Troubled Monk Brewery USS Bright Idea Black Pilsner – Pilsener at 5% ABV

Troubled Monk Brewery USS Bright Idea Black Pilsner Pilsener at 5% ABV (C$3.00 at Oak & Vine, 355 ml, packaged on 29-May-2018, acquired 19-Jul-2018, reviewed 22-Jul-2018)

Appearance: clear cola brown with one finger of loose light beige head diminishing rapidly to a thin skim, spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: roasty malt, coffee, nuts, light smoke. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry medium bitter lightly ashy finish. (4/5)

Yay! Music beer! (Released coincident with the single “Medicine” by USS.) I approve in theory, even if neither the music nor the beer are particularly my cup of tea. I don’t know if there’s actually smoke there, or I’m just interpreting the dark malt roast that way, but it almost ends up smelling and tasting like a watery Schwarzbier. It’s all right, I guess, but it’s missing something – maybe a more emphatic hop presence to temper the ashiness? (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Troubled Monk Brewery Buck Tooth – Witbier at 4.6% ABV

Troubled Monk Brewery Buck Tooth Witbier at 4.6% ABV (C$3.00 at Oak & Vine, 355 ml, packaged on 4-Jul-2018, acquired 19-Jul-2018, reviewed 22-Jul-2018)

Appearance: hazy pale straw with one finger of creamy white head, good retention and spotty lacing. (4/5) Aroma: wheat, banana, clove, floral. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-low bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate carbonation, off-dry mild bitter finish. (4/5)

Not quite sure what a story about a woman befriending a beaver (yes, I know, it’s Alberta, just go with it) has to do with a Belgian Witbier, but, whatever. These guys generally do a pretty good job of things, and I want to like this more than I do, but it just falls slightly short somehow. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Banded Peak Brewery / Persephone Brewing Company Mount Crushmore – Pilsener at 4.4% ABV | 26 IBU

Banded Peak Brewery / Persephone Brewing Company Mount Crushmore Pilsener at 4.4% ABV | 26 IBU (C$4.99 at Oak & Vine, 473 ml, packaged on 28-Jun-2018, acquired 19-Jul-2018, reviewed 22-Jul-2018)

Appearance: slightly hazy pale straw with two fingers of rocky white head, excellent retention and spotty lacing. (4/5) Aroma: zesty citrus, dank pine, pale crackery malt, grass. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-low bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate carbonation, off-dry mild bitter finish. (4/5)

A very atypical pilsner, which is probably why I like it so much. Loads of zesty citrus and dank pine dry hopping dominate a clean crisp crackery Pilsener base. Refreshing and definitely crushable. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Breakside Brewery Rainbows & Unicorns – American IPA at 7% ABV

Breakside Brewery Rainbows & Unicorns American IPA at 7% ABV (C$10.99 at Oak & Vine, 650 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 19-Jul-2018, reviewed 21-Jul-2018)

Appearance: clear pale gold with one finger of fluffy white head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, moderate spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: pithy citrus, pine, crackery pale malt, floral. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-low bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body tending slightly thin, moderate carbonation, off-dry mild bitter finish. (4/5)

I continue to be shocked that Breakside doesn’t date their product. Dudes. Seriously? Not to mention, what is the actual ABV for this thing? Because the label doesn’t specify, the Alberta import sticky says 7%, the brewery web site says 5.1%, Untappd says 5.2%, and BeerAdvocate says 4.7%. So, what, pick the one you prefer? All in all, I think I believe the five-ish number, and not the trust-us-we’re-from-the-government seven. And yeah, rainbows and unicorns sound all well and good, but I’ll tell you one thing: that Bojack Horseman-looking motherfucker has seen some shit, and/or is tweaking pretty hard. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Dandy Brewing Company T2G IPA – American IPA at 7.5% ABV

Dandy Brewing Company T2G IPA American IPA at 7.5% ABV (C$4.99 at Oak & Vine, 473 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 19-Jul-2018, reviewed 21-Jul-2018)

Appearance: hazy straw with one fat finger of rocky white head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: pine, pale malt, citrus, floral. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry moderate bitter finish. (4/5)

And so Dandy jumps on the NE/IPA bandwagon. Sorta. Kinda. I mean, it doesn’t look much like juice (unfiltered apple juice, maybe), the leading note in the aroma is pine, and the bitterness, though not all that high, leans more to the traditional than the low, dry-hopped character of the newer style. Still, it’s probably the best of theirs I’ve had to date. I’m also happy to see them starting to use cans – and I just realized in expressing that how much my own attitude towards cans has changed: I think they’re now my preferred transport mechanism, at least for immediate-consumption-only / not-for-cellaring styles. You know, though, what I’d really like to see? DATES. Cans, bottles, whatever – just date the damn things, will ya? The only reason I know this is reasonably fresh is shelf monitoring: if a local brewery’s product that I haven’t seen before suddenly shows up at my preferred retailer, all of two blocks from their brewery, then, yeah, it’s probably fresh. (Probably hand-delivered by the brewer, actually.) Still, I’d like a packaging date. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Red Bison Brewery Bent Path IPA – American IPA at 6.7% ABV

