12 October 2008

Three from Saranac (NY)

Saranac really makes a lot of styles, so many that I can buy their variety six-pack and find no beers that I've reviewed (though I've had a couple of these before).

Adirondack Lager: The good news is that this isn't a bland lager. The bad news is it doesn't taste quite right (at least not to me). Clear, light amber color, light hop aroma. It's made with both Hallertau and Cascades, and you can kind of taste both of them battling it out. However, some of the taste gets buried beneath heavy carbonation (not uncommon for this brewery). There are also somewhat sour, metallic elements appearing. Maybe just a bad one-off for me, but this wasn't good.

Pale Ale: Much better. This might be considered their signature beer, and it's all over the place around these parts. "Classic English Style," it says on the label, and it uses Fuggles and EKG hops to prove it. I think I sense some US-style citrusy hops in the nose, but those don't really appear. In stead, it's a good balance of malts and fruity, herbal hops. Softly carbonated. Great sessions brew.

India Pale Ale: The label says "American I.P.A." and boasts of "generous amounts of Cascade hops." This is a tough style to crack for a place like Saranac. Do you try to appease the hop-crazed elements of the craft beer community? Or do you tone it down a notch to appeal to a larger crowd? A bit more of the latter, I'd say. The citrusy hops come through against the malt background, but neither is huge. A bit light in both body and bitterness. The last IPA I had was Great Lakes, to which Saranac can't hold a candle. Still, if you forget about others of the style, you'll find a fairly tasty beer, and maybe a good first IPA.

Not a bad half a six pack (you only get one of each). Their Pale Ale may be my favorite of the brewery, but sometimes I think its more fun to drink things like Caramel Porter and Mountain Berry Ale and Chocolate Amber Lager, even if they don't all work. That's what Saranac does best: crank out the styles.

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