Cream Ale Research

cream ale collectionThis year, I want to brew some cream ales and I thought that I’d get some commercial styles and see what it’s supposed to taste like. A baseline might help me understand where my versions differ or maybe are going awry.

Genesee’s cream ale: faint hop nose with a little spiciness to it. Fades quickly and now I get more malt qualities.

It’s easy drinking and I feel like there should be nachos involved with this beer. This isn’t exactly cold weather beer-the finish isn’t very crisp, as if the effervescence isn’t very strong. The head on this beer is pretty thin, so there’s some substance to that notion. It’s a little sweet without being bready. Not bad at all. Adequate? Yeah.

Buoy’s cream ale has a different nose-the malt comes out more, and there’s a subtle touch of forest in the hops. It’s not much and I’m really having trouble pinning it down. However, the two-row malt is all over this beer. And, despite the head on this beer being thinner that’s Genesee’s, the bubbles are more active. I get some sparkle on the finish and it helps this beer feel more drinkable: the palate cleanse is a positive for Buoy’s entry. As I finish the beer, I finally get it: there’s a slight lemon quality that’s helping it stay bright.

Pelican’s Kiwanda Has both the strongest head and nose; biscuit is clear and makes a statement. It fades fairly quickly and now we’re back to the basic two-row nose but the Kiwanda still has a really great lemon quality. It’s not quite tart but there’s enough there-it’s like lemon zest. Just enough to set the beer off from something else. This beer has the strongest malt nose and I think might be the best of the lot.

2 thoughts on “Cream Ale Research”

  1. So, for folks who spent any time in upstate New York, Genny Cream is less an example of a beer style and more something sui generis! It is perfect in its good/mediocre-ness — one of those “definitely not great, but if I could drink nothing but this for a year, no problem at all” brews. Good fortune in your brewing!

    1. I did not know this! It’s so iconic (I bought it because I’ve heard of it, even on the Best Coast) that I didn’t think it would be part of those things that everyone just accepts, whether or not it is actually good.

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