Category Archives: Reviews

Beer reviews

Driftwood Brewery Limb From Limb – Rye IPA at 7% ABV

Driftwood Brewery Limb From Limb Rye IPA at 7% ABV (C$7.38 at Collective, 650 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 31-Jan-2019, reviewed 2-Feb-2019)

Appearance: slightly hazy pale amber with two fingers of rocky ivory head, excellent retention and heavy chunky lacing. (5/5) Aroma: bready rye, resiny pine, caramel, earth. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter, mild spice. (8/10) Palate: medium-full body, moderate carbonation, slightly sticky lingering bitter slightly spicy finish. (4/5)

Look, I know that Driftwood is a BC brewery, but the label notes go a bit far even for BC, what with the whole “the trees had it coming” theme. (But yes, yet another beautiful label!) Oh, wait, now I get it: Lumberjack hops. A new one on me, but it seems well-suited for a Rye IPA. This is a solid example of that style, with balanced rye spiciness complementing an emphatic hop bitterness. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Analog Brewing Ready Paler One – Session IPA at 4.1% ABV | 35 IBU

Analog Brewing Ready Paler One Session IPA at 4.1% ABV | 35 IBU (C$3.91 at Collective, 473 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 31-Jan-2019, reviewed 2-Feb-2019)

Appearance: slightly hazy medium gold with two fingers (and growing) of rocky pale ivory head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (3/5) Aroma: citrus zest, pale malt, oats, grassy weeds, petrichor. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium-light slightly creamy body, moderate carbonation, off-dry mild bitter slightly resiny finish. (4/5)

Drinks somewhat more bitter than the 35 IBU on the can might indicate, but I’ve noticed that seems to be the case with lower ABV Session Ales. That’s not a criticism, since that bitterness works fairly well with the flavour profile, which leans more towards IPA than ISA. Bonus points for the name, even though the videogame-inspired naming they like to use makes me wonder whether they really understand what “Analog” means…? (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Eighty-Eight Brewing Land Line – Session IPA at 4.5% ABV

Eighty-Eight Brewing Land Line Session IPA at 4.5% ABV (C$2.61 at Collective, 330 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 31-Jan-2019, reviewed 1-Feb-2019)

Appearance: slightly hazy pale straw with one finger of rocky white head diminishing rapidly to a thin cap & ring, spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: citrus, slightly resiny pine, bready malt, light tropical fruit, grassy weeds. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-low bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate carbonation, off-dry mild bitter slightly resiny finish. (4/5)

No packaging date but the brewer’s web site says first brewed on December 16, 2018, so it apparently can’t be much more than six weeks old. Decent implementation of a Session Ale: good aroma and flavour on a light but not watery body. You’d be slightly disappointed if you went looking for full-on IPA flavours here, but for the weight, it packs a decent flavour profile. (And arguably, if you’re silly enough to go asking for an IPA flavour profile from an ISA, you deserve to be disappointed.) (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Bridge Brewing Company Turf War Modern IPA – American IPA at 6% ABV | 55 IBU

Bridge Brewing Company Turf War Modern IPA American IPA at 6% ABV | 55 IBU (C$7.65 at Collective, 650 ml, packaged on 20-Dec-2018, acquired 31-Jan-2019, reviewed 31-Jan-2019)

Appearance: clear pale straw with two fingers of rocky white head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (3/5) Aroma: pine, cracker pale malt, tropical fruit, citrus. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry moderate lingering bitter finish. (4/5)

The label notes say this is neither East Coast nor West Coast, which I guess I agree with. Though, if I had to pick a direction, I’d say it’s more West than East. I’m not sure why I don’t like this more, but overall it’s just OK, and not particularly memorable. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Jester King Brewery Demitone (Batch #2) – Saison at 6.5% ABV | 12 IBU

Jester King Brewery Demitone (Batch #2) Saison at 6.5% ABV | 12 IBU (C$29.49 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 750 ml, packaged on 1-Apr-2018, acquired 7-Sep-2018, reviewed 29-Jan-2019)

Appearance: bright clear red-tinted amber with one finger of fizzy pinkish head diminishing rapidly to a thin ring, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (3/5) Aroma: mild, grassy hay, berries, earth, light funk. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate tart, low bitter, light funk. (9/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate-high carbonation, dry tart lightly funky finish. (4/5)

An interesting beer, particularly in its use of “spent” blueberries from prior brewing. I would have expected that to give rise to intense astringency, but in fact it’s just the opposite: pleasantly tart without being excessively acetic. To the extent I have any complaints beyond the obvious structural ones, it’s that the aroma could stand to be a bit more emphatic and complex. An excellent beer, but not particularly memorable, nor worth the eye-watering price tag. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Jester King Brewery Queen’s Order (Batch #2) – Saison at 4.8% ABV | 34 IBU

Jester King Brewery Queen’s Order (Batch #2) Saison at 4.8% ABV | 34 IBU (C$23.99 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 750 ml, packaged on 1-Apr-2018, acquired 7-Sep-2018, reviewed 28-Jan-2019)

