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Deschutes Brewery Chasin’ Freshies – American IPA at 7.4% ABV

Deschutes Brewery Chasin’ Freshies American IPA at 7.4% ABV ($11.07 at Zyn, 650ml, no bottle date or best before)

Pours pale straw with two fingers of white head, excellent retention and lacing. (4/5) Nose is bright fresh-squeezed citrus, pine, tropical fruit, crackery pale malt. (9/10) Taste is mild sweet, moderate bitter. (8/10) Light to medium body, prickly to moderate carbonation, moderate bitter finish. (4/5)

Really good. Bright and citrusy hops, with just enough pale malt to support it. Glad I cracked it right away, rather than let the edge go off it. Those Mosaic hops are really nice – I find them better-behaved than Citra, which can have a bit of a harsh edge. (16/20)

8.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Porcupine Quill Brewing Company Quills Karoo Red – American Amber / Red Ale at 5.5% ABV

Porcupine Quill Brewing Company Quills Karoo Red American Amber / Red Ale at 5.5% ABV (2014 Advent Calendar #15, 330ml, no bottle date or best before)

Pours muddy amber with a short, short-lived loose light tan head, no lacing, some particulate. (3/5) Nose is caramel malt, brown sugar, sugared fruit, leafy hops. (6/10) Taste is moderately sweet, mild bitter. (6/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, mild bitter finish. (3/5)

Well, this one was never going to get me excited. “Oh, goody, an amber ale – I never get to have those!” And the appearance was less than encouraging. But, y’know, really not bad. The flavours, while not thrilling, are passable, and the carbonation remained fairly lively throughout, keeping it from devolving into utter boredom. There’s actually a bit of warming towards the end, too, so not a total washout. Probably doesn’t justify a trip to South Africa, though. (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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The Grizzly Paw Brewing Company Sour Beer IPA – Sour Ale at 7% ABV

The Grizzly Paw Brewing Company Sour Beer IPA Sour Ale at 7% ABV ($4.79 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 341ml, no bottle date or best before)

Pours slightly hazy pale amber with two fingers of off-white head, excellent retention and lacing. (4/5) Nose starts with pine, citrus, and caramel malt, giving away to moderate vinegar. (7/10) Taste is moderate sweet, moderate bitter, moderate tart. (7/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, moderate bitter and tart finish. (4/5)

That’s interesting: it starts off smelling like a normal A/IPA, with just a hint of sour underneath, but as it warms, the sour comes more to the forefront, dominating the smell and taste. By halfway through the glass, this is predominantly a sour ale, with very little IPA character. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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The Grizzly Paw Brewing Company Sour Beer Barley Wine – Sour Ale at 9.25% ABV

The Grizzly Paw Brewing Company Sour Beer Barley Wine Sour Ale at 9.25% ABV ($4.79 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 341ml, no bottle date or best before)

Pours muddy brown with a short beige head settling down quickly to a dense cap, thin patchy lacing. (4/5) Nose is dark caramel, faint dark fruit, mild malt vinegar. (5/10) Taste is moderate sweet, mild bitter, moderate tart. (7/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, mild bitter and lightly tart finish. (3/5)

Not as nice as their Sour Brown – the nose has an initial slightly off-putting character that I can’t put my finger on, but it grew on me. The ABV is also seriously hidden, to the point where it’s barely noticeable at all. The flavours are muddled, though, and it’s not something I’d go looking for again. (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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The Grizzly Paw Brewing Company Sour Beer Big Head Nut Brown – Sour Brown at 4.2% ABV

The Grizzly Paw Brewing Company Sour Beer Big Head Nut Brown Sour Brown at 4.2% ABV ($4.79 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 341ml, no bottle date or best before)

Pours hazy amber brown with a short tan head settling down quickly to a dense cap, thin patchy lacing. (4/5) Nose is sour grapes, slightly musty oak, faint balsamic vinegar. (8/10) Taste is moderate sweet, mild bitter, moderately strong tart. (8/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, crisp tangy finish. (4/5)

Well, I wasn’t expecting that! This drinks like a flemish brown – lots of sourness and a hint of umame. I can’t say I’ve found their other stuff to be all that memorable – I know I’ve tried, but not properly reviewed, some of it – but this is really interesting. I’d like to know what their process is here – I assume they’re adding pure culture in addition to the barrel aging, and that there’s no spontaneous or wild fermentation happening here. And there’s not a word about it anywhere on the internet. Bizarre. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Anderson Valley Brewing Company Highway 128 Session Series: Blood Orange Gose – Gose at 4.2% ABV

