Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Copper Ale (Otter Creek Brewing)

I have before me the "flagship brew" of Otter Creek Brewing out of Middlebury, Vermont. This comes to me, as so many delicious beers have, via a mixed six from the Brewsroom Beer Club.

In my glass, the ale is a brownish amber -- or you might say tarnished copper -- with a slight haze. My usual aggressive pour raises two inches of large-bubbled foam that hangs around almost indefinitely. There is a nice clean nose of malt and flint. Very little is signaled in the way of hops.

From the first sip, I must remark from a completely personal perspective, I am pleased by the characteristically "German" flavor that reminds me of so many imported beers I drank in my twenties, long before the craft brew movement brought us the choice of thousands of distinctive, flavorful domestics.

But back to the more empirical approach we try to maintain around here, the first sip reveals a sweet, mild malt body shored up by beautifully balanced hops bitterness. The main flavor is generally high and sweet but not syrupy, and resolves into mineral and nutmeg. Soft carbonation and a medium mouthfeel sustain the general impression of refreshing, thirst-quenching mildness.

Copper Ale is available year-round, but it almost seems like it would be a summer seasonal. It is a highly sessionable ale with 5% ABV and nothing to bog the drinker down or accumulate into offensiveness. Not the flashiest brew you'll come across, but tasty and well-made.

From the bottle's label:

First brewed in 1991, our original ale has proudly become our flagship brew. Inspired by the albiers of northern Germany, Copper Ale™ is an amber ale brewed with six malts, three hops, and our special brewer's yeast. Its well-balanced, robust malt flavor is complemented by a pronounced hop finish.

Featured beer:
Copper Ale

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