Matt Brewing Company, producers of the now well known Saranac line has produced many beers over the years. Up for review today is Saranac Caramel Porter.
The beer pours a deep caramel color, as if you made caramel at home in a saucepan. Its deep and rich looking for caramel but light if you’re looking forward to a porter. There is a nice light khaki head that is produced that stood about a finger and a half tall. There is a sweet aroma emanating from the brew. It definitely has caramel notes but there is something else there, almost like a manufactured caramel note that is sweeter than the original. There is also a slight undertone of malt on the nose.
Upon first sip you realize it really follows the nose. The caramel notes shine through big time with this brew. However, it feels like the initial caramel flavor is artificial. The sweetness from it is just a little dominating. Oddly, when the malt comes in to play it tastes pretty good. The artificial notes made me want to hate this but my taste buds keep going back for more. I can’t explain it. The sweetness is almost a marshmallow kind of sweetness. It’s the finish that really makes this beer.
The mouthfeel is on the medium side but the carbonation is just right for a porter, enough for you to realize there is carbonation but not enough to distract from the beer.
Overall, I actually liked this beer. The artificial sweetness of it is easily adapted to while at the same time not quite distracting. You are going to need to like beers on the sweeter side in order to appreciate this one. Having this as a dessert beer to cap the night off is a decent idea. I don’t know if I would make this a session beer, though at 5.4% ABV you certainly could if you like sweet beers. This is a beer I would like to enjoy one at a time, maybe two at once at most. It tastes good but it has its limits. Still, I wouldn’t hesitate to order this if I saw it on a menu at a bar or restaurant.
We have reviewed quite a few of Matt Brewing Company’s Saranac line here. Today, we tackle their Saranac Adirondack Lager.
The beer pours an amber gold with a moderate white head. The aroma is one of malt and hops. There isn’t much carbonation seen rising to the top and the head dissipated fairly quickly.
The first sip was a little different than the nose. There were notes of cracker, malt, and an acidic sweetness that was tough to define. Is it lemon, pineapple, or just citrusy hops? It was hard to pick out. This is listed as a German-style Pilsner but I don’t know if I feel that definition. The body is on the lighter side with slight carbonation. The finish is on the dry side with a crisp at the end that stops just short of being a bite.
As the beer drank there was absolutely no lacing of my glass. The flavor stayed somewhat consistent though there were sips that offered a slight metallic, coppery taste which wasn’t that pleasant. Thankfully, those were few and far between. There were malt notes that hinted at Pilsner but they didn’t shine through often enough leaving me wondering if this was a pilsner or a more traditional lager.
Overall, this was an all right beer. Saranac offers much more flavorful options and while this is certainly drinkable it doesn’t stand out. It does clock in at a manageable 5.5% ABV. I really expected more from this brew and am slightly disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t turn down one of these at a party but I also don’t know if I would add it to my regular lineup of brews. It’s good but it just doesn’t stand out enough to be memorable.
Saranac of Utica, New York is part of the F.X. Matt Brewing Company which is the fourth oldest family-owned brewery in the United States. They have brewing beer since 1888. When you’ve been doing something that long you know they have to be doing something right. We have reviewed Saranac beers before which you can check out here. Up for review today is their Pale Ale.
These days when people hear Pale Ale they probably automatically think of a really hoppy India Pale Ale. Pale Ales, however, are an English invention, much like the IPA, but with less hops. Saranac promises a little more hops than your typical Pale Ale but less than an IPA.
Saranac Pale Ale pours a light copper with a frothy, off-white head that rose to over three fingers at its height. Some carbonation could be seen rising to the top to reinforce the head. The aroma has notes of hops, malt, biscuit, and a sweet note of caramel.
The first taste follows the nose, though a little more subtly. Caramel and hops seem to predominate on the palate. It has a light, silky mouthfeel with a slightly dry finish. There was some lacing on the glass early on but towards the end the lacing stopped for the most part.
Overall, this is a good beer. I will reiterate this isn’t an IPA. With that said this is a beverage you can easily make a session beer and at 5.5% ABV it won’t fight you back. If you are looking for something to try this is worth it for sure. It is a good, solid beer.
The fourth review of Saranac Brewery’s Irish Roots variety pack is of Golden Irish Lager. You can check out the other reviews of the variety pack, and all the reviews of Saranac brews by clicking here.
Golden Irish Lager pours a clear gold with a thin white head that rose to about half a finger at its height. There is some carbonation seen rising to the top. The aroma is one of bread and crackers with a slight floral hint of hops.
The first taste follows the nose quite well with a cracker, bread note up front followed by a little hops and there is a touch of earthy sweetness, like honey, that is very faint. The beer feels fairly light in the mouth with some moderate carbonation which is to be expected from the type of beer that it is. The finish is dry and smooth.
