It's one of those in-between autumn days. Even the trees outside Trappeze Pub aren't sure whether they should let go of their leaves yet. I find myself wanting to dive into recently tapped dark winter warmers, but still clinging to the lighter amber and golden fall seasonals. I think I better ease myself into the cold winter, even if we don't see freezing temperatures in Georgia until February.
I start out with a Laughing Skull Amber Ale from our close neighbor Atlanta Brewing Company. I was already enjoying the resilient head, but this light and clear beer is smooth, full-bodied, and everything an amber ale should be. It reminded me that an amber ale doesn't have to be the diluted cousin of other beers. That alone would make it a standout in the category for me, but the twist at the end is M. Night Shyamalan-esque. This amber ale finishes with a strong, hoppy presence that nicely balances out the smooth malty flavors. The quite noticeable, yet still reserved hops on the end transitioned beautifully into my next brew.
Up next was a slightly stronger New Belgium Hoptober. The boys from Colorado have really grown their brewery in the last decade, and with the popularity of Fat Tire, their distribution in Georgia has greatly expanded. Along with their flagship staples, the Southeast appears to be guzzling down their seasonal offerings. Along with a more pronounced hoppiness, this golden brings a slight increase from 5 to 6% ABV. This golden ale was pretty well balanced with a nice caramel malt flavor, and a slightly increased hop presence. The color was still a nice gold, and the head was nice and pronounced, leaving medium lacing. As an added bonus, I even got to keep my New Belgium glass.
As Hoptober ended, I eyed a rare offering from Athens' own Terrapin Beer Company: an oak-aged version of last year's Big Hoppy Monster, an imperial red ale. I've tried many oak-aged beers, saddened that the oak quality of many of them overwhelmed their other notes, but this batch I found the oaky aroma and flavor to both subdue and complement the hoppiness of Big Hoppy Monster quite well. The guys at Trappeze pulled this at just the right time, as the oak notes know their place but also do their job in accentuating the hoppy finish of this beast. The Oaked Big Hoppy Monster is a great booty call: a beer that I enjoy immensely for a pint and don't want to revisit for another week or longer. This more mature version of the imperial red Monster is the cougar of the Terrapin lineup, one to be approached cautiously but bragged about to all your friends after having it.