Phillips Brewing Company Hoperation Tripel Cross – Belgian IPA at 7.3% ABV

Phillips Brewing Company Hoperation Tripel Cross Belgian IPA at 7.3% ABV ($6.40 at Solo Liquor Copperfield, 650ml, no bottle date or best before)

Pours clear pale gold with a fat two fingers of loose white head diminishing gradually to a thick cap, moderately heavy lacing. (4/5) Nose is grassy and floral hops, Belgian funk, indistinct fruit and spices. (8/10) Taste is moderate sweet, strong bitter, mild funk. (9/10) Light body, moderate carbonation, lingering funky bitter finish. (4/5)

This is probably on par with the best Phillips brews I’ve had so far. Decent balance of pungent hops and Belgian brett-like funk, with light malt supporting. Not as bright as Bottle Rocket, but the Belgian funk adds an interesting character singling this out from the rest of the Phillips stable. (17/20)

8.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Half Pints Brewing Company Weizen Heimer – Hefeweizen at 5% ABV

Half Pints Brewing Company Weizen Heimer Hefeweizen at 5% ABV ($5.40 at Solo Liquor Copperfield, 650ml, no bottle date or best before)

Pours slightly hazy pale gold with a short loose white head diminishing rapidly to nothing, no lacing. (3/5) Nose is wheat, lemon, banana, cloves, bubblegum. (8/10) Taste is low sweet, mild bitter, mild tart/sour, salt(?). (8/10) Light body, moderate carbonation, crisp tart lightly spicy finish. (4/5)

That’s different! Light and crisp, with distinct lemony notes and a crisp finish. I just went reading reviews and nobody else mentions it, but I swear this has got a lightly salty finish – heck, it’s almost a gose! I like this a lot, and it’s the second one from this brewery that I’ve really enjoyed – which means they’re officially on my short list for checking out additional brews. (17/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Samuel Smith Old Brewery Organic Pale Ale – English Pale Ale at 5% ABV

Samuel Smith Old Brewery Organic Pale Ale English Pale Ale at 5% ABV ($7.79 at Sobeys Liquor Silverado, 550ml, no bottle date or best before)

Pours clear pale amber with two fingers of loose white head diminishing gradually to a thick skim, light lacing. (3/5) Nose is bready malt, earthy hops. (6/10) Taste is moderate sweet, mild bitter. (6/10) Medium body, low carbonation, off-dry finish. (3/5)

Not much to say about this one – pretty standard EPA/ESB. The character is dominated by malt, and the low carbonation makes the body tend a bit to the flat and boring. (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Microbrasserie Les Trois Mousquetaires Série Signature Hopfenweisse – Hefeweizen at 6% ABV

Microbrasserie Les Trois Mousquetaires Série Signature – Hopfenweisse Hefeweizen at 6% ABV ($4.26 at Bishop’s Cellar, 75ml, bottle date 18-Jul-2014)

Pours cloudy pale to medium gold with one finger of loose white head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, moderate lacing. (3/5) Nose is yeasty wheat, banana, citrus and herbal. (7/10) Taste is moderate sweet, moderate bitter, slight sour, peppery spice. (7/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, crisp finish. (4/5)

A decent hefeweizen, if a bit on the strong and emphatic side for the style. The yeasty wheat is given a run for its money by the circusy and herbal dry hopping. There’s a little lactic sourness that helps the moderate carbonation provide a crisp finish, along with the building peppery spice notes. The moderately high ABV never makes an appearance. (15/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Brouwerij de Molen Rhythm & Blues Barrel Aged – American Barleywine at 10.2% ABV

Brouwerij de Molen Rhythm & Blues Barrel Aged American Barleywine at 10.2% ABV ($8.39 at Okotoks Co-Op, 330ml, bottle date 15-Nov-2012 / best before 15-Nov-2022)

Pours mostly clear pale to medium amber with one fingers of off-white head diminishing gradually to a tight cap, some particulate, heavy lacing. (3/5) Nose is oaky wood, red berries, caramel malt, vinous notes. (7/10) Taste is moderate sweet, moderate bitter, spicy alcohol burn. (7/10) Medium body, moderate to low carbonation, warming finish. (4/5)

