Friday, October 21, 2011

Red Trolley Red Ale

Anyone even remotely in the know has been kept more or less up to date on my life (and, really, if you're not, who do you think you are?) knows that I've landed in California recently for a second round of effort in finding work. While leads are few and hope may dwindle, I, at the very least, now have an absolutely wonderful excuse to buy beer on a regular basis.

Which is quite easy here, as it were. No, I don't mean easy in the way that a hopeful 17 year old sweet-talks his way into purchasing a 30 pack of Natural Lite, but rather that you can get it pretty much anywhere, including the Ralph's grocery store a few blocks from my apartment. The selection isn't tremendous, but the humble aisle they do have has already presented me with a few new beer experiences. So, here we go.

Red Trolley Ale
Irish Red Ale.5.8% ABV
Karl Straus Brewing Co., San Diego CA.

This is a local boy. The first one I had was preceded by a "few other" beers earlier in the evening, and my instant opinion wasn't so glowing. Warbled with the tastes of IPAs, the Red Trolley didn't win my adoration immediately. The next day, with a cleaner pallet (and a clear BAC), it stood a bit better, as a solid, if not particularly elaborate Red Ale.

Lesson time!

Here in the US, the title of Irish Red Ale doesn't actually denote much more than a beer's color. It more or less tends to be your basic lager that sports a stylish red color that comes from the special malts they use.
Which seems to be the case here, too. The strongest flavor is certainly the caramel note that sneaks up on you towards the end of the sip. Sip. Cold spark then the subtle sweetness and crispness at the end.

According to the brewer's description (, they "brew it with a half ton of caramelized malts for a rich copper color and toffee flavor." True enough, this. The caramel flavor is the most notable aspect, and it does resonate nicely. "After adding the perfect mix of hops for balance, we warm ferment the beer to bring out a hint of dried raisins and currants." Oh. Missed that part. Side note...dried raisins? Is this not redundant? They claim that the beer started out as their Holiday Ale, but to me it's a far-cry from the expressive, spicy, soothing beers that I like to experience at Christmas. As a by the numbers Irish Red, Red Trolley is a solid option that would lend itself well to backyard barbecues and alongside burgers. As the weather turns crisper though I'm looking for something a bit more of a deeper beer experience.

1 comment:

Thoughts? Concerns? Pay my loans?! By all means let me know what you think.