Friday, November 25, 2011

Beer Review: Alpha King (Cask Conditioned)

Reviewing a cask-conditioned Alpha King from Three Floyds Brewing Company.
Score: 95

Drinking a fresh, cask-conditioned pint of one of my absolute favorite brews of all time.

Appearance: Pours a hazy, dark reddish-brown amber with three fingers of foamy cream-colored head that sticks around quite some time. Falls somewhere between opaque and translucent, but closer to opaque. Excellent lacing. 5/5

Smell: Roses. Floral, grapefruit and citrus hops. A little honey. Lots of malty, hoppy sweetness in the aroma. 4.5/5

Taste: Huge grapefruit citrus bitterness. Malty-sweet backbone. Hints of berry flavors too. Absolutely refreshing. Finishes with sweet oranges and hops bitterness. Yum! 4.5/5

Mouthfeel: Light-medium bodied, medium-plus carbonation. Finish is surprisingly dry for such a malty mid-palate beverage. 4.5/5

Overall: Alpha King is one of my favorite beers of all time. The cask-conditioned version of this brew is much maltier and less hops-aggressive than the bottled version that I have had a thousand times over. How do I know? I had a side-by-side taste test at the bar. This is one to seek out!

Recommendation: If you have not had a six pack of this stuff, go buy one already. For those who have had Alpha King before, I absolutely recommend seeking out the cask-conditioned version. I am about as big of a hop-head as they come -- I have a well-known soft spot for IIPA's -- but cask-conditioned Alpha King's creamy malt-for-hops tradeoff is absolutely divine. Alpha King is the best year-round American Pale Ale (sorry Sierra Nevada!).

Pairings: Medium-cooked hamburgers. Particularly the ones they serve at Kuma's Corner in Chicago. Also probably pairs well with an earthy salad with feta and walnuts. Could really add some kick to spicy foods.

Cost: $9.99 for a six pack, or $7 for a cask-conditioned 16 oz pour.