Category Archives: Reviews

Beer reviews

Zero Issue Brewing Invasion Coffee IPA (Issue #21) – American IPA at 5.9% ABV

Zero Issue Brewing Invasion Coffee IPA (Issue #21) – American IPA at 5.9% ABV (C$4.85 at Collective, 473 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 25-Mar-2020, reviewed 2-Apr-2020)

Appearance: muddy opaque deep gold with two fat finger of dense creamy pale ivory head, excellent retention and  diminishing gradually to a thick cap, spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: coffee, resiny pine. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium slightly creamy body, moderate carbonation, off-dry lingering bitter lightly spicy finish. (4/5)

Well… I don’t hate it. And for a coffee IPA, that’s not a bad accomplishment. Mind you, when I say it smells like coffee, it’s really a bit more like soggy grounds in the trash, than a nice freshly-brewed cup. But all in all, it’s reasonably well balanced and drinkable. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Coronado Brewing Company / Pizza Port Brewing Company South of the Pier – American IPA at 6.5% ABV

Coronado Brewing Company / Pizza Port Brewing Company South of the Pier – American IPA at 6.5% ABV (C$4.86 at Collective, 473 ml, packaged on 27-Jan-2020, acquired 25-Mar-2020, reviewed 1-Apr-2020)

Appearance: hazy straw with one fat finger of loose pale ivory head diminishing gradually to a thick cap, spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: grassy & herbal, resiny pine, tropical fruit, crackery pale malt, floral. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry medium bitter lightly spicy finish. (4/5)

Bit disappointing, if I’m honest – I’ve heard great things about Pizza Port, and Coronado is a perennial favourite of mine. On top of that, the label reports Amarillo, Mosaic, Waimea, and Motueka hops, at least two of which are high on my list of favourites. (Amarillo and Waimea are OK, but kind of work-a-day in my opinion.) This, however, while reasonably solid and inoffensive, is a bit uninspired and falls well short of epic. I can’t say I’m getting a whole lot of Mosaic complexity or Motueka tropical fruit – or, for that matter, a lot of West Coast dankness. Ultimately it’s a middle-of-the-road AIPA without a whole lot to distinguish it in a very crowded field. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Cabin Brewing Company Summer Saturation Tropical New England Pale Ale – American Pale Ale at 5% ABV | 40 IBU

Cabin Brewing Company Summer Saturation Tropical New England Pale Ale – American Pale Ale at 5% ABV | 40 IBU (C$4.72 at Collective, 473 ml, packaged on 19-Mar-2020, acquired 25-Mar-2020, reviewed 1-Apr-2020)

Appearance: opaque pale gold with two fat fingers of loose off-white head diminishing gradually to a thick cap, minimal spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: juicy and sweet tropical fruits, grapefruit, bready malt and oats. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium slightly creamy body, moderate-soft carbonation, off-dry medium bitter lightly spicy finish. (4/5)

Looks like grapefruit juice, and doesn’t taste a whole lot different, either. Well… a bit more tropical, I suppose. Brewer notes indicate Ekuanot, Citra and Simcoe hops, but there’s none of the cattiness that I’ve found Simcoe in particular sometimes gives. Hearty flavour without excessive sweetness, on a smooth body verging on creamy. Definitely not a Pale that tastes like a watered-down IPA! If only it weren’t still full-on winter, this’d be a great one for the patio – but I’ll take it as a promise that better days are coming… assuming we avoid a full-on Zombie Apocalypse, of course… (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

S.Y.C. Brewing Co. Dankeroo West Coast IPA – American IPA at 7% ABV

S.Y.C. Brewing Co. Dankeroo West Coast IPA – American IPA at 7% ABV (C$4.45 at Collective, 473 ml, packaged on 22-Mar-2020, acquired 25-Mar-2020, reviewed 30-Mar-2020)

Appearance: opaque medium gold with two fingers of fluffy pale ivory head, excellent retention and heavy soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: dank pine, tropical fruit, herbal, caramel, citrus. (9/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate-soft carbonation, off-dry lingering bitter mildly warming finish. (4/5)

