Unibroue Éphémère Fraise & Rhubarbe – Fruit / Vegetable Beer at 5.5% ABV | 11 IBU

Unibroue Éphémère Fraise & Rhubarbe Fruit / Vegetable Beer at 5.5% ABV | 11 IBU (C$6.85 at NLC Stavanger, 750 ml, packaged on 11-Apr-2018, acquired 11-May-2018, reviewed 13-May-2018)

Appearance: murky pale amber with one fat finger of rocky white head diminishing gradually to a thin ring, spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: mild, malty wheat, strawberry, rhubarb. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-low bitter, mild tart. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry medium duration finish. (4/5)

Smells wheaty and tastes jammy, so it’s got that going for it… but that’s about all. As usual, I find this series to be at the low end of the scale for this brewery – they do an awful lot of beers much, much better than this. And yes, that sort of begs the question as to why I keep buying them (this is the fifth or maybe sixth variation I’ve tried) to which I can only reply that either hope springs eternal, or I’m just not very smart. (Though, technically, “both” is also an option, isn’t it?) (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Collective Arts Brewing Collective Project/ IPA No. 5 – American Double / Imperial IPA at 8.2% ABV

Collective Arts Brewing Collective Project/ IPA No. 5 American Double / Imperial IPA at 8.2% ABV (C$5.13 at NLC Stavanger, 473 ml, packaged on 26-Jan-2018, acquired 11-May-2018, reviewed 12-May-2018)

Appearance: opaque particulate-laden medium gold with one fat finger of rocky white head, good retention and moderate stringy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: juicy citrus, tropical fruit, cereal grains, mild pine. (9/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-low bitter. (9/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry medium duration finish. (4/5)

Now that’s how you do an NEIPA, particularly a DNEIPA. Juicy aroma and juice-like appearance, smooth body, and ridiculously mild finish for a beefy big ABV. Just as good as their No. 4, but minimal pine makes it a bit more emphatically NEIPA in nature. Citra and Simcoe are big favourites with me, and here they’re implemented with no green onion or cattiness. My only complaint is the (late) January packaging date: I’d love to have this fresher. Yes, we’re under that magic 90 day window, but this isn’t a style that ages well, and I’m sure it’s lost a lot of aromatics – and since this is a style that’s all about aromatics, that’s (probably) significant. (17/20)

8.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Brasserie McAuslan St-Ambroise Pamplemousse IPA – American IPA at 6.2% ABV | 46 IBU

Brasserie McAuslan St-Ambroise Pamplemousse IPA American IPA at 6.2% ABV | 46 IBU (C$3.39 at NLC Stavanger, 473 ml, packaged on 11-Apr-2018, acquired 11-May-2018, reviewed 12-May-2018)

Appearance: clear pale amber with one finger of rocky white head, good retention and moderate stringy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: grapefruit, tropical fruit, grainy malt, herbal. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, dry lingering bitter oily astringent finish. (3/5)

Not bad, but the grapefruit comes across a bit too sugary on the front end, and a bit too astringent on the finish. In addition to the grapefruit being slightly unbalanced in that respect, it overpowers the hop character, which comes through only as a fairly diffuse bitter finish without much definition. All in all, a bit ham-fisted, but not actually unpleasant. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Muskoka Brewery Is There Life on Märzen? – Oktoberfest / Märzen at 6% ABV | 20 IBU

Muskoka Brewery Is There Life on Märzen? Oktoberfest / Märzen at 6% ABV  | 20 IBU (C$3.75 at NLC Stavanger, 473 ml, best before 6-Aug-2018, acquired 11-May-2018, reviewed 12-May-2018)

Appearance: clear medium amber with a short pearlescent head that retains poorly, no lacing. (3/5) Aroma: bready caramel malt, earth, faint grass, hints of chocolate & coffee. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-low bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry medium bitter finish. (4/5)

If I’m honest, I bought this mainly for the delightful pun in the name – as a fan of not only the original Bowie track, but also the British TV series and the American remake, how could I not? As it turns out, as an example of the style, this is solid: big malt and minimal hop character, with restrained sweetness following, on a smooth body with a decently dry finish. I’m generally all about the hops, but if you must make it about the malt, this is a good way to do it. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

2 Crows Brewing Pecadillo Oat Pilsner – Pilsener at 4.8% ABV | 28 IBU

2 Crows Brewing Pecadillo Oat Pilsner Pilsener at 4.8% ABV | 28 IBU (C$3.93 at NLC Stavanger, 473 ml, packaged on 2-Feb-2018, acquired 11-May-2018, reviewed 12-May-2018)

Appearance: clear medium gold with one finger of fluffy white head, good retention and spotty lacing. (4/5) Aroma: cereal grains, caramel, grass. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium slightly creamy body, moderate carbonation, off-dry medium bitter slightly spicy finish. (3/5)

The label says “clean grainy spice malty”, and that’s not a bad summary. I was initially a little disappointed by this, but warmed up to it as the pint progressed. I tend to find myself underwhelmed by Pilseners at the best of times, and this one isn’t sufficiently earth-shattering to overcome the basic boredom of the style. It’s by no means the best I’ve had from this brewery – in fact, it’s probably near the bottom – but at the end of the day, it’s clean (and grainy, and malty, and spicy) and I guess you can’t really ask for more than that, can you? (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Muskoka Brewery Cool as Cuke – Fruit / Vegetable Beer at 4.7% ABV | 30 IBU

