Flight of the Cricket – Six Beers from Rickety Cricket

There are two breweries in Kingman.  I spend most of my beertime at Black Bridge.  It was the first and it is still my favorite.  However, I do need to spend some effort on Rickety Cricket’s beer.  After all, this blog is about the Beer World of Kingman.  And so, for you, the community, I have made sacrifices.  I have dedicated myself to drinking beer at more than one location.  You are welcome.

Upon arriving at Rickety Cricket you will be met by the smiling face of Nicole; if not, find out why – she is the bartender you want.  She knows beer and can provide good guidance on tap choices and stories about the local brews.

Now, the title of this blog post indicates I had six beers.  This is true, but I also decided to add one more.  I’d found these brief notes made during a dinner at the Cricket.  They are in regard to the Coffee Porter.  Terry had told me when it was debuting and I wanted to make sure to try it right away.

So, seven, seven beers!  Once again, you people types are welcome.

Coffee Porter:

Dark. Medium body. Good tan head. Head dissipates quick. Cold brew coffee added. From Beale St. Nice subdued addition. A little bitterness added but not too much. Subtle touch. Comes up on back end to add a nice touch to the porter. Elegant. Balanced.

Slight coffee aroma no hops evident. Brown porter. Gone before I knew it.

Rickety Cricket has eleven beers on tap, to my surprise.  I only expected six.  I only tried six.  Look!  More opportunities for me to diligently apply myself to the consumption of barley based libations for the betterment of all Kingman.  I feel so altruistic.

The Flight of the Cricket:

Anaconda Squeeze. Rebranded an IPA.  That works.  Danky hops, dry body, good legs.  Smells like the APA below. Much better now than it was a few weeks ago.

Angry Ex Girlfriend (once called a blond, now an American Pale Ale). Splendid aroma. Citrusy. A little chalky maybe? That could be me. This is better as an APA than it was a blond. Not hoppy enough to warrant “angry.”  But good.

Bearded Bagpipe.  Meh on the name. More meh on the taste.  I think this is a miss. There is a sharp, dark flavor I can’t quite figure out. But it’s not quite right.  It’s off in some way I can’t pin down here at the bar.

Porter. Roasted grain. Dark toasted flavor. Yeah, lost track of notes while drinking. Fantastic.

Stay Puft. A stout. Let’s see … nice. Lactic character at the end. Sugary.  A sweet stout to be sure.  Good color.

Bird Cage Blonde.  Well done. A little more hops than I anticipated but not bad at all. Dry but decent body. Great color. Impressed.

Overall, the beers seem solid, stable.

Anaconda Squeeze started life as New England IPA, but it wasn’t right at all.  Making it a straight IPA was a better idea, although I would have just kept it as is and left it as my American Pale Ale.  Angry Ex Girlfriend could have then be re-designed into Bird Cage, which is just a fabulous light, easy beer. What?  That would leave them without an IPA?  Oh, heaven forbid that a brewery exist that has no IPA!  What blasphemy!  But, anyway, my real point behind all that chatter is that Anaconda Squeeze has turned into a pretty good beer.

The Irish Red, however, the Bearded Bagpipe, was not so delectable.  It suffered from some temperature issues, I was told, resulting in a woody character that didn’t fit.  This round of that beer was not good at all, but Nicole says they’ll have more ready in about two weeks so I’ll give it another go then.

The porter was my favorite of the flight.  I’ve got a growler of it at home so I’ll spend some more time with that beer later.  There’s also a black IPA, a collaboration beer with Black Bridge, that I’d like to further study.

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Regarding American Pale Ales; A National and Local Comparison

Recently I was afforded the opportunity to compare two American pale ales. One was a national favorite and the other was a local Kingman favorite. The beers were poured for me by a third party as I wished to do the comparison blind.  In other words, I knew what beers I had at home, but not which beer was poured into which glass.  I had to figure that out myself.

Beer 1
The head was poofy, rocky, prominent and very white.  It was copper, orange and yellow, like filtered sunlight. Slightly darker than an American lager.  The hops said hello immediately; they were piney but with a bright floral and citrus character.  The first taste offers up this bright, earthy hops flavor.  The beer was juicy.  Then it turned crisp, light.  It had a firm body.  Maybe a little light toast crept through.  It finished clean, not too dry, left a nice specter of hops but not harsh.  It was a beautiful beer, everything was in line, in focus.  Each element on display.

