Category Archives: Reviews

Beer reviews

Central City Brewing Red Racer Imperial IPA – Imperial/Double IPA at 9.0% ABV

Central City Brewing Red Racer Imperial IPA Imperial/Double IPA at 9.0% ABV ($8.99 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 650ml, no bottle date or best before)

Pours clear pale amber with two fingers of off-white head, excellent retention, well-defined heavy lacing. (5/5) Nose is caramel malt, pithy citrus, pine resin. (8/10) Taste is moderate to strong sweet, moderate to strong bitter. (7/10) Medium body, moderate sustained carbonation, strongly bitter finish. (4/5)

Just a little too much emphasis on the malt for my taste. Not “malt forward”, as such, but a balanced malt/hop presence – and for a DIPA, that’s too much malt for my preference. And yes, perhaps I’m damning it with faint praise, because overall it’s very well done, and very dangerous – that 9% ABV doesn’t make any sort of appearance at all until well into the second glass – but it could’ve been so much better with just a little tweak of the grain bill. Mind you, that being said, I’m wondering if maybe it’s the Maris Otter that I’m not the biggest fan of… Regardless, this is an excellent DIPA, and hard to beat for the price. And damn, is it pretty. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

New Belgium Brewing Company Lips Of Faith Le Terroir – Sour/Wild Ale at 7.5% ABV

New Belgium Brewing Company Lips Of Faith – Le Terroir Sour/Wild Ale at 7.5% ABV ($19.49 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 650ml, 2014 vintage)

Pours hazy deep gold with limited/no head, no lacing. (4/5) Nose is intense funk, strong sour cherries and lemons, some peaches and sweet fruit. (9/10) Taste is mildly sweet and intensely sour. (9/10) Medium body, low to still carbonation, dry tartly sour finish. (4/5)

Oh yeah – think I’m gonna get another two or three of these for cellaring. This is sort of similar to La Folie, but in the “family resemblance” sense, not “identical twins”. If La Folie were a red wine, Le Terroir would be a white. And yeah, that does mean that I prefer La Folie – but not by a whole lot. This is a really good Belgian-level sour that can pretty much hold its own against a Cantillon. (18/20)

9/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Maine Beer Company Mo – American Pale Ale at 6.0% ABV

Maine Beer Company Mo American Pale Ale at 6.0% ABV ($8.99 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 500ml, bottle date October 14, 2014)

Pours hazy pale gold two fingers of off-white head, great retention, moderate to heavy lacing. (4/5) Nose is citrus, pine, tropical fruit, caramel malt. (9/10) Taste is mild sweet, moderate bitter. (8/10) Medium body, moderate to low sustained carbonation, dry medium bitter sudden finish. (4/5)

A very nice APA – juicy fruit flavours and an excellent appearance really promise a great experience… which doesn’t quite materialize. The taste, while decent, is slightly less interesting than what was promised by the nose. The soft carbonation ends up making this feel just a little on the flat side, and the finish dies a little abruptly. Now that I think about it, a little higher carbonation might well have solved all the issues. In any case, I wanted to like this more than I do – and that’s not to say I don’t like it, but I don’t love it as much as I thought I might. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Parallel 49 Brewing Company Lost Souls Chocolate Pumpkin Porter – American Porter at 6.5% ABV

Parallel 49 Brewing Company Lost Souls Chocolate Pumpkin Porter American Porter at 6.5% ABV ($5.49 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 650ml, no bottle date or best before)

Pours clear ruby brown with amber-brown highlights, one finger of light beige head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, minimal lacing. (3/5) Nose is dark roasty malt, dark chocolate, light vanilla, faint spices and earthiness. (7/10) Taste is mild sweet, moderate bitter. (6/10) Light to medium body, soft carbonation, medium bitter finish with some acidity. (3/5)

Not getting much of the ginger and pumpkin that are claimed to be in here – but that doesn’t bother me too much, all things considered. Almost a vinous quality on the flavour, particularly as it warms, and some earthiness that might be pumpkin or just the Fuggles hops. Pretty much a straight-up porter with not a lot to distinguish or recommend it. Decent without being memorable or exciting. (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Mill St. Brewery Mill Street Pilsner – Pilsener at 5.2% ABV

Mill St. Brewery Mill Street Pilsner Pilsener at 5.2% ABV (On tap at Mill Street Brewpub Toronto International Airport)

Pours clear deep gold with one finger of white head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, minimal lacing. (3/5) Nose is pale bready malt, light grassy hops. (6/10) Taste is mild sweet, moderate bitter. (6/10) Light body, moderate carbonation, long bitter finish. (3/5)

