River City Rowdy Red

Tony and I were recently in Wichita for a night, so we decided to hit the local brewpub, River City Brewing Company. Between the two of us, we sampled five beers that evening, some of which were really good. I’ll be sprinkling in reviews from that night among other reviews over the next week or so.

There’s not a lot of information on River City Brewing online – they have a website, but the website gives almost no information on the beers at all: in order to find what info there is, you need to go to the menu and scroll to the bottom, and even then they only tell you about the flagships. The seasonal beers weren’t anywhere on the menu, nor was there any info at the table about them. Beeradvocate was equally unhelpful – I get the impression there aren’t a ton of Wichita-area people on that website. 

The upshot here is that for the two seasonals I sampled, I’ll be relying on my own guesses and on what info the server could give. The server unfortunately thought that an IPA and an ESB were the same style of beer *facepalm*, so I’m taking everything she said with a Rock of Gibraltar-sized grain of salt.** She badly needs some training (or she needs to pay eleventy billion times more attention during training) – I was embarrassed for her.

Basic Info:
 Rowdy Red
Origin: River City Brewing Co., Wichita, KS
Style: casked red ale, I think. Or an American Strong Ale.
ABV: 7.0%, possibly – this was roughly what the server thought it was, but we’ve already established that she’s not to be trusted. I didn’t see it listed on a board anywhere either, but we couldn’t see much from our table. I’m sticking with roughly 7.0%, though, because that tastes about right.
IBU: not listed that I could see
I drank this: on tap at the Brewery

If you find yourself in the River City Brewing Co., look for this beer first. It’s a seasonal casked ale, however, and I don’t know if they’ve ever brewed it before, so you may need to try to get there quickly in order to have some. If you do manage to get over there and you’re a hophead, however, you’re in for a treat.

This beer came in a 10 oz glass (more or less appropriate given the higher alcohol content) with about a finger of head (this is standard measurement in beer world – it means that the height of the foam is the width of one of my fingers) and was a lovely, not quite translucent reddish amber color. Being a cask ale, it came out rather warmer than beer is usually served, which is exactly how things are supposed to be.

This beer is a hop lover’s dream. It has an incredible pink grapefruit scent – warm and bright and cheerful sunshine. Really amazing. It has the slightly thicker mouthfeel of a cask ale, and the casking helps to play up the sweetness of the malts, which are all medium caramel-range. However, it’s not a sweet beer – the sweetness is a backdrop to some really amazing hops, all bitter citrusy grapefruit and orange blossom notes which manage to sparkle on the tongue. Yes, sparkle. It’s awesome. I was in hop heaven.

So like I said, if you can get over there soon enough, go get ye some of this beer. It’s fantastic.

**A note to brewery servers everywhere: don’t respond to your patrons saying that a particular beer is their favorite by saying “well, the brewers made a higher quality beer on that one – you can tell because there’s more alcohol in it.” It’s a major insult to the brewers, and it makes it patently obvious that you are a blithering idiot have no clue what the hell you’re talking about. (Blithering Idiot, coincidentally, is a great barleywine by Weyerbacher Brewing Co.)


About Kim

Kim spends a lot of time writing, thinking about writing, reading, writing more and dealing with writer's block. When she's not writing, she might be found having a beer. She often combines the writing experience with the beer experience. The combination tends to lead to more creativity but significantly impaired spelling.
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