Monday, April 14, 2014

Too Hip For Me

Ruhstaller 1881 Sacramento Red Ale is a beer in a bottle that looks too hip for me.  The bottle is fitted with its own beatnik turtle neck sweater, and enough farm-to-bottle proclamations on the label - including "farm to bottle"  - to border hipster parody.  Looks are deceiving.  This beer may scream bearded, skinny jean, flannel wearing hipster on the outside, but inside it's all straight-laced, clean shaven, three-piece suit. 

1881 Sacramento Red Ale is a mild red ale with pronounced malt profile.  Its hop bitterness was surprisingly muted, given the label's boast that the hops are from a single farm, Kuchinski Hop Ranch.  The Sacramento Red Ale was more reminiscent of an English brown ale than a California red ale.  It had a thin consistency (abv was only 5.6%), and the malt roast gave 1881 a smoked flavor and a mineral aftertaste, just like a good English brown ale.  Even its opaque color was more mahogany than ruby.  1881 is ultimately smooth and drinkable, a pleasant, conservative beer despite its bottle's aspirations.

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