I bought this beer because there is a cute little bear with antlers on the bottle. No surprise in a California beer, but life is better with a little humor, right? I did the smart thing and poured my wife a big glass of her favorite wine, so I wouldn’t have to share. Her comments are helpful, but I want this stuff all to myself.
So, this regular guy¹ pops the cap and pours the ale. You have a nice deep red/amber color and a nice foamy head. It settles, and you have a beer with not too much fizz, nor too little. The first sip gives you a malty look, with almost hidden hops, and I said "aha! a sweet brown ale in disguise!." Full disclosure: I love brown ales, what regular guy doesn't? But it is much more than that, second and further sips make you ask "was that citrus...apricot even??"
I am constantly seeking a favorite all around beer, something like Southern Tier’s Matt and Finn’s Extraordinary Ale, or Ithaca Brewing’s Brown Ale, but this amber ale in the goofy bottle with the antlered bear may be IT. As a matter of fact, this could be the beer I reach for when entertaining my regular guy friends-I don’t care if you’re a snob or have simple beer tastes, this is a fantastic brew, and the Beer Advocate agrees.
¹[Ed.: More about this guy here.]