It's the 'mainstreeting' of craft beer. In 30 years, craft beer has gone from hard-to-find to expected-to-be-found. And, recently, I found an unsung beauty of a beer in that most quotidien of places: a shopping mall. At Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery, in the Ballston Mall of Arlington, Virginia, it was a pint of 'English' Red, hand-pulled from a cask. According to the pub's big chalk board, the beer was 5.7% alcohol-by-volume, brewed with crystal and Munich malts, dry-hopped with British East Kent Goldings hops.
But how did the beer taste?
With the good clarity and wonderful head retention of a 'fined' yet unfiltered cask-conditioned ale, this "English Red" had an earthy hop aroma over a caramel and biscuity flavor. The finish was dry and spicy. And, there was an uber-freshness of character in a beer, that, although strong, wasn't uber-so. (Forgive me my ubering.) The camera's flash caused the beer's amber hue to appear darker than it actually was.
I don't shop in malls much (and, in fact, avoid them whenever possible), but when I do, I hope that more will have beers like this, and brewers like Dave Warwick of Rock Bottom.
Tasted 27 October 2012.