Beer 2
Consistent but more flat off white head.  It was brown and orange and bronze, much darker in color.  Hops aroma presented itself right away; once again it was piney, more resinous, though and less citrus, possibly a hint a tropical fruit.  Maybe.  Hops bitterness could be tasted right off but it was also grainy, had a nice malt backing.  It was bready but seemed like a bare hint of tin in the very outer edges.  It finished very clean, soft. This was not as focused as Beer 1 but no less enjoyable or beautiful, a little dark but completely appealing.

Overall:
Both had ideal presentations of hops both in aroma and flavor.  Beer 1 was brighter and sharper and had a better color (according to the school I went to and the eyes I possess), but Beer 2 had the grainy/malty aspects I prefer to balance the hops.  I found myself approving Beer 1 a minuscule amount more due to my perception of its crispness and focus; however, Beer 2 had the more appealing hops, earthier and more resinous and was more drinkable.

Beer 1 was Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Beer 2 was Monolith from Black Bridge.  The above were rough notes made on a Sunday evening, just for fun.  I’m no actual beer judge, so please make your own determination about what beer you like.  See below for some highlights from the Style Guidelines regarding what to look for in a pale ale.

Brewers Association 2017 Beer Style Guidelines:


  • Deep golden to copper or light brown
  • 
Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures. Hop haze is allowable at any temperature.
  • Low caramel malt aroma is allowable. Low to medium maltiness may include low caramel malt character.
  • Hop aroma and flavor is high, exhibiting floral, fruity (berry, tropical, stone fruit and other), sulfur/diesel-like, onion-garlic- catty, citrusy, piney or resinous character that was originally associated with American-variety hops. Hops with these attributes now also originate from countries other than the USA.
  • Medium to medium-high bitterness
  • Fruity-estery aroma and flavor may be low to high. Diacetyl should not be perceived.
  • Body: Medium

BEER JUDGE CERTIFICATION PROGRAM 2015 STYLE GUIDELINES:
18B. American Pale Ale

  • A pale, refreshing and hoppy ale, yet with sufficient supporting malt to make the beer balanced and drinkable.
  • An average-strength hop-forward pale American craft beer, generally balanced to be more accessible than modern American IPAs.
  • Moderate to strong hop aroma from American or New World hop varieties with a wide range of possible characteristics, including citrus, floral, pine, resinous, spicy, tropical fruit, stone fruit, berry, or melon. Low to moderate maltiness supports the hop presentation, and may optionally show small amounts of specialty malt character (bready, toasty, biscuit, caramelly). Fruity esters vary from moderate to none.
  • Pale golden to light amber. Moderately large white to off-white head with good retention. Generally quite clear.
  • Moderate to high hop flavor, typically showing an American or New World hop character (citrus, floral, pine, resinous, spicy, tropical fruit, stone fruit, berry, melon, etc.). Low to moderate clean grainy-malt character supports the hop presentation, and may optionally show small amounts of specialty malt character (bready, toasty, biscuity). The balance is typically towards the late hops and bitterness, but the malt presence should be supportive, not distracting.
  • Moderate to high hop bitterness with a medium to dry finish. Hop flavor and bitterness often lingers into the finish, but the aftertaste should generally be clean and not harsh.
  • Mouthfeel: Medium-light to medium body. Moderate to high carbonation.
  • Overall smooth finish without astringency and harshness.
  • Prior to the explosion in popularity of IPAs, was traditionally the most well-known and popular of American craft beers.
Typically lighter in color, cleaner in fermentation by-products, and having less caramel flavors than English counterparts. There can be some overlap in color between American pale ale and American amber ale. The American pale ale will generally be cleaner, have a less caramelly malt profile, less body, and often more finishing hops.

 

The ill feelings caused by Hodgon’s business practices drove Indian merchants to the Burton breweries for their more ethical business practices and more consistent beer supply. 

