PEORIA BREWING CO – ERICK THE RED IRISH RED ALE

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Brewery: Peoria Brewing Co.

Style:  Irish Red Ale

Country:  United States

State: IL

ABV: 6.6%

Score: 3.5 out of 5

I picked up a 4-pack of Peoria’s Erik the Red during a visit to their brewery in  Illinois. I had some time to kill that Saturday, so I ventured into Peoria to try to hit the three breweries that reside here; Peoria Brewing Co., Granite City Food & Beverage, and Rhodell Brewery. Of the 3, I wanted to make sure I visited Peoria Brewing Co. first, as it seemed to have the best and most innovative selection. I am glad to report that Peoria Brewing Co. did not disappoint. I had a flight of 4 of their beers and they were all very well done. Rothgar Rye Ale was one that stood out the most. During my visit, I purposely avoided trying Erik the Red in the tap room since it was one of the two beers they packaged. I knew I would be taking a 4-pack home with me to review.

The best part of Erik the Red lies in its simplicity. This is just a damned good Irish (slightly dry) Red Ale; no bells, no whistles, just really good. As a matter of fact, this is probably one of the better Irish Reds I’ve had in a while. This beer pours with about a finger of dense and frothy head which lingers around for a while before settling down into a nice layer of lacing. By mid-glass, most of the lacing has completely dissipated leaving no trace on the walls of my glass. This Irish beauty has a rich, deep copper color, almost a rich walnut brown, which seemed a bit dark for the style.

I detected very-welcomed notes of caramel and sweet monkey bread upon the first smell. This is followed by the strong presence of malted grain and toasted bread. The nose is pleasant and inviting, making way for what you can already assume is going to be a great beer.

As expected, the palate is predominantly malted grain and toasted plain white bread. There are slight hints of caramel, toasted barley, and a slight hint of hop bitterness at the end. Oddly, but definitely in a good way, that is pretty much all there is to this beer. The slight hop bitterness at the end seems to be the only layer of complexity here. As I stated in the beginning, the simplicity of Erik the Red is where its beauty lies. The body is fairly thin, which makes it drinkable and light. There is also barely any linger here, and what little we have left, is all toasted grain and bread.

Peoria has a variety of beer styles and experimental beers, but it makes sense that this Erick The Red is one they opted to package. This pleasant Irish Red Ale appeals to the masses. This beer will sell; it’s simple, it’s delicious, it’s beer!

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