Anderson Valley Brewing Company Highway 128 Session Series: Blood Orange Gose Gose at 4.2% ABV ($3.70 at Sherbrooke Liquor, 355ml, can date 5-Nov-2014)

Pours hazy deep gold with a short-lived white head diminishing rapidly to nothing, no lacing. (3/5) Nose is bright orange soda, slight bready yeast and salt. (8/10) Taste is moderate sweet, strong tart, moderate salt. (8/10) Light to medium body, moderate carbonation, crisp tangy finish. (4/5)

Wow – that’s really nice. Looks and smells like cheap orange soda, tastes tart, tangy and mildly salty. This would be an awesome summertime thirst quencher, very sessionable with its low ABV. This could well be something that I need to keep a case of in the fridge!(16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Privatbrauerei Loncium Imperial Schwarze Gams – Doppelbock at 7.0% ABV

Privatbrauerei Loncium Imperial Schwarze Gams Doppelbock at 7.0% ABV (2014 Advent Calendar #14, 330ml, best before 25-Jun-2015)

Pours clear brown with a short loose light tan head diminishing rapidly to a thin skim, no lacing. (3/5) Nose is mild smoke, herbal, liquorice, coffee. (6/10) Taste is moderately sweet, mild bitter and smoke. (6/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, smokey bitter finish. (3/5)

Interesting and not unpleasant. Definitely an appropriate choice for an Advent theme and probably best appreciated by a crackling fire on a cold winter’s night. The body may be just a little on the thin side for a high gravity dopple, but still quite drinkable. The ABV is very well behaved and only becomes apparent as a gentle warming towards the end of the glass. (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Brew Dog / Mikkeller I Hardcore You – American Double / Imperial IPA at 9.5% ABV

Brew Dog / Mikkeller I Hardcore You American Double / Imperial IPA at 9.5% ABV ($6.50 at Sherbrooke Liquor, 330ml, best before 25-Jul-2015)

Pours clear pale amber with two fingers of loose off-white head diminishing rapidly to a thin ring, no lacing. (3/5) Nose is pine resin, pithy citrus, tropical fruit, caramel malt. (8/10) Taste is moderate sweet, moderately strong bitter. (8/10) Medium to full body, low carbonation, moderately strong bitter finish. (4/5)

Aww… Mikkel… I hardcore you too, buddy, but I’m not nearly drunk enough for that. Nice beer. Definitely better than Brew Dog’s Hardcore, but I can’t comment on how it compares to Mikkeller’s I Beat You since I haven’t tried that one. Lots of fun – plenty of dry hopping, backed up by a well-behaved caramel malt backbone. The lost-count-of-how-many-times dry hopping gives it a nice presence on the nose, but overall it’s not an aggressive palate wrecking hop bomb. I could go for another of these. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Anderson Valley Brewing Company Heelch O’Hops – Imperial/Double IPA at 8.7% ABV

Anderson Valley Brewing Company Heelch O’Hops Imperial/Double IPA at 8.7% ABV ($4.20 at Sherbrooke Liquor, 355ml, no bottle date or bets before)

Pours clear medium to deep gold with two fingers of rocky white head, excellent retention and lacing. (4/5) Nose is pine resin, pithy citrus, caramel malt, tropical fruit. (7/10) Taste is moderate sweet, strong bitter, some peppery spice. (7/10) Medium to full body, soft carbonation, strong bitter finish. (4/5)

Well, that’s a Heelch of a lotta hops, all right. Not bad at all, if a little malty despite the starts-with-C-hop heavy handedness. Somewhat lacking in subtlety, shall we say? A fairly standard DIPA without a whole lot to distinguish it. Not as good as their Hop Ottin’, but still pretty drinkable. Pretty, too. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Evil Twin Brewing Hop Flood – American Amber / Red Ale at 7% ABV

Evil Twin Brewing Hop Flood American Amber / Red Ale at 7% ABV ($4.50 at Sherbrooke Liquor, 355ml, bottle date 19-Jul-2014)

Pours hazy medium to deep amber with one finger of dense tan head diminishing gradually to a medium cap, moderate lacing. (4/5) Nose is pine resin, pithy citrus, caramel malt, earthy fruit. (8/10) Taste is moderate sweet, moderately strong bitter. (8/10) Medium to full body, soft carbonation, strong bitter finish. (4/5)

So in the past couple of days I’ve seen Mikkel redefine pale lager, two students of his redefine pilsner, and now Jeppe is redefining amber ale. I might as well just throw out the damn dictionary. Basically, this is an amber that smells and tastes like a DIPA. I can live with that. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com