Firestone Walker Brewing Company Luponic Distortion #10 – American IPA at 5.9% ABV | 59 IBU

Firestone Walker Brewing Company Luponic Distortion #10 American IPA at 5.9% ABV | 59 IBU (C$3.73 at Oak & Vine, 355 ml, packaged on 8-Jun-2018, acquired 29-Sep-2018, reviewed 29-Sep-2018)

Appearance: clear straw with one fat finger of fluffy white head, moderate retention and patchy lacing. (3/5) Aroma: stone fruit, citrus, floral, crackery pale malt, light dank. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate carbonation, off-dry mildly bitter finish. (4/5)

Yeah, OK, that’s me slightly behind the times – the last one of this series I had (could find) was “004”. Not that there’s a lot of variation in each release, of course – they’re all variations on the same base malt bill. Which isn’t a criticism, since each allows a slightly different hop profile to be explored. I just wish they wouldn’t be so coy about what hops are used: for this one, their web site says “The lead hops in No. 10 include cultivars from the Pacific Northwest, Germany and Australia”. That and a buck’ll buy you a cup of coffee. Anyway, it’s easy drinking, decently dry, and finishes clean. At this point, I might not be expecting any surprises from the series, but I’ll certainly continue to sample them. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Deschutes Brewery Fresh Haze – American IPA at 6.5% ABV | 45 IBU

Deschutes Brewery Fresh Haze American IPA at 6.5% ABV | 45 IBU (C$3.50 at Oak & Vine, 355 ml, best before 29-Dec-2018, acquired 29-Sep-2018, reviewed 29-Sep-2018)

Appearance: slightly hazy deep gold with two fingers of loose off-white head dropping rapidly to a thin skim, spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: orange juice, grainy caramel, citrus peel, tropical fruit. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry medium bitter finish. (4/5)

If you’re gonna jump on a bandwagon, at least land on the wagon, not somewhere in the general vicinity of the wagon and then post a “mission accomplished!” banner. Yeah, OK, it’s more juice and less pine than Fresh Squeezed, but that’s not necessarily a good thing. Sure, it’s a decent beer – it’s not like Deschutes does anything badly – but it’s not very exciting. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Twin Sails Brewing Single Life – American IPA at 6.5% ABV | 48 IBU

Twin Sails Brewing Single Life American IPA at 6.5% ABV | 48 IBU (C$6.79 at Oak & Vine, 473 ml, packaged on 4-Sep-2018, acquired 29-Sep-2018, reviewed 29-Sep-2018)

Appearance: slightly hazy straw with two fingers of rocky white head, good retention and heavy soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: tropical fruit, citrus, white grape, pale malt, earth, hint of pine. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Medium body falling off slightly watery, moderate carbonation, off-dry medium bitter finish. (3/5)

Reminds me of a T-shirt I saw: “Video games ruined my life – good thing I still have two more.” I dunno if this thinks it’s supposed to be an NEIPA or not, but it’s coming across as a slightly watery APA, the heavier ABV notwithstanding. I suppose that’s bit of an achievement in itself, but I’d rather have more flavour and body, and less alcohol, than vice-versa. Simcoe and Mosaic are definitely present on the nose, if somewhat less emphatic and juicy than I’d prefer, but don’t really transition onto the tongue all that much. Ultimately a bit thin and weak. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Omnipollo / Brewdog I Wanna Be Your Dog – Imperial Stout at 12% ABV

Omnipollo / Brewdog I Wanna Be Your Dog Imperial Stout at 12% ABV (C$12.99 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 330 ml, best before 20-Nov-2019, acquired 7-Sep-2018, reviewed 27-Sep-2018)

Appearance: opaque black with no relief, one finger of dense mocha head, good retention and spotty lacing. (4/5) Aroma: milk chocolate, peanut butter, coconut, hint of wood. (10/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, high bitter. (9/10) Full slick body, moderate carbonation, slightly sticky building and lingering bitter warming finish. (4/5)

I figured I might as well keep the Omnipollo canine collaboration theme going here – and certainly it’s cold enough here these days to make me (grudgingly!) consider this a viable style to start drinking. My surliness abated dramatically with the first sniff, to the point where I even found myself willing to consider forgiving the frankly horrific seasonal implications of the colour scheme. (Yes, I know it’s less than three months to xmas, hush.) I assume this is built on the Noa Pecan Mud Cake (or is it “Aon?” what’s the deal there? pretty sure it was “Noa” when I had it but now all the references say “Aon” and I can’t find any backstory) and it’s certainly just as good, but not a whole bunch different far as I can tell. Certainly I’m not getting a lot of barrel, except as a hint of coconut – which is all to the good – but no real bourbon except maybe very faintly in the finish. I’m not entirely sure that, plus the extra point of booziness, justifies the 20% higher price point, nor am I clear what if anything Brewdog brings to the table, but it’s a great option if you can find it. (18/20)

9/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Omnipollo / Trillium Covered in Puppies – American Double / Imperial IPA at 8.1% ABV

Omnipollo / Trillium Covered in Puppies American Double / Imperial IPA at 8.1% ABV (C$8.59 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 330 ml, best before 6-Nov-2018, acquired 7-Sep-2018, reviewed 27-Sep-2018)

Appearance: slightly hazy pale gold with one finger of tight ivory head, good retention and spotty lacing. (4/5) Aroma: tropical fruit, pine, caramel, light citrus. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, high bitter. (7/10) Medium slightly slick body, moderate carbonation, off-dry moderate bitter warming finish. (4/5)

