Dark Horse "Scary Jesus Rock Star" Pale Ale

This is a beer that Jeremy from City Sliquors decided to "donate to the cause" even though he hadn't had a chance to try it himself, and I much appreciate his trust in me to review the beer on his behalf. For starters, this looks too much like a hipster beer from the get-go with its off-the-wall name and strange ingredients. Add to that the fact that "Dark Horse" is the name of a comic book company I remember fondly from my youth, and you have a beer that pulls me in two directions.

The beer is a surprisingly pedestrian shade of brown. This may as well be a brown ale based on color alone (no, I'm not judging based on color alone, but makers of brown ales can take note of just how UPS brown a beer can be). The head is gorgeous. Just look at it. It has the staying power to leave a good third of an inch floating on top, and that's while caking the glass with lacing. The aroma is expectedly citrus and flowers. There's an earthy malt hanging around, looking a bit seedy under a streetlamp with those flowers and fruit.

First sip is more like a gingerbread beer or something. The grains are mingling seductively with the flowers, but the malt is sweet and honey-like. I think it's that honey that's throwing me off, as I really wasn't expecting it at all. There's citrus and stuff in there with it, but the grains, honey, and flowers are pretty much glowering at all of the other ingredients, daring them to step up and make an impression. Maybe if I separated them with a swig...

Tip-in is very light carbonation, flowers, and apricots (THERE they are!) The middle opens up with that sweet honey and malt with the flowers gently floating on top. It's important to note at this point that the flowers aren't intrusive like some beers I've complained about. Instead, they are just there to augment the existing flavor, and they seem to be doing a good enough job so far. I supposed the final tally will come with the finish, and it is cookies and a bit more flowers. The finish is too heavy on the flowers, but it doesn't take away from the rest of the beer too much. I notice that it adds an odd bitterness to the trail-off.

Bottom Line: Better than it has a right to be, but still possibly a hipster beer.

3.75/5

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