Big Rock Brewery Grasshopper – Kristallweizen at 5% ABV | 16 IBU

Big Rock Brewery Grasshopper Kristallweizen at 5% ABV | 16 IBU (2018 Craft Beer Advent Calendar #12, 473 ml, best before 1-Mar-2019, acquired 30-Nov-2018, reviewed 12-Dec-2018)

Appearance: clear straw with one finger of fluffy white head diminishing rapidly to a thin cap, spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: grainy and doughy malt, light banana and clove. (5/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-low bitter. (5/10) Palate: medium-light body, lively to moderate carbonation, crisp short finish. (3/5)

I actually swore out loud when I saw today’s offering. Not, you understand, that it’s a bad beer for what it is, but merely that it’s such a very pedestrian beer. (In addition to being older than dirt. Seriously, the most innovative thing about this beer – and they did it years ago – is the big mouth lid. Although, when you’re emphasizing how clear your beer is by calling it a Kristallweizen, enabling people to drink from the can seems a bit counterproductive.) This feels a lot like the straw that broke the camel’s back for me, and I honestly don’t think I’ll bother with the calendar again next year. (10/20)

5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Belching Beaver Brewery Deftones Swerve City POG IPA – American IPA at 7.2% ABV | 55 IBU

Belching Beaver Brewery Deftones Swerve City POG IPA American IPA at 7.2% ABV | 55 IBU (C$12.87 at Collective, 650 ml, packaged on 6-Sep-2018, acquired 4-Dec-2018, reviewed 12-Dec-2018)

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

Yes, I’m up late. Got all jacked up on coffee because I had to bring She Who Must Be Obeyed to the airport for her red-eye, and now I need to come back down to sleep. Life’s all about dosage control, innit? And yes, I listened to Deftones’ Swerve City while drinking this. I’m not sure it particularly enhanced my enjoyment, but it certainly didn’t detract. Similarly, the big fruit juice adjuncts may or may not be strictly necessary, but certainly added a lot of character without making it excessively sweet. There’s also obviously big hop character melded with the fruit, since the dank pine would otherwise suggest adjuncts that aren’t (yet) legal in this jurisdiction… All in all, a very well-implemented A/IPA with heavy West Coast influences. One teeny nitpicky issue, though: the carbonation started off fairly ridiculously enthusiastic, but dropped off dramatically by the end of the bomber – smaller servings might be the best bet here, so find a friend or two to share with, or smaller containers. Or, y’know, drink faster than I do. (17/20)

8.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Mt. Begbie Brewing Co. Begbie Cream Ale – Cream Ale at 4.7% ABV | 12 IBU

Mt. Begbie Brewing Co. Begbie Cream Ale Cream Ale at 4.7% ABV | 12 IBU (2018 Craft Beer Advent Calendar #11, 473 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 30-Nov-2018, reviewed 11-Dec-2018)

Appearance: clear pale gold with one finger of rocky white head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: mild, mixed orchard and stone fruits, honey, bread. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, low bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium slightly creamy body, moderate carbonation, off-dry clean moderately crisp finish. (4/5)

Another style that I generally find to be less than impressive, but this is a decent implementation: malt forward without being excessively sweet, with a clean finish. Quite refreshing after a thirsty day working. Speaking of which, what do you mean I’ve got a whole ‘nuther week to go before Xmas vacation? Son of a… (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Cameron’s Brewing Company Ambear Red Ale – American Amber / Red Ale at 5% ABV | 30 IBU

Cameron’s Brewing Company Ambear Red Ale American Amber / Red Ale at 5% ABV | 30 IBU (2018 Craft Beer Advent Calendar #10, 473 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 30-Nov-2018, reviewed 10-Dec-2018)

Appearance: clear medium amber with one finger of pillowy ivory head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: bready yeast, caramel, floral, nuts, light citrus, hint of buttery diacetyl. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, low bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium slightly creamy body, moderate carbonation, off-dry medium finish. (3/5)

I guess it’s seasonal. Sort of. Untappd tells me I had this before, four years ago, but it was called “Cameron’s Auburn Ale” at the time. Decent enough example of the style, I guess. And I’m back to 50% of the calendar being repeats for me… (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Tofino Brewing Co. Cosmic Wave – American Double / Imperial IPA at 9% ABV

Tofino Brewing Co. Cosmic Wave American Double / Imperial IPA at 9% ABV (C$9.36 at Collective, 650 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 4-Dec-2018, reviewed 9-Dec-2018)

Appearance: slightly hazy pale amber with one fat finger of rocky ivory head, excellent retention and heavy soapy lacing. (5/5) Aroma: citrus, caramel, pine. (8/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, high bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium slightly slick body, moderate carbonation, off-dry lingering bitter warming finish. (4/5)

