Breakside Brewery The Pathfinder (Vintage 2018) – American Double / Imperial IPA at 8.7% ABV | 78 IBU

Breakside Brewery The Pathfinder (Vintage 2018) American Double / Imperial IPA at 8.7% ABV | 78 IBU (C$17.99 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 650 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 23-Feb-2018, reviewed 12-Apr-2018)

Appearance: clear deep gold with two fingers of rocky pale ivory head, excellent retention and heavy lacing. (5/5) Aroma: juniper, botanicals, caramel, lemon zest, light resiny pine. (9/10) Taste: moderate sweet, high bitter. (8/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry building and lingering bitter finish. (4/5)

Oh, I like that! The aroma in particular is loads of fun, with intense gin botanicals leading the way over some more traditional IPA notes of citrus and pine. The flavour on the tongue isn’t quite as much fun, but it’s extremely interesting how it’s almost completely disassociated from the aroma, with a malty caramel leading the way there. The way this is made is also extremely interesting, with a combination of gin barrel aged beer being blended back with fresh DIPA. Reminiscent, in fact, of Gueuze. (Procedurally, I mean, not in aroma, flavour, or, well, anything else, really. Still, a seriously complex way to do a beer, and it’s paid off in spades here, giving an intense barrel character to a lighter-bodied, approachable beer.) All in all, it’s an awful lot like a Lemon Gin Collins – a drink I haven’t had for about 30 years (god, I’m old!) but now want ever so intensely. Stupid expensive. Stupid worth it. (18/20)

9/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Collective Arts Brewing Radio the Mothership – American Double / Imperial IPA at 8.5% ABV | 100 IBU

Collective Arts Brewing Radio the Mothership American Double / Imperial IPA at 8.5% ABV | 100 IBU (C$4.20 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 473 ml, packaged on 2-Oct-2017, acquired 11-Apr-2018, reviewed 12-Apr-2018)

Appearance: hazy pale gold with two fingers of fluffy pale ivory head, good retention and spotty soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: citrus juice and rind, resiny pine, floral, pale malt, tropical fruit. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, high bitter. (8/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry building and lingering bitter finish. (4/5)

I’m confused: why does this can say “1 pint” when CA is Canadian? Oh, hang on: Stratford, Connecticut, now I get it. Wait, what? Another Canadian brewery testing the waters south of the 49th? That’s interesting… Kind of similar to their IPA #4, perhaps because it’s got Mosaic hopping in common. It’s also got Citra and Simcoe, and absolutely no green onion or cattiness. Very approachable despite the higher ABV and fairly stupendous IBU. As usual, these guys continue to produce new product that I can confidently assume I will enjoy regardless of what style that happens to be, and I say that about very few brewers. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Alley Kat Brewing Co. Evergreen Dragon – American Double / Imperial IPA at 7.5% ABV | 75 IBU

Alley Kat Brewing Co. Evergreen Dragon American Double / Imperial IPA at 7.5% ABV | 75 IBU (C$6.46 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 650 ml, best before 27-Sep-2018, acquired 11-Apr-2018, reviewed 11-Apr-2018)

Appearance: clear pale amber with two fingers of rocky pale ivory head, good retention and moderate lacing. (5/5) Aroma: citrus rind and pith, caramel, dank resin. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, high bitter. (8/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry building and lingering bitter finish. (4/5)

Y’know, it’s tempting to give Alley Kat the gears for carrying on this “coloured Dragon” line far further than any sensible human being would – but the fact is, I’ve already done so, and they’re getting better. In fact, this one is verging on next-level better. So… good on yer, I guess? I have to admit, when I saw “Spruce infused” on the label, I flashed back to the few spruce tip beers I’ve had, which were… well… let’s be generous and call them “less than impressive”. (Sounds better than “deeply strange and off-putting”, which is how I have in fact described some of them.) But, the thing is, the previously best-ever spruce beer I’ve had was actually an Alley Kat beer. So, it seems safe to say they’ve got this spruce thing dialled in. This one is particularly well done, with a pleasant evergreen character (yes, just like the label says) layered on top of a dank cannabinoid base. Very West Coast and very well done. (17/20)

8.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Annex Ale Project New Material – American IPA at 7.6% ABV

Annex Ale Project New Material American IPA at 7.6% ABV (C$7.80 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 650 ml, packaged on 2-Apr-2018, acquired 11-Apr-2018, reviewed 11-Apr-2018)

Appearance: opaque pale gold with two fingers of rocky ivory head, good retention and moderate lacing. (4/5) Aroma: pineapple, citrus, lactose, caramel, light pine. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, low bitter. (7/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, sweetish medium duration finish. (3/5)

