Beer Review: Cut Throat Pale Ale [Finch’s Beer Company]

Cut Throat Pale Ale [Finch's Beer Company]

Cut Throat Pale Ale
Brewery: Finch’s Beer Company (Chicago, Illinois)
Style: American Pale Ale
ABV: 5.6%

In my quest to accommodate myself with Chicago’s ever-growing craft beer scene, I decided to check out Finch’s Beer Company, another new upstart in the city. Finch’s is a collaboration between owners Benjamin and Paul Finch, and head brewer Richard Grant (formerly of suburb brewery Flossmoor Station). Despite being very new to the scene, the company already has two beers available in cans across the Chicagoland area: Golden Wing Blonde Ale and Cut Throat Pale Ale. I picked up a 4-pack of the latter.

When poured into a glass, Cut Throat has a hazy orange appearance. Its aroma brings out citrus notes, but these are not as apparent when tasting. I noticed a very malty taste, with a lingering bitterness on the tongue. This has a heavier body than other local pale ales (such as Half Acre’s amazing Daisy Cutter). Hints of caramel are also present.

Cut Throat is a worthy entry into Chicago’s pale ale market, but I feel that it still has room for improvement. Finch’s Beer Company is an up-and-coming brewery that is still very new, so I am eager to see what else they have in store. As it stands, Cut Throat is a good, drinkable beer, but could be even better if refined.

7/10

Beer Review: Mr. Ouroboros [Half Acre Beer Company]

Mr. Ouroboros [Half Acre Beer Company]

Mr. Ouroboros
Brewery: Half Acre Beer Company (Chicago, Illinois)
Style: American Pale Ale
ABV: 6.0%

Last month’s release of Half Acre’s Sticky Fat was a huge hit in our household. With the brewery’s leftover wet hops from the Sticky Fat batch, Half Acre opted to brew Mr. Ouroboros, what they call a “German-Americo Wet Hop Pale Ale.” Like its predecessor, Mr. Ouroboros has an amusing little backstory. From Half Acre’s blog:

Mr. Ouroboros is the ghost of Coney Bottoms, the one and only concrete evidence of the StickyFat Bear. Coney Bottoms, a simple minded farmer that happened to be puttering around in the wrong row when the StickyFat bear was gorging on the ooey-gooey, was taken down by the bear. Since then, the ghost of Coney Bottoms, who the hill-people call Mr. Ouroboros, resurfaces each cycle to loom, to lurk, to gurgle.

As one farmer’s 11 year old son recounts:

“Daddy, I saw the Mr. Ouroboros creaking and cacklin’ in the field…….gumming all he’s got left of his hand and makin’ creepy.”

This wet hop brew pays homage to this cycle and Mr. Ouroboros.

Outside of entertaining tales, the two beers have another thing in common: they are both delicious.

Mr. Ouroboros has a hazy orange appearance, and it smells of floral and citrus goodness. This is a juicy beer, one that oozes of those same floral and citrus notes. It reminds me a lot of Daisy Cutter, but hoppier with an even longer-lasting bitterness. Grapefruit is also very noticeable.

At a solid 6% ABV, Mr. Ouroboros is an easily drinkable beer. It smells delicious and tastes just as good. Some people may be turned off by the lingering bitterness, but this is right up my alley. Another wonderful beer from my favorite local brewery.

9/10

Mr. Ouroboros is currently available for growler pours at the brewery. It may not be around long, so make sure to pick it up ASAP.

Beer Review: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
Brewery: Sierra Nevada (Chico, California)
Style: American Pale Ale
ABV: 5.6%

It has been hot as shit lately in Chicago (and the rest of the country, for that matter), and the extreme humidity has led to an increase in my beer consumption. I can’t think of anything better than a nice, cold pale ale while braving the heat. I have been trying all sorts of quality summer brews in the past couple months, but today I decided to revisit a classic: Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale.

Introduced in 1980, this Pale Ale has rose through the ranks to become the second best-selling craft beer in the United States behind Samuel Adams’ Boston Lager. Many consider it a gateway beer into the wonderful world of hops, and it has managed to withstand the test of time after all these years.

Sierra Nevada describes their flagship beer as “a delightful interpretation of a classic style.” Its bottle label boasts that it is a completely natural ale with no additives. The company is proud of its ingredients, as it even makes sure to mention the fine layer of yeast in each bottle, which is the result of its bottle conditioning process.

When poured into a glass, the Pale Ale has a light amber color to it. Its aroma proudly flaunts hops — lots and lots of hops. It tastes exactly like it smells, with the Cascade hops delivering a strong citrus flavor with a bit of a spicy kick as well. The different tastes linger on the palette with mild to medium bitterness.

Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale is easily drinkable, and it’s not hard to see why this is a common gateway choice for craft beer novices. I find it amazing that a beer of this quality is one of the most popular in the country, and it’s fantastic that this can usually be found even at less-than-impressive watering holes. Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale is the very definition of “an oldie but a goodie.”

8/10

Daisy Cutter Pale Ale [Half Acre Brewery]

Daisy Cutter Pale Ale [Half Acre]

Daisy Cutter Pale Ale
Brewery: Half Acre (Chicago, Illinois)
Style: American Pale Ale
ABV: 5.2%

Half Acre has quickly become one of my favorite breweries, and it is Chicago’s best, in my opinion. I make an effort to try every one of their limited release beers, but a lot of times I keep going back to their old staples. Daisy Cutter is one of their three main brews, and it is an excellent way to introduce someone to the brewery.

The first thing you will notice about Daisy Cutter is its strong floral taste — hops are definitely abundant. Citrus flavors are also prominent, with the bitterness of grapefruits standing out the most. This is a beer that goes down smooth, and it’s something that even casual drinkers can appreciate.

Daisy Cutter is available in both 22oz bombers and tall cans, and of course there is the option for a growler pour if you are in the area. Unfortunately, I don’t think Half Acre products are available much outside of the Chicagoland area. If you ever happen to come across Daisy Cutter, grab it. This is a highly drinkable beer full of luscious flavors, and it is a perfect summer beer (although it really is excellent during all seasons).

9/10

From Half Acre’s website: “A west coast Pale Ale chock-full of dank, aromatic hops. This one’s a screamer, horde it.”