All posts by dpatrickryan

Old Yale Brewing Co. / 2 Crows Brewing Oak Aged Braggot Collab – Braggot at 8% ABV

Old Yale Brewing Co. / 2 Crows Brewing Oak Aged Braggot Collab Braggot at 8% ABV (C$8.13 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 650 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 11-Apr-2018, reviewed 18-Apr-2018)

Appearance: clear pale gold with two fingers of fluffy white head, good retention and moderate lacing. (4/5) Aroma: oak, vinous grape must, black pepper, honey, apple. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-low bitter, light funky tart. (8/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, dry medium duration lightly tart and funky finish. (4/5)

My major concern was that this was going to be too sweet, being derived from honey mead as it is. The only thing that pushed me over the edge to try it, in fact, was the presence of 2 Crows as a collaborator. I haven’t had a lot by them (four prior to this) but they’ve all been quite good, so I figured, what the heck. Not to mention, I think this is only the second Braggot I’ve ever had, so broadening horizons is good, right? And this is quite interesting, with a combination of oak and fruit that strongly suggests a white wine, but with pepper and dry funk like a Saison. Not to mention, there’s no hint at all of the 8% ABV. I like this. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Township 24 Brewery Meridian Black Lager – Schwarzbier at 5% ABV | 40 IBU

Township 24 Brewery Meridian Black Lager Schwarzbier at 5% ABV | 40 IBU (C$4.54 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 650 ml, packaged on 29-Mar-2018, acquired 11-Apr-2018, reviewed 17-Apr-2018)

Appearance: deep brown with light relief around the margins, two fingers of dense beige head, excellent retention and chunky lacing. (5/5) Aroma: roasty malt, coffee, light smoke. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (8/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, dry slightly acrid lingering bitter finish. (4/5)

I have, I think, made abundantly clear my normal attitude towards lagers: bored stiff. A notable exception to that is the Black Lager: I do tend to like me a good Schwarzbier – and this is a good Schwarzbier. Actually, this is a really good Schwarzbier, with a nice emphasis on the roast malts and a slightly acrid smokey, almost ashy finish. I love a good dry finish, and this really invites the next sip. No “for a lager” or “for a new brewery” qualifications required here: just a really good beer. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Township 24 Brewery Range 28 Vienna Blonde Ale – Blond Ale at 5% ABV | 20 IBU

Township 24 Brewery Range 28 Vienna Blonde Ale Blond Ale at 5% ABV | 20 IBU (C$5.59 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 650 ml, packaged on 29-Mar-2018, acquired 11-Apr-2018, reviewed 16-Apr-2018)

Appearance: clear pale amber with one fat finger of dense off-white head, excellent retention and patchy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: caramel, grass, light floral, hint of buttery diacetyl. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-low bitter. (7/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, sweetish mild bitter finish. (3/5)

Bit of a boring style, but decently well-done, except for just the slightest hint of buttery diacetyl. Of course, I’d expect nothing less from Chestermere’s oldest and largest brewery… who also happen to be Chestermere’s newest and smallest brewery… (Yes, they’re Chestermere’s only brewery, and another new local Alberta brewery.) I’m not much of an expert with this style (because I find it a bit boring) but I’d like this better if it finished a bit cleaner. It tends just slightly sweet, making it slightly less than more-ish. Not unhappy I tried the one, but probably wouldn’t bother again. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Brouwerij de Molen Storm & Regen – American Double / Imperial IPA at 8.1% ABV | 60 IBU

Brouwerij de Molen Storm & Regen American Double / Imperial IPA at 8.1% ABV | 60 IBU (C$4.50 at The Brewer’s Apprentice, 330 ml, packaged on 24-Dec-2014, best before 24-Dec-2016, acquired 14-Mar-2018, reviewed 15-Apr-2018)

Appearance: clear medium amber with one fat finger of dense ivory head, excellent retention and heavy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: pine, toffee, citrus zest, pepper, tropical fruit. (7/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, high bitter. (7/10) Medium oily body, moderate carbonation, lingering and building bitter finish. (4/5)

