01 December 2008

Beer Diary #11 - Mike - The Beers of Odell Brewing Co.

This beer diary is a bit more pointed than previous versions - this time I had an agenda.

We missed Odell while in Fort Collins (we hadn't started drinking early enough, and arrived in the Odell parking lot just in time to find out they were closing (6 pm?!?!). So before we left Colorado I picked up a bunch of Odell beers from the Boulder LiquorMart. Surely this was the best form of penance for for our lack of diligence! I'd just have to drink the beer at home.

Single Batch Series Extra Special Red - I'll start my Odell Roundup with a a beer that's been discontinued. A reddish/copper colored brew with little head, this one has a big hoppy nose that didn't seem at all "Red". We also got some peppery notes from the nose, which faded once into the glass. The front revealed big bitter hops flavors, with a hint of caramel to balance out the flavor. A soapy almost syrupy hop presence was the main characteristic we got - a tangy mouthfeel, and a finish that was all hop bitterness. Although this is a red, the "extra special" bitterness had me thinking IPA all the way. Would buy again.

You know the pictures are getting fancy when I roll out the tin foil background.

90 Shilling Ale - I've planned to drink one Odell each night until I'm through all my varieties (that's dedication!), and tonight I was really after something a little more stout. Unfortunately the closest thing I've got to Odell's Stout in Odell's Porter - and I want to save that for last.

So I guess the 90 Shilling Scotch Ale is the next natural choice. Recent research has revealed that these bottles are dated - and this beer is best buy 01/17/09 - either that or it came from the future. A golden body supports a nice thick head. The nose reminds me of the smell of mash - fresh and grainy, malty, and tempting. A silky smooth mouthfeel delivers a mild roasted grain taste, with a sharp metallic finish. I don't get much hop presence here - but perhaps I shouldn't be pairing this with curried chicken salad. All told, this is a smooth, balanced, and highly drinkable brew. But I think I'd be more likely to try something else before buying this one again. Which is funny - I bought a 12 pack on a whim while in Boulder.

5 Barrel Pale Ale - For my next trick I've opened Odell's contribution to the Pale Ale circus; A cloudy golden and bubbly brew named 5 Barrel. Why 5 Barrel? The bottle has a long beer description on the side, but not exactly a clear explanation. Perhaps it's the "infusion of fresh whole hop flowers in the Hop Back and the Fermentor, as well as four hop additions during the kettle boil." That has nothing to do with barrels, but four plus a qualified one (Hop Back and Fermentor) would equal five. Or maybe they just needed a name that was befitting of the drawing of five barrels on the label. It's a mystery I'm willing to leave unsolved.

A mild citrusy/orangey nose awaits, which leads to a sweet yet balanced full flavored gulp. A slightly drying bitter finish with a hint of fruit leaves my mouth happy. This doesn't have the bigger flavors of my favorite American Pale Ales (I'd say it's closer to English Pale in style), but it's a beer worth having again.

Levity Amber Ale - It's the day before the pre-HBG Thanksgiving feast, and there's a brine to be made. I pour myself a beer to aid in the effort. Levity Amber has a pretty copper color, slightly cloudy, and leaves a light lacing on the glass. A bready nose and front and slight farm-y funk finish tell me this isn't the typical amber. A chewy finish lingers on my tongue, and beg me to drink more.

As the beer warms, it starts to remind me more of a farm - there's a certain funkiness that reminds me of the potent odors of my rural roots, and while that may seem like a bad thing, somehow it isn't. This is definitely a different kind of amber. Would drink again.

India Pale Ale IPA - Most of you reading know that IPA stands for India Pale Ale. The label for Odell's version lists both the abbreviation and the actual words, perhaps as a service to the uninitiated?

We've just arrived back in Indianapolis after the drive home from Thanksgiving festivities in Illinois, and although I've recently started a workout plan and diet to work my way back to fitness, these past few days have been a crash course with gluttony. I continue that streak with this clear golden ale, which has a nice light and inviting layer of head and lacing. A nice piney citrus nose dares me to take a drink.. but do I notice an almost roasted turkey-ish element there? Perhaps it's lingering remnants of my week-long turkey indulgence, but nevertheless it's an element I appreciate.

Grassy/piney elements dominate the front, but this isn't an overpoweringly hoppy IPA - just a smooth, creamy, balanced hop delivery device. I've had IPAs that made me think "this is a pale ale", but I'd guess that Odell's is pretty true to style. This is the last of the six pack I bought in Boulder, and I'll be sorry to see it go.

A good photographer would have placed the light source on the label side of the bottle. Instead, I went back to drinking and Fulham football.

Cutthroat Porter - So I've arrived at the last of my Odell varieties, and the only "dark" beer of the bunch, the Cutthroat Porter. Calling this a dark beer isn't making it clear enough - this is a beer that just barely allows light through. Hints of red show up if you hold it to light, but calling it a black beer might be more accurate.

The nose has a heavy coffee scent, with just a tiny bit of malt peeking in. A sip reveals even coffee flavors, a hint of malt, and a big creamy mouthfeel. The bottle says "not a stout but definitely no lightweight.." and I'd say that's pretty accurate. Lined up against other beers that call themselves stout, you might be hard pressed to pick this one as the porter of the bunch. But I'm not complaining. This is the best of the Odell beers I've had, and a fitting pick if saving the best for last.

1 comment:

  1. It's a shame you couldn't get some of their Imperial Stout and Double Pilsner too. That and the Extra Special Red are all 3 that are being discontinued. I loved all 3 of them as they were some of Odell's bigger beers. They said they would be replacing them but with more down to earth batches. I guess the higher price and the costly extra ingredients forced them to switch gears and have to make a move.

    The 90 Shilling is one of their flagship brews. Loved it from the beginning.

    The Cutthroat porter is decent, not spectacular, but very drinkable.

    The IPA is their big medal winner from 2007 GABF and 2008 World Cup. A smooth low key IPA that's very tasty.

    If you're ever back in Fort Collins again let me know, I work just 10 minutes away from the brewery.