Mike’s Beverage Co. Mike’s Hard Lemon Lime Soda – Malt Liquor at 5% ABV

Mike’s Beverage Co. Mike’s Hard Lemon Lime Soda Malt Liquor at 5% ABV (C$3.36 at NLC Stavanger, 473 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 31-Jul-2019, reviewed 6-Aug-2019)

Appearance: colourless and clear with a fizzy head diminishing rapidly to nothing. (3/5) Aroma: sugary lemon-lime, harsh vodka. (5/10) Taste: excessively sweet, mild tart. (4/10) Palate: light body, fizzy carbonation, sickly sweet sticky finish. (2/5)

A pretty standard alco-pop. Looks like Sprite, smells like Sprite with a hit of cheap vodka, tastes disgustingly sweet… with a hit of cheap vodka… The vodka presence is surprisingly pronounced despite it being relatively low in the ABV department, and despite the sickly sugar sweetness. Bottom line, it’s a garbage alcohol delivery system, presumably aimed at children who don’t know any better. “My expectations were low, but holy fuck!” (9/20)

4.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Quidi Vidi Brewing Company Folk’d Up – American Pale Ale at 4.5% ABV

Quidi Vidi Brewing Company Folk’d Up American Pale Ale at 4.5% ABV (C$3.65 at NLC Stavanger, 473 ml, packaged on 30-Jun-2019, acquired 31-Jul-2019, reviewed 4-Aug-2019)

Appearance: hazy deep gold with one fat finger of loose white head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: citrus, stone fruit, crackery malt, white pepper. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body tending slightly thin, moderate carbonation, moderate bitter finish. (3/5)

Pretty unremarkable. Nothing wrong with it at all, but it’s hardly going to excite you. Not much more to say about that… (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Le Trou du Diable Capitaine Simcoe – Sour / Wild Ale at 4.8% ABV

Le Trou du Diable Capitaine Simcoe Sour / Wild Ale at 4.8% ABV (C$6.01 at NLC Stavanger, 600 ml, packaged on 14-Dec-2018, acquired 31-Jul-2019, reviewed 3-Aug-2019)

Appearance: slightly hazy deep gold with one fat finger of loose white head diminishing gradually to nothing, minimal lacing. (3/5) Aroma: bright citrus, tropical fruit, herbal, tart lactic, pine, grass. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate tart, mild bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate carbonation, medium tart and mild bitter finish. (4/5)

Yeah, I know, I’m being a bit of a hypocrite here, having railed against kettle sours for so long as I have, and then turning around and trying this one. But, this one isn’t just your typical kettle sour, but one in which the Simcoe hopping comes through loud and clear, making for an interesting blend of characteristics. Not to mention, I think it might be the first SMaSH sour I’ve had, with Pearl as the only malt. All in all, loads of flavour (all the more impressive given its age!) and balanced tartness on a light ABV make this very easy drinking. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Sawback Brewing Co. Hybrid IPA – American IPA at 5.8% ABV

Sawback Brewing Co. Hybrid IPA American IPA at 5.8% ABV (C$4.23 at Collective, 473 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 16-Jul-2019, reviewed 31-Jul-2019)

Appearance: slightly hazy pale amber with one fat finger of rocky pale ivory head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: big citrus & tropical fruit, caramel, pine, hint of coconut. (9/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, slightly sweet medium bitter finish. (3/5)

Honestly? No idea what to expect here. I mean, whutinhell’s a “Hybrid IPA”? I’ve had IPA’s hybridized with almost anything you can think of, so not really an explanatory designation. And I couldn’t find a damn thing about it online, so I guess I’m left to my own devices here – and that never ends in disaster… gotta call the brewer! OK, done: it’s a hybrid between New England and West Coast styles, or as I’ve seen other brewers call it, a transcontinental. Whatever you call it, it’s nice: big aroma but (relatively) restrained bitter, and supported by a clean caramel malt. Not a whole lot of NEIPA character in the “hazy” sense, but the emphasis on the not instead of the tongue is definitely philosophically keeping with that style. It finishes a little sweeter than I’d like, but is otherwise a pretty interesting medium-strength departure from the norm. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Born Colorado Brewing Mile High Pale Ale – American Pale Ale at 5% ABV | 33 IBU

Born Colorado Brewing Mile High Pale Ale American Pale Ale at 5% ABV | 33 IBU (C$4.05 at Collective, 473 ml, packaged on 24-Jun-2019, acquired 16-Jul-2019, reviewed 31-Jul-2019)

Appearance: clear pale amber with two fingers of rocky white head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: dank resiny pine, citrus, caramel. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry medium bitter finish. (4/5)

To be honest, I was expecting this to be old-fashioned and malty, but in fact it’s dominated by pleasantly dank resiny pine, chased by balanced citrus, and supported by mild caramel malt. Really solid brew. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Bent Stick Brewing Co. BS Wit – Witbier at 4.5% ABV

Bent Stick Brewing Co. BS Wit Witbier at 4.5% ABV (C$3.60 at Collective, 473 ml, packaged on 15-Apr-2019, acquired 16-Jul-2019, reviewed 31-Jul-2019)

