Captain Lawrence Brewing Company Effortless IPA – Session IPA at 4.5% ABV | 45 IBU

Captain Lawrence Brewing Company Effortless IPA Session IPA at 4.5% ABV | 45 IBU (C$4.45 at Collective, 473 ml, best before 16-Jul-2020, acquired 22-Sep-2019, reviewed 8-Oct-2019)

Appearance: slightly hazy pale amber with one fat finger of rocky white head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: sweet grapefruit, caramel, floral, grass. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry medium bitter finish. (4/5)

You gotta think it’s a bad sign when the brewer’s web site is locked. The beer, though, is OK. Despite the almost candy-like grapefruit aroma, the sweetness on the tongue is restrained and it doesn’t end up sticky. It definitely drinks heavier than it is, though, and the aroma verges on one-dimensional. Personally, I prefer a SIPA to be a bit brighter on the nose and more attenuated on the tongue. Ultimately, though, it’s a lot like a Radler, so of course I’m going to give it a decent score. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Hell’s Basement Brewing One Shot Left – American IPA at 6% ABV

Hell’s Basement Brewing One Shot Left American IPA at 6% ABV (C$2.65 at Collective, 355 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 22-Sep-2019, reviewed 7-Oct-2019)

Appearance: hazy straw with one fat finger of rocky white head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: mild, citrus, tropical fruit, bready caramel, faint pine. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry mild bitter lightly spicy finish. (4/5)

Not bad – the only real problem is that it could stand to be quite a bit more emphatic. The aroma and the taste are both pleasant, but mild, almost to the point where they could be described was muted. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Fernie Brewing Company Single Speed Belgian-Style Blonde – Belgian Blond Ale at 4.8% ABV | 19 IBU

Fernie Brewing Company Single Speed Belgian-Style Blonde Belgian Blond Ale at 4.8% ABV | 19 IBU (C$6.89 at Okotoks Co-Op, 650 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 5-Oct-2019, reviewed 6-Oct-2019)

Appearance: slightly hazy pale gold with two fat fingers of rocky white head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: spice and Belgian phenols, wheat malt, citrus. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate spice, moderate-low bitter, light tart. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate-lively carbonation, crisp lingering spicy finish. (3/5)

On the front end, the “small” addition of cardamom blends well with the Belgian-style phenols from the yeast. In the finish, however, that spice becomes dominant. And if you had to pick two hops who in my experience never seem to live up to their names, it’s the two this is dry-hopped with: Lemondrop and Mandarina Bavaria. What little citrus they bring is weak and greatly outweighed by the spice and wheat malt. Not bad overall, but not even close to what I was hoping for. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Alley Kat Brewing Co. Mazarine Dragon – American Double / Imperial IPA at 7.5% ABV | 75+ IBU

Alley Kat Brewing Co. Mazarine Dragon American Double / Imperial IPA at 7.5% ABV | 75+ IBU (C$8.39 at Okotoks Co-Op, 650 ml, best before 28-Feb-2020, acquired 5-Oct-2019, reviewed 5-Oct-2019)

Appearance: clear pale amber with two fat fingers of fine pale amber head, excellent retention and moderate chunky lacing. (4/5) Aroma: caramel & biscuity malt, citrus, floral, stone fruit, vegetal. (6/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, high bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry lingering bitter finish. (3/5)

I had high hopes for a single-hop treatment of one of my favourite hops, but this was pretty unremarkable. It was actually more malty than I was expecting, and what hops were present were indistinct, muddled, and marred by a light cooked vegetable note. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Boombox Brewing Company Stereophonic – American Pale Ale at 5% ABV

Boombox Brewing Company Stereophonic American Pale Ale at 5% ABV (C$4.72 at Collective, 473 ml, packaged on 11-Jul-2019, acquired 22-Sep-2019, reviewed 4-Oct-2019)

Appearance: hazy deep gold with two fingers of loose white head, good retention and spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: caramel, citrus, vegetal, earth. (5/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (6/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry medium duration finish. (3/5)

I’ve been pleased with my two previous attempts by this contract brewer (Rad Seeker and Arcade Glow were both 8’s for me) so I was cautiously optimistic here. Plus, the label effect (SSSTERRREEEOPHHHOOONICCC!) is pretty danged cool. But, all in all, this one is pretty meh-tastic at best. There’s just not a lot of the purported Vic Secret, Azacca and Sabro hops (especially for what they describe as “heavily dosed”!) and in fact I find caramel to be the dominant aroma over a frankly disappointing vegetal and earthy note. Combine that with a slightly unclean muddy appearance, and, well, it’s not exactly a success story – to the point where I have to conclude this is infected. Sink poured half of it. (11/20)

5.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Central City Brewers + Distillers Red Racer Dreamer Hazy Pale Ale – American Pale Ale at 5% ABV | 30 IBU

Central City Brewers + Distillers Red Racer Dreamer Hazy Pale Ale American Pale Ale at 5% ABV | 30 IBU (C$3.64 at Collective, 500 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 22-Sep-2019, reviewed 4-Oct-2019)

