Otter Creek’s Copper Ale is the brewery’s first beer, brewed originally in 1997. Since then, this ‘Altbier’ has become the Otter Creek ‘flagship beer’, and is available year-round. I find it interesting that another Vermont brewery, Long Trail, has Long Trail Ale which is also considered an Altbier and was their first beer as well.
Maybe that’s a requirement for Vermont craft brewers? 🙂
Well, checking out the definition over on Beer Advocate, we learn that an Altbier is “…a German style brown ale, the “alt” literally translates to “old” in German, and traditionally Altbiers are conditioned for a longer than normal periods of time. Other sources note that “alt” is derived from the Latin word “altus,” which means “high” and refers to the rising yeast. Take your pick, but the extended conditioning mellows out the ale’s fruitiness and produces an exceptionally smooth and delicate brew. The color ranges from amber to dark brown, medium in carbonation with a great balance between malt and hops.”
So, I was right. It does mean Old Beer! Its only older because it takes longer to condition, but its still fresh. No worries.
The Otter Creek Copper Ale, which I got to try as a part of an Otter Creek variety pack I picked up in Vermont, is certainly a beautiful-looking beer. Once you see it in a glass, there is no doubt why they named it ‘Copper Ale’. It would have been silly to give it any other name! If you could imagine liquified new pennies, but clear, non-metallic pennies, that were somehow non-toxic and safe to drink, and also the liquid, non-toxic, clear copper would have to be at a beerish temperature, well, that’s how this beer looks to me. You get the point. Right?
I found the aroma to be on the bland side. A little grainy perhaps, mild hops, mild malt, some alcohol comes through but nothing that stands out really.
Flavor is on par with the smell. Somewhat bready, a little grassy, and there was some caramel-like sweetness. It was a little more hoppy toward the end of each sip, and I have to say there was something in the flavor profile that I did not like. I’ll have the other bottle and see if I can refine this point a little more.
The 5.4% ABV beer itself was a nice drinker, with a medium-body, good carbonation, and a nice, crisp finish. A contender for warm weather I think.
So, what did I think? Well, to be fair the only other Altbier interpretation I’ve had prior to this was the Long Trail Ale, and I’m not really able to remember what that beer is about without going back to re-read my notes.
I think the Copper Ale will suffer the same fate in the limited storage recesses of my mind. A good beer in the moment for sure, but not something I’ll remember or go out of my way to buy. But, it will remain as one of the best-looking beers.