Although technically this blog is about WINE and workouts … we allow some mentions of beer as well. With Husband being a home brewer and long time connessiuer of beer, I figured it was high time that he post a review of HIS passion. This particular post is about a local brewer, Two Brothers.
As a beer enthusiast and home brewer, I’ve long ago moved on from the Bud and Miller’s of the world to align my tastes with today’s emerging craft beers. I’m always on the lookout for a new craft beer to try out and today, I have the privilege of snagging a six pack of Cane and Ebel, the product of local brew house, Two Brothers, based out of Warrenville, IL. I’ve based my assessment on five categories: value, color, smell, taste and depth; any other attributes may help or hurt the experience, but are not considered crucial in any way to my overall like/dislike of the beer.
While it’s standard to pay quite a bit more for a craft beer as opposed to a generic Miller/Bud, this beer came priced slightly higher than I expected to pay for a local beer. Generally, you would pay incrementally more based on the beer’s percentage of alcohol, but with only 7% abv, the high end of average in the beer market, I was a little skeptical on its value. Even most craft beers with higher alcohol contents or longer fermenting periods generally price in a range of $8-10, but this beer was just shy of $12 for a six-pack. I don’t want to jump to conclusions just yet, but this beer already has some work to do.
I always drink my craft beer warm. Just like wine, when you lower it’s temperature too much, it becomes almost impossible to enjoy the flavor and if you can’t enjoy it for what it’s meant to taste like, then I consider that an insult to the brewer. I popped the cap and carefully poured the bottle into a glass, allowing the aromas to be released, and boy were they! Within the first second of the pour I could smell several flavors of the beer coming though. This is definitely one of the most aromatic non-IPA beers I’ve ever come across. After the beer was fully poured into the glass, I continued to smell further, I wanted to immerse my snout in those inviting notes that I caught when pouring. The label describes the beer as a ”Hopped up red rye ale” from which I’ve come to expect a bit of sting upon smelling due to the rye and hops. However this ale was very pleasant to smell with notes of sweet caramel mixed in with the subtle rye and hops. Great nose on this bottle!
The color of the beer was far better than expected. While a rye generally should be slightly red, this beer was a beautiful deep copper. While I may be partial to any shade of color, due to the complete lack thereof in January, I definitely enjoyed looking at this beer. The deep copper color shows me that they spared not on the proper quality ingredients and they took their time and care during the boil to allow the grains to really synergize into the wort.
The price is quickly becoming worth its penny every second!
Now onto taste, the one that truly matters, right? From the start, I was worried that this beer would come off as far too full bodied to enjoy after a few sips in. Many craft brews that are darker than a light amber have the tendency of becoming far to filling without enough flavor, crating too much depth and by the time you’re halfway through, you’re already too full to finish the last 6 ounces. This beer was definitely not the case. The flavor matched that of the aroma and color, but in no way left me full at the end of the glass. I could obviously taste the rye, hops and barley, flavors synonymous with any beer, but I could also taste sweeter tones such as a caramel I had smelled earlier. The initial kick of hops and rye, while not as much as a “hit” as it was a hug, was quickly brushed aside by a calm, slightly sweet wash over my tongue with only a faint hint of the hops afterward. It’s common for a beer of this type to leave bitter sting of hops in your mouth after each sip, but I didn’t’ get that here. The overall accents of caramel and orange really made this beer come along without letting the natural ingredients overpower it. The subtle but distinctive notes allowed the beer to deliver an enjoyable experience without too much depth, leaving me full at the end.
Overall, this beer scored high marks across the board. Its rich color and complex nose made headway into a very balanced and distinctive beer. It’s clear that Two Brothers worked very hard to make this beer what it is today and while I wouldn’t consider it a standard for a Friday night; it’s price does let me know that it’s a treat worth splurging on!