Prince Edward Island Brewing Company Gahan Snow Bird Juicy IPA – American IPA at 6% ABV

Prince Edward Island Brewing Company Gahan Snow Bird Juicy IPA American IPA at 6% ABV (C$3.83 at NLC Stavanger, 473 ml, packaged on 12-Sep-2018, acquired 20-Dec-2018, reviewed 25-Dec-2018)

Appearance: opaque pale gold with one fat finger of fluffy off-white head, good retention and spotty lacing. (4/5) Aroma: tropical fruit, citrus, caramel. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (8/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry mild bitter finish. (4/5)

A surprisingly competent rendition of the style. I’d like to see brighter citrus on both the nose and the tongue, but given it was packaged in September, it might well have faded. Pretty serviceable as-is, but I’d like to try it fresher. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Railyard Brewing Nitro Stout – American Stout at 5.5% ABV

Railyard Brewing Nitro Stout American Stout at 5.5% ABV (2018 Craft Beer Advent Calendar #24, 473 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 30-Nov-2018, reviewed 24-Dec-2018)

Appearance: clear deep brown with lighter relief around the margins, one finger of fine beige head diminishing gradually to a thick cap, spotty lacing. (4/5) Aroma: chocolate, coffee, molasses, nuts, ash, anise. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Medium-full slightly creamy body, soft carbonation, dry medium duration bitter finish. (4/5)

And so this year’s calendar comes to a close, with a selection that is at least somewhat seasonally-appropriate. Given the “Nitro” moniker, I was expecting a creamier body, as well as better head development and retention, but I guess the absence of a widget limits how effective the nitro can be. I’m guessing it’s a lot better on a nitro tap, but it’s not bad as it stands. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Trillium Brewing Company El Dorado Cutting Tiles – American Double / Imperial IPA at 8.5% ABV

Trillium Brewing Company El Dorado Cutting Tiles American Double / Imperial IPA at 8.5% ABV (Trade – thanks Norm!, 473 ml, packaged on 15-Nov-2018, acquired 21-Dec-2018, reviewed 23-Dec-2018)

Appearance: opaque pale amber with one fat finger of creamy pale ivory head diminishing rapidly to a thin skim, spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: citrus, floral, tropical fruit, herbal, biscuity pale malt. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (9/10) Medium-full body, moderate-soft carbonation, off-dry sticky warming finish. (4/5)

Another opaque juice bomb, complete with swirling milky layers. (Is this called “Cutting Tiles” because it looks like the water after you use a wet tile saw?) All El Dorado hops, with wildflower honey providing an additional flavour layer. I keep wanting to say there’s a Creamsicle note here, but I think that’s more a function of what I see, than what I smell or taste. Definitely interesting, but just as definitely experimental, and not as polished as some of their others. Or, maybe it’s a reflection of their “new normal” given their ongoing transition, making them victims of their own success? (Oh, what a terrible fate, to be a craft beer rock star!) Good shit. Not sure it’s great. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Trillium Brewing Company Double Dry Hopped Congress Street – American IPA at 7.2% ABV

Trillium Brewing Company Double Dry Hopped Congress Street American IPA at 7.2% ABV (Trade – thanks Norm!, 473 ml, packaged on 19-Nov-2018, acquired 21-Dec-2018, reviewed 23-Dec-2018)

Appearance: opaque pale amber with one fat finger of creamy pale ivory head, good retention and moderate lacing. (4/5) Aroma: mango, resiny and slightly dank pine, juicy oranges, stone fruit, biscuity pale malt. (10/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (9/10) Medium-full body, moderate-soft carbonation, off-dry slightly sticky and mildly warming finish. (4/5)

A little bit older than the non-DDH version of this I had a couple of years ago (thanks to Norm for that one as well!) but definitely just as good – which makes me think, had I gotten this one at ten days old the way I did its predecessor, would it have been even better? The original is a love letter to Australian Galaxy hops, and this dials it up even further. Retains its lovely mouth feel, and just the right amount of gentle warming in the finish. Very well-balanced and just a lovely beer all-round, and once again huge thanks to Norm for this gem! (18/20)

9/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Lawson’s Finest Liquids Sip of Sunshine – American IPA at 8% ABV

Lawson’s Finest Liquids Sip of Sunshine American IPA at 8% ABV (Trade – thanks Norm!, 473 ml, packaged on 9-Nov-2018, acquired 21-Dec-2018, reviewed 23-Dec-2018)

Appearance: hazy pale amber with one fat finger of rocky white head diminishing to a thin cap, minimal lacing. (3/5) Aroma: bright citrus, dank pine, tropical fruit, floral. (9/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (9/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, lingering bitter finish. (5/5)