Appearance: hazy pale gold with two fingers of fluffy white head diminishing gradually to a thin cap, minimal lacing. (3/5) Aroma: banana, coriander, orange flesh & peel, grainy wheat, white pepper, faint plastic band-aid. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, low bitter, light tart. (7/10) Palate: light body, moderate carbonation, off-dry mildly spicy finish. (4/5)

Not bad, and in fact at first sniff seemed pretty great – but that little edge of plastic-y band-aid started to come out, and the longer it warmed, the more pronounced it got. It never got aggressive, but was enough to mar my appreciation. I mean, it’s not great, or anything, but calling it “B.S.” might be a touch harsh… (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

S.Y.C. Brewing Co Nuages Table Saison – Saison at 4.5% ABV

S.Y.C. Brewing Co Nuages Table Saison Saison at 4.5% ABV (C$3.83 at Collective, 473 ml, packaged on 24-Apr-2019, acquired 16-Jul-2019, reviewed 29-Jul-2019)

Appearance: hazy pale gold with two fingers of fluffy white head diminishing gradually to a thin cap, minimal lacing. (3/5) Aroma: stone fruit, floral, coriander. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, low bitter, light tart. (7/10) Palate: light body, lively carbonation falling off to moderate, off-dry mildly spicy finish. (4/5)

Decent, but not stellar (or even sky-high, since it’s called “clouds”, geddit?). So, yeah, a cloudy Saison, I guess. I’d like it more if it were dryer, with a little less stone fruit and spice, and a little more funk. Also, the carbonation starts off decently lively as I like to see in the style, but falls off before the end of the pint, rendering it a bit watery. I know, it sounds like nothing but complaints and I don’t intend it that way, but that’s just the way it is: lots of minor defects adding up to render it merely OK. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Dageraad Brewing / Blindman Brewing The Pass – Grisette / Petit Saison at 4.1% ABV

Dageraad Brewing / Blindman Brewing The Pass Grisette / Petit Saison at 4.1% ABV (C$4.41 at Collective, 473 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 16-Jul-2019, reviewed 29-Jul-2019)

Appearance: hazy straw with two fingers of fluffy white head, good retention and spotty lacing. (4/5) Aroma: funky yeast, juniper, citrus. (8/10) Taste: moderate-low sweet, low bitter, light funky tart. (8/10) Palate: light body, lively carbonation, off-dry crisp finish. (4/5)

Dageraad and Blindman collaborating on a Grisette was a total no-brainer for me. …well, almost. Truth be told, I wasn’t completely sold on the juniper berries – but it works. The juniper is mild, manifesting mostly in the finish, and accentuates rather than overwhelms the light funky yeast and citrus. Light, crisp, and refreshing, exactly as a Grisette should be. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Alley Kat Brewing Co. Houndstooth Dragon – American IPA at 7.5% ABV | 75+ IBU

Alley Kat Brewing Co. Houndstooth Dragon American IPA at 7.5% ABV | 75+ IBU (C$8.89 at Solo Liquor Okotoks, 650 ml, best before 3-Dec-2019, acquired 27-Jul-2019, reviewed 28-Jul-2019)

Appearance: clear deep gold with two fingers of rocky pale ivory head, excellent retention and well-defined soapy lacing. (5/5) Aroma: caramel, resiny pine, tropical fruit, grass. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, high bitter. (6/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, building and lingering bitter finish. (4/5)

I was thinking it might be time to put a bullet in this idea, seeing how Houndstooth isn’t even a colour, but then I read their justification: instead of being single-hopped, as is usual for this series, they used the hops from the two immediate predecessors, Ivory (Vic Secret) and Ebony (Denali). Interesting idea, except – and there isn’t really any polite way to put this – those two were among my least favourites from the series. In fact, both had very little of the character I normally associate with their respective hops. This one’s not quite as lacking in character, but it’s not far off. Although I get a fair bit of resiny pine up front, and some tropical fruit in the finish, it’s still pretty malt-heavy. Not a pitch on, say, Sapphire, Periwinkle, or Evergreen. (And, just to be pedantic, ebony and ivory don’t make houndstooth, they make a piano.) (13/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

New Level Brewing Power Wolf Pale Ale – American Pale Ale at 6% ABV | 70 IBU

New Level Brewing Power Wolf Pale Ale American Pale Ale at 6% ABV | 70 IBU (C$4.19 at Collective, 473 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 16-Jul-2019, reviewed 27-Jul-2019)

Appearance: clear medium amber with two fat fingers of rocky pale ivory head, excellent retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: caramel, resiny pine, citrus, grass. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, high bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, building and lingering bitter finish. (3/5)

The brewer web site says “Someone told us that this should be labelled a session IPA. But, a session IPA is just a Pale Ale right?” which I find a bit puzzling. I mean, traditionally, I wouldn’t expect 6% to be classified as all that “sessionable” – hell, by Canadian labelling standards it’s considered “Strong Beer” – so I dunno why they don’t just flat-out call it an IPA, especially given the big bitterness. (I mean, yes, I could probably session it, but I’m a bit of a booze hound. Oh, well, nobody asked me…) Regardless of whether you call this an APA, ISA, or IPA, it’s a bit emphatic, with a distinctly old-fashioned malt dominance leading the way over a building and lingering bitterness. It’s OK, I guess, but not much better than that, and is hardly blazing new trails. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Beer Reviews