Craft Beer Scene Around Rockford: Two Brothers’ SideKick American Pale Ale ‘light, zesty and fresh’
By Michael Sears
President, Forest City Brewers
Before we get onto the beer, I need to set the record straight from my article two weeks ago about festivals. The Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Across America Midwest Edition is July 27. I had errantly listed it as happening on July 21.
I have been playing nice with the lighter beers for the warm weather, but now it’s time to talk about some of my favorites: Pale Ales and India Pale Ales. Hop heads, rejoice!
This week, I would like to review an Extra Pale Ale. The beer is named SideKick, and the brewery is Two Brothers.
American Pale Ale (APA) was developed around 1980. The brewery thought to be the first to successfully use significant quantities of American hops in the style of APA and use the name Pale Ale was the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, which brewed the first experimental batch in 1980.
Anchor Liberty Ale was originally brewed by Anchor Brewing Company in 1975 to commemorate Paul Revere’s midnight ride in 1775, and is viewed as the first modern American ale, according to Michael Jackson.
Fritz Maytag, the owner of Anchor, visited British breweries in London, Yorkshire and Burton upon Trent, picking up information about robust pale ales, which he used when he made his American version. His American version used just malt, rather than the malt and sugar combination common in brewing at that time, and also made prominent use of the American hop Cascade.
SideKick is an American Pale Ale year-round offering from Two Brothers and is packaged in cans.
Proper serving temperature for this beer is 45 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. I used my Sam Adams Perfect Pint glass for this review. The beer pours a bright straw color, very light and transparent, with a robust two-finger depth, fluffy bright white head that remains for a few minutes, and leaves a nice, solid lacing as it recedes. Lots of carbonation bubbles rush continually to the top.
The aroma is really impressive on the nose, as citrus (grapefruit and lemon) with some mango and pineapple dominate. There is a light, fresh floral in the background, with a slight hint of graininess, but it is fighting a losing battle, as the fruity hops overpower.
In the first sip, the flavors follow the aroma, which, again, is impressive. The tropical fruits and citrus are pronounced as in the nose, slightly bitter but pleasing. I think I detect a slight peach and lemongrass flavor also toward the middle. The finish is surprisingly malty, with some white grape and pine, which adds a subtle dryness. Overall: light, zesty and fresh.
The medium carbonation and sparkle match nicely, making for medium-bodied beer. The balance here is well done; not sweet, but not dry, and quickly making way for the next drink.
Overall, this beer has some very good aromas and flavors that are a refreshing experience. I couldn’t imagine asking for much more, and at 5.1 percent alcohol by volume, definitely makes this session worthy. This is something I would bring to a summer get-together and not worry about tiring of it.
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.
From the July 9-15, 2014, issue