Deschutes Brewery Mirror Pond Pale Ale – American Pale Ale at 5% ABV

Deschutes Brewery Mirror Pond Pale Ale American Pale Ale at 5% ABV ($3.50 at South Trail Co-Op, 355ml, best before 18-Mar-2015)

Pours clear pale amber with two fingers of rocky ivory head, excellent retention, good lacing. (4/5) Nose is muted, citrus and pine, caramel malt. (7/10) Taste is mild sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, lingering bitter finish. (3/5)

Quite nice. The aroma, though somewhat less muted than other APA’s, is pleasantly hop forward, but nicely balanced by caramel malt. The taste is again very well-behaved, balanced more towards hop bitterness, but with sufficient malt sweetness to support it. The finish is the only relative weak point in this brew, with just a little bit of an unbalanced astringency in the aftertaste. Other than that, a very mild and drinkable APA. I guess the solution is to not stop drinking them? (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Oskar Blues Brewery Dale’s Pale Ale – American Pale Ale at 6.5% ABV

Oskar Blues Brewery Dale’s Pale Ale American Pale Ale at 6.5% ABV ($3.50 at South Trail Co-Op, 355ml, can date 17-Nov-2014)

Pours clear pale amber with two fingers of rocky ivory head, excellent retention, good lacing. (4/5) Nose is citrus and pine, caramel malt. (8/10) Taste is mild sweet, strong bitter. (8/10) Light body, moderate carbonation, lingering bitter finish. (4/5)

Nice starts-with-C hops in the nose and pleasant bittering on the tongue. Big without being overwhelming, flavourful without being a hop bomb (though at 65 IBU’s, some might disagree with me). Not sure when you saw it off and call it an IPA instead of an APA – personally I think this thing comes close to an A/DIPA, to be honest – but it’s nice no matter what you call it. And for it’s target use – backpacking etc., where glass bottles aren’t an option – there’s not much better out there… other than Heady Topper, of course… or their own Ten Fidy… But this is definitely worth bringing a sixpack on your next hike.(16/20)

My 132nd from the 2010 Edition of 1001 Beers, 125th from the 2013 Edition, and 138th combining both editions.

8/10 #1001beers #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Brasserie Artisanale de Rulles La Rulles Blonde – Belgian Strong Pale Ale at 7% ABV

Brasserie Artisanale de Rulles La Rulles Blonde Belgian Strong Pale Ale at 7% ABV ($10.50 at Sherbrooke Liquor, 750ml, best before 31-Aug-2015)

Pours clear (turning cloudy) straw with two fingers of loose white head diminishing gradually to a thin cap, spotty lacing. (4/5) Nose is pale malt, mild Belgian spice, apples and light citrus, mild yeast and grassy hops. (8/10) Taste is mild sweet, moderate bitter, mild funk. (8/10) Light body, prickly carbonation, off-dry bitter finish. (4/5)

That’s a heckuva beer – very well-balanced and behaved, with a pleasant bitterness and not too much sweetness. There’s a little funk that’s almost Brett-like in character, in addition to some characteristic Belgian flavours and a honey-like note in the otherwise dry and bitter finish. Side note – the caps on La Rulles beer are made from the hardest substance known to man and can apparently not be removed intact. They’re, like, high-security tamper-proof caps, but given the value of the contents, I guess that’s appropriate. (16/20)

My 131st from the 2010 Edition of 1001 Beers (retired from the 2013 Edition) and 137th combining both editions.

