Tool Shed Brewing Company Black is The New Pink (Pink Boots Collaboration Brew Day 2019) – Black IPA at 6.5% ABV

Tool Shed Brewing Company Black is The New Pink (Pink Boots Collaboration Brew Day 2019) Black IPA at 6.5% ABV (C$2.83 at Okotoks Co-Op, 355 ml, packaged on 19-Apr-2019, acquired 28-Apr-2019, reviewed 30-Apr-2019)

Appearance: clear brown with one fat finger of creamy beige head, excellent retention and well-defined soapy lacing. (5/5) Aroma: tropical fruit, citrus, dark roasted malt, coffee. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate-high carbonation, off-dry medium duration finish. (4/5)

Nice example of a style that can be tough to get right. Initially hops dominate, but as it warms, the dark roasted notes gain ground, making for an interesting evolution of the overall feel as the pint progresses. The brewer notes indicate it’s hopped with Ahtanum, Simcoe, Ekuanot, and Mosaic, but neither really stand out as far as I can tell. Personally, I’d prefer just a bit more hoppiness in both the aroma and flavour, particularly from Mosaic – but it’s pretty good as-is. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Evil Twin Brewing The Pure and Simple IPA Is Rarely Pure and Never Simple (Batch #001) – American IPA at 4.5% ABV

Evil Twin Brewing The Pure and Simple IPA Is Rarely Pure and Never Simple (Batch #001) Session IPA at 4.5% ABV (C$6.34 at Collective, 473 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 12-Apr-2019, reviewed 29-Apr-2019)

Appearance: hazy medium gold with one fat finger of creamy white head, good retention and spotty lacing. (4/5) Aroma: pineapple, lemon-lime, grainy malt, melon, light grass. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate-soft carbonation, mild short duration finish. (4/5)

Decent enough, I suppose, and nothing really wrong here that I can put my finger on, but it’s certainly not exciting enough to overcome my initial perception: yet another bandwagon beer. OK with lunch, especially considering the light ABV, but not one you’d necessarily go back to. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Brewery Ommegang Mother of Dragons – Smoked Beer at 6.6% ABV | 24 IBU

Brewery Ommegang Mother of Dragons Smoked Beer at 6.6% ABV | 24 IBU (C$15.99 at Okotoks Co-Op, 750 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 28-Apr-2019, reviewed 28-Apr-2019)

Appearance: clear ruby brown with two fat fingers of rocky beige head, good retention and spotty lacing. (4/5) Aroma: tart cherry, bready malt, chocolate, light smoke. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter, light tart, light smoke. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, medium duration lightly tart finish. (4/5)

I wasn’t certain what to expect from a “Smoked Porter and Kriek Ale Blend”, but it ended up being quite pleasant. The Porter and Kriek flavours work pretty seamlessly together, with an overall effect not unlike chocolate-covered cherries. I certainly don’t dislike smoked beers, but feel that the light character of the smoke here was nicely done, playing to the whole “dragons” thing without detracting from the overall effect. The relatively light body also worked well with the restrained sweetness, making for a surprisingly approachable beer overall. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Brewery Ommegang King in the North – Imperial Stout at 11% ABV | 40 IBU

Brewery Ommegang King in the North Imperial Stout at 11% ABV | 40 IBU (C$16.49 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 750 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 12-Apr-2019, reviewed 27-Apr-2019)

Appearance: opaque near-black with two fat fingers of rocky beige head, excellent retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: dark roasted malt, chocolate, bourbon, dark dried fruit, light vanilla & smoke. (8/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate-high bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium-full body, moderate carbonation, warming lingering bitter slightly astringent finish. (3/5)

Smells slightly better than it tastes but neither is particularly memorable. It’s a solid barrel-aged stout with a fairly well-balanced bourbon profile that doesn’t get too hot or solvent-like, but neither the aroma nor the taste are anything I haven’t seen done better elsewhere. The finish is probably my biggest complaint here, with an ever-so-slightly unbalanced bitterness that ends up feeling just a bit astringent. Nothing here is off, or problematic, but it does fall short of being a great example of the style. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Brewery Ommegang For the Throne – Belgian Golden Strong Ale at 9.5% ABV | 30 IBU

Brewery Ommegang For the Throne Belgian Golden Strong Ale at 9.5% ABV | 30 IBU (C$19.21 at Collective, 750 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 12-Apr-2019, reviewed 27-Apr-2019)

Appearance: slightly hazy medium gold with two fat fingers of rocky white head, excellent retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: vinous grape, orchard and stone fruits, bready malt, citrus. (8/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate bitter, mild tart. (8/10) Palate: medium body, lively carbonation, crisp warming mildly tart finish. (4/5)

