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Angel Creek Amber Ale

Angel Creek Amber Ale

Angel Creek Amber Ale

It turns out that the best way to enjoy this beer is on an early autumn afternoon in the Capay Valley, Northern California. Oh, and with hummingbirds. I grew up in England, where hummingbirds are not to be found, and I think of them as mythical, almost magical creatures; to me it would be like sitting down for a quiet cup of tea and spotting a dragon flapping by.

At any rate, this ale was brought to me from Nevada by my good friends Sam and Caroline, and it’s at their ranch that I sit now enjoying a spot of quiet relaxation and rest, watching the few clouds and the many flickering mythical creatures.

I’m delighted that the beer matches the moment; lively enough to refresh, it’s not only alive, it’s kicking gently. The head is initially deep and frothy, and it slowly relaxes to leave a little lacing behind, although sadly it didn’t hang around long enough for a good photo, though that is more down to my skills (or lack thereof) as a photographer.

The colour is not what I’d normally call amber, more a reddish-gold, which glowed quite nicely in the open air. It’s crystal-clear with a little show of bubble,  a precursor to the liveliness that becomes apparent with the first mouthful. Lifting the glass, there’s a malty nose that’s the first hint of a very decent session beer indeed. The hops aren’t too pronounced, showing as a pleasant citrus fruit scent backing up the sweet caramel.

Next thing I notice is at the first taste, a little light caramel sweetness and a little bitter, enough to poke at the tastebuds. Couple that with the carbonation and the result is a smooth balance that is instantly refreshing. There’s a little hoppiness in the finish, which is crisp and clean. I pause for a moment and recall some of the pale ales of my callow youth, because that’s the same effect I get with Angel Creek Amber, clean, easy drinking that’s simple enough to refresh but interesting enough to enjoy.

The body is light, matching the 5% booze content, which may be on the high end for a true session ale, but is none the worse for it; I could quaff one and sip three over the afternoon before settling down to watch the mythical hummingbirds flitting around in the valley sunset.

It’s a solid B for me – the worst I could possibly say is that it didn’t move mountains, but it’s an above-average ale, so if ever you’re in Nevada, look this one up for a light and pleasant hour of refreshing beer gold.

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  1. 10 October, 2009 at 16:34

    My sentiments about Angel Lake Amber were a bit more enthusiastic when I first encountered it, late one evening in a Wells NV chinese restaurant after 10+ hours of driving across the Nevada desert. The seemed to be the usual gang of mass-marketed lagers (either regular or lite)– what a delight to find this alternative, a genuine local ale, made from waters running from the glacial cirque beneath Greys Peak, high in the Humboldt National Forest. A few years earlier I had camped at Angel Lake and sampled those tasty, icy waters, splashed a little on my face in the morning. How creative, to transform those waters into a refreshing brew to cheer my weary bones– kudos to the Ruby Mtn Brewing Co., and may your fortunes grow!

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