Sawback Brewing Co. Hybrid IPA – American IPA at 5.8% ABV

Sawback Brewing Co. Hybrid IPA American IPA at 5.8% ABV (C$4.23 at Collective, 473 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 16-Jul-2019, reviewed 31-Jul-2019)

Appearance: slightly hazy pale amber with one fat finger of rocky pale ivory head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: big citrus & tropical fruit, caramel, pine, hint of coconut. (9/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, slightly sweet medium bitter finish. (3/5)

Honestly? No idea what to expect here. I mean, whutinhell’s a “Hybrid IPA”? I’ve had IPA’s hybridized with almost anything you can think of, so not really an explanatory designation. And I couldn’t find a damn thing about it online, so I guess I’m left to my own devices here – and that never ends in disaster… gotta call the brewer! OK, done: it’s a hybrid between New England and West Coast styles, or as I’ve seen other brewers call it, a transcontinental. Whatever you call it, it’s nice: big aroma but (relatively) restrained bitter, and supported by a clean caramel malt. Not a whole lot of NEIPA character in the “hazy” sense, but the emphasis on the not instead of the tongue is definitely philosophically keeping with that style. It finishes a little sweeter than I’d like, but is otherwise a pretty interesting medium-strength departure from the norm. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Born Colorado Brewing Mile High Pale Ale – American Pale Ale at 5% ABV | 33 IBU

Born Colorado Brewing Mile High Pale Ale American Pale Ale at 5% ABV | 33 IBU (C$4.05 at Collective, 473 ml, packaged on 24-Jun-2019, acquired 16-Jul-2019, reviewed 31-Jul-2019)

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

To be honest, I was expecting this to be old-fashioned and malty, but in fact it’s dominated by pleasantly dank resiny pine, chased by balanced citrus, and supported by mild caramel malt. Really solid brew. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Bent Stick Brewing Co. BS Wit – Witbier at 4.5% ABV

Bent Stick Brewing Co. BS Wit Witbier at 4.5% ABV (C$3.60 at Collective, 473 ml, packaged on 15-Apr-2019, acquired 16-Jul-2019, reviewed 31-Jul-2019)

Appearance: hazy pale gold with two fingers of fluffy white head diminishing gradually to a thin cap, minimal lacing. (3/5) Aroma: banana, coriander, orange flesh & peel, grainy wheat, white pepper, faint plastic band-aid. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, low bitter, light tart. (7/10) Palate: light body, moderate carbonation, off-dry mildly spicy finish. (4/5)

Not bad, and in fact at first sniff seemed pretty great – but that little edge of plastic-y band-aid started to come out, and the longer it warmed, the more pronounced it got. It never got aggressive, but was enough to mar my appreciation. I mean, it’s not great, or anything, but calling it “B.S.” might be a touch harsh… (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

S.Y.C. Brewing Co Nuages Table Saison – Saison at 4.5% ABV

S.Y.C. Brewing Co Nuages Table Saison Saison at 4.5% ABV (C$3.83 at Collective, 473 ml, packaged on 24-Apr-2019, acquired 16-Jul-2019, reviewed 29-Jul-2019)

Appearance: hazy pale gold with two fingers of fluffy white head diminishing gradually to a thin cap, minimal lacing. (3/5) Aroma: stone fruit, floral, coriander. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, low bitter, light tart. (7/10) Palate: light body, lively carbonation falling off to moderate, off-dry mildly spicy finish. (4/5)

Decent, but not stellar (or even sky-high, since it’s called “clouds”, geddit?). So, yeah, a cloudy Saison, I guess. I’d like it more if it were dryer, with a little less stone fruit and spice, and a little more funk. Also, the carbonation starts off decently lively as I like to see in the style, but falls off before the end of the pint, rendering it a bit watery. I know, it sounds like nothing but complaints and I don’t intend it that way, but that’s just the way it is: lots of minor defects adding up to render it merely OK. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Dageraad Brewing / Blindman Brewing The Pass – Grisette / Petit Saison at 4.1% ABV

Dageraad Brewing / Blindman Brewing The Pass Grisette / Petit Saison at 4.1% ABV (C$4.41 at Collective, 473 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 16-Jul-2019, reviewed 29-Jul-2019)

Appearance: hazy straw with two fingers of fluffy white head, good retention and spotty lacing. (4/5) Aroma: funky yeast, juniper, citrus. (8/10) Taste: moderate-low sweet, low bitter, light funky tart. (8/10) Palate: light body, lively carbonation, off-dry crisp finish. (4/5)

Dageraad and Blindman collaborating on a Grisette was a total no-brainer for me. …well, almost. Truth be told, I wasn’t completely sold on the juniper berries – but it works. The juniper is mild, manifesting mostly in the finish, and accentuates rather than overwhelms the light funky yeast and citrus. Light, crisp, and refreshing, exactly as a Grisette should be. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Alley Kat Brewing Co. Houndstooth Dragon – American IPA at 7.5% ABV | 75+ IBU

Alley Kat Brewing Co. Houndstooth Dragon American IPA at 7.5% ABV | 75+ IBU (C$8.89 at Solo Liquor Okotoks, 650 ml, best before 3-Dec-2019, acquired 27-Jul-2019, reviewed 28-Jul-2019)

