Yazoo Red House Ale

My opinion of Yazoo beers has been trending up. The Fest Ale and Sue were both very good. I can only assume that either I am now being exposed to better examples of the beer, or Yazoo is just getting better. Either way, it is excellent to get bigger and better beers as time moves on. The local beer scene here in Nashville is definitely on the way up, what with CSB, Yazoo, and ugh... I guess the third one would be Blackstone, but I'm not going to turn this review into a complaint about how disappointing they have been. Maybe I should have just put Mayday on that list.

At first, I was going to complain that this wasn't red enough. Now that I actually look through it at a light source, it is pretty damn red. It's like a deep, dark cherry red with a healthy head that results in a pillow top cover laying across the beer. I had to look again at the label after giving it a sniff, as the hops sent a sting right in at me. I expected this to be more like a red ale or a farmhouse ale, but it is clearly neither of those - it is not going to be laid back.

First sip confirms my suspicion. The very sharp, piney hops are front and center. Other notes can be detected like a malt that is struggling against the bitterness and citrus that is trying to ease the pine flavor a bit, but they aren't having much luck. Instead, the hops are first and foremost, drowning out the attempts at overcoming their dominance.

With a proper swig, The tip-in is those pine hops, straight away - no mucking about. Even the carbonation can't make a dent in them. The middle brings an unexpected calm to the hop storm. Carbonation lights up the roof of the mouth while citrus and gentle malt caress the tongue. The middle is nice and meaty. The finish brings another flash of pine hops and rolls on with a bit of sweetness topping the pine tree. I have already noticed that the beer really mellows out as it warms. The whole thing is getting better and better.

Bottom Line: A beer that is a fairly simple hop-hammer, but it is excellently crafted. The best Yazoo beer I've had so far.



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