Category Archives: Reviews

Beer reviews

Red Truck Beer Company El Space Camino – American Pale Ale at 5.3% ABV

Red Truck Beer Company El Space Camino American Pale Ale at 5.3% ABV (C$2.52 at Collective, 355 ml, packaged on 20-Mar-2019, acquired 8-May-2019, reviewed 10-May-2019)

Appearance: hazy pale gold with a short pearlescent head diminishing rapidly to a thin skim, spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: citrus, floral, biscuity malt, grass. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, medium duration bitter finish. (4/5)

A middle-of-the-road APA/AIPA with no real negatives (other than the poor head and lacing) but also no real high points. Balanced, pleasant, and easy to drink, without being memorable. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Outcast Brewing No. 5 Biggie – American Double / Imperial IPA at 8.0% ABV

Outcast Brewing No. 5 Biggie American Double / Imperial IPA at 8.0% ABV (C$4.41 at Collective, 473 ml, packaged on 23-Apr-2019, acquired 8-May-2019, reviewed 9-May-2019)

Appearance: opaque slightly dirty medium gold with one finger of rocky white head diminishing gradually to a persistent thick cap, moderate soapy lacing. (3/5) Aroma: melon, caramel, overripe tropical fruit, citrus. (7/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium-full body, moderate carbonation, slightly sticky finish. (3/5)

A big brother to No. 6 Smalls, with the same hop profile, but double the malt bill. I suppose the effects of that change would have been fairly obvious had I given it some thought, but in fact I was a bit shocked by how different the two are. Right off the hop, the appearance of this one is muddy and slightly unclean, with far less head development and retention. The aroma is also dramatically altered, with a big sweet caramel note changing the overall profile in ways I wouldn’t have anticipated. It was a cute idea to release these two side-by-side this way, but I’m not gonna lie: I had high hopes here, and they just didn’t materialize. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Outcast Brewing No. 6 Smalls – Session IPA at 4.0% ABV

Outcast Brewing No. 6 Smalls Session IPA at 4.0% ABV (C$4.27 at Collective, 473 ml, packaged on 23-Apr-2019, acquired 8-May-2019, reviewed 9-May-2019)

Appearance: hazy straw with two fingers of rocky white head, excellent retention and well-defined soapy lacing. (5/5) Aroma: mild, tropical fruit, melon, crackery malt, citrus. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate carbonation, off-dry short duration finish tending slightly watery. (3/5)

A lighter version of No. 5 Biggie, which I haven’t yet tried because I wanted to preserve my palate for this one. The can calls this an NEISA, which is as good a description as any. The Huell Melon hops definitely make themselves known at the front end, and I initially though this might be a good example of a hop that in the past has always left me just slightly less than impressed. As it warms, though, the melon becomes a bit vegetal, once again leaving me less than impressed with that hop. The aroma is also just slightly less bright than I’d prefer, even making allowances for this being a Session IPA. The finish is also just a touch watery, even again making allowances for the style. Good, but not really a home run. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Evil Twin Brewing No Snowflake Ever Falls In the Wrong Place (Erase & Rewind No. 29) – American IPA at 7% ABV

Evil Twin Brewing No Snowflake Ever Falls In the Wrong Place (Erase & Rewind No. 29) American IPA at 7% ABV (C$7.74 at Collective, 473 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 12-Apr-2019, reviewed 8-May-2019)

Appearance: slightly hazy medium gold with one fat fingers of rocky pale ivory head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: citrus, tropical & stone fruit, caramel, resiny pine, light herbal, hint of lactose. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate-high carbonation, off-dry moderate bitter finish. (4/5)

I’m not sure whether tor not this is supposed to be an NEIPA – if it is, it’s a fairly bitter and relatively un-hazy version. That being said, it’s definitely more about the aroma than a heavy, tongue-coating bitter, so, sure, call it an NEIPA if you like. The aroma is reasonably complex while remaining approachable, and the slightly higher carbonation keeps it feeling light despite the solid ABV. Refreshing and enjoyable, all in all. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Persephone Brewing Company Hazy IPA – American IPA at 7% ABV

Persephone Brewing Company Hazy IPA American IPA at 7% ABV (C$4.41 at Collective, 473 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 12-Apr-2019, reviewed 6-May-2019)

Appearance: opaque pale gold with two fat fingers of rocky pale ivory head, excellent retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: tropical fruit, citrus, dank pine, stone fruit, grainy caramel, faint green onion. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, high bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry lingering bitter finish. (4/5)

