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Zero Issue Brewing Elysium (Issue #28) – Hefeweizen at 5.1% ABV

Zero Issue Brewing Elysium (Issue #28) – Hefeweizen at 5.1% ABV (C$4.25 at Collective, 473 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 3-Sep-2020, reviewed 16-Sep-2020)

Appearance: hazy pale straw with two fingers of fluffy white head, excellent retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: banana, bready wheat, clove, light plastic bandaid. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-low bitter, light spice. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry medium duration finish. (3/5)

There’s a slight phenol edge on the front end, but it fades relatively quickly, leaving a banana, bready, and spice note. Fairly easy-drinking, with balanced spice. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Marda Loop Brewing Co. Marda Station – American IPA at 6.8% ABV | 65 IBU

Marda Loop Brewing Co. Marda Station – American IPA at 6.8% ABV | 65 IBU (C$4.00 at Crowfoot Liquor Heritage Pointe, 473 ml, packaged on 5-May-2020, acquired 14-Sep-2020, reviewed 16-Sep-2020)

Appearance: hazy medium gold with two fat fingers of fluffy pale ivory head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: stewed fruits, caramel, doughy yeast, hint of pine and earth. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (6/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, sweetish sticky lingering bitter finish. (3/5)

Muddled fruits on the front end and a slightly sticky lingering finish. It’s all right, but definitely more “old-fashioned” than “old school”, and not really very West Coast-ish at all. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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2 Crows Brewing Matinee – American Pale Ale at 3.1% ABV | 24 IBU

2 Crows Brewing Matinee – American Pale Ale at 3.1% ABV | 24 IBU (C$4.81 at Collective, 355 ml, packaged on 29-Jul-2020, acquired 3-Sep-2020, reviewed 16-Sep-2020)

Appearance: hazy pale straw with one  finger of rocky white head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: bright citrus, pale crackery malt, mild resiny pine. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, low bitter. (7/10) Palate: light body falling off slightly thin, moderate-lively carbonation, off-dry medium duration slightly mouth coating finish. (3/5)

This is actually pretty decent considering the very low ABV. The aroma in particular was pleasantly hoppy and bright, and I was surprised the body didn’t fall off thinner and more watery than it did. There’s a little something in the finish that I wasn’t quite able to characterize – it’s not astringent, as such, but there’s a slightly sticky mouth coating thing going on that isn’t typical for APAs or Session Ales – but other than that it was pleasant and certainly easy to drink. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Wild Rose Brewery Industrial Park Ale – American IPA at 6% ABV | 60 IBU

Wild Rose Brewery Industrial Park Ale – American IPA at 6% ABV | 60 IBU (C$3.37 at Crowfoot Liquor Heritage Pointe, 473 ml, packaged on 15-Jun-2020, acquired 11-Sep-2020, reviewed 15-Sep-2020)

Appearance: slightly hazy pale gold with two fingers of rocky white head, excellent retention and well-defined soapy lacing. (5/5) Aroma: pithy grapefruit, resiny pine, caramel, tropical fruit, floral. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry moderate bitter finish. (4/5)

I like this – it’s “old school” without being too “old fashioned”. The label says there’s “just enough hops perfectly balanced with malt”, which I expected to result in something that was too malty for my preference, but that’s actually not the case, and I am forced to agree that the balance is pretty bang-on. Pretty drinkable despite the higher IBUs, verging on crisp, with a pleasant off-dry finish. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Torque Brewing Inc. Red Line – India Red Ale at 6.5% ABV | 60 IBU

Torque Brewing Inc. Red Line – India Red Ale at 6.5% ABV | 60 IBU (C$4.36 at Collective, 473 ml, packaged on 27-Jul-2020, acquired 3-Sep-2020, reviewed 11-Sep-2020)

Appearance: clear deep amber with three fingers of dense ivory head, excellent retention and heavy chunky lacing. (5/5) Aroma: resiny pine, caramel, oily citrus, earth. (7/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate-high bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium slightly slick body, moderate carbonation, lingering and building bitter finish. (4/5)

I had actually forgotten how much I like a nice Red IPA. This might not be “nice”, as in “plays nice with others”, but it’s also not terribly unbalanced – and, hey, I have a bit of a soft spot for the whole “hops and malt battling it out for dominance” school of brewing. Not to mention, it’s awful pretty. All in all, I can’t see how it comes away with less than an “A” rating. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Snake Lake Brewing Company / Eighty-Eight Brewing / S.Y.C. Brewing Co. Happy Trails (Snake Lake) – American IPA at 6.7% ABV

Snake Lake Brewing Company / Eighty-Eight Brewing / S.Y.C. Brewing Co. Happy Trails (Snake Lake) – American IPA at 6.7% ABV (C$4.36 at Collective, 473 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 3-Sep-2020, reviewed 10-Sep-2020)

Appearance: hazy pale gold with two fingers of fine white head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: mild, tropical fruit, citrus, floral, pale malt. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate-low carbonation, off-dry medium duration finish. (4/5)

A “Cross-Alberta Collab” involving three breweries, but I haven’t yet located the Eighty-Eight version. I opened the Snake Lake and S.Y.C. ones side by side so as to allow for as accurate as possible a comparison.

