Category Archives: Reviews

Beer reviews

Meantime Brewing Company Limited London Porter – English Porter at 6.5% ABV

Meantime Brewing Company Limited London Porter English Porter at 6.5% ABV

Pours deep ruby brown with hints of amber brown around the margins, two fluffy fingers of loose tan head diminishing gradually to a thin cap, spotty lacing. Nose is roast malts, toffee, chocolate, coffee. Taste is sweet toffee malt and chocolate giving way to bitter coffee, faint smoky molasses. Medium body and a creamy mouth feel, with a long bitter finish.

Definitely not to be drunk cold – the flavour opens up considerably as it warms to room temperature. A much-better-than-average porter. This one was well past its best-by date of February 2014, but I wouldn’t expect that to be an issue at all for this style, particularly given the moderately high ABV. I detected no adverse signs of age, and if anything would expect some cellaring time to be beneficial. I keep waffling back and forth on my overall opinion of porters and stouts, and this one is definitely one in the “pro” column.

My 110th from the 2010 Edition of 1001 Beers, 104th by the 2013 Edition, and 113th overall.

7.5/10 #1001beers #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

YellowBelly Brewery & Public House Yellow Mellow – Apple Cider at 5.5% ABV

YellowBelly Brewery & Public House. Yellow Mellow Apple Cider at 5.5% ABV

Pours clear straw with a short-lived fizzy head diminishing immediately to nothing, no lacing. Nose is apple with a very slight musty funk. Taste is sweet apple with a tart edge. Light body, sustained prickly carbonation, and a dry tart finish.

Decent enough cider – sweet, but not to the point of being sickly. That being said, I’d be happier if it were dryer, and I’d like a bit more cellar mustiness.

7/10 #ryansbooze ryanbooze.com

Black Oak Brewing Co. Black Oak Ten Bitter Years – Imperial IPA at 8.0% ABV

Black Oak Brewing Co. Black Oak Ten Bitter Years Imperial IPA at 8.0% ABV

Pours clear pale to medium amber with two fat fingers of frothy tan head diminishing gradually to a thick cap, chunky lacing. Nose is caramel malt, pine, grapefruit, mango and pineapple. Taste follows suit, moderate sweet and emphatic peppery bitter. Medium sticky and chewy body, moderate sustained carbonation, and a long dry bitter finish.

An excellent American D/I IPA with loads of body and character. It’s hop-forward and aggressive, with very well integrated higher ABV. However, either the hop selection or the water chemistry are acting to dull the edge slightly – the hops aren’t as bright as they might be. (The bottle is only six weeks old, so I don’t see age as the issue.) That being said, it’s still a bit of a hop bomb (83 IBU) so it’s kind of like being hit in the mouth with a dull axe, instead of a sharp one.

8/10 #ryansbooze ryanbooze.com

Bellwoods Brewery Boogie Monster – American Double/Imperial IPA at 8% ABV

Bellwoods Brewery Boogie Monster American Double/Imperial IPA at 8% ABV

Pours a clear pale gold with one finger of tight white head, good retention, and moderate lacing. Nose is pine and floral hops, pineapple, pale biscuity malt. Taste follows suit, mildly sweet malt with pine resin, grapefruit, and tropical fruit. Medium body and sticky, with moderate sustain carbonation and a long, intensely bitter finish.

Surprisingly light in colour and body for a DIPA, with the moderately high ABV very well integrated – could easily pass for a hop bomb-ish single IPA. The hop presence definitely handily beats out the malt backbone (which is, regardless, sufficient to the task) but the bitterness is a little over-emphasized – more sustain on the floral notes would have been nice. All in all, a very nice DIPA, but one that could stand a little polishing.

8.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Wold Top Brewery Scarborough Fair IPA – English IPA at 6.0% ABV

Wold Top Brewery Scarborough Fair IPA English IPA at 6.0% ABV

Pours a deep gold with one finger of fluffy white head diminishing gradually to a thin skim and moderate patchy lacing. Nose is biscuity malt, corn, low citrus and herbal hops. Taste follows suit, with sweet adjunct malt dominating over faintly peppery hops. Thin and watery mouth feel, low carbonation, moderately long mildly spicy and low bitter finish.

“Interestingly brewed with […] Maize for the head retention.” So, corn. Which is why it smells and tastes like an adjunct lager – and not very interesting at all. (And, has crappy retention, to boot.) I didn’t expect great things from a gluten-free IPA, and boy howdy, I wasn’t wrong. I don’t regret buying it to support the beer club, but it’s safe to say I’ll never have it again.

