Carolina Beer Co.
Wilkes-Barre, PA/Mooresville, NC
Cottonwood Irish Style Red Ale
Excuse the split personality, but the Carolina Beer Company is based in NC, while the bottle says Wilkes-Barre. I’ll give them both a nod.
A half-decent pour gave up almost an inch of off-white head that was rocky but quick to settle with what looks like it might be decent lacing. The color is deep amber with honey-orange, caramel, and some cola tones when held to the light.
The nose is very sweet with touches of caramel corn, crème brulee, and a background of baked apple pie filling.
The mouthfeel is excellent and, like Nuke LaLouche, this beer really announces its presence with authority. The first tones are subtle hums from the malt in the form of bread crust and a slight earthiness like the skin of a potato. In no time though, this beer opens up with a wash of peppery hops that dance towards the back of the tongue, with a touch of warmth like the smell of a rich cigar. At the end of the swallow however, a dryness takes over with a yeast flavor that dries up the sip nicely, creating an impressive body.
I wouldn’t say this is balanced, but that’s a good thing in this case. This beer see-saws between identities, true to its split origins, and seems to be a malty session ale, then a winter warmer, then a hoppy amber, and finally a bit of a farmhouse brew.
All told, this is a stellar brew with something for everybody.