Big Beaver Brewing Big Beaver Brut – American IPA at 5% ABV

Big Beaver Brewing Big Beaver Brut American IPA at 5% ABV (C$4.32 at Collective, 473 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 8-May-2019, reviewed 22-May-2019)

Appearance: slightly hazy pale straw with a short white head diminishing rapidly to a thin skim, spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: citrus, bready yeast, barnyard funk. (4/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter, light tart. (5/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate carbonation, mild bitter short lightly tart finish. (3/5)

OK, let’s just get this out of the way first: these guys HAVE to do a collaboration with Dildo Brewing… maybe a Cream Ale…? Anyway, childishness aside, this is, well, not very good. I’ve found the Brut style to be a bit hit and miss, and this certainly tends more to the “miss” side of things. In a blind tasting, I would have called this a Farmhouse style, and not a terrible one at that, but as an IPA the flavours are all wrong. Actually, the more I drink of it, the more I’m convinced it’s infected. I’ll have to keep an eye out for this on tap and give it another shot. (10/20)

5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Long Hop Brewing Co. Long Hop Pale Ale – American Pale Ale at 5.2% ABV

Long Hop Brewing Co. Long Hop Pale Ale American Pale Ale at 5.2% ABV (C$4.00 at Collective, 473 ml, packaged on 15-Apr-2019, acquired 8-May-2019, reviewed 21-May-2019)

Appearance: slightly hazy pale gold with two fingers of fluffy white head, good retention and moderate lacing. (4/5) Aroma: mild, citrus, melon, berry, bready malt, hint of resiny pine. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (6/10) Palate: medium body tending slightly watery, moderate carbonation, mild bitter short finish. (3/5)

The can art is less than clear as to the name of this one, and the brewery is so new they don’t have a web site or an internet presence yet. It might be “Let’s Not Beat About The Bush”, and in that spirit of directness: it’s OK, but not much better. Clean enough, and reasonably refreshing, but just not a whole lot going on. The mild aroma is followed by a similarly mild taste, and a slightly watery finish. Welcome new guys, but the local scene is getting a bit crowded (not that I’m complaining) and this level of product isn’t going to put you ahead of the pack. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Twin Sails Brewing High Socks Mosaic IPA – American IPA at 7% ABV | 45 IBU

Twin Sails Brewing High Socks Mosaic IPA American IPA at 7% ABV | 45 IBU (C$5.67 at Collective, 473 ml, packaged on 9-Apr-2019, acquired 8-May-2019, reviewed 18-May-2019)

Appearance: opaque pale gold with one fat finger of rocky white head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: resiny pine, tropical fruit, citrus, berry, pale malt, light green onion/cattiness. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, moderate bitter slightly spicy finish. (4/5)

Aside from its haziness, I’m not sure this really qualifies as an “NE style” – the bitterness is fair-to-middlin’ emphatic here, and there’s actually a little spiciness coming from the hops. Not that that’s a criticism, just an observation. I generally love Mosaic hops, and I don’t dislike this one, but there’s just a hint of a vegetal green onion and/or catty aroma here, which seems in my experience to be a bit more common when going single-hop.  It’s not really a serious defect, but it prevents me from ranking this any higher than “merely” excellent. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Against the Grain Brewery Pile of Face – American IPA at 6.5% ABV | 65 IBU

Against the Grain Brewery Pile of Face American IPA at 6.5% ABV | 65 IBU (C$6.34 at Collective, 473 ml, best before 21-Sep-2019, acquired 8-May-2019, reviewed 17-May-2019)

Appearance: chill hazed pale amber with one fat finger of rocky pale ivory head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: citrus, resiny pine, caramel, grass. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, lingering bitter finish. (4/5)

No explanation for the name or trippy can art, other than, they’re brewers, and so presumably drink heavily? [Update: I went to their web site and discovered, in addition to a whole bunch of foul language, a more fulsome description. It has to do with so many brewers choosing skulls for logos, so all the skulls are used up, leaving a pile of faces. So, yeah, like I said: Brewers. Heavy drinking.] Fairly straightforward A/IPA, with citrus and resiny pine duking it out over a moderate caramel backbone and just enough alcohol content to make life worth continuing. Solid enough, I suppose, if not particularly interesting or memorable. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Field & Forge Brewing Co. – Field & Forge Pale Ale American Pale Ale at 5.4% ABV | 54 IBU

Field & Forge Brewing Co. Field & Forge Pale Ale American Pale Ale at 5.4% ABV | 54 IBU (C$2.52 at Collective, 355 ml, packaged on 31-Jan-2019, acquired 8-May-2019, reviewed 16-May-2019)

Appearance: hazy deep gold with one finger of loose pale ivory head that retains fairly well, moderately heavy soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: citrus, caramel, mild tropical fruit, light pine. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, lingering bitter finish. (4/5)

