I poured a 22oz bottle into a goblet. There was no freshness date. It cost $7 ($0.32 per ounce).
Appearance: Seemingly opaque purple, but actually dark red. No visible
carbonation. Pours to a fairly big, off-white, frothy head which laces
and retains well.
Smell: Mostly piney hops and resin, though not extremely aromatic per se.
Taste: The red ale isn’t a style that’s really been defined. It tend to
get lumped in with amber ales or confused with Irish Reds, but it’s not
really either. Steve’s Back Yard Red Ale is a good example since you
wouldn’t mistake it for either of these styles. It’s a fine beer that’s a
bit simple, but makes it work towards its advantage.
The main flavor here is that found in the nose: resiny, piney hops. Not
quite as aggressively bitter as an IPA, since it does have a noticeably
malty backbone to it. I don’t really get any distinct malt character,
though. Perhaps it’s akin to a Scottish or similar style but without any
smoke, yet it’s not particularly sweet either. The piney hops are
pleasant, imparting a strong, flavorful bitterness that doesn’t
overwhelm. Balancing out this palette would probably make for an
excellent beer, though I’m not complaining about what I have.
Drinkability: While Steve’s Back Yard Red Ale has a lot of hoppy flavor,
I was surprised by how smooth the mouthfeel was. It has a texture
that’s somewhere between that of water and cream (milk?). It’s easy to
drink in larger gulps, but it’s not refreshing. At 5.5% ABV it’s pretty
efficient I’d say, and ideal to pair with dinner.