Style: American Amber Ale
ABV: 5.8%
Glassware: Nonic Pint

Appearance: Certainly not clear but not exactly cloudy either. As I’m drinking I notice that it has a chill haze because the brew cleared up after I let it warm up for awhile. The beer has an off white to tan colored head and a beautiful sienna colored body.

Aroma: A crisp, clean nose with notes of maize and subtle metallic water qualities. Smells like a standard American Adjunct Lager with just a touch of biscuity malt. Actually, the aroma is really toned down and it’s difficult to get anything at all.

Flavor: The storyline of the brew begins with notes of maize, which then meld into a raisin fruit character. From there it morphs into biscuity malt and finishes with a pop of earthy hops with a twinge of bitterness. In the very finish I am left with notes of Maize once again. The malt notes, recognized here as biscuit, are very muted. The hops barely balance the malt and then pop up at the end to hint at bitterness, but then retract and don’t show up again.

Mouthfeel: Low carbonation accompanies this incredibly thin-bodied brew. This is quite crisp in nature. Drinks like a clean lager.

Aftertaste: Consists of very subtle hop bitterness and the sweet, clean character of maize.

Food Accompaniment: A chicken quesadilla with salsa, sour cream, romaine, mushrooms, cheese and refried beans. The grilled portion of the chicken, the cooked mushrooms and the starch nature of the flatbread is finding a home with the subtle malt notes of the Amber Ale.

From there I notice that the exceptionally subtle capsaicin heat in both the salsa and the quesadilla itself latch onto the hop bitterness in the finish of the brew. The fatty cheese from the food finds its happy place when the clean character of the beer clears it of its greasy nature. The clean, maize notes of the brew helps to wipe out my palate after taking a bite of my food. Neither one interferes with the other and the intensity levels are spot on. I find this to be an acceptable pairing and would certainly recommend it.

Overall Impression: I’m confused by this beer. It says American Amber Ale but it drinks like an Amber or Vienna Lager. Because it is technically not a lager, I have been calling it a ‘Vienna Ale’ in my head.

The hops seem to be of the noble hop variety and the malt is biscuity, all of which makes it lean more towards the European route. I wish that this beer had more body and that it could take on the more robust role of a flavorful and malt forward American Amber Ale. Even the hops need some work. I certainly don’t mind the European hop approach, but this is an amber! You can ramp it up a bit.

Overall, I think that this brew was a bit weak and was mislabeled. However, I am intrigued and I wonder if the brewer would like to use this beer as an inspiration for a high quality Vienna style Lager or American Amber Lager. I wish them the best of luck on their future brewing endeavors! This is where great ideas begin.

Gravel Bottom Craft Brewery