Brouwerij De Musketiers Troubadour Westkust – Black IPA at 8.6% ABV | 55 IBU

Brouwerij De Musketiers Troubadour Westkust Black IPA at 8.6% ABV | 55 IBU (C$2.99 at Okotoks Co-Op, 330 ml, best before 5-Jun-2021, acquired 7-Sep-2019, reviewed 15-Sep-2019)

Appearance: slightly hazy brown with one fat finger of fluffy beige head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: roasty malts, coffee, dry cocoa, dark fruits, pine, herbs. (8/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate-high bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium-full body, moderate-high carbonation, lingering bitter mildly warming finish. (4/5)

A bit of an odd duck, which I’ve classified as a Black IPA, but might just as easily be considered a Belgian IPA, or even a BSDA – is Imperial Black Belgian IPA a style yet? Good, though. The flavour profile is definitely more “Belgian” (in the “dark” sense) than “IPA”, with toasty malts and sweetness dominating over predominantly piney hops. On the tongue, the slightly high sweetness is well balanced by the slightly high bitterness so that neither feels excessive. That management of the sweetness extends to the body, which despite being slightly full, is kept from becoming slick or cloying by the slightly higher than expected carbonation, and the somewhat high ABV only makes itself known as a mild warming. It’s an amalgam of things that probably shouldn’t work together, but do – and I respect that. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Brewski Craft Brewing Triple Threat – American Double / Imperial IPA at 10% ABV

Brewski Craft Brewing Triple Threat American Double / Imperial IPA at 10% ABV (C$6.30 at Collective, 330 ml, best before 16-Oct-2020, acquired 29-Aug-2019, reviewed 15-Sep-2019)

Appearance: opaque slightly muddy and particulate-laden medium gold with a short loose pale ivory head, good retention and minimal spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: tropical fruit, caramel, citrus. (8/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate-high bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium-full body, moderate-low carbonation, lingering bitter warming finish. (4/5)

ZERO idea as to the significance of the label art, other than apparently you think of some freaky shit after a few of these. Which could happen quite easily, because it drinks a helluva lot easier than you might expect given the double-barrelled ABV! They call it a Triple IPA, which I’ve encountered a time or ten, but as that isn’t really a formal style (yet?) I’m classifying it as a DIPA. This looks, smells, and tastes like guava nectar, which isn’t a criticism by any means. I like this, and could probably drink a few… until I fell over, anyway. Which might well happen sooner rather than later, given the aforementioned ABV. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Brewski Craft Brewing Mangofeber – American Double / Imperial IPA at 8% ABV

Brewski Craft Brewing Mangofeber American Double / Imperial IPA at 8% ABV (C$5.53 at Collective, 330 ml, best before 23-Oct-2020, acquired 29-Aug-2019, reviewed 13-Sep-2019)

Appearance: opaque medium gold with one finger of fine pale ivory head, good retention and minimal spotty lacing. (4/5) Aroma: mild, mango, tropical fruit, caramel, earth, pine. (7/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate bitter. (6/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, slightly astringent bitter mildly warming finish. (3/5)

I probably did this in slightly the wrong order, having done the apricot variant Aprikosfeber first. This one looks a bit better than Aprikosfeber, with decent head retention that was completely absent in the other. Unsurprisingly, the aroma is different, exhibiting mango instead of apricot, but was also relatively muted. I find the taste to suffer quite a bit by comparison to its variant, with a relatively heavy sweetness leading into a slightly astringent bitter warming finish. Part of this is no doubt the heavier malt bill associated with it being an 8% DIPA instead of a 6% IPA, but overall it feels clunky compared to the apricot. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

O.T. Brewing Company Running Back IPA – American IPA at 6% ABV

O.T. Brewing Company Running Back IPA American IPA at 6% ABV (C$3.64 at Collective, 473 ml, packaged on 22-Aug-2019, acquired 29-Aug-2019, reviewed 13-Sep-2019)

Appearance: near opaque pale gold with one fat finger of loose pale ivory head diminishing rapidly to a thin skim and ring, minimal spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: citrus, coriander/clove, stone fruit, caramel, wheat. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, medium duration bitter lightly spicy finish. (4/5)

In my experience, I’ve found this to be a tricky style to get right – in particular, it’s very easy for the coriander / clove spiciness to linger and grow until it’s overwhelming. This one strikes a decent balance there, and although the spice load grows, it never really overbalances the citrus and stone fruit notes. Decent overall. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Shepherd Neame Spitfire Amber Kentish Ale – English Bitter at 4.2% ABV

Shepherd Neame Spitfire Amber Kentish Ale English Bitter at 4.2% ABV (C$4.29 at Okotoks Co-Op, 500 ml, best before 31-Mar-2020, acquired 12-Sep-2019, reviewed 12-Sep-2019)

Appearance: clear pale amber with two fat fingers of loose pale ivory head diminishing gradually to a thick persistent cap, spotty soapy lacing. (3/5) Aroma: bready caramel, pomes and drupes, raisins. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (6/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, medium duration bitter slightly metallic finish. (3/5)

