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Beer #27 – January 27, 2010: Southampton Altbier

January 27, 2010

Beer: Southampton Altbier

Brewery: Southampton Publick House, Southampton, New York

Style: Altbier

Serving Type: 12 oz bottle

Price: $9.99 / 6-pack

Availability: Year-round

Glassware: Dimple mug

Strength: 5.0% ABV (alcohol by volume)

Drinkability: Flavorful, but not overly complex or heavy.  Easy but enjoyable.

Tasting Notes

Appearance: Pours a clear chestnut hue with a big billowy cream-colored head.

Aroma: Sweet grain and earthy Noble hops.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, not heavy, but not thin.

Taste: Mild caramel sweetness builds into a chewy, grainy, cereal middle.  There is a slight tanginess to the finish, and herbal notes of hops.  Overall, a relatively subtle but tasty beer.

Pairing: Think German.  The Noble hop flavor and aroma balanced with some meaty maltiness just makes me think of all things German, so why not pair this with wurst, smoked pork loin, buttery spaetzle, and sweet red cabbage.  Lift your mug, and say “Prost!”

Trivia: While “Noble Hops” have been used by German and Central European brewers for centuries, the term may be familiar to many thanks to Jim Koch and his commercials for Samuel Adams.  Noble hops may be one of four varieties: Hallertau, Saaz, Spalt and Tettnang.  Much like the appellation of wines and wine grapes (protected and geographically specific “labels”, e.g. Cote du Rhone or Champagne), Noble hops may only be called Noble hops if they are grown and harvested in the specific areas for which the hops are named.  Climate and soil affects the flavor of hops, therefore Hallertau hops grown in central Barvaria will provide distinctive flavors and aromas that will be different if the same hop vines are grown elsewhere in the world.

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