Les Brasseurs RJ Death Valley Ale Triple Houblon – Belgian IPA at 8% ABV | 50 IBU

Les Brasseurs RJ Death Valley Ale Triple Houblon Belgian IPA at 8% ABV | 50 IBU (C$6.86 at NLC Stavanger, 750 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 20-Nov-2018, reviewed 20-Nov-2018)

Appearance: clear deep gold with two fat fingers of loose white head diminishing rapidly to a thick cap, spotty lacing. (4/5) Aroma: citrus zest, biscuity malt, floral, coriander. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry moderate bitter mildly warming finish. (3/5)

I said it was clear, and the first pour from the 750ml bottle actually was. The second, not so much: more like super chunky style, with loads of heavy particulate. Not that I’m complaining; I do understand what “beer on lees” means. I know some folks throw out the lees, but personally I like to compare the more intense flavours and aromas that come from the lees. Not to mention, it’s against my religion to throw out beer. I take a bit of exception to the naming here: just because you use a three hop blend, doesn’t mean it’s a “triple hop” beer. At least in my opinion – and the prevalence of the biscuity malt supports that contention. On the other hand, I’m pretty sure the term isn’t actually officially defined, so I suppose you can mangle it however you like. At 8% ABV and 50 IBU, I definitely won’t argue with calling this a “Double”, but the floral yeastiness is definitely along the lines of “Belgian”. Whoever you call it, it’s pleasant enough, with a nice balance of spiciness and alcohol warming in the finish. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company Wild Oats Series 49º 54º Fogo Island Myrrh-Smoked Gose – Gose at 6.7% ABV | 35 IBU

Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company Wild Oats Series 49º 54º Fogo Island Myrrh-Smoked Gose Gose at 6.7% ABV | 35 IBU (C$6.28 at NLC Stavanger, 600 ml, packaged on 11-Oct-2018, acquired 20-Nov-2018, reviewed 20-Nov-2018)

Appearance: muddy medium gold with one finger of fluffy white head diminishing gradually to a thin cap and ring, spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: berries, spice, bready yeast, herbal, cedar, light smoke. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter, light salt. (6/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, sweetish slightly salty finish. (3/5)

I was really hesitant about this one, and only ended up buying it because I once lived on Fogo – which is, let’s face it, a pretty crap reason to buy a beer. (And, by the way, Fogo covers a range of about 49.6º to 49.8ºN, so it really should be “50º 54º”.) A very weird beer, and not entirely in a good way – leave it to a damn mainlander to mis-use Newfoundland ingredients. Myrrh? Really? I remember my grandfather telling us how as kids they used to chew myrrh (also known as “frankum”, which I presume is a contraction of “frankincense gum” and biblically derived), so of course we all went out and tried it. (shudder) Did I mention getting kids to do stupid shit is a fine old Newfoundland tradition? All in all, it’s not terrible – but it also makes me wonder if somebody else is taking up that fine old tradition… (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Creemore Springs Mad & Noisy Coconut Porter – American Porter at 5.6% ABV

Creemore Springs Mad & Noisy Coconut Porter American Porter at 5.6% ABV (C$3.83 at NLC Stavanger, 473 ml, packaged on 1-Oct-2018, acquired 20-Nov-2018, reviewed 20-Nov-2018)

Appearance: clear deep brown with slight relief around the margins, one finger of fluffy beige head diminishing gradually to a thin cap and ring, spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: roasty malts, chocolate, light nuts. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter, light metallic. (6/10) Palate: medium body tending slightly thin, moderate carbonation, off-dry medium bitter slightly metallic finish. (3/5)

Definitely far too light in the body for the style: flavours like this work best with a thick, chewy beer. In addition, there’s a slightly metallic edge in the finish, that I suspect is exacerbated by the thinness of the body. Worst of all, though, is the pretty much complete absence of coconut! I understand that some people don’t like coconut (those people are wrong, by the way) but presumably they wouldn’t be the target audience here in any case, so why not actually have some coconut flavour? I’d probably have scored both aroma and taste higher had there actually been any perceptible coconut – but there wasn’t. (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Good Mood Brewery Harvest Pale Ale – American Pale Ale at 5.5% ABV

Good Mood Brewery Harvest Pale Ale American Pale Ale at 5.5% ABV (C$2.21 at Collective, 355 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 17-Nov-2018, reviewed 19-Nov-2018)

Appearance: clear medium amber with two fingers of rocky ivory head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: floral, caramel, stone fruit. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter, mild spice. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry lingering bitter mildly spicy finish. (3/5)

Decent enough if you think of it as an EPA, even though it’s a style I don’t generally prefer. (Though, I guess technically the bitterness is out of spec as an English.) Definite bonus points for the peel-and-stick moustaches in honour of M/November and the associated donation to Prostate Cancer research! (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Coronado Brewing Company Never Better – American Double / Imperial IPA at 8.1% ABV

Coronado Brewing Company Never Better American Double / Imperial IPA at 8.1% ABV (C$4.55 at Collective, 473 ml, packaged on 15-Oct-2018, acquired 17-Nov-2018, reviewed 18-Nov-2018)

Appearance: clear pale gold with two fingers of rocky white head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: ripe tropical fruit, dank pine, citrus, vanilla. (9/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (9/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry medium bitter finish. (4/5)

