After a long day at a conference here in Seattle, Washington I had an African Amber from Mac & Jack’s in Redmond, and decided to stop for dinner on the way back to my hotel. I stopped at a highly recommended local place – Red Mill Burgers. After a good burger (it reminded me a bit of In-N-Out Burger), I decided to stop at Hale’s Ales. When I was with my cousin at Georgetown Brewing the day before, the server recommended this brewery. My cousin was a bit surprised and mentioned to me that he wasn’t very impressed with their beers. I figured this was a chance to try it for myself, and since they offered small sampler classes, I got a chance to try a few. I was feeling like having something malty to start with, and this one sounded like it would offer what I was looking for.
Location: On tap and served a small curved sampler glass at Hale’s Ales in Seattle, WA.
Numbers: 4.6% ABV, ~ 188 Calories
Ingredients: Malts: Pale, Caramel, Carastan, and a handful of Black malt. Hops: Centennial
Appearance & Aroma: It’s amber/copper in color and very clear. There’s a decent amount of carbonation in it, and it’s got a thin, creamy head, which fell after a few minutes. There was a light caramel malty aroma with some citrusy hops as well.
Taste & Feel: The body was surprisingly light, and the mouthfeel was crisp and thin. The flavor up front was bready, with some light caramel. The caramel flavors came in more during the middle, along with some earthy and citrusy hop flavors. It finished clean and lightly dry with some light earthy-citrusy hop bitterness. The flavors didn’t last very long in the aftertaste.
Food Pairing: This was a light and crisp enough beer that it could go with almost anything. I’d probably pair it with some fried bar foods – onion rings, french fries, chicken wings, etc – since it would help wash these foods down. The clean finish would leave the palate ready for another bite of food.
Overall Impression: I was initially surprised by the lighter body, which had a bit of a thin, watery mouthfeel. The flavors were on the lighter side, which made it very drinkable. I think this beer could have a fairly wide appeal, as the flavors were light and it was light and crisp. For me, I felt a bit let down… when you call your beer “Big Amber” it had better bring something – body, flavor, something. It wasn’t a bad beer, but there wasn’t much memorable about it.