Brewery: 21st Amendment (CA)
Style: Strong Ale
Some beers I come very close to skipping out on reviewing. After buying them expressly to review and setting up pictures and all that, sometimes I just want to sit back and enjoy the beer without having to come up with a bunch of, you know, adjectives and stuff.
This was such a beer. Mostly, it's one of those beers that's just tasty and drinkable without being so super novel or unique that I'm compelled to run out and describe it. It's a strong ale, but it's a fiendishly quaffable strong ale, with a curiously soft and smooth mouthfeel. It's on the lighter side, and it's got a nice dry finish, for the style. While it was brewed with dates, those just add to the dark fruit character — even without them, I'd probably be describing this as tasting of raisins, figs, caramel and sweet malts. The dates seem to add to those sweet, fruity malt flavors without making it too rich, or too heavy. Not to mention the big background of hops here, which helps keep everything else in check. Not that this is on the level of Arrogant Bastard or anything, but there's a strong undercurrent of piney, earthy hops that balance this perfectly. While not outright bitter, the hops transform this strong malty ale from something I could sip to something I could vanquish in about ten minutes.
Ultimately, this is mild for a strong ale, but that's sort of what I like about it. Thanks to the added, yet subtle fruitiness and interesting hop backdrop, it doesn't lack for complexity. It's just not as overbearingly malty, which maybe makes it a bit on the thin side. Is it possible to have a reasonably complex yet not-deep flavor? If so, that's the case here. It's thin, but it's tasty. As a tamer, drinkable strong ale, this is something I'd certainly have again.
Availability: Winter release. 12 ounce cans.