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Beer #70 – March 14, 2010: Saranac Irish Red Ale

March 17, 2010

Beer: Saranac Irish Red Ale

Brewery: The Matt Brewing Company, Utica, New York

Style: Irish Red Ale

Serving Type: 12 oz bottle

Price: $6.99 / six-pack

Availability: Spring Seasonal

Glassware: Glass Mug

Strength: 4.5% ABV (alcohol by volume)

Drinkability: Easy to drink but relatively flavorful, nice mild roasted notes

Tasting Notes

Appearance: Clear, reddish-brown hue with a medium foamy white head

Aroma: Sweet, with a note of hazelnut

Mouthfeel: Medium-thin, lightly fizzy

Taste: Subtle malt sweetness, then mildly toasted and roasted flavors, earthy green tea, then a slightly tart, sour tanginess in the finish.  Nice, subtle but interesting, with contrasting flavors.  A really nice choice for St. Patty’s day that’s neither bland nor a stout, but keeps with the Irish spirit.  Relatively dry but balanced.

Pairing: Irish Bacon, maybe a mild Dubliner cheddar.

Trivia: Saranac is produced by the Matt Brewing Company, one of the oldest surviving “regional breweries” in the U.S.  What is a “regional brewery”?  According to the Brewers Association, a regional brewery is larger than a microbrewery (which produces less than 15,000 barrels per year) and smaller than a large brewery (which produces more than 2,000,000 barrels per year… i.e. a national giant brewery). 

Though regional breweries are relatively large, they are in many cases true craft breweries, where the beers are brewed without adjuncts (corn or rice), and the creativity of the brewer shines through offerings of various styles and innovative offerings.  Matt is a great example of a regional craft brewery, brewing literally dozens of varieties/styles of Saranac each year.

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