Category Archives: Reviews

Beer reviews

Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company Wild Oats Series: Jänis – Sahti at 7% ABV | 17 IBU

Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company Wild Oats Series: Jänis Sahti at 7% ABV | 17 IBU (C$6.23 at NLC Stavanger, 600 ml, packaged on 5-Nov-2018, acquired 31-Dec-2018, reviewed 5-Jan-2019)

Appearance: slightly hazy deep gold with one fat finger of rocky white head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: grainy caramel, berries, citrus, hint of smoke. (6/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate bitter, mild spice. (6/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, slightly sticky medium duration mildly warming finish. (4/5)

Not a lot of juniper character to speak of – certainly not as much gin-like character as I was hoping for. There’s berry notes, but not clearly juniper. Fairly lager-like, actually, but with a more emphatic warming character that seems to be derived equal parts from alcohol and spice. I think this might be my first Sahti, so I don’t know how representative of the style it might be. Certainly it’s not terrible, and an interesting change, but not one I’d go back to. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company New Lang Syne (2018) – Tripel at 9% ABV

Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company New Lang Syne (2018) Tripel at 9% ABV (C$17.28 at NLC Stavanger, 750 ml, packaged on 1-Sep-2018, acquired 31-Dec-2018, reviewed 5-Jan-2019)

Appearance: muddy deep gold with a fat fluffy white head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (3/5) Aroma: pale malt, white wine, pome & drupe, wood. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate-high carbonation, off-dry finish. (4/5)

The head’s better behaved than last year’s version, but the colour is not as clean, with a great deal of sediment giving a muddy appearance. Aroma and flavour seem to be pretty much identical to last year. Meant to have this as a champagne replacement for the NYE festivities but didn’t get around to it, so had it with our weekend after New Year’s feast instead. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Sleeman Brewing & Malting Co. Sparkling Ale – English Strong Ale at 6.2% ABV

Sleeman Brewing & Malting Co. Sparkling Ale English Strong Ale at 6.2% ABV (C$14.93 at NLC Stavanger, 750 ml, packaged on 21-Aug-2018, acquired 31-Dec-2018, reviewed 31-Dec-2018)

Appearance: clear amber-brown with one fat finger of fluffy beige head, good retention and moderate stringy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: toffee, grainy malt, citrus, molasses. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter, light tart. (6/10) Medium body, lively carbonation, off-dry medium duration bitter slightly tart finish. (4/5)

Definitely not a typical Sleeman product – or a typical anything for that matter. Lots of malt toffee aroma and flavour, but lively, almost effervescent carbonation make for a relatively light body. By far the best Sleeman’s product I’ve ever had, but I’m not convinced it’s worth anywhere near the price of admission. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company Farm Table Series: Zwickel – Kellerbier / Zwickelbier at 5.7% ABV | 27 IBU

Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company Farm Table Series: Zwickel Kellerbier / Zwickelbier at 5.7% ABV | 27 IBU (C$6.23 at NLC Stavanger, 600 ml, packaged on 30-Oct-2018, acquired 31-Dec-2018, reviewed 31-Dec-2018)

Appearance: clear pale amber with one finger of fluffy off-white head diminishing gradually to a thin cap and ring, spotty lacing. (4/5) Aroma: bready caramel malt, honey, grass, light stone fruit & earth, hint of pepper. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry medium duration bitter finish. (4/5)

A fairly hearty and robust lager, and in my very poorly-informed opinion, a decent example of the Zwickelbier sub-style of Kellerbier. (I’ve had a few Kellerbiers, but this might be my first ever Zwickelbier. Truth be told, gun to my head, I doubt I could tell them apart.) Starts off quite clear for an unfiltered beer, but there’s a fairly healthy layer of trub at the bottom of the bottle. (Not a criticism at all, simply an observation.) Malt-dominant but clean, with a bready aroma and mild grassy and fruity hops in the background. Easy-drinking and surprisingly refreshing. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Port Rexton Brewing Company Round Table Bourbon Barrel Aged (2018) – Russian Imperial Stout at 8.8% ABV

Port Rexton Brewing Company Round Table Bourbon Barrel Aged (2018) Russian Imperial Stout at 8.8% ABV (C$9.00 at Port Rexton Brewing Company, 500 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 20-Dec-2018, reviewed 30-Dec-2018)

Appearance: near opaque ruby brown with minimal relief in the margins, one finger of loose beige head diminishing rapidly (and loudly) to nothing, no lacing. (3/5) Aroma: mild, bourbon, red berries, chocolate. (7/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, high bitter. (8/10) Medium-full body, soft carbonation, sweet lingering bitter warming finish. (4/5)

The bottle isn’t dated, but obviously it’s recently packaged, since I acquired it on the release date. I was literally first in line and picked up two bottles (one percent of the entire release!) – one to try fresh, and one to cellar for a year or two. Trying this, though, I wonder whether that’s likely to be a useful exercise: I find cellaring barrel-aged beers is an effective tool for mellowing out harsh bourbon or other alcoholic edges, but this is already pretty mild. At least, when it comes to the aroma – the finish is fairly boozy, and becomes more so the more you sip. The aroma, however, remains fairly mild even after warming. All in all, this is definitely tending towards the lighter end of the spectrum for this style. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Garrison Brewing Company All Lit Up – Christmas / Winter Specialty Spiced Beer at 7% ABV

