Category Archives: Reviews

Beer reviews

Bellwoods Brewery Barn Owl (No. 19) – Sour / Wild Ale at 5.8% ABV

Bellwoods Brewery Barn Owl (No. 19) – Sour / Wild Ale at 5.8% ABV (C$24.80 at Collective, 500 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 13-Mar-2020, reviewed 23-Mar-2020)

Appearance: slightly hazy pale straw with two fat fingers of fluffy pale ivory head, excellent retention and moderate chunky lacing. (5/5) Aroma: stone fruit, brett funk, grape must, oak, citrus, floral, hint of dank pine. (9/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate tart, moderate-low bitter. (9/10) Palate: medium-light body, lively carbonation, crisply tart and mildly funky finish. (4/5)

This is dramatically different than the last one of this series I had, #10. That one was completely dominated by the apricot adjunct, while this one is a lovely combination of barrel notes, brett funk, and dry hopping. This is pretty much exactly what I was asking for when I criticized #10, and I can’t say there’s a lot I’d change here. If I have one complaint, it’s that it’s pretty expensive, but as always that’s not a factor in my rating. I’m just happy that I can (occasionally) get this locally, especially since I stopped my trans-Canada commuting last year and can’t just pop in to the Ossington shop every now and then. Great beer. (18/20)

9/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Trappistenbrouwerij De Kievit B.V. Zundert 10 – Abt / Quadrupel at 10% ABV

Trappistenbrouwerij De Kievit B.V. Zundert 10 – Abt / Quadrupel at 10% ABV (C$7.39 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 330 ml, best before 22-Oct-2021, acquired 27-May-2019, reviewed 22-Mar-2020)

Appearance: clear cola brown with one finger of pillowy light tan head, excellent retention and moderate chunky lacing. (4/5) Aroma: dark fruit, brown sugar, banana, nuts, leather. (8/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate-high bitter, mild spiciness. (8/10) Palate: medium-full body, moderate carbonation, building bitter and boozy finish. (4/5)

My first offering from the only Trappist brewer in the Netherlands. I’m not sure if this is the first (2018) vintage, or an early 2019 one, but either way it’s a relatively  new product by them. The brewery itself is actually pretty new, opening in 2013, and prior to 2018 producing only one type of beer, renamed as the 8 after the introduction of this one. This is a nice Quad, fairly Belgian in character, though I find the aroma to be slightly mild for the style, even after warming. There’s also a very slight astringency in the finish that hasn’t disappeared even after a year’s cellaring. I mean, sure, it’s no Westy XII, but what else is? All in all, a nice sipper. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Unibroue La Résolution (2015) – Spice / Herb / Vegetable at 10% ABV | 21.5 IBU

Unibroue La Résolution (2015) – Spice / Herb / Vegetable at 10% ABV | 21.5 IBU (C$12.99 at Quarry Park Calgary Co-Op, 750 ml, packaged on 25-Aug-2015, acquired 5-Nov-2015, reviewed 22-Mar-2020)

Appearance: clear deep brown with a short loose light tan head diminishing gradually to a thin persistent cap, spotty lacing. (4/5) Aroma: winter spices, caramel/toffee malt, boozy dark fruit. (9/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, mild bitter, moderate spiciness. (8/10) Palate: medium-full, moderate-lively carbonation, lingering boozy finish. (5/5)

I’m amazed at how little this has changed since I first reviewed this vintage when I first acquired it new, over four years ago. In fact, the only discernible difference is that the head development and retention isn’t as good now. Other than that, it remains as I described it then: comparable to “the big Belgian quads, with an ABV that is definitely present, but not overwhelming, while the enthusiastic spices and carbonation balance it out nicely.” The other change is that I forgot to do the three year vertical I speculated I might do then, and I’m drinking this now just for the hell of it, because, hey, why keep good beer in storage if the collapse of civilization is imminent? #jokingnotjoking (17/20)

8.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Troubled Monk Brewery Get In Loser, We’re Going Brewing – Witbier at 5.3% ABV

Troubled Monk Brewery Get In Loser, We’re Going Brewing – Witbier at 5.3% ABV (C$2.95 at Collective, 355 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 13-Mar-2020, reviewed 22-Mar-2020)

Appearance: slightly hazy pink-tinted amber with a short loose white head diminishing gradually to a thin cap and ring, no lacing. (3/5) Aroma: floral, zesty lime. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-low tart, low bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate-lively carbonation, off-dry oily lime zest finish. (4/5)

The floral (hibiscus) and lime are roughly the same intensity on the nose, which is good, but combined they completely overwhelm any base Witbier character that might’ve been present. On the tongue and through the finish, the lime completely dominates with an oily zest that is neither excessively sweet nor (surprisingly) overwhelmingly tart. Pleasant, I suppose, particularly due to the restrained sweetness, but not one I’d want to drink much more of. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Rural Routes Brewing Company Happy Travels Lemon Chiffon Saison – Saison at 6.1% ABV | 19 IBU

