The Halftime Pint: Echigo Red Ale

One of the greater things about watching football in America is that most matches, especially those of the EPL, are early in the morning American time, giving people an excuse to daydrink. This is part of our series discussing exactly what to drink when you’re at the pub, presented by our resident homebrewer, Keith

20120730-080948.jpgThe Beer: Echigo Red Ale, Echigo Beer Company, Niigata, Japan

The Pub: Toki Underground, in Northeast DC

What You Need to Know: Modern Amber Ale is another concoction of the Pacific Northwest. While it has cousins in Scotch Ale and Irish Red, Amber utilizes more astringent American hops rather than the mild British/European varietals. That said, the use of higher concentrations of caramel malts creates more of a balanced flavor with toffee overtones than a normal American Pale Ale.

Echigo Beer Company is a relatively young brewery in Japan, which has only been coming to microbrewing as a culture in the last decade. Prior to 1994, only a few macro-style breweries (Kirin and Sapporo most famously) were permitted to brew commercially by the Japanese government.

So, About this Beer: Pours a deep ruby/copper with a large-bubbled pale tan head. Straw and malt are heavily present in the aroma. A nice blend of malt and spice on the initial flavor exploding to a slight raisiny finish with the smallest hint of hop snap. Mouthfeel is medium, but really coats the mouth before the carbonation scrubs it away at the back end.

The Verdict: This is a delicious version of the style. It’s really finely balanced, as the sweetness isn’t cloying, and the flavors tend to explode in short bursts rather than in one mass. It’s an interesting beer, and I’m really excited to try more from Echigo.

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