Brouwerij Bockor N.V. Cuvée des Jacobins Rouge – Flanders Red Ale at 5.5% ABV

Brouwerij Bockor N.V. Cuvée des Jacobins Rouge Flanders Red Ale at 5.5% ABV (Price unknown, via trade.)

Pours mostly clear deep amber brown (some particulate) with a fat finger of dense light beige head diminishing gradually to a thin cap, light patchy lacing (4/5). Nose is dominated by sour cherry, with a hint of other berries and oaky wood, balsamic vinegar (9/10). Taste is mild sweet, moderately intense sour, just a hint of umame (8/10). Medium to full body, moderate to prickly sustained carbonation, with a tart, dry finish (5/5).

Now that’s what I’m talking about! I do love me a good Flemish red, and that’s a good Flemish red. Lovely sour on the nose and the tongue, finishing tart and crisp. Well worth the inevitable heartburn! (18/20)

9/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Hofbräuhaus München Hofbräu Original – Dortmunder/Helles at 5.1% ABV

Hofbräuhaus München Hofbräu Original Dortmunder/Helles at 5.1% ABV ($5.78 via Beer Club Offering #13)

Pours clear straw with two plus fingers of loose white head diminishing gradually to a thin cap, moderate patchy lacing (4/5). Nose is biscuity malt, grassy hops, and fruit (apple/grape) (6/10). Taste is mild to moderate sweet, mild to moderate bitter (5/10). Light body, moderate to low sustained carbonation, with an off-dry bitter finish (3/5).

See, what I like most about this, is that it reminds me of being in the Hofbräuhaus München. With a beer as big as my head in one hand, and a pretzel as big as my head in the other. Listening to the oompah band. While my nine-month old dances on the table to the delight of the German patrons. Other than that, it’s a pretty standard Helles lager – fairly light in body and character, with no offensive adjunct flavourings. (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Microbrasserie Charlevoix La Vache Folle RyePA – Rye Beer at 6% ABV

Microbrasserie Charlevoix La Vache Folle RyePA Rye Beer at 6% ABV ($5.74 via Beer Club Offering #12)

Pours clear pale amber with three plus fingers of loose light beige head, great retention, heavy lacing (4/5). Nose is sharp rye, caramel malt, citrus and floral hops (8/10). Taste is moderate sweet, moderate sour, and moderate to strong bitter (8/10). Medium body, moderate sustained carbonation, with a slightly sticky, dry bitter spicy finish (4/5).

That’s quite good. The rye works very well with the citrus and floral hops to provide a solid bittering counterbalance to a malty sweetness that might otherwise be overwhelming or sickly. Gotta say, I do tend to like rye beers in general and rye IPA’s as a sub genre. (17/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Molson Coors Canada Rickard’s Lederhosen – Oktoberfest/Märzen at 6.5% ABV

Molson Coors Canada Rickard’s Lederhosen Oktoberfest/Märzen at 6.5% ABV ($3.75 at NLC Kelsey Drive)

Pours clear pale amber with two fingers of loose white head diminishing gradually to a thick cap, patchy moderate lacing (4/5). Nose is corn, pale/caramel malts, faint herbal hops, and a metallic tang (4/10). Taste is moderate sweet and moderate to strong bitter (4/10). Medium body, moderate to low sustained carbonation, with a dry bitter finish (3/5).

Well, I’m hardly surprised. It’s a poor, pale macro imitation of a style that isn’t all that exciting to start with. Credit where credit is due, I’m kind of surprised at how much bittering there is on the tongue (thought it’s hardly present on the nose, which is very much an adjunct lager). Gets fractionally better two-thirds of the way through the pint, once the higher ABV has a chance to mellow you out a little. Better than a Molson Canadian, I guess. (10/20)

5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Coronado Brewing Company Orange Avenue Wit – Witbier at 5.2% ABV

Coronado Brewing Company Orange Avenue Wit Witbier at 5.2% ABV ($9.29 at Quarry Park Co-Op)

Pours clear (first glass) to cloudy (second glass) deep gold with a short-lived one finger of loose white head diminishing rapidly to a thin skim, patchy minimal lacing (3/5). Nose is orange pulp and peel, honey, coriander, wheat (6/10). Taste is moderate sweet and bitter, finishing mildly spicy (6/10). Light to medium body, moderate to low sustained carbonation, with a dry bitter and spicy finish (3/5).

Kind of disappointing, if I’m honest. The sadly deflating head sort of mirrored my perception of this beer. The first whiff of orange pulp and peel started to get me interested, but then it just kinda slumped. The nose started to come across as a bit perfumey, then the taste started to feel the same. Not the best offering from what I had considered a pretty solid brewery. (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Tullibardine (Black Wolf) 1488 – Scotch Ale at 7% ABV

Tullibardine (Black Wolf) 1488 Scotch Ale at 7% ABV ($7.69 at Crowfoot Liquor)

Pours clear medium gold with one fingers of dense white head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, patchy minimal lacing (3/5). Nose is sweet malt, honey, faint whisky and oaky vanilla (5/10). Taste is aggressively sweet with faint whisky notes, finishing bitter (4/10). Light to medium body, moderate to low sustained carbonation, with a lingering sticky bitter and faint whisky finish (3/5).

