Russell Brewing Company Pale Ale – English Pale Ale at 5% ABV

Russell Brewing Company Pale Ale English Pale Ale at 5% ABV (C$2.52 at Collective, 355 ml, packaged on 2-May-2019, acquired 14-Jun-2019, reviewed 24-Jun-2019)

Appearance: clear pale amber with a short rocky ivory head diminishing gradually to a thin cap, moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: caramel, pomes, citrus, earth. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (6/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, slightly sticky medium duration bitter finish. (3/5)

When the brewer can only work up the enthusiasm for a single line in their web site, and can’t be arsed to come up with an actual name for the thing, you can probably assume the beer’s going to be less than exciting. And that pretty much sums this up: there’s nothing really wrong here, but it’s a plain-Jane boring EPA. In a world with so many other interesting alternatives, I don’t see much need for this. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Eighty-Eight Brewing Double Dare – American Double / Imperial IPA at 7.7% ABV | 88 IBU

Eighty-Eight Brewing Double Dare American Double / Imperial IPA at 7.7% ABV | 88 IBU (C$5.90 at Collective, 500 ml, packaged on 1-May-2019, acquired 14-Jun-2019, reviewed 23-Jun-2019)

Appearance: clear pale amber with two fingers of rocky white head, excellent retention and moderate soapy lacing. (5/5) Aroma: dank pine, citrus, caramel, green leafy weeds, earth. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, high bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium slightly sticky body, moderate carbonation, off-dry building lingering bitter warming finish. (4/5)

Huge West Coast DIPA, with massive pine and citrus supported by an emphatic caramel that stops short of overwhelming. Well-balanced despite being big, beefy, and slightly old-fashioned. (17/20)

8.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Ecliptic Brewing Starburst IPA – American IPA at 7.8% ABV | 75 IBU

Ecliptic Brewing Starburst IPA American IPA at 7.8% ABV | 75 IBU (C$3.02 at Collective, 355 ml, packaged on 23-Apr-2019, acquired 14-Jun-2019, reviewed 22-Jun-2019)

Appearance: hazy pale gold with one finger of rocky off-white head diminishing gradually to a thin cap and ring, some soapy lacing. (3/5) Aroma: oily citrus peel, dank pine, pale malt, mixed fruit, hint of green onion and floral. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry lingering bitter finish. (4/5)

The brewer says this is brewed with Amarillo, Azacca, Centennial, Citra, Mosaic and Simcoe – to which I say, shit yeah! Oily citrus peel and dank resiny pine on a clean pale malt base – what’s not to like? (Yes, there’s a little vegetal note there, but that’s not an off flavour, especially when you’re working with Simcoe.) It could stand to be prettier, sure, but couldn’t we all? (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Ecliptic Brewing Phaser Hazy IPA – American IPA at 6.5% ABV | 45 IBU

Ecliptic Brewing Phaser Hazy IPA American IPA at 6.5% ABV | 45 IBU (C$3.15 at Collective, 355 ml, packaged on 22-Apr-2019, acquired 14-Jun-2019, reviewed 22-Jun-2019)

Appearance: opaque medium gold with one fat finger of rocky off-white head, excellent retention and moderate chunky lacing. (4/5) Aroma: bright juicy citrus, dank pine, tropical fruit, pale malt. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry short bitter finish. (4/5)

Nice hop blend here (Citra, Azacca, Mosaic, and Calypso) and it makes for a pleasant mix of citrus, pine, and tropical fruit aromas. I like how it’s got the full fruity aromas that you’d normally associate with the NEIPA style, but retains enough bitterness to make it worth your while. (And, not to be pedantic or anything, but it doesn’t actually claim to be an NEIPA, just hazy – which it is.) Some might argue it could stand to be more bitter, especially in the fairly short finish, but it’s certainly quite pleasant as-is. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Banded Peak Brewery Lupine Lupulin Kveik Imperial IPA – American Double / Imperial IPA at 9.6% ABV | 90 IBU

Banded Peak Brewery Lupine Lupulin Kveik Imperial IPA American Double / Imperial IPA at 9.6% ABV | 90 IBU (C$6.26 at Collective, 473 ml, packaged on 21-May-2019, acquired 14-Jun-2019, reviewed 21-Jun-2019)

