Category Archives: Reviews

Beer reviews

Duvel Moortgat Vedett Extra White – Witbier at 4.7% ABV

Duvel Moortgat Vedett Extra White Witbier at 4.7% ABV ($3.50 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 330ml, best before 05/2015)

Pours cloudy pale straw with one finger of white head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, spotty lacing. (4/5) Nose is citrus peel, cloves, banana. (6/10) Taste is mild sweet, moderate bitter. (6/10) Light body, moderate to low carbonation, lingering bitter and dry finish. (3/5)

A very mild mannered wit with a pleasant orange peel bitterness in the finish. Nothing all that interesting, and certainly none of the spicy pepperiness associated with some witbiers, but a pleasant drink with lunch. This is pretty clearly what some of the domestic whites served with an orange slice (I’m looking at you, Blue Moon and Rickard’s) aspire to. (And fail to achieve.) (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Fernie Brewing Company Last Cast Summer IPA – American IPA at 6.7% ABV

Fernie Brewing Company Last Cast Summer IPA American IPA at 6.7% ABV ($6.99 at South Trail Co-Op, 330ml, no bottle date or best before)

Pours clear pale straw with two fingers of white head, excellent retention and lacing. (4/5) Nose is sharp pithy citrus and tropical fruit. (7/10) Taste is mild sweet, moderate bitter. (6/10) Light body, moderate carbonation, lingering bitter finish. (3/5)

Nice light-bodied IPA with decent bitterness. Smells a bit better than it tastes, but a solid performer. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Big Rock Brewery Winter Spice Ale – Winter Warmer at 6% ABV

Big Rock Brewery Winter Spice Ale Winter Warmer at 6% ABV ($3.50 at South Trail Co-Op, 330ml, no bottle date or best before)

Pours clear medium amber with a thin light tan head, excellent retention, patchy lacing. (3/5) Nose is typical gingerbread spice, caramel malt and brown sugar. (6/10) Taste is moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (5/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation. (3/5)

Pretty standard winter warmer – typical gingerbread spices and sugar. Inoffensive and unremarkable. (10/20)

5.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Deschutes Brewery Mirror Pond Pale Ale – American Pale Ale at 5% ABV

Deschutes Brewery Mirror Pond Pale Ale American Pale Ale at 5% ABV ($3.50 at South Trail Co-Op, 355ml, best before 18-Mar-2015)

Pours clear pale amber with two fingers of rocky ivory head, excellent retention, good lacing. (4/5) Nose is muted, citrus and pine, caramel malt. (7/10) Taste is mild sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, lingering bitter finish. (3/5)

Quite nice. The aroma, though somewhat less muted than other APA’s, is pleasantly hop forward, but nicely balanced by caramel malt. The taste is again very well-behaved, balanced more towards hop bitterness, but with sufficient malt sweetness to support it. The finish is the only relative weak point in this brew, with just a little bit of an unbalanced astringency in the aftertaste. Other than that, a very mild and drinkable APA. I guess the solution is to not stop drinking them? (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Oskar Blues Brewery Dale’s Pale Ale – American Pale Ale at 6.5% ABV

Oskar Blues Brewery Dale’s Pale Ale American Pale Ale at 6.5% ABV ($3.50 at South Trail Co-Op, 355ml, can date 17-Nov-2014)

Pours clear pale amber with two fingers of rocky ivory head, excellent retention, good lacing. (4/5) Nose is citrus and pine, caramel malt. (8/10) Taste is mild sweet, strong bitter. (8/10) Light body, moderate carbonation, lingering bitter finish. (4/5)

Nice starts-with-C hops in the nose and pleasant bittering on the tongue. Big without being overwhelming, flavourful without being a hop bomb (though at 65 IBU’s, some might disagree with me). Not sure when you saw it off and call it an IPA instead of an APA – personally I think this thing comes close to an A/DIPA, to be honest – but it’s nice no matter what you call it. And for it’s target use – backpacking etc., where glass bottles aren’t an option – there’s not much better out there… other than Heady Topper, of course… or their own Ten Fidy… But this is definitely worth bringing a sixpack on your next hike.(16/20)

My 132nd from the 2010 Edition of 1001 Beers, 125th from the 2013 Edition, and 138th combining both editions.