Another new local(-ish) brewery, and I think it was a good choice for them to go with a straightforward APA as one of their first offerings. I also like the unapologetic bitterness here, which is slightly old-fashioned but not in a negative way. Nicely balanced and quite enjoyable overall. I might actually be slightly unfair in my ranking here, because the single biggest issue for me is the somewhat mild aroma, lacking in any really punchy fruit – but it’s also more than three months in the can, so it might well have faded. Will have to try and find this fresher. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Firestone Walker Brewing Company Bravo 2017 Vintage #1 – American Strong Ale at 13.2% ABV | 28 IBU

Firestone Walker Brewing Company Bravo 2017 Vintage #1 American Strong Ale at 13.2% ABV | 28 IBU (US$11.75 at Beer Thirty Bottle Shop & Pour House, 355 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 21-Jun-2017, reviewed 14-May-2019)

Appearance: slightly hazy and particulate-laden brown with one finger of loose beige head diminishing rapidly to nothing, no lacing. (3/5) Aroma: bready caramel, toffee, bourbon, dark fruits, vanilla. (9/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium-full sightly slick body, soft carbonation, mildly bitter warming finish. (4/5)

The aroma is where this one really shines, with a mouth-watering combination of caramel/toffee and bourbon, and some fruit thrown in so you get your vitamins. It also finishes mild, with a warming alcohol presence that never gets hot. Good stuff. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company Wild Oats Series Channel Ocho – Christmas / Winter Specialty Spiced Beer at 8.9% ABV

Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company Wild Oats Series Channel Ocho Christmas / Winter Specialty Spiced Beer at 8.9% ABV (C$6.23 at NLC Stavanger, 600 ml, packaged on 24-Oct-2018, acquired 31-Dec-2018, reviewed 14-May-2019)

Appearance: clear brown with one fat finger of rocky light beige head diminishing rapidly to nothing, no lacing. (3/5) Aroma: mild, caramel, chipotle, cocoa, light metallic. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter, moderate spice. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, mild bitter lingering spicy warming finish. (3/5)

I’ve had this staring at me for ages and the weather, while not exactly “winter”, still isn’t really “spring”, let alone “summer” (the heater under my desk is on) so I figured what the hell. And the spice is certainly pleasantly warming, so it’s got that going for it. Unfortunately, that’s about all it has going for it. The appearance is lacklustre, the aroma is both mild and possessing of an unfortunate metallic note, and the taste is nothing particularly interesting. The cacao nibs and cocoa powder are so mild as to be almost invisible, and the cinnamon and cloves really are invisible. The chipotle, though, yep, dialled in: mild enough that you can almost miss it at first, but lingering and building, while never getting excessive. I like the spice. The rest is a bit meh-tastic. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Quidi Vidi Brewing Company Weizen Hammer – Weizenbock at 8.0% ABV

Quidi Vidi Brewing Company Weizen Hammer Weizenbock at 8.0% ABV (C$3.83 at NLC Stavanger, 473 ml, packaged on 17-Apr-2019, acquired 11-May-2019, reviewed 11-May-2019)

Appearance: hazy deep amber with one fat finger of rocky ivory head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: banana, doughy yeast, cloves, brown sugar, bubblegum. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, mild bitter spicy warming slightly astringent finish. (3/5)

Banana bread in a glass. And the weather is still shitty enough, here in mid-May, that a warming dark(er) beer is still appropriate. Yay. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Quidi Vidi Brewing Company Bog & Barrens Imperial Bakeapple Gose – Gose at 7.5% ABV

Quidi Vidi Brewing Company Bog & Barrens Imperial Bakeapple Gose Gose at 7.5% ABV (C$4.70 at NLC Stavanger, 473 ml, packaged on 4-Apr-2019, acquired 11-May-2019, reviewed 11-May-2019)

Appearance: clear deep gold with a short fizzy head diminishing rapidly to nothing, no lacing. (3/5) Aroma: vinous, bakeapples, light sulphur. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate tart, light bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, lively carbonation, short duration moderate tart finish. (4/5)

Definite bonus points for weirdness – I wouldn’t be surprised if there were maybe a few dozen people in the world who were familiar with both bakeapples and goses. The higher ABV of this “Imperial Gose” makes it even more vinous, with the lively carbonation making this seem a lot like a sparkling white wine. It’s not a complete success – I particularly don’t like the slightly plastic band-aid sulphurous note at the end – but it’s worth a try as something different. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Red Truck Beer Company El Space Camino – American Pale Ale at 5.3% ABV

Red Truck Beer Company El Space Camino American Pale Ale at 5.3% ABV (C$2.52 at Collective, 355 ml, packaged on 20-Mar-2019, acquired 8-May-2019, reviewed 10-May-2019)

Appearance: hazy pale gold with a short pearlescent head diminishing rapidly to a thin skim, spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: citrus, floral, biscuity malt, grass. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, medium duration bitter finish. (4/5)

A middle-of-the-road APA/AIPA with no real negatives (other than the poor head and lacing) but also no real high points. Balanced, pleasant, and easy to drink, without being memorable. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com