Baird Brewing Company Wabi Sabi Japan Pale Ale – Spice/Herb/Vegetable at 6% ABV

Baird Brewing Company Wabi Sabi Japan Pale Ale Spice/Herb/Vegetable at 6% ABV (C$4.29 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 330 ml, bottle date 26-Jul-2014)

Pours cloudy and heavily particulate-laden deep gold with two fingers of loose ivory head, excellent retention and lacing. (4/5) Nose is wasabi, green tea, citrus, overripe fruit, faint sour lactic. (5/10) Taste is moderate sweet, mild bitter, mild tart. (5/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, slightly spicy finish. (3/5)

Well, that’s weird. And not in a good way, either. The green tea isn’t bad, but there’s a distinct sour milk note that just isn’t working for me. I don’t think it’s the wasabi, but I’m not sure what it really is. Not doing it for me. (10/20)

5.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Mikkeller American Dream Gluten Free – Czech Pilsener at 4.6% ABV

Mikkeller American Dream Gluten Free Czech Pilsener at 4.6% ABV (C$5.09 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 330 ml, best before 16-Oct-2015)

Pours hazy pale gold with two fingers of rocky ivory head, good retention and lacing. (4/5) Nose is citrus, pine, biscuity malt, some floral. (8/10) Taste is mild sweet, moderately strong bitter. (8/10) Light to medium body, lively carbonation, texture somewhere between creamy and oily, lingering bitter finish. (4/5)

That’s got to be the best gluten-free beer I’ve ever tried – not that the bar was set all that high in that regard. I’d like to try the regular one for comparison, just to see how much of a hit the gluten-free incurs. A little too bitter to call it a sessionable thirst-quencher style pilsener, but quite good despite that – nothing wrong with having a nice, flavourful beer with a low ABV. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

To Øl Southern Frontier – American Pale Ale at at 6% ABV

To Øl Southern Frontier American Pale Ale at 6% ABV (C$5.79 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 330 ml, best before 8-Jan-2016)

Pours clear pale amber with one finger of dense off-white head, good retention and lacing. (4/5) Nose is toffee malt, pine resin, overripe tropical fruit, some floral. (6/10) Taste is mild sweet, moderate bitter. (6/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, lingering bitter finish. (4/5)

Not bad, but the malt-forward aspect isn’t great. There’s a note in the flavour that I suspect can be attributed to the malted corn. I guess I see what they were going for – a southern US style pale ale – but the fact is, it’s hard for me to smell corn and not think “crappy adjunct lager”. Bottom line, this one isn’t hitting on all cylinders for me. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Prairie Artisan Ales Birra – Saison at at 4.5% ABV

Prairie Artisan Ales Birra Saison at 4.5% ABV (C$4.12 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 355 ml, bottle date 1-Oct-2014)

Pours cloudy straw with two fingers of rocky white head, excellent retention and lacing. (4/5) Nose is lemon zest, bready yeast, white pepper, earthy funk. (8/10) Taste is low sweet, mild bitter, moderate funk. (7/10) Light body, moderate carbonation, intensely dry finish. (4/5)

Quite a decent saison – quite low sweetness, restrained bitterness. and a pleasant dusty horseblankety funk. Fairly middle of the pack in terms of price and quality for the fifteen or so saisons I’ve reviewed, and that’s reflected in the fact that nothing really stands out all that much, for good or for ill. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

To Øl / Siren Craft Brew 10 Finger Discount – American IPA at at 7.2% ABV

To Øl / Siren Craft Brew 10 Finger Discount American IPA at at 7.2% ABV (C$7.99 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 330 ml, best before 31-Dec-2014)

Pours cloudy pale to medium amber with one finger of dense off-white head, good retention and moderate lacing. (4/5) Nose is pineapple and citrus, pine resin, woody and earthy. (8/10) Taste is mild sweet, moderately strong bitter. (8/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, oily and bitter finish. (4/5)

Now, that I like. I’ve had Citra single-hop ales in the past that come across a bit sharp and uni-dimensional, but this one pulls it off, possibly because of the cedar notes from the ageing. Maybe not quite as good as To Øl Raid Beer, but they are definitely getting my attention. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Alley Kat Olde Deuteronomy (2015) – American Barleywine at 10.3% ABV

Alley Kat Olde Deuteronomy (2015) American Barleywine at 10.3% ABV (C$4.70 at Sherbrooke Liquor, 341 ml, no bottle date or best before)

Pours medium amber with a thin tan head diminishing rapidly to a thin skim, spotty lacing. (3/5) Nose is brown sugar, dark boozy fruit, caramel and toffee, some bitter chocolate, earthy vinous notes. (6/10) Taste is moderate to strong sweet, moderate bitter. (6/10) Medium body tending to the watery, moderate carbonation, off-dry mildly bitter finish. (4/5)

Meh. I dunno, barleywines just continue not to do it for me. I can’t quite put my finger on what it is about this one, but there’s something in the flavour that puts me off. (12/20)

My 143rd from the 2010 Edition (137th from the 2013 edition), and 153rd combining both editions.

