Coronado Brewing Company Never Better – American Double / Imperial IPA at 8.1% ABV

Coronado Brewing Company Never Better American Double / Imperial IPA at 8.1% ABV (C$4.55 at Collective, 473 ml, packaged on 15-Oct-2018, acquired 17-Nov-2018, reviewed 18-Nov-2018)

Appearance: clear pale gold with two fingers of rocky white head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: ripe tropical fruit, dank pine, citrus, vanilla. (9/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (9/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry medium bitter finish. (4/5)

Oh, I see: it’s not the beer that’s never better, it’s you, after a sip. Yeah, OK, I can buy that. I gotta say, I like this a whole bunch, even more than their new single IPA I had earlier this weekend. That’s hardly a surprise, given the hops are Vic Secret, Mosaic, and Citra – pretty much my absolute favourites. The notes across the top pretty much say it all: UNFILTERED | TROPICAL | DANK. To which I say, yes, please! The balance is superb, with lush tropical fruit, dank pine, and zesty citrus trading the lead with every sip. In addition, it’s almost a milkshake IPA, with occasional notes of a smooth vanilla sweetness reminiscent of added lactose, though I can’t find any brewer’s notes confirming that. You could do a lot worse than stocking your fridge with this as your go-to. (17/20)

8.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Ribstone Creek Brewery Double IPA (Bomber Series #4) – American Double / Imperial IPA at 8.5% ABV | 58 IBU

Ribstone Creek Brewery Double IPA (Bomber Series #4) American Double / Imperial IPA at 8.5% ABV | 58 IBU (C$8.59 at Collective, 650 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 17-Nov-2018, reviewed 18-Nov-2018)

Appearance: clear pale gold with two fingers of rocky white head, excellent retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: caramel malt, citrus, pine, herbal. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry lingering and building bitter finish. (4/5)

This one just isn’t wowing me. It’s decent, sure, but feels a little old-fashioned and heavy-handed. Certainly not as good as their Great White Combine or Prairie Pirate. On the other hand, it’s pretty approachable for a fairly hefty ABV, so there’s that. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Coronado Brewing Company Weekend Vibes – American IPA at 6.8% ABV

Coronado Brewing Company Weekend Vibes American IPA at 6.8% ABV (C$4.55 at Collective, 473 ml, packaged on 12-Oct-2018, acquired 17-Nov-2018, reviewed 17-Nov-2018)

Appearance: slightly hazy straw with two fat fingers of rocky white head, excellent retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: dank pine, tropical fruit, citrus juice & zest, clean pale malt. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate carbonation, dry moderate bitter finish. (4/5)

Awww yeah – Mosaic, Citra, and Simcoe? That’s my kinda vibe, even if I am working over the weekend (yet again). No hint of cattiness or green onion, but a definite hop spice on the finish. Not perfect – there’s almost an astringency in the finish that makes the think the malt bill is a tiny bit light for the hop load – but it’s definitely a solid enjoyable West Coast IPA. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Brauerei Fahr Oktoberfest Lager – Oktoberfest / Märzen at 6.1% ABV

Brauerei Fahr Oktoberfest Lager Oktoberfest / Märzen at 6.1% ABV (C$3.99 at Okotoks Co-Op, 500 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 25-Sep-2018, reviewed 16-Nov-2018)

Appearance: clear medium amber with one fat finger of rocky ivory head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: bready caramel, toasted bread, apple, grass, light buttery diacetyl. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry mild bitter slightly creamy finish. (4/5)

Yeah, I know, a bit late in the season for the style – especially when you consider I’m taking a sort of snow day! Sort of forgot I had this one, actually. Not bad overall, though I could do without the hint of buttery diacetyl. It’s not really out of place for the style, and it dissipates almost completely as the pint progresses, but it’s still a bit of an off note for me, especially on the front end. Overall, a solid if somewhat nondescript traditional Lager. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Founders Brewing Company CBS (2017 Release) – American Double / Imperial Stout at 11.7% ABV | 35 IBU

Founders Brewing Company CBS (2017 Release) American Double / Imperial Stout at 11.7% ABV | 35 IBU (C$7.99 at Oak & Vine, 330 ml, packaged on 27-Oct-2017, acquired 19-Jul-2018, reviewed 15-Nov-2018)

Appearance: opaque black with no relief, one fat finger of rocky beige head, good retention and moderate spotty lacing. (4/5) Aroma: bourbon, dark chocolate, coffee, oak, maple syrup, dark fruit. (8/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate bitter. (9/10) Palate: medium-full body, moderate carbonation, off-dry bitter warming finish. (4/5)

I figured this was an appropriate primer before going to the Canadiens game tonight, especially since it’s the last year for the Mountie on the label. For all that, though, I don’t think it’s as good as this year’s KBS. Visually, the head doesn’t retain as well, and the lacing is much less well defined. The absolute sweetness probably isn’t much different than KBS, which is just as well because there’s very little of the promised maple flavour, but it feels relatively sweeter because of the lower bitterness. Finally, and possibly worst of all (though, you understand, “worst” is relative here) the carbonation is a tad high, making the body feel slightly thinner than a beast of this stature should be. All minor quibbles taken individually, but enough to knock this down a fair bit by comparison to KBS. (17/20)

