Wednesday, February 27, 2013

BBB Beer of the Week: New Albion Ale

I had never heard of New Albion Ale until about a week and half ago when I came across Beer Geek Nation's review. When I learned that this was one of the beers that started the craft beer movement 30 years ago I was automatically intrigued. Naturally, when I saw a bottle during one of my impromptu beer runs I had to pick it up. Whether or not you end up liking this beer it is great to taste this little piece of history just to get a feel for where things started and how it's all evolved since then.

Also of interest to me as a homebrewer, and one who is just about to transition into all-grain, is the fact that this beer is a "SMASH" beer. In other words, Single Malt and Single Hop. Obviously, I love craft beer but I find myself differing from the crowd who seem to veer towards the "more is more" side of things when it comes to beer flavor profiles. In beer and almost all things I tend to lean towards Leonardo Da Vinci who once said that "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication". I love purity. Give me vanilla ice cream, black coffee, or a simple beer and you'll make me a happy man.

Appearance: New Albion Ale is a very attractive beer. Even in your shallow high school days you wouldn't be afraid to show up with this clear golden straw colored beauty.

Nose: Not incredibly in depth, but there is still enough of an aromatic presence that you know you're in for a good beer. It's a bit floral,  a little citrusy, and a smidgen fruity. There's nothing mind blowing here but I don't know who you're trying to kid if you can hold this beer to your nose and not want to take a sip.

Taste: Initially, I'm hit with sweet malt before it gives way to the grapefruit citrus hop flavors. The finish is nice and dry. Dry finishes can be a little off putting at times, but in this case it set me up to go back for sip after sip. Before I knew it I had this beer gone and I was looking for another. New Albion Ale is missing a little body, but really it's just great to taste one of craft beer's building blocks.

Style: APA
ABV: 6.0%
IBU: 30

Final Verdict: I quite liked New Albion Ale. No, it's not as well rounded and forward thinking as some of the beers we come across today, but this is an incredibly clean and drinkable Pale Ale. It's not perfect, but for someone my age it's kind of a privilege to be able to step back in time and see what people were coming up with 30 years ago when craft beer was just establishing itself. New Albion Ale is in stores now so if you come across a bottle or a 6 pack be sure to pick up this little piece of beer history.

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