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Monday, May 20, 2013

Half Acre Beer Co.'s Daisy Cutter

  • Style: Pale Ale
  • ABV: 5.2%
  • Season: Year Round
  • Color: Golden yellow with a bit of orange tint.  Rather hazy.
  • Head:  2 finger slightly off white head with amazing lacing (look at photo on left!)
  • Aroma: Pale malts, floral hops, resin with a bit of tropical fruit and grapefruit
  • Mouthfeel: Light to medium with a good amount of carbonation
  • Finish: Medium and verging towards dry
  • Food friendly: Yes.  A nice, all around sort of summer beer.  Good with salads, grilled poultry and vegetables.  Also try it with Asian food, Mexican meals or other spicy dishes.   Pair it with nutty cheeses such as Pecorino or with tangy cheeses like Munster.  

My first trip to Las Vegas was during the Spring Break of my Freshman year of college.  A friend invited me to come home with her for our week long break.  And yes, up to that point in time, I hadn't realized that people actually lived there.   You know, in neighborhoods in houses with grocery stores, little leagues, laundry mats and all.  I also learned that those grocery stores and laundry mats did have slot machines stationed by the front door, so it wasn't all Mayberry USA.  Since that trip, Ive been back a few more time and I'll admit, each day has a rush of excitement.  There is nothing like sound of hundreds of one armed bandits filling a room the size of my old high school.  And where else can you see the rhythmic dancing waters of the Bellagio trip the light fantastic just down the street from an erupting volcano and a pirate ship full of Jonny Depp look likes?  But if you want to know the honest truth, my absolute favorite thing to do in  Vegas is to take a simple stroll down the strip early in the morning.  It's quiet and clean and just crisp enough with the early morning desert air.  Sometimes it's very easy to get distracted by flash.

                                                                  You've got to love old school Vegas.  I can almost hear Frank yelling at Joey Bishop for not picking up his ring-a-ding drycleaning

There's nothing very flashy about pale ales.  The best are simple, straight forward ales, usually rather sessionable (if not strictly session beers) and often the bedrock of a brewery's line up.  They can range from a well balanced hop and malt ratio, such as Sierra Nevada's Pale Ale, to a hop fest featuring the beer equivalent of the Harlem Shake, also known as 3Floyds Zombie Dust.  But even with all it's notoriety, FFF's Zombie Dust is only 6.4% ABV and has a 60 IBU (in comparison, FFF's Dreadnaught Imperial IPA which sports an ABV of 9.5% and IBU of 99.)   Half Acre Beer's Daisy Cutter clocks in at 5.2% ABV and is believed to be around 55-60 IBUs (I couldn't find the exact measurement of IBU for this beer listed anywhere, but this seems to be the agreed upon range.)    Kind of like the Harrah's Horseshoe Casino of beers, right?

Look at that lacing.  It's like a Stratosphere in your glass.

My Half Acre Daisy Cutter poured a  delicious looking golden yellow with a minimal amount of haze.  Hints of slight orange amber appeared when held to the light.  A two finger, just barely off white, head formed and took it's sweet time settling to a thickish layer of foam for most of the drink.  Attractive rings of lacing covered the entire glass like a Belgium lace snow storm.  This beer had some of the strongest lacing that I've seen in a very long time.  I could smell the pale malts immediately, followed quickly by the note of floral hops and just a smidge of resin.  A bit of grapefruit and tropical fruit was also present,  brightening the scent.  The taste was pretty similar to the aroma.  The hops were first and foremost, with strong floral flavors hitting my tongue immediately.  But honestly, the brew is called "Daisy Cutter".   It would have been weird to have it taste like a malt bomb.  Resin flavors were also there, but to a mild extent (imagine a field of daisies with maybe one lone pine tree stuck on the edge. And the pine tree may grow a mango or two.  I did say imagine, people.)  There was a small grassy element that wasn't on the nose, but was unmistakable when on the tongue.  A light flavor of pale malts helped to bring all of the hop notes into harmony.  Underneath it all, there was a very much needed profile of grapefruit and tropical fruit (mango and possibly pineapple.)  The mouthfeel was light to almost medium, just as I prefer in my pale ales.  The finish was medium, starting with a bit of biscuit pale malts, sliding into the bitter grapefruit.  It wasn't too bitter, nor was it overly dry.  A good amount of carbonation helped to scrub away all of the floral overtones and left my mouth with just a refreshing, satisfied feeling.

Tiny bubbles, not so tiny bubbles, in my glass
I have this sudden urge to listen to Wayne Newton
 Half Acre Beer's Daisy Cutter is a wonderful pale ale to serve with summer meals.  Obviously, this would be a tasty beer to drink all on it's own, but try it with a grilled cesar salad.  Throw in some protein, like diced chicken, and you have yourself a meal.  This would also we a perfect beer to serve with ethnic food, such as Mexican or Chinese dishes.  I'm going to drink it with fish tacos and mango salsa this summer.  The beer is just light enough to work with a delicate protein, such as fish or shellfish, and the mango element in both the beer and salsa will compliment each other wonderfully.   Yes, for a pale ale, there seemed to be quite a bit going on in the glass, but much like a well run casino, just a  little bit of flash can go a long way.  We don't always need a fake tall ship filled with eyelined Jonny Depp-light pirates.  Sometimes a simple stroll down the street is exactly what you really need. A street with it's own volcano never hurts though.