I like this a lot, especially the dank aroma and resiny bitter finish. It doesn’t taste quite as good as it smells, but that’s not to say it doesn’t taste good too! Aside from looking sort of like an NEIPA, this is very much the dank West Coast offering the label promises. Probably my favourite so far out of the maybe dozen or so I’ve had by this brewery. (17/20)

8.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

The Establishment Brewing Company 9 to 5 Brut IPA with Hibiscus – American IPA at 6.4% ABV

The Establishment Brewing Company 9 to 5 Brut IPA with Hibiscus – American IPA at 6.4% ABV (C$4.75 at Collective, 473 ml, packaged on 24-Mar-2020, acquired 25-Mar-2020, reviewed 29-Mar-2020)

Appearance: crystal clear pink gold with one finger of loose pale pink head diminishing gradually to a thick cap, no lacing. (4/5) Aroma: mild, tropical fruit, floral, herbal, pale crackery malt. (7/10) Taste: moderate-low sweet, moderate-low bitter, light tart. (6/10) Palate: light body, lively carbonation, dry slightly flat finish. (3/5)

It’s hard to point to exactly what’s not working here. I guess it’s partially the very mild aroma, and partially the way the finish seem to fall flat despite the dryness and lively carbonation. On the up side, the hibiscus presence isn’t overwhelming, and there was at least some hop presence before it all kind of faded into the background. There’s nothing really wrong, but, boy, is it boring. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Brouwerij Huyghe Delirium Tremens – Belgian Strong Ale at 8.7% ABV | 24.5 IBU

Brouwerij Huyghe Delirium Tremens – Belgian Strong Ale at 8.7% ABV | 24.5 IBU (C$6.00 at South Trail Calgary Co-Op, 330 ml, best before 30-Aug-2017, acquired 5-Nov-2014, reviewed 25-Mar-2020)

Appearance: clear particulate-laden straw with one finger of dense white head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: green apple, Belgian yeast, candi sugar, banana, cloves, white pepper. (9/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-low bitter, light tart. (9/10) Palate: medium-light body, lively carbonation, off-dry warming finish. (4/5)

You know what annoys the piss out of me? I can’t just drink any more. Well, I can, sort of – I mean, I can kill a bottle of whiskey like nobody’s business, and I can go pick up a four or six of something to have while I’m watching the game (except thanks to COVID19 there’s no more games any more!) – but out of my collection? I can’t pull out something interesting and just drink it, oh no, I feel obligated to review it. Even something like this, that I know inside out and upside down – I mean, shit, I’ve been to the Café Delirium in Brussels, multiple times. (But I didn’t get one of those skewed glasses? D’oh! Note to self, if international travel ever becomes possible again.) Not only that, I have a couple of “proper” Delirium glasses, but they’re at home, while I’m serving out my quarantine in my office. Feckin’ hell. And yeah, fine, the name of the beer is a debilitating side effect of alcoholism, but fuckit, right? I’m not an alcoholic, because alcoholics go to meetings.

Anyway, I obviously don’t have a drinking problem, I have a collecting problem. When I crack open one of my many cellar classics like this, I feel such a sense of loss: I mean, this is almost three years past its alleged BB date, but other than a bit of particulate, it’s not been harmed at all, and if anything is a little better than it used to be. It’s still bright and lively, but has smoothed out a little over its extended cellaring. Helluva beer – warm, but not overly aggressive, and lively, yet easy-drinking. (17/20)

8.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Rogue Ales New Crustacean – American Double / Imperial IPA at 11.6% ABV | 88 IBU

Rogue Ales New Crustacean Barleywineish Imperial IPA Sorta – American Double / Imperial IPA at 11.6% ABV | 88 IBU (C$17.01 at Collective, 750 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 25-Mar-2020, reviewed 25-Mar-2020)

Appearance: slightly hazy pale gold with one finger of fluffy pale ivory head gradually diminishing to a thick persistent cap, moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: caramel & toffee, resiny pine, citrus, biscuity malt. (8/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, high bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium-full oily slick body, moderate carbonation, sticky building and lingering bitter finish. (4/5)

