Category Archives: Reviews

Beer reviews

Ninkasi Brewing Company Hazy Domination – American IPA at 6.7% ABV

Ninkasi Brewing Company Hazy Domination American IPA at 6.7% ABV (C$5.00 at Collective, 473 ml, best before 17-Dec-2018, acquired 4-Dec-2018, reviewed 4-Dec-2018)

Appearance: hazy pale gold with two fingers of rocky white head, excellent retention and moderate soapy lacing. (5/5) Aroma: citrus, tropical fruit, caramel, pine. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-low bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry medium duration finish. (4/5)

Just under the wire on the BB date, but it doesn’t seem to have suffered unduly by its time in the can. Not radically different than the base Total Domination – probably a bit more tropical fruit, and of course the visual haze is present, but it’s by no means an NEIPA re-imagining. Solid and enjoyable. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Nickel Brook Brewing Co. Cheeky Bastard Stout – English Stout at 4.5% ABV | 35 IBU

Nickel Brook Brewing Co. Cheeky Bastard Stout English Stout at 4.5% ABV | 35 IBU (2018 Craft Beer Advent Calendar #3, 473 ml, packaged on 24-Jul-2018, acquired 30-Nov-2018, reviewed 3-Dec-2018)

Appearance: clear deep cola brown with one fat finger of rocky beige head diminishing gradually to a persistent cap, moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: roasty malts, dry cocoa, dark fruit, ash, earth, light metallic. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium-full body, moderate-low carbonation, medium duration moderate bitter finish. (3/5)

Not bad. Specifically, not as sweet as I was worried it might be, almost a Dry Irish. On the down side, I can’t shake the conviction that there’s a slight metallic note there, which is a small but definite negative. Would probably benefit from a nitro tap (or widget, like you-know-who) but not bad overall. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Russell Brewing Company Miami Rice – American IPA at 7.0% ABV | 20 IBU

Russell Brewing Company Miami Rice American IPA at 7.0% ABV | 20 IBU (C$3.92 at Collective, 473 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 17-Nov-2018, reviewed 3-Dec-2018)

Appearance: hazy pale gold with two fingers of rocky white head, excellent retention and moderate soapy lacing. (5/5) Aroma: pineapple, citrus, caramel, tropical fruit, light funk. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-low bitter, light tart. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, medium duration lightly tart finish. (3/5)

I’m not sure what this has to do with the Eighties, other than the fairly tenuous “Rice/Vice” pun. Certainly neither Citra nor Mosaic hops existed then, nor I suspect did Sacc Trois yeast, so at best this is a serious anachronism. You might be justified in accusing me of reading too much into a beer name, were it not for the fact the can notes also say “Best enjoyed while listening to cheesy 80’s TV theme songs in your beige and pastel blazer.” That aside, it’s not actually terrible, and there are hints of nearly Belgian Tripel in there, presumably courtesy of the Sacc Trois, but it’s too sweet for my preference. Not to mention, funk and fruit can be a tricky combination, inviting comparison to fruit rotting in the tropical sun. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Russell Brewing Company Papaya Milkshake IPA – American IPA at 6.5% ABV | 30 IBU

Russell Brewing Company Papaya Milkshake IPA American IPA at 6.5% ABV | 30 IBU (C$4.23 at Collective, 473 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 17-Nov-2018, reviewed 2-Dec-2018)

Appearance: opaque medium gold with two fingers of rocky off-white head, excellent retention and moderate soapy lacing. (5/5) Aroma: overripe tropical fruit, lactose, citrus, caramel. (6/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate bitter. (6/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, medium duration moderate bitter finish. (3/5)

A bit of a train wreck of an adjunct beer, all bruised fruit and heavy-handed sweetness. Nowhere near as good as their Mango Milkshake (which, to be honest, wasn’t all that hot). (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Goat Locker Brewing Company Pale Session Ale – Session IPA at 4.5% ABV | 30 IBU

Goat Locker Brewing Company Pale Session Ale Session IPA at 4.5% ABV | 30 IBU (2018 Craft Beer Advent Calendar #2, 473 ml, packaged on 7-Aug-2018, acquired 30-Nov-2018, reviewed 2-Dec-2018)

Appearance: hazy pale amber with two fingers of rocky off-white head, excellent retention and moderate soapy lacing. (5/5) Aroma: caramel, leafy and weedy hops, hints of apple and pine. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, medium duration moderate bitter finish. (3/5)

I’ve had this once before, when it was being contract brewed in BC. It’s still being contract brewed, by Coulee in Lethbridge, but at least now it’s actually being made in Alberta. It looks like they’ve improved the appearance somewhat, with the head retention and lacing much better than the first time I had it. Other than that, it seems to be pretty much the same beer, with English-style aroma but more emphatic bitterness. Definitely an improvement over yesterday, so I suppose the calendar’s moving in the right direction – but I wouldn’t be offended if it picked up the pace a bit. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Prince Edward Island Brewing Company Rix Craft Light Lager – American Pale Lager at 4% ABV

Prince Edward Island Brewing Company Rix Craft Light Lager American Pale Lager at 4% ABV (2018 Craft Beer Advent Calendar #1, 473 ml, packaged on 22-Jun-2018, acquired 30-Nov-2018, reviewed 1-Dec-2018)