Rural Routes Brewing Company Happy Travels Lemon Chiffon Saison – Saison at 6.1% ABV | 19 IBU (C$4.50 at Collective, 473 ml, packaged on 27-Feb-2020, acquired 13-Mar-2020, reviewed 21-Mar-2020)

Appearance: opaque pale gold with one finger of loose white head that retains poorly, spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: lemon zest & juice, coriander, banana, yeasty funk. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, low bitter, light funky tart. (7/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate carbonation, off-dry lightly spicy finish. (4/5)

I was initially a little uncertain with this one – the savoury spice notes aren’t exactly what one might expect as an accompaniment to the lemon top note – but it sort of grew on me after a bit. Ultimately, it ends up being reasonably refreshing and easy to drink. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

New Level Brewing Spell Bound Lavender IPA – American IPA at 7% ABV

New Level Brewing Spell Bound Lavender IPA – American IPA at 7% ABV (C$4.86 at Collective, 473 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 13-Mar-2020, reviewed 20-Mar-2020)

Appearance: slightly hazy deep gold with one fat finger of loose off-white head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: overwhelming lavender. (5/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (6/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry lingering bitter finish. (3/5)

Like drinking Nan’s perfume. I honestly thought it was going to be a sink pour with the first couple of sips, but it eventually grew on me. Slightly. To the point where I didn’t sink pour it. (Civilization’s ending, after all, so gotta make every beer count!) I honestly can’t smell anything other than lavender, which smacks you in the face as soon as the can is opened. The taste is a little more balanced, and the finish is surprisingly bitter, but good god that’s a lot of lavender! (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Phantom Beer Co. Strata Conflict – American IPA at 7.5% ABV

Phantom Beer Co. Strata Conflict – American IPA at 7.5% ABV (C$4.36 at Collective, 473 ml, packaged on 5-Feb-2020, acquired 13-Mar-2020, reviewed 19-Mar-2020)

Appearance: hazy pale gold with one fat finger of rocky off-white head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: bright juicy citrus, tropical fruit, stone fruit, pale malt, hint of dank pine. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (8/10) Medium body, moderate-lively carbonation, off-dry short clean finish. (4/5)

That’s very nice. Bright juicy fruit notes dominate, with just a hint of dankness in the background. I can’t find any details anywhere, but I suspect their calling it a “Nordic” IPA refers to the use of a Kveik yeast. Regardless, it’s very pleasant and drinkable. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel! Été Indien – Fruit / Vegetable Beer at 5.9% ABV

Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel! Été Indien – Fruit / Vegetable Beer at 5.9% ABV (C$4.65 at Collective, 341 ml, packaged on 2-Oct-2019, acquired 13-Mar-2020, reviewed 19-Mar-2020)

Appearance: opaque pale gold with a short, short-lived fizzy head and no lacing. (3/5) Aroma: mango, wheat, lactose, light citrus. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate tart, low bitter. (8/10) Medium body, lively carbonation, short duration tart mildly warming finish. (4/5)

Looks, smells, and tastes like mango nectar, except for the carbonation and mild but nearly immediate boozy warming. So, pretty much exactly like xmas morning beermosas, except without the pulp. I like beermosas. I like this. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Bellwoods Brewery Jelly King Plum – Sour / Wild Ale at 5.6% ABV

Bellwoods Brewery Jelly King Plum – Sour / Wild Ale at 5.6% ABV (C$12.95 at Collective, 500 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 13-Mar-2020, reviewed 18-Mar-2020)

Appearance: opaque purple with one finger of pillowy pale lavender head, excellent retention and well-defined droopy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: tart stone fruit, field berries, light grapefruit. (8/10) Taste: moderate-high tart, moderate sweet, low bitter. (9/10) Medium-light body, lively carbonation, short duration tart finish. (4/5)

I don’t dislike the stone fruit (plum) character, but I find it’s a bit overwhelming when compared to the base version, which has greater complexity. The tartness is also a bit over the top, especially that first sip. Not quite as good as the original, but still pretty good. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Rogue Ales Rogue Rouge Brut IPA with Pinot Noir – American IPA at 7.5% ABV | 25 IBU

Rogue Ales Rogue Rouge Brut IPA with Pinot Noir – American IPA at 7.5% ABV | 25 IBU (C$6.61 at Collective, 473 ml, packaged on 23-Apr-2019, acquired 13-Mar-2020, reviewed 18-Mar-2020)

Appearance: pink-tinged clear medium amber with a short, short-lived off-white head diminishing to a thin skim, minimal spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: grape must, caramel & cereal grains, light pine. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-low tart, low bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry medium duration lightly tart finish. (4/5)

Slightly less wine character than I was expecting, but I’m not sure that’s a negative, because it makes for a better – or at least more beer-like – balance. Personally, though, I’d’ve preferred a hoppier, less malty, balance for the beer component. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com