Red Bison Brewery Bent Path IPA American IPA at 6.7% ABV (C$6.99 at Oak & Vine, 650 ml, packaged on 30-May-2018, acquired 19-Jul-2018, reviewed 21-Jul-2018)

Appearance: slightly hazy pale amber with one fat finger of rocky ivory head, excellent retention and well-defined lacing. (4/5) Aroma: citrus, caramel, pine, bready yeast, earth. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium slightly oily body, moderate carbonation, off-dry lingering and building bitter finish. (3/5)

Yes, another brand new local brewery, and no, not complaining at all, even if this is a slightly old-fashioned take on the style. (Though, I guess that was kind of what they were going for, so, good job?) A definite old-school West Coast style IPA, with drying oily citrus and slightly dank pine from the usual suspects starts-with-C hops, on a caramel backbone. After viewing their web site, I think I might have to go check out their taproom and have a Wagyu beef sandwich! (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Snake Lake Brewing Company Sidewinder IPA – American IPA at 6.5% ABV | 45 IBU

Snake Lake Brewing Company Sidewinder IPA American IPA at 6.5% ABV | 45 IBU (C$3.00 at Oak & Vine, 355 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 19-Jul-2018, reviewed 21-Jul-2018)

Appearance: hazy medium gold with one fat finger of rocky white head, excellent retention and heavy soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: citrus, orchard fruit, light pine, crackery malt, floral. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry mildly bitter finish. (4/5)

Yet another new local(ish) brewery, and a really decent NE/IPA. I knew nothing about these guys prior to buying this beer, other than that they were local, and I have to say, I’m pretty impressed. I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for more offerings from this brewery. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Black Bridge Brewery Double IPA – American Double / Imperial IPA at 8.5% ABV

Black Bridge Brewery Double IPA American Double / Imperial IPA at 8.5% ABV (C$5.49 at Oak & Vine, 473 ml, packaged on 5-Apr-2018, acquired 19-Jul-2018, reviewed 20-Jul-2018)

Appearance: hazy pale amber with one fat finger of rocky white head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: oily citrus, resiny pine, caramel & toffee, tropical fruit, floral, earth. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, high bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium slightly slick body, moderate carbonation, off-dry building bitter warming finish. (4/5)

Speaking of high hopes? I haven’t had a lot by these guys, but I don’t think any of them have been less than a seven out of ten. And a big boozy bastard A/DIPA? Oh, baby – let’s go!

… so… yeah… You might say this lacks a certain subtlety. In the same way a brick to the teeth lacks a certain subtlety. This beer will smack you in the face, kick you in the teeth, steal your girlfriend, and impregnate your dog. While daring you to do something about it. And you won’t. Because, “Too many hops”, according to the label – and Mosaic, at that. So you’ll sit there and be good while your beer has its way. So there. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Coronado Brewing Company Art Series Marine Dream IPA – American IPA at 6.5% ABV | 50 IBU

Coronado Brewing Company Art Series Marine Dream IPA American IPA at 6.5% ABV | 50 IBU (C$4.29 at Oak & Vine, 355 ml, packaged on 25-May-2018, acquired 19-Jul-2018, reviewed 20-Jul-2018)

Appearance: hazy pale gold with light particulate, one fat finger of rocky white head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: tropical fruit, dank pine, oats, floral, weeds and grass. (9/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (9/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry moderate bitter finish. (4/5)

Y’know, if I were a cynical sort, I’d think that maybe Coronado was taking a page from Collective Arts’ book here. I’d also point out how interesting it is that the word “Coronado” appears only in very fine print along the side of the can. Good thing I’m not that cynical, huh? Conspiracy theories aside, this is, honestly, just lovely. I mean, seriously, Citra, Mosaic, and Vic Secret? With oats for smoothness? Have you been reading my diary? I dunno what’s “marine” about this, since the NE(-style) is presumably no more intrinsically “marine” than the NW… Though, it occurs to me that in the label notes they specify a “New England-style appearance”, but not “aroma” or “flavour”, so maybe it’s intended to be a pan-continental/bi-coastal “marine”? But, whatever – this is a bloody good beer. (17/20)

8.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Banded Peak Brewery Microburst Hazy IPA – American IPA at 6.1% ABV | 55 IBU

Banded Peak Brewery Microburst Hazy IPA American IPA at 6.1% ABV | 55 IBU (C$4.99 at Oak & Vine, 473 ml, packaged on 28-Jun-2018, acquired 19-Jul-2018, reviewed 20-Jul-2018)

Appearance: hazy pale gold with one finger of rocky white head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: citrus, tropical fruit, pale malt, pine. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry lingering bitter finish. (8/5)

I had pretty high hopes here. I haven’t had a lot by these guys, but what I have has indicated a good degree of competence. And, yeah, OK, it’s technically a “hazy IPA”, but not in the “juicy opaque NE-style” way that moniker normally implies. (And I should have realized that, given the “55 IBU” right on the label, but as I’ve already previously established, I can be a bit of a dumbass, especially in beer stores.) Is it good? Yes, absolutely. Not what I expected, but a solid, enjoyable A/IPA, heavily hopped with New World hops. Still and all, I was kinda hoping for more of a juice bomb… (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com