As promised here I am with another Brewview! I had trouble deciding between Flying Bison and Hamburg Brewing Company, so I left it up to the public to decide for me. Both are going to be their Red Ales with St. Patrick’s Day arriving within the month and it came down to Flying Bison. So thank you to those who gave me their thoughts, this one is for you guys!
Before I begin I just want to mention that this beer is on tap at Flying Bison year round but is only distributed in bottle form between the months of February and April. So if after reading this you decide you would like to try this delicious beer, bottled form is time limited. After that you’re going to have to pay a visit to the brewery to enjoy a pint of this beer on draft. Believe me stopping by the brewery would be well worth the time and effort, with the great atmosphere and interactions. As well as other delicious beers that are only available at the brewery! So think about it.
The Beer: The Irish Aviator Red Ale by Flying Bison Brewing Company
ABV: 5.3% IBU: 28
Hop Profile: Nugget
UK East Kent Goldings
Malt Profile: UK Pale
NY Craft Malt Erie Canal Pale
Alright, so here we go. Going forward with this beer I think it’s quite obvious what style of beer we are getting ourselves into. So I’ve already come up with an idea of what this beer will be providing. First, I’m expecting the beer to be predominantly malt based with some minor additions provided by the hops. This may be a little different from the typical IPAs I’ve done in the past; but I’m thinking that changing it up will have its benefits. Secondly, and I’m sure this goes without saying the color of this beer will be amber with a slight opaque characteristic to it. Let’s see if I am correct.
After opening the bottle I’ve found that I am correct with my prediction regarding the aroma of the beer. I’m getting some a sweet caramel malt aroma with a slight hebral/woodsy addition to it. According the facts I’ve garnered regarding the hops, both the Nugget and UK East Kent Goldings tend to be weaker with the aromas they produce. But I think the slight herbal and woodsy aroma that I’m picking up on is from the Nugget hops. Everything else I’m going to attribute to the malts, specifically the Aromatic, Munich and Caramel. The Aromatic and Munich malts are known for providing strong malt aromas and if you could guess the Caramel is there to provide the sweet caramel aromas. If that couldn’t be anymore obvious. Even after pouring the beer into a glass the aromas remain, if only with a more well rounded presentation.
The color of The Irish Aviator is exactly what I thought it would be. A beautiful amber color that has enough depth to it that it even holds some opacity. Now if what I read is true and I’m assuming it is the Munich malts tend to provide beers with their amber color. But combine that with the Chocolate malts and you’re able to darken things up a bit and produce exactly what I’m seeing in the glass in front of me. Along with the excellent color comes some excellent foam retention, but the credit does not go to the Munich malts. More so to the Nugget hops which are known for providing foam retention for the beers in which they are used.
Dude, I cannot get over the aromas of this beer. They are so simple as to not overwhelm one’s senses, but can definitely get your mouth watering! So letss move on to our next step, how this beers tastes.
So Flying Bison states that this beer is made to be malty, with a medium body, and a ‘spicy hop signature.’ Now they have never failed to deliver a good beer, so my hopes are high for this one!
The remaining foam on the top of the beer gives a creamy feeling and taste to it, not a bad compliment. But overall Flying Bison hits it on the nose, this beer is indeed malty with a medium body and holds a ‘spicy hop signature’. Now I am sure some people are thinking, spicy? Hmm? It’s not a hot sauce or pepper taste, more of a slight kick to jazz things up a bit. Fine touch in my mind. Besides the malt and spice flavor I’m also getting a tobacco/herbal taste as well. Almost sounds odd, but it tastes delicious. Going back to our hop profile, both of these hops are known contributors of these flavors. Specifically speaking, the Nugget providing the herbal side and the East Kent hops providing the tobacco flavor. Wonderful combination made by fantastic brewers!
But that is not all; let’s not forget what the malts bring to the table. Out of the six malts used, three are more outstanding to me than the others. The UK Pale, Caramel, and Munich. Combine the UK Pale with the Caramel and you get a sweet flavor. The Munich malt, the beautiful thing that it is, allows the beer to possess the strong malt flavor this beer holds. Such a beautiful thing Flying Bison created!
Body wise at first I wasn’t sure about the medium profile provided by Flying Bison. But as I’m sitting here typing I’m starting to pick up on what they were talking about. Red just has this wonderful creamy feel to it that you could easily describe as a medium body. Simple, yet satisfying. It even leaves you longing for more! A beer couldn’t possess a better trait than that I’d say. Maybe that was a purposeful move on Flying Bison’s part, who knows. All I know is that it’s a refreshing and delicious aspect of the beer.
Bitterness wise, I’m not sure if an IBU of 28 is what I’d give this beer. I’m thinking it could be a bit higher, with Nugget hops I’m not at all surprised. With an alpha acid percentage of 15-18% what else would you expect. Not that it’s a bad thing, just another part of the beer that makes it more enjoyable.
So overall I’d say this beer is very enjoyable and could easily be consumed in multiple environments or occassions. It’s good to create a beer that holds such versatility. Rating this beer is tough because on the outside it may look simple but truly when diving deeper into it you can appreciate the complexity it possesses. I’m going to say 4.25/5. I’ve had some red ales previous to this one that have left me with a bad taste in my mouth. Almost like a metallic or iron taste. Not The Irish Aviator, this beer soars over my past encounters in more ways than one. I enjoy every sip and am left with a nice creamy after taste that holds a caramel/hop flavor it. If you can even understand that; which if you try the beer I’m sure you will! 😀
Flying Bison, I raise my glass to you! Cheers!
Before hitting the save button I’d thought it’d be nice to add some trivia. Woohoo! The Nugget hop was first bred in the 1970 and released in 1983. And since its release it has become the second most widely grown hop in Oregon.