One of the best things about writing this beer review blog is that most of the beers I try and write about I’ve never had before. I’d have to say that 99% of the beers I review for The Brew Club are completely new to me! I think that’s cool because maybe you’ve just had a particular beer for the first time too and you’ve come here to compare notes.
Wolaver’s is brewed in Vermont by the folks at Otter Creek Brewing Company. I’m not sure if Wolaver owns Oter Creek, or if Otter Creek owns Wolaver’s, but it probably doesn’t matter too much! The pale ale has no preservatives, and its also not pasteurized so I’m wondering if the April 2006 bottling date that I see on the label is going to be a problem for me! I’m not sure which member of The Brew Club brought in this particular beer, (I’m thinking Liz), but let’s check those label dates more carefully people!
With the knowledge that I’ve consumed older and less wholesome liquids in the past without too many problems, I’m going forth with my review of the Wolaver’s Pale Ale anyway!
But before I do, my curiosity into what constitutes ‘Organic’ brewing gets the best of me. Looking at the label, it seems to indicate that the ‘handcrafted ale is brewed with only the finest organic barley and hops grown by small independent farmers’ has something to do with it. OK, so they utilize organic products and try to buy locally – that’s cool. What else? Well, according to their section on the Otter Creek website, Wolaver’s was one of the first certified Organic brewers in the country, and that organic certification assures us that their beers are produced ‘without the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, or genetic engineering.’
Cool. But does this lack of evil stuff (my words) make for an enjoyable beer, or will it taste like rocks and twigs? Let’s see!
You can see in the picture that I took immediately after the pour that there is a minimal head – not too much carbonation. The organic ale is an amber color, and held up to the light is nice and clear. So far so good despite the age.
The smell is mostly malty – and according to the label the malt used is ‘Harrington specialty malt’, and to me this was the most apparent aroma. Malty, maybe even organically malty.
The Wolaver’s Pale ale, even this old ass bottle I have, tastes pretty good! Again, I’d say that those Harrington malts dominate the taste, and I am happy about that! I like malty beers. Still, the taste does balance out with some crisp hoppy flavors, and the finish as a result is pleasantly dry. There is a little bit of a bitter aftertaste and a lingering hop bite – but its nice indeed.
Wrapping it up, I was very pleased with my old bottle of Wolaver’s Pale Ale and would really like to try another bottle that was more recently brewed just to see if there was a difference. I’m betting there is, but I’m thinking it will still be a decent pale ale. I liked this beer, and I would definitely have it again. I’m looking forward to trying some of their other organic beer products too if I see them here in Jersey.
I also think its cool that the Wolaver’s people try to obtain their ingredients locally and brew their organic beers, well, organically. If you’ve ever been to Vermont, I think you would agree that the Wolaver’s method fits perfectly. Lots of crunchiness up there. I don’t get up to Middlebury too often, but next time I do I’ll be sure to stop in for a fresh sample!
Here For The Beer recently did a really good video interview with Otter Creek’s new Brewmaster Mike Gerhart formerly of Dogfish Head. In the interview, he talks about the philosophy behind their organic beers and the cool trend they have of naming beers after farmers!