Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Pale Ales — Fremont Brewing Co. vs. Lazy Boy Brewing

Fremont Brewing Co.
Summer Solstice

ABV 5.2%

Clear, yellow/gold.
Grain, lemon peel, apricot.
Grapefruit and lemon.
Hops vs. Malts
(Hoppy, Malty or Balanced):
Finish: Citrus bitterness with some grain coming in late.
Overall (Fantastic, Good, Mediocre or Bad):

Lazy Boy Brewing
Dumb Luck Pale Ale
ABV 5.8%

Clear, amber/copper.
Aroma: Sweet malts with funky, earthy, piny hop notes.
Flavor: Mostly roasted sweet malts.
Hops vs. Malts (Hoppy, Malty or Balanced): Hoppy
Finish: Long-lasting pine resin bitterness.
Overall (Fantastic, Good, Mediocre or Bad): Mediocre

Blow by Blow

On a recent trip to Vashon Island with some friends we brought along two bottles to battle as part of the festivities. The group included some heavy hitters in the northwest homebrew community as well as some very experienced palates so the beers were in for a true test.

The confrontation featured two beers falling into the pale ale category that will be competing for your hard earned cash this summer. In one corner we had the Fremont Brewing Summer Solstice from Seattle and in the other corner we had the Dumb Luck Pale Ale from Lazy Boy Brewing in Everett.

As a graphic designer, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention my disdain for the Lazy Boy label. I’m hoping that this is just a temporary change since I’ve always thought that their original labels were pretty good — bright, colorful and befitting of their name. I must admit that I was drawn to the new label, but not because it was impressive, rather because it was so stark and uninspired. I realize that with a name like Dumb Luck the designer didn’t have much to work with, but wow, it comes across as downright, um, lazy. I know that may have been the point, but it doesn't make it look any better.

The beers themselves were both decent, but all seven of us chose the Summer Solstice as it was just a solid beer with a nice, refreshing burst of citrus that carried through from the aroma all the way to the finish — perfect for hot weather drinking (now if we could only get some hot weather). The Dumb Luck was a totally different animal, darker in color, with some funky hop notes in the aroma, a malty flavor and a pine resiny, bitter finish. Not bad, but not up to the competition.

Big thanks to our guest tasters, Bekky, Emily, Colin, Mark and Rick “the lawn dart technician” for participating in the battle.

Winner by unanimous decision: Fremont Summer Solstice

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