Tonight we went to a new beer festival in Flagstaff. Like the summer Sun Sounds beer festival, this benefits charity, in this case Habitat for Humanity. It was well done, with the exception of the food. The food was included in the cost of the tickets, but the quantity was such that there was never enough. However, this festival was delightfully understated. There were never crowds inside the conference center, or long lines to get a taste of beer. The tasters were 100 mL, which is more than enough beer for me. 15 tastes were included in the price of admission. Hopefully this festival will continue in Flagstaff. Now on to the beer!
I started with Fat Tire's La Folie sour brown. I have had this beer before, so I knew I liked it.
Next was Velvet Merlin from Firestone Walker. It used to be called Velvet Merkin, but it was considered too offensive. This is an oatmeal stout [Type 49]. 5.5% ABV. It is very creamy, but has a nuttiness like their Double Barrel Ale.
Then I had San Tan Brewery's Devil's Ale. This is an American Pale Ale [Type 17]. 5.5% ABV. A nice even pale ale.
Blue Moon had their spring seasonal, Rising Moon. This is a light amber ale. [Type 44] 5.4% ABV It looks and tastes like a light lager, but with a bit more body.
There were a great many beers sampled, including:
Barrio Ben's IPA
Deschutes Greenlakes Organic
Powder Hound Winter Ale
Stone Russian Imperial Stout
Stone Arrogant Bastard
Oak Creek King Crimson
Sierra Blanca Alien Amber
Amber Ale [Type 44] 4.5% ABV
A nice amber ale from New York, brewed by RJ King. I picked this up in California, it isn't sold in Flagstaff that I know. It has a good color and a thin head. A little sweet, the malt predominates with very little hop flavor. A little sour on the finish, but nice and creamy. The body is a little thin.
Fat Tire is the amber I judge all other ambers by. Is this beer as good as Fat Tire? No. Is it a good beer? Yes. I wouldn't mind this beer at all. However, I would pick Fat Tire everytime if given the choice.
Amber and Red Ales
Amber ale is a variant of pale ale that uses crystal malts to achieve a slightly darker color. The ambers can range from copper to dark reddish brown. The malts tend to give the ambers a caramel flavor. Some beers referred to as amber are actually lagers with colored malts.
One of my favorites, Fat Tire is the most popular beer from New Belgium brewery in Fort Collins. Fat Tire has a biscuity flavor, a bready taste with a bitter finish. 5.2% ABV. 2 beers.
Not actually an amber, this is an Altbier [Type 61], from the German for old beer. A German brown ale, Alaskan Amber has a sweet bready taste with a mellow finish. 5.3% ABV 2 beers.
O'Hara's Irish Red
The Irish Red Ale tends to be sweeter than the American Amber, with dominant malts. The taste was smoky, it reminded me of a porter. 4.3% ABV. 2 beers.
Drop Top Amber
Drop Top's Amber tasted of melons, with a light finish. 5.0% ABV. 2 beers.
Full Sail Amber
The hops were strong enough to make me think of an IPA. 5.5% ABV. 5 beers.
Also quite hoppy, but this was better balanced than the Full Sail with stronger malts. 5.8% ABV. 3 beers.
An example of an amber lager. The term we settled on was 'fair-middlin'. This beer has little flavor, but it wasn't terrible. 5.5% ABV. 4 beers.
This beer was middlin. A bit more flavor than Old Scratch, 5.5% ABV. 3 beers.
American Amber Ale
From Rogue Brewery, I expected a lot of hops. Turns out, this one is moderately hopped, just enough to give the beer some character. The pine flavor of the hops obscured the amber malts, but I liked this beer quite a bit. 5.6% ABV. 2 beers.
Sweet and hefe like due to the German yeasts. 5.5% ABV. 2 beers.
A undistinguished beer. 5.5% ABV. 5 beers.
My favorite of the evening, this is a local beer from Grand Canyon Brewery. Lots of malt, caramel, and body. 5.4% ABV. 2 beers.
An amber with a twist, this is a beer brewed with sorghum so that it is gluten-free. Not bad for a gluten-free beer, a bit thin and fizzy, but a nice light lemony flavor. 4.8% ABV. 3 beers.
Dundee Irish Red
Sweet and malty, but no smoky flavor in this Irish Red. 5.5% ABV. 3 beers.
Another local beer, this one from Mogollon Brewery. My favorite of the Mogollon beers so far. Sweet and malty. 5.0% ABV. 3 beers.
Oak Creek Brewery King Crimson
Imperial Red Ale 6.0% ABV
Type 44 Beeriodic Table
I had a pint of King Crimson at a concert in the Oak Creek Brewery. I do mean in not at. The bar at the brewery is inside the room with the fermentation vessels. The Brewery had a real down-home neighborhood bar feel to it. There were people there who looked as if they were there pretty much all the time, rather than just there for the show.
The beer itself is a deep crimson with a small head. I had it on tap in a tulip glass. I forgot to take a picture because I was enjoying the band. Ah well.
I would describe Oak Creek Brewery beers as just good beer. I think they have a method of making beer that works well, and they stick to it. When I drink their beer, I don't often think to myself, "How unusual or striking this beer is!" Rather, I just think, "This is good beer!" King Crimson is much like this. I just flat out enjoyed this beer, without thinking to myself, this flavor overpowers the others, or this beer will go out of style in a few years. I appreciate the classic good flavor of this beer. Strong, but not overpowering. Nice malts, good hops. Good job.