Archive for the 'Otter Creek' category
Frankly, Otter Creek and I have a rocky past. They’ve put out a couple of beers that I consider worthwhile, but they’ve also put out a lot that I wouldn’t hit a dog in the butt with. For this reason, I almost never seek out an Otter Creek brew. However, this month, the Beer of the Month Club hooked us up with this Otter Creek Pale Ale. So, I’m of mixed mind. Frankly, BOMC hasn’t yet sent us a ‘bad’ beer. But, I know that Otter Creek is capable of making a bad beer. So, we’ll see how this one works out…
This beer pours a rather attractive dark golden brown with a very thin off-white head. The aroma of this brew is rather sweet and has a certain cola aspect to it that is unexpected. Overall, however, it’s not an overpowering aroma, and it comes across fairly pleasant. In the mouth, this beer is good, but not great. There is a fairly unilateral flavor to the beer that doesn’t evolve heavily through the mouth. This flavor still has aspects of cola to it, which gives it a decent kick and a sweetness that is mitigated by a rooty, earthy tone. There is also some hop bitterness here and a fair dose of bready flavors. So, in a nutshell, it’s a typical pale ale, but darker with this cola kick that is hard to describe. Personally, I think there are better pale ales out there, but this really isn’t so bad. If you come across one, there’s no reason you’d need to turn it away…
So, me and Otter Creek have a rocky past. It’s not that I don’t like ‘em, but it is that I don’t like a lot of their beers. However, in the midst of these beers that I’m not so fond of, they can occasionally pop out with something I really dig. For instance, their whole line of Wolaver’s organic brews made me want to ditch them permanently. But, then I tried the Holy Otter tripel, and I was back in their pants all of a sudden. And, that’s sorta how our relationship has been – a series of disappointments interspersed with rare moments of transcendence. And, so we come to this, the Copper Ale – a simple genre and something that should be easy to get right – let’s see how it goes…
As expected, it pours copper, and it smells of sweet malt – about how you expect a copper ale to be, although more on the malty side than most. In the mouth this is, actually, quite tasty. It is very malty – moreso than most copper ales I’ve tasted. There is also a light metallic taste and maybe just a hint of cinnamon. What this reminds me of is some sort of sweet pastry. It isn’t too sweet, but it certainly isn’t a beer you’d consider to be smooth and refreshing. No, it sits more on the dessert side of things. Honestly, this isn’t a beer that I’d grab for often, as it’s a bit too decadent in taste, but at the same time a bit too mundane in flavor. But, that isn’t to say it’s bad. I feel like, for it’s pricepoint, this is actually a decent beer, and one that I would place in Otter Creek’s favor.
This beer is disappointing like Christian Laettner. It has all the ingredients of being excellent, but sticks them in all the wrong places, winding up performing like an offensive hack. The pleasing flavors of coffee, dark chocolate, and caramel somehow get misplaced to form a flavor that you wish to soon leave your mouth. I’ll give this one a miss until the brewmaster ties it all together a bit tighter
I was inspired to try this beer after keeping up with the series of “50 beers to drink before you die” over at The Brew Site. The Sahti variety of beers are something that I am totally unfamiliar with, and it sounds like something that an aspiring beer nerd like myself should probably try out. Fortunately, for me, my knowledge of this variety of beer coincides nicely with an offering from Otter Creek (the only such offering of a Sahti beer that I know of in the US of A).
The pour of this beer is a cloudy pale gold with a slight whitish head. The aroma is rich and malty with just a slight fruity sweetness on the side. In the mouth, the beer tastes similar to a malty pilsner with an exotic kick to it. The initial flavor is slightly sweet with a fruity tint that probably comes from the juniper berries & branches that are used to filter the malt from the wort. On through the mouth, there is a continued richness along with a tart tanginess from the addition of rye. All in all, it’s both a rich and refreshing beer. The richness stems from the combination of grains and the rich malt flavor. The refreshing-ness comes from the juniper additions that give the flavor a tinge that, as the bottle says, is almost reminiscent of a fruity gin flavor. I would really love to taste an authentic Sahti beer to compare, as this is a great brew, but might well have been American-ized a bit before making it to my glass. If any of y’all know of a Sahti beer that is available state-side, I’d love to hear about it!
Otter Creek, why do you have to be so inconsistent! With you guys, I just never know whether the beer will be great or it’ll be abhorrent. It’s similar to a less consequential game of Russian Roulette every time I pop the cap (no pun intended). Well, I’m sure you, the reader, are anxious to know how this round of roulette went. You’ll be glad to know that this one was a success. The Otter Creek Copper is an excellent amber ale. The pour is slightly darker than you get from many ambers and the aroma is rich, spicy, and dark. In the mouth, this is a very full-bodied amber with a silky mouthfeel. Initially this is just a refreshing smooth ale. However, as it moves through the mouth, it develops into a rather complex beer with lots of flavorful grains, a mild hop presence, and just a hint of spice. The primary player is the dark grain that lends this a very rich flavor and sticks with you throughout the aftertaste. This gives the beer a presence that I can only describe as ‘meaty’ – sounds weird, but makes a mighty fine brew. Now, Otter Creek, if you could just make all of your beers this full and tasty, we could play together a lot more often.
