Archive for the 'Cream Ale' category
Well, this is a new one for me. As best I can recall, this is the first beer I’ve had from the Thomas Creek brewery in Greenville, South Carolina. This beer pours a light-straw color, with little or no head. There is a light smell to it, but it does not smell overly vanilla. The problem that I have typically seen with flavored beers (blueberry, vanilla, etc) is that the “flavoring” is oftentimes too present. It overpowers the beer and while it might taste ok, the sweetness often trumps any good qualities of the beer itself. The Vanilla Cream Ale does not fall prey to this trap. While it is sweet, it is not overly sweet. In fact, the vanilla is not really present in the beer until the last swallow. Even then, it is very subtle and kind of like a tootsie pop.
The mouthfeel is very thin – again, it is not an overly aggressive beer so it is not going to blow you out of the water. This is a very clean beer – the hops are not overly present but it has a good flavoring and taste. There is a slight creaminess to it and it is reminiscent of a cream soda. While I probably wouldn’t buy a six-pack of it, it would serve as a good dessert beer for a dinner party. In fact, it would probably go remarkably well with some chocolate chip cookies or any other sweet treat.
It’s been a while since we’ve touched upon any Canadian brews. Apart from the folks at Unibroue, we don’t see too many exotic beers from Canada, and the rest generally fall into the general yellow beer categories (Moosehead, Molson, etc – beers that I quite like). So, I was interested to see a Cream Ale on the shelves from Sleeman, a brewery that I’m entirely unfamiliar with. If the label is to be believed, the Sleeman family in recent years dug up beer recipes that had been hidden away by great-grandfather Sleeman years ago, and thus was born the modern Sleeman Brewery. Let’s see how it tastes!
This cream ale pours a crystal clear golden color with an effervescent (but quickly dissipating) white head. The aroma here is fairly light, only contributing mild bready malt scents to the nose. In the mouth, this beer is tasty, albeit subtle. The presence of hop is minimal here. Rather, we get a lot of bready flavors with light sweetness. In addition, there is an almost buttery flavor that coats the tongue and gives this beer a somewhat syrupy mouthfeel, even though the beer itself isn’t very viscous at all. This lighty, sweet, buttery flavor flows all the way down the tongue, only contributing an additional metallic taste towards the back of the throat before subsiding into a light aftertaste that disappears after a few seconds. All in all, this isn’t a bad beer. However, I’d prefer a more robust flavor out of my cream ale if given the option. It’s easy to understand that this was made from a generations-old recipe, as the flavor doesn’t take anything from the extreme beers of the modern day. The main use I can see for this beer is that it’d make a great session ale due to its light flavor, 5.0% abv, and pretty sweet embossed bottle.
Since today is the “official birthday” of the beer can, I thought it would be interesting to review one of the styles of beers that was first canned, the cream ale style. Fortunately I was able to find Genesee Cream Ale in a can while on a recent trip to New Hampshire. This beer would probably fall more in the “retro-beer” type, since it was first brewed in 1960, rather than the “craft beer” type, but that is a slight deviation of the “beer can theme week” I am willing to live with.
The beer poured from the can into a pint glass gives a nice 2 fingers of pillowy white head, which ever so slowly dissipates into a thick covering that climbs the walls of the glass. The body of the beer is a clear, light yellow with a ton of little bubbles. I was quite amazed at the number and rate of bubbles, noting it looked like champagne (though in a pint glass).
The nose of the beer is rather one dimensional with the smell of fresh grain. This one dimensional aroma characteristic follows through into the taste with the taste of grain and little else. Though the mouthfeel of the beer was very light, it had a very smooth beginning and middle with some tingling at the back of the throat. I was surprised by this, having expected a mouthfeel that was going to be very active due to the amount of bubbles seen in the beer’s body.
For my first cream ale, I found this beer pleasant. I’ll admit I was not blown away by it and the beer is rather one dimensional, but I was expecting something along those lines. I am not about to go racing out to purchase more of it, but given the proper time and conditions I could see purchasing it again. I also find the history aspect of the beer to be interesting, being able to taste where American beer was a few decades back.
(To note Genesee is no longer brewed by Genesee Brewing Company, since they changed their name to High Falls Brewing Company in 2000. Ben reviewed a bunch of High Falls beers a while back.)