I couldn’t resist the opportunity to have a GoT beer, in a GoT glass, while watching GoT. Not that it’s all about branding: this thing is co-fermented with Pinot Grigio and Viognier grape juice, and though I’ve expressed my approbation for Pinot in the past, that’s more than offset by my approval of Viognier. Ommegang of course uses their house yeast here, so the family resemblance is pronounced – but that’s hardly a criticism. And the fact that I went from snorkelling in Hawaii yesterday, to a literal blizzard in Alberta today? Well, I might as well be in Winterfell, so I’m gonna go ahead and drink like Tyrion – maybe if I’m lucky the Night King will come along and put me out of my misery. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Left Coast Brewing Co. Asylum – Tripel at 11.8% ABV | 27 IBU

Left Coast Brewing Co. Asylum Tripel at 11.8% ABV | 27 IBU (US$7.99 at Safeway, 650 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 24-Apr-2019, reviewed 25-Apr-2019)

Appearance: murky deep gold with a short fine white head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, moderate lacing. (3/5) Aroma: mild, bready caramel, floral, hot fusels. (7/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium-full slightly slick body, moderate-soft carbonation, lingering bitter warming finish. (3/5)

So, I checked a few reviews for this one, and found a fair number opining that this wasn’t a true Belgian Tripel. Well, I’ve had Belgian Tripels in Belgium that were a lot like this, so I beg to differ. However, it’s not the type of Belgian Tripel I prefer: they seem to fall into two camps, sweet and dry, and this is very much the sweet style (or as I have been known to call them, gas station soccer hooligan beers). Personally, I really prefer the dry, pale, highly attenuated ones. On the other hand, it’s boozy as fuck, so it’s got that going for it, which is nice. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Kona Brewing Company Longboard Island Lager – American Pale Lager at 4.6% ABV | 20 IBU

Kona Brewing Company Longboard Island Lager American Pale Lager at 4.6% ABV | 20 IBU (US$2.83 at Walmart, 355 ml, packaged on 13-Feb-2019, acquired 24-Apr-2019, reviewed 25-Apr-2019)

Appearance: clear straw with a short white head diminishing rapidly to a thin skim, spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: cereal grains, light lemon & grass. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-low bitter. (6/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate carbonation, crisp short finish. (3/5)

It’s a fairly standard macro-style lager, but it’s made in Hawaii, so that makes it gooder-er… somehow… (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Mehana Brewing Company Tsunami IPA – American IPA at 7.2% ABV | 75 IBU

Mehana Brewing Company Tsunami IPA American IPA at 7.2% ABV | 75 IBU (US$10.00 at Da Poke Shack, 568 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 25-Apr-2019, reviewed 25-Apr-2019)

Appearance: clear medium amber with a short off-white head diminishing gradually to a thin ring, spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: bready caramel, pine, pithy grapefruit. (6/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, high bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium-full body, moderate carbonation, lingering and building bitter finish with mild spicy pepper heat. (3/5)

Old-school somewhat heavy IPA with big bitterness mostly offsetting the big malt character. Made slightly more interesting than it otherwise might be by the addition of black pepper, giving a pepper heat in the finish complementing the big lingering bitter. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Kona Brewing Company Big Wave – Golden Ale at 4.4% ABV | 21 IBU

Kona Brewing Company Big Wave Golden Ale Golden Ale at 4.4% ABV | 21 IBU (US$2.83 at Walmart, 355 ml, packaged on 8-Feb-2019, acquired 24-Apr-2019, reviewed 24-Apr-2019)

Appearance: clear pale gold with a short white head diminishing gradually to a thin ring, no lacing. (3/5) Aroma: honey, pineapple, grass, hint of pine. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-low bitter. (6/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, medium duration mild finish. (3/5)

A pretty pleasant and inoffensive entry-level craft beer – a definite step up from macro lagers, yet approachable. On the other hand, it’s not quite bland, but certainly doesn’t grab the attention in any way. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Big Island Brewhaus Overboard IPA – American IPA at 6.9% ABV | 50 IBU

Big Island Brewhaus Overboard IPA American IPA at 6.9% ABV | 50 IBU (US$9.99 at Safeway, 650 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 20-Apr-2019, reviewed 21-Apr-2019)

Appearance: hazy pale amber with a short pearlescent head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: resiny pine, floral, citrus, grass. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry medium bitter finish. (3/5)

Not bad at all. Slightly old-fashioned/West Coast-ish, with a dank resiny pine leading the way, but pretty well done. In particular, the sweetness remains restrained but sufficient to support the moderately high bitter. That moderately high bitter never becomes overwhelming or astringent, and finishes long but clean. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com