All posts by dpatrickryan

Smuttynose Brewing Company Cluster’s Last Stand – American IPA at 8.8% ABV

Smuttynose Brewing Company Cluster’s Last Stand American IPA at 8.8% ABV ($9.46 at Specs Main Branch, 650 ml, best before 5-Mar-2015)

Pours hazy pale amber with one finger of loose off-white head, good retention and lacing. (4/5) Nose is sweet citrus, mild pine, biscuity caramel malt, faint tropical fruit. (6/10) Taste is moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (6/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, building bitter finish. (3/5)

A little muddled. Not bad, but the malt seems a bit more pronounced than it should be, and the hops could be sharper. Nothing particularly thrilling, but certainly serviceable. (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Anchor Brewing Company Anchor IPA – India Pale Ale (IPA) at 6.5% ABV

Anchor Brewing Company Anchor IPA India Pale Ale (IPA) at 6.5% ABV ($3.00 at Dominion Stavanger, 355 ml, best before 20-Nov-2016)

Pours clear pale to medium amber with a fat finger of loose ivory head, excellent retention and lacing. (5/5) Nose is pithy citrus, mild pine, light caramel malt. (7/10) Taste is moderate sweet, moderate bitter, mild peppery spice. (7/10) Medium body and slightly slick texture, moderate carbonation, building bitter and lingering finish. (4/5)

Y’know, I went into this not expecting to like it. I mean, really – an IPA with a two-year shelf life? Pull the other one, right? Well, I dunno what it’ll be like after two years, but after a couple of months (assuming the best before to be “only” two years after bottling) it’s pretty decent. It’s initially somewhat malty if you’re expecting an American IPA, but if you give your head a shake and recall that this is brewed with two-row barley malt, the traditional English character becomes apparent. And on the finish, there’s a nice lingering and building bitterness with just a hint of peppery spice. This might well be the best IPA ever put on NLC shelves. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Anchor Brewing Company Anchor Steam – California Common at 4.8% ABV

Anchor Brewing Company Anchor Steam California Common at 4.8% ABV ($3.00 at Dominion Stavanger, 355ml, best before 20-Oct-2016)

Pours hazy pale amber with one finger of creamy ivory head diminishing gradually to a thick cap, spotty lacing. (4/5) Nose is caramel malt, grassy and herbal. (6/10) Taste is moderate sweet, mild bitter. (6/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry mildly bitter finish. (4/5)

Not bad for a malty beer. Decently well-balanced malt sweetness that doesn’t overwhelm and finishes reasonably dry and bitter. Pretty sessionable, I’d say. (12/20)

My 138th from the 2010 Edition of 1001 Beers, 131st from the 2013 Edition, and 146th combining both editions.

6.5/10 #1001beers #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Stone Brewing Company Lukcy Basartd – American Strong Ale at 8.5% ABV

Stone Brewing Company Lukcy Basartd American Strong Ale at 8.5% ABV ($9.46 at Specs Main Branch, 650 ml, best before 1-Jan-2015)

Pours clear medium amber with one finger of loose ivory head, excellent retention and  lacing. (5/5) Nose is caramel malt, pine (spruce?) resin, woody oak, citrus. (8/10) Taste is moderate sweet, moderate to strong bitter. (7/10) Medium to full body, moderate carbonation, lingering and building bitter boozy finish. (4/5)

There’s a lot going on in this complicated beast, and it’s probably feeling the effects of being a little past its best before, but still quite drinkable. Big presence, emphasized by an ABV that acts at least as big – and maybe a bit bigger – than it actually is. (17/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Saint Arnold Brewing Company Endeavour (Divine Reserve #11) – American Double / Imperial IPA at 8.9% ABV

Saint Arnold Brewing Company Endeavour (Divine Reserve #11) American Double / Imperial IPA at 8.9% ABV ($6.31 at Specs Main Branch, 650 ml, bottle date 15-Dec-2014)

Pours clear pale amber with two fingers of rocky white head, good retention and lacing. (4/5) Nose is pithy citrus, tropical and stone fruits, mild pine, light caramel malt. (8/10) Taste is moderate sweet, moderate to strong bitter. (7/10) Medium to full body, moderate carbonation, building bitter finish. (4/5)

Very pleasant, mild-mannered and well-behaved DIPA. The sweetness is definitely present, but balanced nicely without being overwhelming. The balance extends to the ABV, which is nearly completely absent despite being nearly into the double digits. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Jester King Brewery Le Petit Prince – Saison at 2.9% ABV

Jester King Brewery Le Petit Prince Saison at 2.9% ABV ($7.25 at Specs Main Branch, 750 ml, bottle date 27-Oct-2014)

