Outcast Brewing The Forgetful Brewer – American Double / Imperial IPA at 8.2% ABV | 70 IBU

Outcast Brewing The Forgetful Brewer American Double / Imperial IPA at 8.2% ABV | 70 IBU (C$5.00 at The Brewer’s Apprentice, 473 ml, packaged on 27-Feb-2018, acquired 14-Mar-2018, reviewed 14-Mar-2018)

Appearance: clear pale amber with two fingers of rocky pale ivory head, excellent retention and moderate lacing. (4/5) Aroma: pithy oily citrus, dank resiny pine, grainy caramel, mild floral. (9/10) Taste: moderate sweet, high bitter. (9/10) Palate: medium slightly oily body, moderate carbonation, off-dry building bitter finish. (4/5)

You should forget to order malt more often. (17/20)

8.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Hell’s Basement Brewing The Yard Blackberry Milkshake IPA – American IPA at 6.2% ABV | 20 IBU

Hell’s Basement Brewing The Yard Blackberry Milkshake IPA American IPA at 6.2% ABV | 20 IBU (C$2.93 at The Brewer’s Apprentice, 355 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 14-Mar-2018, reviewed 14-Mar-2018)

Appearance: dirty particulate-laden deep amber with two fingers of rocky pale beige head, excellent retention and chunky lacing. (2/5) Aroma: mild, vanilla, blackberry, light burnt sugar. (4/10) Taste: moderate-low sweet, low bitter. (6/10) Palate: medium slightly creamy body, moderate-low carbonation, off-dry medium duration finish. (3/5)

(No packaging or BB dates, but the shop told me this was a fresh batch, so I’m operating on the assumption that this is the way the brewer intended it to be.) Yeah, I actually didn’t notice the “blackberry” bit on the label when I picked this up, so I was halfway expecting an NEIPA – not so much. I had a bad feeling about the appearance when I started pouring this, and the last inch or so out of the can being as lumpy as it was didn’t do much to help. My comment above notwithstanding, I don’t think this can possibly be fresh. In fact, the visual was so off-putting I was actually hesitant to taste it, despite the mild aroma. Once I started, it wasn’t so bad, though. Wasn’t so good, either, mind you. Bit of a train wreck, actually, and I’m left wondering if this is actually what the brewer intended. Gee, if only there were some way to know how fresh a beer was – if only there were some magic that allowed one to know when a beer was packaged!

DATE

YOUR

DAMN

BEER

That is all. (10/20)

5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Railyard Brewing Railyard IPA – American IPA at 6% ABV | 60 IBU

Railyard Brewing Railyard IPA American IPA at 6% ABV | 60 IBU (C$4.05 at The Brewer’s Apprentice, 473 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 14-Mar-2018, reviewed 14-Mar-2018)

Appearance: clear medium gold with two fat fingers of rocky pale ivory head diminishing gradually to a thick persistent cap, patchy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: citrus, resiny pine, caramel, tropical fruit, floral, earth. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry medium duration finish. (4/5)

(No packaging or BB dates, but the shop told me this was a fresh batch, so I’m operating on the assumption that this is the way the brewer intended it to be.) First time I’ve had anything by this, yet another new local Calgary brewer, and I’m cautiously optimistic. It’s a bit middle-of-the-road, and that’s probably sounding like I’m damning them with faint praise, but I’m not: it’s reasonably flavourful and a solid performer, and getting to that point after having been in business for a year is actually pretty good. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Hell’s Basement Brewing Huruhru (The Feather) – American Pale Ale at 5.2% ABV | 3 IBU

Hell’s Basement Brewing Huruhru (The Feather) American Pale Ale at 5.2% ABV | 3 IBU (C$2.93 at The Brewer’s Apprentice, 355 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 14-Mar-2018, reviewed 14-Mar-2018)

Appearance: hazy pale straw with two fat fingers of rocky white head, excellent retention and soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: citrus, floral, crackery malt, grass. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, low bitter. (6/10) Palate: light body, moderate carbonation, off-dry short duration finish. (4/5)

(No packaging or BB dates, but the shop told me this was a fresh batch, so I’m operating on the assumption that this is the way the brewer intended it to be.) As a huge fan of ANZ hops (especially Nelson) I had high hopes for this, but they didn’t quite pan out. Not disappointing, as such, but less bright ANZ hop presence than I was hoping for. Instead of vinous and stone fruit, I’m getting a fairly strong floral shortly behind a straightforward citrus. Although not sweet, that perfume character prevents it from being clean and refreshing. OK, but nothing special. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Hearthstone Brewery Cool Hand Cuke – Sour / Wild Ale at 4% ABV

Hearthstone Brewery Cool Hand Cuke Sour / Wild Ale at 4% ABV (C$3.50 at The Brewer’s Apprentice, 355 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 14-Mar-2018, reviewed 14-Mar-2018)

Appearance: clear pale gold with one fat finger of fizzy white head diminishing rapidly to nothing, no lacing. (3/5) Aroma: citrus zest, grainy pale malt, light grass, hint of cucumber. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-low tart, low bitter. (7/10) Palate: light body, moderate-lively carbonation, off-dry crisp tart finish. (4/5)

I wasn’t able to read the date code, but I suspect this is a release from last summer, so it’s possible the cucumber has faded somewhat. Scratch that, I just read a comment from the brewery that indicated there are no hops (!) to preserve this beer, so it almost certainly has changed since canning. That said, I actually enjoyed this as it was, and found it to be crisp and refreshing, reminiscent of a gin & tonic (although the flavours weren’t much like that). I will definitely keep an eye out for new cans of this in the coming summer.(14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

