Evil Twin Brewing Lost Souls – American IPA at 7% ABV

Evil Twin Brewing Lost Souls American IPA at 7% ABV (C$8.69 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 473 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 19-Sep-2018, reviewed 20-Sep-2018)

Appearance: opaque medium gold with one fat finger of loose pale ivory head, good retention and moderate chunky lacing. (4/5) Aroma: grapefruit & mixed citrus, stone & tropical fruits, wheat, hint of dank pine. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (8/10) Medium slightly creamy body, moderate-soft carbonation, off-dry moderate bitter finish. (4/5)

Super juicy and fruity, with moderate bitterness becoming noticeable only in the finish, and zero warming for a fairly beefy ABV. Considering it’s brewed at Dorchester Brewing in Boston, I guess it’s pretty authentically an NEIPA, the moderately bitter finish notwithstanding. Doesn’t hurt that it’s made with Galaxy, one of my favourite ANZ hops. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Category 12 Brewing Hiatus – Saison at 5% ABV | 16 IBU

Category 12 Brewing Hiatus Saison at 5% ABV | 16 IBU (C$4.37 at Collective, 473 ml, packaged on 25-May-2018, acquired 11-Sep-2018, reviewed 20-Sep-2018)

Appearance: hazy pale straw with one fat finger of rocky white head, excellent retention and heavy stringy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: cucumber, lemon zest, grainy pale malt, weed and grass. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, low bitter. (8/10) Medium-light body, moderate-high carbonation, dry short duration lightly bitter finish. (4/5)

Pretty much exactly what it says on the label: cucumber and lemon zest on a lightly funky Saison background make this pleasantly light and refreshing. I don’t understand why this is ranked so low on the usual suspect sites, other than people have a hate on for cucumber, or just plain don’t know what the hell they’re talking about: this is an excellent beer that is perfectly in keeping with the philosophy of the style. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

High River Brewing Co. Diving Fox – American IPA at 6.5% ABV

High River Brewing Co. Diving Fox (Batch 18-005) American IPA at 6.5% ABV (C$12.00 at High River Brewing Co., 946 ml, packaged on 15-Sep-2018, acquired 15-Sep-2018, reviewed 19-Sep-2018)

Appearance: hazy pale amber with two fingers of rocky ivory head, excellent retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: caramel, citrus, tropical fruit, pine. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (7/10) Medium body, moderate-low carbonation, off-dry lingering building bitter finish. (3/5)

A somewhat old-fashioned A/IPA, verging on a DIPA, that is malty and emphatically bitter. There are no off notes here, although I do find the bitterness to be a bit blunt, particularly in the finish. It’s reasonably well done for what it is, but what it is, is lagging the development curve just a bit. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t say no to another, and it’s too bitter to accuse of being boring, per se, but there are IPA sub-styles or implementations that I prefer. This is my second one from a new local brewery, and certainly good enough for me to look for more of their product in future. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Banded Peak Brewery Chinook Saison – Saison at 4.5% ABV | 25 IBU

Banded Peak Brewery Chinook Saison Saison at 4.5% ABV | 25 IBU (C$3.60 at Collective, 473 ml, packaged on 25-Jun-2018, acquired 11-Sep-2018, reviewed 19-Sep-2018)

Appearance: clear bright straw with one finger of rocky white head, excellent retention and moderate soapy lacing. (5/5) Aroma: grainy pale malt, earth, stone and pome fruit, hint of white pepper. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-low bitter, light tart. (7/10) Medium-light body, lively carbonation, dry short duration lightly tart and spicy finish. (4/5)

This is a pretty solidly-done Saison, that hits every characteristic of the style: light body, lively carbonation, slightly funky, and refreshing, with a low ABV. The aroma and flavour are pleasantly complex, though the particular set of characteristics might not be to everybody’s liking. My biggest disappointment overall is that there isn’t more Chinook character. I’m not sure why I gave this a much lower score the first time I tried it, two years ago at the Alberta Craft Beer Charity Festival, but I’m definitely correcting that now. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

