Archive for July 5th, 2008

My earlier years of beer drinking were shaped significantly by the town of New Paltz, NY. Every spring, summer, and autumn my family and I would spend many days hiking at Minnewaska State Park in the “Gunks”. We would reward ourselves with several cold beers at the bottom of the mountain in the town of New Paltz.

And there was really only one destination for this tasty reward. The Gilded Otter, the best brewpub in the Hudson Valley.

So when I came home to New York for the Fourth of July, it was only appropriate that I revisited the Gilded Otter for an official Beer Wench review.

Disclaimer: My love for the Gilded Otter brewpub comes from mostly from nostalgia. Although the beer is definitely not the best out there, it still holds a special place on my tongue and in my heart.

On any given day, the Gilded Otter has 8 of its beers available on tap. As like most brewpubs, the beers change by season and even rotate within season. Regardless of the beers on tap, though, the Beer Garden is always on the menu.

In my opinion, every brewpub should offer some sort of house beer sampler … giving its customers the chance to sample all the beers it has to offer, without having to commit to one! Having said this, on to the Gilded Otter’s [July 4th] Beer Garden, The Otter on Tap:

#1 Huguenot St. American Lager
Description: This lager has a light body and a delicate flavor, similiar to a domestic Pilsner. 3.8%abv. Review: Light yellow color, clear clarity. Straw yeast and acidic aroma. Small head, decent lacing. Mildly carbonated. Straw malt taste. Low malt, low bitterness, low acidity, low alcohol. Overall: Nothing to write home about. Light beer with little character.

#2 New Paltz Crimson Lager
Description: A sweet malt flavor with a delightful hop aroma and finish. A great red lager. 4.2%abv. Review: Light copper color, clear clarity. Very little head, little lacing. Low carbonation. Mild grass aroma. Acidic tree bark taste. Mild acidity, low malt, mild bitterness. Overall: Once again, not extremely impressed. It was average for an amber lager.

#3 Dusseldorf Altbier
Description: D2-Time Bronze Medal Winner, GABF 2001 and 2005. A brown ale, with a toasted biscuit flavor and a medium hop bitterness to give a smooth finish. 5.4%abv. Review: Dark brownish amber color, clear clarity. Creamy off-white, caramel colored head. Toasted malty caramel aroma. Good lacing. Mild carbonation. Mild yeast flavor. Great balance between malt and hops. Overall: Surprisingly delicious German brown ale. Would definitely order a pint.

#4 Rail Trail Pale Ale
Description: Medium bodied pale ale. 4.5%abv. Review: Orange copper color, clear clarity. Thick white head, good lacing. Decent carbonation. Light grassy aroma. Bitter and acidic taste (higher bitterness than the IPA that followed!) High acidity, mild bitterness, low malt. Overall: A pretty damn good pale ale. Nice balance with a delightful finish. The hops are definitely present, without being too overwhelming. Refreshing beer for a hot and humid summer day!

#5 Three Pines India Pale Ale
Description: This copper ale is full-bodied and super hoppy. 5.7%abv. Review: Orange copper color, cloudy clarity. Mild white head. Toasted malt and doughy yeast aroma. Thick carbonation. Toasted nut malt and pine hops taste. Thick and oily. Overall: Decent IPA. The malt was definitely present, and stood out more than the hops. Really enjoyed the pine-like flavor of the hops, but wanted it to have a stronger presence.

#6 Hefeweizen
Description: Medium bodied German style wheat beer. 4.5%abv. Review: Cloudy, light straw yellow color. Thick white head. Expected yeast aroma of banana, clove and citrus fruit. Nice carbonation. Light fruity, citrus, clove taste. Overall: Crisp. Flavorful. Refreshing. Delicious flavor. Would order a pint.

#7 Oatmeal Stout
Description: A full bodied stout with a bitter chocolate flavor. 6.4% abv. Review: Cloudy dark black color. Off-white, caramel head. Fair lacing. Strong coffee, bitter dark chocolate malt aroma. Highly carbonated. Well-balanced malt and hops taste. Strong bitter dark chocolate flavor with very mild sweetness. Moderate hops, moderate sweetness, low alcohol. Overall: Very well balanced. No one element over powered the other. The bitter dark chocolate flavor was surprisingly appealing.

#8 Back Porch Summer Lager = AKA LA PIECE DE RESISTANCE
Description: A light summer lager fermented and served with fresh blueberries. 4.2% abv. Review: Light purple, gold color. Cloudy with real blueberries floating inside. Thick white head, heavy lacing. Strong blueberry aroma. Light acidity, refreshingly subtle fruit flavor. Tart bitterness. Overall: It is no secret that lager’s are not The Beer Wench’s favorite style of beer (especially when they are fruity). This beer, however, is an anomaly. It is rare to find a blueberry lager that actually tastes like the real fruit an not artificial flavoring. That is because it is real fruit! Real blueberries are floating in every pint. ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS!

The Gilded Otter brewpub is definitely no Dogfish Head. However, it is definitely a nostalgic local watering hole. Good pub grub, decent house brewed beers, and a clean, hip and fun atmosphere. Gotta love it!

Read Full Post »