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Monday, June 2, 2014

Off Color Brewing's Apex Predator

  • Style: Farmhouse Ale
  • ABV: 6.5%
  • Ease to locate: Most Chicagoland craft beer stores.  Much easier to find than their elusive ode to extinct reptiles who like toasted marshmallow camping snacks (elusive but oh so tasty).  Here's a link to their Beer Menu Page
  • Color: Golden amber with prominent orange tones.  Hazy & juicy, just as a proper farmhouse should be
  • Head: 1 & 1/2 finger fluffy, thick and  slightly off white foam.  Waves of lacing ringing the glass.  Excellent retention
  • Aroma: Lightly floral (lemon grass & flowery herbs) with peppery spice, fruity yeast and rustic funk.   
  • Mouthfeel: Dry with a medium body
  • Finish: Medium to long. Begins with the floral, herbal & yeasty notes that trails to a lingering hit of spice
  • Food friendly: Short answer?  YES!  Long one is more like a list of almost every sort of Spring/Summer?Early Autumn meal imaginable.  Personally, I think it'd be phenomenal with oily fish off the grill or with chicken & vegetable kabobs. 

Apple User Link: OK, I was (and always will be) slightly disappointed to find out that football sometimes means soccer

                                                          I hate soccer as a sport, but even I'll admit that if you threw a lion or two out onto the field, it'd probably be at least as interesting as, say, tennis

Let's get this out in the open.  I'm a huge fan of Farmhouse Ales, especially in the Summer.  There is just something about the hazy, juicy, almost pulpy look of a properly brewed farmhouse ale that makes my city girl mouth water.  The fact that this sort of spicy, toasty, dry, slightly funky drink pairs so well with a wide variety of food makes it an easy beer to grab from the cellar for Sunday night dinner. Plus, as you are all well aware of by now, I am a sucker for a gorgeous looking head of foam.  For long time readers of this blog (so, basically, just you, Mom.  Who am I kidding?  My mom doesn't read this)  you'll remember that the very first beer I ever wrote about was a local farmhouse ale, Two Brother's Brewing's Domaine DuPage.  Last year I even tried my still inexperienced hand at brewing one myself, which only helped to grow an appreciation for this under utilized style.  My result was...well, it was drinkable.   Let's just say that I am beyond ecstatic that Off Color Brewing decided to release their version of a traditional Farmhouse ale this summer. 


My Apex Predator poured a stunning golden amber liquid, sunlit with orange tones that almost glowed from inside the glass.  It was beautifully juicy, with a pulpy hazy that almost purred for you to take a sip.  A generous off white head of at least one and a half fingers rose in the glass.  The head showcased excellent retention, which slowly resulted in waves of thick lacing sticking to the sides.  So, so SO pretty.  The aroma was that of fresh lemon grass mixed with a flowery herbal quality.  Layered in was a rustic funk, a hint of toasty grains and a good hit of spicy pepper. Many people aren't intimately acquainted with the scent of lemon grass.  Lets face it, it's not an herb that many people cook with every day.  I recommend checking out your local grocery store and take a whiff of their stalks.  A little lemon, a little green and a bit of fresh air.  Basically, lemon grass smells like Spring to me.  Apex Predator tasted like Springtime to me as well.  The sweetness from the malts and the fruitiness from the yeast were exponentially easier to detect on the tongue, while the lemon grass and floral, herbal notes took a bit of a back seat.  The anticipated murky funk emerged in a delicate sort of way as well.  And I simply loved the pepper note, which not only balanced out the sweetness, but also under cut the herbal qualities in the brew.  The mouthfeel revealed a medium body that was thirst quenching in its dryness.  A medium to long finish ended this beer spectacularly.  The finish began with the herbal and floral notes, effortlessly slid into the fruity and funky qualities and then trailed off to the white  pepper spice at the very end.    





Saisons and Biere de Gardes are really the perfect Summer supper beers.  The floral, slightly citrus, funky, spicy qualities are not only a refreshingly pleasant thing to drink on a gorgeous evening, they are also the very qualities that pair them so well with just about anything you serve with them.  Try drinking Off Color's Apex Predator with Grilled Trout Wrapped in Foil along side some lightly charred summer squash and zucchini some June evening. The lightly rustic, herbal nature of this beer will help bring out the flavors of the fish in a most delicious way (you say that you don't like fish?  Well, then have two bottles of Apex Predator and maybe you'll amend your way of thinking.)  You could also throw together some easy breezy Nutty Lemon Chicken Kabobs one night.  The pine nut crusted, lemon drizzled, sage scented chicken will pair beautifully with the herbal lemon grass element of this brew.  Or just order a pizza and relax.  Off Color has really made the choice that easy here for you.  Because isn't that what a great Summer beer should be?