Top Down Classic Red AleNovember 1, 2000 Phoenix, AZ
Sonora Brewing Co.
Available: AZ, CA, NV
Although Sonora Brewing Co. brews a variety of beers from both English and European traditions, including this award-winning English-style mild, they have chosen to the guidelines of the Reinheitsgebot, the German Purity Laws.
Original gravity: 1042
A name and label entirely appropriate to Arizona. The beer is a handsome color, perhaps more amber than red, and sports a creamy head of quickly-disappearing bubbles. The nose is pure malt with hints of cinnamon, licorice, tobacco and leather. The palate, too, is layered, full and satisfying. It is complex and delicious with a clean, long lasting aftertaste. Try it with a juicy hamburger, crisp french-fries and a vanilla malt, with the top down.
- Charles Finkel
Wow! A luscious biscuit/toasted malt aroma busts out of the glass. Very pleasing. Hop flavor is evident but low, making this a very nice red ale tending to emphasize malt sweetness. Very refreshing and certainly a beer for top down occasions.
- Charlie Papazian
Copper-red in color with a thick, smooth head of foam, the beer has a stunningly fruity aroma of over-ripe strawberries. The palate is creamy and malty but with hops starting to make their appearance with some dryness and bitterness underpinning the malt. The finish is again fruity and malty but the hops are really beginning to work now, and there is a big whack of bitterness that prevents the malt and fruit from becoming cloying. Is there such a thing as an ice cream beer or a sorbet beer? If so, this is it!
- Roger Protz
Founder of Merchant du Vin and the Pike Brewing Co., Charles Finkel is a pioneer in the marketing of craft beers in America.
Author of the New Complete Joy of Homebrewing, founder of the Great American Beer Festival and a Beer Examiner at www.examiner.com, Papazian is a leading voice in beer and brewing.
Roger Protz is the author of Complete Guide to World Beer and 300 Beers to Try Before You Die. He is a respected beer authority and editor of the CAMRA Good Beer Guide.