Quick note: I promise, promise, that I will get away from the super hopheavy beers the moment the weather decides to cooperate. As long as it stays super warm out, I’m probably going to keep drinking the hops because warm/hot weather screams “drink hops now” to me. However, September is coming quickly, and I’ll get on the Oktoberfest brews, and then into darker/maltier brown ales and bocks (and pumpkin beers!) as we get into October.
Anyway, without further ado, another hoppy-ish beer:
Name: Ruedrich’s Red Seal Ale
Origin: North Coast Brewing Co., Fort Bragg, California
Style: American Amber/Red Ale
I drank this: from a bottle at Old Chicago, Overland Park
The first time I had this beer was while grading freshmen composition papers with a friend several years ago. We bought it based on the fact that there was a seal on the label. It turns out that just like buying beer for the kickass awesome name tends to lead to a good beer, buying beer for a kickass awesome label tends also to have very good results.
The Red Seal Ale is one of my favorite red ales: sharp and assertive and malty all at once. The nose is a combination of bright, grassy hops with a strong malt profile and a hint of something that strikes me as apricot in the background, although I’m 100% sure there isn’t actually fruit in this beer.
Malt-wise, this seems to run through every malt in the red/pale/amber/brown category, strong enough that they’re almost all I notice for the first second. Then the hops kick in, and they’re sharp, biting hops. They don’t make the beer hugely bitter so much as make it feel extraordinarily sharp on the tongue. This malt+sharp feel is what I look for in a good red ale – it’s a sort of hallmark of the style to me. The Red Seal provides this feeling in spades. Sharp spades. The aftertaste is a sort of orange blossom/evergreen combination.
I really like this beer in two seasons: Autumn and St. Patty’s Day (which is, in beer-drinking world anyway, a season unto itself). It’s a nice bright/malty combo for fall, one that works well with the seasons changing. And it’s awesome on St. Patty’s Day for the moment when you can’t drink one more Guinness (should such a catastrophe happen) – it pairs really well with all the Irish foods of the day: it’s malty enough to be rich enough for the heavy food while being simultaneously sharp enough to cut through the richness and feel refreshing.
It would probably also be awesome with sharp cheddar, but then so is everything else.