Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company Farm Table Series Saison – Saison at 4.7% ABV | 27 IBU

Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company Farm Table Series Saison Saison at 4.7% ABV | 27 IBU (C$5.56 at NLC Stavanger, 600 ml, packaged on 23-Feb-2018, acquired 28-Jun-2018, reviewed 29-Jun-2018)

Appearance: hazy straw with one fat finger of loose white head diminishing gradually to a thin skim and ring, moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: stone fruit, doughy wheat malt, white pepper, cloves, grass. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, low bitter, light tart. (8/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate carbonation, dry moderate bitter lightly tart finish. (4/5)

I waffled a little scoring aroma and flavour here: it’s a bit on the spicy side for both, but not the point of detraction. Ultimately I could have gone just marginally lower (no more than half a point overall), but overall it actually works pretty well. The particular flavours might work more or less well depending on individual preference, but it’s decently dry, refreshing and low ABV, all of which are characteristics I like to see in Saisons. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Prince Edward Island Brewing Company Cuvée La Joye – Belgian Golden Strong Ale at 9% ABV

Prince Edward Island Brewing Company Cuvée La Joye Belgian Golden Strong Ale at 9% ABV (C$12.97 at NLC Stavanger, 750 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 11-May-2018, reviewed 28-Jun-2018)

Appearance: clear deep gold with one fat finger of rocky white head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: white wine, stone fruit, caramel, toffee, vanilla, bourbon, oak. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, low bitter, light tart. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, dry funky tart finish. (4/5)

That’s… not bad at all, actually, especially considering the marginal EIPA and at-best-adequate APA and Saison I’ve had from them. Certainly not the same ole same ole, what with both vinous stone fruit and toffee bourbon notes, but it (sort of surprisingly) kinda works. (Maybe in the same way a caramel apple works?) Interestingly, despite the big sweet aromas, the sweetness is restrained overall and doesn’t linger in the finish. I like this. I blinked when I saw the score, thought about it, rechecked everything, and yeah, that’s accurate – this is actually seriously solid. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

3 Fonteinen Brouwerij Ambachtelijke Geuzestekerij Golden Doesjel – Gueuze at 6% ABV

3 Fonteinen Brouwerij Ambachtelijke Geuzestekerij Golden Doesjel Gueuze at 6% ABV (C$13.49 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 375 ml, packaged on 2-May-2015, best before 31-May-2023, acquired 27-Mar-2015, reviewed 27-Jun-2018)

Appearance: hazy pale amber with no head or lacing. (4/5) Aroma: slightly muted, complex, horseblankety funk, tart citrus, woody and leathery, tobacco. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate funky tart, low bitter, hint of brine. (9/10) Palate: medium-light body, flat carbonation, dry funky tart finish. (4/5)

I just had a Golden Blend that had lost carbonation, so I pulled this one for a side-by-side comparison. This one is just slightly prettier, but it’s also just slightly less aromatic, as well, although that difference becomes pretty minor once they both warm up to room temperature. Bottom line, in a side-by-side straight-up comparison, I marginally prefer the uncarbonated Golden Blend – but only marginally. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

3 Fonteinen Brouwerij Ambachtelijke Geuzestekerij Oude Geuze Golden Blend – Gueuze at 6% ABV

3 Fonteinen Brouwerij Ambachtelijke Geuzestekerij Oude Geuze – Golden Blend Gueuze at 6% ABV (C$9.00 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 375 ml, packaged on 17-Feb-2011, best before 1-Feb-2021, acquired 1-Dec-2013, reviewed 27-Jun-2018)

Appearance: hazy pale amber with no head or lacing. (3/5) Aroma: complex, horseblankety funk, green apples, figs, dry white wine. (9/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate funky tart, low bitter, hint of brine. (9/10) Palate: medium-light body, flat carbonation, dry funky tart finish. (4/5)

I was a little disappointed that another one of these has lost carbonation. It’s not fatal, by any means, and I’m detecting no hint of oxidation, but the absence of the champagne-like carbonation certainly slightly reduces my enjoyment. I’m really tempted to say this is nearly identical to the Golden Doesjel, and might have to pull another of those out of my cellar right away for a back-to-back comparison. (17/20)

8.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Twa Dogs Beer Seas Between Us – India Red Ale at 7% ABV | 50 IBU

Twa Dogs Beer Seas Between Us India Red Ale at 7% ABV | 50 IBU (C$3.79 at Oak & Vine, 473 ml, packaged on 26-Sep-2017, acquired 21-Jun-2018, reviewed 24-Jun-2018)

Appearance: reddish-tinged pale amber with one finger of loose off-white head gradually diminishing to a creamy persistent cap, spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: bready caramel, stone fruit, floral, hint of smoke. (6/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate-high bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, sweetish moderate bitter finish. (3/5)

Not really much of an IPA, if we’re being picky, and really more along the lines of a malty Irish Red – though presumably that comparison would make their Scots’ blood boil faster than my previous comparison to the English. And, I suppose, the bitterness is way out of spec for an Irish Red or Amber. OK, fine, I’ll grudgingly admit it’s IPA-ish – but it’s English-style, not American. Regardless of how you classify it, it’s not bad, though I find it a bit too sweet, especially in its slightly sticky finish. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Twa Dogs Beer Jolly Beggar’s Pale Ale – American Pale Ale at 4.7% ABV | 22 IBU

