Nøgne Ø / Bridge Road India Saison – Saison at 7.5% ABV

Nøgne Ø / Bridge Road India Saison Saison at 7.5% ABV

Pours a cloudy pale gold with a short white head diminishing rapidly to a thin skim, light lacing. Nose is Belgian yeast, citrus and piney hops, light hay and barnyard funk. Taste is mildly sweet, bitter and slightly sour and spicy. Medium body and slightly creamy, with low carbonation and an intensely bitter lingering dry finish.

A sort of strange beer, that grew on me after an initial period of bafflement. Ultimately, though, it’s exactly what it says on the label, having characteristics of both IPA and saison. I think I want another one…

7.5/10  #ryansbooze  ryansbooze.com

Samuel Smith Old Brewery Taddy Porter – English Porter at 5.0% ABV

Samuel Smith Old Brewery Taddy Porter English Porter at 5.0% ABV

Pours a deep ruby brown with a short-lived tan head diminishing to a thin skim and no lacing. Nose is dark roasted (almost smoky) malt, coffee, chocolate, dark fruit. Taste follows suit completely. Medium body, soft carbonation, and a pleasant short bitter finish.

Decent, well-behaved porter. Malty without being too sweet, dark without being too bitter, and a light body – all in all, very drinkable.

My 108th from the 2010 Edition of 1001 Beers, 102nd by the 2013 Edition, and 111th overall.

8/10  #1001beers   #ryansbooze  ryansbooze.com

Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery Shoulders of Giants – American Double/Imperial IPA at 10.0% ABV

Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery Shoulders of Giants American Double/Imperial IPA at 10.0% ABV

Pours a clear pale amber with a short off-white head diminishing rapidly to a thin skim, light lacing. Nose is intense pine resin, mango and grapefruit, caramel malt, and a little booziness as it warms. Taste is brief caramel malt before tropical fruit and citrus bitterness. Medium to heavy body, low carbonation, and a syrupy, sticky, spicy, bitter finish.

Big beer – really big beer. “BOTTLED FEB/03/14 RESPECT THE HOP” Seven months old and still lots of hop to respect! Aggressive nose and even more aggressive flavour, with a huge peppery finish. The 86 IBU’s are so busy pounding your taste buds into submission that the 10% ABV sneaks by nearly completely unnoticed. Oh! And the cap! “Without ME, it’s just AWESO.” Yes. Yes, it is. Thank you for noticing.

8.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Lost Coast Brewery and Cafe Indica – American IPA at 5.8% ABV

Lost Coast Brewery and Cafe Indica American IPA at 5.8% ABV

Pours a slightly hazy pale gold with one fat finger of loose white head diminishing rapidly to a thin skim, light lacing. Nose is dank hops (yes, pot), grapefruit, and light malt. Taste leads out with light malt before a citrus rind bitterness. Medium body, low carbonation, and a lingering bitter finish.

No bottle date (come on, people!) so I can’t evaluate how bright the hops are supposed to be. This bottle is dominated by dank weedy hops, smelling very much like the marijuana it’s named after. If that’s the intent, well, mission accomplished – but I suspect there might once have been some lighter citrus in there that’s faded a bit. Not a bad IPA by any means, and not quite as much of a one-trick pony as some of the single-hop ales I’ve had, but still a little one-dimensional.

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

New Belgium Brewing Company Hop Kitchen #6 / Odell FOCOllaboration Pale Ale – American Pale Ale at 6.7% ABV

New Belgium Brewing Company Hop Kitchen #6 / Odell FOCOllaboration Pale Ale American Pale Ale at 6.7% ABV

Pours a pale amber with one fat finger of pillowy off-white head, great retention and well-defined lacing. Nose is bright piney and citrusy hops, light malt. Taste is balanced sweet malt, floral and citrusy hops, tropical fruit. Medium body, smooth texture, low carbonation and a long bitter finish.

Really excellent APA! Beautiful bright hops balanced with just the right amount of light sweet malt. The beautiful dense head keeps the aromas and flavour from dissipating no matter how long you linger over the pint.

9/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Brauerei Heller Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Märzen – Rauchbier at 5.1% ABV

Brauerei Heller Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Märzen Rauchbier at 5.1% ABV

Pours a deep amber-brown with a thin finger of light tan head diminishing gradually to a thin cap and moderate lacing. Nose is dominated by mild to moderate smoked malt, with faint Bavarian hops in the background. Taste is sweet dark malt and moderate smoke, building as the pint progresses. Body is lighter than appearance suggests, with carbonation diminishing gradually from lively to moderate at the end of the pint, and a lingering smoky, bitter finish.

Not as smoky as I was expecting, to be honest. The bottle claims an “intense smoky aroma and flavour”, but I’d say it’s at most moderately smoky. It might very well be overwhelming or shocking to someone who wasn’t expecting it, but I found it to be quite well-behaved and approachable. Still not my favourite style, but I could see this growing on me somewhat with further experimentation.

My 107th from the 2010 Edition of 1001 Beers, 101st by the 2013 Edition, and 110th overall.

7.5/10 #1001beers   #ryansbooze  ryansbooze.com

BrewDog Punk IPA – American IPA at 5.6% ABV

BrewDog Punk IPA American IPA at 5.6% ABV

Pours a hazy gold with one finger of ivory head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, well-defined lacing. Nose is bright citrusy and floral hops and very little malt. Taste is similar, pine resin and pineapple, grapefruit and mango, with a moderate but not overwhelming pale malt background. Body is light to medium, with medium carbonation and a lingering bitter finish.

I’d love to try this fresher, this being three months past its best before, but the fact is, the hops are still reasonably bright even so. Pleasantly hoppy, without being a palate wrecker.

My 106th from the 2010 Edition of 1001 Beers, 100th by the 2013 Edition, and 109th overall.

8/10 #1001beers #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Brouwerij de Molen Blikken & Blozen – Saison at 8.5% ABV

Brouwerij de Molen Blikken & Blozen Saison at 8.5% ABV

Pours a pale amber with two fingers of loose light tan head diminishing gradually to a thin cap, medium spotty lacing. Nose is citrusy and fruity hops, moderate caramel malt, slight peppery bite, some floral perfume. Taste is caramel malt, dark fruit, slightly sour yeasty bitterness. Medium to full body, soft carbonation, and a slightly sticky finish.

I’m sorry, “saison”? What? Maybe, just maybe, you might call it an “Imperial Saison”, if such a beast existed (does it?) but otherwise I’d have to say this isn’t a saison. On a blind test, I’m sure I’d call this an IIPA/DIPA. That’s not to say it’s not a fine brew – it is – but I really don’t see how it’s a saison. The Amarillo and Citra hops work well in the aroma, and the high ABV is very well integrated in the overall flavour.

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Big Rock Brewery Cherry Bomber – Fruit Beer at 5.0% ABV

Big Rock Brewery Cherry Bomber Fruit Beer at 5.0% ABV

Pours a slightly hazy pinkish deep gold with two fingers of fluffy off-white head diminishing gradually to a thin cap and no lacing. Nose is muted, wheat, sour cherry, light malt, faint yeast and grassy hops. Taste is grainy malt, faint sugary cherry, very mild yeast and hops. Medium body, low sustained carbonation, and a slightly metallic aftertaste.

Well, I went into this not expecting much, and I wasn’t disappointed. No, wait, I was disappointed, but not exactly surprised. But I was smugly pleased with myself for predicting my disappointment and lack of surprise, so that’s good, I guess?

5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Beer Reviews