I’m not a big fan of scotch ales / wee heavies at the best of times, and this doesn’t come anywhere near the best. Aggressive sugary sweetness and only a hint of whisky conditioning, on top of a sweet malt base and no hop character. About the best thing I can say about this is, at least it’s not peated malt. (10/20)

My 115th from the 2010 Edition of 1001 Beers, 108th by the 2013 Edition, and 118th overall.

5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Elysian Brewing Company Superfuzz – American Pale Ale at 5.4% ABV

Elysian Brewing Company Superfuzz American Pale Ale at 5.4% ABV ($7.88 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits)

Pours hazy pale gold with two fingers of loose white head, good retention, moderate lacing (4/5). Nose is orange peel, pine resin and floral hops, caramel malt (7/10). Taste is hop forward, then moderate caramel and citrus sweetness, finishing bitter (7/10). Medium body, moderate to low sustained carbonation, with a lingering bitter orange peel finish (4/5).

I’m not sure what I was expecting, but that wasn’t it! That being said, the orange is actually very well done – its presence is more peel than pulp or juice, which works very well with the bitter hop character of the underlying APA. I guess I was expecting a sweet, orange juice-y character, but this is actually extremely restrained on the sweetness, imparting loads of citrus character without being sickly. And boy, does it linger! (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Selkirk Abbey Brewing Company Infidel – Belgian IPA at 8.2% ABV

Selkirk Abbey Brewing Company Infidel Belgian IPA at 8.2% ABV ($8.07 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits)

Pours hazy pale amber with two fingers of off-white tight head, excellent retention, moderate lacing (4/5). Nose is pine resin and floral hops, caramel malt, hint of musty funk (7/10). Taste is hop forward with moderate caramel sweetness, finishing bitter (7/10). Medium body, moderate to low sustained carbonation, with a lingering hoppy bitter finish (4/5).

I’m not sure that this entirely succeeds as a “Belgian IPA” – there is very little traditional Belgian yeast character here. There’s hint of cellar mustiness on the initial pour, but other than that, the nose and tongue are very much American DIPA pine resin. Not that that’s a bad thing, you understand, but I prefer accurate labelling… Though, I guess to be fair they call it a “belgian style india pale ale”, so one might argue it’s not intended to be overtly Belgian in nature. Pleasant enough regardless, and only a slight hint of booziness towards the end of the bottle.(15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Budějovický Budvar Czechvar – Czech Pilsner (Světlý) at 5% ABV

Budějovický Budvar Czechvar Czech Pilsner (Světlý) at 5% ABV ($3.22 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits)

Pours clear straw with a short, short-lived white head, minimal lacing (3/5). Nose is pale malt and grassy hops (6/10). Taste is mild to moderate sweet followed by mild bitter (7/10). Light crisp body, prickly carbonation dropping to moderate, with a dry bitter finish (3/5).

As lagers go, not bad at all. The Czech pilsner is light, crisp, and dry, with none of the rice or corn adjunct flavours that make North American lagers so utterly vile. You can see the family resemblance, sure – but this is the successful cousin, not the unemployable layabout in the wife beater. I could see drinking a very large number of these under a tent somewhere, preferably with live music and large chunks of some mammal or other being singed over open flame. Needs to be drunk cold and quick – it does not improve with warming, or if one lets the carbonation drop. (12/20)

My 114th from the 2010 Edition of 1001 Beers, 107th by the 2013 Edition, and 117th overall.

6/10 #1001beers #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Big Rock Brewery Abandoned Abbey – Belgian Strong Dark Ale at 9.2% ABV

Big Rock Brewery Abandoned Abbey Belgian Strong Dark Ale at 9.2% ABV ($6.45 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits)

Pours a clear amber-brown with a short, short-lived off-white head, no lacing. Nose is dark fruits, toffee, and Belgian yeast (faint cloves). Taste is sweetly malty, moderate bitter. Medium to heavy body, low sustained carbonation, with an off-dry, slightly boozy finish.

Hey! Big Rock nailed one! I know I’ve been a bit hard on some of their recent offerings, but to be fair, they really weren’t all that great. You’ve got to expect some growing pains when you step outside your comfort zone and start producing the same styles as world-class established brands, and their Belgian styles really haven’t been anything too exciting. But this? This is all right. Not my favourite style, but as the weather cools, I become more amenable to fruitcake in a glass, and that’s what you get here. I think it’s actually better than e.g. Floreffe Prima, and that’s actually from Belgium, so well done there! I’d call it just a little bit short of e.g. Delrium Nocturnum or a Chimay Blue – definitely a respectable BSDA.

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Beer Reviews