Ghost River Riverbank Red Irish-Style Red Ale

There is nothing wrong with my camera. This was the straightest label on any of the beers in the six pack, and it is... askew. I hope they were too busy paying attention to their beer's flavor, and they forgot to take care of the fit and finish of the label. At least that, I can forgive. I like a good Irish red, and I have been known to knock back many, many of them in my youth, so I am looking forward to reliving the experience (although I'm only having one this time).

The color is deep red-amber, and it's surprisingly clear. I say surprisingly, but all of the Irish Reds I've had have always been clear, so I don't know why I expected anything else. The head drops to a very thin cap on top of the beer that doesn't quite cover the whole thing; in my experience, that's about right for an Irish Red. The aroma is stronger than I remember these being, but it is a delightful sweet malt with caramel and citrus that may even be spiked with cherries.

First sip is fresh bread-like malt with a bit of honey and citrus in the mix. It's got more flavor than others out there (I'm looking at you, Killian's) and I'd be inclined to say that it is a very good thing. It's got a nice, tart aftertaste that gives more depth to the beer than the others. Let's see if we can swig this.

Tip-in is very soft malt with a bit of carbonation burn, and the malt is slightly toasted. The middle is caramel entry and more very lightly toasted malt with bready citrus. The finish rolls on in with an unexpected nuttiness and a bit of a bitter turn. It's unexpected and also pretty dang good.

I say that, but I am revisiting this review after the beer started to warm a bit, and... You know how some beers have a "best served at" temperature? You know how I've commented that some beers get better as they warm? Well, this one gets downright unpleasant. I originally had this at a 3.5, but I'm dropping it to a 2.5. Honestly, that's only very cold. Any warmth, and this goes a lot lower.

Bottom Line: It's different. It's good cold, but something happens that really makes it bad when it warms up.



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