I went into this worrying I might’ve had slightly unrealistic hopes for the combined magical properties of high ABV and the De Molen name, but figured what the hell, treat it as an experiment. But actually, this is all right. It’s probably not as hoppy as it used to be – at least, there’s not a lot of citrus left there – but there’s no shortage of oily bitterness. It’s now become sort of Barleywine-ish in nature, which is by no means a bad thing. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Blindman Brewing Pierre Turn 1 Foeder-Aged Golden Saison – Saison at 5.8% ABV | 25 IBU

Blindman Brewing Pierre Turn 1 Foeder-Aged Golden Saison Saison at 5.8% ABV | 25 IBU (C$8.39 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 650 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 11-Apr-2018, reviewed 14-Apr-2018)

Appearance: hazy pale gold with one finger of fine white head, good retention and soapy lacing. (3/5) Aroma: complex, barnyardy funk, lemon zest, wood, earth. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate tart, low bitter. (8/10) Medium-light body, moderate carbonation, off-dry tart crisp lightly funky finish. (4/5)

This pleases me, on several levels. Actually, the fact of its existence probably pleases me more than the beer itself, if you see the distinction. I mean, come on! Blindman has a foeder program? Nice! Now, the beer isn’t exactly a home run, at least not yet. Based on the label notes, they threw a whole mess of various creepy-crawlies in here in a sort of battle royale, which doesn’t seem to have yet been resolved. It’s still pretty young, though not without some pleasing complexity, and I’d like to see how this mellows out. (No packaging date on the bottle, but I know it’s relatively new.) I’m definitely going to have to pick up a couplethree more and see what happens long-term. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Omnipollo Fatamorgana – American Double / Imperial IPA at 8% ABV | 100 IBU

Omnipollo Fatamorgana American Double / Imperial IPA at 8% ABV | 100 IBU (C$7.63 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 330 ml, best before 5-Sep-2018, acquired 11-Apr-2018, reviewed 13-Apr-2018)

Appearance: opaque pale gold with one finger of loose white head diminishing rapidly to a thin skim and ring, spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: resiny pine, tropical fruit, citrus, earth. (9/10) Taste: moderate sweet, high bitter. (9/10) Medium slightly oily and creamy body, moderate-low carbonation, drying building bitter mildly warming finish. (4/5)

A Fata Morgana is, of course, a type of mirage, named after Morgan Le Fey. Needless to say, it wouldn’t take many of these to make one see mirages and/or any number of Arthurian sorceresses. The cloudy appearance and milkshake-like body might tempt one to call this an NEIPA, but it really isn’t: there’s far too much dank pine resin on the nose, and far too much hop burn on the tongue. It is juicy, though, and very, very enjoyable, with almost no hint as to the fairly beefy ABV. (17/20)

8.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Gigantic Brewing Company Scrilla (#45) – American Pale Ale at 5.5% ABV | 55 IBU

Gigantic Brewing Company Scrilla (#45) American Pale Ale at 5.5% ABV | 55 IBU (C$7.52 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 650 ml, packaged on 15-Aug-2018, acquired 11-Apr-2018, reviewed 13-Apr-2018)

Appearance: slightly hazy deep gold with two fingers of fluffy off-white head, excellent retention and chunky lacing. (4/5) Aroma: zesty citrus, caramel, floral, pine, grass. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (8/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry slightly sticky medium bitter finish. (4/5)

What the hell’s scrilla, anyway? Is it the plural of Skrillex? Because, to be honest, I don’t know but one Skrillex isn’t already one too many. (OK, fine, yes, I know it’s money.) Seriously, nicely balanced Pale Ale. Not a hop bomb – which, don’t get me wrong, I’d be fine with, but sometimes a change is nice. And this is well done, with pleasant contributions from Citra and Simcoe balanced against a smooth oat body. I do find it slightly too sweet, especially in the finish, where it gets just a touch sticky. Not one where I’d want to have more than the one. Well, OK, two. Three, if you insist. Is that four? Where does the time go? (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Breakside Brewery The Pathfinder (Vintage 2018) – American Double / Imperial IPA at 8.7% ABV | 78 IBU

