Sunday, February 08, 2009
Supporting the local brewery
The other day I decided to support my local brewery. I picked up a mixed six-pack of two different beers from Two Brothers Brewing Company in Warrenville, Ill. They're both ales that I've had before and wanted to revisit after being less than impressed the first couple times around. I'm pleased to report that I enjoyed both beers, Prairie Path Ale and Bitter End Pale Ale quite a bit.
Both ales are great examples of a session beer, at just more than 5 percent alcohol by volume, you can enjoy three or four of these beers and not feel any effects the next day. Prairie Path Ale is the lighter of the two, both in color and in body. The golden ale (as described on the label) pours with a good initial flourish of carbonation forming a brief head that quickly falls; not the prettiest beer, but that's okay. It smells good (spicy, grassy hops and fresh toasted malt) and tastes great. It's a very crisp ale, with a good slightly toasted malt flavor accentuated by just enough spicy Saaz and Kent Goldings hops. The bitterness is just right and the finish dry enough to enhance drinkability. This not a terribly complex beer, but a very easy drinking, tasty beer. I really like the fresh, crisp malt flavor and slightly bitter (28 IBUs), dry-ish finish.
The Bitter End Pale Ale is differentiated by its copper hue and more sustained foaminess that generates lace down the sides of the glass with each sip. This ale has a light aroma of more citrusy hops than spicy. The Bitter End has more body than the Prairie Path, too. Again, this beer is very fresh, which shows in its leafy, citrus hoppiness. Some will complain that it's actually not that bitter and that the hop flavor is muted, but I don't this beer is trying to be an IPA. I would almost consider to be more an English Pale Ale; the fairly full body is keeping me from downing this one as quickly as Prairie Path Ale, but the Bitter End has only a tenth of a percent more alcohol by volume. There is clearly some use of caramel malts in Bitter End and the help round out the flavor with the hop bitterness of 32 IBUs just assertive enough to coat the tongue a little more with each sip. Beer geeks and brewers: both these brews hover around a original gravity of 12-13 Plato.
I think I'm lucky to have found these beer very fresh and in excellent condition for $8.49 a six-pack at my local Trader Joe's. Both ales have a best before date of June 10, 2009 which confirms their freshness. That said, I would definitely recommend consuming these beers as fresh as possible. Since the alcohol content in both isn't that high, I'm not sure how well they will age and I'm frankly a bit curious as to how they will taste in a few months, as it's the fresh character of both of these ales that's really got me interested.