8/10 #1001beers #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Unibroue Raftman – Belgian Pale / Smoked Ale at 5.5% ABV

Unibroue Raftman Belgian Pale / Smoked Ale at 5.5% ABV ($8.29 at Crowfoot Liquor Okotoks, 750ml, bottle date 14-Aug-2013)

Pours clear deep gold with two fingers of dense ivory head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, spotty lacing. (4/5) Nose is clove and banana, caramel malt, light smoke. (6/10) Taste is moderate sweet, moderate bitter, mild peppery spice. (6/10) Medium body, prickly to moderate carbonation, off-dry bitter finish. (4/5)

A robust, Belg-ish pale ale with just a hint of mild smokiness. The body was perhaps a little light for the flavour and slightly higher ABV, but at least the smoked whisky malt doesn’t come across as peaty. Decent, if not particularly interesting. (14/20)

7/10  #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Elysian Brewing Company Dragonstooth Stout – Oatmeal Stout 7.5% ABV

Elysian Brewing Company Dragonstooth Stout Oatmeal Stout 7.5% ABV ($8.39 at South Trail Co-Op, 650ml, no bottle date or best before)

Pours nearly pitch black with only the slightest hint of deep red around the margins, two fingers of medium tan dense head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, moderate lacing. (5/5) Nose is roasty malts, coffee, oatmeal, starts-with-C hops, some dark fruit and floral notes. (8/10) Taste is moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (8/10) Full and smooth body, low carbonation, lingering bitter finish. (4/5)

An almost schizophrenic brew: it starts out tasting largely like a typical oatmeal stout, but rapidly develops a surprisingly hoppy bitter character. That side of things is not without foreshadowing, because there’s actually a fair bit of typical starts-with-C hops in the nose, right off the hop. Interesting and atypical for any style of stout, particularly an oatmeal. (17/20)

My 130th from the 2010 Edition of 1001 Beers, 124th by the 2013 Edition, and 136th combining both editions.

8.5/10 #1001beers #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

YellowBelly Brewery Cranberry Apple Cider – Cider at 6.5% ABV

YellowBelly Brewery Cranberry Apple Cider Cider at 6.5% ABV ($11.25 at Dominion Stavanger, 500ml, best before 5-Mar-2015)

Pours clear amber-pink with no head or lacing. (3/5) Nose is funky apple, faint hint of cranberry. (8/10) Taste is mild sweet, moderate tart, mild funk. (8/10) Light body, moderate carbonation, tartly dry finish. (4/5)

Well, this is exactly what I asked for when I reviewed their Mellow Yellow: less sweet, more funk. The cranberry is quite light, adding little more than a splash of colour and a very mild aftertaste. Fairly vinous, almost like a Rosé in texture and taste. Probably fairly overpriced, too, but definitely a decent cider. I think I’ll cellar a second one for a while and see what happens to the funk. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Unibroue Trois Pistoles – Belgian Strong Dark Ale at 9% ABV

Unibroue Trois Pistoles Belgian Strong Dark Ale at 9% ABV (Via trade, 330ml, bottle date 10-Dec-2012)

Pours clear amber-brown with two fingers of light tan head, excellent retention, spotty lacing. (4/5) Nose is dark vinous fruit, brown sugar, some Belgian yeast. (9/10) Taste is moderate sweet, mild bitter. (9/10) Full body, moderate carbonation, off dry and mildly boozy finish. (4/5)

Nicely integrated and mellowed by a couple years’ cellaring. (Should pick up a couple more of these and put them down for longer, to see how they’ll change.) A very well-behaved and nicely-balanced strong dark. Nice beer for a cold winter’s afternoon, having just cleared the snow from the driveway! (16/20)

8.5/10 #1001beers #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Clown Shoes Beer Undead Party Crasher – Imperial Stout at 10% ABV

Clown Shoes Beer Undead Party Crasher Imperial Stout at 10% ABV ($11.39 from Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 650ml, bottle date 13-May-2014)

Pours opaque black with three fingers of tan head, excellent retention, heavy chunky lacing. (5/5) Nose is dark chocolate, coffee, boozy cherries. (8/10) Taste is moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (8/10) Full body, moderate carbonation, off dry and mildly boozy finish. (3/5)

A bit of a beast. Fair enough, it’s an imperial, but the ABV is still a bit… “emphatic”. Wonder if this would have benefited from more time in the cellar, to let the flavours merge and mellow a bit more. Not unpleasant as such, but a bit heavy-handed perhaps. (15/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Beer Reviews