Breakside Brewery The Pathfinder (Vintage 2018) American Double / Imperial IPA at 8.7% ABV | 78 IBU (C$17.99 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 650 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 23-Feb-2018, reviewed 12-Apr-2018)

Appearance: clear deep gold with two fingers of rocky pale ivory head, excellent retention and heavy lacing. (5/5) Aroma: juniper, botanicals, caramel, lemon zest, light resiny pine. (9/10) Taste: moderate sweet, high bitter. (8/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry building and lingering bitter finish. (4/5)

Oh, I like that! The aroma in particular is loads of fun, with intense gin botanicals leading the way over some more traditional IPA notes of citrus and pine. The flavour on the tongue isn’t quite as much fun, but it’s extremely interesting how it’s almost completely disassociated from the aroma, with a malty caramel leading the way there. The way this is made is also extremely interesting, with a combination of gin barrel aged beer being blended back with fresh DIPA. Reminiscent, in fact, of Gueuze. (Procedurally, I mean, not in aroma, flavour, or, well, anything else, really. Still, a seriously complex way to do a beer, and it’s paid off in spades here, giving an intense barrel character to a lighter-bodied, approachable beer.) All in all, it’s an awful lot like a Lemon Gin Collins – a drink I haven’t had for about 30 years (god, I’m old!) but now want ever so intensely. Stupid expensive. Stupid worth it. (18/20)

9/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Collective Arts Brewing Radio the Mothership – American Double / Imperial IPA at 8.5% ABV | 100 IBU

Collective Arts Brewing Radio the Mothership American Double / Imperial IPA at 8.5% ABV | 100 IBU (C$4.20 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 473 ml, packaged on 2-Oct-2017, acquired 11-Apr-2018, reviewed 12-Apr-2018)

Appearance: hazy pale gold with two fingers of fluffy pale ivory head, good retention and spotty soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: citrus juice and rind, resiny pine, floral, pale malt, tropical fruit. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, high bitter. (8/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry building and lingering bitter finish. (4/5)

I’m confused: why does this can say “1 pint” when CA is Canadian? Oh, hang on: Stratford, Connecticut, now I get it. Wait, what? Another Canadian brewery testing the waters south of the 49th? That’s interesting… Kind of similar to their IPA #4, perhaps because it’s got Mosaic hopping in common. It’s also got Citra and Simcoe, and absolutely no green onion or cattiness. Very approachable despite the higher ABV and fairly stupendous IBU. As usual, these guys continue to produce new product that I can confidently assume I will enjoy regardless of what style that happens to be, and I say that about very few brewers. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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

Alley Kat Brewing Co. Evergreen Dragon American Double / Imperial IPA at 7.5% ABV | 75 IBU (C$6.46 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 650 ml, best before 27-Sep-2018, acquired 11-Apr-2018, reviewed 11-Apr-2018)

Appearance: clear pale amber with two fingers of rocky pale ivory head, good retention and moderate lacing. (5/5) Aroma: citrus rind and pith, caramel, dank resin. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, high bitter. (8/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry building and lingering bitter finish. (4/5)

Y’know, it’s tempting to give Alley Kat the gears for carrying on this “coloured Dragon” line far further than any sensible human being would – but the fact is, I’ve already done so, and they’re getting better. In fact, this one is verging on next-level better. So… good on yer, I guess? I have to admit, when I saw “Spruce infused” on the label, I flashed back to the few spruce tip beers I’ve had, which were… well… let’s be generous and call them “less than impressive”. (Sounds better than “deeply strange and off-putting”, which is how I have in fact described some of them.) But, the thing is, the previously best-ever spruce beer I’ve had was actually an Alley Kat beer. So, it seems safe to say they’ve got this spruce thing dialled in. This one is particularly well done, with a pleasant evergreen character (yes, just like the label says) layered on top of a dank cannabinoid base. Very West Coast and very well done. (17/20)

8.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com