Sometimes it’s nice to go into a beer with zero expectations, because you end up finding hidden gems you didn’t expect. Other times, not so much. This is an Ordinary Bitter – with the emphasis on “ordinary”. There’s nothing wrong with it (other than a slight metallic note in the finish), but it very much is what it is: a basic pint at t’pub on the way home to t’missus. In 1950. (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Best of Kin Brewing Potluck XPA – American Pale Ale at 6.5% ABV

Best of Kin Brewing Potluck XPA American Pale Ale at 6.5% ABV (C$3.91 at Collective, 473 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 29-Aug-2019, reviewed 10-Sep-2019)

Appearance: clear medium gold with two fat fingers of growing fluffy pale ivory head, excellent retention and well-defined soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: bready caramel, citrus, pine. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry medium duration bitter slightly astringent finish. (3/5)

I guess this qualifies as an XPA, in the sense that it sort of splits the difference between an APA and an IPA. Unfortunately, it does that back-to-front: the aroma is mild and sort of malt-dominated, like many APAs, while the bitterness is somewhat emphatic. Although I’m a total hophead, I’d still prefer it the other way around: big aroma and restrained bitter. It’s OK, but certainly nothing exceptional. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel! Fun Fou – American IPA at 6% ABV

Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel! Fun Fou American IPA at 6% ABV (C$4.99 at Collective, 341 ml, packaged on 24-Jul-2019, acquired 29-Aug-2019, reviewed 10-Sep-2019)

Appearance: slightly hazy straw with one finger of loose white head diminishing gradually to a thin cap, spotty soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: tart citrus, lactic, wheat, tropical fruit. (7/10) Taste: moderate tart, moderate-low sweet, mild bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium-light body, lively carbonation, dry medium tart finish. (4/5)

Maybe I’m being a bit unfair here, and having unrealistic expectations for one of my favourite breweries, but: it’s a bandwagon kettle sour. It’s not what I’d call fou, nor is it particularly fun. What it is, is light, citrusy, tart, and crisp. Perfectly serviceable, particularly as a thirst quencher, but, well… boring. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Brewski Craft Brewing Aprikosfeber – American IPA at 6% ABV

Brewski Craft Brewing Aprikosfeber American IPA at 6% ABV (C$5.58 at Collective, 330 ml, best before 19-Aug-2020, acquired 29-Aug-2019, reviewed 9-Sep-2019)

Appearance: opaque medium gold with one fat finger of loose pale ivory head diminishing rapidly to nothing, no lacing. (3/5) Aroma: stone fruit, citrus, pale malt, pine, earth. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter, moderate tart. (8/10) Palate: medium body, lively carbonation, juicy medium bitter mildly tart slightly astringent finish. (4/5)

I probably did this in slightly the wrong order, since this appears to be an apricot variant on their original Mangofeber, which I have in the fridge, but haven’t yet tried. I generally prefer to do the original before the variants when possible, but messed it up here. Oh, well.

This is interesting. There’s lots of stone fruit (OK, fine, apricot), meshing well with a hoppy citrus note. That, combined with the opaque orange appearance and lively carbonation, means this pretty much looks, smells, and tastes like a mimosa. Or, more accurately, a beermosa. (What? You haven’t had a beermosa? You should.) Some might find the carbonation excessive, or take exception to the astringency in the finish, but as soon as I made the beermosa connection it all fell into place for me. Aside from the structural quibbles, this is good fun. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Cabin Brewing Company Misty Frequency – American IPA at 7% ABV | 60 IBU

Cabin Brewing Company Misty Frequency American IPA at 7% ABV | 60 IBU (C$5.31 at Collective, 473 ml, packaged on 31-Jul-2019, acquired 29-Aug-2019, reviewed 8-Sep-2019)

Appearance: hazy straw with two fingers of rocky white head, good retention and heavy soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: tropical fruit, citrus, vanilla, caramel, pine, oats. (7/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate-high bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, juicy medium bitter finish. (4/5)

Not surprisingly, this pretty much splits the difference between their Sunshine Rain IPA and Super Saturation New England Pale. The flavour is definitely more emphatic than the APA, but it still feels lighter than the 7% ABV. Oddly, the brewer claims the same 60IBU as their straight IPA, but whereas that one felt more bitter than that rating would suggest, this feels less so. It’s still a bit on the bitter side for an NEIPA, but not to the point where I’d call it unbalanced or inappropriate. Pretty drinkable for a fairly beefy beer. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Koninklijke Grolsch Grolsch Weizen – Hefeweizen at 5.1% ABV

Koninklijke Grolsch Grolsch Weizen Hefeweizen at 5.1% ABV (C$3.89 at Okotoks Co-Op, 500 ml, packaged on 9-Mar-2019, best before 9-Mar-2020, acquired 7-Sep-2019, reviewed 7-Sep-2019)

Appearance: slightly hazy medium gold with three fingers of rocky off-white head, excellent retention and heavy soapy lacing. (5/5) Aroma: big banana, clove, wheat. (7/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate bitter, light peppery spice. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate-soft carbonation, sweetish slightly spicy finish. (3/5)

A fair bit better than I expected, especially since when I looked it up on the usual suspects, I see it’s also marketed as “Premium Weizen” – which as well all know is pretty well nigh-on a dead-cert guarantee it’s gonna blow goats. This, well, doesn’t blow goats. It’s not great, but I guess it’ll do in a pinch. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com