Festive lights, trees and bright colors seem to signify the season; however the real meaning of the season, Avid Reader, is to give, which is what those excellent folks at Saranac decided to do. Last week I found two boxes on my doorstep from Utica containing seasonal samples. Well, I didn’t waste much time ripping the boxes open to see all the new brews I had to try out, then share the results. Rather than drink them all at once I decided to ration things out a bit and take my time, so over the next few weeks I’ll bring out the beers in groups. This week we’ll start with ales and then who knows what’s next.
Belgian Pale Ale – this was a new style for the season and it was a pleasant surprise. Typical Belgian flavor with a dry aftertaste made this a good start for the cold weather. It was the lightest in body of the three and had a slight bitter taste. This was nothing like an Abbey style ale and was pretty easy to drink.
White IPA – next up we have the medium bodied brew that has some more character than the previous venture. This was a regular IPA, except it was given coriander and orange peel to help smooth things over — and boy was that a welcome surprise. I’ve had many IPA’s in the past few months and this was by far one of the best I’ve had for ease of drinking. It wasn’t flashy and had the right amount of spice to even out the bitter.
Red IPA – here we have the darkest and heaviest in body of the first three. This was a solid red color and had a healthy mix of hops floating around: Calypso, Palisade and Chinook. There was a distinct citrus aroma from those Chinook hops and I found this one to be kind of busy. It was stronger than the White with more of a malt finish and a great citrus bitter aftertaste. I was impressed.
Out of this batch my favorite was the White IPA for keeping things simple and not too complex. All of these beers were great and I wouldn’t mind finding them on store shelves anywhere. Next week we’ll be moving to the darker bodied beers which should prove to be fun.
(Editor’s note: Our reviewer received complimentary beer from Saranac, but the opinion reflected in this article is solely his.)