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Samuel Smith Old Brewery Organic Chocolate Stout – Sweet Stout at 5% ABV

Samuel Smith Old Brewery  Organic Chocolate Stout Sweet Stout at 5% ABV (C$5.55 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 550 ml, no bottle date or best before)

Pours clear deep brown with a fat finger of beige head diminishing gradually to a thin cap, spotty lacing. (4/5) Nose is sweet milky chocolate, strawberry, mildly nutty. (7/10) Taste is moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Medium body, low carbonation, creamy and bitter. (3/5)

Fairly intensely chocolate, but without being excessively sweet. Though it is sweet. And there’s a berry note – kinda strawberry – that comes across as a bit artificial. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Arrowhead Brewing Farmer’s Daughter – Saison at 6.8% ABV

Arrowhead Brewing Farmer’s Daughter Saison at 6.8% ABV (Gift – thanks, Doug! – 650 ml, bottle date 8-May-15)

Pours hazy pale gold with one finger of rocky white head, good retention and lacing. (4/5) Nose is wheat, coriander, orange zest, mild herbal. (6/10) Taste is moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (6/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry and lingering bitter finish. (3/5)

Bit more like a wit than a saison. Sweet for a saison, and not as dry or spicy as I’d like. Pleasant enough as a thirst quencher, though. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Stone Brewing Company Spotlight Series: Drew & Steve’s Imperial Mutt Brown Ale – American Brown Ale at 9% ABV

Stone Brewing Company Spotlight Series: Drew & Steve’s Imperial Mutt Brown Ale American Brown Ale at 9% ABV (C$9.39 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 650 ml, no bottle date or best before)

Pours clear brown with a fat finger of rocky beige head diminishing gradually to a thick cap, spotty lacing. (4/5) Nose is roasty dark malt, chocolate and coffee, brown sugar and molasses. (8/10) Taste is moderate sweet, moderately strong bitter. (8/10) Medium to full body, moderate to low carbonation, building bitter and slightly boozy finish. (4/5)

Nice: a Stone interpretation of a nut brown. Much more interesting than the usual, certainly making for a much hoppier finish than is normal for the style. The extra weight and heat of an “imperial” malt bill don’t go astray, either. All things considered, this is one mutt that will hunt. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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New Belgium Brewing Company Lips Of Faith – Pear Ginger Beer – Spice/Herb/Vegetable at 7% ABV

New Belgium Brewing Company Lips Of Faith – Pear Ginger Beer Spice/Herb/Vegetable at 7% ABV (C$9.12 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 650 ml, best before 23-Apr-2016)

Pours slightly hazy medium gold with one finger of medium white head diminishing gradually to a dense cap, moderate lacing. (4/5) Nose is ginger, white pear, candi sugar. (6/10) Taste is moderately strong sweet, mild bitter, mild peppery spice. (6/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, slightly sticky and spicy finish. (3/5)

A bit mellower than e.g Crabbie’s, but with the subtle (but definite) added flavour of pear. And a higher ABV… Pleasant, but not even close to New Belgium’s best. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Moa Brewing Company St. Joseph’s – Abbey Tripel at 9.5% ABV

Moa Brewing Company  St. Joseph’s Abbey Tripel at 9.5% ABV (C$5.08 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 375 ml, best before 4-May-2015)

Pours hazy medium gold with one finger of rocky white head, good retention and lacing. (3/5) Nose is yeasty, dark fruit, caramel/toffee malt, banana and clove. (5/10) Taste is moderate sweet, very mild bitter. (5/10) Medium to full body, prickly carbonation, off-dry boozy finish. (3/5)

Meh. Slightly past its best before, OK, but I dunno how much better it would be fresh. This is the type of triple I don’t really prefer: malt-forward and fuller-bodied, instead of crisp and dry. The ABV is intrusively present as well, with the heat feeling like an unbalanced afterthought. Couldn’t be bothered to finish it. (10/20)

5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Burnside Brewing Company Oatmeal Pale – English Pale Ale at 5.6% ABV

Burnside Brewing Company Oatmeal Pale English Pale Ale at 5.6% ABV ($6.84 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 650 ml, bottle date 21-Nov-2014)

Pours hazy pale amber with three fingers of rocky and growing off-white head and moderate lacing. (4/5) Nose is oatmeal, citrus, floral, earthy, caramel malt. (7/10) Taste is moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Medium bodied and slightly creamy, moderate carbonation, dry and lingering bitter finish. (3/5)

