Monday, January 19, 2009

Redhook Blonde Ale (2009 original review)

   AROMA 4/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 4/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
Chad9976 (597) - Albany, USA - APR 3, 2010
I’ve been a big fan of craft beers for the last few years and am always trying to get people to try something more unique than their generic “Big Three” lagers. But if a person were to drink Red Hook Blonde Ale they would very likely why it’s any different or any better than those beers, and to be honest I couldn’t prove them wrong. This is quite possibly the plainest craft beer I have ever encountered.


I’ve noticed that bad beers often have a rough pour to them and that is true of Blonde Ale. It has a very clear, medium gold body with plenty of carbonation visible. It forms a one-finger, white, soapy head which evaporates quickly and leaves only minor lacing on the glass. The aroma is virtually non-existent. A very faint generic “beer smell” but is otherwise unremarkable (and in a way I think this is a good thing).


I’ve slammed the macro brewers for their bland taste, but rarely does a craft beer invoke the same sense of indifference in me. Even when I dislike a niche-style beer by a smaller brewery I at least have a strong reaction to it. However, with Blonde Ale every sip was an anticipation for the next sip. Sometimes it takes a few swigs before I begin to detect the flavor in a beer, but even after three bottles I failed to notice a taste of anything whatsoever here.

The only way to describe this beer would be to imagine a “light” by one of the big breweries but without the taste (whatever that taste may be). It doesn’t even taste like corn, rice, potatoes or whatever adjuncts are often used. Basically this is beer-flavored beer that has been watered down. And I might almost compliment it for not tasting bad, but it definitely does not taste even remotely good.


Since this is one of the most watery-tasting beers I’ve ever encountered, it doesn’t surprise me that Blonde Ale goes down smooth and has a very soft mouthfeel. I would say the same thing about tap water.


For a beer that tastes and drinks like a “light,” I’m actually quite surprised its measurements say otherwise. At 5.4% ABV and 162 calories per bottle, Blonde Ale should at least pack something of a punch. However, I was able to go through three bottles as if they were water (then again, they tasted like water). Therefore, this would make a fine party beer, but why deal with the extra calories if you don’t have to?


A beer with no taste at all is just as bad as one with an offensive taste, mostly because it seems like a total failure rather than a true piece of craftsmanship I happen to disagree with. This is why Red Hook Blonde Ale is more annoying than it is bad.

Grade: 3/10

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