I’ve been wanting to try this one for a while, so getting it by special delivery (thanks Norm!) was a bit of an early Xmas gift for me! It did not disappoint: despite being a little bit older – it’s been around for what, four years now? – it’s still very current, with big bright citrus aroma upon opening, but retaining that old-school lingering bitterness. Pretty great stuff. (18/20)

9/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Troubled Monk Brewery Open Road – American Brown Ale at 5.5% ABV

Troubled Monk Brewery Open Road American Brown Ale at 5.5% ABV (2018 Craft Beer Advent Calendar #23, 473 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 30-Nov-2018, reviewed 22-Dec-2018)

Appearance: clear amber-brown with a short beige head diminishing rapidly to a thin skim, moderate lacing. (4/5) Aroma: roasty malts, coffee, chocolate, grassy, nutty, mild dark fruit and liquorice. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, hoppy medium finish. (3/5)

Nicely hoppy Brown Ale that nonetheless still has all the roasted malt character you’d expect from a brown, or even a porter or stout. Lighter body keeps the dark roasty malt from become oppressive, and hops keep things on the bright side. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Port Rexton Brewing Company Salted Sour Pale Ale – Sour / Wild Ale at 4.6% ABV

Port Rexton Brewing Company Salted Sour Pale Ale Sour / Wild Ale at 4.6% ABV (C$7.83 at Port Rexton Brewing Company, 950 ml, packaged on 20-Dec-2018, acquired 20-Dec-2018, reviewed 22-Dec-2018)

Appearance: opaque pale straw with one finger of creamy white head, good retention and spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: lemon zest, lactic, wheat. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate tart, low bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate carbonation, medium duration lightly tart briny finish. (4/5)

Pretty typical kettle sour, albeit with a bit of Gose-like brine. I wasn’t very impressed to start with, but it sort of grew on me – and that certainly wasn’t due to its minimal ABV. OK, if not exciting. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Cameron’s Brewing Company 12 Mile – India Pale Lager at 5.2% ABV

Cameron’s Brewing Company 12 Mile India Pale Lager at 5.2% ABV (2018 Craft Beer Advent Calendar #22, 473 ml, packaged on 5-Sep-2018, acquired 20-Dec-2018, reviewed 22-Dec-2018)

Appearance: hazy straw with one finger of rocky white head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: citrus, tropical fruit, floral, crackery pale malt. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (6/10) Medium-light body, lively carbonation, off-dry medium duration bitter finish. (4/5)

I guess it had to happen: today’s Advent beer is the same as one that I had waiting in my cellar to try. And the cost was a whopping 1¢ different. Except my cellar one was three months newer, so that’s the one I’m reviewing. Not a bad example of the style, but brighter hops would be welcome. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Coal Harbour Brewing Co. Cosmic Fusion – India Pale Lager at 5.2% ABV

Coal Harbour Brewing Co. Cosmic Fusion India Pale Lager at 5.2% ABV (2018 Craft Beer Advent Calendar #21, 473 ml, packaged on 3-Aug-2018, acquired 30-Nov-2018, reviewed 21-Dec-2018)

Appearance: hazy deep gold with one finger of fluffy off-white head diminishing gradually to a persistent cap, spotty lacing. (4/5) Aroma: pine, citrus, tropical fruit, caramel. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (7/10) Medium body, lively carbonation, off-dry lingering bitter finish. (4/5)

I suppose if one absolutely must have a Lager, this is one of the best types to go with. One sure way to win my approval is to go nuts with the hops, even if it is a Lager. On the down side, seriously? This is now the fourth instance of a second beer by the same brewer in this year’s calendar. I suppose I shouldn’t be confusing the calendar with the beer, but I’m getting pretty cranky with the former… (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Port Rexton Brewing Company Tibb’s the Saison – Saison at 6.6% ABV

Port Rexton Brewing Company Tibb’s the Saison Saison at 6.6% ABV (C$7.83 at Port Rexton Brewing Company, 950 ml, packaged on 20-Dec-2018, acquired 20-Dec-2018, reviewed 20-Dec-2018)

Appearance: hazy pale amber with one finger of rocky pale ivory head, excellent retention and moderate lacing. (4/5) Aroma: clove, gingerbread, wheat, rye, light sulphur. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter, light tart. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate-low carbonation, lingering spicy mildly warming finish. (3/5)

Not merely a pun, but a double pun, playing off “’Tis the season” with references to both Tibb’s Eve (in Newfoundland, the day before Christmas Eve) and Saison. Definitely more a Christmas-style beer than a Saison, with the usual suspects of spices dominating and very little farmhouse-style funk, but not quite a Winter Warmer. Decent, if not exactly exciting. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com