There was very little lacing on the glass as the session progressed. The taste did stay consistent for the most part though at one point there were a few sips that had a slight lemon taste to them but that didn’t distract from the experience.
Overall this is a solid offering that fits in well with other beers of this type. It is a good beer to drink in a session or to break up some of the heavier Irish beverages that accompany Golden Irish Lager in the variety pack. At just 5.3% ABV there isn’t a lot of alcohol taste and it won’t kick you back. A fairly solid beer all around.
Saranac Brewery out of Utica, N.Y. has reintroduced their Irish Red Ale as part of their Irish Roots variety pack. This is the third review of the four beers offered in that variety pack and you can check out the other reviews by clicking here.
Irish Red Ale pours a deep reddish-copper color with an airy, white head that rose to about one finger at its height. The aroma is not really prominent but there are notes of bread and malt with a touch of caramel sweetness. There isn’t much carbonation seen rising to the top.
The first taste offers notes of malt, bread, a little sweetness of caramel. There is also an earthy tone to it as well. There is more carbonation than the appearance belied but it is moderate and complimentary like it should be. The backend has a slightly bitter and dry that is welcomed and drives you towards taking another sip. The beer feels light in the mouth and finishes smooth. There was minimal lacing on the glass as it drank and the taste stayed consistent throughout the session.
Overall this is a nice beer. It might not be as adventurous on the flavor profile as some other Irish Reds that are coming out but it is certainly a solid offering. It is kind of like an old friend that is familiar even though you haven’t seen them in a while. It clocks in at a light 4.5% ABV so this is a session beer that won’t sneak up on you. Trusty, familiar, good would be a fair way to describe this brew.
Saranac Black and Tan isn’t a new offering from Saranac Brewery but it is being brought back as part of their Irish Roots sampler 12-pack. Many fans of Saranac are very happy about its return. Let’s find out why.
This Black and Tan pours exactly how you would expect any Black and Tan to pour. The top is black and towards the bottom there is a coppery color from the lager that mixes well with the stout. There is a thin, slightly tan head that will disappear rather quickly, a common occurrence with stouts. The aroma is subdued but features notes of coffee, chocolate, malt, and a touch of toasted biscuit.
The first taste follows the nose on a slightly grander scale. The chocolate and coffee notes take the forefront but there is a malty, toasted biscuit flavor that quickly follows. The beer has an interesting mouthfeel that kind of hovers between light and heavy. I know that sounds odd but it sits on the tongue with some weight but overall feels light, just like the two beers that make up this brew. There is little carbonation, the stout winning out there as well as in color. However, the backend offers a malt flavor with some slight bitterness that shows the drinker the lager is still there.
The glass had minimal lacing as the session progressed but the flavor stayed nice and consistent which can be a challenge for Black and Tans at times.
Overall this was a pretty good adaptation. Technically this is classified as an American Porter but the stout and lager qualities are both allowed to stand out in all the right ways here. Neither truly dominates all at once and each have their finer points which are allowed to shine through. This is something you can drink all winter long or have fun with on St. Patrick’s Day if so inclined. It only clocks in at 5.4% ABV so it won’t bite you back and makes it almost perfect for a session beer to celebrate.
For other reviews of Saranac Brewery beers click HERE.
Saranac Shilling Ale is a Scottish Ale from Saranac Brewery that is advertised as being done the Irish way. The beer came as part of Saranac’s Irish Roots Pack which features four different brews and is new for 2019 from what I can figure.
Shilling Ale pours a burnt orange color, just a tad off of copper. It has a nice, thick, slightly eggshell foam that rose to two fingers at its height. The nose offers notes of malt, biscuit, and a hint of caramel. It has an overall toasty aroma that is welcoming and familiar.
The first taste follows the nose with malt and biscuit popping to the forefront. There is a touch of caramel at the back. Again, there is a slightly toasted warmth to the flavor that is welcoming and comforting just like it was in the aroma. There is just enough carbonation here to tickle the tongue.
In the mouth the beer feels a little into the medium side of the scale but not by much. There is a little creamy touch on the tongue from the nice head that accompanied this beer. The finish is very smooth and a little dry which leaves you desiring another sip. This is a little different from other Scottish Ales in that it didn’t quite have that bitter backend.
The beer laced the glass fairly nicely. Not quite enough to make a bride happy but certainly enough to make a grandmother feel at home. The taste stayed even throughout the session.
Overall, Shilling Ale is a decent take on Scottish Ale. It can be an easy session beer and at 5.6% ABV it doesn’t have a lot of bite. This is worth checking out if you are looking for something new.