Catawba Farmer Ted's Cream Ale

What the hell? I had a vanilla cream ale the other day, and now I find myself with a cream ale. So, will this be similarly good enough to be middle of the road, but not a breakout? I know that Buffalo Sweat got even better when the vanilla was added to the already very good original, but is it possible that vanilla actually detracts from this style?

What little head this thing starts with, it releases very quickly to leave just the occasional bubble atop the still, murky depths of the pale yellow beverage. The aroma is malt and grains with free ends of citrus and the malt is mostly a kind of fresh bread. It smells good and inviting, so I'm going in.

First sip is noticeable carbonation tingle, even though there is so little head. That's damn odd. The flavor is actually very good. I don't know what makes it a cream ale, as it tastes more like a pilsner, but the malt is most notable with grains and bread like a... well, like a five grain bread or something; the citrus is there is really add some interest to it all, and the effect (at least while sipping) is quite enjoyable.

Tip-in is light carbonation tingle and grains. Vanilla and citrus are in the periphery, but they are definitely adding to the enjoyment. The middle is harsher grain, but a smooth, crisp kind of cracker taste is really making it a nice experience. The finish arrives with a bit of tartness and bitterness with lemon and unsweetened cookie crumbs.

Bottom Line: A nice, balanced and crisp beer.



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