It’s quite a lofty task to follow last week’s review of one of the world’s finest breweries, Russian River Brewing Company. I have yet to get my claws on their Pliny the Elder Imperial IPA (100 on Beeradvocate.com), but I eagerly await the day I do. More importantly, however, is this week’s featured beer.
Admittedly, I did not have a beer in mind when strolling into Weber Liquor this week, as my intention was to browse the shelves until something new caught my eye. And browse I did. I reached for one of Paradox Beer Company’s $15 Swing Top 750ml bottles before my thrifty instincts persuaded me to look elsewhere.
I ventured over to the Make Your Own Six-Pack section of the store when a man enthusiastically recommended the Grimm Brothers Brewhouse Little Red Cap. I hadn’t tried this one before; in fact, I hadn’t even heard of Grimm Brothers Brewhouse. Given the man’s high praise, I decided to give it a shot.
Grimm Brothers Brewhouse, founded by home-brewing friends Don Chapman and Aaron Heaton, is located just south of beer mecca Ft. Collins in Loveland, Colorado. Their passion lies in resurrecting ancient styles and crafting modern German and European beers. It is to be expected, then, that they chose to begin canning last month with their Dusseldorf Altbier-style beer, the Little Red Cap.
Perfected by monks in the ancient German city of Dusseldorf, this style uses the top-fermenting yeast signature of an ale with the cold conditioning of a lager. The name “alt,” which translates to “old” in German, is a reference to the long conditioning process.
I did not know exactly what to expect given that I had never heard of this brewery. I was also a bit hesitant due to the fact that I lack a palate sensitive to this style of beer. Things started off convincingly with a dark amber, caramel-colored, non-translucent pour.
The top of the glass was graced with an inviting off-white, one-finger frothy head, while bubbles adhering to the sides of the glass frantically rose to the top. The aroma graces one’s olfactory nerves with hints of caramel and amber malts.
Upon first tasting this beer, one’s mouth is hit with maltiness, significant aroma hops, and some nuttiness. Quite smooth, this beer also carries with it a carbonation level that is slightly above average. I find that higher carbonation levels tend to enhance a beer’s flavor as the bubbles seem to ‘tenderize’ the taste buds.
While the taste seems to be driven by the aroma hops, there is surely a permeating bitterness as well. The mouth feel is smooth and full.
The Little Red Cap brings back memories of my first homebrewed beer, a Red Ale, that I put together this past summer. Not only did the Red Ale lack complexity, it was reminiscent of a juice. A juice? Yes, a juice (I like to think I’ve improved a bit since then).
The Little Red Cap, while not nearly as mediocre as my first homebrew, does unfortunately share some similar characteristics, most notably the lack of complexity. Now y’all, this is not to persuade you from purchasing the Little Red Cap in favor of something else.
In fact, it is a very nice beer, though not deserving of the head-over-heels praise garnered by Avery’s Maharaja. It even won a gold and bronze medal, respectively, for best German-Style AltBier at the Great American Beer Festival in 2011 and 2012.
The exquisite artwork on the can is another reason to make the Little Red Cap the next temporary exhibit in the beer section of your dormitory, apartment, or home fridge. Although I only drank one, this would definitely be an ideal brew for drinking three or four, as it is satisfying, light, and refreshing.
In addition to finding this beer in Weber Liquor’s North fridge, you can also find single cans in the infamous Make Your Own Six-Pack section for only $2.00 a piece! Happy drinking, y’all!
Have any suggestions for my next beer review? I’d love ideas for what to try next. Even if I don’t review it, I’ll probably at least drink it! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org