So, calling the loss of two brown glass growlers is hardly tragedy, it's still cool to come out on top! It all started after a raucous party a month ago, where I brought two growlers of Old Balls Ale that I had brewed. After the party I forgot the growlers at Tom's house and promptly told him to hold on to them for me. Well - much to my chagrin - his roommate recycled them on me before they could be saved. Tom, wanting to make good, offered to buy a few to replace them and asked where he could pick them up. I told him to just get some beer in a growler some time and I would grab the bottles when he is done. Tom went above and beyond the call of duty picking me up two full growlers of Lake Placid Brewing Company's flagship beer, the Ubu Ale!
Now, I have had this beer before when I was in college and it has been reviewed here by Alan, but I figured this was a great opportunity to revisit this brew and brewery. Nestled away in beautiful Lake Placid, home of the '32 and much more famous '80 winter Olympics (BTW - suck on that Atlanta: in New York we are famous for good results in the Olympics) is Lake Placid Brewing Company. They are the makers of the Old 46er IPA and a whole host of seasonal brews and some other great beers served only at the brewery bar. However, Ubu is generally available throughout Northern and select areas of Central New York. You can often find it in either a 64oz growler, a bomber or even in the 6 pack (that's new since my days in the North Country). Lake Placid Brewery describes the beer as follows:
Our flagship beer, this English Strong Ale has developed an almost cult-like following in the Adirondacks and greater Northeast. Deep garnet red in color, Ubu weighs in at 7% alcohol by volume (ABV) but is known for its fantastic taste.Now for those of you out there that brew, you know that "English Strong Ale" and "brown ale" and a whole bunch of other brews are actually pretty wide open styles when you look at the big picture of things. I would say this was a bit hoppy to be an authentic English Strong Ale, but honestly I could care less.
I poured this into a pint glass from the growler, it maintained the carbonation well considering it was filled at the brewery bar. The head had a delay in forming, but eventually built up to an off white color with a nice caramel smell. To me, it smelled more like cooking caramel, something you might find in a desert, as opposed to a caramel candy, if that makes sense. The head subsided slowly leaving a lot of lacing and some small white bubbles just under the surface of the beer when everything was settled. The color was a very dark copper out of the light, but directly in the light you could see the deep brick red hue. The first taste I had was crisp hops bit up front and followed with mellow malt finish. While Alan noted the chocolate, I didn't get that at first. I did, however, pick up the plum note and it finishes with a tart lasting bitterness. In the end, I was left with a pleasant warming in my chest, the result of a properly balanced 7% ABV brew. There is really no alcohol before that making this a surprisingly smooth brew.
If you have the chance, I highly recommend giving this brew a try. It's a staple of the Adirondacks and really hits the spot on a cold winter night while you are watching the Orange win their Big East opener. That's if you can stay awake!
One more quick CNY note: I ran into Kiernan from Land Mark Brewing Company whose IPA I tried last post at the Blue Tusk today for lunch. We talked about his IPA and I mentioned that I thought it might be a Euro IPA as it's a bit malty for an American. His response was that this was in the spirit of some of the older "east coast" examples of the IPA. He felt that the market was pretty filled with California IPAs and he was looking to do something a little more malty. He said that it would fit in with the Euros either because of the 6%ABV which is a very good point. I also saw Tim, head brewer at Empire Brewing Co. and chatted with him about profiling his operation. I need to have lunch at the Tusk more often (for many reasons)!