Beer Of The Week: Alaskan Amber Ale.

Occasionally I write critical things on this site, and because of Google Alerts or a similar system my criticism occasionally makes its way to the organization in question.  On a few occasions, I’ve even gotten emails or comments from PR people.  So, to the people of the Alaskan Brewing Company: I’m sure you’re all nice, competent men and women, and I bear you no ill will.  Honestly.

That being said, your Amber Ale is terrible.  The flavor mix is all wrong: the beer comes on too sweet, sours as it sits in your mouth, and has a weirdly artificial aftertaste, like plastic or rubber.  It’s reasonably light, and normally I’d say that you could down four or five of these without too much trouble, but the flavor is so cloying that I had trouble making it through even a single bottle.  And with food?  Forget it.

The trouble here may be that this is actually an altbier, an old German brewing style that that uses longer, colder brewing cycles to get a beer that’s somewhere between a lager and an ale.  A goodaltbier is smooth and complex, with the stronger hop flavor of an ale but the sourness of a wheatier lager.  It’s clear that’s what the folks in Alaska are shooting for, but here the flavors clash badly, and the result is a beer that isn’t as appealing as its components – given the chance, I’d absolutely take both a hoppier beer (like an IPA) or a sweeter beer (like a Weizenbock) over a mess like this.