S.Y.C. Brewing Co Accidental Beach – American Pale Ale at 4.5% ABV

S.Y.C. Brewing Co Accidental Beach American Pale Ale at 4.5% ABV (C$4.59 at Collective, 473 ml, packaged on 6-Aug-2019, acquired 29-Aug-2019, reviewed 31-Aug-2019)

Appearance: hazy pale gold with two fingers of fluffy white head, good retention and moderate stringy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: lime zest, tropical fruit, pale malt, brine, light funk. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter, light tart, light salt. (8/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate carbonation, off-dry mild bitter lightly tart finish. (4/5)

Lime dominates over tropical and stone fruits courtesy of the Galaxy hops, finishing with a light brine and funk that’s almost Gose-like, almost Grisette-like, but either way tart and refreshing. Easy breezy crushable, perfect for the patio. Too bad the thundershowers started just as I opened it! (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Ninkasi Brewing Company Dry Skies Brut IPA – American IPA at 6.8% ABV | 35 IBU

Ninkasi Brewing Company Dry Skies Brut IPA American IPA at 6.8% ABV | 35 IBU (C$7.65 at Collective, 650 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 29-Aug-2019, reviewed 31-Aug-2019)

Appearance: brightly clear straw with two fingers of rocky white head, excellent retention and moderate soapy lacing. (5/5) Aroma: citrus, white grape, melon, pale malt, pine, tropical fruit. (8/10) Taste: moderate-low sweet, moderate-high bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate carbonation, dry  bitter finish falling off slightly watery. (3/5)

This started off very promising, with a pleasant hop aroma combining citrus, grape, melon, and pine. The bitterness was somewhat more pronounced than one might expect for 35 IBU, but generally balanced and style-appropriate. Dry and crisp, particularly at the start of the pint, and I was almost tempted to call it champagne-like were it not for the fact that the carbonation wasn’t lively enough to fit such a description. However, as the pint progressed, the carbonation fell off fairly rapidly, causing the body to tend slightly watery. I’m not unhappy with it, especially with regards to the hop character, which clearly reflects the Citra and Huell Melon dry-hopping. However, it certainly would have been a lot better with more sustained carbonation keeping the body aloft and crisp. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Latitude 42º Brewing Company Cosmic Charlie’s Pale Ale – American Pale Ale at 6.0% ABV

Latitude 42º Brewing Company Cosmic Charlie’s Pale Ale American Pale Ale at 6.0% ABV (C$10.84 at Collective, 650 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 29-Aug-2019, reviewed 31-Aug-2019)

Appearance: clear pale gold with two fingers of rocky pale ivory head, excellent retention and well-defined stringy lacing. (5/5) Aroma: grapefruit, pine, floral, earth. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry building and lingering bitter slightly astringent finish. (3/5)

Nothing really stands out one way or the other here except the appearance, which is pretty much perfect. Other than that, it’s decent but a bit unremarkable. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Russell Brewing Company Farm to Table DIPA – American Double / Imperial IPA at 9% ABV | 56 IBU

Russell Brewing Company Farm to Table DIPA American Double / Imperial IPA at 9% ABV | 56 IBU (C$5.35 at Collective, 473 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 29-Aug-2019, reviewed 30-Aug-2019)

Appearance: clear pale gold with two fingers of rocky pale ivory head, excellent retention and well-defined stringy lacing. (5/5) Aroma: bready caramel, citrus, pine. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry building and lingering bitter warming finish. (4/5)

Old-fashioned but pretty well-done West Coast DIPA. Malt is heavy but balanced, leading the way but gracefully segueing into a very traditional sweet citrus and pine hop aroma. The bitterness on the tongue tends slightly astringent through the middle, slightly marring the end of the robust finish. The alcohol presence isn’t hidden, but is style appropriate and balanced. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Fernie Brewing Company Impala South African IPA – American IPA at 6.7% ABV | 58 IBU

Fernie Brewing Company Impala South African IPA American IPA at 6.7% ABV | 58 IBU (C$3.69 at Collective, 473 ml, best before 25-Jan-2020, acquired 29-Aug-2019, reviewed 29-Aug-2019)

Appearance: clear medium gold with two fingers of fluffy white head, excellent retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: stone fruit, honey, tropical fruit, citrus. (8/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate-high bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, sweetish medium bitter slightly spicy finish. (3/5)

I don’t know that I’ve ever had African Queen, Southern Passion, or XJA/436 hops before. I do, however, know that I’m not all that impressed with this implementation. I mean, it’s OK, but nothing special, maybe because the hop character is a bit swamped by the sweet honey/caramel malt note. It finishes with slightly mouth-coating and sticky sweetness that seems to dilute the overall bitterness despite the lingering hop spiciness. Might be somebody’s else’s cup of tea, but I wouldn’t bother with another. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Collective Arts Brewing Pina Colada Sour – Sour / Wild Ale at 5.2% ABV