Quite a bit more aggressively bitter than typical for the NEIPA style, especially in the finish, but I’m OK with that. Hopped with Citra, Simcoe, Mosaic, and Eureka!, all of which I heartily approve. There’s just the faintest vegetal green onion note as it warms, but it never actually gets to the point of cattiness that Simcoe sometimes can give. It goes quite a bit beyond “hazy” and well into “opaque and chunky” (seriously – there were flakes on the bottom of my glass) but that doesn’t bother me either, especially when the flavour is there – and it is. Nice one from a consistently reliable brewery. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Inner City Brewing The 800 Block – American IPA at 5.5% ABV

Inner City Brewing The 800 Block American IPA at 5.5% ABV (C$4.45 at Okotoks Co-Op, 473 ml, packaged on 8-Feb-2019, acquired 5-May-2019, reviewed 5-May-2019)

Appearance: hazy pale amber with two fat fingers of rocky pale ivory head, excellent retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: tropical fruit, citrus, stone fruit, grainy caramel, dank pine. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry medium duration finish. (4/5)

The can says “Juicy stone fruit & tropical aromas. Dank & piney. Hazy goodness.” Yeah, OK, sure. At first, anyway, even if not quite as brightly (or dankly) as I might like. As it warms, the grainy malt comes a bit more to the forefront, though. Still and all, not bad, and a promising first offering from another new downtown Calgary brewer. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Alley Kat Brewing Co. Ebony Dragon – American Double / Imperial IPA at 7.5% ABV | 75+ IBU

Alley Kat Brewing Co. Ebony Dragon American Double / Imperial IPA at 7.5% ABV | 75+ IBU (C$8.39 at Okotoks Co-Op, 650 ml, best before 20-Sep-2019, acquired 28-Apr-2019, reviewed 4-May-2019)

Appearance: clear medium gold with one fat finger of creamy white head, excellent retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: grass, crackery pale malt, earth. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry medium duration finish. (3/5)

Might be the least impressive of the Dragon series so far. It’s single-hopped with Denali, and the brewer’s notes claim notes of pineapple, pine, and tropical fruit, which is what the grower’s descriptions for Denali would lead one to expect – except I’m not getting any of that. It smells like an American Pale Lager, or maybe a Pilsener. Don’t get me wrong, it would be a fine example of such, just not of a DIPA. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Burdock Brewing Brett Farmhouse – Saison at 6.5% ABV

Burdock Brewing Brett Farmhouse Saison at 6.5% ABV (C$7.25 at Andrew Hilton Wine & Spirits, 375 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 25-Mar-2019, reviewed 3-May-2019)

Appearance: clear bright straw with a pillowy white head diminishing gradually to a persistent thick cap, moderate stringy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: barnyard funk, white grape must, crackery pale malt, green apple, white pepper. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter, light funky tart. (7/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate carbonation, dry medium duration slightly astringent funky finish. (3/5)

Obvious Brett domination right from the initial pour, with its huge billowing white head and barnyard funky aroma. Unfortunately that Brett domination comes through somewhat thin and sharp on the tongue, finishing slightly astringent. Not bad overall, but not quite where I’d like the balance to be. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Phillips Brewing Company Black Magic Dark Ale – American Brown Ale at 5.3% ABV

Phillips Brewing Company Black Magic Dark Ale American Brown Ale at 5.3% ABV (C$2.99 at Okotoks Co-Op, 473 ml, best before 23-Jun-2019, acquired 28-Apr-2019, reviewed 2-May-2019)

Appearance: clear brown with two fat fingers of rocky white head diminishing gradually to a thin cap and ring, well-defined soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: nuts, roasty malt, cocoa, light ashy smoke, grass & floral. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter, light smoke. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry medium duration finish. (4/5)

Yes, I know, wrong glass for the style – for some reason I was expecting this to be a CDA/Black IPA. In fact, it’s almost like a Ruachbier, with a mild slightly smokey flavour. I like it. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Sawback Brewing Co. West Coast IPA – American IPA at 6.6% ABV

Sawback Brewing Co. West Coast IPA American IPA at 6.6% ABV (C$4.23 at Collective, 473 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 12-Apr-2019, reviewed 1-May-2019)

Appearance: slightly dirty pale amber with one fat finger of rocky white head diminishing gradually to a thin cap and ring, spotty soapy lacing. (3/5) Aroma: caramel, tropical fruit, pine resin, citrus. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (6/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, sweetish medium duration finish. (4/5)

Another local (well, almost – Red Deer) brewery, breaking new ground with a radical new style of beer… if it was still 1994. (OK, to be fair, the Mosaic is pretty new.) I dunno – this one isn’t really firing me up at all, despite being one of my favourite styles. It’s definitely an old-school throwback in the malting, which gives a sweet almost syrupy note in the aroma, carrying all the way through into the slightly sticky finish. No date on the can, so I can’t speak to whether age is affecting this or not, other than to say they certainly haven’t been on the shelves around here for more than a month, so I doubt it. Could be oxidized, though…? (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com