Appearance: hazy pale straw with one finger of rocky white head diminishing rapidly to a persistent cap, moderate lacing. (3/5) Aroma: grass, honey, yeast, citrus. (5/10) Taste: moderate sweet, low bitter. (5/10) Palate: light body, moderate carbonation, off-dry short duration finish. (3/5)

Seriously? This is how they start the advent calendar? With a six month old light lager? Well, whoopdy-fuckin’-do. If there’s any bright spot here at all, it’s that the calendar now has nowhere to go but up – but I’m deeply disturbed by the decision to include what is basically a mass market adjunct lager in a product that’s marketed as a premium “craft” offering. (11/20)

5.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Evil Twin Brewing Ceci N’Est Pas A NE Style IPA – American IPA at 8.5% ABV

Evil Twin Brewing Ceci N’Est Pas A NE Style IPA American IPA at 8.5% ABV (C$7.16 at Collective, 473 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 17-Nov-2018, reviewed 30-Nov-2018)

Appearance: hazy pale gold with two fingers of rocky white head, good retention and moderate lacing. (4/5) Aroma: pineapple, juicy citrus, grainy malt, pine, petrichor. (9/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (9/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry medium bitter slightly warming finish. (4/5)

As far as I can tell, this is a “mostly one hop” juicy IPA, based on Citra. I guess it’s not technically an NEIPA because of the relatively high bitterness, but it’s juicy and bloody good regardless. (Even if its indefinite article is missing an “n”.) Big flavour, and the only hint of its elevated ABV is a very restrained warming in the finish. Really good stuff. (17/20)

8.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Evil Twin Brewing Key Lime Pie – American IPA at 7% ABV

Evil Twin Brewing Key Lime Pie American IPA at 7% ABV (C$6.89 at Collective, 473 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 17-Nov-2018, reviewed 30-Nov-2018)

Appearance: hazy pale gold with two fingers of rocky white head, good retention and moderate lacing. (4/5) Aroma: juicy citrus, pine, pale malt, key lime, graham crackers. (8/10) Taste: moderate-high tart, moderate sweet, low bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, slightly sticky medium bitter and tart finish. (4/5)

I was quite surprised upon opening this: the graham crumb and key lime adjuncts were relatively muted, and the aroma was hop dominant, albeit with the adjuncts present in the background. I was doubly surprised when I took the first sip, and the key lime tartness attacked my taste buds at full strength. It certainly tastes like a key lime pie, even if it doesn’t smell like one overly much. For all that, it’s not mouth-puckeringly tart, though the tartness does wash out any hop bitterness that might otherwise be apparent. The other thing the tartness accomplishes, though, is palate cleansing, preparing you for the next sip and making the beer quite more-ish overall. I’m confident in my score for the aroma, and while the flavour isn’t quite what one might expect in an IPA, it’s certainly what it says on the can, so I guess I’ve got to stick with a solid score there as well. Overall, it’s a high score for an oddball beer, but it’s an interesting one. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Eighty-Eight Brewing Wave Pool Tropical IPA – American IPA at 6.2% ABV | 68 IBU

Eighty-Eight Brewing Wave Pool Tropical IPA American IPA at 6.2% ABV | 68 IBU (C$4.68 at Collective, 500 ml, packaged on 18-Aug-2018, acquired 17-Nov-2018, reviewed 28-Nov-2018)

Appearance: slightly murky deep gold with two fingers of rocky pale ivory head, good retention and moderate lacing. (4/5) Aroma: tropical & stone fruit, citrus, bready caramel malt, dank pine. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, slightly sticky lingering building bitter finish. (4/5)

I initially thought this wasn’t quite as good as their NEIPA, but I warmed up to it considerably. Certainly it’s not quite as juicy as their NEIPA, but the tropical fruit does manifest as the pint progresses, and the bold piney bitterness is completely appropriate for a non-NE IPA. Comes perilously close to being a DIPA, if you ask me – which is exactly the way I like my IPAs! Like their NEIPA, this also finishes just slightly sticky, with slightly high bitterness, but still pleasant. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Eighty-Eight Brewing Night Gallery NEPA – American IPA at 5.5% ABV | 44 IBU

Eighty-Eight Brewing Night Gallery NEPA American IPA at 5.5% ABV | 44 IBU (C$2.75 at Collective, 330 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 17-Nov-2018, reviewed 27-Nov-2018)

Appearance: hazy medium gold with one finger of rocky pale ivory head, good retention and moderate lacing. (4/5) Aroma: tropical fruit, citrus, biscuity malt. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body tending slightly thin, moderate carbonation, slightly sticky moderate bitter finish. (4/5)

Extremely nice first effort (for me, anyway) for a brand-new(-ish) Calgary brewery. Finishes just slightly sticky, but still pleasantly off-dry and mildly bitter. I notice that is slightly breaks the 10:1 IBU:ABV rule, but given the relative thinness of the body, that’s probably for the best, because it keeps the bitterness from becoming astringent. The bitterness is probably slightly high for the NE style, but it’s clean and even-handed, with no cattiness from the Citra and Simcoe, so I’m perfectly OK with that. “Cloud juice” indeed – works for me! (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com