Collective Arts Brewing Pina Colada Sour Sour / Wild Ale at 5.2% ABV (C$5.49 at Okotoks Co-Op, 473 ml, packaged on 16-Jul-2019, acquired 28-Aug-2019, reviewed 29-Aug-2019)

Appearance: slightly hazy pale gold with a thin white head diminishing gradually to a thin ring, minimal spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: toasted coconut, pineapple, hint of funk. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate tart, low bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate-lively carbonation, tart finish. (4/5)

I was pretty leery of this, to be honest, and I probably wouldn’t have picked it up if it weren’t Collective Arts. But, definitely no regrets here: it’s heavily dominated by toasted coconut, but tart pineapple rounds out the piña colada flavour. Very different, but lots of fun. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Bières de Chimay S.A. Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) (2015) – Belgian Strong Dark Ale at 9% ABV

Bières de Chimay S.A. Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) (2015) Belgian Strong Dark Ale at 9% ABV (C$6.99 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 330 ml, best before 31-Dec-2020, acquired 19-Jul-2016, reviewed 27-Aug-2019)

Appearance: clear ruby brown with one fat finger of fluffy ivory head, good retention and spotty lacing. (4/5) Aroma: bready yeast, cherries, raisins, cloves. (8/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate-lively carbonation, sweetish medium duration warming finish. (4/5)

Another attempt at extended cellaring on Chimay varietals: this time, I’m directly comparing this one at four years’ cellaring, to the subsequent year’s vintage at three years’ cellaring. Much like the Première (Red), it seems pretty clear to me that these are already aged sufficiently when bottled, and there’s little or no benefit to be gained by further ageing. (Don’t mind the moldy label – it got wet when another bottle broke during transport, and clearly I didn’t clean it completely before cellaring it. Adds character, don’t you think?) (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Bières de Chimay S.A. Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) (2016) – Belgian Strong Dark Ale at 9% ABV

Bières de Chimay S.A. Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue) (2016) Belgian Strong Dark Ale at 9% ABV (C$5.64 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 330 ml, best before 31-Dec-2021, acquired 13-Dec-2016, reviewed 27-Aug-2019)

Appearance: clear ruby brown with one fat finger of fluffy ivory head, good retention and spotty lacing. (4/5) Aroma: bready yeast, cherries, raisins, cloves. (8/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate-lively carbonation, sweetish medium duration warming finish. (4/5)

Another attempt at extended cellaring on Chimay varietals: this time, I’m directly comparing this one at three years’ cellaring, to the previous year’s vintage at four years’ cellaring. Much like the Première (Red), it seems pretty clear to me that these are already aged sufficiently when bottled, and there’s little or no benefit to be gained by further ageing. (Don’t mind the moldy label – it got wet when another bottle broke during transport, and clearly I didn’t clean it completely before cellaring it. Adds character, don’t you think?) (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Bannerman Brewing Co. Brite Lite – Session IPA at 3.8% ABV

Bannerman Brewing Co. Brite Lite Session IPA at 3.8% ABV (C$9.99 at Bannerman Brewing Co., 945 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 26-Aug-2019, reviewed 26-Aug-2019)

Appearance: hazy straw with one fat finger of rocky head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: mild, citrus, tropical fruit, oats. (8/10) Taste: moderate-low sweet, mild bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium-light body, lively carbonation, off-dry short finish. (4/5)

A very nicely done super-low ABV Session, with very little to indicate the low ABV. Although the body tends light, the lively carbonation prevents it from being watery, and the mild hopping meshes well with the oat background. Taking too long with the pint might allow it to go a tad watery, sure – but it’s so easy-drinking there’s no good reason to do something so silly as take your time with it. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Bières de Chimay S.A. Chimay Première (Red) (2015) – Dubbel at 7% ABV

Bières de Chimay S.A. Chimay Première (Red) (2015) Dubbel at 7% ABV (C$9.97 at NLC Howley Estates, 750 ml, best before 31-Dec-2019, acquired 13-Jul-2015, reviewed 23-Aug-2019)

Appearance: hazy deep amber with two fingers of fluffy ivory head, good retention and spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: caramel, raisins, dark stone fruit, cedar. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, mild bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, sweetish medium duration finish. (4/5)

I aged this one for four years to see if it would improve, but I don’t think it did. In fact, I can’t really identify any difference at all from the last one I had, of a current (at the time) vintage in 2014. Seems pretty clear to me that these are already aged sufficiently when bottled. and there’s little or no benefit to be gained by further ageing. (Don’t mind the moldy label – it got wet when another bottle broke during transport, and clearly I didn’t clean it completely before cellaring it. Adds character, don’t you think?) (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com