SanTan Epicenter Amber Ale
Can I just say how great it is to be within walking distance of a fantastic little brewery that has a reputation for producing awesome beer? I live less than 5 minutes, soon to be less than 2 come December, from SanTan Brewery and I could not be more pleased. Their food is good and their beer is better, and I don’t even have to mention how much I love supporting local businesses, let alone a local brewery. I have never had a bad experience at SanTan and I never expect to, regardless of how frequently I visit.
Tonight I made a bargain with my fiance, agreeing to spend an hour at the gym only if I could go to SanTan to try another of their beers. Granted, I would have gone to the gym anyway – these carbs don’t just melt away in my sleep, unfortunately, and don’t even get me started on the 200% increase in my chips and salsa intake – but compromise is a big part of healthy, working relationships, am I right? I really wanted to get another Count Hopula, but being the responsible “adult” that I am, not to mention we only had about an hour and I had to drive, I opted instead for their Epicenter Amber Ale. By the way, I really like the way SanTan set up their website with all of the specific details in each of their beers; it really makes my fascination and quality of learning about craft beer and what goes into making them that much easier. So thanks, SanTan, for fueling my thirst for knowledge!
On tap and poured into one of their fantastic glasses (I think I read somewhere they are hand blown by a local artisan, but I have to double check), it appeared a deep coppery amber color with a rusty glow in the light and was very clear with no visible carbonation. The head was a creamy off-white and just over a finger thick when it was brought out to me. With good retention, it took a while for the foam to completely dissipate, but it left a heavy lacing along the inside of the glass that I was quite impressed with.
The scent was an interesting combination of sweet citrus, which was relatively crisp and clean, and toasted malt, which grounded it. There were no hops to speak of in the nose, though this is labeled as a malt-forward brew. Other than that, I really couldn’t discern anything else from the light aromas, but it wasn’t an unpleasant experience.
At first sip, there was a very obvious barley-malt flavor that dominated my tongue, and according to their website, they employ the use of six different malts: Two Row Barley, Wheat, Munich, Caramel 80, Victory, and Roasted Barley, so I was not entirely surprised at this. Though now I need to find a website that properly describes all these different malts so I can obtain a better understanding of them. Back to the beer, behind the wave of malt, I found the citrus mid-drink, a sweet, light caramel, and a toasted grain afterthought that lingered into the aftertaste. The beer had a perfectly medium mouthfeel that was accentuated by a fine carbonation and a barely-there biting bitterness that also helped to tone down the sweetness of the malts.
Ending on a clean note, if not a little dry, I found myself really enjoying this self-proclaimed “gateway ale” right to the very last drop. It was extremely easy to drink and left me with a quiet warmth as we sat on the patio watching the sunset, being served by Jesus (happy Halloween!). I don’t know the specific reason behind why I seem to enjoy SanTan’s brews so much, other than that I might be a bit biased due to their relatively easy availability, but as long as I can sit outside and enjoy a carefully crafted microbrew right outside my front door, I’ll be one happy girl.