Garrison Brewing Company All Lit Up Christmas / Winter Specialty Spiced Beer at 7% ABV (C$3.75 at NLC Stavanger, 473 ml, packaged on 6-Nov-2018, acquired 20-Dec-2018, reviewed 29-Dec-2018)

Appearance: clear medium amber with one finger of fluffy beige head diminishing rapidly to a thin cap, minimal spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: cloves, brown sugar, dark fruit, toffee. (8/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate bitter, mild spice. (8/10) Medium-full body, moderate carbonation, sweet medium duration mildly warming finish. (4/5)

Definitely a Winter Warmer / Christmas beer, with cloves and brown (OK, fine, Demerera) sugar dominating the nose, and a warming that seems equal parts alcohol and spices. Not my favourite style by any means, but this one threads a path between spice bomb and booziness, ending up even-handed and enjoyable. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Landwash Brewery That Much Ocean – American IPA at 5.7% ABV

Landwash Brewery That Much Ocean American IPA at 5.7% ABV (Trade – thanks Norm, 473 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 20-Dec-2018, reviewed 28-Dec-2018)

Appearance: opaque deep gold with one fat finger of rocky white head, excellent retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: tropical & stone fruit, citrus, vinous white grape, caramel. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-low bitter, light tart. (9/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry mild bitter lightly tart finish. (4/5)

Awww hells yeah – that’s more like what I was expecting from a Chris Conway brew. Of course, the Azacca and Mosaic hop selection didn’t hurt. Tasty, juicy & hazy – works for me! It’s not perfect – I’d like to see brighter citrus in the aroma, and the colour could legitimately be described as more “murky” than “hazy” – but this’ll do till they really dial in their process. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Landwash Brewery One Wave – Blond Ale at 5.3% ABV

Landwash Brewery One Wave Blond Ale at 5.3% ABV (Trade – thanks Norm, 473 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 21-Dec-2018, reviewed 28-Dec-2018)

Appearance: hazy pale gold with one finger of loose white head diminishing rapidly to a thin ring, spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: grass, herbal, grainy malt, faint citrus. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry moderate bitter finish. (4/5)

I loved the beers I had at Habits/Folly in Toronto when Chris brewed there, so I had high hopes here. Now, to be fair, this is a pretty unremarkable style at the best of times, so brewing it correctly to spec is pretty much by definition going to mean something pretty middle-of-the-road. That’s what this is: a refreshing, unchallenging, well-implemented interpretation of an excruciatingly boring style. Probably an effective gateway beer for the unwashed masses who haven’t tried craft beer yet (i.e. Mount Pearlies). Thanks to Norm for picking this up for me! (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Tree House Brewing Company Haze – American Double / Imperial IPA at 8.2% ABV

Tree House Brewing Company Haze American Double / Imperial IPA at 8.2% ABV (Trade – thanks Norm!, 473 ml, packaged on 21-Nov-2018, acquired 21-Dec-2018, reviewed 26-Dec-2018)_

Appearance: opaque pale gold with one fat finger of rocky off-white head, good retention and moderate lacing. (4/5) Aroma: peaches, orange juice, caramel, earth, light dank. (9/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (9/10) Medium slightly creamy body, moderate carbonation, off-dry moderate bitter warming finish. (5/5)

Probably the most impressive thing about this generally impressive beer is the sheer drinkability, with a lovely blend of stone fruit and citrus on a creamy body. Alcohol is distant and almost unnoticeable except for the mildly warming and very well-balanced finish. Not drastically different from little brother Julius, certainly, but a bit more emphatic everywhere it matters. That’ll do it for my most recent batch of New England IPAs from New England, and serious thanks again to Norm for such an excellent selection! (18/20)

9/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Tree House Brewing Company Julius – American IPA at 6.8% ABV

Tree House Brewing Company Julius American IPA at 6.8% ABV (Trade – thanks Norm!, 473 ml, packaged on 19-Nov-2018, acquired 21-Dec-2018, reviewed 26-Dec-2018)

Appearance: opaque pale gold with one fat finger of rocky off-white head, good retention and moderate lacing. (4/5) Aroma: tropical & stone fruits, citrus, caramel. (9/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (9/10) Medium slightly creamy body, moderate carbonation, off-dry moderate bitter finish. (4/5)

I should’ve tried this years ago, because now I feel like I’m doing it a bit of a disservice. Not that I’d do anything as crazy as suggest it isn’t extremely good, but because I have now seen so much of its influence in other beers (being as it is a bit of an archetype of the style) that it now feels just the slightest bit derivative. I’m going to stick with the same ranking as I gave AAAlterrr Ego!, but the fact is, the former is probably just the slightest bit preferable. (17/20)

8.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com