I was quite surprised when I tasted this. My initial take on reading the label was “Oh, come on, how can you have something that merges Barleywines and DIPAs? That makes no sense!” And when I opened it, I was convinced I was right: that it was predominantly a Barleywine, due to the aroma. Then I tasted it. Huh. Yeah, this is a combination of Barleywine and DIPA character – and it works. As a slow sipper, to be sure, but it does work. It smells like a Barleywine, albeit a highly-hopped one, but it tastes like a DIPA – albeit an extremely boozy one. I must have seen (and passed on) Old Crustacean a  hundred times, but now I think I might pick it up next time I see it, just to compare the full-on Barleywine with this hybridized version. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Cabin Brewing Company Poster Girl – American IPA at 6% ABV

Cabin Brewing Company Poster Girl – American IPA at 6% ABV (C$4.72 at Collective, 473 ml, packaged on 23-Mar-2020, acquired 25-Mar-2020, reviewed 25-Mar-2020)

Appearance: crystal clear pink-tinged pale gold with two fat fingers of fluffy white head diminishing gradually to a thin cap, spotty lacing. (4/5) Aroma: dank pine, oranges, pale malt, floral. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate carbonation, off-dry medium duration finish. (4/5)

Smells and tastes nothing like you might expect given the way it looks. I was expecting a lot of hibiscis/floral notes, but in fact that’s pretty restrained, and even the blood orange is slightly beaten out by the dank pink resin. I love the fact that the hops still manage to take centre stage despite the presence of enough adjunct to turn the beer pink. Really nice, and not sweet at all. (16/20)

The labels says this is named in honour of Ronnie the Bren Gun Girl, the Canadian precursor to Rosie the Riveter. (I suspect she’s the true inspiration for that poster, though most [American] sources list others.)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Ribstone Creek Brewery Abbey Lane – Mild Ale at 3.6% ABV

Ribstone Creek Brewery Abbey Lane – Mild Ale at 3.6% ABV (Gift from Collective, 473 ml, packaged on 27-Sep-2019, acquired 25-Mar-2020, reviewed 25-Mar-2020)

Appearance: slightly hazy ruby brown with two fat fingers of fluffy light beige head, excellent retention and moderate soapy lacing. (5/5) Aroma: mild, roasty malts, cocoa, ashy, nuts, grassy & herbal. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (6/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate carbonation, off-dry medium duration slightly astringent finish. (3/5)

Pleasantly flavourful for such a very low ABV. The body is a little thin, making the roast malt notes feel a little like they’re verging on burnt or ashy, and resulting in a slight astringency in the finish, but not bad overall. It might also be suffering slightly from age, since it doesn’t seem quite as good as the first time I had it. It might not be one I’d necessarily go looking for again, but hey, free beer is free beer! (Thanks, Andrew!) (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Bières de Chimay S.A. Chimay Tripel (White) – Abbey Tripel at 8% ABV

Bières de Chimay S.A. Chimay Tripel (White) – Abbey Tripel at 8% ABV (C$6.99 at Quarry Park Calgary Co-Op, 330 ml, best before 31-Dec-2020, acquired 12-Oct-2017, reviewed 23-Mar-2020)

Appearance: clear pale amber with two fingers of pillowy pale ivory head, excellent retention and heavy chunky lacing. (5/5) Aroma: doughy yeast, banana, apple, earth, spices. (9/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (9/10) Palate: medium slightly slick body, lively carbonation, off-dry lingering bitter warming finish. (4/5)

For my money, this remains one of the reference standards for the style – and it’s not that much money! I especially enjoy the way the malt and orchard fruit retain an emphatic character without the result being excessively sweet. More than two years’ cellaring hasn’t affected this at all, as far as I can tell, so I think the BB date is really more a suggestion than anything. Of course, the flip side of that coin is, why bother to cellar it, if it doesn’t develop further? I think I might finish off the last one I have of this vintage tonight and call it done. (18/20)

9/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com