Pours cloudy pale straw with one finger of loose white head diminishing rapidly to a thin skim, spotty lacing. (3/5) Nose is lemon zest, brett funk, hay, apples and pears, very light crackery malt. (7/10) Taste is moderate sweet, moderate tart, mild bitter. (7/10) Light body, prickly to moderate carbonation, crisp tart finish. (4/5)

Well, that’s unexpected – a restrained, funky, Franco-Belgian style farmhouse saison, from Texas. Cider and champagne characteristics, with a lovely light and crisply carbonated body. Quite refreshing, and yes, it would make an excellent table beer with a light meal. Really, my major complaint is that it’s, if anything, too mild. I don’t mean just the ridiculously low ABV (at under 3%, it’s barely “beer”, is it?) but the total package: the aroma, flavour, and body are all so well-behaved as to barely be present at all. I’d love to see this with its restraints removed, actually… (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Deschutes Brewery Hop Henge Experimental IPA – American Double / Imperial IPA at 9.5% ABV

Deschutes Brewery Hop Henge Experimental IPA American Double / Imperial IPA at 9.5% ABV ($5.99 at Specs Main Branch, 650 ml, best before 04/07/15)

Pours clear pale amber with two fingers of rocky white head, excellent retention and lacing. (5/5) Nose is resiny pine, pithy citrus, tropical fruit, mild caramel malt. (7/10) Taste is moderate sweet, strong bitter. (7/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, slightly sticky finish. (4/5)

Another nice IPA (OK, DIPA) from Deschutes. Similar to Chasin’ Freshies, but heavier and more intense, with a bit more malt, and less fresh juicy citrus. The ABV is well integrated, apparent as a mild warming, but not unpleasant. Decent, if a little blunt – could use more Mosaic sharpness, and less malt. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Ballast Point Brewing Company Dorado – American Double / Imperial IPA at 10.0% ABV

Ballast Point Brewing Company Dorado American Double / Imperial IPA at 10.0% ABV ($10.52 at Specs Main Branch, 650 ml, no bottle date or best before )

Pours clear pale amber with two fingers of rocky ivory head, excellent retention and lacing. (5/5) Nose is resiny pine, pithy citrus, tropical fruit, mild caramel malt. (8/10) Taste is moderate sweet, moderate to strong bitter. (8/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, slightly sticky finish. (4/5)

Very nice DIPA. Leads out with lots of pine and citrus, as well as some juicy tropical fruit. Malt is where it should be – providing support to the hops. And the integration of the ABV is just stellar – hard to believe this is 10%. I’ve had better, and the price is a tad high, but overall very well done. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Stone Brewing Company Smoked Porter with Vanilla Bean 2014 – American Porter at 10.0% ABV

Stone Brewing Company Smoked Porter with Vanilla Bean 2014 American Porter at 10.0% ABV ($9.00 at Zyn, 650 ml, no bottle date or best before )

Pours opaque deep brown with two fingers of loose ivory head, excellent retention and lacing. (5/5) Nose is roasty malts, coffee and chocolate, mild vanilla, very slight smoke. (8/10) Taste is mild sweet, moderate bitter. (8/10) Full body, moderate to low carbonation, off dry finish. (4/5)

Porters aren’t generally my favourites, but this one is quite good. The vanilla is quite restrained, manifesting only towards the end, as the bottle warms. The sweetness is also quite well-behaved, and the lingering bitter finish works well with the mild vanilla. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Upslope Brewing Company Upslope Imperial India Pale Ale – American Double / Imperial IPA at 10% ABV

Upslope Brewing Company Upslope Imperial India Pale Ale American Double / Imperial IPA at 10% ABV ($6.31 at Specs Main Branch, 568 ml, best before 13-Dec-2014)

Pours clear deep gold with one finger of loose white head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, spotty lacing. (4/5) Nose is caramel malt, tropical fruit, pithy citrus, faith hint of resiny pine. (7/10) Taste is moderate sweet, moderate to strong bitter. (7/10) Medium body, low carbonation, slightly sticky finish. (3/5)

Tending to the light-bodied and malt-forward, especially for the style. Yes, it’s six weeks past its best before, but as a high ABV DIPA, that should be somewhat less of a concern. The malt-forwardness can perhaps be explained away by the age, fair enough, but it could stand a bit more robustness in the body and in the carbonation as far as I’m concerned. The integration of the high ABV is pretty impressive, though, and is apparent only as a slight alcohol sweetness in the mid-flavour, and an eventual gentle warming on the finish. I’d like to try this fresher, but as it stands it’s a pretty middle of the pack DIPA. (15/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com