First time I’ve had an “oatmeal pale,” but it plays out pretty much the way you’d expect: the oatmeal adds body and smoothness to the base pale ale, but also seems to slightly dull the nose. Perhaps as a result, the hop character seems to split the difference between English and American styles – not quite as bright and fruity as APA’s, but definitely more aggressive than typical EPA’s. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Big Rock Brewery Hefehöpper – Hefeweizen at 5.0% ABV

Big Rock Brewery Hefehöpper Hefeweizen at 5.0% ABV ($4.88 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 650 ml, no bottle date or best before)

Pours hazy straw with a short, short-lived white head and no lacing. (3/5) Nose is initially banana, cloves, yeasty wheat, fades to grassy hops and pale malt. (5/10) Taste is moderate sweet, mild bitter. (5/10) Light bodied, lively to moderate carbonation, brief lightly bitter finish. (3/5)

Well, it is what it is. And what it is, is unfiltered Grasshöpper. It starts off smelling almost like an actual hefeweizen, with some banana and cloves alongside bready yeast notes – but that fades, giving way to some weedy, grassy hops and pale crystal malt. Drink it quickly, I guess? Not bad, and certainly an improvement over a standard lager – or for that matter, a good many kristallweizens – but there are lots of more interesting beers out there at that price point. (10/20)

5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Stone Brewing Company / Ecliptic Brewing / Wicked Weed Brewing – Points Unknown IPA – American Double / Imperial IPA at 9.5% ABV

Stone Brewing Company / Ecliptic Brewing / Wicked Weed Brewing Points Unknown IPA American Double / Imperial IPA at 9.5% ABV ($9.39 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 650 ml, bottle date 23-Apr-2015)

Pours clear pale amber with two fingers of off-white head diminishing gradually to a thin cap, patchy lacing. (3/5) Nose is complex: Belgian yeast, juniper, pithy citrus, pine resin, tropical fruit and pale malt. (8/10) Taste is moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Medium bodied, moderate carbonation, lingering bitter and growing boozy finish. (4/5)

What the serious hell is THAT? Smells sorta like a Belgian tripel that’s been cut half and half with a Stone IPA. With a splash of gin and tonic for flavour. Which are, like, three of my favourite things. That said, there’s no way this is worth the premium – but damn you, Stone, for being a big guy pretending to be a little guy! You know I’m just gonna keep paying for your oh-so-delicious products no matter what you charge! (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Black Market Brewing Co. Rye IPA – American IPA at 7.5% ABV

Black Market Brewing Co. Rye IPA American IPA at 7.5% ABV ($6.52 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 650 ml, bottle date 23-Apr-2015)

Pours clear to slightly hazy pale amber with two fingers of ivory head diminishing gradually to a thick cap, good lacing. (3/5) Nose is bright citrus and tropical fruit, pale malt, pine resin, mild rye. (8/10) Taste is moderate sweet, moderate bitter, light sour. (7/10) Medium bodied, moderate carbonation, lingering bitter finish. (4/5)

Quite a pleasant rye IPA – very well-balanced, both in terms of the hop bittering and the pale malt, but also in the contribution of the sour rye. I’ve found that rye IPAs can sometimes be a bit aggressive in the rye notes – which isn’t necessarily a negative – but it’s interesting to have one that’s a bit more even-handed in its approach. I have to say, I’m liking this brewery – solid products, if not quite stellar. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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R & B Brewing Company (Howe Sound) Raven Cream Ale – Cream Ale at 4.8% ABV

R & B Brewing Company (Howe Sound) Raven Cream Ale Cream Ale at 4.8% ABV (Gift – thanks Doug! – 341 ml, no bottle date or best before)

Pours clear medium amber with one finger of off-white head diminishing rapidly to a tenacious cap, patchy lacing. (3/5) Nose is caramel, bready yeast, nutty, faint chocolate, smoke, and vinegar. (4/10) Taste is moderate sweet, mild bitter, light tart and smoke. (4/10) Light to medium bodied, lively to moderate carbonation, mildly bitter tart and smokey finish. (3/5)

What are the odds of me getting two broken BC beers, from two different brewers, and two different sources, in one day? When I say “broken”, I mean in terms of hitting the style, not necessarily in terms of drinkability. As drinkability goes, it’s not bad – a very lightly smokey sour, almost like a gose, or a mild sour brown. As a “cream ale”. it’s an utter disaster. Dunno how to rate this – I’d rather have it than a macro lager, but not by much. (9/20)

4.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com