I have considered myself to be a beer enthusiast for quite some time. I have tried hundreds craft beers from scores of breweries, I have studied the many styles of beer, and I have even brewed my own. However, I’ve never owned a growler, which is a must-have for any true beer enthusiast.
I picked up my first growler a couple weekends ago while in Rochester, New York. I went to a local grocery store in search a particular beer that is not available in Columbus and, unfortunately, struck out. However, I didn’t leave empty-handed. Just before settling on a 6-pack of Summer Shandy (never a bad choice in it’s own right given the heat), I notice an entire section of growlers from a local brewery, Rohrbach’s Brewing Company. This was an unusual sight for me because I’m not aware any grocery stores in Columbus that sell growlers. The store had about a half dozen choices, and I chose the Railroad Street IPA.
Railroad Street IPA poured an amber, copper color with minimal head and retention. There was a fair amount of lacing left on the glass, though. The aroma was fairly true to style with plenty of citruy hops, but it was also had a distinct caramel malt note. The flavor followed the aroma pretty closely, having a heavier malt flavor than I expected for an IPA (granted, I should have been prepared for this given the description on the label). My overall impression is that this is a good beer and I’d be happy to drink it again, although it won’t rank near the top of my favorite IPA’s.
Now that I’ve finished off the Railroad Street IPA, it’s time to go out and put my new growler to good use. There are a number of brewpubs, restaurants and specialty shops in and around the Columbus area that sell and fill growlers and, since I’m generally partial to beer on tap, I’m looking forward to the opportunity to enjoy draught beer at home.
One of my fondest childhood memories is that of my grandfather’s telling of his heroic battles during the War of 1812. To you, a rational adult (I presume) this sounds ridiculous. But, as as a six year-old child, I was neither aware of fact that there was such a thing as a “War of 1812″, nor the fact that my grandfather was not that old. So, of course, I believed every word he said until, long after his passing, I realized that it had all be an elaborate hoax. Imagine my astonishment! Regardless, that is memory I will hold forever, no matter how silly.
Therefore, when I spotted Sackets Harbor War of 1812 Amber Ale at a local grocery store while on a recent trip to Rochester, New York, I had to have it (if for no other reason than sentimental value). I had never heard of Sackets Harbor Brewing Co., but I’m willing to give just about anything a try, so I picked up a six-pack. My enjoyment of this beer, though, extended beyond my mere discovery of it; it’s a pretty decent beer.
I don’t know that I would necessarily call this an Amber Ale, because the color is more golden than amber (my photo editing above may be a bit deceiving), but I realize I’m splitting hairs here. When I poured it into the glass, I got a small amount of off-white head that disappeared almost immediately and left no lacing on the glass. There is not a lot going on aroma-wise; malty with, perhaps, a hint of nut and very little hops. While this isn’t the best tasting beer I’ve ever had, I do enjoy it a lot. It is sweet upfront with a slight fruity taste. I got a hint of toffee and caramel as well, but almost no hops. It has a fair amount of carbonation (despite the lack of head) and is a little on the light side in terms of mouthfeel. What this beer is truly lacking is a nice hoppy kick on the finish.
I enjoyed this beer quite a bit, and if I could get it locally I’d be inclined to buy it again. It’s a very easy beer to drink, and it seems like a good one to keep on hand if you want something you can drink 2-3 of in an evening. While I’m not in any rush to drive another 500 miles just to get some more, I’m sure I’ll get another 6-pack on my next trip to Rochester. And, while drinking my next one, I’ll ponder what it must have been like for Grandpa in the War of 1812.