8.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Wild Rose Brewery WR4 – American Pale Ale at 5.5% ABV | 40 IBU

Wild Rose Brewery WR4 Oat Pale Ale American Pale Ale at 5.5% ABV | 40 IBU (C$11.59 at Okotoks Co-Op, 650 ml, packaged on 1-Sep-2018, acquired 27-Oct-2018, reviewed 14-Nov-2018)

Appearance: slightly chill hazed pale gold with two fingers of rocky white head, excellent retention and heavy soapy lacing. (5/5) Aroma: mild, tropical fruit, grainy malt, oats, grass. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (6/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate carbonation, medium duration slightly astringent finish. (3/5)

The aroma starts mild but grows as it warms. As it does, it’s hard to avoid a comparison to Froot Loops: you’ve got indeterminate tropical fruits, sweet grains, and oats. And, not unlike Front Loops, this isn’t actually terrible – but I could go a long time between exposures… (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

E9 Brewery Wild Tacoma Cherry (Batch 2) – Sour / Wild Ale at 5.4% ABV

E9 Brewery Wild Tacoma Cherry (Batch 2) Sour / Wild Ale at 5.4% ABV (C$11.23 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 375 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 23-Feb-2018, reviewed 12-Nov-2018)

Appearance: clear ruby red with one finger of creamy pink head, excellent retention and no lacing. (4/5) Aroma: tart cherry, light funk. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate tart, low bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium-light body, prickly carbonation, tart lightly funky finish. (4/5)

Very Kriek-like, in that it’s dominated by clean tart cherries, but overlaid with definite wild funk notes. It’s not as complex as I might expect for a true Belgian Kriek, but it’s not far off, and definitely head and shoulders above any bandwagon Kettle Sour. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Founders Brewing Company Curmudgeon’s Better Half – Old Ale at 12.7% ABV | 35 IBU

Founders Brewing Company Curmudgeon’s Better Half Old Ale at 12.7% ABV | 35 IBU (C$8.49 at Oak & Vine, 355 ml, best before 13-Aug-2019, acquired 29-Sep-2018, reviewed 11-Nov-2018)

Appearance: clear medium amber with one finger of creamy ivory head, good retention and spotty lacing. (4/5) Aroma: molasses, maple syrup, nuts, vanilla, oak, coconut, bourbon, dark dried fruit. (9/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate bitter. (9/10) Palate: medium-full slightly slick body, moderate carbonation, sweetish medium duration warming finish. (4/5)

I dunno about “better half”, but I was feeling markedly less curmudgeonly after a few sips, and suspect I’ll be downright goddamned jolly after the whole thing. Mind you, the 12.7% of rocket fuel probably has more than a little something to do with that. I’m not entirely convinced I’m actually getting bourbon here, or whether I’m associating that from the boozy vanilla and woody notes. Any way you slice it, though, it smells wonderful, tastes great, and bites far less aggressively than the ABV suggests it should. All in all, it’s actually fairly easy-drinking, and though sweet isn’t cloying. Really good stuff. (17/20)

8.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Fernie Brewing Company Stratus Hazy IPA – American IPA at 6.5% ABV | 37 IBU

Fernie Brewing Company Stratus Hazy IPA American IPA at 6.5% ABV | 37 IBU (C$4.00 at Collective, 473 ml, best before 1-Apr-2019, acquired 19-Oct-2018, reviewed 3-Nov-2018)

Appearance: slightly hazy pale gold with two fingers of rocky white head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: melon, grainy malt, light citrus & tropical fruit. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-low bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, medium duration lightly tart finish. (3/5)

Hmmm… silver mountains on a white background… where have I seen that before? And how much excitement (and how many associated lawyer letters) is this generating in Denver? This has got to be my fifth or sixth “hazy” IPA by an established brewery that’s barely hazy, at best. It’s like, they see the trend, and want to get on board (the bandwagon) but can’t quite convince themselves to go that far outside their comfort zone. “People don’t really want murky beers, right? And we can make it stand out if we do melon notes instead of citrus!” sigh… (I’m not a big fan of Huell.) (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Big Spruce Brewing Tag! You’re It! – American IPA at 6.5% ABV

Big Spruce Brewing Tag! You’re It! American IPA at 6.5% ABV (C$5.40 at Collective, 473 ml, packaged on 7-Sep-2018, acquired 19-Oct-2018, reviewed 3-Nov-2018)

Appearance: slightly hazy medium gold with one fat finger of rocky white head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: citrus, caramel & bready malt, resiny pine, tropical fruit. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry medium duration slightly astringent finish. (3/5)

Nice aroma on the front end, courtesy of Mosaic and Citra, with concomitant middling-aggressive bitterness on the tongue. It ends up a little overextracted, though, with an astringency in the finish that mars the flavour profile. Not bad, but hardly “shockingly good”, its benefit to the “mysterious electric torpedo ray” notwithstanding. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com