Tasted Friday night while Jen and I were waiting for people to arrive for a small beer tasting event at our house. Thanks to Dan Nevin who brought us a six pack earlier that evening out of astonishment that I had yet to post a review for this beer.
Appearance: Pour was a light brown, while in the glass the beer settled to a mediocre mahogany color. Very clear. Head is strong and off white with a large accumulation around the inner perimeter of the glass.
Aroma: First off, I got a faint note of alcohol. As the beer rests in the glass, more of a toasted malt scent emerges, layered over a subtle hint of chocolate malt. Some fruit esters are even present, though to a moderate level.
Taste: Once the bubbly texture dissipates (distracting), one can pick out the toasted and kilned amber malts along with undertones of toffee. Together, mild chocolate is apparent along with an element of rootbeer/sassafrass. Towards the end, the fruit esters appear, somewhat related to pears. I also get tastes of cane sugar and perhaps minute additions of Fuggle hops. Maybe nutty, but the fruit tends to be over-masking.
Mouthfeel: Very bubbly and foamy across the entire palate. Due to this, the body is extremely light, nearing airy. A bit to round it out as is foams down the throat.
Overall Impression: I realize this beer can take different directions, depending on how you look at it. The obvious toasted malt and chocolate are a first thought, but once you acknowledge the different flavors separately, you can get caught up in the fruit and alternative sweetened flavors. I like this beer fore its many faces, while still being overall, a very inviting and all around good beer. Gateway for sure, up there with Fat Tire.