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Monday, December 2, 2013

Half Acre Beer's Luther's Boot

  • Style: Amber Rye Ale
  • ABV: 6.00%
  • Season: One and done
  • Ease to locate: At the Half Acre tap Room only. Hence the very cool looking growler in the photo to the left.  Honestly, Half Acre has the best looking growlers
  • Color: Lightly cloudy brown with reddish tones 
  • Head: One finger off while head that dissipated quickly.  Spotty lacing rimming the glass
  • Aroma: Very malty & caramel sweet notes.  Lots of grain & bready yeast.  A hint of spiciness from the rye
  • Mouthfeel: Medium with abundant carbonation
  • Finish: Medium with a strong malt element.  Slight hops on the tail
  • Food friendly: Sure.  I'd pick a meal that veered towards a savory element to offset the sweetness of the grain.  Try it with  roast beef & horseradish or a simple mushroom  or root vegetable soup.  Serve it along side sharp cheddar cheese or a bit of mild creamy cheese like Gruyere

Apple user's link: I just see Hedwig & Crookshanks on an afternoon outing at Hogswarts

                                                                                                                      My assumption is that this is briefly after one of them ate Scabbers.

Sometimes it's nice to let someone else pick out the drinks for a given night.  I tend to be the one to bring a new craft beer or the latest release to a gathering.  Sometimes it's because I've become enchanted with a certain beer and want to share it with people that I love or can at least tolerate for a given night.  (You know who you are.)  Other times, I grab a bomber or two from my stash that I've been meaning top crack open as I rush out the door.  But it's those casual gatherings where someone else takes the initiative to share something that they might love/want to pop open, well, those are the most fun evenings of all.  And if they bring the undiscovered beer in a cool looking growler, even better.  (Extra point for the owl.  Owls rock.)

Handy Dandy ICBG tasting glass.  Don't leave home without it.

 The other night, my brother showed up for dinner with a growler of Half Acre's Luther Boot which is a one time, growler/tap only Amber Rye Ale.  The beer poured a lightly cloudy, reddish brown liquid.  A one finger light beige head formed and dissipated quickly into a thin layer of foam.  Delicate, spotty lacing rimmed the glass.  The aroma was big and malty with roasted grains and sweet cereal notes.  There was also a heavy aroma of  bready yeast and a very, very light note of spice.  The taste improved on the scent with a better balance of the same notes as on the nose.  Yes, it was still very much a malt bomb, but a better balanced one than the nose was.  Elements of brown sugar, sharp rye and a hit of peppery hops evened out all of the initial sweetness.   I'll be honest, if I hadn't looked it up, I wouldn't have guessed that it was a rye ale.  Half Acre produces some of the better locally made rye ales and I was surprised at just how delicate the note was on this beer.  However, I also had to take into consideration that this was not only a growler stored beer, it was a growler beer where I had no control about how it was stored.  Could the rye note have been heavier on the tap pour?  Or was Half Acre making a subtle sort of rye ale?  An Amber rye for people who don't like rye?  The world may never know.  The moderate body was sharp with an abundance of carbonation, giving a bite to the sweetness of the grain.  A medium finish was very light on rye and peppery hops, giving the beer an easy sort of drinkability, but not much distinction. 

I usually have a difficult time pairing rye grain based beers with a variety of dishes, but the mildness of the note in Half Acre's Luther's Boot expands the possibilties beyond the usual suspects of cold cuts and mild cheese.  I'd serve this beer with a hearty Root Vegetable Soup thick with Squash & Lentils.  The sweetness of the ale would work nicely with the butternut squash and pancetta in the soup, while the spiciness of the rye and peppery hops could play nice with the thyme, garlic and bay leaf seasoning used in the recipe.  I'd also pair it with a mushroom heavy dish, such as this Wild Mushroom and Beef Stew.  Since this recipe calls for 12oz of an Amber Ale, why not measure out some Luther's Boot to incorporate while you're at it?  (a little for the stew, a little for me.....)   Of course, one of the things that I love about growlers is that they are meant for sharing.  Any time that you share a good beer, well, that's just a party waiting to happen.  And if you throw an owl into the mix, all the better.