I had work meetings up in Chicago again today, and on my way home, I decided to stop in Lexington, IL again for a beer at the new Kemps Upper Tap. Somehow, this little bar (although it’s probably four times bigger than the old place), manages to get the best craft beers in central Illinois. It’s about 10 miles north of my house, so it’s a nice stop on the way home. I haven’t really heard of this brewery before, so I thought I’d give this one a try.
Location: On tap and served in a snifter style glass at Kemps Upper Tap in Lexington, IL
Numbers: 7% ABV, 65 IBUs, ~210 Calories
Appearance & Aroma: It’s orange-amber in color and fairly hazy. The head has a soapy-like texture and is off white, leaving great lacing on the glass. The head fell after few minutes to a creamy ring around the glass. The aroma is an obvious citrusy hop smell.
Taste & Feel: The body is full and the mouthfeel is a bit crisp. The flavor up front is bright-grassy and citrusy from the hops, but in the middle, there’s a hint of wheat malt behind the hop flavors. In the finish, the hops showcase a bright grassy-grapefruit citrus flavor, with a hint more flavor than bitterness. In the aftertaste, the grassy-citrusy hops last for a minute or two.
Food Pairing: Although this is a bigger beer, I’d pair this beer with fish and chips due to citrus. I think this meal would be a bit heartier than the fish tacos I was initially considering pairing it with. Either way, the grassy-citrus flavors would go great with a hearty fish dish.
Overall Impression: I enjoyed the grassy and citrusy hop flavor, but it was a bit one dimensional throughout. I would have liked a little more complexity, including the wheat malt flavor I tasted a hint of. Overall, the hop flavors were good, and it made me want to try more of their beers, but it’s not one I’d seek out again or tell my friends about.