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Patrick Ryan
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Collective Arts Brewing Lunch Money Blond Ale at 4.8% ABV | 18 IBU (C$3.39 at NLC Stavanger, 473 ml, packaged on 21-Apr-2018, acquired 18-May-2018, reviewed 18-May-2018)

Appearance: hazy straw with one finger of loose white head diminishing rapidly to a thin skim, spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: grainy cereal, lemon, herbal, grass. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, mild bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium-light body, lively carbonation, dry lightly spicy finish. (4/5)

Pleasant and easy-drinking Blond. Nothing too exciting or interesting, but solid and well-implemented. A light blend of American and Noble hops balances well against clean toasted cereal grain. Refreshing and slightly spicy, but not overly memorable. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com
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Sawdust City Brewing Company There's No Way of Knowing Saison at 6.2% ABV | 15 IBU (C$4.70 at NLC Stavanger, 473 ml, packaged on 17-Jan-2018, acquired 18-May-2018, reviewed 18-May-2018)

Appearance: hazy straw with one fat finger of rocky white head, excellent retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: citrus zest, floral, white pepper, grainy cereal, light earthy funk. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, mild tart, mild bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium-light body, lively carbonation, dry spicy and lightly funky finish. (4/5)

The can calls this a “spring saison”, and that’s as good a label as any. Bright, almost juicy citrus and pleasant floral aromas dominate, with a little white pepper (grains of paradise?) spice for emphasis, on a grainy cereal base. I continue to believe that this style is more accurately done with a lower ABV, so this one is slightly high, but not to the point of adversely affecting its drinkability. A very pleasant quaffer for spring. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com
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Brouwerij Timmermans Oude Kriek Limited Edition (2014) Lambic - Fruit at 5.5% ABV (C$9.99 at Oak & Vine, 375 ml, best before 2024, acquired 3-Jul-2017, reviewed 18-May-2018)

Appearance: murky deep ruby with a short, short-lived fizzy head, no lacing. (3/5) Aroma: tart cherries, field berries, light oak & earthy funk. (9/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high tart, low bitter. (9/10) Palate: medium-light body, lively carbonation, dry moderately tart finish. (4/5)

Some might argue this is excessively tart to the point of being unbalanced, and I can see where that argument would come from. However, in its defence, the tartness comes across as being authentically fruity in character, massively dominated by cherry, with a hint of field berries as well. Light oak and earthy funk round things out and add a little welcome complexity. Definitely a sipper, and maybe not the most approachable beer out there, but definitely good stuff.(16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com
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Bellwoods Brewery Motley Cru (2013) Sour Belgian Ale (Tripel / Quad Blend) at 11% ABV (Trade - thanks, Beelzebeer!, 750 ml, packaged on 15-Mar-2013, acquired 6-Sep-2014, reviewed 17-May-2018)

Appearance: clear deep ruby with a short, short-lived fizzy head, no lacing. (3/5) Aroma: overripe cherry, caramel malt, port wine, oak, leather. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate tart, low bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate-lively carbonation, malty mild tart slightly astringent finish. (3/5)

Very interesting to compare this to its newer vintage. Admittedly it might not be a fair comparison, since this has had two years more in the cellar to (potentially) fade (not to mention being their first anniversary!), but how else can you compare vintages except with a vertical? The character of this vintage, though, is completely different than later years’, with far less complexity and far more malt character. It’s pretty apparent that the barrel program has developed by leaps and bounds in the intervening two years. That being said, there’s one aspect in which this is extremely impressive: the complete absence of any heat despite the double digit plus ABV. When your sophomore outing is this good, it’s clear that great things are in store. There’s a reason these guys have been my favourite Canadian brewer for a long time now! (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com
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Bellwoods Brewery Motley Cru (2015) Sour Belgian Ale (Tripel / Quad Blend) at 8.7% ABV (Trade - thanks, Chucksahoy!, 500 ml, packaged on 4-Apr-2015, acquired 17-Jul-2015, reviewed 17-May-2018)

Appearance: clear deep ruby with a short, short-lived fizzy head, no lacing. (3/5) Aroma: oak, red wine, field berries, leather, balsamic. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate tart, low bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate-lively carbonation, clean tart finish. (4/5)

Super mild easy-to-drink Belgian sour blend. It’s clearly mellowed significantly during its three year cellaring, and I suspect has probably lost some complexity in the process - but it’s now ever so smooth! Somewhat surprisingly, Brett hasn’t run amok here, either structurally in the head and carbonation, or in the flavours, which are at most mildly funky. There’s also no hint of oxidation, which is good given the time spent in the cellar. I’m a little worried about its older brother which I’m trying next, though - we’ll see if I’m as lucky there! (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com
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Folk/punk ("Folk 'n' Roll") by a Celtic band from Italy. The world is a strange place. Not necessarily bad, but strange.
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A rock version of an Irish classic sung with a Romanian Transylvanian accent? Sure, why not...
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Works way too well.
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Nickel Brook Brewing Co. Kentucky Bastard Imperial Stout at 14.5% ABV | 70 IBU (C$25.99 at Oak & Vine, 750 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 11-Mar-2017, reviewed 15-May-2018)

Appearance: mercilessly black with no hint of relief, one finger of beige head diminishing gradually to a thin ring, spotty lacing. (4/5) Aroma: bourbon, oak, coconut, dark chocolate, mild coffee, hint of nail polish. (8/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, high bitter. (8/10) Palate: full slightly oily body, soft carbonation, lingering and building bitter finish. (4/5)

Kentucky (bourbon)? Check. Bastard (almost fifteen percent?!?!)? Check. Sooo… yeah. Does what it says on the label, I guess? Oh, wait! Coconut! Bonus check! (Yes, OK, it’s so friggin’ boozy it kinda sorta almost smells like nail polish. Whattya want? You can’t make an omelette without cracking a few eggs.) Really surprisingly drinkable for, yes, a huge bastard beer. Kentucky-fried version of their Bolshevik Bastard, and a huge winner. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com
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