Neither completely blew me away. I found this one to be milder than its cousin despite having a marginally higher ABV, and in particular found the aroma to be oddly muted. However, it was easy to drink, with no real negatives, and all in all a solid effort.

I was expecting a closer race, since aside from having tried a slightly different number of examples from each brewery, their performance (high/low/average) has been nearly identical in my experience. But, the Snake Lake version is a clear winner here, beating the S.Y.C. version in appearance, aroma, and palate. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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S.Y.C. Brewing Co. / Eighty-Eight Brewing / Snake Lake Brewing Company Happy Trails (S.Y.C.) – American IPA at 6.5% ABV

S.Y.C. Brewing Co. / Eighty-Eight Brewing / Snake Lake Brewing Company Happy Trails (S.Y.C.) – American IPA at 6.5% ABV (C$4.27 at Collective, 473 ml, packaged on 26-Aug-2020, acquired 3-Sep-2020, reviewed 10-Sep-2020)

Appearance: hazy medium gold with two fat fingers of loose white head, good retention and spotty soapy lacing. (3/5) Aroma: tropical fruit (guava), plastic band-aid, white grape must. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate-low carbonation, off-dry medium duration finish. (3/5)

A “Cross-Alberta Collab” involving three breweries, but I haven’t yet located the Eighty-Eight version. I opened the Snake Lake and S.Y.C. ones side by side so as to allow for as accurate as possible a comparison.

Neither completely blew me away, but I was a little surprised and disappointed by the plastic phenolic edge on this one, particularly in the aroma. It wasn’t particularly intrusive on the tongue, but did again manifest in the finish, and this is reflected in the scores.

I was expecting a closer race, since aside from having tried a slightly different number of examples from each brewery, their performance (high/low/average) has been nearly identical in my experience. But, the Snake Lake version is a clear winner here, beating the S.Y.C. version in appearance, aroma, and palate. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Born Colorado Brewing Second Summer Citra Pale Ale – American Pale Ale at 5.9% ABV | 17 IBU

Born Colorado Brewing Second Summer Citra Pale Ale – American Pale Ale at 5.9% ABV | 17 IBU (C$4.55 at Collective, 473 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 3-Sep-2020, reviewed 9-Sep-2020)

Appearance: hazy medium gold with two fingers of fluffy pale ivory head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: tropical fruit, citrus, pale crackery malt, light sweaty funk. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-low bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate-low carbonation, off-dry medium duration finish. (3/5)

Considering it was near-freezing and rainy a couple of days ago, and we’re now entering a week or so of sunny, warm weather, the naming of this one is particularly apt. The beer itself? Eh. It’s not bad. I was hoping for bright and juicy, but instead I’d say it’s fruity and lightly funky – so, again, not bad, just not great. In fact, checking scores it appears to be my second least favourite of the dozen or so I’ve tried from this brewery. Which, I guess, again sounds like I’m slamming it, which isn’t my intent – but it’s certainly not as good as, say, Hyperopia or Born ________. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Persephone Brewing Company Born in a Barn Brett IPA – American IPA at 5.7% ABV

Persephone Brewing Company Born in a Barn Brett IPA – American IPA at 5.7% ABV (C$6.03 at Collective, 473 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 3-Sep-2020, reviewed 8-Sep-2020)

Appearance: slightly hazy brown-tinged pale gold with two fingers of rocky white head, good retention and spotty soapy lacing. (3/5) Aroma: wet hay funk, white grape must, brown apple. (5/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter, light funky tart. (5/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate-lively carbonation, off-dry medium duration funky finish. (3/5)

It’s a bit tricky to be certain here, since Brettanomyces is in itself a common infection for beer and in that context can easily give rise to undesirable characteristics, but I think this batch is damaged – if for no other reason than its brownish tea coloration. I’m all in favour of funk, and there are some suggestively intriguing vinous notes here, but ultimately this is unbalanced. Accuse me of being unsophisticated if you like, but I’ve tried some of the greatest wild beers around, and I think this one got away from them. I sink poured most of it. (11/20)

5.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Nickel Brook Brewing Co. Lost in Orbit – Session IPA at 4.5% ABV | 36 IBU

Nickel Brook Brewing Co. Lost in Orbit – Session IPA at 4.5% ABV | 36 IBU (C$4.32 at Collective, 473 ml, packaged on 29-Jul-2020, acquired 3-Sep-2020, reviewed 7-Sep-2020)

Appearance: hazy straw with two fat fingers of rocky white head, excellent retention, heavy chunky lacing. (4/5) Aroma: mild, citrus, tropical fruit, pale malt. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate-lively carbonation, off-dry medium duration finish. (4/5)

Not precisely the same flavour profile as their Wicked Awesome, but not far off a lighter, more crushable version (albeit one missing the resiny pine aspect). Light, yes, but still flavourful, and not watery. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com