OPINION: Beer is full of many delights. Before the taste there's a cheerful fizz as you pop the cap, the promising glug as you pour it into the glass and the aesthetic pleasure of colour and hue as well as the bead of rising bubbles. The head caps off the visual spectacle and is the reason why beer's always advertised in a tall, clear glass with a proud white head.
Tasting it is even better.
There is the smooth, mouth-filling pleasure provided by the malt, the nuances that yeast contributes, and the clean bitterness and aroma of hops. Many beers lean towards either malt or hops. Yakima Scarlet is designed to showcase the best of both.
It's brewed with six different types of English, Australian and Belgian malts, and was always going to share the characteristics of the beers that these regions produce. There is the smooth, nutty flavour of the English Bitter and the pleasing complexity of the Belgian ale. (Aussies, your beer underwhelms me. I would be happy to be proven wrong.)
The addition of five big American hop varieties could blow out this beer and make for an exercise in brewing indulgence.
Happily, this is not the case. The hops provide a counterpoint to the rich malt body, and the aroma is pleasing and subtle.
There is delicious late hop charge on the back of the tongue, which adds further satisfaction. If you had to put a style tag on this beer, you might call it a red ale because it is a glorious red colour.
However, brewer Joseph Wood of Liberty Brewing notes on the bottle that he isn't sure what style it is, although he does know that it is hoppy and it is red!
Yakima Scarlet is brewed by Liberty Brewing in New Plymouth. It is 6.9 per cent abv and should not be served too cold. It can be purchased from Fitzroy Liquorland. Warwick Foy
- © Fairfax NZ News
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