Tuesday, September 04, 2007
Beer-to-beer Combat: Part 3
This week Central Waters Ouisconsing Red Ale spars with Ale Asylum Ambergeddon Amber Ale. First up is the Central Waters, with deep amber-red hue and an impressive, extremely persistent, quarter-inch thick white head. The aroma of this beer is probably best described as fruity. I know that's vague, so I'll try and elaborate; I'm thinking about berries here, sort of light raspberry or blackberry fruitiness combined with caramel malt flavors. The texture of this beer is absolutely luxuriously smooth and fairly full-bodied, with the juicy sweetness of the malts balanced by the spicy hop finish. The dense, foamy head that I mentioned earlier persists after several sips and leaves some lace down the sides of the glass. This beer is one of the most delicious amber ales I've had, although frankly, it's drinking more like an outstanding British bitter than an American amber ale. Overall, the Central Waters Ouisconsing Red Ale is very tasty and seems very fresh.
The Ale Asylum Ambergeddon certainly sounds impressive, perhaps foreboding. It pours pretty nicely, with not as dense of a head as the Central Waters, but as the head falls, it does leave some lace. The nose is a mix of leafy spicy hops and sweet caramel malts. The Ambergeddon seems not quite as thick as the Ouisconsing from Central Waters. It has some of the same caramel malt flavors, but with a hint of chocolate (just a hint). It is less fruity, more hoppy with a drier finish. The finish is just a bit warming, which has me thinking that this amber ale is quite a bit stronger than the Central Waters.
I like both beers. At least tonight I prefer the Ouisconsing Red Ale due to its "sessionability" at 4.8 percent alcohol (as indicated on the label). The ultra smooth character, fruity complexity and moderate bitterness makes it very drinkable, but not boring. On the other hand, the Ambergeddon offers a good punch of hops with a delicious hoppy (almost peppery?) finish, but seems rather strong, as I perhaps downed it too quickly not knowing the alcohol content -- I guess I should have known it was strong what with the skull on the label and all, huh? Rumor has it that the Ambergeddon is 7.5 percent alcohol, so I can't see having more than couple of these in a session without being too intoxicated. Although I bought the Ambergeddon in Madison not too far from the brewery, judging from reviews on Beer Advocate I'm thinking my bottle might not be at its peak freshness -- some of the complexity and hop wallop reviewers on BA describe seems to be missing.