BrewDog Elvis Juice – American IPA at 6.5% ABV | 40 IBU

BrewDog Elvis Juice American IPA at 6.5% ABV | 40 IBU (C$2.52 at Collective, 330 ml, best before 25-Jun-2019, acquired 11-Sep-2018, reviewed 17-Sep-2018)

Appearance: clear pale amber gold with one finger of fluffy pale ivory head diminishing rapidly to a thick persistent cap, spotty lacing. (4/5) Aroma: caramel, pithy grapefruit & mixed citrus flesh, tropical fruit, light pine. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (7/10) Medium slightly oily body, moderate carbonation, off-dry lingering bitter warming finish. (4/5)

I’m a bit puzzled by the relationship between a grapefruit-infused IPA brewed in Scotland, and Elvis (Presley or Costello, though I suppose the latter is geographically closer than the former), but I guess it’s getting increasingly hard to come up with cute names that haven’t been used yet, so whatever…  This is a bit malty for my preference, but it’s followed up by a decent citrus punch, finishing with a pleasantly emphatic bitter – and the price is certainly right. All in all, I could be convinced to pick up a few more of these for occasional consumption. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

High River Brewing Co. Floating Barn Pale Ale (Batch 18-006) – American Pale Ale at 4.5% ABV

High River Brewing Co. Floating Barn Pale Ale (Batch 18-006) American Pale Ale at 4.5% ABV (C$12.00 at High River Brewing Co., 946 ml, packaged on 15-Sep-2018, acquired 15-Sep-2018, reviewed 16-Sep-2018)

Appearance: clear medium gold with one finger of fluffy white head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: mild, grainy pale malt, citrus, pine, floral. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-low bitter. (7/10) Medium-light body, moderate-low carbonation, off-dry short slightly watery finish. (3/5)

First time for me with this brewer, another new local startup who were flogging their wares at the Millarville Farmer’s Market yesterday. A touch pricey, but that’s par for the course for that market, and I like to support the local guy, so I grabbed a couple of crowlers. (I got this Pale and their IPA. They have a Brown and a Stout as well, but I don’t care if it is freezing outside, I’m still pretending it’s summer. I’ll get those two if they’re at the market next time I go, probably for the xmas weekend in November.) No idea what the story is with the name – I assume some local thing, possibly in conjunction with the massive flood a few years back? Anyway, I like the fact that this is brewed with local malt, so there’s that in its favour. Unfortunately, it’s also very mild in aroma and flavour, malt dominant, and drops off relatively rapidly to a watery finish. There’s nothing offensive here, if that floats your boat (barn?) but it doesn’t so much mine. Solid (except for that watery finish) but fairly unremarkable. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company / Tagwerk Beer Witbier with Quince – Witbier at 6.9% ABV

Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company / Tagwerk Beer Witbier with Quince Witbier at 6.9% ABV (C$7.39 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 600 ml, packaged on 5-Jul-2018, acquired 7-Sep-2018, reviewed 15-Sep-2018)

Appearance: cloudy pinkish amber with two fingers of creamy pale pink head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: pome fruit, grainy malt, citrus, herbal. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate tart, low bitter. (6/10) Medium-light body, moderate-high carbonation, off-dry lightly tart finish. (4/5)

I’m not clear whether Tagwerk is an actual arms-length entity in collaboration with Beau’s, or whether it’s just a Beau’s side project – though the B Side Brewing Label cap (super cool design, by the way, and I suspect there are relatively few of us dinosaurs who recognize that device in the middle) suggests the former and not the latter. Deeply weird beer, either way. I mean, seriously: quince? I’m almost completely certain I’ve never actually previously encountered quince in any shape or form, so I had to spend far too long diving into the Wikipedia rabbit hole to get some idea of what I was dealing with. (Relevant details: they’re yellow-skinned and white-fleshed, look like and are related to pears, and the juice turns red if cooked with sugar.) Ultimately the oddball fruit flavour just overwhelms everything else, and although it’s decently executed in terms of structure, it’s not something I’d go back to in a hurry. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Omnipollo Leon – Belgian Pale Ale at 6.5% ABV

