Category Archives: Reviews

Beer reviews

Yellowhead Brewery Blue Review Forbidden Fruit Grapefruit Brut IPA – American IPA at 6.9% ABV| 34 IBU

Yellowhead Brewery Blue Review Forbidden Fruit Grapefruit Brut IPA – American IPA at 6.9% ABV| 34 IBU (C$4.14 at Collective, 473 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 15-Oct-2019, reviewed 22-Oct-2019)

Appearance: slightly hazy and particulate-laden pale gold with one finger of loose white head diminishing gradually to a thin cap and ring, spotty soapy lacing. (3/5) Aroma: band-aid, grapefruit, pale malt. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter, light tart. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, dry medium bitter finish. (4/5)

The label says this “pairs well with: brunch, amateur porn festivals, and the grapefruit technique.” Considering it’s called “Forbidden Fruit”, I’m not sure I want to know exactly what kind of porn they’re screening, or, more importantly, what “the grapefruit technique” involves. Questionable origin stories aside, this is just OK. Its appearance is fairly unappealing, but more problematically there’s a plastic-y phenol note getting in the way of the underlying grapefruit aroma. It improves on the tongue, though, with a decent balance of restrained attenuated sweetness, moderate bitter, and mild tart, and the finish is pleasantly dry. It’s brut-ish, which I suspect is tricky to accomplish when using actual fruit adjuncts, so well done there I guess? (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Apex Predator Brewing / Zero Issue Brewing The Huntress – American Pale Ale at 5.9% ABV

Apex Predator Brewing / Zero Issue Brewing The Huntress – American Pale Ale at 5.9% ABV (C$4.45 at Collective, 473 ml, packaged on 18-Sep-2019, acquired 15-Oct-2019, reviewed 21-Oct-2019)

Appearance: hazy deep gold with one fat finger of rocky pale ivory head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (3/5) Aroma: mild, caramel, citrus, floral, pine, earth. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate-lively carbonation, off-dry lingering bitter finish. (4/5)

Super high hopes here for a collaboration between two local (-ish) breweries who’ve had a pretty decent track record with me – and the neat-o keen Boris Vallejo-ish can art wasn’t hurting, either. But, as is so often the case, the higher the hopes, the greater the disappointment. Ok, I’m exaggerating a little – it’s actually not bad – but I am a bit disappointed. The slightly murky appearance is the first strike, followed by the mild (although pleasant) aroma. The taste is actually pretty decent, though, and the finish is pleasantly balanced. Overall, it’s OK. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Revival Brewcade Mana Beast – American IPA at 7% ABV

Revival Brewcade Mana Beast – American IPA at 7% ABV (C$4.68 at Collective, 473 ml, packaged on 28-Aug-2019, acquired 15-Oct-2019, reviewed 21-Oct-2019)

Appearance: slightly hazy pale gold with two fingers of rocky white head, excellent retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: tropical and stone fruits, citrus, pale crackery malt, hint of vanilla. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry moderate bitter mildly warming finish. (4/5)

Citra, Amarillo, and Mosaic hops? Yes, please! Not quite an NEIPA style, but juicy and refreshing, with a pleasant bitterness transitioning smoothly to an off-dry mildly warming finish. I’m going to have to prioritize going to the brewery and dumping a bunch of money into classic arcade games while drinking beer. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Wild Rose Brewery / Wild Life Distillery Barrel Aged High Harvest Gin Joint – Imperial / Double IPA at 8.4% ABV

Wild Rose Brewery / Wild Life Distillery Barrel Aged High Harvest Gin Joint – Imperial / Double IPA at 8.4% ABV (C$11.56 at Collective, 650 ml, packaged on 1-Sep-2019, acquired 15-Oct-2019, reviewed 20-Oct-2019)

Appearance: slightly muddy deep gold with one fat finger of rocky white head, excellent retention and chunky lacing. (3/5) Aroma: juniper, oak, vanilla, caramel, hint of dank pine. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, medium duration moderate bitter mildly warming finish. (4/5)

Well, I certainly like the booziness quotient in this one, that’s for sure. The dank sticky icky is pretty mild in this iteration, or perhaps it’s just completely overwhelmed by the emphatic gin barrel aspects, but either way it’s a completely different beast than its ancestor. I’m not sure why it ended up looking so muddy compared to the base version, but that’s really the only reason I’ve marked it down. Otherwise, the aroma and flavour variations are just that: variations, no better, no worse. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Village Brewery Nomad – American IPA at 6.5% ABV

Village Brewery Nomad – American IPA at 6.5% ABV (C$3.82 at Collective, 473 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 15-Oct-2019, reviewed 19-Oct-2019)

Appearance: opaque pale gold with two fat fingesr of rocky white head, excellent retention and chunky lacing. (4/5) Aroma: tropical fruit, citrus, pale malt. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry mild bitter finish. (4/5)

A very straightforward implementation of the NEIPA style: juicy and aromatic, without too much accompanying bitterness. Quite refreshing – but seeing how it was after yet another Saturday spent working, that might not be completely the beer… (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Banded Peak Brewery Fall Line Kveik – American Double / Imperial IPA at 8.9% ABV | 74 IBU

