Category Archives: Reviews

Beer reviews

Bridge Road Brewers Fat Man, Red Suit, Big Sack – India Red Ale at 7.5% ABV

Bridge Road Brewers Fat Man, Red Suit, Big Sack India Red Ale at 7.5% ABV (2014 Advent Calendar #6, 330ml, no bottle date or best before)

Pours cloudy medium amber with three fingers of loose off-white head that just keeps growing, great retention, and heavy chunky lacing. (5/5) Nose is biscuity bready caramel malt, citrus, earthy, some tropical fruit and pine. (7/10) Taste is moderate to strong sweet, strong bitter. (7/10) Medium to full body, moderate carbonation, lingering and building bitter finish. (4/5)

No, I don’t have a red suit. Shut up. As far as the beer goes, I dunno what the hell an India Red Ale is supposed to be, but this feels like a malt-forward DIPA to me. More to the point, it feels like a DIPA that’s malt-forward because it’s getting on in age and the hops are fading fast. It reminds me of some of the really hoppy New Zealand beers I’ve had, probably not only because it’s using the same “down under” hop varietals, but because they too had apparently taken the slow boat before getting in my hands. That malt-forward character is not my preference, but I’d love to try it fresh. Anybody want to send me to Australia or New Zealand, for research purposes? (14/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Birrificio Del Ducato Krampus – Belgian Strong Pale Ale at 7.0% ABV

Birrificio Del Ducato Krampus Belgian Strong Pale Ale at 7.0% ABV (2014 Advent Calendar #5, 330ml, bottle date 2014, best before 2020)

Pours muddy medium amber with one finger of loose off-white head diminishing rapidly to a thin cap, no lacing. (3/5) Nose is sour cherries and lemons, faint yeast. (8/10) Taste is mild sweet, moderate sour. (8/10) Light body, prickly carbonation, lingering and building puckering sour finish. (4/5)

Wow! The Advent Calendar continues to deal out surprises! I would have sworn up and down there was no way they’d include a sour in the mix! I can see lots of bewildered lager drinkers dumping their calendar beers – which makes me sad. This is actually a fairly decent sour – not too aggressive and nicely balanced. I would definitely drink this again. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Granville Island Brewery Lions Winter Ale – Winter Warmer at 5.5% ABV

Granville Island Brewery Lions Winter Ale Winter Warmer at 5.5% ABV (Draft at 1ST RND West Edmonton)

Pours clear deep amber with one finger of tight light tan head, great retention, excellent lacing. (4/5) Nose is chocolate, caramel malt, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg. (6/10) Taste is moderate to strong sweet, mild bitter, mild spice. (6/10) Medium body, somewhat cloying, moderate carbonation, mildly bitter and moderately spicy finish. (3/5)

Not bad, but a little on the cloying side. I think it’s the chocolate in combination with the fairly high sweetness – neither the carbonation nor the spiciness lifts it enough to avoid the cloying description. The spice helps with the winter warmer character, but a little higher ABV might help it more. Pretty, sure, but ultimately a little disappointing. (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Kiuchi Brewery Hitachino Nest – Witbier at 5.5% ABV

Kiuchi Brewery Hitachino Nest Witbier at 5.5% ABV ($9.00 at Japanese Village, 330ml, no bottle date or best before)

Pours hazy straw with a short, short-lived white head, no lacing. (3/5) Nose is mild wheat, citrus, coriander. (7/10) Taste is mild sweet, mild bitter. (7/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, mildly bitter finish. (4/5)

Fairly decent Belgian witbier. The orange presence is pleasant and works well with the soft carbonation. (15/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Peak Organic Brewing Company Hop Blanc – Belgian IPA at 6.4% ABV

Peak Organic Brewing Company Hop Blanc Belgian IPA at 6.4% ABV (2014 Advent Calendar #4, 355ml, bottle date 05/27/14)

Pours hazy straw with one finger of loose white head diminishing rapidly to a thin skim, patchy lacing. (3/5) Nose is citrus, peaches, floral, Belgian yeast, wheat. (8/10) Taste is mild sweet, moderate bitter, mild spice. (8/10) Light body, moderate to low carbonation, lingering and building bitter finish. (4/5)

Well, that was a pleasant surprise. The higher scores notwithstanding (I was young and foolish then) the two Peak Organics in last year’s advent calendar were a bit disappointing. This one, on the other hand, is a decently done Belgian IPA – pleasantly hoppy and aromatic, with a crisp bitterness. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Microbrasserie Les Trois Mousquetaires Grande Cuvée Réserve De Noël – Spiced Red Lager at 10% ABV

