Archive for the 'Butte Creek' category
Butte Creek, you have a terrifically awkward name for your brewing company. Even if you made the best beer ever known to man I still would have difficulty fully respecting you. The last Butte Creek beer I has was the Train Wreck and it was exactly that, a horrific train wreck in my mouth. So tonight I’m praying to the Butte Creek beer gods that the IPA is more to my liking.
Turns out this is a decent version of an IPA. I looks like a typical IPA and smells fresh with hop and buttered sweet bread. There’s nothing outstanding or unexpected about the taste, it’s wrought with floralness and finishes with a sweet malt. the mouthfeel is cleaner and less abrasive than some IPAs. So if I had to identify a good characteristic, which I guess I should, that would be it. This could be due to the beer’s smaller abv (6.6%). The aftertaste is mildly metallic and very tolerable, unlike the punch in the face associated with the Train Wreck. There are much better IPAs out there, but there are also much worse; so if your are a middle of the road kind of person you may like this beer.
The self proclaimed “organic pioneers” have created a barleywine style ale that they say “you’ll be lucky…” to walk away from. Barleywine ales are typically very robust and this is no exception as it weighs in at 10.6% abv. With these types of beers there seems to be a fine line between a complex, well balanced mouthfeel and a pseudo liquor shot with very little beer-like qualities. I tend to shy away from the barleywines because they tend to dance on the side of the latter due to the small amount of flavors created during the brewing process. However, there are some out there that are palatable and I am very happy when I find them.
This beer pours a deep, dirty copper. There is a considerable amount of debris scattered throughout the glass, adding to its haziness. The smell is a mixture of grassiness and pineapple. There is a significant hop presence in the aroma which usually leads to a hop explosion in the mouth. Such is not the case in this instance. There is more of a roasted malt flavor to this beer. The front of the mouth is privy to toasted almonds which evolve into a soft, bready flavor in the back. There is a spiciness that is present at all times but it is more prominent in the middle of the mouth, more specifically on the hard palate up top. There is also a noticeable aftertaste that hearkens back to the initial toasted almonds. All told this beer is quite flavor full and while you can still discern the high abv it isn’t totally overwhelming. You kinda know what you’re getting into from the beginning with this beer so I can’t take off points because I taste alcohol. This is certainly a beer-flavored train racing out of control in route to smashing into your tastebuds. This surely isn’t my favorite beer but I respect it for not trying to hide what it is.
This is the 2nd beer I’ve tasted from this particular brewery that just showed up on NC shelves a bit over a month ago. I was fairly pleased with the first, and I’m rather intrigued by the second. Frankly, I haven’t seen too many Old Ales on shelves until the last several months – it seems like it’s a new trend that’s springing up for the American palate. I’m still skeptical of the specificity of the Old Ale, as it seems a rather vague category. But, that may just be my lack of education talking! Either way, I’ll give it the college try.
The pour of this beer is a very dark ruby that is quite clear with absolutely zero lasting head. The aroma of this really jumps out at you. It is chock full of horehound candy and anise, with a malty sweet undercurrent. In the mouth, the overwhelming effect is of sweetness. There is a ton of dark fruit in this, reminiscent of dark cherry and some grape. There is also the perpetual kick of the anise and horehound presences from the aroma. Beneath all of this is that dark malty sweetness. This is very much like a neutered barleywine ale. The predominant difference is that there is zero hop presence to this, and the flavor isn’t quite as sharp as a barleywine. So, what you end up with is a remarkably dark and fruity sweet ale that goes down quite easy. This is really a tasty brew, and has a lot of flavor going on, but it presents it in a very un-intimidating fashion. I’m fairly impressed with this showing from Butte Creek.
I have returned! I know you guys probably didn’t even notice I was gone since Matt has been doing tons of beer reviews to keep you entertained in my absence. Nevertheless, I’m glad to say that I’ve returned from the wilds of the western US and I’m hoping to get back on the bandwagon and drink a few beers. I’ve got a fridge full of new stuff and a fresh shipment from the Beer of the Month club, all of which need some of my attention over the next few weeks – it’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotta’ do it!
Since I had a few tasty northwestern brews during my travels, I decided to start out upon my return with another new-to-NC brew from California. This is a pale ale from Butte Creek that is named after a northern Californian snow-capped peak. But, really, who cares what is was named after? I suppose it’s the beer we’re worried about. My first impression of the beer is that it wasn’t exactly what I had in mind. That’s not to say it’s bad – but, I do think it may be mis-categorized. When I saw that this was an extra pale ale, I was looking forward to a nice pale hoppy brew something like a Sierra Nevada plus 10. However, what I actually got is more akin to an Extra Special Bitter – a slightly hoppy and quite malty sweet beer. This pours an attractive amber golden that seems mostly filtered but just a bit cloudy. The aroma is quite bready sweet with very little hop involved. In the mouth, this tastes about like it smells. The sensation all across the tongue is sweet and bready. There is a rather thick and musty mouthfeel to this that makes the sweetness really stick to the tongue. As said before, there isn’t really a lot of hop to this – at times you can sense a bit of floral flavor here, but no bitterness reveals itself. So, overall, this is a sweet and malty beer with a full mouthfeel and lots of flavor. So, if you’re into that, then you’ll probably dig this. However, if you’re looking for a pale ale, this probably isn’t the one.