All posts by dpatrickryan

Collective Arts Brewing Lunch Money – Blond Ale at 4.8% ABV | 18 IBU

Collective Arts Brewing Lunch Money Blond Ale at 4.8% ABV | 18 IBU (C$3.39 at NLC Stavanger, 473 ml, packaged on 21-Apr-2018, acquired 18-May-2018, reviewed 18-May-2018)

Appearance: hazy straw with one finger of loose white head diminishing rapidly to a thin skim, spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: grainy cereal, lemon, herbal, grass. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, mild bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium-light body, lively carbonation, dry lightly spicy finish. (4/5)

Pleasant and easy-drinking Blond. Nothing too exciting or interesting, but solid and well-implemented. A light blend of American and Noble hops balances well against clean toasted cereal grain. Refreshing and slightly spicy, but not overly memorable. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Sawdust City Brewing Company There’s No Way of Knowing – Saison at 6.2% ABV | 15 IBU

Sawdust City Brewing Company There’s No Way of Knowing Saison at 6.2% ABV | 15 IBU (C$4.70 at NLC Stavanger, 473 ml, packaged on 17-Jan-2018, acquired 18-May-2018, reviewed 18-May-2018)

Appearance: hazy straw with one fat finger of rocky white head, excellent retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: citrus zest, floral, white pepper, grainy cereal, light earthy funk. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, mild tart, mild bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium-light body, lively carbonation, dry spicy and lightly funky finish. (4/5)

The can calls this a “spring saison”, and that’s as good a label as any. Bright, almost juicy citrus and pleasant floral aromas dominate, with a little white pepper (grains of paradise?) spice for emphasis, on a grainy cereal base. I continue to believe that this style is more accurately done with a lower ABV, so this one is slightly high, but not to the point of adversely affecting its drinkability. A very pleasant quaffer for spring. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Brouwerij Timmermans Oude Kriek Limited Edition (2014) – Lambic – Fruit at 5.5% ABV

Brouwerij Timmermans Oude Kriek Limited Edition (2014) Lambic – Fruit at 5.5% ABV (C$9.99 at Oak & Vine, 375 ml, best before 2024, acquired 3-Jul-2017, reviewed 18-May-2018)

Appearance: murky deep ruby with a short, short-lived fizzy head, no lacing. (3/5) Aroma: tart cherries, field berries, light oak & earthy funk. (9/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high tart, low bitter. (9/10) Palate: medium-light body, lively carbonation, dry moderately tart finish. (4/5)

Some might argue this is excessively tart to the point of being unbalanced, and I can see where that argument would come from. However, in its defence, the tartness comes across as being authentically fruity in character, massively dominated by cherry, with a hint of field berries as well. Light oak and earthy funk round things out and add a little welcome complexity. Definitely a sipper, and maybe not the most approachable beer out there, but definitely good stuff.(16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Bellwoods Brewery Motley Cru (2013) – Sour Belgian Ale (Tripel / Quad Blend) at 11% ABV

Bellwoods Brewery Motley Cru (2013) Sour Belgian Ale (Tripel / Quad Blend) at 11% ABV (Trade – thanks, Beelzebeer!, 750 ml, packaged on 15-Mar-2013, acquired 6-Sep-2014, reviewed 17-May-2018)

Appearance: clear deep ruby with a short, short-lived fizzy head, no lacing. (3/5) Aroma: overripe cherry, caramel malt, port wine, oak, leather. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate tart, low bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate-lively carbonation, malty mild tart slightly astringent finish. (3/5)

Very interesting to compare this to its newer vintage. Admittedly it might not be a fair comparison, since this has had two years more in the cellar to (potentially) fade (not to mention being their first anniversary!), but how else can you compare vintages except with a vertical? The character of this vintage, though, is completely different than later years’, with far less complexity and far more malt character. It’s pretty apparent that the barrel program has developed by leaps and bounds in the intervening two years. That being said, there’s one aspect in which this is extremely impressive: the complete absence of any heat despite the double digit plus ABV. When your sophomore outing is this good, it’s clear that great things are in store. There’s a reason these guys have been my favourite Canadian brewer for a long time now! (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Bellwoods Brewery Motley Cru (2015) – Sour Belgian Ale (Tripel / Quad Blend) at 8.7% ABV

Bellwoods Brewery Motley Cru (2015) Sour Belgian Ale (Tripel / Quad Blend) at 8.7% ABV (Trade – thanks, Chucksahoy!, 500 ml, packaged on 4-Apr-2015, acquired 17-Jul-2015, reviewed 17-May-2018)

Appearance: clear deep ruby with a short, short-lived fizzy head, no lacing. (3/5) Aroma: oak, red wine, field berries, leather, balsamic. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate tart, low bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate-lively carbonation, clean tart finish. (4/5)

Super mild easy-to-drink Belgian sour blend. It’s clearly mellowed significantly during its three year cellaring, and I suspect has probably lost some complexity in the process – but it’s now ever so smooth! Somewhat surprisingly, Brett hasn’t run amok here, either structurally in the head and carbonation, or in the flavours, which are at most mildly funky. There’s also no hint of oxidation, which is good given the time spent in the cellar. I’m a little worried about its older brother which I’m trying next, though – we’ll see if I’m as lucky there! (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Nickel Brook Brewing Co. Kentucky Bastard – Imperial Stout at 14.5% ABV | 70 IBU

