Ska Pinstripe Red Ale
I enjoy eating ice cream as a dessert. While my taste preferences may not have changed too much (I still love chocolate syrup on vanilla ice cream), the way I eat it has changed. I now eat it up, quickly finishing the mound of sugary frozen treat without giving a second thought. When I was younger, I would save about a fourth of the ice cream and syrup, stirring it up into a thick ooze and scooping it up with my spoon, savoring the last bit of my chocolaty ice cream soup. The point is, I have stopped taking the time to do something I once enjoyed. Sometimes I think the seven-year-old me would be rather unhappy with the 22-year-old me. Perhaps that should change.
Beer is a lot like having ice cream for dessert. You can drink it quickly, enjoying it, but not really giving it the full time it deserves. Tonight, I gave Ska Brewery’s Pinstripe Red Ale it’s time to be enjoyed.
As the red ale is poured, it doesn’t seem that impressive. The foggy ochre color hits at something other than a lighter beer, but the promise seems shaky, at best, much like a son promising he will unload the dishwasher before you get home. The smell, too, lacks a full understanding of the Pinstripe. “Yes, Dad, I’ll get to it, I know.” You look at it with a sideways glance. Yeah, it smells a little hoppy, perhaps a little sweet, but that hardly means much. All beer has hops. Some beer is bad. You just don’t know. You don’t trust it fully. Heck, I didn’t.
But then, I tasted it, which will now give my anecdote about ice cream much more clarity, since that is what the Pinstripe reminded me of. The initial punch is slightly bitter and hoppy, but a multitude of flavors blitz your pallet once this initial sensation ends. It’s lusciously creamy, much like the chocolate ice cream soup I enjoyed as a child. The finish dances a sweet little dance, bringing caramel and honey along for the ride. And just when you think it’s over, a little bitterness comes back, mellowing out the ale, creating a lovely little ride for your senses.
This is where the patience of enjoying the ale comes into play. To get a full understanding of the Pinstripe, you need to take time between each drink. When I opened my mouth to talk or breathe, more delicate flavors became apparent, including floral and chocolaty tones. If you don’t let this stall happen, you miss out on part of the reason why the beer is so delicious.
If I could go back and meet the seven-year-old me, I feel that we could sit in happiness, him swinging his feet a few feet above the ground from his sky blue chair, happily drinking his ice cream soup, and I contently sipping a Pinstripe Red Ale, both of us chatting the way the two of us would.
He’s happy that I am patient. I’m happy I’m patient.
And I’m happy that I may have found a new favorite brew.