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Boomstick Brewing Company Veto Power – Pilsner at 4.9% ABV | 23 IBU

Boomstick Brewing Company Veto Power – Pilsner at 4.9% ABV | 23 IBU (C$3.83 at NLC Stavanger, 473 ml, packaged on 9-Mar-2020, acquired 30-Jun-2020, reviewed 1-Jul-2020)

Appearance: clear brilliant pale gold with one finger of rocky white head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: honey, cracker malt, floral, grass. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-low bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate-lively carbonation, crisp mild bitter lightly earthy, spicy, and astringent finish. (3/5)

Yet another new (-ish / to me) Newfoundland brewer, whose name I’m choosing to interpret as an Evil Dead reference, regardless of whether or not they meant it that way. I’m glad to see they take their labelling seriously, including not just ABV and IBU, but also SRM and FTU (this being, I think, the first time I’ve seen the latter reported on a label). A solid effort, reasonably clean and crisp, with just a hint of astringency in the mildly earthy, spicy finish. It’s hard to be blown away by a Pils, and I’m not by this, but it is decent. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Collective Arts Brewing Surround Sound – American Double / Imperial IPA at 8.2% ABV

Collective Arts Brewing Surround Sound – American Double / Imperial IPA at 8.2% ABV (C$5.14 at NLC Stavanger, 473 ml, packaged on 12-Feb-2020, acquired 26-Jun-2020, reviewed 29-Jun-2020)

Appearance: hazy pale gold with two fat fingers of rocky white head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: coconut, grapes, citrus, tropical fruit, pine, caramel. (8/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate-high bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, mildly warming moderate bitter finish. (4/5)

Totally different than the last revision of this I had, the “V3” with Columbus, Simcoe, and Galaxy. This one is hopped with Enigma, Moutere, Simcoe, and Centennial, but I swear I’m getting more of the coconut character consistent with e.g. Sabro, than the vinous notes I usually associate with the ANZ hops. It should, however, be emphasized that I’m getting none of the negatives I sometimes associate with Simcoe. And perhaps I shouldn’t say it’s “totally” different than the last revision, because it occurs to me that the base feel of the beer is pretty similar: that of being pleasant and easy-going, until you go cross-eyed and fall over. Which, don’t get me wrong, I respect. Definitely worth the price of admission. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Quidi Vidi Brewing Company Unlucky #13 – American IPA at 6% ABV

Quidi Vidi Brewing Company Unlucky #13 – American IPA at 6% ABV (C$3.92 at NLC Stavanger, 473 ml, packaged on 12-Jun-2020, acquired 26-Jun-2020, reviewed 29-Jun-2020)

Appearance: hazy medium gold with one fat finger of rocky white head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: citrus, tropical fruit, pine, pale malt. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, short duration moderate bitter finish. (4/5)

I’m not exactly sure what’s so unlucky about this one. It’s certainly not QV’s 13th beer, though it might well be their 13th attempt at an NEIPA? Regardless, it’s a fairly straightforward example of the style, with lots of fruit on the nose and a restrained bitterness that makes it easy to drink. I could have scored it slightly lower, perhaps, because it’s somehow just not thrilling, but all in all it’s solid with absolutely no negatives. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Rough Waters Brewing Company Selkie – Wheat Ale at 5.6% ABV

Rough Waters Brewing Company Selkie – Wheat Ale at 5.6% ABV (C$4.71 at NLC Stavanger, 500 ml, packaged on 7-Mar-2020, acquired 26-Jun-2020, reviewed 29-Jun-2020)

Appearance: hazy medium gold with one finger of rocky white head diminishing gradually to a thin ring, moderate soapy lacing. (3/5) Aroma: banana, orange peel, wheat, light spice. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-low bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate-low carbonation, mild short lightly spicy finish. (3/5)

Not bad. I was a bit disappointed in that I’m really not getting any clear indications of the “late addition Azacca” hops, but it’s got pleasant aroma and flavour. The carbonation is a bit too low, which might be why the head retention is also pretty lackadaisical, but at least the spice, particularly in the finish, is restrained. Overall, it’s decent. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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YellowBelly Brewery Stay Where You’re At – American Pale Ale at 6% ABV

