly astringent. Not bad, but not one I really enjoyed a lot. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Sierra Nevada Experimental Hop Double IPA – American Double / Imperial IPA at 8% ABV | 65 IBU

Sierra Nevada Experimental Hop Double IPA American Double / Imperial IPA at 8% ABV | 65 IBU (US$1.40 at Specs Main Houston, 355 ml, packaged on 15-Jan-2018, acquired 3-Mar-2018, reviewed 28-Mar-2018)

Appearance: clear medium amber with one finger of creamy pale ivory head, good retention and moderate lacing. (4/5) Aroma: wood, bready malt, vanilla, citrus, dank pine resin. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium slightly oily body, moderate carbonation, off-dry lingering and building bitter mildly warming finish. (4/5)

“HBC 472 lends it a distinctive oaky, barrel-aged character. Jackson 104 brings heavy fruit-forward and citrus-like flavors to the beer, while Steiner 07270 rounds out the hop finish with deep, resinous notes of dank pine and grapefruit.” Y’know, usually these commercial descriptions are irrelevant, inaccurate, or flat-out misleading, but I have to say, all four of the Experimentals I got in a mixed dozen case have commercial descriptions that are dead-nuts on. In this case, I would’ve sworn that this was whiskey barrel-aged, right down to the oaky, woody vanilla character. There’s a little citrus and dank pine on the back end, but it’s pretty minor by comparison. Not to suggest this is unbalanced, not by any means, but it’s surprising what intensity of flavours are possible without actually involving barrels. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Sierra Nevada Experimental Hop IPA – American IPA at 6.7% ABV | 58 IBU

Sierra Nevada Experimental Hop IPA American IPA at 6.7% ABV | 58 IBU (US$1.40 at Specs Main Houston, 355 ml, packaged on 11-Jan-2018, acquired 3-Mar-2018, reviewed 27-Mar-2018)

Appearance: hazy pale gold with one finger of dense creamy white head, good retention and moderate lacing. (4/5) Aroma: tropical fruit, citrus, resiny pine, pale malt, floral. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry bitter finish. (4/5)

This one is hopped with “FZMR2 hop varietal, known for its mango-forward flavors, as well as HBC598, 438, and NeoMexicanus”. Definite elements of West Coast dankness, but without the typical associated emphatic bitterness. Similar to an NEIPA in that sense, where the hops are more present as aroma and flavour, than bitterness on the tongue. Really good. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Sierra Nevada Experimental Hop Pilsner – Pilsener at 5.5% ABV | 46 IBU

Sierra Nevada Experimental Hop Pilsner Pilsener at 5.5% ABV | 46 IBU (US$1.40 at Specs Main Houston, 355 ml, packaged on 9-Jan-2018, acquired 3-Mar-2018, reviewed 27-Mar-2018)

Appearance: slightly hazy pale straw with one finger of rocky white head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: lemon zest, honey, crackery and bready malt, grassy hay. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate carbonation, off-dry slightly spicy finish. (4/5)

I like this – aficionados of the style might argue that it’s too hop-forward, but personally I find Pilseners to verge on boring, so this works for me. Per the commercial description, “Nug-033 and Steiner 04190 reflect some of herbal and spicy character of their European predecessors, but with a new twist. Notes of lemongrass and citrus are balanced by a slight honey flavor and a smooth, chamomile-like hop aroma.” I can’t say I got a lot of chamomile, but other than that, it’s a pretty accurate description. There’s still enough Pils character that it doesn’t lose its way stylistically, but it’s bolstered by some fun hops. Definitely more-ish, especially if it were a hot day on a patio. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com