IPA: Brewing Techniques, Recipes and the Evolution of India Pale Ale by Mitch Steele
A bittersweet sentence, I say. Both a warning about bad business ethics, which the beer world continues to have, and a harbinger of the need for consistency 

Black Bridge Beer Preview: Hop Tart

Here’s some motivation to participate in the corn hole tournament at Black Bridge: recent winners of the tourney were invited to be collaborators on a new B3 brew. They are designing and brewing a rhubarb pale ale.

It shall be a standard American Pale Ale, so we can expect a golden to amber malty body and a citrusy aroma and probably a somewhat fruity flavor profile provided by Citra, Amarillo and Centennial hops. On top of that will be thirty pounds of rhubarb. 

Hop Tart begins brewing on Thursday, September 17. The keg tap party will be a couple of weeks after.

Roadside by Mother Road

The breweries in Flagstaff regularly show their quality. I’ve yet to be disappointed by them, whether tasting at the brewery or at a beer festival. The only one I have not sampled yet is Mother Road Brewing. I met the brewers at a festival but never made it to their tent. This beer, Roadside, will be my first quaff of their libation.

That Smell …
So, it smells like spirits and citrus hops, like early spring in late summer, hubris and lupulins.

In Appearance …
I poured as carefully as I could, but that thing has, like, a top hat of carbonation. And then it is ambery colored.

But the Taste …
It tastes like … a beer you’d drink in a pub. Oh, this is a fantabulous beer. They call it a “deep gold American ale.” I think it’s an amber, ala the Early Days of Pubbery. Yes, a golden orange delight that drinks like a Hemingway novel reads. It’s a beer that can just be consumed with grace in your backyard. But if you desire a meditation on beer all the major themes are present: the drama of malt, the tragedy of hops, balanced in yeasty water.

Join Me For A Plate Of …
Whatever.

The Conclusion Of The Matter Is …
Good show, Mother Road. Your hop schedule for this amber is well done, providing bouquet and noticeable bitterness, but not overly so. Balance is the key here, and it’s a giant brass key to the city of beer. Rock on.

A Glass Of Friday – Somersault by New Belgium

The imagery of summer is the most sublime. Crisp blue sky; verdant lawns dripping with cool water; children riding bikes and running and jumping, having been freed of schoolroom shackles; the list goes on.

And the geniuses at New Belgium think they can bottle the greatest season of them all. Let us see if the impossible becomes possible.

In Appearance …
It’s copper! It’s pale yellow! It’s a chameleon. Is it supposed to be changing tincture like that? Well colors do morph in summer out here in the desert. Sometimes, of course, that’s delirium. I don’t think this beer is making me delirious. It’s just more brilliant in the light.

The head is puffy and white, and , fine, right, I’ll go there – just like cumulus clouds in the summer sky. It does have great legs. If that isn’t summer I don’t know what is.

But The Taste …
Oh, it’s a pale ale. Really, that’s all? Granted, this one is slightly more intense than a normal one and slightly less intense than an IPA. Like Ranger, with water. And lemon drops.

The heft of grain is not apparent. The hops and water are mostly on display. Hmmm, lawn and water. It’s a slender bodied beer, light and refreshing, and if that ain’t summer what is?

That Smell …
Grassy. Citrusy hops. Nectarines, possibly. The perfume of one of those earther girls, the Eco-terrorist kind. Only a good looking one. Is that summer?

Join Me For A Plate Of …
Football, on TV and on iPad, since they weren’t televising my dang game, the Cowboys vs Seahawks. Oh, that isn’t food? Good call, you should all be substitute referees.

The Conclusion Of The Matter Is …
Summer is ending. Sadness always overtakes me at this realization, though respite from the heat is welcome. Still, Somersault actually seemed to capture pieces of summer. I was waiting for the soundtrack to hit me and it never did. But freedom was there. And a few other highlights of summer.

Fine. Fine. It was good. What, are those New Belgium brewers some kind of artists?

Sent with Writer.

Sent from my iPad

A Tarnished Golden Ale

It’s time for Chasing Tail, another brew from Squatters Pubs.  It is a golden ale.  Kind of cute, I guess.

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This one smells and looks like a copper pipe fitting.

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It is a pretty beer, with a puffy white head. The coppery smell is really the hops and they come across in the body, too.

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Not much else comes across from this beer.  It’s light on body, a little fizzy again and no real complexity.  Just, sort of, typical  Another disappointer.

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