Muskoka Brewery Cool as Cuke Fruit / Vegetable Beer at 4.7% ABV | 30 IBU (C$3.66 at NLC Stavanger, 473 ml, best before 27-Aug-2018, acquired 11-May-2018, reviewed 12-May-2018)

Appearance: clear medium gold with one finger of fluffy white head, good retention and spotty lacing. (4/5) Aroma: mild, lemongrass, cucumber, melon, light earth. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter, light tart. (7/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate carbonation, crisp slightly astringent finish. (3/5)

Cucumber is one of those things that, every time I encounter it, I ask myself why I don’t have it more often. Cucumber in a gin & tonic, for example, is quite pleasant, giving a completely different experience than the more traditional lime. This behaves similarly, with a pleasant cucumber, melon, and almost-but-not-quite-mint character. Casting a little shade is the fact that there’s also a vegetal astringency that grows as it warms (so probably best drink it reasonably quickly for maximum enjoyment) making me wonder if perhaps they should have peeled the cucumber before incorporating it into the brew, since the rind seems to be slightly over-represented. Overall, though, it’s cooling and refreshing. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Collective Arts Brewing Collective Project/ Gose Blackberry Black Currant & Lemon Zest – Gose at 5.2% ABV | 12 IBU

Collective Arts Brewing Collective Project/ Gose Blackberry Black Currant & Lemon Zest Gose at 5.2% ABV | 12 IBU (C$4.95 at NLC Stavanger, 473 ml, packaged on 22-Feb-2018, acquired 11-May-2018, reviewed 12-May-2018)

Appearance: opaque purplish red with a short purple head that retains poorly, minimal lacing. (3/5) Aroma: field berries, lemon zest, wheat, light brine. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high tart, mild bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, prickly carbonation, off-dry lingering tart finish. (4/5)

I dunno – this one just seems to be trying too hard, I think. It’s not that the fruit isn’t pleasant, or authentic, it’s just that there’s so very much of it that you sort of lose sight of the fact that this is supposed to be beer, not fruit punch. Not even fruit punch, actually, more like fruit puree. There’s hints of the base Prophets & Nomads Gose there, but wheat and brine are far in the background and easily overlooked. Not unpleasant, just unbalanced. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery _Juicy Ass IPA_ American IPA at 6.5% ABV | 69 IBU

Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery Juicy Ass IPA American IPA at 6.5% ABV | 69 IBU (C$3.66 at NLC Stavanger, 473 ml, packaged on 13-Apr-2018, acquired 11-May-2018, reviewed 11-May-2018)

Appearance: slightly hazy medium gold with one fat finger of fluffy white head head, excellent retention and heavy well-defined lacing. (5/5) Aroma: dank resiny pine, juicy citrus, tropical fruit, pale malt, grass. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, high bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate-soft carbonation, off-dry lingering and building bitter finish. (4/5)

“Juicy ass”, “beautiful hops”, “plump and fresh”… somebody’s got some issues that could put a therapist’s kid through school… Mind you, I can’t say much – I’d tap it again. Nice beer. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Muskoka Brewery Hazed & Confused – American IPA at 6.5% ABV | 48 IBU

Muskoka Brewery Hazed & Confused American IPA at 6.5% ABV | 48 IBU (C$3.75 at NLC Stavanger, 473 ml, best before 18-Aug-2018, acquired 11-May-2018, reviewed 11-May-2018)

Appearance: slightly hazy deep gold with one fat finger of fluffy pale ivory head, excellent retention and moderate lacing. (4/5) Aroma: juicy citrus, tropical fruit, pale malt, white pepper. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter, mild peppery spice. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry slightly spicy lingering and building bitter finish. (4/5)

Juicy and aromatic, yes, but emphatically not an NEIPA – mostly because of the fairly high bitter and the spicy finish, though it’s also pretty clear despite the “hazed” and “unfiltered” appellations. This one worked particularly well with my supper of a BBQ burger and fries. I like the fact that Muskoka now have three or four IPAs that are all significantly different from each other but all equally good (well, except for Mad Tom and Twice as Mad Tom, who are quite similar to each other except for strength). Would not hesitate to recommend or have again. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Waterloo Brewing Co. Grapefruit Radler – Radler at 3.1% ABV

Waterloo Brewing Co. Grapefruit Radler Radler at 3.1% ABV (C$3.39 at NLC Stavanger, 473 ml, packaged on 22-Nov-2017, acquired 11-May-2018, reviewed 11-May-2018)

Appearance: hazy and particulate-laden pale gold with one finger of fluffy white head diminishing gradually to a thin persistent cap, moderate lacing. (3/5) Aroma: grapefruit, faint grainy pale malt. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet tending slightly high, mild tart, light bitter. (6/10) Palate: medium-light body, lively carbonation, sweetish slightly mouth-coating finish. (3/5)

Smells amazing, with a clean tart grapefruit utterly dominating. Somewhat disappointingly, though, it’s a bit sweeter than I’d prefer on the tongue. Still good, but not as good as the aroma promises. Refreshing despite the somewhat sticky sweetish finish, reminiscent of any number of HFCS sodas. Fair warning, I’m a sucker for a Radler and might be grading this just a touch high – but not by much, I think. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com