Bottom of the barrel – last one here, on tap or in bottles, that I haven’t tried. A fairly authentic, German-tasting pilsener. Which is to say, fairly boring. Although it’s a little dark for the style, which is fine by me, that’s not really enough to rescue it from the doldrums of mediocrity. (10/20)

5.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

MolsonCoors Molson Canadian Light – American Light Lager at 4.2% ABV

MolsonCoors Molson Canadian Light American Light Lager at 4.2% ABV (On tap at Maple Leaf Lounge)

Pours clear pale straw with a fluffy two finger white head diminishing gradually to a thick cap, moderate lacing. (3/5) Nose is grainy corn and rice adjunct flavours, faint weedy grassy hops. (2/10) Taste is light sweet, minimal bitter. (2/10) Light watery body, fizzy to moderate carbonation, short dry finish. (2/5)

Not even “free” makes this drinkable. But, a tick is a tick. (5/20)

3/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Angry Orchard (Boston Beer Company) Strawman Farmhouse Hard Cider – Cider at 10% ABV

Angry Orchard (Boston Beer Company) Strawman Farmhouse Hard Cider Cider at 10% ABV ($14.95 at Dominion Stavanger, 750ml, no bottle date or best before)

Pours cloudy straw with a short-lived white head diminishing rapidly to a thin cap, no lacing. (3/5) Nose is sour apple and funky yeast, grapes and oak. (8/10) Taste is mild sweet, moderate bitter, mild oaky vinous funk. (8/10) Medium body, fizzy carbonation, short dry finish. (4/5)

Quite a bit better than I was expecting, actually, given my last Angry Orchard cider – a “Crisp Apple” that really wasn’t. Crisp, I mean – it was apple, for sure. This, on the other hand, is crisp. And apple. And funky. And vinous. And oaky. And really a fair bit of fun. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Bellwoods Brewery Witchshark – American Double / Imperial IPA at 9% ABV

Bellwoods Brewery Witchshark American Double / Imperial IPA at 9% ABV (Price unknown, via trade, bottle date 10-Oct-2014)

Pours clear pale amber with two fingers of medium-dense off-white head diminishing gradually to a thick cap, heavy chunky lacing. (4/5) Nose is pithy citrus and pine, caramel malt, mango and pineapple. (9/10) Taste is mild sweet and sharply bitter. (9/10) Medium body, low carbonation, lingering intensely bitter finish. (4/5)

Boy oh boy I’m liking the Bellwoods IPA’s. This is the Boogie Monster on steroids – heavier body, more intense hoppiness, and a higher ABV, but possibly a bit more polished. Intensely bitter and hoppy, but not harsh. Really quite excellent, if only slightly better than Boogie Monster and Roman Candle. (17/20)

9/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Howe Sound Brewing Pumpkineater – Spice/Herb/Vegetable at 8% ABV

Howe Sound Brewing Pumpkineater Spice/Herb/Vegetable at 8% ABV ($13.69 at Dominion Stavanger, 1 l, no bottle date)

Pours clear medium amber with two fingers of fluffy off-white head diminishing gradually to a thick cap, moderate lacing. (3/5) Nose is pureed peaches and squash, caramel malt, pumpkin pie spices. (5/10) Taste is sweet tending to cloying, mild bitter. (5/10) Medium body, low carbonation, mild bitter finish. (3/5)

Hey, it’s Halloween! If I can’t have a pumpkin beer now, when can I? Well… Never, maybe? A bit disappointing, to be honest. I read the reviews before buying this, and thought it might be one of the (very) few pumpkin ales that bucked the trend. But this isn’t even close to being the best pumpkin beer I’ve had, and pumpkin beers aren’t even close to the best beers in general, so… Yeah. (10/20)

5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Wychwood (Marstons plc) Hobgoblin – Premium Bitter/ESB at 5.2% ABV

Wychwood (Marstons plc) Hobgoblin Premium Bitter/ESB at 5.2% ABV ($4.00 at Dominion Stavanger, 500ml, best before 31-Jul-2015)

Pours clear deep amber-red with a fat finger of off-white head diminishing gradually to a thick cap, moderate lacing. (4/5) Nose is caramel and bready malt, light grassy hops. (6/10) Taste is balanced moderate sweet and bitter. (6/10) Medium body, moderate to low sustained carbonation, decent bitter finish. (4/5)

I’ve rated this one before, but ended up with it in a combo pack and figured, why not re-do it for Halloween. I think this is a more accurate rating than my previous one(s). A decent, solid, reliable performer, and hard to beat for the price. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com