Omnipollo Leon Belgian Pale Ale at 6.5% ABV (C$6.08 at Collective, 330 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 11-Sep-2018, reviewed 15-Sep-2018)

Appearance: clear pale gold with an out-of-control rocky ivory head, excellent retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: pithy grapefruit, stone and orchard fruit, earthy funk, pale crackery malt. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter, light tart and peppery spice. (8/10) Medium-light body, moderate-high carbonation, dry mildly bitter slightly spicy finish. (4/5)

Hah! On the Omnipollo web site, the artwork for this bottle has a torso with a bare butt in the upper left corner, while on my bottle, that butt is artfully disguised by means of a pair of cherries. I guess the North American market is too prudish for the original? Anyway, labelling aside, I like this beer. I had to mark it down for the ballooning head that made it impossible to pour the full 330ml bottle (I mean, come on, it’s only 330ml!) but in its defence it does retain well, with a “marshmallow” remaining all the way to the end. Surprisingly, despite the monster head the carbonation in the body tends only slightly above moderate. Character-wise, it’s a very Belgian Pale Ale, which I mean as a compliment: fragrant, slightly funky, dry and pleasant. Actually, it’s very like Duvel, or maybe De Ranke XX. It also doesn’t hurt that the name reminds my of Léon: The Professional, which was a super cool movie and the only movie Natalie Portman ever starred in and any suggestion there were ever any Star Wars movies involving her is clearly nonsense designed to ruin my appreciation of the franchise (ahem). Bottom line, I could drink a whole lot of these. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Outcast Brewing Chateau d’Outcast – American IPA at 6.5% ABV | 15 IBU

Outcast Brewing Chateau d’Outcast American IPA at 6.5% ABV | 15 IBU (C$4.23 at Collective, 473 ml, packaged on 2-Aug-2018, acquired 11-Sep-2018, reviewed 14-Sep-2018)

Appearance: hazy pale straw with two fingers (and growing!) of rocky white head, excellent retention and moderate soapy lacing. (5/5) Aroma: white grape must, citrus zest, crackery pale malt, earth, hint of pine. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-low bitter, light tart. (8/10) Medium-light body, lively carbonation, dry mildly bitter warming finish. (4/5)

I’ve been wondering for a while why someone didn’t do this: it’s a “Brut IPA” created by using amylase enzyme to process more of the malt to fermentable sugar. (Though, I guess the fact that there are other examples out there means someone did, just without my knowledge. Oh, well, live and learn!) The result is very like the style of Tripel I prefer: highly attenuated, with an extremely dry finish in addition to a moderate alcohol warming. The date stamp on the base of the can also says “FANCY AF”, and I agree. If this is the new hotness, sign me up! (17/20)

8.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Bench Creek Brewing Dead Woodsman – American Pale Ale at 5.2% ABV | 40 IBU

Bench Creek Brewing Dead Woodsman American Pale Ale at 5.2% ABV | 40 IBU (C$3.42 at Collective, 473 ml, packaged on 19-Jul-2018, acquired 11-Sep-2018, reviewed 14-Sep-2018)

Appearance: clear pale amber with two fingers of rocky ivory head, good retention and patchy lacing. (3/5) Aroma: caramel and bready malt, grass, citrus, floral. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (6/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry mildly bitter finish. (3/5)

I was wondering why the bear was wearing a suit, but then I did a little noodling about and realized this is just a re-branded Naked Woodsman. Apparently there was some legal kerfuffle? And I suppose the bear is a lawyer? In any case, yeah – why they’d resurrect this one is actually slightly beyond me, because I think it’s one of the worst beers they do. Their IPA, DIPA, and Black IPA are all very well done, and modern in their interpretation of the styles. This is a sad, malty, old-fashioned APA that doesn’t thrill me at all. Well done? Sure. If you like malty APAs. (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com