My fascination started when I picked up a 1/2 gallon growler of Opa-Opa Brewing Company‘s Red Rock Amber Ale in my local package store. I was stunned by the smooth yet flavorful character of this beer reminding me just why locally-made micro brews blow commercially-made swill out of the water. Ingredients count…like in the case of the amber ale, a blend of German Vienna and English Crystal malts yielding a slight fruitiness, sweet caramel undertones give it a soft and smooth finish. Another key distinction is the local water has been consistently voted best tasting in the nation.
On tap lineups here depend on the season so if it’s summer, you can count on their Blueberry lager, raspberry wheat, and strawberry lager while colder months feature drafts like Winter Warmer, Belgian White, and a dark wheat Dunkleweisen.
Here are my tasting experiences…The blueberry lager and raspberry wheat actually had whole berries in them imparting fresh picked berry flavor with a requisite nectar bouquet on the palate. The strawberry lager was a bit too tangy for me while the Dunkleweisen was a great evenly hopped dark beer but a little strong to be my favorite. So the contest was between the Winter Warmer and the Belgian White…both unfiltered and easy drinking with no residual bitterness. I grabbed the Winter Warmer for session drinking in front of the fireplace and kept their Opa Watermelon, an extra pale ale, in mind for next summer.
photo courtesy of Steve Mirsky