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November 01, 2003

Mash House Ravishing Red

Beer of the Night

Two brews that I had not expected to be beach alcohol contenders on the fishing trip turned out to be quite outstanding at combating the twin evils of bait slime and bottle drinking, even though they were neither lagers nor ciders. One was the Duchesse de Bourgogne, a sour Belgian red ale quite reminiscent of one of my all time favorites, Rodenbach. It was an incredibly refreshing brew, so much so that I nearly froze my hands off pawing through the gigantic 52 gallon beer cooler in the back of the truck searching for the last one.

The other was also a red, though one brewed in the Irish red style as opposed to the Belgian--Ravishing Red, produced by a Fayetteville N.C. brewpub, The Mash House.

As the Duchess is only available to me over the Net, and thus hideously expensive, I'll wait until next year before I taste it again. The Ravishing Red, on the other hand, is just a grocery store trip away, so when the Ngnat and I were sent thither tonight for mustard and milk I picked up a six-pack of R.R. as well, curious to see if it held up as well in front of the television as it did in front of Ocracoke Inlet.

And, though it is certainly the same beer, it did not. Not that it's a bad brew by any stretch of the imagination--I'll happily drink all six over the few days, but it doesn't seem as complex a beer as it did upon first taste. I'll have to experiment a bit with the rest, but for now it's one of the few beers I've run across that tastes better when drunk from the bottle.

I think this peculiarity is due almost entirely to the unique aroma of the brew, like a newly opened box of golden raisins, one given to it by the Horizon hops the Mash House uses in the brewing process. The Horizon hop is known for its aromatic qualites, a reputation that it easily lives up to here. But the aroma of the Ravishing Red promises more than it delivers.

It's a pretty brew, pouring a medium-sized and quickly evaporating dirty white head on top of a deep, burnt honey orange body. There's a thinnish, carbonated mouthfeel that hardened my initial feeling that the Red is meant for a lager drinker who's feeling a bit adventuresome--not that there's anything wrong with that. There's a bare malty sweetness, with little to no hop bite. That's to be expected in a 7 ibu beer, though. Some intimations of cantelope in the sweetness, and a toasty note reminiscent of burnt sugar. But that was about it, for me. Not a bad brew, but not the great beer I thought it to be two weeks ago.

It'll make the trip next year, though. Based on my experiences with red ales on the beach this year, It will have a more varied company within that style joining it in the giant cooler.

Posted by Bigwig at November 1, 2003 09:31 PM | TrackBack
Postscript:
First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself.
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