Picture of War Horse silo before the name of the brewery changed.
Profiles by Ken Carman
Expect a more current picture and further information about this hard to find brewery in an upcoming Brew Biz column.
War Horse India Pale Ale
War Horse Black Lager
I had these beers at the brewery and bought them for the second, Labor Day weekend, beer tasting I do every year at Beaver River Station.
I’ll start with the only disappointment: the Riesling. After being impressed with the other two, I found the Riesling too mild with only slight hints of the Riesling juice Custom Crafters puts in this as they brew it for War Horse. Slight. I have been rarely been impressed with anything CC does, and the other two are so much better. That fruit sense could just as well be the fruity nature of the ale itself. Should be better. But that caveat aside it is a light ale; sans hop sense. The fruity nature replaces the hops sense quite well. Somewhere between pale to mid-copper-ish. If I had some now I’d do a better job but my tasters greedily devoured all three. All three were well loved.
The IPA? Perfect. The BJCP needs to consider this as a classic of an American version of the style.
Cascade, I suspect: just right to both the nose and to the taste. There’s another hop in there,,, maybe Chinook or Centennial? Cascade dominates. The balance of the body vs, the hops. Don’t expect an Imperial. Color a bit more copper than the last, though I qualify that with I had it under beer sampling conditions where I was serving close to 50 thirsty souls: maybe more. Mouth texture exactly what you would expect: hops up front, no astringency hop or malt driven… hop would be what you’d expect in a bad version.
The Black Lager was really good too. Obviously they used darker malts and if the used Patent they used exactly the amount necessary to provide the sense without the drawbacks to B. Patent. Hops there, but background. If they used an of the more floral or fruity hops they used very little. I’m guessing just a smidge of Brit or Noble. More likely Nobe since I didn’t get any of that earthy sense one can get from Brit hops. Deep black with ruby highlights in the glass.
All three had decent head.
I highly recommend all three with one more caveat. If you want a non-beer geek, “pansy,” beer, head for the Riesling. Or maybe a lawnmower beer for those with educated tastes who are not fond of lawnmower beers. But take some advice from 9 toed Ken: only people soon to have less toes and fingers consider “lawnmower” and “beer” a good idea. (No, 13 year old Ken didn’t lose it from beer, just the lawnmower.)
Try them. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. And if you get fresh bottles, if you go “gack,” recalibrate your taste buds or find something else other than beer to drink: like Bud, Coors or Miller. Don’t waste the good stuff, please.