Parallel 49 / Last Best Brewing and Distilling It Came From the Mash Tun! – Saison at 5.1% ABV

Parallel 49 / Last Best Brewing and Distilling It Came From the Mash Tun! Saison at 5.1% ABV (C$3.50 at Sobeys Liquor Okotoks, 473 ml, packaged on 18-Jul-2018, acquired 3-Sep-2018, reviewed 5-Sep-2018)

Appearance: hazy pale straw with one finger of creamy white head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: pale crackery malt, floral, lemon zest, coriander, white pepper. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-low bitter, light peppery spice. (7/10) Palate: medium-light body, prickly carbonation, dry mildly spicy finish. (4/5)

Not very “wild”, but pretty drinkable and reasonably refreshing. A fairly authentic interpretation of the style, in my opinion. Part of the “Craft Cousins” 4-pack of Parallel 49 collaborations with Alberta breweries. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Ribstone Creek Brewery Keeper’s Point – American Pale Ale at 5.1% ABV

Ribstone Creek Brewery Keeper’s Point American Pale Ale at 5.1% ABV (C$3.25 at Sobeys Liquor Okotoks, 473 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 3-Sep-2018, reviewed 4-Sep-2018)

Appearance: cloudy straw with one finger of loose white head diminishing gradually to a thin skim and ring, moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: citrus, pale malt, floral, tropical fruit, hint of pine. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-low bitter, light peppery spice. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off dry mildly spicy finish. (4/5)

Another solid performer from Ribstone Creek. I wasn’t all that thrilled with their basic American IPA and APA that I tried a couple of years ago, but then more recently they blew me away with their White IPA and DIPA, and this continues that track record. Pretty much ticks all the boxes for the style, fruity and mild and easy to drink – and with a fairly restrained ABV, you can drink several if you’re so inclined! (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Alley Kat Brewing Co. Onyx Dragon – American Double / Imperial IPA at 7.5% ABV | 75+ IBU

Alley Kat Brewing Co. Onyx Dragon American Double / Imperial IPA at 7.5% ABV | 75+ IBU (C$8.39 at Okotoks Co-Op, 650 ml, packaged on 1-Aug-2018, acquired 1-Sep-2018, reviewed 3-Sep-2018)

Appearance: clear pale amber with one fat finger of fluffy pale ivory head, excellent retention and heavy soapy lacing. (5/5) Aroma: bready caramel, pepper, herbal, Perth & grass, faint pine & citrus. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet & spice, high bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium slightly oily body, moderate carbonation, off dry mildly spicy warming and lingering bitter finish. (4/5)

Given the name, someone unfamiliar with the series might be forgiven for expecting a Black IPA. Of course, this being the fourteenth in the series I’ve tried, I had no such erroneous expectation. I was rather hoping this would continue the upward trend established by the past few examples, but that would become exponentially more difficult to do, so I’m not overly surprised it doesn’t. I really am starting to think they really are hitting the bottom of the barrel with regards to hop selection, given they’re up to more than 20 of these things now, maybe 30. In any case, Bravo hops, at 14-17% alpha acid, are really more of a bittering hop than an aroma one, and it shows here: although it’s cleanly implemented, it tends more earthy than citrus, pine, or floral. This would be a great DIPA if it were, say, ten years ago, or even five, but the state of the art has moved on. That said, it’s solid, well-done, and fairly accessible for such an aggressive beast, so I have no real complaints here – but it’s not really all that interesting. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Brouwerij Liefmans Yell’Oh on the Rocks – Fruit / Vegetable Beer at 3.8% ABV

Brouwerij Liefmans Yell’Oh on the Rocks Fruit / Vegetable Beer at 3.8% ABV (C$2.89 at Okotoks Co-Op, 250 ml, best before 1-Feb-2019, acquired 1-Sep-2018, reviewed 2-Sep-2018)

Appearance: hazy straw with one fat finger of creamy white head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: pineapple, lemon, stone fruit. (7/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate tart, low bitter. (6/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate carbonation, sweetish mild tart finish. (3/5)

Pretty unremarkable in general, which I guess makes it pretty terrible by Liefmans’ standards. (Mind you, their Fruitesse was actually worse, so perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised.) The excessive sweetness prevents it from being refreshing, and the pineapple threatens to overwhelm everything. It’s not actually bad, but I think it would get pretty cloying if I tried to drink more than the tiny 250ml bottle. Clearly there’s a reason they tell you to pour it over lots of ice. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

The Grizzly Paw Brewing Company Sou’Wester IPA – American IPA at 6.2% ABV | 25 IBU

The Grizzly Paw Brewing Company Sou’Wester IPA American IPA at 6.2% ABV | 25 IBU (C$3.89 at Okotoks Co-Op, 473 ml, packaged on 2-May-2018, acquired 1-Sep-2018, reviewed 1-Sep-2018)

Appearance: hazy medium gold with one fat finger of rocky white head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: orange zest and other citrus, grainy pale malt, dank pine, caramel, floral. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry mild bitter finish. (4/5)

I’m not entirely convinced this is a “true” New England-style IPA, since there’s a definite slightly dank pine note in the aroma, and the bitterness is just slightly high on the tongue (for the style, certainly not in absolute terms). It’s also not all that juicy, nor is it opaquely cloudy as is so typical with the style. However, what it is, is a very good beer. Overall, it’s flavourful, mild, and approachable. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Koninklijke Grolsch Grolsch Radler – Radler at 2% ABV

Koninklijke Grolsch Grolsch Radler Radler at 2% ABV (C$2.69 at Okotoks Co-Op, 500 ml, best before 27-Mar-2019, acquired 1-Sep-2018, reviewed 1-Sep-2018)

Appearance: hazy pale straw with one finger of fluffy white head diminishing rapidly to a thin ring, minimal lacing. (3/5) Aroma: sugary lemon, grainy pale malt, hint of grassy weeds. (5/10) Taste: high sweet, moderate tart, low bitter. (5/10) Palate: light body, prickly carbonation, sweet sticky finish. (3/5)

The Missus thought it was fine, but I found it way too sweet. No surprise when I checked the label and confirmed, yep, fructose added. I’m an utter sucker for Radlers, but even so this is pretty marginal – I mean, the base beer is already pretty light, and hitting it with sugary lemonade like this just washes it out completely. Think Bud Light and Lemon Pledge, and you’re not far off the mark… (11/20)

5.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com