This coppery, amber ale smells mild, like soft caramel chews and yeast. With the first sip, the effervescent brew instantly expands, becoming frothy like a foam soap dispenser. Despite its caramelized scent, this beer packs a sharp, bitter flavor. Not that this is a bad thing, but those who like black coffee, Dijon mustard, or sharp cheddar will appreciate its piquant taste most. Thick in body and tart in flavor, this is definitely a slow-sipping beer with a dry finish. Dishes with a sweet sauce, like barbecue ribs or Chinese beef and broccoli stir-fry, would be an ideal pairing.
We enjoy breweries with a sense of humor just as much as quirky, sustainable ones, which is why I recently picked up a bottle of Green Lakes Organic Amber Ale ($9 for six bottles) from Deschutes Brewery in Oregon. Beyond organic, the label claims it uses salmon-safe hops. It may sound like an unlikely claim, but according to the brewery, the hops are grown in such a way as to preserve and cultivate the spawning streams across Oregon. An organic beer that also cares about using sustainable ingredients? It all seems too good to be tasty. See if the beer's flavor is as awesome as its practices.
Photo: Nicole Perry