I sometimes use “old-fashioned” as a bit of a criticism, but in this case, it really isn’t: this is an old-school hop bomb DIPA, whose malt bill, despite being beefy, is just sufficient to provide the necessary support. I don’t think I’ll ever stop appreciating this particular style of A/DIPA, and this is a good example of it. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Coal Harbour Brewing Co. 3.11 Helles Lager – Helles Lager at 5% ABV | 19 IBU

Coal Harbour Brewing Co. 3.11 Helles Lager Helles Lager at 5% ABV | 19 IBU (2018 Craft Beer Advent Calendar #9, 473 ml, packaged on 1-Aug-2018, acquired 30-Nov-2018, reviewed 9-Dec-2018)

Appearance: slightly hazy pale straw with one fingers of rocky white head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: cereal grains, grass, bruised fruit, slight buttery diacetyl. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, low bitter. (6/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate carbonation, off-dry short finish. (3/5)

I have to admit I sighed heavily when I saw today’s offering. I really tried to evaluate it with an open mind, but it’s so hard to get excited about such a very pedestrian style. Overall, it’s certainly a decently well-made example of the style. My biggest complaint was the slight note of buttery diacetyl on the nose, but that faded fairly rapidly, and the finish was decently clean. On the up side, it was quite refreshing. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Odin Brewing Company Super Galactic Space Dragon – American Double / Imperial IPA at 8.9% ABV

Odin Brewing Company Super Galactic Space Dragon American Double / Imperial IPA at 8.9% ABV (C$3.65 at Collective, 473 ml, packaged on 26-Oct-2018, acquired 4-Dec-2018, reviewed 8-Dec-2018)

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

Take Galactic Space Dragon. Supersize the malt and hops. Works for me! Any questions? (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Bridge Brewing Company The Fuzz Milkshake IPA – American IPA at 6% ABV | 45 IBU

Bridge Brewing Company The Fuzz Milkshake IPA American IPA at 6% ABV | 45 IBU (2018 Craft Beer Advent Calendar #8, 473 ml, packaged on 30-Jul-2018, acquired 30-Nov-2018, reviewed 8-Dec-2018)

Appearance: hazy pale amber with two fingers of fluffy pale ivory head, excellent retention and moderate lacing. (4/5) Aroma: stone fruit, citrus, vanilla, cream. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter, mild tart. (7/10) Palate: medium slightly creamy body, moderate carbonation, moderate bitter and slightly astringent finish. (3/5)

I liked this a fair bit better than the one I had 18 months ago, despite the fact that this is more than four months old. (Though, to be fair, I have no way of knowing how old the prior one was, since the bottle was undated.)  There’s definitely more stone fruit going on, and it seems cleaner overall. I described the prior one as “a melted Creamsicle spiked with grain alcohol and vanilla extract” and this is definitely more subtle than that. All in all, it feels like they’ve tweaked the recipe to good effect. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Red Bison Brewery Alta Mira – Oatmeal Stout at 5.9% ABV

Red Bison Brewery Alta Mira Oatmeal Stout at 5.9% ABV (2018 Craft Beer Advent Calendar #7, 473 ml, packaged on 3-Aug-2018, acquired 30-Nov-2018, reviewed 7-Dec-2018)

Appearance: unrelieved black with one fat finger of rocky beige head, good retention and heavy stringy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: anise, dark chocolate, roasty malt. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (8/10) Medium-full body, moderate-low carbonation, dry medium duration finish. (4/5)

I was pretty favourably disposed towards this before even opening it: local (Calgary) brewery, seasonally appropriate, and a sub-genre I particularly like (Oatmeal Stout). At this point, the fact that it’s a good beer is just icing on the cake. Or maybe chocolate on the oatcake? (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Steamworks Brewing Company North by Northwest – American IPA at 6.8% ABV | 60 IBU

Steamworks Brewing Company North by Northwest American IPA at 6.8% ABV | 60 IBU (C$2.93 at Collective, 473 ml, packaged on 9-Oct-2018, acquired 4-Dec-2018, reviewed 7-Dec-2018)

Appearance: slightly hazy pale gold with one fat finger of rocky pale ivory head, good retention and moderate lacing. (4/5) Aroma: citrus, tropical fruit, pale malt, light pine. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry lingering bitter finish. (4/5)

Decent albeit not very “West” A/IPA. Citrus and tropical fruit aromas are pleasant but fairly nondescript – the whole thing would benefit from a little more juiciness, or alternatively more dank pine – basically, come down a little harder on one coast or the other. I think the overall problem here (to the extent that there is one) is that it’s just a bit dated and old-fashioned in style. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com