We have three diverse entries this week, opening with a remake of what many consider to be the original modern craft brew, followed by an American brown from Salt Lake City and closing with a spicy rye from a Bend, Ore., brewery that is soon to have a presence in Boise. The last two are bottled in 22-ounce bombers.
New Albion Brewing COmpany, New Albion Ale
This collaborative retrospective is made at the Samuel Adams Brewery from a recipe that launched Jack McAuliffe's pioneering New Albion Brewing Company back in 1976. That venture was just slightly ahead of its time and went under six years later, but not before it influenced a new generation of craft brewers. There is not much of a head on this clear, golden ale with light, fruity aromas. The zesty flavors are crisp and fresh, with subtle hops, sweet malt and a touch of spice.
Epic Brewing, Santa Cruz Brown Ale
This hopped-up brown ale hybrid is an espresso-colored ale with a thin, tan topping that offers sweet malt and cocoa aromas. There's a richness to the palate that opens with roasted malt, chocolate, coffee and caramel. The citrus and pine hops build with each sip. It's a bit of a mystery why a Salt Lake City brewery would give a shout-out to Santa Cruz, Calif., but maybe it's just wishful wanderlust.
10 Barrel Brewing, Hop Rye'it
A spring release from this Bend, Ore., brewery may seem a bit premature, but, sadly, so was its announcement of a Boise location. This beer has a hazy amber pour with a light head and aromas of grain, hops and citrus. This is a very well-balanced ale with soft malt, bitter, resiny hops and spicy rye flavors that go down easily. To get the full dimension of the rye, don't serve it too cold.