Friday, May 10, 2013

Beer of the Week (Vol. CLXXIII)

Another better late than never edition of Beer of the Week sponsored as always by the earthy folks at Glen Lake Wine & Spirits who can help you discover the natural bounty of wine, whisky, and beer that our world provides.

The movement towards organic products has been with us for some time now. Some of it is no doubt quite real and earnest while some of it seems to be more about slapping an organic label on products so that you can charge more for them. I have an uncle who is a farmer and he discovered that while there is a bit of work involved in getting your product certified as “organic” (in his case pigs), once you do it can be quite a lucrative business to be in.

In recent years, brewers have attempted to climb aboard the organic bandwagon. My experiences with beers that claim to be “organic” while limited, has not been good. Most organic beers that I’ve tried either are lacking in flavor or have tastes that so off-putting that it’s been a challenge to finish the product once poured (a challenge that I have proudly overcome in each instance).

So it was some trepidation that I greeted the news that Summit Brewing’s latest Unchained Series offering was going to be an organic brew. Batch 12 Organic Ale:

Presenting Batch 12 in the Summit Unchained Series – 100% Organic Ale. It’s Minnesota’s first USDA-certified 100% organic beer. It’s also the first Unchained batch from new brewer Gabe Smoley. Gabe went all out to make this session IPA as enjoyable as it is sustainable. He even developed his own organic yeast strain (talk about a beer geek). 100% Organic Ale offers up pronounced rose, potpourri and floral hop character with a light malt backbone – making it the perfect beer for Spring. So enjoy this limited-release beer while you can.

For the most part, the beers in the Unchained Series have been of high quality so despite the organic label I was excited to give Summit’s Organic Ale a go.

Six-pack of 12oz bottles sells for $8.99. Standard industrial themed label used in the Unchained Series.



COLOR (0-2): Dark ruby red. 2

AROMA (0-2): Fruity hops with a little sweetness. Aroma is good, but light. 1

HEAD (0-2): Tan color, good volume, and excellent lacing. 2

TASTE (0-5): Much more flavor than I was expecting with the low alcohol content. Fruit and floral hop flavors blend well with solid malt backbone. Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth. Good carbonation. Medium-bodied yet very drinkable. 3

AFTERTASTE (0-2): Bitter flavors linger pleasantly. 2

OVERALL (0-6): This doesn’t taste like an organic beer and in my book that’s a good thing. Now, it doesn’t exactly taste like a standard IPA either which is also okay. It tastes more closely resemble those of a pale ale than IPA, but it’s still quite enjoyable. And it packs more flavor than you would expect with the lower ABV which makes it a good choice when you’re choosing to have more than one. 4

TOTAL SCORE (0-19): 14