Red Tail Ale

This one has stared at me from the liquor store shelves for years, but I was always steered away by the bad label art.  It reminds me of the bad illustrations from the original Dungeons and Dragons manuals.  The label you see here is an upgrade to the one on my bottle, making me wonder about the age of my purchase.  But last Saturday I found a single bottle on the encap at my favorite beermonger (Binnie’s in Willowbrook) and decided for $1.49 I’d give it a try.  Red Tail Ale, from Mendocino Brewing Company of Saratoga Springs, NY, pours a nice garnet color with a slight haze, holds its head well and laces just as well.  There is a touch of butter in the bouquet of this bottle-conditioned ale, followed by a decent amount of sweetness and just a hint of hop tang.  The texture is smooth and creamy and the taste is a little sweet with a bitter, dry finish.  I could go for more hops up front.  Not a bad 6.1 ABV amber ale, definitely better than the label, but not something I’d seek out.   It just didn’t excite me.  62/100


Black Dog Ale

This brew from Spanish Peaks Brewing Company features a clear amber color with a spotty head.  The bouquet is sweet with a hint of floral.  It has a medium body, it’s sweet with a dry finish and a lingering sweet aftertaste. It’s smooth and drinkable, and just a bit above average for an amber ale.