On-tap at Brother Burger and the Marvellous Brew during Good Beer Week 2013.
Pours a slightly red-tinged amber hue, with some very mild hazing. Body is decently weighted. Head forms a just creamy-white solid ring, with some film across the top. Very solid, intricate lacing. Overall, it looks good.
Quite sweet on the nose. Lots of malt, butterscotch and toffee, cut with some green, slightly fruity hops and a little pine fragrance. But really, the sweetness wins out. It's not bad, but very sweet.
Light malt on the front of the palate too, with a slightly balancing stewed orange character. Caramel through the middle, with a crescendo in the hop character that leads to a bitter, spicy, almost hot hop character on the back. Some resiny characters stick through to the aftertaste. Feel is full-bodied and strong.
It's a bit heavy to drink a lot of. The sweetness is a bit heavy and the malt and hops do tend to work against each other somewhat. But there are things to enjoy in it nonetheless.
500mL bottle from The Beer Cellar, NZ, via mulder1010
Ruby mahogany with a somewhat reluctant beige head that dissipates over a couple of minutes to a minimal collar.
Very approachable and clean candied citrus and resinous pine, elevated by that idiosyncratic caramelised nuttiness and baked toffee goodness that sets hoppy Red Ales apart from their ubiquitous IPA counterparts. There's some subtle complexity there too, with mild hints of balsamic and sour cherry.
Flavours are less sweet than I expected. The pine resin character ramps up and combines seamlessly with the deep and refined brandied caramel notes, before the malt backbone slowly makes way for a very crisp spearmint bitterness. Very solid.
Feel is pretty light, however spritely carbonation spreads the bitterness quickly across the palate, which then endures at a moderate level for an unexpectedly long time.
Elegant and unblemished American Red Ale, which I could so easily have rated higher, but being a favourite style of mine I'm wary of my subjective bias.