Appearance: bright clear straw with one fat finger of rocky white head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: honey & beeswax, lemon flesh & zest, floral, light funk. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-low bitter, light funk. (8/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate-high carbonation, dry lightly funky finish. (4/5)

Light, easy-drinking, and refreshing. Somewhat out of character for JK, the Brett is mild and doesn’t overwhelm the nose or the head. Equally surprising is the way the big honey aroma isn’t followed through by similar levels of sweetness, but instead a refreshing dry bitterness. A very true-to-style rendition. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Innis & Gunn Brewing Company Vanishing Point 02 – Imperial Stout at 11% ABV

Innis & Gunn Brewing Company Vanishing Point 02 Imperial Stout at 11% ABV (C$17.29 at Okotoks Co-Op, 500 ml, packaged on 26-Aug-2018, best before 1-Aug-2023, acquired 7-Jan-2019, reviewed 27-Jan-2019)

Appearance: clear brown with deep amber relief at the margins, one finger of rocky beige head, decent retention and minimal lacing. (3/5) Aroma: bourbon, molasses, dark fruit, coconut, nuts. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate-low carbonation, lingering bitter warming finish. (4/5)

It’s funny how, confronted with one special release I&G, I initially balked, but when I saw the second one, I said to hell with it and bought both. Apparently, one chance of being disappointed isn’t sufficient for me, but two chances are? Though, I guess, given my pre-existing attitude towards I&G, “disappointed” isn’t the right word – more like “justified in my opinion”. This one’s predecessor, in particular, was a particularly mediocre offering, causing me to say at the time that I’d probably never bother to buy another I&G. And yet, here we are. The first version of this was “200 days aged in first fill barrels”, while this is “barrel aged for 365 days in first fill bourbon casks” – and damn if it doesn’t make a noticeable difference. The original had sharp bourbon notes on top of weak darkly roasted malts, with a thin-tending body, while this is much smoother, richer, and fuller. (Mind you, it’s not lost upon me that it’s also 28% more expensive…) Don’t get me wrong: I’m not about to start singing their praises or anything – but I might be willing to buy 03 next year, possibly even without the inducement of another special release to double down. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Innis & Gunn Brewing Company 15 DIPA – Imperial / Double IPA at 7.4% ABV

Innis & Gunn Brewing Company 15 DIPA Imperial / Double IPA at 7.4% ABV (C$4.89 at Okotoks Co-Op, 330 ml, packaged on 20-Aug-2018, best before 1-Nov-2019, acquired 7-Jan-2019, reviewed 27-Jan-2019)

Appearance: clear pale gold with two fingers of rocky white head, excellent retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: toffee, vanilla, citrus, wood, honey. (7/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate-low carbonation, sweetish building bitter finish. (4/5)

The “juicy maltiness compliments the vibrant orange marmalade hop flavours”, huh? There’s so much factually and grammatically wrong with that statement, I’m not sure where to begin, so I’ll just leave it hanging out there as a kind of warning – Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate, if you will. This is malt-heavy and more reminiscent of a Scotch Ale or Old Ale than an IPA, even an EIPA. Yeah, I’ve had worse I&G offerings, but this just really kind of sums it up: for their flagship 15th anniversary offering to be both ill-conceived and mediocre in execution really is a perfect representation of this brewer in general. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

New Level Brewing Reaper’s Choice – American Double / Imperial IPA at 7.5% ABV

New Level Brewing Reaper’s Choice American Double / Imperial IPA at 7.5% ABV (C$3.87 at Collective, 473 ml, packaged on 24-Oct-2018, acquired 15-Jan-2019, reviewed 26-Jan-2019)

Appearance: clear pale amber with one fat finger of rocky pale ivory head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: pithy citrus, grainy caramel, lightly dank pine, green weeds. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry lingering and building bitter finish. (4/5)

Almost a hybrid of English and American styles, with a fairly even-handed balance of both Noble and New World hop characters, and pronounced (but not excessively sweet) malt. Pretty drinkable for a Double, with a pleasantly emphatic bitter finish. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

New Level Brewing Wizard’s Revenge – American IPA at 7% ABV | 30 IBU

New Level Brewing Wizard’s Revenge American IPA at 7% ABV | 30 IBU (C$4.27 at Collective, 473 ml, packaged on 8-Nov-2018, acquired 15-Jan-2019, reviewed 25-Jan-2019)

Appearance: slightly hazy deep gold with two fingers of rocky white head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: grainy caramel, grassy weeds, strawberries. (6/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate-low bitter. (6/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, sweet mild bitter finish. (3/5)

Much too sweet for my preference, with only afterthoughts of strawberry. What there is of the strawberry flavour doesn’t taste fake, necessarily, but is certainly mild. The biggest problem is the sweetness, which verges on cloying. I think I might have to give up on the whole “milkshake IPA” subgenera, because I’ve yet to find one I actually enjoyed. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com