Category Archives: Reviews

Beer reviews

Founders Brewing Company Dankwood – American Double / Imperial IPA at 12.2% ABV | 65 IBU

Founders Brewing Company Dankwood American Double / Imperial IPA at 12.2% ABV | 65 IBU (C$7.99 at Oak & Vine, 330 ml, packaged on 10-Apr-2018, acquired 19-Jul-2018, reviewed 18-Oct-2018)

Appearance: clear reddish-tinged amber-brown with three fingers of fine ivory head, excellent retention and heavy droopy lacing. (5/5) Aroma: sweet caramel, vanilla, bourbon, dank resin, red berries. (8/10) Taste: high sweet, high bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium slightly slick body, moderate carbonation, sticky lingering and building bitter warming finish. (4/5)

Woof. Huge barrel notes and boozy warmth nearly overwhelm everything else. Not a criticism, but it definitely tastes every bit of its double-barrelled ABV. Considering the barrel notes and weight, the sweetness might not be inappropriate, as such, but it’s still higher than I’d like it to be. If sticky and dessert-like is your thing, you’ll enjoy this. (17/20)

8.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Common Crown Brewing Co. Experimental Series X-Batch #002 – American IPA at 7% ABV | 75 IBU

Common Crown Brewing Co. Experimental Series X-Batch #002 American IPA at 7% ABV | 75 IBU (C$4.00 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 473 ml, packaged on 3-Oct-2018, acquired 15-Oct-2018, reviewed 17-Oct-2018)

Appearance: clear pale amber with one finger of fluffy ivory head, good retention and moderate clingy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: caramel & biscuity malt, floral, herbal, grass. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, high bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry lingering bitter finish. (3/5)

Nothing very “experimental” here – just a run-of-the-mill old-fashioned malt-heavy English-leaning IPA, with no “West Coast” character I can identify. I’m not sure where they thought it would come from, actually, with Warrior, Willamette, and Ella hops – the first two of which are bittering hops, and the third typically associated with floral, fruity aromas. This seems to be a matter of slinging a bunch of hops into the boil and hoping the the resulting hop bomb is interesting. I’m sorry to say, it isn’t. It’s pretty, sure, and well structured, with a good hop bitterness, but it’s not breaking any new ground. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Outcast Brewing Best-ish IPA – American IPA at 6% ABV | 20 IBU

Outcast Brewing Best-ish IPA American IPA at 6% ABV | 20 IBU (C$4.25 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 473 ml, packaged on 26-Sep-2018, acquired 15-Oct-2018, reviewed 16-Oct-2018)

Appearance: opaque deep gold with two fat fingers of fluffy white head, excellent retention and moderate chunky lacing. (4/5) Aroma: juicy tropical fruit, citrus, vanilla, pale grainy malt, light pine. (9/10) Taste: moderate sweet, low bitter. (9/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry clean finish. (5/5)

I like the combination of self-deprecation and realism inherent in this name: “Is this the best IPA?” “Well, it’s the best… ish…?” But, you know what I like better? The beer itself. Yeah, OK, maybe it’s not actually the best IPA I’ve ever had – but, dammit, it’s best-ish! I’m not exaggerating when I say Patrick Schnarr might be another Mikkeller in the making, nor that this is one of the best NEIPAs I’ve ever had. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that it’s Citra hopped in the chiller, then double dry-hopped with Mosaic and Bru-1. This might not be quite at the level of Trillium / Tree House / Alchemist – but it’s not far off. (18/20)

9/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Russell Brewing Company Happy Little Brut – American IPA at 7% ABV | 45 IBU

Russell Brewing Company Happy Little Brut American IPA at 7% ABV | 45 IBU (C$4.12 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 473 ml, packaged on 26-Sep-2018, acquired 15-Oct-2018, reviewed 16-Oct-2018)

