This week, I'm heading out to Pompano Beach to take a gander at what new brewery on the block 26 Degree is up to, as they've been settling in on their location over the past couple of months. I decided to reach for an amber ale, their Jared's Batch, as the beer style is a decent gauge for how a brewer will balance malt sweetness with hop bitterness.
Amber ales are noted as style number 19A in the 2015 Beer Judge Certification Program's guidelines, which describes them as "a modern American craft beer style developed as a variation from American Pale Ales. Known simply as Red Ales in some regions, these beers were popularized in the hop-loving Northern California and the Pacific Northwest areas before spreading nationwide."
Jared's Batch holds a story that's bittersweet: The beer is brewed as an in-memoriam for Jared Weiner, who was among nine South Floridians that perished in a plane crash in Akron, Ohio, this past year. He was a friend of the brewery.
The beer is built upon a base of Maris Otter barley, with a dosing of Crystal 77 malt and Munich malt to give it a little bit of character. Jared's Batch uses the all-American hop Centennial as its finisher, allowing the floral components of that variety to shine out.
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This is an amber ale, sitting well at a balanced 5.7 percent ABV. It pours a clear copper color (don't let the condensation on the glass fool you) with a light and small off-white head. Some aromas of honey come out, but overall it's a muted affair. The body is crisp, with a slightly malt forward beginning that moves into a bit of bitterness and some spicy hop character toward the end.
Overall, this beer ends up being a well-balanced and approachable amber ale.
The beer is currently available at the 26 Degree Brewing Company tap room at 2600 E. Atlantic Blvd. in Pompano Beach. Call 954-532-6964, or visit 26brewing.com.
Doug Fairall is a craft beer blogger who focuses on Florida beers. He is a Certified Beer Server and has been a homebrewer since 2009. For beer things in your Twitter feed, follow him @DougFairall and find the latest beer pics on Clean Plate's Instagram.