Well, I gotta give credit where it’s due: in a lot of ways, this is a pretty decent implementation of the NEIPA style. Not the prettiest, mind you: yeah, it’s opaque, but it manages to look slightly dirty in the process. Just like, ohhh, which one of their was it? Oh, yeah: all of them. Seriously, everything they make looks dirty and muddy. And up until three or four releases ago, they kinda sucked at NEIPAs. Now, though, they seem to be hitting their stride. This isn’t quite as good as Cryo-Currency, but it’s not bad. Call it roughly on par with Howling Fantods for score, even though it’s a point and a half short on the booze meter. On the down side, I’m getting a milky lactose-like note that drives the sweetness a little higher than I’d prefer, especially in the finish. On the other hand, maybe that’s intentional, to get a milkshake-like result? Either way, not a complete success, but not bad. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

The Grizzly Paw Brewing Company Tropical Rain – Session IPA at 4.3% ABV | 18 IBU

The Grizzly Paw Brewing Company Tropical Rain Session IPA at 4.3% ABV | 18 IBU (C$5.81 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 650 ml, packaged on 6-Apr-2018, acquired 11-Apr-2018, reviewed 11-Apr-2018)

Appearance: slightly hazy pale straw with two fingers of rocky white head, good retention and moderate lacing. (4/5) Aroma: guava and tropical fruit, crackery malt, lemon zest. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, low bitter. (7/10) Light body tending slightly thin, lively carbonation, lightly tart slightly astringent finish. (3/5)

Not bad: lots of juicy tropical fruit on the front end, and a reasonably clean crackery malt through the mid, but tending slightly thin and astringent in the finish. Ultimately a bit watery. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Council Brewing Co. Béatitude Passion Fruit Tart Saison – Saison at 4.5% ABV

Council Brewing Co. Béatitude Passion Fruit Tart Saison Saison at 4.5% ABV (C$19.49 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 750 ml, packaged on 22-Feb-2017, acquired 18-Nov-2017, reviewed 10-Apr-2018)

Appearance: slightly hazy pale straw with one fat finger loose white head diminishing rapidly to a thin skim, minimal patchy lacing. (3/5) Aroma: doughy yeast, tropical fruit, lacto tart, lemon zest. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate tart, minimal bitter. (8/10) Light body, lively carbonation, crisp lightly tart and funky finish. (4/5)

Standard Council Brewing comments apply here: bready, doughy yeast, tastes better than it smells, and authentically Saison-ish lower-gravity. As usual, there’s a strong family resemblance to the other variants, but this one makes the yeast seem better balanced. As a result, it manages to smell almost as good as it tastes, making it one of their best so far, and very nearly as good as the Mosaic one. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Fernie Brewing Company Three Kings – Tripel at 8% ABV | 29 IBU

Fernie Brewing Company Three Kings Tripel at 8% ABV | 29 IBU (C$8.29 at Quarry Park Calgary Co-Op, 650 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 9-Apr-2018, reviewed 9-Apr-2018)

Appearance: slightly hazy medium gold with one fat finger of loose pale ivory head diminishing gradually to a thick persistent cap, moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: stone fruit, grainy pale malt, apple, white pepper, mild alcohol, slight phenol. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter, light tart. (7/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate-lively carbonation, drying moderately warming bitter and lightly tart peppery finish. (4/5)

Yeah… the label claims this is a “Trappist Ale”, which it clearly isn’t: there are a total of eleven monasteries in the world who can use that term, and none of them are in Canada, let alone in Fernie, BC. So, I’m guessing there’s gonna be a relabel job in the future, if not a full-on recall. Pedantry aside, this is definitely Trappist-style, although tending just slightly sweet for my preference. Why, oh why, can’t everybody just agree that bone-dry Tripel is the best Tripel, and leave it at that? (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Phillips Brewing Company Mega Hertz – Premium Bitter / ESB at 6.8% ABV

Phillips Brewing Company Mega Hertz Premium Bitter / ESB at 6.8% ABV (C$7.99 at Quarry Park Calgary Co-Op, 650 ml, best before 23-Jul-2018, acquired 9-Apr-2018, reviewed 9-Apr-2018)

Appearance: clear medium amber with two fingers of rocky light beige head, good retention and moderate clingy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: dark fruit, caramel, pepper and cloves. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry moderate bitter lightly funky finish. (4/5)

An interesting take on the style, with Belgian esters and a dry lightly funky finish built on a restrained caramel malt base. Not the best example of the style I’ve ever had, but definitely solidly done. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Cervecería Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma Dos Equis Ambar – Amber Lager/Vienna at 4.7% ABV | 25 IBU

Cervecería Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma  Dos Equis Ambar Amber Lager/Vienna at 4.7% ABV | 25 IBU (US$3.00 at Port of Cozumel, 325 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 5-Apr-2018, reviewed 6-Apr-2018)

Appearance: clear amber with decent head retention. (3/5) Aroma: clean, caramel malt, toasted bread, grass. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-low bitter (6/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate carbonation, medium duration mild bitter finish. (3/5)

For what it is, not bad at all. A clean, easy-drinking, relatively light Amber. (11/20)

My 258th from the 2010 Edition of 1001 Beers You Must Taste Before You Die, 248th from the 2013 edition, and 272nd combining both editions.

5.5/10 #1001beers #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com