Special Ale pours a deep brown with a thick, slightly off-white, foamy head that stood just over two fingers at its height. The aroma is one of malt, biscuit, and a hint of sweetness, perhaps molasses or brown sugar. There is very little carbonation to be seen.
The first sip offers you notes of malt, biscuit and bread, and the same sweetness you notice from the nose. The taste really does follow the nose. There is a very faint bite of hops in there as well. As the beer drinks it laces the glass as if Prince would have been getting ready to wear it. It just a good, solid lacing throughout.
This is listed as an American Amber but it drinks just like a British Brown Ale but with less malty bite. There are some close similarities but this has more of a smooth finish. It feels medium-bodied in the mouth, and the carbonation is perfect. It finishes a little on the sweet side but not a sugary sweet. This is more of a molasses, brown sugar sweet and really balances out the malt here. It goes down smooth and is very refreshing.
Overall, this is a very good beer. River Horse has balanced the malt and allowed it to stand out but it doesn’t overwhelm. It is smooth, slightly sweet, malty, and refreshing at the same time. It clocks in at 5.5% ABV so it is light enough to drink wherever, whenever but heavy enough to sneak up on you if you drink too many. This is a delicious beer that you can pair with just about any food and be happy. It will compliment barbeque, fried foods, seafood, burgers and dogs, steaks, chicken, and everything in between. This is something I would definitely pick up again.