Oh, I see: it’s not the beer that’s never better, it’s you, after a sip. Yeah, OK, I can buy that. I gotta say, I like this a whole bunch, even more than their new single IPA I had earlier this weekend. That’s hardly a surprise, given the hops are Vic Secret, Mosaic, and Citra – pretty much my absolute favourites. The notes across the top pretty much say it all: UNFILTERED | TROPICAL | DANK. To which I say, yes, please! The balance is superb, with lush tropical fruit, dank pine, and zesty citrus trading the lead with every sip. In addition, it’s almost a milkshake IPA, with occasional notes of a smooth vanilla sweetness reminiscent of added lactose, though I can’t find any brewer’s notes confirming that. You could do a lot worse than stocking your fridge with this as your go-to. (17/20)

8.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Ribstone Creek Brewery Double IPA (Bomber Series #4) – American Double / Imperial IPA at 8.5% ABV | 58 IBU

Ribstone Creek Brewery Double IPA (Bomber Series #4) American Double / Imperial IPA at 8.5% ABV | 58 IBU (C$8.59 at Collective, 650 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 17-Nov-2018, reviewed 18-Nov-2018)

Appearance: clear pale gold with two fingers of rocky white head, excellent retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: caramel malt, citrus, pine, herbal. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry lingering and building bitter finish. (4/5)

This one just isn’t wowing me. It’s decent, sure, but feels a little old-fashioned and heavy-handed. Certainly not as good as their Great White Combine or Prairie Pirate. On the other hand, it’s pretty approachable for a fairly hefty ABV, so there’s that. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Coronado Brewing Company Weekend Vibes – American IPA at 6.8% ABV

Coronado Brewing Company Weekend Vibes American IPA at 6.8% ABV (C$4.55 at Collective, 473 ml, packaged on 12-Oct-2018, acquired 17-Nov-2018, reviewed 17-Nov-2018)

Appearance: slightly hazy straw with two fat fingers of rocky white head, excellent retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: dank pine, tropical fruit, citrus juice & zest, clean pale malt. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate carbonation, dry moderate bitter finish. (4/5)

Awww yeah – Mosaic, Citra, and Simcoe? That’s my kinda vibe, even if I am working over the weekend (yet again). No hint of cattiness or green onion, but a definite hop spice on the finish. Not perfect – there’s almost an astringency in the finish that makes the think the malt bill is a tiny bit light for the hop load – but it’s definitely a solid enjoyable West Coast IPA. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Brauerei Fahr Oktoberfest Lager – Oktoberfest / Märzen at 6.1% ABV

Brauerei Fahr Oktoberfest Lager Oktoberfest / Märzen at 6.1% ABV (C$3.99 at Okotoks Co-Op, 500 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 25-Sep-2018, reviewed 16-Nov-2018)

Appearance: clear medium amber with one fat finger of rocky ivory head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: bready caramel, toasted bread, apple, grass, light buttery diacetyl. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry mild bitter slightly creamy finish. (4/5)

Yeah, I know, a bit late in the season for the style – especially when you consider I’m taking a sort of snow day! Sort of forgot I had this one, actually. Not bad overall, though I could do without the hint of buttery diacetyl. It’s not really out of place for the style, and it dissipates almost completely as the pint progresses, but it’s still a bit of an off note for me, especially on the front end. Overall, a solid if somewhat nondescript traditional Lager. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Founders Brewing Company CBS (2017 Release) – American Double / Imperial Stout at 11.7% ABV | 35 IBU

Founders Brewing Company CBS (2017 Release) American Double / Imperial Stout at 11.7% ABV | 35 IBU (C$7.99 at Oak & Vine, 330 ml, packaged on 27-Oct-2017, acquired 19-Jul-2018, reviewed 15-Nov-2018)

Appearance: opaque black with no relief, one fat finger of rocky beige head, good retention and moderate spotty lacing. (4/5) Aroma: bourbon, dark chocolate, coffee, oak, maple syrup, dark fruit. (8/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate bitter. (9/10) Palate: medium-full body, moderate carbonation, off-dry bitter warming finish. (4/5)

I figured this was an appropriate primer before going to the Canadiens game tonight, especially since it’s the last year for the Mountie on the label. For all that, though, I don’t think it’s as good as this year’s KBS. Visually, the head doesn’t retain as well, and the lacing is much less well defined. The absolute sweetness probably isn’t much different than KBS, which is just as well because there’s very little of the promised maple flavour, but it feels relatively sweeter because of the lower bitterness. Finally, and possibly worst of all (though, you understand, “worst” is relative here) the carbonation is a tad high, making the body feel slightly thinner than a beast of this stature should be. All minor quibbles taken individually, but enough to knock this down a fair bit by comparison to KBS. (17/20)

8.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Wild Rose Brewery WR4 – American Pale Ale at 5.5% ABV | 40 IBU

Wild Rose Brewery WR4 Oat Pale Ale American Pale Ale at 5.5% ABV | 40 IBU (C$11.59 at Okotoks Co-Op, 650 ml, packaged on 1-Sep-2018, acquired 27-Oct-2018, reviewed 14-Nov-2018)

Appearance: slightly chill hazed pale gold with two fingers of rocky white head, excellent retention and heavy soapy lacing. (5/5) Aroma: mild, tropical fruit, grainy malt, oats, grass. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (6/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate carbonation, medium duration slightly astringent finish. (3/5)

The aroma starts mild but grows as it warms. As it does, it’s hard to avoid a comparison to Froot Loops: you’ve got indeterminate tropical fruits, sweet grains, and oats. And, not unlike Front Loops, this isn’t actually terrible – but I could go a long time between exposures… (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Beer Reviews