Monday, August 13, 2007

Carolina Brewing Company India Pale Ale - A Microbrew Review

On my long-awaited week long getaway to the Outer Banks this week, I stopped by a few of the local bait, tackle and brew shops in hopes of finding some new North Carolina microbrews and craft beers to sample and review. Well, I'm sorry to say after 3 days, I think I've pretty much narrowed it down to just one local microbrewery I've been able to locate any beers available from here. We'll make due with what we have I guess.

What we did find was an India Pale Ale produce by local North Carolina microbrewery the Carolina Brewing Company located in Holly Springs, NC. I'd not heard of this brewery before but the label states that the brewery started out back on July 3rd, 1995, so as microbreweries go, it's no baby.

The brown bottle boasted a navy blue label featuring a gold cartoonish lion giving a fearful roar. Nothing too overly dramatic though. The "brewed on" date was a nice feature, with this particular bottle just recently brewed on 7/25/07 with a best-by date of 10/25/07. This one obviously was pretty fresh so my hopes were high, especially with this being an India Pale Ale, one of my favorite styles.

Once poured fairly aggressively into my standard 16 ounce pint glass, the beer hardly hooked my attention solely on its appearance. The brew looked very cloudy, rusty orange and overly just seemed to lack life. Only a few weak streams of the ole' bubblies emininated up from the bottom to the surface where a slick of mild, creamy foam lingered after a short stance as a one finger head.

Aroma was fairly standard but faint. The typical hops scent was noticable and reasonably floral but again, nothing too dramatic or catchy here. I'm looking for something striking though in a microbrew. C'mon now, give me something to get excited about.

Taste is ho-hum. Not overly hoppy, not overly crisp, zesty, grapefruity, or any of the other adjectives typically used to describe an India Pale Ale. The mouthful was fairly thin, but it did seem to leave a filmy sense in the aftertaste. Not crisp, clean and all that refreshing. I finished my pint glass of this microbrew over the course of about only 20 minutes so it did go down pretty quick, so maybe the "drinkability" factor gives it a few points. Although, I really have no desire for another bottle at least not right now.

I hate to be negative about a microbrew or a microbrewery in particular. Most microbrewers have a true sense of pride in their craft and want to offer a great product. I want to find great microbrews for my own reference and to review to recommend to others. In this instance though, with this microbrewery, this beer and this bottle in particular, I'd say that I'd not recommend Carolina Brewing Company India Pale Ale to someone who's savvy and heavily into the India Pale Ale microbrews. It would be worth a shot to someone just sampling some IPA's for the first time or someone who's just hanging out and wants a few beers they don't really have to think all that much about to drink.

I'll give Carolina Brewing Company's India Pale Ale a 5.0 out of 10.0 and will vow to give it a try again in the future to make sure I'm thinking straight here. I'll try reviewing their Blonde Ale in the future as well to be fair.


You can check out more reviews of new microbrews and fun microbrew and craft beer related info at Microbrew Review or My Squidoo Lens. Check out Summer Microbrew too!

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3 Comments:

Blogger mademoiselle said...

Okay, this is, undoubtedly, a really dumb question, but ...

What's the difference between a microbrewery and a regular brewery? The size?

3:01 AM  
Blogger David James said...

A microbrewery technically is a brewery which produces less than 15,000 barrels of beer annually.
I use the term loosely here which you caught me doing. I typically refer to microbreweries as those who produce beers far less targeted to the masses (examples of macrobreweries would be Budweiser, Coors, Miller, etc.).

While Boston Brewing Company makes some great and tasty beers, it would technically be referred to more as a just a "brewery" which produces more or less "craft beers" given its annual barrel production.

I'll try to be more cognizant of this differentiating factor in the future however and I thank you for bringing up for discussion.

8:54 PM  
Blogger Adam F said...

Just to be clear...CBC doesn't produce Blonde Ale. Thats a TOTALLY different brewery...a totally different shitty brewery. Oh, and next time try the CBC Imperial IPA. Its a lot better!

1:10 AM  

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