October 18th, 2010 beckel
Today I have a brew given to me by the folks at Lake Wine & Spirits as part of their Citizen Six Pack program. A fun little concept where they gave a number of people a six pack and ask of them to review each of them on their forum on a particular day. Mad River makes a number of very solid ales that I have greatly enjoyed but this is my first time sampling their Steelhead Double India Pale Ale.
Pours a deep orange hue that is completely opaque and quite attractive. About half a finger of tight white head is produced and fades within a minute leaving a tiny ring of carbonation around the surface of the brew. Smells of bright citrus, particularly orange, malty sweetness, enjoyable bitterness and a gentle hint of alcohol. Tastes strongly of orange hop esters, peach, gentle grass notes, soft floral esters, robust malt sweetness, solid bitterness and some gentle earthy esters. Body is medium and the mouthfeel is reasonably clean. At 8.6% ABV this brew should probably be sipped but the bitterness disguises it almost completely. A reasonably balanced Imperial IPA with plenty of sweet malt to contrast with the fruity & floral hops but also enough bitterness to make sure you haven’t forgotten what you are drinking. If you enjoy IPAs and are looking for something a bit stronger this one should be right up your alley. Those who enjoy fruity hops and plenty of bitterness will be all over this one. Over all a really nice, drinkable Imperial IPA provided you aren’t afraid of bitterness and something I would happily consume any day. Give it a shot and ride your bike.
April 20th, 2010 beckel
While I haven’t gotten around to writing about all of them, my experiences with Mad River Brewing from Blue Lake, CA have all been quite pleasant and some down right wonderful. So when I ventured over to The Four Firkins yesterday and learned they were out of Eric’s Ale at the moment I was very pleased to see some Double Dread sitting on the counter. Clocking in at 8.6% ABV this is should be one hearty Imperial Red Ale. Pours an incredibly dark ruby red hue that appears almost black when away from light. A solid three plus fingers of creamy off white bubbles are produced that quickly open up but slowly fade.Â Eventually leaving a few millimeters of tight bubbles around the surface of the brew and a good deal of lacing. Smells of clean grains, caramel/crystal malt in particular, as well as some lightly toasted malt, gentle toffee, and a variety of gentle hoppy citrus esters. Tastes of gently roasted malts, clean crystal malt richness, modest malty sweetness, a variety of citrus notes from peach and pear to grapefruit and lime and even some pine as well as a good deal of hop bitterness. Very gentle coffee and almost burnt esters are nicely contrasted with the serious bitterness present in this brew. Body is medium and the mouthfeel is very smooth. A nice balance of grain sweetness and serious bitterness to compliment the unquestionable alcohol content of this brew. If you enjoy hoppy bitterness, strong ales and some nice contrasting flavors you will have no problem with this beer. I will certainly have no problem finishing my four-pack though I should probably eat first. Give it a shot and ride your bike.
February 2nd, 2010 beckel
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.
January 2nd, 2010 beckel
It has been a lazy past month and for those who pay attention I give you my condolences. However I believe I can make it up with what is sure to be another tasty ale from the fine West Coast folk of Mad River Brewing. While I didn’t get around to writing about their Barleywine earlier this month I assure you it is more than worth consuming and will be described in all of it’s glory as soon as I grab another 4-pack. Today I finally made the brutal trek over to St. Louis Park in the approximately -5 Â°F Minnesota weather to stop by The Four Firkins to pick up a few gems including this Jamaica Brand Red Ale that I have been meaning to sample for some time. While only the 2nd ale from Mad River I have had the opportunity to try the aroma alone already has me confident I will be satisfied. So lets get to the fun part. This ale pours a rather dark burgundy hue that brightens a bit when brought to light but is still incredibly opaque with small sprinkles of sediment settling to the bottom of the glass. A tight three finger off white head is easily produced when poured straight down the glass leaving a moderate amount of lacing around the glass and on the surface of the ale. Aroma is of modest hop bitterness and very light citrus esters as well as a decent amount of malty sweetness that is contrasted by a sharp alcohol note. Flavor is malt forward with sweet amber notes complimented by very gentle roasted esters and a nice gentle citrus hop character finishing with mild hop bitterness. Body is medium and the mouthfeel is very clean and smooth. While I was a bit surprised by how forward the 6.5% ABV of this brew was in aroma it is in no way over powering in flavor making this one smooth and drinkable ale. A well balanced red ale with enough malty sweetness to compliment the delicate hops and make one solid ale that most people should be able to enjoy. While not quite as hoppy as I expected based on its name this is one tasty brew that I will happily continue to drink. If you enjoy red ales in general and don’t mind some moderate hop notes you will be happy you tried this brew. Give it a shot and ride your bike.