Tuesday, January 27, 2009

#533 and #534

When someone goes to just about any local watering hole, the beers are always the same - Budweiser, Michelob, etc. (that translate to "yuck" and "usually ick", respectively, by the way). If you're lucky, you can get a good Sam Adams or a Blue Moon or something. So, to be perfectly upfront, I have had most beers served around here. I have to shop for beer in out the way places if I want to try a new one.

So, a few nights ago, I had a chance to get a beer that was rumored to exist. A friend went to this place a few weeks previous and said she got this beer and was wondering what I thought of it.

I had never heard of it. My first thought was "What is going on here? A beer at a local dive and I have never had it? Is this possible?"

According to the menu at Bailey's (I was there a few nights ago) , the Red Fox Amber Ale is (#533) brewed just for them. "Huh...", I thought. A local upscale bar with their own brewing that is done off-site? What's up with that?

Well, it turns out Bailey's is not unique. Not only are there two other locations in Michigan, but the parent business, Fox and Hound Restaurant Group, has places in over half of the United States! That's how they do it!

That said, the Red Fox Amber is...
light-bodied ale brewed with the finest caramel and black malts for a beautiful amber color, a perfect body and an unparalleled balance of European hops.
Sounds really fancy, huh? Well, when all is said and done, it was a very average beer. In fact, in might have been below-average. An okay amber color (as best as I could tell in the dim light), okay aroma (as best as I could tell in the smoke), and okay body and taste (as best as I could tell while munching on potstickers) made for an okay beer. Despite all the distractions (including loud music), one huge fault came through - the finish. Waaaaay too bitter, if you ask me. If they can adjust that a bit, they may be on to something. In meantime,I gave it a 2 out of 5. Sure, I should try and give it another go in a more favorable atmosphere, but for now, that is just how I see it.

In the meantime, as I write this, I am sampling # 534. Leinenkugal's 1888 Bock. Apparently, this beer hails from a recipe that dates back to....are you ready for this?...1888. Really. Toasted, malty tones in a dark lager. Yummy. Give it a go. Its worth it. 3 out of 5.

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