Banded Peak Brewery Fall Line Kveik – American Double / Imperial IPA at 8.9% ABV | 74 IBU (C$5.04 at Collective, 473 ml, packaged on 30-Sep-2019, acquired 15-Oct-2019, reviewed 18-Oct-2019)

Appearance: clear pale amber with one fat finger of rocky white head, excellent retention and chunky lacing. (4/5) Aroma: solvent, resiny pine, tropical fruit, caramel. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, high bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry lingering bitter warming slightly astringent finish. (3/5)

The brewer’s notes say this is “fermented hot and fast”, and I’m getting a solvent edge consistent with that. A bit unbalanced, and certainly not great, but not completely without appeal. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Bench Brewing Company Short Hills IPA – American IPA at 6.5% ABV | 40 IBU

Bench Brewing Company Short Hills IPA – American IPA at 6.5% ABV | 40 IBU (C$3.78 at Collective, 473 ml, packaged on 5-Sep-2019, acquired 15-Oct-2019, reviewed 18-Oct-2019)

Appearance: opaque medium gold with one finger of fine white head diminishing gradually to a thick persistent cap, moderate soapy lacing. (3/5) Aroma: citrus, green onion, tropical fruit, caramel. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry medium bitter finish. (4/5)

Full disclosure: I have to admit to a certain amount of hostility towards this brewery because of their clash with Alberta-based Apex Predator Brewing (formerly Bench Creek Brewing). And, to be fair, I was a little confused when I first entered this can into my database, because I was convinced I had “Bench Brewing” in my brewer list, but didn’t – so maybe they weren’t so far off the mark in their infringement argument. On the other hand, it’s a bit hard to side against local Alberta boys, with a Toronto investment banker, who despite being in business for a shorter period of time was first to register the trade mark. However, fair is fair, I suppose, and rules is rules.

In the final analysis, the beer itself is serviceable if slightly onion-y. I was going to guess Simcoe hops, since that’s a common source for that particular sin, but a quick trip to their web site indicates it’s probably the Citra. Not bad overall, but not quite as clean and juicy a profile as I like to see for the style. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Muskoka Brewery Window of Hopportunity – India Pale Lager at 6% ABV

Muskoka Brewery Window of Hopportunity – India Pale Lager at 6% ABV (C$4.00 at Collective, 473 ml, best before 21-Jan-2020, acquired 15-Oct-2019, reviewed 18-Oct-2019)

Appearance: slightly hazy pale gold with two fingers of fluffy white head, excellent retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: citrus, tropical fruit, crackery pale malt, grass, earth. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate-lively carbonation, sweetish medium bitter finish. (3/5)

Light and bright, lively and easy-drinking, with a pleasant hop character. Its biggest drawback is probably the Lager-ish sweetness in the finish, preventing it from being really crisp. Other than that, if you have to drink a Lager, you might as well make it an IPL, right? (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Cabin Brewing Company / Wild Rose Brewery Runaway DIPA – American Double / Imperial IPA at 8% ABV

Cabin Brewing Company / Wild Rose Brewery Runaway DIPA – American Double / Imperial IPA at 8% ABV (C$5.17 at Collective, 473 ml, packaged on 10-Oct-2019, acquired 15-Oct-2019, reviewed 16-Oct-2019)

Appearance: slightly hazy pale amber with two fingers of fluffy pale ivory head, excellent retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: resiny pine, bready caramel, citrus, floral, earth. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, high bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry lingering bitter warming finish. (4/5)

Slightly muddy appearance, slightly muddled flavours. Despite the fairly big bitter, it’s a bit middle of the road in terms of flavour profile, with a fairly typical pine/caramel/citrus profile. The big beefy finish is probably its strongest point, with a well-balanced emphatic bitterness that’s probably in 80 IBU territory, combined with a pleasant warming. I could easily have gone lower on the overall score to the tune of half a point, or even a full point, but there’s nothing actually wrong with this – it’s just not breaking any new ground. It would be a great beer if it were ten years ago, but now it’s just another West Coast DIPA. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Fernie Brewing Company Off Axis Double IPA – American Double / Imperial IPA at 8% ABV | 40 IBU

Fernie Brewing Company Off Axis Double IPA – American Double / Imperial IPA at 8% ABV | 40 IBU (C$3.91 at Collective, 473 ml, best before 30-Mar-2020, acquired 15-Oct-2019, reviewed 15-Oct-2019)

Appearance: bright clear pale gold with one fat finger of fluffy pale ivory head, good retention and moderate stringy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: mild, tropical fruit, lemon-lime, oats, resiny pine. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate-high carbonation, off-dry medium bitter mildly warming finish. (4/5)

Brewer’s notes say this is a DDH DIPA with Cascade, Galaxy, and Cashmere. Well, maybe. But if the aroma is anything to go by, it wasn’t a whole lot of any of them. I was hoping for a bright blast of hops, but it’s actually surprisingly mild, especially for a DIPA. The same could be said of the body, with carbonation verging on lively and only a mild warming. It’s drinkable, sure, but not very exciting. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com