Appearance: clear deep gold with two fingers of rocky pale ivory head, excellent retention and well-defined soapy lacing. (5/5) Aroma: caramel, resiny pine, tropical fruit, grass. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, high bitter. (6/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, building and lingering bitter finish. (4/5)

I was thinking it might be time to put a bullet in this idea, seeing how Houndstooth isn’t even a colour, but then I read their justification: instead of being single-hopped, as is usual for this series, they used the hops from the two immediate predecessors, Ivory (Vic Secret) and Ebony (Denali). Interesting idea, except – and there isn’t really any polite way to put this – those two were among my least favourites from the series. In fact, both had very little of the character I normally associate with their respective hops. This one’s not quite as lacking in character, but it’s not far off. Although I get a fair bit of resiny pine up front, and some tropical fruit in the finish, it’s still pretty malt-heavy. Not a pitch on, say, Sapphire, Periwinkle, or Evergreen. (And, just to be pedantic, ebony and ivory don’t make houndstooth, they make a piano.) (13/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

New Level Brewing Power Wolf Pale Ale – American Pale Ale at 6% ABV | 70 IBU

New Level Brewing Power Wolf Pale Ale American Pale Ale at 6% ABV | 70 IBU (C$4.19 at Collective, 473 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 16-Jul-2019, reviewed 27-Jul-2019)

Appearance: clear medium amber with two fat fingers of rocky pale ivory head, excellent retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: caramel, resiny pine, citrus, grass. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, high bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, building and lingering bitter finish. (3/5)

The brewer web site says “Someone told us that this should be labelled a session IPA. But, a session IPA is just a Pale Ale right?” which I find a bit puzzling. I mean, traditionally, I wouldn’t expect 6% to be classified as all that “sessionable” – hell, by Canadian labelling standards it’s considered “Strong Beer” – so I dunno why they don’t just flat-out call it an IPA, especially given the big bitterness. (I mean, yes, I could probably session it, but I’m a bit of a booze hound. Oh, well, nobody asked me…) Regardless of whether you call this an APA, ISA, or IPA, it’s a bit emphatic, with a distinctly old-fashioned malt dominance leading the way over a building and lingering bitterness. It’s OK, I guess, but not much better than that, and is hardly blazing new trails. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Strange Fellows Brewing Jongleur – Witbier at 4.5% ABV | 12 IBU

Strange Fellows Brewing Jongleur Witbier at 4.5% ABV | 12 IBU (C$4.10 at Collective, 473 ml, packaged on 17-Apr-2019, acquired 16-Jul-2019, reviewed 26-Jul-2019)

Appearance: hazy straw with one fat finger of rocky white head, excellent retention and well-defined soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: big banana, orange flesh and peel, coriander and cloves, bubblegum. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, mild bitter & spice, light tart. (7/10) Palate: medium-light body falling off slightly watery, moderate carbonation, off-dry mild bitter lightly spicy finish. (3/5)

Not bad, but a bit heavy on the orange and spice adjuncts. Also, although it starts off fairly bright and lively, it falls off a bit watery by the time the pint’s half gone. All right for a quick one and done. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Crooked Stave Surette Provision Saison – Saison at 6.2% ABV

Crooked Stave Surette Provision Saison Saison at 6.2% ABV (US$7.99 at Knightly Spirits Orange Blossom Trail, 375 ml, packaged on 1-Jul-2015, acquired 15-May-2017, reviewed 25-Jul-2019)

Appearance: clear pale gold with one fat finger of rocky white head gradually receding to a thick persistent cap, moderate soapy lacing. (5/5) Aroma: vinous grape, oak, light barnyardy funk, stone fruit. (9/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate tart, mild bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate-lively carbonation, off-dry mild tart finish. (4/5)

Sort of a hybrid between Saison and Wild, possessing elements of both. In fact, although they call it a Saison, I really think it’s more of a Wild – though, that being said, I don’t think I’ve ever had an authentic Belgian Surette, so maybe it’s dead-nuts-on for that style. Regardless of what you call it, it’s a lovely beer, with lots of flavour and a nice tart crisp finish. Four years in the bottle hasn’t hurt it any! (17/20)

8.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

S.Y.C. Brewing Co Nimbus – American IPA at 6% ABV

S.Y.C. Brewing Co Nimbus American IPA at 6% ABV (C$4.68 at Collective, 473 ml, packaged on 26-Jun-2019, acquired 16-Jul-2019, reviewed 24-Jul-2019)

Appearance: hazy pale gold with two fat fingers of fluffy pale ivory head, excellent retention and moderate spotty lacing. (4/5) Aroma: stone fruit, floral, crackery pale malt, citrus, light tropical fruit. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter, moderate astringent. (7/10) Palate: medium slightly creamy body, moderate carbonation, off-dry medium bitter slightly vegetal finish. (3/5)

Yes, another S.Y.C. beer. Yes, that makes three in a row. No, I didn’t do that on purpose. Anyway, I had high hopes for the Galaxy and Citra hopping, but there’s a green vegetal note accompanied by a moderate astringency (especially in the finish) that leaves me less than impressed. Just slightly sharp and unbalanced, especially for the NEIPA style. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com