Thursday, September 23, 2010

Review: Marble Red Ale

My planned series of New Mexico beer reviews collided headlong with a busy week in real life. But let's get on with it:

Marble Brewery is a bit of a jewel in the still-developing world of New Mexico craft brewing. Founded in 2008, it is based in Albuquerque but also has a substantial tap room on the plaza in Santa Fe.

I was first impressed by a Marble beer I had at Three Rivers Brewery in Farmington, which was offering the Marble beer as a guest tap. I think it was an Old Ale, a deep, dark, boozy brew that stood out.

I didn't have another Marble beer until their folks showed up at Ska Brewing's 15th anniversay party. (A recap of that event is here). From the Wood,  a 9.2 percent ABV Scottish ale aged in oak barrels, had a delicious, full and well-rounded character, with hints of vanilla and oak.

So I couldn't help but pick up a six-pack of Marble Red Ale while at Trader Joe's in Santa Fe.

Marble Red is fairly burly at 6.5 percent ABV. It uses substantial caramel malt, which is more than balanced by the contributions of Crystal, Cascade and Simcoe hops.

It pours a dark amber, with a decent head of off-white foam. The smell has a bit of caramel and a ton of hops.

Marble Red is aggressively hopped - the spices wash over your tongue and dominate the taste. It's more like a cross between a red ale and an IPA than a typical red.

I particularly enjoy generously hopped reds. They carry a ton of flavor, but seem better balanced than some IPAs. If you ever find yourself in New Mexico, grab this beer. And hopefully, given Marble's impressive consistency, it won't be long before the young brewery distributes here. A-

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