Friday, March 21, 2008

Breckenridge Avalanche Amber Ale review

Breckenridge Avalanche Amber AleI took the family out to dinner last night to the Old Chicago restaurant in Greeley. We hadn't been to this place in a while and I felt it was the perfect place to try another beer that I hadn't sampled before. This will be a mini-review as I typically can't control the conditions in which I sampled this beer.

I ordered one of my favorite dishes there, the "Meat Me Calzone" and also an Breckenridge Avalanche Amber Ale from Breckenridge Brewery in Colorado from their selection of over 110 beers. Our waiter served me the beer in the bottle with no glass, but I quickly asked for one and was given a standard glass mug.

Avalanche Amber Ale poured a nice amber color. No haze or sediment in this brew. There was a slight whitish head that settled down to a rather small bead. I figured this beer to be a session beer and I was right. This Breck brew had a 5.4% ABV and was very lightly hopped. So light, in fact, that I could barely pick out the Willamette, Chinook, Tettnang and Hallertau hops in it. I supposed I've been used to the bigger hopped beers of late. I didn't mind the less bitter taste. It was a nice change of pace drink.

The beer was served absolutely cold. The coldness covered up some of the flavor of the hops and malts in my opinion. Breckenridge Brewery puts in some Two Row Pale, Munich, Roasted Barley, and a bit of Chocolate malts into their brew. I love ambers and this one didn't disappoint.

I must admit, after reviewing primarily porters and stouts with some wheat and IPA's thrown in recently, I enjoyed having a more "tame" brew to go with my spicy calzone. This was a very easy beer to drink. No bitterness at 19 IBUs, just a nice session beer. The taste did improve as the beer warmed. I'd suggest never drinking any amber or darker beer super cold, unless of course you're standing in the hot sun and needed to really cool off. Beers that are too cold hide much of the flavor.

I'll have to try to compare this beer to the Bell's Amber that I had last month as it's the only other amber I've had lately. Both were good, but I still believe the Bell's had a better taste. Maybe it was the thick beer glass that this brew was served up in. Sometimes the type of glass does make a difference. Breck Brew claims this is one of their best selling beers. Session beers tend to sell the most volume I suppose.

How does it rate?

The major brew review sites tend to rate session beers much lower than the big flavor beers. Ratebeer put this in the 20% percentile with a 2.61 out of 5 rating, while Beer Advocate gave this beer just a C+. Well don't let those ratings fool you. While some may call this beer unremarkable, it was still a good session beer and is worthy of future consideration. I would still be proud to give this beer to a friend. I'll rate this beer as a 3.1 out of 5 rating. It's good, but does not stand out from other session brews. It certainly went well with my meal and to me, that's all that matters.

Related articles:
- Breckenridge Small Batch 471 IPA.
- Breckenridge Pandora's Bock review.
- Breckenridge Vanilla Porter review.
- Breckenridge Mighty Brown review.

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