Okay – we cheated a bit. This one is actually a big-bottle IPA that you probably can’t find at your local grocer. When we decided to do straight-up standard IPAs, we put away a few of the big boys (including the DFH 120-minute, the Weyerbacher IIIPA, and the Stone Ruination IPA). But, gees, Otter Creek did so terrible with the Wolaver’s that we really wanted to give them another chance, so we pulled this one into the mix. The good news is that this isn’t a re-bottled version of the Wolaver’s. Actually, this is fairly drinkable. The aroma is, again, a bit too malty for its britches. But, there is just a hint of candi sugar and hops there to help balance it out. In the mouth, the beer is a bit sweeter than our previous IPAs – really, it’s almost like they sugared this beer – and it exhibits a light hoppiness. They could’ve gone a bit heavier with the hop here – it’s just a subtle taste. But, altogether, it blends well. Honestly, to me, this tastes like a tripel/IPA blend. Two good varieties, and they mix to make a pretty tasty brew, but I wish they had been a bit more staunch with the IPA interpretation. A pretty good beer, but I’m not quite sure how I’ll position it relative to the other competitors yet. -Ben
This seems to be the most “balanced” of the IPAs we have had tonight. There is a sweet maltiness that is combined with a moderate hop flavor. The metallic aftertaste is more noticeable in this beer than in others but it isn’t overbearing. I should note that Otter Creek also makes Wolaver’s so given the drinkability of this brew they have redeemed themselves after the debacle that is the Wolaver’s IPA. As with all others we have tasted tonight this isn’t my favorite IPA but I should add it isn’t half bad. I would buy this beer again assuming I can still find it. -Matt
What in the bloody hell is this?!? This is certified organic and I’ll put my stamp of disapproval on it and say that it is certified terrible. There is nothing about this beer that comes remotely close to being an IPA other than that fact that hops were added, just like any other style beer, and yeast was used during fermentation. I kid you not, it smells like walnuts or almonds and it tastes like a lager. Tell you what: take a bunch brewing ingredients, throw ‘em a pot, boil it and let it sit for a while, carbonate said liquid, then pawn it off as any number of beer styles without regard to the actual characteristics and you will have done no more (or less) than the folks at Wolaver’s. -Matt
I am insulted by this beer. This beer is an insult to my knowledge of beer, and the fact that Wolaver’s thinks they can fool me into calling this an IPA is a personal affront. This beer exhibits tons of malt and nothing else. Perhaps they had a hard time finding organic hops to use, because, frankly, I can’t taste any hop at all. This is actually made by Otter Creek, which is a bummer, because Otter Creek is already on thin ice with me due to their lukewarm past performance. Allow me to finish with an anecdote – One time, I paid about $2 for a chicken sandwich from a certain fast-food restaurant. Upon taking said sandwich back to my table, I took a bite and swallowed, only afterwards realizing that the chicken on the sandwich was completely uncooked. It was disgusting and mildly nauseating. I think that the $2 spent on that sandwich was money better spent than the $1.79 I paid for this beer. It’s that bad. -Ben
Matt - September 22, 2006
I think Otter Creek may have missed the mark on this one. There is a harsh, ashy aftertaste that masks any good flavors this beer may have to offer. I taste peanuts, or maybe some thing comparable to burnt pumpkin seeds. This brew over stimulates the bitter tastebuds making it difficult to drink. I’m glad I only have to drink 6 oz of this is ale because I don’t see myself stomaching a whole bottle, let alone a 6-pack. I’m sorry Otter Creek but I’m afraid you may have secured last place in this competition. -Matt
Oktoberfest beers are some of the hardest for me to review, because the flavors are just so hard to describe by any layman’s terms. This one smells quite malty, looks a mild amber, and tastes slightly overpowering. The bad news is that the overpowering taste isn’t necessarily a good one. There’s a noticeable carbonation burn on the tip of the tongue the eases into a hoppy bitterness around the middle of the mouth. Then, suddenly, you’re hit with a shock of flavor towards the back of the tongue. It comes very quickly, and I can’t quite place the flavor. Matt might be on to something with the ‘burnt pumpkin seed’ descriptor. Regardless, I don’t find it very pleasant – it tastes harsh, and it sticks around a bit too long. While this beer definitely improves with a higher temperature, I don’t think it’ll be a favorite of mine. -Ben
The Holy Otter is a belgian style triple ale from the World Tour series. There is an art to making a good triple so I’m interested to see if the Otter Creek brewmasters can live up the expectations set forth by the belgian monks many moons ago. It pours a golden yellow with a scant amount of head that clings to the side of the glass. The smell is heavy with coriander and ginger with a hint of malty goodness. The inital taste is much the same but just when you think your tastebuds have reached their limit a “floral arrangement” flavor emerges. It’s a very nice, refreshing end to a complex brew. Yet another intriguing characteristic, shared by this beer and many good triples, is the ability to warm the stomach. You truly experience this beer from the beginning to the end of the digestive tract. I think the Holy Otter is an excellent representation of a belgian triple and one that the monks would be proud of. This happened to be my first Otter Creek brew but certainly won’t be my last.