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

I think this my second-ever Kveik DIPA. No idea why more folks aren’t using this yeast, since that implies that not everybody likes dry, tart, huge ABV beers that drink much lighter than they are – but they SHOULD. In a lot of ways this is very much like the other example I can think of: citrus dominant, with clean pale malt and light dank pine. I like it a lot – another good one from Banded Peak. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Ravens Brewing Co. Bellwether IPA – American IPA at 7% ABV | 70 IBU

Ravens Brewing Co. Bellwether IPA American IPA at 7% ABV | 70 IBU (C$3.78 at Collective, 473 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 14-Jun-2019, reviewed 21-Jun-2019)

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

Definitely an old-fashioned IPA, verging on DIPA in strength and bitterness, but with an emphatic caramel backbone. I note, for instance, that it follows the 10:1 ratio for IBU:ABV that I was observing more and more frequently amongst so many big IPAs before the hazy craze struck. Decent, but a bit malt-heavy for my preferred interpretation of the style. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Cigar City Brewing Jai Alai (2019) – American IPA at 7.5% ABV | 65 IBU

Cigar City Brewing Jai Alai (2019) American IPA at 7.5% ABV | 65 IBU (C$4.55 at Collective, 473 ml, packaged on 19-Apr-2019, acquired 14-Jun-2019, reviewed 20-Jun-2019)

Appearance: clear pale amber with two fat fingers of rocky off-white head, excellent retention and heavy lacing. (5/5) Aroma: resiny pine, citrus, caramel. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, lingering building bitter finish. (4/5)

It’s been a long time since I last had this – over five years, in fact – so fair to say I was expecting my impression to have evolved. And it has, but nowhere near as much as I thought it might. I want to say it’s just very slightly less bitter than the last time I had it, but other than that, it’s pretty much what I recall. It’s definitely a traditional approach, but it’s so very well done that it’s hard to find fault with that. And I’m sure not gonna complain about having it available locally – maybe it’ll pave the way for a few more of theirs? (17/20)

8.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Collective Arts Brewing Hazy State DDH IPA – Session IPA at 4.1% ABV

Collective Arts Brewing Hazy State DDH IPA Session IPA at 4.1% ABV (C$4.23 at Collective, 473 ml, packaged on 24-Apr-2019, acquired 14-Jun-2019, reviewed 19-Jun-2019)

Appearance: hazy straw with one fat finger of loose white head diminishing gradually to a thin cap, spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: juicy tropical fruit & citrus, pale crackery malt, hint of pine. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate-soft carbonation, short slightly tart finish. (4/5)

The label calls this a “DDH IPA”, and I guess the aroma and flavour profile are close to just that – but it’s definitely lacking the robustness of a typical A/IPA, so I’m calling it a Session. For a Session, it’s very well done, with character that belies the low ABV.  Definitely one you could enjoy drinking all day on the patio. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Deschutes Brewery Lil’ Squeezy Juicy Ale – American Pale Ale at 5% ABV | IBU 40

Deschutes Brewery Lil’ Squeezy Juicy Ale American Pale Ale at 5% ABV | IBU 40 (C$3.06 at Collective, 355 ml, packaged on 23-May-2019, acquired 14-Jun-2019, reviewed 18-Jun-2019)

Appearance: clear pale gold with one finger of loose off-white head diminishing gradually to a thin skim and ring, spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: citrus, caramel, grass. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate carbonation, medium duration bitter finish. (4/5)

I was puzzling over why this one was coming across so light, verging on watery, when it hit me: the can says it’s “crafted to remove gluten”. Clearly they’ve filtered (or otherwise processed) a bunch of flavour out of this. Honestly: if you’re not actually celiac and you use the word “gluten”, you need a punch in the head. Desperately. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Salt Spring Island Ales Earl Grey IPA – English IPA at 7% ABV

 IPA at 7% ABV (C$5.45 at Collective, 473 ml, packaged on 15-Apr-2019, acquired 14-Jun-2019, reviewed 17-Jun-2019)

Appearance: clear deep amber with one fat finger of rocky ivory head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: sweet caramel, bergamot, black tea, citrus, earth. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, moderate bitter lingering slightly astringent finish. (4/5)

I was cautiously optimistic here: I like Earl Grey tea, and English-style IPAs might not be my absolute favourite, but I still enjoy them. And, this sort of works. The bergamot is obvious, but not overwhelming, and the added notes of black tea and citrus definitely make this reminiscent of a nice cup of tea. Not quite as crushable and thirst-quenching as the new American styles, but definitely one worth sipping. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com