Tasted Saturday night following the tapping of Great River's Dirty Blonde Ale. Josh and Andy had cooked a huge meal complete with organic mashed potatoes, brussel sprouts and for a main course, Back-strap from a deer Andy shot down in Kentucky. Jen brought this beer back from the Plainfield Binny's.
Sound: Not much of a pop when opening, but counter to what was heard, the beer did erupt in a cascade of froth when poured.
Appearance: Rubied red with a soft looking texture. Cloudy. Head is off white/light beige with a soapy texture, but well retained. Lacing is speckled and dry. Difficult to see any action within the glass.
Aroma: Fruity and zesty with a rich hop character about it. Definitely Simcoe used. Perhaps may come off as catty to some. I feel it maintains a tropical element more than anything. Fruit plums and tart raspberries.
Taste: Faint bready malt creates a foundation for the more up front and dominant characteristics of this beer. The hops are amplified, especially the Simcoe hops, as aromatics. Some residual soapiness in the aftertaste, but I find it negligible. Spicy with a bit of a burn at the end, not just from the alcohol, but also a product of the hops. More malt is tasted in the end as well. Overall, caramel/crystal malt is well masked by the hops. In combination, some dark fruit emerges as the beer warms up. Perhaps figs or raisins.
Mouthfeel: There is a bite from the carbonation as the beer leaves the mouth and the dryness kicks in. Medium bodied. Finishing dry and resinous.
Overall Impression: Different from a pale ale because much of the hops are at the end of the boil leaving a huge aromatic base, while presenting a rich malt flavor. Simcoe is very strong, and almost too much to have another, but for one beer, this one is very refreshing and drinkable, but of a different breed. Be prepared. Following a review of the brewery's description of the beer, I found that no such (Simcoe) hops were used, instead Chinook (understandably) and Cascade. However I still stand by my interpretation of the flavor.