Thursday, March 15, 2012

New Brew Thursday - Double Tap . . . 10 Penny Ale and Whaler Ale

Recently I was bonding with some adult members of my family . . . shooting pool and enjoying some cold brews at a local amusement center.  The bar had a couple of new (to me) beers on tap that were calling to me.  They both appeared to be local brews . . . even better!  Of course I had to try them.

The first was a beer called Ten Penny Ale brewed by The Olde Burnside Brewing Company which is located in East Hartford, Connecticut.  That’s pretty darn local . . . to me. 

The brewing company is spinoff of the family-owned ice manufacturing business.   The ice business primarily services local businesses.   The owner of the company . . . a beer lover himself . . . became curious about the volume of water being carted off by regular consumers.  Upon asking what they were doing with all that water they replied that they were using it to make beer.  What made his water so special?  Well, it turns out that the source of the water used for the ice making business is similar in mineral characteristics to the waters of Burton-on-Trent, the source of water for many of the renowned ales of the United Kingdom.  Long story short . . . the brewery came to be. 

Ten Penny Ale . . . their flagship brew . . . got its name from the olden days.  At a time when a pint went for a nickel occasionally brewers would produce a special batch that they would charge a whole dime for . . . hence ten penny ale.

Ten Penny Ale is a version of Scottish ale.  Scotch ale is a variety of pale ale with a high alcohol content and characteristically rich and malty.  


Flavor-wise, I think that The Olde Burnside version of this ale falls in line with that description.  However, with a 5.6% ABV it isn’t quite as strong as the typical Scottish ale . . . its not unusual for Scotch ale to have an alcohol content that exceeds 9% ABV.

Ten Penny Ale is a clean, flavorful beer.  The malt flavor is very much in evidence with definite caramel notes.  It’s got great body and goes down way to easy.  A very good, well crafted beer, in my opinion.  God, I love micro-brews!

For more information visit their website.

The second beer was Whaler Ale.  The Whalers are a local minor league hockey team and the beer is named after them.  It just has to be a local beer no?  Well . . . no . . . not really.  I was surprised and disappointed to find out that Whaler Ale is actually Anheuser Busch’s Budweiser American Ale repackaged as Whaler Ale.

With all the great locally owned and operated Connecticut breweries around why a huge company that produces copious quantities of mediocre beer?  I don’t know . . . someone didn’t think that one through.   I kind of feel like I was misled into believing it was a local beer; I would have been happier knowing it was a Budweiser product.

The beer wasn't bad but it is what it is . . . mass produced beer in the style of American Amber ale.  It was a little malty, a little hoppy with a slightly sweet undertone.   Don’t let my disappointment in the misguided marketing of the beer dissuade you from trying this beer.  It is refreshing and tasty and overall a good ale.  5.3% alcohol by volume.

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