I was reading someplace that Bar Harbor Brewing Company had sent President Obama some of their beers to try, but they never made it past the gates of the White House!
Turns out that food-like gifts are just verboten, but I wonder if they had someone tasting the beers first. Why? Because if I were the White House beer tester, I don’t think I’d let the Thunder Hole Ale past the gates either!
Let me explain.
Thunder Hole Ale is a 4.8% ABV brown ale. According to the Bar Harbor Brewing website, this beer is “Delicious. Full-bodied. Complex…This is the brown ale that beat Newcastle, Sam Adams and more, at the World Beer Championships in Chicago. “
Furthermore, we learn that Charlie Papazian himself said that the Thunder Hole Ale is “An American classic brewed perfectly.” Perhaps this is my hint to get out of beer reviews, because I didn’t get ANY of that with this beer!
It looks nice enough in the glass – a nice deep amber color, almost red really, and the aroma is OK I guess. Malty for sure, but to me not much really going on here otherwise. The head is rather lively and is a nice beige color and there is some good lacing going on. Strangely, this beer’s head reminds me of the head that my Pepsi Max creates! Fizzy indeed.
This beer really loses me on the taste. Again, I’ll make a soda analogy. Ever get a self-serve cola that didn’t have enough soda stuff mixed with the carbonated water? Well, that’s what I got here.
The flavors were not pronounced at all. There was an essence of malt, but I really got bitter and metallic flavors. The mouthfeel was also soda-like. Very much on the thin side. The only redeeming quality in my mind was the aftertaste where, after some time, I could pick up some roasted malt and perhaps some coffee flavors but I’m not much into delayed gratification when it comes to my beers!
This beer really has me scratching my head. I mean, how does a guy like Charlie Papazian say this is ‘an American classic brewed perfectly’ and I get beer-flavored seltzer water? Still, being better than Newcastle Brown Ale isn’t much of a feat I think, and I’m not exactly sure what Sam Adams beer this brew from Bar Harbor Brewing topped in Chicago. Maybe brown ales are generally sucky?
Well, there’s a couple of explanations I can think of. The first is that this beer was treated horribly by my friend Melissa who always brings back beer samples for me from her vacation destination. Perhaps Melissa was on a sunny beach and left this bottle to become putrid in the Maine sun? Well Melissa? I’m kidding here, (not) but maybe I just have a bad bottle. The other explanation is that my beer tasting abilities are so far off that perhaps I should put my keyboard away and go back to knitting little hats for newborns.
I just don’t know. Its been a long time since I was so disappointed in a craft beer, but I guess its to be expected now and then. President Obama it seems, didn’t miss much, but I’m hoping that their bottle of Cadillac Mountain Stout I have makes up for it!