I'm not the biggest advocate of amber ales. Most of the one's I've tried just haven't excited me. Sure, there's been exceptions but they haven't been very common. Because of that they aren't discussed much in this blog. Neither beer nor records are cheap in these trying times so the chances taken when you've got about an extra 15 buck in your pocket to splurge are thought out a little bit more. Better to trust instincts on what ya think ya might like than something that has left ya unimpressed in the past. These on the shelf hit me with a dilemma. Dark Horse's Crooked Tree IPA knocked my socks off a while back. I've been curious about trying other of their brews but even though they were a Michigan company there stuff was pretty hard to find in my knuckle of the thumb. When spotted these it was "Aww! Awesome! A different Dark Horse" then "Oh, It's just an amber ale." A couple of out of state brews reaching this burg for it's first time caught my attention for a few seconds here and there but it seemed that the Dark Horse was calling me.
Think of what a blood orange cream soda would look like. That describes the rusty, hearty color of this. Minimal lid of foam that faded quick and a slight lace that stuck around the edges of the beer for it's drinking duration. Very toasty malts and a big yeast scent up front. Not jump right out at you type of aromatics but quite earthy with notes of strawberries and spices.
A very full bodied yet fluffy and mellow feeling at first taste but then comes the flavor twists. Though subdued in it's scent the fruit characteristics really come out in the taste. Nothing overbearing but amidst the amber malts backbone (that actually taste full and rich in this a don't get sorta lost like some other amber's that could be mentioned) is something like strawberries with a graham cracker on the side. A slight peppery spiciness in the back of the mouth and throat going down but a clean finish.
Great in it's complexities and balance. Perfect for any occasion and easy going enough for a session or two (ice cold in the summer these would surely be a spot hitter) this is an amber that gives me faith in the style. Another winner from Dark Horse.