too many breweries make a true Red Ale. They tend to be classified as
an amber ales or “Red IPA” or American Strong Ale. But with Red
Wheelbarrow, Maine Beer Company has succeeded in making a beer that’s
neither of those styles and is more of its own thing. Plenty hoppy to be
sure, but not extremely so. The palette is pretty well balanced for the
most part and it’s drinker-friendly. If only it weren’t so expensive.
I poured a 500ml bottle into a tulip glass. It was bottled on 11/25/14 and cost $7.99 ($0.47 per ounce).
Appearance: Deep shade of burgundy/blood red. Very cloudy body. Pours to
a large, tan, foamy head that laces and retains extremely well.
Smell: Fruity scent of berries and citrus; some flowers.
Taste: Berry isn’t a flavor you tend to get in beers that aren’t made
with some kind of fruit extract or puree. I do detect a slight
strawberry or raspberry quality to this beer, though. I’ll chalk that up
to the fairly odd combination of Columbus, Amarillo, and Falconer’s
Flight hops. Orange seems to be quite prominent as well. There’s a
fairly strong malty presence here; creating for distinct sweetness and
minor bready flavor (maybe even some fruitcake). It finishes with an
overtly bitter sensation, it’s dry but washes away clean. It’s more than
just a solid brew, but not quite to the point of being amazing.
Definitely one of the best red ales I can recall having, though.
Drinkability: At 7% ABV, Red Wheelbarrow is a strong beer in the classic
sense, but surprisingly light in delivery. The mouthfeel is full, soft,
well-carbonated and comfortable. Not refreshing, but in no way a
challenge to get down. The alcohol is barely noticeable, though I
appreciate the robustness of the palette. Versatile enough to stand up
to a meal, but tasty enough to enjoy a single bottle by itself.