Spew Brew Review: Red/Amber Ales-Part I

First off, I cannot believe it took me this long to come up with ‘Spew Brew Review’. It truly is a great name for this great cause: educating the masses on what to drink.

Now that is out of the way, let’s get into the nitty gritty and chat about some Red (or Amber depending on your sense on color) Ales!

To be very general, there are two types of beer: Ales and Lagers. The main difference is yeast: ales are ‘top fermentation and lagers are ‘bottom fermentation’. Ales are waaaaay older; pre-dating lagers by over 4000 years. Why is that? Well, I am sure there is some science and logistics behind this; how the yeast ferments, what materials were available at the time, etc. But I think the main reasons is ales are way better and there is no need to construct a more complicated and inferior product. It reminds me of the remake of Clash of the Titans; sure the new one is more complicated and sophisticated with it’s CGI, but it pales in comparison to the stop-action Harryhausen original. Also Harry Hamlin is simply a handsome man; go to Hades Sam Worthington! Side note: I am fully aware of my liberal use of the semi-colon thus far. I am not sure if all were used correctly, but there they are; used; over and ; over; again. Deal; with;; i;t;.

There are so many different types of ales, I can’t begin to list them all. Actually I can begin, but rather not. So I will sum it up with my take of the differences: light, medium, dark.

I classify reds/ambers as medium.

Even within this ‘medium’ category, there are different types: reds, ambers, brown, brown/red, red/brown, brown/red/amber, amber/red/brown/brown/red, (red)^2-brown*amber, etc. But for this review, these are the reddish-hued beers I am looking at: Irish Red Ale and American Amber Ale.

I know, enough with this wonky beer intro. Let’s get into the review!

1. 21th Amendment - Red Titan (Imperial Red)

12% ABV 74 IBU

Wow, we are starting out with a big one here. Out of San Francisco (the birthplace of hipsters and beer), comes this robust and hearty brew. 12% ABV means you have to bring your big daddy pants to this game, or your big boy pads… to the… bar, or your big brothers….jock to the….drink…place…….uhhhhhh.

Anyway, buckle up for this one. It is deep, rich, toasty, and most of all…RED! To be honest, it is not a typical red. It is way more ‘beer’ than most reds. But I like my beer like my women; big, robust, cheap, with a high ABV.

Rating: 4/5

2. Skookum - Amber’s Hot Friend

5.2% ABV 28 IBU

Out of Arlington (the one near Seattle, not the one near DC or Dallas), Skookum is a pretty solid brewery. This beer is not the reason why.

There is nothing ‘hot’ about Amber’s hot friend. She is as plain as Jane Eyre and the bite of your 90 year old grandmother. This girl is boring. She is not bad or revolting, but a very standard and generic red. Swipe left on this girl.

Rating: 2.5/5

3. Two Beers - Immersion

5.2% ABV 27 IBU

Two Beers should have made a third beer so I don’t have to drink this one again. So mild, so tame, so banal, so….so-so. Again, not an offensive beer, but if I am going to invest my time drinking a red, please make it more interesting than the cheap whore down the street named Killians. Two Beers, you are better than this. Some may call this clean and smooth, I call it water with red dye.

Rating: 2.5/5

4. Elysian - Men’s Room

5.6% ABV 51 IBU

If you have read the previous installations, you know how much I like Elysian. This is actually their original flagship beer. The story goes two brewers discussed the creation of this beer in the men’s room. True story. What is not so true is how good it is. It is safe, mild, bland, etc. It has a bit more pop than the previous two, but not by much. If you have never had a red before, this one will pretty much introduce you to that world quite well. If you want something more in your beer, well maybe don’t drink a red.

Rating: 3/5

5. New Belgium - Fat Tire

5.2% ABV 22 IBU

New Belgium has a rich and deep catalogue of beers. They are the leaders of the craft beer movement in Denver. And do not scoff at Denver! Other than being the Super Bowl champs, they recently were rated the #1 city by US News and World Report. Fat Tire is by far their most famous beer. It was always the beer at a party where only the hipster snobs would drink at a college party. Here in Seattle, you are considered so blase and mainstream if you are caught with one of these in your hand.

Regardless, I like this beer. It is not as avant-garde and cutting edge as some of the other New Belgium offering, but it is a solid red. In fact I think it is a superior product to all of the other reds I reviewed (other than the big bad mutha; the Red Titan). Conventional, yes. But it holds up.

Rating: 3.5/5