Archive for the 'Alaskan' category
You know what’s tasty? Alaskan Pale Ale. This is going to be an abridged review because, frankly, there isn’t a whole lot to write about this beer that hasn’t already been said about great pale ales. It pours a light and effervescent pale golden color with a medium white head. It smells of light malt with some hints of that floral Northwest hop that I love so much. In the mouth, the beer isn’t that flavorful – it certainly won’t make the ‘extreme beer’ category. But, honestly, that’s the great thing about it. The flavor is subtle and refined and just plain tasty. The malt lends a mildly sweet canvas that coats the tongue. Mild amounts of fresh hop ride that sweet slide all the way to the back of the mouth, balancing the brew and giving it just enough punch to let you know that you’re drinking a real beer. The aftertaste is floral but subtle, the beer washing quite clean and leaving a crisp and refreshed sensation. Basically, a simple and tasty beer. I’d say this is a bit more laid back than even a Sierra Nevada, but a bit more pleasant and palatable. A far cry from the smoky intensity of the Smoked Porter that Alaskan is known for, and I’m impressed by the breadth that this offering displays…
This is a brew that I’ve heard about for ages. I read about it any any number of “top beers” lists. I read accolades for this beer from dozens of reviews. Hell, I even watched a 30-minute Thirsty Traveler show dedicated to this beer. So, while this isn’t available in my home state of NC, I was sure to pick it up during a recent trip to the northwest. And, for obvious reasons, I have anxiously awaited an opportunity to enjoy and review this beer. The problem is, I’m not really blown away by it.
The pour of this is, as expected, extremely dark. It doesn’t come across terribly thick, but it is a deep, deep brown with (in my case) an entirely non-existent head. The aroma of the beer is thick, smoky, and nutty. It really is a delicious smell, and reminiscent of dark woods and campfires. In the mouth, the aroma really comes through in the flavor. There is a lot of smoke here. In addition, you can taste some nuttiness and a mildly sweet malt in the background. In the finish, the smoke sticks around and creeps its way up into the nose. Again, this entire sensation reminds me of campfires and wintry vistas. The essence of these flavors consistently builds as the beer warms, and so I recommend drinking it around room temperature. Now, I know that, altogether, this has been a positive review, and it has been honest. However, my real catch on this beer is that the carbonation is almost nil. I agree that a beer like this doesn’t benefit from high carbonation. However, a bit of carbonation would’ve given this beer an additional kick that would have taken it from tasty to excellent. I’m hesitant to completely dis this attribute, as I think it’s quite possible that I received a faulty bottle. And, if that’s the case, then I gotta give props to Alaskan Brewing for making a beer that, even when completely flat, is still pleasant to drink. I really hope I have another opportunity to drink this beer so that I can see what the true story is with this and figure out this carbonation issue. Or, if anyone else out there has enjoyed this beer and could clear up this for me, I’d certainly appreciate it!
Unfortunately, I’m reviewing this beer from memory instead of live – I had it recently during a lovely meal in Washington state. I have been interested in trying some of the Alaskan Brewery’s brews since I watched a special regarding the brewery on television show called the Thirsty Traveler. It seems they have a good micro-brew feel with all of the processing and labor coming from friends and family around town. In the case of the amber, it seems that the labor pays off. This amber poured darker than I generally expect from an amber, and the aroma had a good deal more hop than I usually expect from an amber. These hops seem characteristic of Northeastern brews, and they’re a welcome addition. In the mouth, this beer was characteristically amber. In addition, however, there was the added kick of the aforementioned hoppiness, and also a subtle addition of spice to mellow out any hop bitterness. It is difficult for me to describe this one in more specific terms as I was otherwise occupied during my ‘tasting’ and didn’t bother to take any notes. But, suffice it to say that I remember it fondly and I feel safe recommending this as an exceptional amber brew.