Whew! Got in under the wire on that 2022 best before date… Pretty decent barleywine, and in fact has picked up a lot of oaky, vinous character from the barrel ageing. Barleywines don’t tend to be my favourite styles, but this one is quite interesting and drinkable. (15/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Laughing Dog Brewing Alpha Dog Imperial IPA – Imperial/Double IPA at 8.5% ABV

Laughing Dog Brewing Alpha Dog Imperial IPA Imperial/Double IPA at 8.5% ABV ($7.99 at Sobeys Liquor Silverado, 650ml, bottle date 22-Apr-2014)

Pours clear pale amber with two fingers of tight off-white head, great retention, excellent lacing. (5/5) Nose is piney and citrus hops, mango, caramel malt. (7/10) Taste is moderate sweet and strong bitter. (7/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, lingering bitter finish. (4/5)

Decent IIPA that tends a bit to the harsh. It’s hop forward, though, and even though there’s lots of malt, it plays the appropriate supporting role instead of coming to the forefront. (As I’ve said many times, I’m always disappointed by malt-forward IPAs or IIPAs, but this isn’t one.) Fairly sessionable despite the high ABV and IBU’s. (127 IBU? Yeah, I believe that.) OK, fine, it is a bit of a palate wrecker, but if you follow it with another one of the same, that’s not a problem, right? (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Laughing Dog Brewing Anubis Imperial Coffee Porter – Imperial/Strong Porter at 9.2% ABV

Laughing Dog Brewing Anubis Imperial Coffee Porter Imperial/Strong Porter at 9.2% ABV ($8.99 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 650ml, bottle date 25-Sep-2014)

Pours nearly opaque black with deep ruby around the margins, a fat finger of tight beige head, great retention, excellent lacing. (5/5) Nose is creamy chocolate giving way to dark coffee and dark roasty malt. (8/10) Taste is moderate sweet and moderate bitter, coffee astringency. (7/10) Full body, smooth and creamy texture, lingering astringent finish. (4/5)

Starts with loads of chocolate, and even a hint of milky creaminess, before the coffee takes over. The high ABV is very well integrated, with barely even a gentle warming on the finish to warn you of its presence. Generally pleasant, well-balanced, and well-behaved. The single biggest flaw – and it’s not a big one – is the way the coffee takes over with its intensity and astringency, through the middle and into the finish. A pleasant sipper regardless. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Le Trou du Diable La Blanche de Shawi – Witbier at 5% ABV

Le Trou du Diable La Blanche de Shawi Witbier at 5% ABV ($6.99 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 600ml, bottle date 18-Mar-2014)

Pours slightly hazy pale straw with a short-lived finger of loose white head diminishing rapidly to nothing, no lacing. (3/5) Nose is wheat, bready yeast, coriander, green apple, citrus, hint of bubblegum. (7/10) Taste is mild sweet and mild bitter, building peppery spice. (7/10) Light body, prickly sustained carbonation, off-dry finish. (3/5)

Pleasant witbier. Suffers a bit by comparison to their collaboration wit/pils that I had earlier today, certainly a much more typical to the style beer. Still, well-done, pleasant, and refreshing. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Le Trou du Diable La Divine Comédie – Witbier/Pilsener at 5.4% ABV

Le Trou du Diable La Divine Comédie Witbier/Pilsener at 5.4% ABV ($7.79 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 600ml, bottle date 9-Jun-2014)

Pours slightly hazy pale gold with one finger of loose white head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, moderate lacing. (4/5) Nose is citrus, mango, grassy hops, hint of banana, biscuity malt. (8/10) Taste is moderate sweet and moderately strong bitter. (8/10) Medium body, moderate sustained carbonation, lingering sharply bitter, sour, dry finish. (4/5)

Utterly unlike any pilsener or wit I’ve ever had – more like a saison, really. Very Belgian in feel, with a nice hoppy presence and just enough pale biscuity malt to keep the bitterness in check. I’m not detecting much wheat characteristic at all, unless it’s the little bit of banana I noticed immediately after pouring. The rye malt definitely comes through in the finish, though, contributing a nice lingering sourness to a grapefruit peel-like bitter. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Beer Reviews