YellowBelly Brewery Stay Where You’re At – American Pale Ale at 6% ABV (C$4.60 at NLC Stavanger, 500 ml, best before 24-Aug-2020, acquired 26-Jun-2020, reviewed 26-Jun-2020)

Appearance: slightly dirty pale gold with two fingers of rocky white head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (3/5) Aroma: melon, tropical fruit, citrus, pale malt. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, mild bitter finish. (4/5)

OK, I get that this is a COVID-related take-off of their Come From Away, brewed for and sold at the eponymous musical, but I can’t stand idly by and observe the degradation of language without saying something. I mean, really: “Stay where you’re at??? What the hell do you call that?

Everybody knows it’s “Stay where you’re to! (Optionally followed up by “‘till I comes where you’re at.)

Ahem.

Anyway, beer. Yeah, it’s OK. Honestly, I think it’s pretty much identical to Come From Away, except a bit dirtier in appearance. I think I rated the other half a point higher overall, but I’m just not feeling that today. Decent, but hardly earth-shattering. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Central City Brewers + Distillers Thor’s Hammer Bourbon Barrel Aged (2014) – American Barleywine at 11.5% ABV | 85 IBU

Central City Brewers + Distillers Thor’s Hammer Bourbon Barrel Aged (2014) – American Barleywine at 11.5% ABV | 85 IBU (C$10.25 at NLC Kelsey Drive, 650 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 11-Dec-2016, reviewed 26-Jun-2020)

Appearance: clear ruby brown with a short loose ivory head diminishing gradually to a thin ring, minimal lacing. (3/5) Aroma: toffee, bourbon, vanilla, oak, dark dried fruits, toasted bread, mild nuts. (8/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, high bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium-full sticky body, low carbonation, bitter slightly astringent warming finish. (3/5)

Probably (hell, hopefully) my last kick at that cat for this one, which I previously reviewed in 2017 and 2019 – this time with an additional year of cellaring, and as a bourbon barrel aged variant. This is now over six years in the bottle, and much like last year is still hot, with a slightly astringent edge in the finish. As with the non-BB base version, the aroma is decently complex, but with more emphatic notes of vanilla and oaky bourbon. Not a radical departure from the base version, this remains a big boozy bastard that isn’t too hard to drink. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Central City Brewers + Distillers Thor’s Hammer (2014) – American Barleywine at 11.5% ABV | 85 IBU

Central City Brewers + Distillers Thor’s Hammer (2014) – American Barleywine at 11.5% ABV | 85 IBU (C$10.25 at NLC Kelsey Drive, 650 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 11-Dec-2016, reviewed 25-Jun-2020)

Appearance: clear ruby brown with a short loose ivory head diminishing gradually to a thin ring, minimal lacing. (3/5) Aroma: toffee, dark dried fruits, toasted bread, bourbon, mild nuts, vanilla. (8/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, high bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium-full sticky body, low carbonation, bitter slightly astringent warming finish. (3/5)

Probably (hell, hopefully) my last kick at that cat for this one, which I previously reviewed in 2017 and 2019 – this time with an additional year of cellaring, and also accompanied by its bourbon barrel aged variant, to follow shortly. This is now over six years in the bottle, and much like last year is still hot, with a slightly astringent edge in the finish. As was the case last year, the aroma is decently complex, and layers reveal during extended warming and sipping, but there hasn’t really been any further development. Bottom line: it’s clear that no amount of ageing is going to make this into something it isn’t – but what it is, is a big boozy bastard that isn’t too hard to drink. You could do worse. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Microbrasserie Charlevoix Dominus Vobiscum Hibernus – Belgian Strong Dark Ale at 10% ABV | 10 IBU

Microbrasserie Charlevoix Dominus Vobiscum Hibernus – Belgian Strong Dark Ale at 10% ABV | 10 IBU (C$15.41 at Beer Club Offering #12, 750 ml, packaged on 21-Mar-2014, best before 21-Mar-2019, acquired 11-Oct-2014, reviewed 24-Jun-2020)

Appearance: clear cola red with two fingers of rocky beige head, excellent retention and heavy well-defined lacing. (5/5) Aroma: complex, candi sugar, dates, vinous grapes and red berries, banana, caramel, mild spice. (8/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, low bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate-lively carbonation, slightly sticky warming finish. (4/5)

The Great Cellar Drink Down continues. What? I’m in quarantine in a (supposedly) sold house, so I can’t get anything fresh, and who knows how long my collection will go into a storage unit after we pack up here and find a new house – could be months, easily, subjected to wild temperature variations. No, better it end here, with dignity: cue the swelling orchestra.