Appearance: hazy straw with two fingers of loose white head, good retention and spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: crisp citrus, crackery malt, herbal, oats. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate-high carbonation, off-dry medium duration finish. (3/5)

Some brewers interpret “hazy” to mean “opaque and juice-like”, while others seem to be unconvinced by such foofaraw and dabble their toes in the haze. This is definitely the latter, with such haze as is present looking more accidental, than deliberate. The aroma seems a little anemic for the reported hop blend of Vic Secret, Mosaic, and Galaxy – certainly I’m not getting a lot of the tropical fruit I would have expected for such a selection. It’s not bad, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with light and crisp, but that’s not exactly the profile I was expecting for something called “Hazy Dreamer” – call me silly, but I was thinking more along the lines of fruity and dank. Oh, well. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Moon Under Water Boys in the Yard – American IPA at 6% ABV

Moon Under Water Boys in the Yard American IPA at 6% ABV (C$4.14 at Collective, 473 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 22-Sep-2019, reviewed 3-Oct-2019)

Appearance: hazy pale gold with one finger of fine white head, good retention and spotty lacing. (4/5) Aroma: sweet jammy fruit, lactose, vanilla. (7/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate tart, moderate-low bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, slightly sticky finish. (3/5)

I woulda called it strawberry jam to be honest, though I suppose it’s a bit tart for that, so sure, let’s call it passionfruit. This might be one of the most milkshake-like examples of a “milkshake IPA” I’ve had to date, with all the positives and negatives that implies: lots of lactose creaminess, but also a fair bit of sweetness. Decent enough, but really too sweet for more than one. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Parallel 49 Cobra Clutch – American Double / Imperial IPA at 8% ABV

Parallel 49 Cobra Clutch American Double / Imperial IPA at 8% ABV (C$4.00 at Collective, 473 ml, packaged on 19-Aug-2019, acquired 22-Sep-2019, reviewed 3-Oct-2019)

Appearance: hazy medium gold with one finger of creamy pale ivory head, good retention and spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: brown apples, tropical fruit, caramel, citrus, resiny pine. (6/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate-high bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate-soft carbonation, sticky lingering bitter and warming finish. (3/5)

Well, this is a rude return to reality after a few Tree House and Trillium beers… An aroma dominated by brown apples and a tendency to excess sweetness are not exactly recipes for success in my book. Unremarkable. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Tree House Brewing Company Very Green – American Double / Imperial IPA at 8.3% ABV

Tree House Brewing Company Very Green American Double / Imperial IPA at 8.3% ABV (Gift – thanks, Norm!, 473 ml, packaged on 3-Sep-2019, acquired 1-Oct-2019, reviewed 3-Oct-2019)

Appearance: opaque medium gold with one fat finger of fine pale ivory head, good retention and lacing. (4/5) Aroma: juicy tropical fruit, tangerines, green grass, resiny pine. (9/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (9/10) Medium body, moderate-soft carbonation, off-dry slightly sticky mildly warming finish. (4/5)

I called Green “an excellent example of Galaxy hopping, but in my opinion too restrained.” I also said I was marking it down because it was too easy to drink. Well, this is pretty much what I was asking for: more of everything. In particular, the resiny pine comes through more clearly, especially as it warms. I’ve also noticed that there seems to be an ABV sweet spot for emphatic AIPAs, right around eight to nine percent – big enough to get your attention, but not so hot and boozy to prevent enjoying a second (or third, or…) one – and this is right in that sweet spot. So, yeah, it’s better than Green – which is saying something. (I still like Doubleganger better though.) (17/20)

8.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Tree House Brewing Company Doubleganger – American Double / Imperial IPA at 8.2% ABV

Tree House Brewing Company Doubleganger American Double / Imperial IPA at 8.2% ABV (Gift – thanks, Norm!, 473 ml, packaged on 28-Aug-2019, acquired 1-Oct-2019, reviewed 3-Oct-2019)

Appearance: opaque medium gold with two fat fingers of rocky pale ivory head, excellent retention and moderate soapy lacing. (5/5) Aroma: juicy citrus, tropical & stone fruit, pale malt, resiny pine. (10/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter, light tart. (10/10) Palate: medium-full body, moderate-soft carbonation, off-dry medium duration lingering bitter mildly warming finish. (4/5)

Oh, that is good. Maybe it’s just the long day and stratospheric stress levels talking, but that is really hitting the spot. Just about everything is perfect here: The appearance, though opaque, is clean and juice-like, instead of muddy. The aromas are intensely fruity and juicy, with just a hint of resiny pine keeping things interesting. The taste is fruity without being excessively sweet. And, the malt bill is perfectly balanced against the aromatic hops, so that the somewhat hefty ABV drinks easily. To the extent that I have any complaints here at all, it’s that it could stand to be just a hair dryer in the finish, which is otherwise stellar. It might not be perfect, but it’ll do until perfect comes along. (19/20)

9.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com