I was expecting more, to be honest. I mean, aside from a couple of misses that we won’t mention here, Omnipollo can be relied upon to deliver world-class beers. And I haven’t had a lot of Trillium brews, but those I have, have been stellar. This is… well, it’s fine. But that’s all. It’s getting near its BB, so I suppose it could have faded somewhat, but there was no hard layer of trub on the bottom of the bottle, and it doesn’t taste oxidized, so I dunno. Leave it damned with faint praise, I suppose… (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Annex Ale Project / Outcast Brewing Super Slammer POG Milkshake Sour – Sour / Wild Ale at 4.6% ABV

Annex Ale Project / Outcast Brewing Super Slammer POG Milkshake Sour Sour / Wild Ale at 4.6% ABV (C$8.99 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 650 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 19-Sep-2018, reviewed 27-Sep-2018)

Appearance: slightly hazy pale gold with one fat finger of loose white head diminishing rapidly to a thin ring, spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: tropical fruit, citrus, light lactose, hint of vanilla, very faint band-aid. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate tart, mild bitter. (7/10) Medium-light body, moderate-high carbonation, medium duration tart finish. (4/5)

I don’t have the first clue what “POG” has to do with a milkshake sour – or, for that matter, how milkshake and sour are supposed to go together. I guess “Slammer” and “POG” have something to do with the whole 90’s vibe of the label artwork, but short of arbitrary hipster kitchiness, I’m not seeing the point of that, either. There’s not a lot going on here to distinguish this from a pretty standard kettle sour, though the finish has a little lactose, and even less vanilla. I was going to say there’s nothing objectionable there, but the fact is there’s a hint of band-aid, especially as it warms. All in all, less than impressive, and well below what I would consider par for both breweries individually, even ignoring the gratuitous and pretentious hipsterism. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Brauerei Fahr Hopfendunkel – Dunkelweizen at 5.3% ABV

Brauerei Fahr Hopfendunkel Dunkelweizen at 5.3% ABV (C$3.99 at Okotoks Co-Op, 500 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 25-Sep-2018, reviewed 25-Sep-2018)

Appearance: slightly muddy brown with a massive creamy light beige head, excellent retention and heavy soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: banana bread, chocolate, grassy weeds. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry medium duration slightly spicy finish. (4/5)

I think this is my first “Hopfendunkel”. Clearly it’s a riff on the “Hopfenweisse” style, so I was pretty much expecting a hoppy Dunkel. And, yeah, it sort of is, but only in context – as in, you have to remember that Fahr is super traditional German. His Fahr-Fetched Hefe, for example, was a similarly mild variation on the Hefe theme – certainly nowhere near as aggressively hopped as other Hopfenweisse’s I’ve had – and this pretty much keeps with that theme. Yes, there’s a slight Noble Hop spiciness in the finish, but other than that it’s a fairly straightforward Dunkel, dominated by banana bread and chocolate – which aren’t bad things by any means. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Evil Twin Brewing Breaking the Waves – American Double / Imperial IPA at 10% ABV

Evil Twin Brewing Breaking the Waves American Double / Imperial IPA at 10% ABV (C$8.82 at Collective, 473 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 11-Sep-2018, reviewed 23-Sep-2018)

Appearance: slightly hazy straw with two fingers of rocky white head, excellent retention and well-defined heavy soapy lacing. (5/5) Aroma: citrus juice and zest, tropical fruit, bready pale malt, light pine. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (8/10) Medium slightly creamy body, moderate carbonation, off-dry moderate bitter mildly warming finish. (4/5)

Double dry hopped… Imperial… with lactose. Sure, why not? Well, actually, I’ve got a pretty good idea why not: because this thing will put you on your ass in record time. It drinks like a slightly sweet NEIPA, with what bitterness there is, thoroughly moderated by the smooth lactose. More dangerously, there’s only a mild warming in the finish to warn you of the double digit ABV. Super tasty and easy to drink, and super dangerous. (17/20)

8.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Russell Brewing Company Hazy ISA – Session IPA at 4.3% ABV | 36 IBU

Russell Brewing Company Hazy ISA Session IPA at 4.3% ABV | 36 IBU (C$2.63 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 355 ml, packaged on 23-Aug-2018, acquired 19-Sep-2018, reviewed 22-Sep-2018)

Appearance: opaque pale gold with two fingers of rocky white head, excellent retention and well-defined heavy soapy lacing. (5/5) Aroma: grapefruit / citrus, stone fruit, oats, hint of melon. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (8/10) Medium slightly creamy body, moderate carbonation, off-dry short duration finish. (4/5)

A very impressive intersection of the NEIPA and ISA styles – probably the best hazy ISA I’ve ever had, and one of the best by Russell I’ve ever had. Unlike so many ISA’s, this doesn’t come across as thin or astringent, but rather has juicy and robust aromas and flavours, with a clean, more-ish finish. This is a Session you would actually want to session! (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Evil Twin Brewing Soul Made – American IPA at 7% ABV

Evil Twin Brewing Soul Made American IPA at 7% ABV (C$8.99 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 473 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 19-Sep-2018, reviewed 21-Sep-2018)

Appearance: opaque medium gold with a shot, short-lived pale ivory head, no lacing. (3/5) Aroma: grapefruit / citrus, wheat, hint of dank pine. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (8/10) Medium slightly creamy body, moderate-soft carbonation, off-dry moderate bitter finish. (4/5)

Very puzzling that this is a sister to Lost Souls, apparently differing only in the hops section (Citra instead of Galaxy), but with completely different head and retention behaviour. Still super juicy and fruity, though, with the same moderate bitterness becoming noticeable only in the finish, and again zero warming for a fairly beefy ABV. Not quite as good as the original, but still a decent pint. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com