As you may remember, I love my amber beers. As this heat wave starts to break in a traditional southern thunderstorm, I want review my three most recent loves along this line. Again, to review, the Amber beer style is malty sweet, can be hopped ranging from a West Coast Pale Ale, like a Sweetwater 420 to nearly no hops, like a true Belgian beer. They are going to be redder and maltier then a pale, but lighter than a brown ale, ESB, or porter.
My first Amber love and southern addiction is the Highland Brewery. Their beer is from Asheville, NC and the locality promises the freshness of the sample. The beer is on the hoppy end of the spectrum, but the mellowness of a well crafted amber permeates through the hopped nature of the beer. The beer’s cascade hops add a citrus freshness to add punctuation to the malty caramel taste. The carbonation adds a baked bread, almost a toasted desert bread scent to the nose of this wonderful beer.
This beer is completely on the other side of the scale. This beer, originally called the Kronic, but the name was censored; which is the name that stuck. The beer is a malted perfectly. In many ways this is the perfect amber to me. There is a simplicity in the taste that any beer drinker could enjoy, but there is subtly complex notes to it. It pours and drinks like a soda with a little lighter carbonation acid taste from the carbonation. If you thought Dr. Pepper or Pibb X-tra when you drink this, the flavor is there. The fig notes, vanilla, and mild cherry tannin flavors flood the mouth feel and the hops keep the other flavors fresh, like adding salt to a desert.
O, Atlanta Brewing Company, now Red Brick, why do you and I have it so hard right now? You disappointed me this weekend, but, when I had your beer at Taco Mac, all was forgiven. The original Laughing Skull died right as I was starting to love beer; the last one I had had been sitting around and was oxidated and flat. However, as the new version came out, I decided it was my job as an Atlantan to give the beer a new taste. I was impressed. The malted sweetness in this beer is highlighted by the addition of roasted grain. This beer is possibly one of the most drinkable beers made in the city. The body is fairly medium and finishes with a good balance. If you can find this beer on tap, drink it. It turns over fast and really packs a refreshing punch.