Dark Horse Amber Ale – Review #12

Dark Horse Amber Ale Review, Dark Horse Brewing Company

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Total Score: 76.0

Tonight comes a beer from Dark Horse Brewing Company in that state up north. Opened in 1997, Dark Horse operates a small tap room that also serves a variety of pub-type food. It’s hard to know much more about them since their website is atrocious, a problem that seems to be accentuated by their over-emphasized don’t-give-a-fuck attitude. If you don’t want your site to be super serious that’s fine, but there are plenty of examples of brewery websites (favorite) that are both different and useful. And they paid someone to build the site! Hey, want to know something about the man behind the beer? Too bad, but here’s some incoherent drivel instead.

The beer, their Amber Ale, is described as a “true Ninja of a beer” on their website. This seems to refer to the fact that it is “commonly overlooked”, which doesn’t sound like much of an endorsement. They describe their yeast as “ALMOST like a Belgian yeast strain”, which does sound interesting. Nothing further from the label, except a drawing of what appears to be a wedding cake with barley sticking out of it. An email to head brewer and owner Aaron for further info was not returned, so it’s time to pour…

Pours a cloudy light mahogany with ripe peachy red/orange shades around the edges. Head is tiny to start and fizzles to a meager film. No lacing. Unimpressive to behold. Picking up some funky smells without even trying, and they continue once I dig in. Ripe fruit-like malt with a bit of funky Belgian yeast on the back. Hops are detectable but not prominent. “Amber ale” is a broad category, and this certainly seems to be taking advantage. Taste continues the trend. Sweet, malty, slightly tart. The “almost” Belgian yeast is most prominent in the aftertaste, especially as it warms, and could probably pass as fully Belgian, but that would be too mainstream. Hops make a cameo only for a touch of bitterness. Mouthfeel is fine but pedestrian: smooth, medium body, moderate carbonation. Taste rates just above average since it manages to be interesting without being offensive.

Overall, I think of a rebellious teenager who hasn’t found himself. Odd for the sake of it. Trite. Won’t be coming back to this one.

Looks: 7/10     Smell: 7.5/10     Taste: 8/10     All-Around: 7/10

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