Appearance: opaque medium gold with two fat fingers of fluffy ivory head, excellent retention and moderate chunky lacing. (4/5) Aroma: tropical fruit, citrus zest, pale grainy malt, light pine. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-low bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate-high carbonation, dry short finish. (4/5)

Now that’s a good example of the sub-style. Bright, light, fruity and hoppy, without being overly thin, sweet, bitter, or astringent. The flavour profile and low bitterness are very reminiscent of a good NEIPA, but slightly less juice-like, with higher carbonation and a drier finish. I’d have to go back and do a proper analysis to verify this, but a cursory review of my notes tells me that not only is this among the best Russell’s ever done, it’s a culmination of a long, steady improvement. (The one exception being the high point blip that was their 19th Anniversary IP G’Day!) Sac-Trois yeast and Vic Secret hops are definitely part of the secret sauce here, and all to the good. I think Russell are really getting the hang of the dry-hopped hazy IPAs, and heartily approve. (Oh, and a warning, but definitely not a criticism: this thing drinks far too easily for 7%. There’s zero indication of its near-Imperial weight. “Happy”, absolutely, but “Little”, not even maybe. I advise treating it with respect, rather than crushing six on the patio in the recent autumn heat the way I’m tempted to.) (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Ravens Brewing Co. / Moody Ales Collaboration Brut IPA – American IPA at 6.2% ABV | 5 IBU

Ravens Brewing Co. / Moody Ales Collaboration Brut IPA American IPA at 6.2% ABV | 5 IBU (C$8.49 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 650 ml, packaged on 8-Aug-2018, acquired 15-Oct-2018, reviewed 15-Oct-2018)

Appearance: hazy straw with two fat fingers of fluffy white head, excellent retention and moderate chunky lacing. (4/5) Aroma: citrus zest, pale crackery malt, tropical fruit, light pine, mild earthy funk. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-low bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate carbonation, dry crisp slightly astringent finish. (3/5)

Not a bad interpretation of the sub-style, but not without its flaws. Definitely tends a little thin, with a slight astringency in the finish that grows as the pint progresses. That astringency makes it taste slightly more bitter than  you might expect from a claimed 5 IBU, but it’s not unpleasant overall – not entirely unlike a traditional Saison, actually, although much less funky than is typical for that style. Might be appropriate as a table beer. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Parallel 49 Troll Juice Kveik DIPA – American Double / Imperial IPA at 7.8% ABV

Parallel 49 Troll Juice Kveik DIPA American Double / Imperial IPA at 7.8% ABV (C$3.99 at Oak & Vine, 473 ml, packaged on 14-Sep-2018, acquired 29-Sep-2018, reviewed 14-Oct-2018)

Appearance: opaque pale gold with two fat fingers of rocky off-white head, excellent retention and heavy chunky lacing. (5/5) Aroma: bright juicy citrus, tropical fruit, pale malt, dank pine. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry moderate bitter slightly warming and astringent finish. (3/5)

Let’s get the obvious out of the way first: what the hell’s a Kveik, right? Well, it’s a new hotness traditional Norwegian yeast, big on citrus character, with great temperature stability and high attenuation. Which, by the way, makes this fairly beefy brew drink like something from a much lower weight class, with little noticeable alcohol presence (although with a little bit of an astringent edge). All in all, I think I’ve got a new favourite yeast! Now you know. Just don’t ask me which of a troll’s orifices juice comes out of… or do you juice them whole? (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Phillips Brewing Company Test Pattern – American IPA at 6.9% ABV

Phillips Brewing Company Test Pattern American IPA at 6.9% ABV (C$8.49 at Oak & Vine, 650 ml, best before 16-Dec-2018, acquired 29-Sep-2018, reviewed 13-Oct-2018)

Appearance: clear pale gold with two fat fingers of rocky white head, good retention and moderate lacing. (4/5) Aroma: citrus flesh & peel, tropical fruit, melon, pale malt, hint of rice. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-low bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body tending slightly thin, moderate carbonation, off-dry slightly astringent finish. (3/5)

