By Michael Sears
President, Forest City Brewers
This week, I would like to share an amber ale from north of the Cheddar Curtain (a.k.a. the Illinois/Wisconsin border). Its name is Ambergeddon, brewed by Ale Asylum Brewery of Madison, Wis.
Known simply as red ales in some regions, amber ales were popularized in the hop-loving northern California and the Pacific Northwest areas before spreading nationwide.
Amber ale is typically a balanced beer, with toasted malt characters and a light fruitiness, in most examples. Traditional American amber ale, like New Belgium’s Fat Tire, tends to focus on the malts, but hop character can range from low to high.
Ale Asylum Brewery has been in operation for just more than seven years, but has quickly grown into one of the top three breweries in Wisconsin by posting 40 percent annual growth over the last six years. They just recently entered the Rockford market, and their products are available at numerous stores. I have not seen them on tap yet, but would readily welcome that type of encounter.
Proper serving glassware is a tumbler, Nonic or Becker-type pint glass, Seidel Stein or mug around 50 degrees Fahrenheit to fully appreciate the hop/malt aroma and flavor. Warning, Ambergeddon is not your typical amber ale.
This beer pours a beautiful dark coppery orange color with two big fluffy fingers depth of dense creamy ivory-colored head resting on top of a surprising clear body, making this aesthetically pleasing to the eye.
The scent is full of juicy, citrusy and piney hops, with some sweet and toasted caramel in the background.
The first sip slightly pinched my tongue with its bitterness, similar to how highly hopped pale ale would, something I was not prepared for in an amber ale, but should have been based on the aroma.
The bitterness disappeared after a second sip, and now a caramel maltiness developed with a grainy, light biscuit or toastiness. The hops leave a citrus and piney taste in the finish with a hint of green apple. Not overbearing, the balance is nice and clean.
Mouth feel is full and creamy, with a slight astringency from the hops. The glass showed a nice lacing from start to finish.
As I stated earlier, this is not your typical amber ale, but in the spirit of creativity, it is a very good beer and a nice effort from Ale Asylum. I really enjoyed the flavors and balance. As the warmer spring temps arrive and continue into early summer, this is a beer I will try to keep stocked in my beer fridge.
Michael Sears is president of the Forest City Brewers. The Forest City Brewers is a homebrewing club dedicated to the art of finely crafted beer. The club meets the first Wednesday of each month at Thunder Bay Grille on East State Sreet. For more about Forest City Brewers, go to http://forestcitybrewers.org. If you have comments or recommendations, please contact Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted April 9, 2014