I’ve never been very good at gambling. But for some reason I felt I should roll the dice on the latest seasonal from the Las Vegas brewers Tenaya Creek. As it turns out, my luck may have changed. Maybe I don’t have to give up on Vegas after all.
Eye-catching label art and a cheeky description on the bottle piqued my interest, but there’s no hiding behind that when the liquid hits the glass. So what did this lady bring to the table?
The beer pours out a cloudy copper-red, topped with a tight tan head. The aroma shows lots of smoky cedar with just a whiff of caramel sweetness showing up. The flavor is toasty and chock full of peppery hops as well as some herbal, oregano notes. The addition of rye to the malt contributes to a creamy mouthfeel and lends some nice complexity, a warm spiciness, to the beer. And again that caramel sweetness dances around the edges. At the finish there is more of the “spice box” feel, as well as an herbal citrus note.
The further I got in to the beer, the more I enjoyed it. Then it struck me (I am prone to epiphanies half way through a beer): it reminded me of some of my favorite English ales, but concentrated. An “imperialised” English ale, if you will. More hops, higher alcohol, deeper flavor.
In summary, a gamble that payed off. Big , bold, well-balanced. It’s a seasonal, so if you find it, grab it!