Tag Archives: Red Ale

2017 Advent Calendar – Day 11 – Brouwerij De Molen Dancer & Dasher

For the second beer post today, I’m writing about Day 11’s beer which is coming to us all the way from the Netherlands. This isn’t the first time we’ve had a beer from Brouwerij de Molen. In fact, this is the third time that we’ve see one of their beers.

In the 2016 calendar we had a Winter Saison, and in the 2014 advent calendar, we had the chance to try their Winter Porter. The beer we have from them is called “Dasher & Dancer” and is an Irish Red Ale.

The breweries name means “The Mill” and is located inside a historic windmill building called De Arkdulf, which was built in 1697.  As well as a brewery, they also have a retail business on site and a restaurant which creates food to pair with their beers.

Founded in 2004 by head brewer Menno Olivier, this brewery can produce 500 litres per batch with an annual production of 500 hectolitres.  The equipment at the brewery includes converted dairy tanks which are used as fermenters and the bottles are still capped and corked by hand.  Today the brewery can produce 2500 litres at a time and has an annual production of 6000 hectolitres due to the purchase of a new building 200 meters away from the mill.  One interesting thing about this brewery is that they do not dispose of unsatisfactory beer.  Instead, this beer is distilled into a “beer liqueur” at 20% abv and is then sold as well, reducing the spoilage of the beer, and allowing them to still make profit off bad batches.

Irish red ales are typically an easy drinking pint of beer. They have subtle flavours and are more malt forward with a balance between toffee/caramel sweetness and slightly grainy biscuit notes. Some versions, like this one, will emphasize the caramelly sweetness a bit more.

While it’s true that Ireland has a long tradition of ale brewing, this style of beer is an interpretation of the English Bitter with less hopping and a bit of roast to add colour and dryness. Having been rediscovered as a craft beer style in Ireland, it has now become quite a regular style in many brewery line-ups along side pale ales and stouts. Onto the beer.

Appearance – Pours a clear amber with a huge frothy white head.
Smell – Pine and Resinous hop note are the first things that come through for me on this beer. There is a biscuity caramel malt back end on the nose as well.
Taste – Taste is a very subtle version of the nose. There are those resinous pine hop notes that jump up right on the tongue before a subtle light caramel malt sweetness rushes in to push them aside. After the malt sweetness leaves you are left with a bitter dry finish.
Mouth Feel – Soft carbonation with a dry finish.
Overall Thoughts – Overall, I don’t really know where this one fits. The malt notes were overly subdued. The body was a bite on the light side for me and I was missing that caramel malt sweetness from this beer.
Do I like it? – I found this one to be lacking a bit for me. I didn’t really enjoy it overall, and I’m a big fan of these guys.


Craft Beer Advent Calendar – Day 6

Beer 6

In 6 days of the beer advent calendar we have gone through Scandinavia, hopped over to the UK, flown across to the USA, back over to Italy and now today we have arrived in Australia.  This has been quite the tour of world beers and has been incredibly enjoyable so far.

Today’s beer comes to us from Bridge RoadBrewery in Victoria, Australia.  Victoria (the city not the territory) is located about halfway between Canberra and Melbourne in the Australian Capital Territory.  Conceived in 2004/5 by Ben Kraus in his dad’s back shed, Bridge Road Brewery now produces 25Hl (2500 liters) of beer in over 20 different styles of beer.

This brewery likes to push the limits on beer recipes trying to appease their “what will happen if we do this” type mentality. They use locally sourced hops and malts and have a really unique way of profiling their beer based on the Malt level (out of 10) and the Hop level (out of 10) to allow beer drinkers to choose the style that most suits their taste preference.

The beer that has been selected for the advent calendar is called “Fat man, red suit, big sack” and is an India Red Ale.  Like the Hop Blanc, this is a red ale that has been hopped like an IPA.  It was developed specifically to be exported to Canada and showcases some of the Aussie hops: Galaxy, Enigma and Topaz.

Now, red ale is primarily used as a catch all for any beer less than a Dark ale. Some argue red ale is not really a “style” of beer but rather a pale ale that is malted differently and thus has different hues. Amber ales, red ales, and Irish Red Ales have become quite popular with breweries and are being produced worldwide.  Given that, I would say that whether it is an actual style or not, it has been widely accepted as one.

Red Ales range from amber to dark red in hue and are primarily used to focus on malts but can be hopped, like in this case.  Most have light fruitiness and as Aussie hops tend to bring tropical and citrus notes, I expect this one will be the same.  Now, onto today’s beer!

Rating: 83/100

Appearance: Amber red and cloudy.  Head was intense, not sure what happened but ended up with ¾ glass of head before dissipating.  Left foamy on top that would not dissipate.
Smell: Citrus, passion fruit and pineapple all come through quite noticeably.  There is also the sweet malty smell, almost like caramel.
Taste: The citrus, pineapple and passion fruit notes come through in a lively burst of tart bitterness that is really quite nice. It melds perfectly with the sweetness of the malt and is incredibly well balanced.  Great bitterness that isn’t too much but exactly what you’d expect in a hopped beer.
Mouth feel: Light carbonation with medium body.  Smooth in the mouth.
Overall: Really showcases the hops which was the point of this particular beer.  I haven’t had many India Red Ales in the past but for an IPA style beer this one is really well balanced and showcases the flavors really well. An excellent example of taking two styles of beer and melding them seamlessly.
Do I like it: Yes! I love IPAs though and this is a really good example of that style of beer, even if it’s called an India Red Ale.  For me, the red just refers to the color as this is basically an IPA through and through.  Very well done Bridge Road.  I would certainly buy this beer.