Crimson Clover Red Irish Ale

Irish Red, Marzen, Scottish Ale and IPA courtesy of Church Street Brewing Company

Irish Red, Marzen, Scottish Ale and IPA courtesy of Church Street Brewing Company

Nothing makes me happier than to see more good beer being produced in my area.  I recently had a chance to visit Church Street Brewing Company in Itasca, IL and I was really pleased with what they had to offer.  Located in an industrial park, not easy to find, and with tap room hours of 4 to 7 on Thursdays and Fridays, Church Street Brewing Company quietly produces beer that is appearing in area restaurants and as of Thursday, they started bottling their brews, including their best-in-show Heavenly Helles.  Today, however, I’d like to tell you about the wonderful Crimson Clover Red Irish Ale.  Poured from a freshly filled 64 oz. growler,  Crimson Clover isn’t red as much as it is mahogany with a ruby cast.  The head is generous and lacy, and recedes to a persistent thin layer.  The sweet bouquet has hints of berry and light perfume, with a lightly roasted caramel follow up.  Mouth-filling tastes of caramel and toasty malts are mixed with a little shot of dryness/bitterness.  Crimson Clover finishes with more of the sweetness and perfumey/floral hops that was foreshadowed in the bouquet.  The finish is a tad dry but the sweetness lingers in an equal, balancing amount.  I love Crimson Clover because it is light-bodied without being weak, creamy and smooth textured and at 5.3% ABV a very drinkable beer.  In fact, I’ll have another pint, thank you.  Overall a well-balanced brew and very enjoyable!

93/100 Red Ale

Pinstripe Red Ale

Well, Pinstripe Red Ale (5.15% ABV) is kind of red…maybe more like a deep orange, but that’s pushing it.  The white head of this English-style bitter recedes quickly to a splotchy, inconsistent film, but the lacing is admirable.  Pinstripe is crystal clear with little visible carbonation and its good, clean bouquet is malty and sweet with the faintest of floral hops notes.  Pinstripe is more bitter and dry than you’d imagine from what you perceive in the bouquet, and it’s a long-lasting bitterness at that.  The flavor has a kind of non-descript sweetness, possibly like a sweet dough.  As is the case with Ska Brewing Company (Durango, CO) beers, the label is cheesy, Pinstripe Red Ale‘s looking like an illustration for a 1980s Dungeons and Dragons Monster Manual.  I’m not a big fan of Pinstripe, but I wouldn’t refuse one if offered to me.  I might not finish it though.  Stinking wasteful American I am.  Too bitter?  Maybe.  Uninspiring?  Definitely.

Country House Red Ale

Named for and served at the regionally famous Country House restaurants, Country House Red Ale is produced by Argus Brewery in Chicago.  Country House Red Ale is an Irish-style red ale, but I’ll tell you right off…it ain’t red.  It’s dark gold with a peach cast to it.  It produces a whispy head w/ average lacing.  The bouquet is reminiscent of barnyard hay because something stinky lurks in the background.  There are grainy notes as well, and those are more appealing.  Country House Red Ale is light-bodied, and there is more grain and some grass in the flavor, finishing in a rather bitter manner.  I’m not sure about this one, as much as I want to like it, being a local brew and all.  50/100 Red Ale