Here I have a lovely ale from a solid brewery that hasn’t been available for very long in our fine state of Minnesota. Mad River Brewing Company out of Blue Lake, CA appears to be a quaint little brewery from one look at their website (which is in the process of a much needed update), but apparently they have been operating since 1989. So far I have sampled three of their ales, Jamaica Brand Red Ale which was decent [review], John Barleycorn Barley Ale which is very tasty, and my favorite so far Serious Madness. This ale pours a very dark black hue that is completely opaque, even when brought to light. Head is a solid three plus fingers of creamy milk chocolate bubbles that slowly open and dissipate after many minutes leaving a few solid millimeters around edge of the glass and a modest amount of lacing. Smells of rich dark roasted malts, modest notes of coffee, a very gentle creamy toffee like sweetness and very subtle fruity hop esters. Tastes ofÂ toasty roasted malts, semi-sweet chocolate, gentle coffee esters and a variety subtle fruit & citrus hop notes that are contrasted by strong malty bitterness in the finish. Alcohol is present in the flavor, but considering this brews solid 8.2% ABV it is very subtle, being nicely contrasted by a combination of malty sweetness, malt bitterness, and hoppy citrus & fruit characters. Body is medium and the mouthfeel is smooth, clean and surprisingly light. With the variety of flavors present in this dark ale it manages a very nice balance. A lovely example of the creativity in ales that we are creating in our fine country. If you enjoy strong ales, dark malts and modest amounts of contrasting hops you should dig this ale. A lovely take on a strong dark ale I would highly suggest, particularly once it has warmed up a bit. Give it a shot and ride your bike.