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Asia Pacific Breweries Ltd. Tiger Beer – American Adjunct Lager at 5.0% ABV

Asia Pacific Breweries Ltd. Tiger Beer American Adjunct Lager at 5.0% ABV

Pours a pale straw with one finger of loose white head diminishing rapidly to nothing, no lacing. Nose is typical adjunct lager, pale malt rice, corn, maybe a little apple. Taste follows suit, with very faint hops on the finish. Light body, moderate sustained carbonation, and a fairly abrupt dry finish.

Well, I’ve had worse – a lot worse. (I’m looking at you, PBR!) But to be honest, after an afternoon digging holes in the back yard and filling them back in, it does the job. Aside from crappy adjuncts, there are no off flavours, and the finish is actually not unpleasant.

My 109th from the 2010 Edition of 1001 Beers, 103rd by the 2013 Edition, and 112th overall.

4/10 #1001beers #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Great Lakes Brewery My Bitter Wife IPA – American IPA at 7.0% ABV

Great Lakes Brewery My Bitter Wife IPA American IPA at 7.0% ABV

Pours a slightly hazy pale amber with one finger of tight white head diminishing gradually to a thick cap and well-defined lacing. Nose is pine, citrus, tropical fruit, pale malt. Taste is hoppy bitter with just a little supporting malt sweetness. Medium to full body, moderate sustained carbonation, and a strongly bitter, dry finish.

A decent hop-forward A/IPA that comes quite close to being a DIPA. The malt is well-balanced, albeit to a lower malt / higher hop character. The higher ABV is quite well-integrated as well. The bitterness has a slight harshness, though, particularly on the finish, that prevents a higher score.

8.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Muskoka Brewery Muskoka Harvest Ale – American Pale Ale at 7.0% ABV

Muskoka Brewery Muskoka Harvest Ale American Pale Ale at 7.0% ABV

(2013 Vintage Re-reviewed after one year cellaring) Pours a clear medium to deep amber with two fingers of fine tan head diminishing gradually to a thin cap and moderate patchy lacing. Nose is caramel malt, grassy and earthy hops, slight pine. Taste leads out sweet, giving way to herbal and piney hop bitterness. Medium body, medium to light carbonation, and a sticky, bitter finish.

Interesting – I was a bit worried that I had killed this by cellaring it, particularly since there was some fluffy mould on the outside of the cork, but it’s still very drinkable. (I cleaned the mould with vinegar before opening the cork, and cleaned the neck before pouring.) There’s still quite a bit of hop character in the nose and on the tongue, and the aging may have mellowed the pine bitterness somewhat, but all in all, this might be something that one could age for a couple of years, just for fun. Might have to do that with the new vintage. (And yes, the new score is lower than the original – that’s a reflection of my own scoring recalibration, and not of this beer having gone downhill with time.)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Pabst Brewing Company Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR) – American Adjunct Lager at 4.7% ABV

Pabst Brewing Company Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR) American Adjunct Lager at 4.7% ABV

Pours a clear straw with one finger of foamy white head diminishing rapidly to a thin skim, no lacing. Nose is corn and grainy malt. Taste follows suit. Light body and watery mouth feel, with moderately high carbonation.

Foul. It doesn’t smell as if there’s something actually nasty going on in there, but it sure tastes that way. Cheap, horrible swill. Actual sink pour territory – I couldn’t finish it. Literally the only reason I tried this was to get the tick in my 1001 Beers list, and I regret it. No joke – do not waste your time by subjecting your taste buds to this. This makes Bud Light or Molson Canadian look like a top-shelf alternative.

My 108th from the 2010 Edition of 1001 Beers, 102nd by the 2013 Edition, and 111th overall.

3/10 #1001beers   #ryansbooze  ryansbooze.com

Sawdust City Brewing Company Lone Pine IPA – American IPA at 6.5% ABV

Sawdust City Brewing Company Lone Pine IPA American IPA at 6.5% ABV

Pours a clear pale amber with an enthusiastic three fingers of fluffy white head diminishing gradually to a thin cap and moderate spotty lacing. Nose is bright and big, pine resin and citrus, with some pineapple and sweet caramel malt. Taste follows suit, with brief caramel sweetness followed immediately by tropical fruit and pine resin bitterness. Medium body, with moderate sustained carbonation and a lingering sticky bitterness on a dry finish.

Well, that’s a whole lot of fun! Big, bright hops on the nose, followed up by a whole lotta hops on the tongue. The flavour is nicely balanced between sweet malt and big hops at the outset, with the hops then growing by leaps and bounds. The sharpness gets a little aggressive on the finish, but not to the point of being unbalanced.

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com