Nickel Brook Brewing Co. Kentucky Bastard Imperial Stout at 14.5% ABV | 70 IBU (C$25.99 at Oak & Vine, 750 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 11-Mar-2017, reviewed 15-May-2018)

Appearance: mercilessly black with no hint of relief, one finger of beige head diminishing gradually to a thin ring, spotty lacing. (4/5) Aroma: bourbon, oak, coconut, dark chocolate, mild coffee, hint of nail polish. (8/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, high bitter. (8/10) Palate: full slightly oily body, soft carbonation, lingering and building bitter finish. (4/5)

Kentucky (bourbon)? Check. Bastard (almost fifteen percent?!?!)? Check. Sooo… yeah. Does what it says on the label, I guess? Oh, wait! Coconut! Bonus check! (Yes, OK, it’s so friggin’ boozy it kinda sorta almost smells like nail polish. Whattya want? You can’t make an omelette without cracking a few eggs.) Really surprisingly drinkable for, yes, a huge bastard beer. Kentucky-fried version of their Bolshevik Bastard, and a huge winner. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Elbeck Brews KGB – Russian Imperial Stout at 9% ABV | 75 IBU

Elbeck Brews KGB Russian Imperial Stout at 9% ABV | 75 IBU (C$11.66 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 650 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 25-Apr-2017, reviewed 15-May-2018)

Appearance: clear deep brown with one finger of medium beige head diminishing gradually to a thin ring, spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: milk chocolate, dark roasted coffee, light ash, hint of liquorice. (8/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, high bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, lingering and building bitter spicy finish. (3/5)

I waffled pretty badly evaluating this one, starting low then bouncing up a full point and a half on the total before settling back. My biggest complaints here are the lacklustre appearance, and the inappropriately light body and high carbonation. If this had better head retention and a smoother, softer body, it would be a solid eight, but the higher carbonation in particular is giving it a slightly harsh edge despite its year-plus cellaring. That’s not to say it’s bad, by any means, but it ultimately falls short of great, and the body is a big chunk of the reason why. That said, I’ve spent a lot of time detailing this thing’s flaws, and that’s not even a little bit fair to a beer that’s actually pretty solid overall – it’s just that with a few relatively small fixes, it could be a lot better. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company Cali Common – California Common at 5% ABV | 36 IBU

Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company Cali Common California Common at 5% ABV | 36 IBU (C$6.24 at NLC Stavanger, 600 ml, packaged on 9-Mar-2018, acquired 11-May-2018, reviewed 14-May-2018)

Appearance: clear medium amber with one fat finger of creamy ivory head diminishing gradually to a sturdy persistent cap, moderate lacing. (4/5) Aroma: grassy hops, grainy malt, orchard fruits, light citrus. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry medium duration finish. (3/5)

I can’t claim to be a huge fan of this style – it is a lager, after all – but this is very competently done. It’s basically a slightly deeper and fruitier take on lagers, and certainly much more flavourful than the “fizzy yellow water” standard that macro lagers so frequently embody. You could do a lot worse, that’s for sure. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company Blood Simple – Witbier at 5.3% ABV | 30 IBU

Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company Blood Simple Witbier at 5.3% ABV | 30 IBU (C$6.24 at NLC Stavanger, 600 ml, packaged on 28-Mar-2018, acquired 11-May-2018, reviewed 13-May-2018)

Appearance: opaque medium gold with one fat finger of creamy white head diminishing gradually to a thin persistent cap, moderate lacing. (4/5) Aroma: orange flesh and zest, chocolate, wheat. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate tart, moderate-low bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry medium duration oily astringent finish. (3/5)

Tempting to call it Terry’s Chocolate Orange in a glass, and leave it at that. It’s not quite that simple, though, because there’s a bit of a disconnect between the aroma and the taste. The chocolate is far more prevalent on the nose than on the tongue, and the oranges that smell so sweet end up providing a somewhat unbalanced oily astringency in the finish. I sort of see what they’re going for here, but I don’t think they were entirely successful. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Unibroue Éphémère Fraise & Rhubarbe – Fruit / Vegetable Beer at 5.5% ABV | 11 IBU

Unibroue Éphémère Fraise & Rhubarbe Fruit / Vegetable Beer at 5.5% ABV | 11 IBU (C$6.85 at NLC Stavanger, 750 ml, packaged on 11-Apr-2018, acquired 11-May-2018, reviewed 13-May-2018)

Appearance: murky pale amber with one fat finger of rocky white head diminishing gradually to a thin ring, spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: mild, malty wheat, strawberry, rhubarb. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-low bitter, mild tart. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry medium duration finish. (4/5)

Smells wheaty and tastes jammy, so it’s got that going for it… but that’s about all. As usual, I find this series to be at the low end of the scale for this brewery – they do an awful lot of beers much, much better than this. And yes, that sort of begs the question as to why I keep buying them (this is the fifth or maybe sixth variation I’ve tried) to which I can only reply that either hope springs eternal, or I’m just not very smart. (Though, technically, “both” is also an option, isn’t it?) (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com