As usual no packaging date on this Phillips product, though there is a December BB date on the neck. It was announced early August, so I assume packaging took place very shortly before that, which would imply a (fairly odd?) five month or so BB period, and a current age of roughly sixty to ninety days. Not bad as rice beers go. It’s hard to know whether the rice character I’m getting is simply my expectation and association with macro lagers, but I’m pretty sure it’s really there, both as a hint of rice on the nose, a slight thinness in the body, and a lightly sweetish astringency in the finish. I found their anniversary releases to be pretty solid for the past couple of years, but this falls just a little short. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Dandy Brewing Company / Blood Brothers Brewing Station to Station – American IPA at 5.5% ABV

Dandy Brewing Company / Blood Brothers Brewing Station to Station American IPA at 5.5% ABV (C$7.99 at Oak & Vine, 650 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 29-Sep-2018, reviewed 12-Oct-2018)

Appearance: cloudy pale straw with three fingers and growing of rocky white head, good retention and moderate lacing. (4/5) Aroma: juicy & zesty citrus, tropical fruit, pale crackery malt, light pine, earth. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-low bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate carbonation, dry short finish. (4/5)

I think this might be my third Brut IPA, so it’s rapidly becoming an increasingly less novel style to encounter. I’d never heard of Blood Brothers Brewing before this, but they seem to be pretty hot stuff in Tronno, so I guess we poor western hicks ought be grateful they graced us with their presence, huh? (Actually, snark aside, this is a pretty fine beer, so I suppose I really should be.) Stylistically, this invites a comparison to Brett as well as Brut, particularly with the massive out-of-control head and the dry finish. However, there’s no funk to speak of, and it’s nowhere near as astringent as Brett usually is. I thought I caught a hint of baker’s yeast when I first poured, but it disappeared quickly, leaving behind juicy fruit, clean malt, and light earthy pine. I keep waiting for the big bite in the finish, but it never comes. All in all, a very pleasant and approachable brew, aromatic and fruity while remaining light and dry. Pretty much a Brut NEIPA, in fact, and definitely worth checking out if you appreciate either of these sub-styles. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Collective Arts Brewing IPA #6 – American IPA at 6.7% ABV

Collective Arts Brewing IPA #6 American IPA at 6.7% ABV (C$5.79 at Oak & Vine, 473 ml, packaged on 24-Aug-2018, acquired 29-Sep-2018, reviewed 11-Oct-2018)

Appearance: opaque pale gold with one fat finger of fluffy off-white head, good retention and moderate lacing. (4/5) Aroma: mild, peach & stone fruit, orange juice, hint of pine, light sulphur. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, sweetish medium duration finish. (3/5)

Not bad at the outset – peachy, even – although slightly muted and mild in character. As it warms, though, I’m getting a slight but very unwelcome sulphur edge. This thing isn’t all that old, so I don’t think it’s a matter of it having oxidized or otherwise gone off, maybe more a characteristic of the fruit puree used? This is probably my fourth or fifth encounter with Wai-Iti hops, but I can’t say I’m getting any of the typical ANZ characteristics here – again, maybe everything’s just overwhelmed by the peach puree. All in all, not one of CA’s better efforts, but OK. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Parallel 49 Advocate – American Double / Imperial IPA at 8.0% ABV

Parallel 49 Advocate American Double / Imperial IPA at 8.0% ABV (C$3.50 at Okotoks Co-Op, 473 ml, packaged on 29-Mar-2018, acquired 7-Oct-2018, reviewed 10-Oct-2018)

Appearance: clear pale amber with one fat finger of fluffy ivory head, good retention and moderate chunky lacing. (5/5) Aroma: caramel & biscuity malt, pine, citrus. (7/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, high bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body tending slightly thick, moderate carbonation, sweetish lingering bitter finish. (3/5)

Very much an old-fashioned DIPA. And that’s pretty much all I have to say about that. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com