Twa Dogs Beer Jolly Beggar’s Pale Ale American Pale Ale at 4.7% ABV | 22 IBU (C$3.79 at Oak & Vine, 473 ml, packaged on 26-Sep-2017, acquired 21-Jun-2018, reviewed 24-Jun-2018)

Appearance: brilliantly clear (until I poured in the lees) straw with two fingers of loose white head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: citrus, pale malt, grass, earth. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body tending slightly thin, moderate carbonation, off-dry moderate bitter slightly astringent finish. (3/5)

Not bad at all. Given the name, I was actually expecting an English Pale (What? Scottish and English are the same thing, aren’t they?) but no, it’s a decent American, albeit one where the malt is prominent (though clean). It does, however, fall prey to the issue of a light malt bill giving a thinnish body, which in turn is leading to the bitter being more pronounced that one might expect for 22IBU, and a little astringency in the finish. On the other hand, since I’m just taking a short break after 12 hours of work and then going back at it, crisply refreshing and low alcohol are pretty much exactly what the doctor ordered right now. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Fernie Brewing Company Denali Single Hop IPA – American IPA at 6.7% ABV | 60 IBU

Fernie Brewing Company Denali Single Hop IPA American IPA at 6.7% ABV | 60 IBU (C$8.49 at Oak & Vine, 650 ml, best before 1-Nov-2018, acquired 21-Jun-2018, reviewed 24-Jun-2018)

Appearance: clear pale amber with two fingers of fluffy ivory head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: pineapple, caramel, citrus, pine, earth. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, high bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium slightly oily body, moderate carbonation, sticky lingering building bitter slightly astringent finish. (4/5)

Dunno that I’ve ever actually had Denali hops before, so it’s nice to be able to start off with a single-hop to really explore the character. I can’t say I’m overly thrilled with it, if I’m honest. I think it’s the pineapple. I’m not one of these guys who hates pineapple – hell, I’ll eat it on a pizza – but when it’s the first impression, then sweetness becomes an issue. Here, I don’t think the sweetness on the tongue is actually excessive, but the combination of pineapple and caramel malt on the nose sets up that expectation, and it’s hard to dislodge. It’s also not acidic enough to cut through the oily bitter finish, which in turn doesn’t actually displace the sticky sweetness, so you end up with both being present in the finish. Yes, I know it sounds like I’m slamming it, but I’m not: overall it’s pretty decent, but it’s not about to change my mind about my favourite hops. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Off the Rail Brewing Co. Crazy Train IPA – American IPA at 6.5% ABV | 75 IBU

Off the Rail Brewing Co. Crazy Train IPA American IPA at 6.5% ABV | 75 IBU (C$3.00 at Oak & Vine, 355 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 21-Jun-2018, reviewed 24-Jun-2018)

Appearance: clear pale amber with one fat finger of fluffy pale ivory head, excellent retention and minimal lacing. (4/5) Aroma: caramel, citrus rind and pith, stone fruit. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, high bitter. (6/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry lingering building bitter finish. (3/5)

I was inclined to give them some artistic license for the word salad all over the label, but I’m starting to conclude they really don’t understand that words have meaning. How else can you reconcile the “big West Coast IPA” note on the front of the label, with the “English style IPA” description on the brewer’s web site? And what the hell is “plenty of malt balance”, anyway? Is it plenty of malt, or is it balanced? One sniff answers those questions: it’s an EIPA, and it’s malty as hell, but also bitter as hell. I still think a West Coast EIPA is an abomination, though. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Medicine Hat Brewing Co. Single Hop Series Centennial – American Pale Ale at 4.9% ABV | 45 IBU

Medicine Hat Brewing Co. Single Hop Series Centennial American Pale Ale at 4.9% ABV | 45 IBU (C$3.00 at Oak & Vine, 355 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 21-Jun-2018, reviewed 24-Jun-2018)

Appearance: clear pale amber with three fingers of fluffy ivory head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (3/5) Aroma: caramel, floral, stone fruit, citrus, weeds and grass. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (6/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry moderate bitter finish. (3/5)

Call me silly, but I figure if you’re doing a single-hop, you should be aiming to have the hops dominant, not the malt. Here, however, the first thing that hits you is big caramel malt, with weak, weedy hops in the background. The hops do build somewhat, but never really gain dominance. (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Steamworks Brewing Company Summer Ale – Witbier at 4.8% ABV | 20 IBU

Steamworks Brewing Company Summer Ale Witbier at 4.8% ABV | 20 IBU (C$3.19 at Oak & Vine, 473 ml, packaged on 11-Mar-2018, acquired 21-Jun-2018, reviewed 24-Jun-2018)

Appearance: slightly hazy straw with one fat finger of fluffy white head, good retention and spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: orange zest, doughy wheat, floral, white pepper, earth. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-low bitter, light peppery spice. (7/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate carbonation, off-dry mildly spicy finish. (4/5)

Not very “white” for a Wit, but otherwise fairly solid. The orange and grains of paradise adjuncts are emphatic, but don’t quite overwhelm the base doughy wheat. Finishes fairly clean, with a mild bitterness and spiciness that don’t build or linger. Certainly just fine with lunch. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com