E9 Brewery The Duel (Batch 1) – American Wild Ale at 5.8% ABV

E9 Brewery The Duel (Batch 1) American Wild Ale at 5.8% ABV (C$11.23 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 375 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 23-Feb-2018, reviewed 13-Mar-2018)

Appearance: clear ruby with one fat finger of fizzy pinkish head diminishing gradually (and loudly) to a thick persistent cap, minimal lacing. (4/5) Aroma: tart cherry and raspberry, light funk. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate tart, low bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium-light body, lively carbonation, off-dry crisp tart finish. (4/5)

Both raspberries and cherries are present, with neither clearly dominating, but it’s really less of a duel, and more of a cooperative effort, if you ask me. Not much else going on, mind you, but the fruit is pleasant and authentic, with no cough syrup character. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Quidi Vidi Brewing Company Calm Tom’s Double IPA – American Double / Imperial IPA at 7.5% ABV

Quidi Vidi Brewing Company Calm Tom’s Double IPA American Double / Imperial IPA at 7.5% ABV (C$2.83 at NLC Stavanger, 341 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 12-Mar-2018, reviewed 12-Mar-2018)

Appearance: opaque medium gold with a short loose loose white head diminishing gradually to a thin persistent cap, spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: juicy citrus, stone & tropical fruit, pale malt, earthy dank pine. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium slightly sticky body, moderate carbonation, off-dry lingering and building bitter finish. (4/5)

This… might be the best thing QV has ever done. Scratch that, this is by far the best thing they’ve ever done. I had high hopes when it was announced that the legal wrangling between the two owners was finally at a close, and that they would be moving bravely forward into the twenty-first century. (Hey, better late than never, right?) The prime position in the province was theirs to lose, and I’m very much afraid they’ve lost it, but beers like this might be the recipe for a comeback. QV say this is a West Coast IPA, but the fact is, with its cloudy appearance and juicy smooth hops it’s almost a passable version of an NEIPA, and it can hold its own against nearly any other IPA in North America. (And, is it a bad thing that this isn’t the first beer I’ve had where I actually know the guy on the label?) (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Omnipollo Zodiak – American IPA at 6.2% ABV | 65 IBU

Omnipollo Zodiak American IPA at 6.2% ABV | 65 IBU (C$5.98 at NLC Stavanger, 473 ml, best before 25-Jun-2018, acquired 10-Mar-2018, reviewed 12-Mar-2018)

Appearance: opaque pale straw with three fingers of fluffy white head, excellent retention, soapy patchy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: tart juicy citrus, tropical fruit, crackery malt, light earthy pine. (10/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-low bitter, light tart. (9/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, dry semitart clean finish. (5/5)

Damn near perfect. Sorta-kinda an NEIPA, sorta-kinda reminiscent of a Bellwoods IPA, all great. (Brewed in Ontario under license, making it a great way to get it fresh!) (19/20)

9.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Brazos Valley Brewing Co. Lost Highway Galaxy IPA – American IPA at 6.9% ABV

Brazos Valley Brewing Co. Lost Highway Galaxy IPA American IPA at 6.9% ABV (US$2.31 at Specs Main Houston, 355 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 3-Mar-2018, reviewed 12-Mar-2018)

Appearance: slightly hazy pale gold with one finger of loose white head diminishing rapidly to a thin cap, moderate lacing. (3/5) Aroma: pineapple, pale malt, citrus. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet tending slightly high, moderate-high bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium slightly sticky body, moderate carbonation, off-dry medium bitter finish. (4/5)

Another one I can’t find dating for, but the brewer web site says it’s a “Feb thru Apr” release, so it should be fresh. Galaxy hops have got to be among my favourite ANZ varietals, and this showcases them to good effect. Very similar to its sibling Lost Highway I just tried, although slightly lighter in colour and exhibiting slightly different hop character, but having much the same issues with overall appearance and excess sweetness. If one were to pretty this up and clean up the malt a bit, it would be a stonking good brew. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Brazos Valley Brewing Co. B-Sides and Rarities End of the Line Simcoe IPA – American IPA at 6.5% ABV | 58 IBU

Brazos Valley Brewing Co. B-Sides and Rarities End of the Line Simcoe IPA American IPA at 6.5% ABV | 58 IBU (US$2.52 at Specs Main Houston, 355 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 3-Mar-2018, reviewed 12-Mar-2018)

Appearance: slightly hazy pale amber with one finger of loose white head diminishing rapidly to a thin cap, moderate lacing. (3/5) Aroma: tropical fruit, pale malt, citrus. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet tending slightly high, moderate-high bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium slightly sticky body, moderate carbonation, off-dry medium bitter finish. (4/5)

This is a decent implementation of Simcoe, with absolutely none of the cattiness that so easily accompanies this hop. They don’t actually say it’s a single hop, and I can’t find any brewer notes, so I’m a bit unclear there – though it wouldn’t surprise me if there were some other starts-with-C-hops in the mix. No dates anywhere on the can, but the hops seems reasonably bright so I’m guessing this is fairly fresh. (Update: according to their web site, it’s a February release, so, yup.) Although the aroma is fairly bright hops and clean malt, I find it just a touch sweet on the tongue. This lingers as a slight stickiness into the finish, making me disinclined to reach for another. Good, not great. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com