Caldera Ginger Beer

Part of the Kettle Series, this beer is the last of the batch that was hand delivered by my Oregonian brother from the brewery in Ashland (although I don't think he went to the brewery itself). The other three were enjoyable as a whole, and he hand picked them in anticipation of these reviews. As a result, he picked what he thought of as the best they had to offer, and I've been happy with the results.

The beer is a deep gold with very little head, but lots of carbonation. The beer just sits there sizzling on my side table with lots of invisible points of nucleation even in a very clean glass. The aroma is predictably primarily spice. It's weak, but I think I smell lemon and maybe some grains in there, too, but it really is very faint.

First sip is clean and simple. the grains assert themselves more vigorously than I had expected, but the ginger spice is going all diva on the taste buds by hogging as much of the spotlight as it dares. The whole shebang is still very simple, and it still seems like it is about as smooth as you could expect from a spiced beer.

Full swig time. Tip-in is very light carbonation tickle with a grainy spice residue trying to peek out and see if the rain from last night has stopped. As the middle slips in, the carbonation tickle mixes with the spice to start lightly poking at the back of the mouth with a bit of harshness. The grains still flow with a bit of added lemon and maybe some lemongrass under it all. The pokes at the back of the mouth kind of harsh the smooth character. As the finish comes along, the tastes crescendo and then retard into a kind of soft, bitter-sweet malt.

Bottom Line: It has both smoothness and character - which is a rare combination. Only improvement I could see would be to ease off a bit more on the spice.



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