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Peter LaFrance

Monday, March 24, 2008

A taste of... Green Lakes Organic Ale

This beer arrived recently, sent to me by the folks from Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Oregon. It appears to be in good shape and has been well handled. There are two notifications on the label - one is a seal by the US Department of Agriculture declaring it to be “organic”, it is also “certified organic” by the TILTH of Oregon. There is also a note “The idea for our Green Lakes ale evolved quite organically. Made with five types of 100% organic malted barley and balanced with Crystal and Salmon-Safe Sterling hops , this auspicious Amber ale is as easy to drink as it is on mother Earth So when you drink a Green Lakes organic ale everyday becomes Earth Day.”

This is a red copper brew that is quite effervescent. It is topped with a very rocky, head of brilliant bubbles. The head is light sandy brown color and is very rocky throwing an excellent Belgian lace.

There was quite a sense of malt about this product. The first aroma is definitely of malt, but then it is quickly followed by a sense of floral hops. The hops are definitely not in the foreground of the aroma of this beer.

Mouth feel
This brew has a mild mouth feel, with a slight sense of fullness delivered by the effervescent. Altogether a medium bodied brew, a fairly mild alcohol content 5% by volume results in a medium mouth feel.

The sensory sensation between lip and sip consists mainly of toasty accented malted barley. There is however a sensation that it almost immediately hits the back of the palate with the introduction of the hop contributions to the flavors of this beverage. The hops flavors include echoes of mineral and metallic tangs with accents of green-forest that remain at the back of the palate.

I believe this to be quite a drinkable Brown Ale, with less hops it would be a classic British bitter. However, the energetic hop character makes this a particularly North American beer.
That said, I shall now address the word “organic” as it relates to beer. I have not done a great deal of study on the chemistry of the perceived differences between organic and commercially grown produce. I can believe that a great deal of care went into the cultivation of the malt and hops that went into this beer. However, I would be interested in blind tasting and organic version of this beer and a non-organic version.


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