Goose Island Beer Company Midway ISA – Session IPA at 4.6% ABV | 30 IBU

Goose Island Beer Company Midway ISA Session IPA at 4.6% ABV | 30 IBU (C$3.54 at NLC Stavanger, 473 ml, packaged on 10-Apr-2018, acquired 11-May-2018, reviewed 11-May-2018)

Appearance: clear pale gold with one finger of fluffy white head diminishing gradually to a thin persistent cap, minimal lacing. (3/5) Aroma: mild, floral, caramel, light pine & citrus. (5/10) Taste: moderate sweet tending slightly high, moderate bitter. (5/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate carbonation, off-dry short finish. (3/5)

Sunny today, despite being breezy and cool, so I figured I had to make the most of it, even if it is only barely shirt sleeve weather. The beer’s about as disappointing as the weather, coming across as a commercial pale lager with a hint of Goose Island hops. Pretty much a master course in how not to do Session Ales, courtesy of the Great Satan. I broke my ABInBev boycott for this? Oh well, at least I bought only the one… (11/20)

5.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Bellwoods Brewery Lost River – Baltic Porter at 7.6% ABV | 22 IBU

Bellwoods Brewery Lost River Baltic Porter at 7.6% ABV | 22 IBU (C$6.50 at Bellwoods Brewery, 500 ml, packaged on 2-Apr-2015, acquired 2-Apr-2015, reviewed 10-May-2018)

Appearance: clear deep ruby-brown with one finger of creamy beige head diminishing gradually to a thin persistent cap, stringy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: milk chocolate, roasty malts, hints of dried fruit, faint smoke. (9/10) Taste: moderate sweet tending slightly high, moderate bitter. (9/10) Palate: medium-full creamy body, moderate carbonation, mild slightly ashy finish. (4/5)

You might wonder, why’m I cracking this now, after cellaring it for three years. I dunno, because it’s Thursday? Actually, I’m staring down the barrel of a potentially permanent house move, so I gotta start drinking down my cellar. And this is so good I might almost regret opening it for no reason, except for the fact that it’s so smooth and mild right now that I suspect it’s hit its peak. Oh, well, like the sticker says, life’s short, drink good beer. I’ll definitely get more of these when life permits! (17/20)

8.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Nickel Brook Brewing Co. Cuvée 2016 Reserve Ale – Spice / Herb / Vegetable at 10% ABV | 37 IBU

Nickel Brook Brewing Co. Cuvée 2016 Reserve Ale Spice / Herb / Vegetable at 10% ABV | 37 IBU (C$16.99 at Oak & Vine, 750 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 11-Mar-2017, reviewed 10-May-2018)

Appearance: clear ruby-tinged brown with a fat fluffy beige head, good retention and spotty lacing. (4/5) Aroma: tart vinous, raisins, orange zest, bourbon, vanilla, earth. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter, mild tart. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, mildly warming spicy finish. (4/5)

Smells a lot like a Flemish Brown, albeit with an overlay of bourbon and vanilla (which isn’t a criticism, by any means). Complex but nowhere near as dark as you might think based on the appearance, and surprisingly easy-drinking, especially given the ABV. Good stuff. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Postmark Brewing Belgian Red – Belgian Ale at 5.8% ABV | 23 IBU

Postmark Brewing Belgian Red Belgian Ale at 5.8% ABV | 23 IBU (C$6.50 at NLC Howley Estates, 650 ml, packaged on 1-Mar-2018, acquired 28-Mar-2018, reviewed 9-May-2018)

Appearance: slightly hazy reddish amber with thick fluffy beige head, excellent retention and chunky lacing. (4/5) Aroma: caramel, banana, bready yeast, spice, light funk. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter, light spice. (6/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, medium duration mildly spicy finish. (3/5)

Serviceable, I suppose, but nothing all that exciting. Of course, that’s hardly hardly surprising, considering about half of the dozen or so beers I’ve had from this brewery have gotten exactly this score. Mediocrity appears to be the name of the game here. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Quidi Vidi Brewing Company Mad Mike’s Big Bad Belgian – Belgian Strong Dark Ale at 8.4% ABV

Quidi Vidi Brewing Company Mad Mike’s Big Bad Belgian Belgian Strong Dark Ale at 8.4% ABV (C$2.37 at NLC Howley Estates, 341 ml, packaged on 14-Feb-2018, acquired 28-Mar-2018, reviewed 8-May-2018)

Appearance: clear ruby brown with one finger of loose beige head diminishing rapidly to a thin skim, patchy lacing. (3/5) Aroma: dark malt, dark fruit, chocolate, spices, spruce, molasses. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet tending slightly high, moderate bitter, light spice. (7/10) Palate: medium body tending slightly thin, moderate carbonation, medium duration mildly warming finish. (3/5)

If this had been the first of the new lineup I’d tried (after the dust settled on their long-lived-and-now-finally-finished legal fracas) I might be a little… well… “perturbed” might be too strong a word. Let’s go with “nonplussed”. It’s not bad, as such, but it’s a long way from impressive. Mind you, this is a niche occupied by some of the best beers in the world, so I guess being “not bad” here is a pretty good achievement. I might let a couple cellar for a bit and see what happens, out of idle curiosity. This isn’t the first – or, even, the second – beer I’ve had where I actually know the guy on the label, but for the record I like him more than this beer. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Boulevard Brewing Co. Smokestack Series The Sixth Glass – Abt / Quadrupel at 10.5% ABV | 22 IBU

Boulevard Brewing Co. Smokestack Series The Sixth Glass Abt / Quadrupel at 10.5% ABV | 22 IBU (C$17.25 at Sundance Wine Market, 750 ml, best before 1-Mar-2017, acquired 25-Aug-2015, reviewed 7-May-2018)

Appearance: clear ruby-tinged medium amber with one finger of fluffy ivory head, good retention and spotty lacing. (4/5) Aroma: caramel and toffee, raisins, nuts, spices. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet tending slightly high, moderate-low bitter, light spice. (8/10) Palate: medium slightly oily body, moderate carbonation, medium duration mildly warming finish. (4/5)

“The sixth glass! Yes, in that glass sits a demon, in the form of a little, well dressed, attractive and very fascinating man, who thoroughly understands you, agrees with you in everything, and becomes quite a second self to you.” Sure, why not? Six glasses of this ought to be enough to make you see any number of demons. And, fact is, given the low presence of the huge ABV, one might well be forgiven for doing just that. Although the aroma is malt forward with a creme brûlée burnt sugar note, the sweetness is quite tempered on the tongue, giving big malt character without any becoming cloying. Well-balanced example of the style. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com