Alley Kat Bearded Dragon Imperial Red IPA

Reviewed by on April 8, 2014 in Local Heroes Guide

The Details

  • Brewery: Alley Kat Brewing Company

  • Origin: Edmonton, AB, CA

  • Rated On: April 4, 2014

  • Best Before: N/A

  • ABV: 8.0%

  • Ideal Temperature: cool to cellar temperature

  • Style: Imperial Red Ale

  • Rating: GREAT !!

The Review

Alley Kat just keeps rolling out the new releases (to the glee of Alberta beer fans) – this one is part of the Big Bottle Series, and not the Dragon Series, as one might expect, given the name – I guess the Kats wanted to keep tapping into the good will thus far generated by the latter line’s single-hop DIPA goodness, while at the same time, cribbing from it – no harm in that!

This 650ml bottle pours a crystal clear, dark, yet still glistening red-brick amber hue, with three fingers of cushioned, and tightly foamy ecru head, which leaves a few instances of broad archipelago lace around the glass as it evenly recedes. Pretty purdy, if ya ask this guy.

It smells of bready, crackery, and well caramelized malt, dry hay, earthy spice, pine needles, wet spruce tips, overripe orange and grapefruit flesh, and just because of the suggestive power of the label – licorice, but more that salty Nordic kind than yer average Twizzler. The taste is more balanced overall – zesty orange, grapefruit, and lemon citrus rind, dewy pine forest floor, soggy crackers and biscuity salted caramel, ethereal spice, musty honey, and further floral, weedy hops. The carbonation is average, and quite proficient at it, manifesting in a solid frothiness, the body a hefty medium weight, and actually engaging in its smoothness, a slight airy creaminess tacked on for fun. It finishes on the sweet side, but just, as the heady hops, spice, and heretofore unacknowledged, and still ghostly booze warming all doing a bang-up job of providing context and countermeasure.

A genuinely well-made, tasty, and – uber alles – enjoyable jacked-up American amber ale slash Imperial IPA. Everything seems big, and brash, yet nothing particularly stands out, the sign of a level-headed (even if I won’t be soon), even and balanced brew. Oh – and, no guarantees, but I’ll update this later, should I suddenly start having visions of the titular Aussie lizard.

Brady White

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