Brouwerij de Molen Blikken & Blozen Saison at 8.5% ABV
Pours a pale amber with two fingers of loose light tan head diminishing gradually to a thin cap, medium spotty lacing. Nose is citrusy and fruity hops, moderate caramel malt, slight peppery bite, some floral perfume. Taste is caramel malt, dark fruit, slightly sour yeasty bitterness. Medium to full body, soft carbonation, and a slightly sticky finish.
I’m sorry, “saison”? What? Maybe, just maybe, you might call it an “Imperial Saison”, if such a beast existed (does it?) but otherwise I’d have to say this isn’t a saison. On a blind test, I’m sure I’d call this an IIPA/DIPA. That’s not to say it’s not a fine brew – it is – but I really don’t see how it’s a saison. The Amarillo and Citra hops work well in the aroma, and the high ABV is very well integrated in the overall flavour.
7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com
Big Rock Brewery Cherry Bomber Fruit Beer at 5.0% ABV
Pours a slightly hazy pinkish deep gold with two fingers of fluffy off-white head diminishing gradually to a thin cap and no lacing. Nose is muted, wheat, sour cherry, light malt, faint yeast and grassy hops. Taste is grainy malt, faint sugary cherry, very mild yeast and hops. Medium body, low sustained carbonation, and a slightly metallic aftertaste.
Well, I went into this not expecting much, and I wasn’t disappointed. No, wait, I was disappointed, but not exactly surprised. But I was smugly pleased with myself for predicting my disappointment and lack of surprise, so that’s good, I guess?
5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com
Small haul from Highlander Wine and Spirits.
Wild Rose Brewery Wild Rose Gose Rider Gose at 4.0% ABV
Pours a slightly hazy bright straw yellow with one finger of dense white head, excellent retention and light to moderate lacing. Nose is citrus, salt, with faint wheat and coriander. Taste is is similar, leading with salty citrus and finishing slightly sour. Medium to light body, with moderate sustained carbonation.
Dunno if this is all that representative of the style, since the brewers seem to have worked from theory instead of direct experience. Mind you, since the style actually went extinct, that’s kind of true across the board. What causes me more concern is the “Enjoy by 09/01/2013”, making me wonder if it’s a little less tart than it should be. That being said, it’s not bad – the tartness makes it fairly refreshing, but I’m not sure the saltiness actually adds anything.
7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com
Coronado Brewing Company Sock Knocker Imperial/Double IPA at 8.5% ABV
Pours a slightly hazy medium gold with one finger of white head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, moderate lacing. Nose is emphatic pine and citrus hops backed up with mild bready malts. Taste is pine resin and citrus hops balanced nicely with a mild caramel sweetness. Medium body, moderate slightly tingly carbonation, and lingering spicy bitterness.
Nice! Hops fill the room the instant the bottle is uncapped. Loads of hops on the nose and the tongue make this an IIPA of the hop-forward variety (which we all know is the best variety). Consider my socks knocked, if not off, at least loose.
8.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com
Elysian Brewing Company Avatar Jasmine IPA American IPA at 6.3% ABV
Pours a cloudy brilliant orange with one finger of white head diminishing gradually to a moderate cap, well-defined lacing. Nose is bright jasmine, floral hops, light sweet and bready malts. Taste starts out bready and caramel sweetness, quickly followed by floral and citrus hops. Medium body, medium to low carbonation, and mild lingering bitterness.
I gotta say, I like this a whole lot more than I thought I would. The delicate jasmine flower aroma works very well with the Amarillo hops so that even though it’s only 40 IBU, the hoppy floral presence holds its own very well against the sweet malt background. The appearance is quite nice as well – yeah, it’s cloudy, but that doesn’t bother me, and the head is very well-behaved, trapping the floral hoppy aroma and generating a perfect lacing ring for nigh-on every sip. I’d like a little more perkiness from the carbonation, but otherwise the mouth feel is spot-on.
My 105th from the 2010 Edition of 1001 Beers, 99th by the 2013 Edition, and 108th overall.
8.5/10 #1001beers #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com
Timothy Taylor & Co. Limited Timothy Taylor Landlord Bitter at 4.1% ABV
Pours a deep copper with a short finger of off-white head, excellent retention and spotty moderate lacing. Nose is fresh light English-style hops and light caramel malt. Taste follows suit, balanced sweet malt and dry, almost earthy hops. Medium body with sustained, almost prickly carbonation and a lingering bitter finish.
Now, that’s a decent bitter. Sufficient malt to support the earthy dry hops, but not so much that the sweetness is overwhelming. I’ve been pretty down on English beers lately – other than IPA’s, obviously – but this is quite nice.
My 104th from the 2010 Edition of 1001 Beers, 98th by the 2013 Edition, and 107th overall.
7.5/10 #1001beers #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com
Maine Beer Company Mean Old Tom American Stout at 6.5% ABV
Pours nearly jet black with only the merest hint of cola brown around the periphery, three finger pillowy tan head, and moderate to heavy chunky lacing. (Yes, exactly like the King Titus. They look essentially identical, OK?) Nose is dark chocolate, vanilla, coffee, candi sugar, slight smokiness. Taste is mild vanilla, chocolate, and coffee. Medium body, low carbonation, and a mild off-dry bitter finish.
I think I prefer this just slightly over the King Titus Porter. The nose is more cohesive, with no sharp aspects that feel like they need mellowing. If anything, the flavour is perhaps a touch too mild, though the vanilla works well. An excellent stout, regardless.
8.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com
Maine Beer Company King Titus American Porter at 7.5% ABV
Pours nearly jet black with only the merest hint of cola brown around the periphery, three finger pillowy tan head, and moderate to heavy chunky lacing. Nose is cocoa, coffee, candi sugar, faint vanilla, and a sharp top note, orange peel or burnt almond. Taste is milder than expected, mellow dark espresso, brown sugar, molasses, milk chocolate. Medium chewy body, low carbonation, and a lingering bitter finish that’s both dry and sticky.
Well, I always say Porters aren’t my favourite style, but this one mounts a pretty decent challenge to that position. Nice complexity on the nose and tongue, restrained but sufficient hop bittering, just enough sweetness to temper the dark roasted coffee/chocolate tones, and enough body to carry it off. The moderately high ABV is also integrated very nicely, and is barely noticeable as a mild warming. That being said, I’m not entirely sold on the sharpness in the nose, and wonder if this could use some cellar time to mellow – notwithstanding the bottle recommendation to drink within 90 days of bottling. (Seriously? A near-imperial porter that you’re supposed to drink fresh? What’s that about?)
8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com