Friday, September 12, 2008

Redhook Late Harvest Autumn Ale

I picked up a bottle of Redhook Late Harvest Autumn Ale at the Gretz/A-B event I attended Monday night, and decided to have it with lunch today. It poured a deep amber, with some red to it; not much foam, and the glass was beer-clean. On first taste, it was harsh, fizz-bitter, and I wasn't real happy with it. Then I got a phone call, and had to abandon lunch and beer for about ten minutes.

When I came back, the beer had warmed and was much improved. Sweet, a bit estery -- but not overdone -- some caramel, and a nice body. I enjoyed this segment of the beer much more.

Which brings up the whole craft-brewer-ale/lager-festbeer issue, eh? A number of American craft brewers do harvest/autumn/octoberfest ales...because they're ale brewers, it's what they do, but they want to have an oktoberfest seasonal, one of the best-selling types of seasonal beers (which, according to the Brewers Association, are now the biggest-selling segment of craft beer, something that has some folks wringing their hands). Is it fair, is it right? Who cares: what's it taste like? Let this one warm up a bit, and it tastes pretty good.

6 comments:

Tom E said...

My only point would be that Oktoberfest Beer implies lager. If a brewery is going to call a beer "Oktoberfest" and it's an ale, they should say so - either in the name or elsewhere explicitly on the label.

Lew Bryson said...

Yeah, I guess I'd like to know that before biting into it. Most bottled "autumnal" ales do say so, so not a problem.

Anonymous said...

ive had six different oktoberfests so far there all good but none standout .if there all lagers isnt this what john q public beer drinker should be drinking

Steven said...

"if there all lagers isnt this what john q public beer drinker should be drinking?"

Why? Lager in the U.S. (or England, for that matter) doesn't have the same implication -- or definition -- as it does in most of the better lager-brewing nations.

Find yourself a nice, fresh Helles and compare it to a Miller or Budweiser and you'll see that Lager doesn't have to imply "fizzy, yellow, swill."

Looking for a good Oktoberfest standout, Spaten hits the mark this year -- especially if you can find it on tap. No Amber Bock that.

Lew Bryson said...

I'd say John Q. Public "should" be drinking what they like. I don't see my job as prescriptive, but descriptive. I really don't like the idea of telling people what they "should" be drinking.

Other than more session beers, of course.

Anonymous said...

sorry i worded that wrong . if they wanna drink lagers why not give the good ones a chance instead of always going for the ones sold in 30 packs .