Harvester Dark Ale

Reviewed by on April 29, 2014 in Gluten-Free Guide

The Details

  • Brewery: Harvester Brewing

  • Origin: Portland, OR, USA

  • Rated On: April 28, 2014

  • Best Before: N/A

  • ABV: 4.5%

  • Ideal Temperature: cool to cellar temperature

  • Style: American Brown Ale

  • Rating: GOOD !

The Review

Harvester Brewing is situated in Portland, Oregon, and it’s nice to see a gluten-free option from that nirvana of brewing.  In fact, Harvester is dedicated to brewing only gluten-free beer – and they even state that no items containing gluten are allowed through the doors of the brewery.  Hmmm, reminds me of the recent New Yorker cartoon.

This 22oz bottle pours a clear, medium copper amber hue, with two pudgy fingers of bubbly, rocky, and tightly foamy ecru head, which leaves a few instances of sudsy peninsular lace around the glass as things gradually recede.

It smells very much like butterscotch ice cream – a sturdy semi-sweet chestnut, walnut, and/or pecan nuttiness, milky caramel/toffee malt notes (wait, what?), and very soft herbal, leafy hops. The taste is much more astringent in its approach to said nuttiness – almost acrid, like the sweetness has been recently bled out of the whole affair, the malt also taking a certain nosedive – more egdy alternagrain than anything pale or caramel malt-borne, with some roasted coffee beans, bittersweet cocoa, and peppy herbal, leafy hops rounding things out.  The carbonation is quite open about its robust frothiness, the body on the lee side of a standard medium weight, and kind of pithy in its plain as the day is long smoothness. It finishes more or less dry, the initial promise of a sweet nuttiness now long dead – a clammy bready graininess sort of lingering in repose.

A huge step forward in the G-F world of brewing, where barley and wheat are no longer welcome.  Harvester has created a serviceable enough brown ale here (using, among other things, G-F oats, sorghum, and chestnuts), whose denomination is still too hard to discern, but I’ll call it American, just because, well, it sort of is. As expected, a bit lacking in its overall bearing, but still patently agreeable, I would imagine, to those whose beer hunting options are so much more limited than mine.

Brady White

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