8/10 #1001beers #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Brasserie Artisanale de Rulles La Rulles Blonde – Belgian Strong Pale Ale at 7% ABV

Brasserie Artisanale de Rulles La Rulles Blonde Belgian Strong Pale Ale at 7% ABV ($10.50 at Sherbrooke Liquor, 750ml, best before 31-Aug-2015)

Pours clear (turning cloudy) straw with two fingers of loose white head diminishing gradually to a thin cap, spotty lacing. (4/5) Nose is pale malt, mild Belgian spice, apples and light citrus, mild yeast and grassy hops. (8/10) Taste is mild sweet, moderate bitter, mild funk. (8/10) Light body, prickly carbonation, off-dry bitter finish. (4/5)

That’s a heckuva beer – very well-balanced and behaved, with a pleasant bitterness and not too much sweetness. There’s a little funk that’s almost Brett-like in character, in addition to some characteristic Belgian flavours and a honey-like note in the otherwise dry and bitter finish. Side note – the caps on La Rulles beer are made from the hardest substance known to man and can apparently not be removed intact. They’re, like, high-security tamper-proof caps, but given the value of the contents, I guess that’s appropriate. (16/20)

My 131st from the 2010 Edition of 1001 Beers (retired from the 2013 Edition) and 137th combining both editions.

8/10 #1001beers #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Unibroue Raftman – Belgian Pale / Smoked Ale at 5.5% ABV

Unibroue Raftman Belgian Pale / Smoked Ale at 5.5% ABV ($8.29 at Crowfoot Liquor Okotoks, 750ml, bottle date 14-Aug-2013)

Pours clear deep gold with two fingers of dense ivory head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, spotty lacing. (4/5) Nose is clove and banana, caramel malt, light smoke. (6/10) Taste is moderate sweet, moderate bitter, mild peppery spice. (6/10) Medium body, prickly to moderate carbonation, off-dry bitter finish. (4/5)

A robust, Belg-ish pale ale with just a hint of mild smokiness. The body was perhaps a little light for the flavour and slightly higher ABV, but at least the smoked whisky malt doesn’t come across as peaty. Decent, if not particularly interesting. (14/20)

7/10  #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Elysian Brewing Company Dragonstooth Stout – Oatmeal Stout 7.5% ABV

Elysian Brewing Company Dragonstooth Stout Oatmeal Stout 7.5% ABV ($8.39 at South Trail Co-Op, 650ml, no bottle date or best before)

Pours nearly pitch black with only the slightest hint of deep red around the margins, two fingers of medium tan dense head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, moderate lacing. (5/5) Nose is roasty malts, coffee, oatmeal, starts-with-C hops, some dark fruit and floral notes. (8/10) Taste is moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (8/10) Full and smooth body, low carbonation, lingering bitter finish. (4/5)

An almost schizophrenic brew: it starts out tasting largely like a typical oatmeal stout, but rapidly develops a surprisingly hoppy bitter character. That side of things is not without foreshadowing, because there’s actually a fair bit of typical starts-with-C hops in the nose, right off the hop. Interesting and atypical for any style of stout, particularly an oatmeal. (17/20)

My 130th from the 2010 Edition of 1001 Beers, 124th by the 2013 Edition, and 136th combining both editions.

8.5/10 #1001beers #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

YellowBelly Brewery Cranberry Apple Cider – Cider at 6.5% ABV

YellowBelly Brewery Cranberry Apple Cider Cider at 6.5% ABV ($11.25 at Dominion Stavanger, 500ml, best before 5-Mar-2015)

Pours clear amber-pink with no head or lacing. (3/5) Nose is funky apple, faint hint of cranberry. (8/10) Taste is mild sweet, moderate tart, mild funk. (8/10) Light body, moderate carbonation, tartly dry finish. (4/5)

Well, this is exactly what I asked for when I reviewed their Mellow Yellow: less sweet, more funk. The cranberry is quite light, adding little more than a splash of colour and a very mild aftertaste. Fairly vinous, almost like a Rosé in texture and taste. Probably fairly overpriced, too, but definitely a decent cider. I think I’ll cellar a second one for a while and see what happens to the funk. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Unibroue Trois Pistoles – Belgian Strong Dark Ale at 9% ABV

Unibroue Trois Pistoles Belgian Strong Dark Ale at 9% ABV (Via trade, 330ml, bottle date 10-Dec-2012)

Pours clear amber-brown with two fingers of light tan head, excellent retention, spotty lacing. (4/5) Nose is dark vinous fruit, brown sugar, some Belgian yeast. (9/10) Taste is moderate sweet, mild bitter. (9/10) Full body, moderate carbonation, off dry and mildly boozy finish. (4/5)

Nicely integrated and mellowed by a couple years’ cellaring. (Should pick up a couple more of these and put them down for longer, to see how they’ll change.) A very well-behaved and nicely-balanced strong dark. Nice beer for a cold winter’s afternoon, having just cleared the snow from the driveway! (16/20)

8.5/10 #1001beers #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com