6/10 #1001beers #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Wells & Young’s Brewery Courage Russian Imperial Stout – Russian Imperial Stout at 10% ABV

Wells & Young’s Brewery Courage Russian Imperial Stout Russian Imperial Stout at at 10% ABV (C$5.29 at Okotoks Co-Op, 275 ml, best before 16-Aug-2025)

Pours solid black with one finger of dense tan head, excellent retention and lacing. (5/5) Nose is roasty malts, chocolate and coffee, molasses, pear, vinous notes, slight smoke. (8/10) Taste is moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (8/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry mildly bitter finish. (4/5)

A big yet not overwhelming brew. The double-digit ABV is fairly well-integrated, and is apparent only a a mild warming. The slight smokiness plays well with the dark toasted malt flavours, tempering the intensity of the molasses. Feels like it would cellar very well, even though the ABV is not overly hot. (16/20)

My 136th from the 2013 Edition (new to that edition), and 152nd combining both editions.

8/10 #1001beers #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Mikkeller Spontanpeach (2013) – Lambic / Fruit at 7.7% ABV

Mikkeller Spontanpeach (2013) Lambic – Fruit at 7.7% ABV (C$15.10 at Sherbrooke Liquor, 375 ml, no bottle date or best before)

Pours slightly hazy pale gold with one finger of loose white head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, no lacing. (4/5) Nose is vinegar, sour citrus, peach and apricot, light oak, mild horseblanket funk. (8/10) Taste is very low sweet, moderately strong tart. (8/10) Light body, prickly to moderate carbonation, dry tart finish. (4/5)

Fruit flavours, such as they are, are very muted in this: it tastes more like a straight lambic. Not a complaint, as such – just an observation. I wonder whether a fresher vintage has more fruit? Regardless, it’s pretty decent even as it is right now. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Willow Park Wine & Spirits (2015-03-01)

Today’s haul – Willow Park Wine & Spirits:
Baird Brewing Company Asian Beauty Biwa Ale
Baird Brewing Company Brewer’s Nightmare Rye IPA
Baird Brewing Company Wabi Sabi Japan Pale Ale
Bomber Brewing Company / Stone Brewing Company Blood From A Stone Red Rye IPA
Brouwerij der Trappisten van Westmalle Westmalle Dubbel
Brouwerij Dilewyns Vicaris Generaal
Brouwerij Dilewyns Vicaris Tripel
Brouwerij Het Anker Cuvée Van De Keizer Blauw (2014)
Brouwerij Het Anker Cuvée Van De Keizer Rood (2014)
Fort Garry Brewing Company Kona Imperial Stout
Microbrasserie Charlevoix La Vache Folle ESB
Mikkeller American Dream Gluten Free
Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast
No-Li Brewhouse Winter Warmer
Prairie Artisan Ales Birra
Samuel Smith Old Brewery Imperial Stout
Samuel Smith Old Brewery Nut Brown Ale
Samuel Smith Old Brewery Oatmeal Stout
To Øl Dangerously Close to Stupid
To Øl First Frontier
To Øl Southern Frontier
To Øl / Siren Craft Brew 10 Finger Discount
Weissbierbrauerei G. Schneider & Sohn Aventinus Weizen-Eisbock

#ryansbooze

Brouwerij Oud Beersel Framboise – Lambic Style / Fruit at at 5% ABV

Brouwerij Oud Beersel Framboise Lambic Style – Fruit at at 5% ABV (C$18.60 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 375 ml, best before 13-Aug-2017)

Pours cloudy red with one finger of loose light pink head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, no lacing. (4/5) Nose is strong raspberries, sour cherries, mild funk. (8/10) Taste is very low sweet, mild bitter, moderate sour. (9/10) Light body, moderate carbonation, dry tart finish. (4/5)

That’s a heckuva nice fruit lambic. It initially smells like raspberry jam and the expectation is that it’ll be sweet – but it’s not, at all. Excellent fruit flavour and very mild sweetness gradually gives way to a traditional tart lambic character. Better than the framboises by Lindemans or Mort Subite, and comparable to the Boon – though definitely a bit short of the high water mark set by Cantillon. (17/20)

8.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Beer Reviews