Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Local Flavor...Flat 12 Amber Ale

I had an intern at St. Vincent a couple years ago who told me of this local brewery that was just getting started.  She knew the head brewer, Rob, and she spoke very highly of his beers.  This was when I first heard about Flat 12.  At that time I was just starting to scratch the surface of craft beer and so I was eager to experience Flat 12, but wasn't able to find time to get down there.  My first trip to Flat 12 happened last September with my buddy Phil.  I had the chance to speak to Rob, and although he is a Red Wings fan, he is a pretty cool guy and really knows his beer.  A couple years later, Flat 12 Bierwerks is growing, flourishing, and putting out awesome beer after awesome beer.  I had the privilege of attending their anniversary party earlier this year and enjoyed some amazing rare brews that they celebrated.

Until recently, you could only go to the tasting room located downtown in Indianapolis and purchase growlers and enjoy pints.  Last week, however, bottles of two of their standard beers hit shelves in 6 packs. I chose to go with their Amber Ale, which is one of my favorite Ambers and if it's ever on tap in my area, I typically order it.  Now I have the chance to enjoy a bottle at home and for the purpose of todays blog I get to review it.  Here is what the folks at Rate Beer have to say about it.  Now, it's my turn:

Choose Your Vessel:  I went with the brewery pint glass.  Picked up the Flat 12 glass back in September in hopes that someday I could use it with a bottle of their beer.  I like the glass, but I would prefer one with their traditional winged 12 logo.  Nevertheless, the pint glass is a great choice for an amber such as this.

Let's also take a moment to comment on the bottle label.  There is a lot going on with this label.  I appreciate the drawings, the letters, and the whole "Hello My Name is Amber" Amber Ale portion.  It's quite comical and enjoyable to look at.  Impressive job with this one.  It's quite unique and sets itself apart from other labels.  Not quite as out there as artwork from Three Floyds, but it has its own identity and I really appreciate that.

The Pour: Deep Amber in color.  About a one finger head.  For some reason a bunch of carbonation swarmed the logo so my photo of the beer didn't turn out as well as I had hoped.  Decent lacing throughout consumption, but not as impressive as other brews.  Ambers, however, aren't usually known for incredible lacing, so it's not really an issue here.  Really a nice looking Amber Ale as you can see in the photo below.

Aroma:  Sweet malt aroma, hints of toffee and caramel.  A touch of citrus hop aroma is noticeable here, but definitely a malt forward smell overwhelms the olfactory senses.  It's quite nice.

Taste:  The sweetness of an Amber is the first thing I pick up, but shortly after the palate is dominated by a really nice blend of hops and malt.  Makes this a hoppier amber than most.  Toffee, Caramel, slightly nutty with a nice citrus hop flavor.  Medium carbonation.  Nice bubbles.  Sweet throughout with a strong punch of hops.  The beer starts to finish sweet, but actually ends up bitter.  A nice and welcome change to the drinking process.
Overall:  Extremely drinkable Amber Ale.  This one, while not a traditional amber due to the increased presence of hops, is probably one of my favorite Amber Ales I've had.  Maybe not quite as good as Bells Amber, but it's in the discussion for sure.  I really like the complexity of it.  Typically when I hear "Amber Ale" I know this is going to be malty and sweet, but with some depth of flavor as well.  This one has those components, but the hop presence just adds to the depth of flavor and makes this one an Amber that all hopheads can get on board with.  

You can pick up the Amber Ale at many liquor stores throughout the area.  Go get some!  Cheers and Enjoy!!

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