IN A DARK ROOM (perhaps a black-lighted concert hall, Ale Asylum’s natural environment), the nearly leathern brown Ambergeddon could easily be mistaken for a West Coast APA. It’s full of resinous, citric, and leafy hops (call it 60+ IBU?), grapefruity dry-hopping, and a solid dose of honey for its backbone. It’s a bitter beer, no doubting it, and a little boozy at 6.8% ABV in both aroma and slickness towards the finish. A few sips in and the ‘Amber’ prefix to this ‘geddon’ begins to make sense, though. Stronger dosings of caramel malt give it a stickier, fuller body, redolent of orange with a bit of muffin or biscuit to firm up the later midsection and supply the finish with more ballast against that boosted ABV. Carbonation is a smidge low relative to the beer’s otherwise outsized parameters, but still high by amber standards and sustaining of a well-developed eggshell head.
As it warms and sloshes about in the glass, dank and piney hop aromas come forward as well, though neither translates entirely into the flavor, where toffee and medium-kilned grains define the midsection and medium-plus body. A leafy and slightly lemony back-end bitterness then reasserts the ‘West Coast’ designation, though never quite enough to eradicate that lip-smacking shot of caramel. It seems a shame that an amber ale only became noteworthy after being hopped to hell, but at least these new exports from Wisconsin know and are playing to their strengths. C’est la vie en Amérique.
Served: On tap (Bottom Lounge, Chicago)