Microbrasserie Les Trois Mousquetaires Grande Cuvée Réserve De Noël Spiced Red Lager at 10% ABV ($13.97 at NLC Howley Estates  750ml, bottle date 6-Nov-2014)

Pours clear deep amber with a one finger of light tan head diminishing gradually to a thin ring, no lacing. (4/5) Nose is strongly spicy ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla, cloves, medicinal hops. (8/10) Taste is moderately strong sweet, mild bitter. (8/10) Medium to full body, moderate carbonation, mildly bitter warming finish. (4/5)

I like it. It’s so heavily spiced that it actually reminds me of ginger beer – but I like ginger beer! The ABV is very well-integrated (or perhaps masked by the spice) to the point that this is a seriously dangerous tipple. I’ve yet to have an LTM brew I didn’t like, and this is no exception. I’d go so far as to say that this could well be the best lager I’ve ever had. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Penpont Brewery Chateau Civrac Old Ale – Old Ale at 7.5% ABV

Penpont Brewery Chateau Civrac Old Ale Old Ale at 7.5% ABV (2014 Advent Calendar #3, 330ml, best before 1/2016)

Pours clear pale to medium amber with one finger of loose light tan head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, patchy lacing. (3/5) Nose is caramel malt, grassy and earthy hops, mild fruit. (6/10) Taste is mild sweet, moderately strong bitter, vinous and oaky astringency. (7/10) Medium body tending to the watery, low carbonation, lingering and building bitter finish, slight warming. (3/5)

I’d’ve called this more a bitter than an old ale. I don’t get a lot of the supposed wild yeast character, either – perhaps a little tartness midway through, but I think it’s more present in the bitterness of the finish, which seems to combine bitterness from both hops and wild yeast, along with the woody winey tones. The ABV is integrated to the point of being essentially undetectable except as a very mild warming starting halfway through the bottle. (14/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Bellwoods Brewery Lambda (2014) – Abt / Quad at 11% ABV

Bellwoods Brewery Lambda (2014) Abt / Quad at 11% ABV (Via trade, 500ml, bottle date 21-Mar-2014)

Pours clear deep ruby with a fluffy tan head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, no lacing. (4/5) Nose is complex – dark fruit, figs, raisins, brown sugar, vinous oak. (10/10) Taste is moderate sweet, moderate sour. (9/10) Full body, prickly carb, mildly funky sour warming finish. (4/5)

Great – complex boozy quad, but the ABV doesn’t intrude. I was expecting more brett funk, but it’s actually extremely mild – most of the complexity is red wine oakiness. Very, very good. I’m starting to think Bellwoods might actually justify living in The Big Smoke. (17/20)

9/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Teerenpeli Panimo & Tislaamo Teerenpeli Hippaheikki – ESB at 4.7% ABV

Teerenpeli Panimo & Tislaamo Teerenpeli Hippaheikki ESB at 4.7% ABV (2014 Advent Calendar #2, 330ml, best before 2/2015)

Pours clear pale gold with a short, short-lived white head, no lacing. (3/5) Nose is crackery and biscuity malt, grassy hops, faint fruit and citrus. (6/10) Taste is mild sweet, moderately strong bitter. (7/10) Light to medium body, low carbonation, lingering and building bitter finish. (3/5)

A fairly standard light ESB, with perhaps a little more emphasis on the bitter, and pleasantly low sweetness. The body, yeast, and malt are all quite light for the style. Pleasant enough with dinner, but not really worth looking for again. (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Nøgne Ø (Hansa Borg) God Advent – Winter Warmer at 10% ABV

Nøgne Ø (Hansa Borg) God Advent Winter Warmer at 10% ABV (2014 Advent Calendar #1, 250ml, bottle date 26-Mar-2014, best before 26-Mar-2018)

Pours hazy medium to deep amber with a short light tan head diminishing gradually to a thin cap, moderate lacing. (4/5) Nose is toffee malt, dark fruit, yeast, some pine resin. (8/10) Taste is moderate sweet, mild bitter, mild alcohol. (7/10) Medium to full body, moderate carbonation, lingering bitter and spicy finish with a distinct alcohol warming. (4/5)

Nice boozy winter warmer. Good balance of toffee sweetness and mild pine resin hops, with dark boozy fruit. I figure a winter warmer should be a dark boozy fruitcake in a glass, and this is pretty much that. A good start to the advent calendar! (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com