So, I went digging deep in my cellar looking for another beer by this brewery, and discovered this one, which wasn’t even in my active inventory – turns out I had lost count some years ago. Oh, well – past me’s loss is present me’s gain, I suppose – like finding a twenty in an old suit. Despite its six years in the cellar, and the sticky mess on the side of the bottle, it’s not oxidized and I see no evidence that the cap seal failed. I will acknowledge it may well be past its peak, but that might be said of many of us, so it would be uncharitable to the point of mean-spiritedness to hold that against it. Complex yet mellow, with almost a rum barrel finish, this is an enjoyable slow sipper. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Microbrasserie Charlevoix Dominus Vobiscum Lupulus – Belgian Golden Strong Ale at 10% ABV | 70 IBU

Microbrasserie Charlevoix Dominus Vobiscum Lupulus – Belgian Golden Strong Ale at 10% ABV | 70 IBU (C$12.98 at Beer Club Offering #12, 750 ml, packaged on 13-May-2014, best before 13-May-2015, acquired 11-Oct-2014, reviewed 24-Jun-2020)

Appearance: clear pale amber with two fingers of rocky white head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: Belgian yeast esters, green apple, boozy floral & fruit. (8/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, high bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate-lively carbonation, sticky bitter warming slightly tart finish. (4/5)

The Great Cellar Drink Down continues. What? I’m in quarantine in a (supposedly) sold house, so I can’t get anything fresh, and who knows how long my collection will go into a storage unit after we pack up here and find a new house – could be months, easily, subjected to wild temperature variations. No, better it end here, with dignity: cue the swelling orchestra.

I had to dig pretty deeply into the cellar to unearth this one. (And in doing so, discovered another one from the same brewer, that I didn’t even have in my inventory! Score!) So this one has now been cellared for almost six years, and actually passed its BB date about five years ago – but come on: Really? A one year BB date? For a Belgian Strong, with double digit ABV? “I’m sure it’s fine,” he said, before uncapping it. And, it is. It’s nothing like the newer one I had fresh six years ago, mostly because there’s essentially nothing left of the hop character at this point. So, the citrus and pine have been replaced with Belgian esters and green apple, but there’s no hint of oxidation and the carbonation is still lively. A different experience isn’t necessarily a negative one. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Deschutes Brewery Black Butte XXVI – Imperial Porter at 10.8% ABV | 60 IBU

Deschutes Brewery Black Butte XXVI – Imperial Porter at 10.8% ABV | 60 IBU (C$23.00 at Zyn, 650 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 15-Dec-2014, reviewed 23-Jun-2020)

Appearance: deep cola red with one finger of loose light beige head diminishing gradually to a thin ring, spotty lacing. (4/5) Aroma: complex, cocoa nibs, red berries, bourbon, molasses. (9/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate bitter. (9/10) Palate: medium-full body, moderate-low carbonation, off-dry moderate bitter warming slightly tart finish. (5/5)

The Great Cellar Drink Down continues. What? I’m in quarantine in a (supposedly) sold house, so I can’t get anything fresh, and who knows how long my collection will go into a storage unit after we pack up here and find a new house – could be months, easily, subjected to wild temperature variations. No, better it end here, with dignity: cue the swelling orchestra.

The final in a four-vintage vertical, this is now six years in the bottle. My first time for this vintage, though it has a similar recipe to the XXVII from yesterday. It’s actually slightly smoother than that one, but it’s hard to know for certain whether that’s ageing or just recipe variations. Regardless, this kicks it up a notch to some truly next-level territory. I’m not actually sure I’ve found the sweet spot yet for these: they’ve certainly continued to improve with age thus far, so it’s at least conceivable that this improvement will continue. (18/20)

9/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com